On Wednesday morning, social media was beset by yet another viral cop video — but for once, it doesn’t show some appalling display of violence against unarmed Black protesters. Instead, it offers a deeply disturbing glimpse into the dangerous phenomenon of American police siege mentality, once again told through the police force and their perpetual quest for delicious snackies.
Officer “Stacey,” who apparently has been a cop for fifteen years, filmed herself having a breakdown in her car because she went to McDonald’s and the staff was late in preparing her Egg McMuffin. In her deeply paranoid mind, this translated itself to “the McDonald’s staff are poisoning my food” and complained that she didn’t feel safe ordering fast food because she was a cop.
“I don’t know what’s going on with people nowadays, but please just give us a break! I don’t know much more of this I can take! I’ve been in this for 15 years and I’ve never felt such anxiety about waiting for McDonald’s food! So just have a heart, and if you see an officer, just tell them thank you!” sobs the officer.
I think we've figured out what's been wrong with the cops in this country. According to Stacey, they haven't been hearing, "Thank you," enough.
Officer Karen breaks down over the anxiety of ordering a McMuffin.
The disconnect with what's happening on the streets is astounding. pic.twitter.com/Snp0wztBq1
— Johnny Akzam (@JohnnyAkzam) June 17, 2020
It’s not too difficult to unpack what’s going on here. She mentions that she uses the mobile app because she doesn’t want “people to pay for her,” indicating that she’s used to getting special treatment because she’s a cop and is now feeling insecure and outraged because she isn’t getting that anymore.
She finishes her video by telling people to “thank a cop,” which reinforces the idea that she’s upset because people are no longer feeling the urge to lick her boots after two straight weeks of horrendous, unforgivable police violence against peaceful protesters.
This incident comes just one day after New York City police unions baselessly accused a Shake Shack of poisoning their milkshakes, the latest in what is now a running series of “incidents” in which paranoid cops convince themselves that fast-food workers are out to get them Super Troopers-style simply because they are the instruments of state-sanctioned violence.
The police later determined that there had been no foul play and that the milkshake-slugging cops had upset tum tums because someone had failed to rinse some of the cleaner out of the mixing machine. But the absence of any facts didn’t stop New York’s insane police unions and the right-wing propaganda machine from declaring that their officers couldn’t even take a meal without coming “under attack” and running wild with the story.
This fake news likely contributed to Officer Stacey’s anxiety and paints an illuminating picture into how the rabid police unions instill this culture of “siege mentality” into their officers, a paranoid fantasy that the entire world is out to get them, that nobody appreciates all the work they do, and that everybody around them is guilty.
Perhaps it stems from the guilt that at least some of them must surely feel at being part of a militarized goon squad that violently maintains the boundaries of an economic and racial caste system and murders innocent, unarmed people on a regular basis.
But it is absolutely outrageous for police officers to be behaving this way over a goddamn Egg McMuffin when Black Americans literally must live their lives in fear of the police, knowing that any kind of interaction with the police can lead to their immediate execution, as Atlanta police demonstrated this weekend when they shot Rayshard Brooks in the back after he de-escalated the situation and spoke with them for forty minutes.
Police officers carry guns and are trained to kill. If this woman is really having meltdowns in her car because her breakfast was late and is tormented by delusions of antifa terrorists putting arsenic in her munchies, she cannot be trusted to use her firearm responsibly.
This siege mentality is the kind of mindset that directly results in officers pulling up and killing a twelve-year-old playing with a toy gun in a park within two seconds of arriving on the scene. But many don’t see any problem with that; the police unions and the right-wing propaganda networks and even the President of the United States actively cultivate and encourage this kind of thinking in police officers, perfectly content to see the police continue in their mission of brutally repressing public protest and terrorizing America’s minority communities.
This video is yet more evidence that we are not going to be able to “reform” our way out of America’s police violence epidemic.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.