Friday, November 23, 2007


I've been letting the Citizen's Guide concept stew in the back of my head.  Yesterday, it came together.

The basic concept of the book is that many people with strong opinions on Law Enforcement matters don't actually have a strong background in understanding them.  I wussed there- many, if not most, have NO IDEA what they are talking about.  They rarely understand violence, and certainly not in the context of a "Duty to Act".  Most are unfamiliar with laws pertaining to force, much less with policy and procedure... but their opinions are no less strong for all of that.

The idea with the citizen's guide is to try to give a deep introduction to how officers think about force.  A solid introduction to how they are trained combined with how that training interacts with experience.  All the drafts of the intro (I usually write the intro first- it is my 'mission statement') have been unsatisfying.  Either argumentative or talking down or expressing how powerful the need is for some understanding...  That's okay, for me. I do think it is important and part of me does get argumentative- it seems natural when you deal with someone who is sure they are right but has very little knowledge of the subject.  It was okay for me, but not for the readers.

I decided yesterday to approach it as a gift.  I can't make anybody read it.  Certain people have so much personal stake in believing in a vast and powerful conspiracy or a sub-human violent subspecies that they might never be reached.  It has to be a gift.  An expensive gift: there are years and blood and fear-sweat all over that package.

But a gift, left in the clearing between two tribes.  It just might work.


Molly said...

Excellent! This is an important book, one that people like me (how DID your sister grow up a pacifist?) really need to read. I'm used to your argumentative attitude, and maybe some of mine developed out of opposition to yours; but, to actually reach an audience, you need another tact.

Just some "inside advice:" if you acknowledge early on that there ARE bad cops, but that they are rare and not the rule, despite the media and pop-culture presentation, you will have the placated the audience with a minor validation of the deep-set belief, and they won't spend the rest of the book thinking they are being lied to by another uniformed thug out to justify his violent solutions.

Love ya,
congrats on the book

shugyosha said...

I've been --in this subject and others-- visiting that clearing for years. It'll be nice to find someone.

Ferran [BCN]

Master Plan said...

A Citizens Guide to Violence.
A Citizens Guide to Professional Use of Violence.

I like the first, but it's vague.

This is in my continuing effort to find ways to build a "...of\on Violence" title theme, strictly because it amuses me (and it's catchy!).


Rory said...

Thanks, Jonas.
It's: if you want to contact me directly.