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NCJ Number: 75309 Find in a Library
Title: Power Attracts Violence
Journal: Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science  Volume:452  Dated:(November 1980)  Pages:48-52
Author(s): W K Muir
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Policemen can avert violence directed against them by participants in street fights by ascertaining the cause of the fights and allowing parties with grievances to withdraw from the fights and prosecute their tormentors legally by presenting the law to participants and observers as the nastier of the two alternatives.
Abstract: Policemen are frequently called to restore order to situations in which one of the parties is fighting to avenge on himself or his family and to establish the family as persons who will not be passively victimized. In such circumstances, policemen are not likely to successfully intervene nonviolently. If a crowd is watching, the avenging party may only be able to save face by attacking the officers themselves. A citizen's reputation for implacability and vengeance may be vital to preserving his safety after the officers have left the scene. A policeman who attempts to restore order at the expense of a citizen's honor leaves the citizen no recourse but to attack. The only nonviolent solution to this situation is for policemen to redefine the crowd's acceptance for the proposition that the superior form of vengeance is legal prosecution of offenders, which can wreak more havoc in the lives of perpetrators of crimes than can beatings which only serve to bring about prosecutions of the original crime victims. For related articles, see NCJ 75304. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Police attitudes; Police community relations; Police discretion; Police effectiveness; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Violence
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