Police Should Be Strengthened to Protect Minorities

A NYPD Ford Explorer Special Service Vehicle.

New York City Police Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I applaud the just-released decision by the federal appeals court to allow the New York Police Department to continue the “stop and frisk” program until the merits of the case are adjudicated. To substantiate my opinion, I will first mention the body’s immune system, which I offer as a model for a proper perspective on the function of law-enforcement agencies.

It is not possible to speak intelligently and rationally about the proper role of police and the military without a standard with which to compare it. In my “Back to the Body” approach (Zurück zum Körper, De Regreso al Cuerpo), I use the body’s immune system as a standard with which to compare the proper role of the police and the military—including the role of war in society. It is from this point of view that I offer my comments today. So, first, about the immune system.

The Immune System

Goalfinder immune-system-action

Immune system (Photo credit: gfinder)

I was mesmerized when I studied the immune system at the National Holistic Institute of San Jose, California, in 2008. My purpose in taking the 9-month holistic healthcare course was to provide an underpinning for my “Back to the Body” approach to spirituality. As many teachers have told us, “the truth is within you”—therefore, those who search for fundamental truths do well to understand what goes on within us, that is, in our bodies.

It is in this spirit, then, that I offer a comparison between the body’s immune system and the proper role of police, the military, law enforcement, and war in human society. This article is offered especially to those of my friends in various countries who struggle with issues of pacifism, police brutality, military intervention, and weapons proliferation. I submit here that a proper perspective on those issues can be attained through consideration of them in the light of the immune system’s role in the body.

More specifically, the immune system is made up of two parts: (1) An innate, nonspecific part, which repels microorganisms in general; and (2) an acquired, specific part, which repels particular types of invaders. As we all know, we need a healthy and fully functioning immune system in order to live happy and vibrant lives. These “heroes” of the human body work tirelessly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so that we can rest peacefully and experience life to the fullest. As you can imagine, I am a great fan of the immune system—and consequently, I am a great fan of the police, the military, the firefighters, and the military veterans.

Generic Defense: Nonspecific Immune System

We nourish ourselves with living matter—and therefore, our bodies are exposed to viruses, bacteria, and other forms of microorganisms on a daily basis. A healthy and well-functioning nonspecific immune system can readily take care of these microorganisms and repel them before they cause damage. Our bodies have effective defenses against these invading microorganisms: the skin, the mucous membranes, the antimicrobial proteins, and the attacking cells.

Following the work of the Russian biologist Élie Metchnikoff (1845 – 1916), a winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine, we have know about the existence of cells within our bodies that will devour harmful bacteria. Named by Mtchnikoff “microphages” and “macrophages” (little eaters and big eaters), these scavenger cells are capable of ingesting and destroying microorganisms.

Specific Defense: Acquired Immune System

Plague case 'rounded up' on inspection tour, F...

Plague (Photo credit: ralphrepo)

During the Athenian Plague of 430 BC, which lasted four years, people were afraid of proving help to the sick, in fear that they would become sick also. In History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides writes, “Neither were the physicians at first of any service, ignorant as they were of the proper way to treat [the plague], but they died themselves the most thickly, as they visited the sick most often; nor did any human art succeed any better.”

But then, an astounding discovery was made: people who somehow managed to recover from the plague would not be attacked again—at least not fatally, Thucydides says, “Yet it was with those who had recovered from the disease that the sick and the dying found most compassion. These knew what it was from experience, and had now no fear for themselves; for the same man was never attacked twice—never at least fatally.”

This shows the operation of the protection acquired from one experience with a specific disease. The immune system is able to adapt itself and to provide a defense mechanism for that disease. This creates the specific immune system. The cells that work on this specific immune system have trillions of receptors that are capable of responding to harmful substances in the body (antigen). Once a defense cell identifies one of these harmful substances, it multiplies rapidly in order to fight the invading substance.

Application to Society

Law Enforcement Torch Run_IMG_2869

Law Enforcement Torch (Photo credit: CBP Photography)

In a town, state, or nation, the immune function is exercised by the police, the military, the fire department, and law-enforcement agencies in general. A healthy society is able to protect itself against harmful influences in a quick and expeditious manner. A society that can no longer protect itself becomes like a diseased body. Eventually it will get old and die.

It is for these reasons that I applaud the decision by the Second US Court of Appeals of New York City, whereby it struck down a US District Court ruling that curtailed the New York City’s “stop-and-frisk” program. Under this program, the NYPD would stop individuals in high crime areas, looking for illegal weapons that could be used to commit crime.

I believe the New York City Police Department’s program is an important protection for minorities in high-risk areas. Since instituting this policy, crime in New York City has decreased to record lows. For too long, folks forced to live in high-crime areas are subjected to random and senseless violence. It is mostly minorities and new immigrants that are victimized. They find themselves at the mercy of hoodlums, thugs, and gangsters, and many of them live in fear.

In a country in which 300 million personal weapons are estimated to be in the possession of the civilian population, we need to have strong police action to prevent crime, especially in high-crime areas. The NYPD practices have already proved to decrease crime—and this decrease in violence is to be applauded.

Just like a body needs a strong immune system to live a happy and vibrant life, a society needs a strong police, military, and law-enforcement agencies in order to live in peace and prosperity.

Paulo-Juarez Pereira
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
November 2013

What do you think? ... And thanks for sharing your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: