Protesting the police is a tricky business. The fact that people are out in force against them means that their continued presence is an agitant, yet their duty as officers of the law necessitates them being there. In effect, them doing their job gives them more work to do, and the same catch-22 is in play for the protesters – the more they scream the more the cops try to shut them up, thereby providing new reasons to scream.
The people’s emulation does not stop there; over the past several days, having been met with riot gear and rubber bullets, they’ve developed stopping power of their own. Their frontline of lacquered plywood and umbrellas to bounce away tear gas is supported by an artillery of paint balloons held in the hands of a ragtag, but large, infantry.
Authorities are always outnumbered, but never has it been more apparent. The city’s designated protest area features plenty of strategic options to compensate for the lack of manpower; the people had not gathered there, instead opting to march on the court, corralling the police in the courtyard.
The people all push at once – there is no battle to speak of, merely token resistance inside a slaughter. The few policemen that manage to run do so without looking back, the screams tell enough of the story; individuals chase them, on missions for personal revenge, reasoning that even if they kill every cop they can, the numbers still won’t even out. And they are right.
As the tear gas clears the organizer of the protest has the police chief in custody. She tosses the key to his handcuffs down a nearby drain. “Real original.” The Chief scoffs from the curb.
“I knew you’d get the reference.”
“What now then? The city is yours.”
She looks down at him. “All we wanted was to be heard.”
“And what proof do you have that I don’t listen? My uniform? You don’t know what I’ve done in my life.”
“Your uniform tells a story. Same way my skin does.”
The Chief shakes his head. “Think what you want but I’m not one of those co-”
“One of those?” The Organizer laughs, “There’s my proof that you don’t listen. This is a system issue – what you decide as an individual rendered irrelevant by results. The dead can’t talk but they still count.”
“If results matter so much to you, look around. These are still people, and when things go back to normal you’ll need us. You forget how frequent mass shootings were before the pandemic? There’s more guns than people in this country. How you gonna deal with that? With any problem at all? You think crime solves itself?”
The Organizer crosses her arms. “Most crime is the result of necessity created by poor decision making skills. If money is funded into communities instead of police forces, people won’t have to break the law to get what they need.”
“What book you get that from? Harry Potter and the Socialist’s Stone? That’s young adult fiction if I ever heard it. Just as much crime is done in the name of necessity is done in the name of vanity, jealousy, greed – people are at the heart of this. We’re the problem. Ain’t no amount of money fixin’ that.”
The computer alarm forces Bob awake. “Sir,” He says while stifling a yawn, “Simulation 50 is finished. Another failure.”
“Well you know the drill. Isolate the highest impact variable to be removed from the next one. We’ll get this figured out.”
“I don’t know,” Bob says and scratches his head, “Maybe this is a system issue.”