Songs in the key of life
Who do you call when the screaming starts?

published August 20, 2001
written by Molly Hennessy-Fiske / Palm Beach, Florida

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I did not ask to be catapulted into Tracy Chapman's "Last Night I Heard The Screaming," as the song goes, with loud voices behind my wall. But I can tell you what I learned is that the singer/songwriter got it right. Despite my faith in them, it's still "no good to call the police." Anybody raised the way I was--on tales of police crackdowns against anti-war protesters at Kent State, civil rights marcher Selma, and later, in downtown Philadelphia and New York--thinks they know. Well, you are wrong.

Some of you feel pangs of empathy for those Harvard student protesters reigned in by campus police this spring, for WTO protesters before them. You are missing the point. Such events are mere illusions--symbolic stands against a force that is making mistakes, but still, illusions. It is far more concrete to examine one of the most common crimes in America.

Consider that and you get the skinny on cops. Weed out the Justin Volpes from the slightly less dangerous Andy Sipowitzes of NYPD blue fame and Sipowitz from the guys you want on the other side of that door at 4 a.m. when the screaming starts. Real men can handle domestic violence.

Most cops are still men, just not real men - like most batterers. Batterers use violence to mask insecurity. This much I learned from high school health class. The lesson was reinforced when I saw one in action last month.

Songs in the key of life

Things that go boom in the night

911 is a joke

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