Dear New Neighbor

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Welcome

Dear New Neighbor,

I understand that you are new to this neighborhood, or perhaps this city, or maybe even to this state. I know you know that things here are pretty tense as more and more people born and raised here become less and less able to afford the cost of living. I know it is not your intention to displace those who called this place home before you. I know that you want to be a good neighbor and to minimize your negative impact on the community you are seeking to become a part of.

Here is what you need to know:

We do not call the cops.

Calling the cops is feeding into institutional violence. Calling the cops is providing fodder for their bullshit script when they kill a person who “fit a description.” Calling the cops is appealing to a system that doesn’t give a fuck about me, or you, or really anyone else. Calling the cops is potentially condemning someone to the horrors and inhumanities of the court and prison systems, and even if they survive, they’re infinitely more susceptible to having to go back because our “justice” system is one predicated not on rehabilitation but on recidivism.

We don’t call the cops because to do so is to invite them into our community, and facilitate their terrorization of our black and brown neighbors. We don’t call the cops because we believe in learning to work with our community to resolve our own issues, instead of turning to strangers with iron fists and steel bullets to resolve them for us.

We don’t call the cops, because all cops care about is property, and our property is not worth another person’s life.

We don’t call the cops in cases of domestic violence, because they are just as likely to arrest the victim as they are the perpetrator. We don’t call the cops in cases of sexual violence, because even if prison weren’t a vile institution constructed with the primary purpose of using slave labor to generate profits, only about 2% of rapists ever go to prison anyway. We don’t call the cops because they blame victims of sexual assault instead of the perpetrators, questioning them in ways that force them to relive their trauma, while dismissing what has happened based on what they were wearing, or whether they had been friendly with their attacker, or whether they had a cocktail, or whether they were “asking for it.”

We don’t call the cops because we are not willing participants in white supremacy, and we do not want to help them in enforcing racist laws in our society, and perpetuating systemic violence.

 

We don’t call the cops because in order to be good members of the community we are moving into, we need to get to know our neighbors, we need to understand the role we play in the alteration of our neighborhood, and we need to comprehend that the police will commit unspeakable acts of violence against those who were here before us in the interest of providing the illusion of safety to us.

We don’t call the cops because what they provide is, in fact, just that: an illusion of safety. They do not de-escalate situations, they do not prevent bad things from happening, they cannot undo the bad things that DO happen, and we cannot fix our problems by facilitating violence against our neighbors. We don’t call the cops because it is in the best interest of all of us who live here to build strong bonds with our neighbors and establish a community on the principles of communication, understanding, and mutual support.

Welcome to the neighborhood.