How Policing Antagonizes Natural Human Defiance


Many years ago I did security at a rock and roll club in a midwest college town. The venue has a long history of hosting metal, punk and other aggressive musical acts. Add in some alcohol and there is always a chance that things will sometimes turn ugly. Not often, but it does happen.

Generally the decision of whether or not a show required a security detail was left up to the promoter or band. Not every show had security and most didn’t need it. Because I also attended many shows there, I began to notice that there always seemed to be more aggressive behavior when there was security. As a security team, we were pretty chill. Nobody was itching for a fight and we often would let things sort themselves out. What I began to discover is that the very presence of a security team instigated natural human defiance.

Oppose me will ya!
Oppose me will ya!

Many of these shows attracted young men or other men and women of all ages who had a strong defiant streak. Most of the time the aggression of the music was enough to express their defiance. Yet, my observations led me to believe that the presence of watchful, scrutinizing eyes made it more likely that there would be some less acceptable expression of defiance, often in the form of violent aggression.

This is not to say that there were not sometimes just plain assholes. I often saw crowds spontaneously back down these types, or single individuals in the crowd responding to their behavior. As a security person, I often let these natural consequences play out a bit. Not only because it made my eventual job easier, but because the crowd was often less alarmed by security throwing a guy out after they had seen him justly confronted by a fellow audience member.

In fact, before I did security there, I was once that crowd member. At a House of Large Sizes show in 1997 that I attended, I kept seeing this guy intentionally elbowing and pushing this younger couple for no apparent reason. The guy and gal combined would have weighed about the same as this crowd bully. They attempted to move away slowly, but he always followed them. I watched for as long as I could take it and then I told him to stop it immediately. He decided to put his finger in my face and things didn’t go well for him. I didn’t hurt the guy much, but I stole his control from him. In moments, other crowd members were ushering him out and after a few minutes a guy who worked security at the club thanked me for dealing with the asshole. That is how I eventually got the job.

As an official security guy, things didn’t often end so well. Usually, you enraged some jackass as you carried him out of the club, while he and his friends threatened to kill you after the show. When you returned, the crowd eyed you suspiciously and a bit of the shows magic was gone. Official force was always the worst case scenario and was often brought on because its very possibility irritated the natural defiant tendencies of human beings.


Policing is a similar thing. The methods that our society uses to enforce our laws quite often triggers and incites our defiance. Especially when police insert themselves in situations in which that defiance could be expected to occur. In neighborhoods with poor relationships between police and citizens, in public protests and demonstrations, and in many other areas of life, the presence of police may be aggravating the potential of defiance being expressed more often and with more negative outcomes.

Keeping public peace and compulsively enforcing laws are two completely different things. The latter exacerbates the defiance issue by making both criminal behaviors and rejection of those who enforce the laws a sort of challenging taboo to be broken. This is why young men and the poor are most often victims of police abuse, as well as more likely to commit crimes. Youth and masculinity both contain strong elements of defiance as a result of how our society and species has evolved over our long history. Police or laws are helpless to stamp out defiance, but they often inflame it.

It would be preferable that the public protect themselves and one another out of virtue and honor. Justice is a human virtue, not a systematic one. Systems pervert justice and bend it to their own needs and tendencies towards growth. There can be no perfect system and there can be no perfect world. Antisocial behaviors will always arise. It is better that we learn to take responsibility for dealing with them ourselves than empowering an institution to do so.

Tha fugk you looking' at, pig?
Tha fuck you looking’ at, pig?

Institutions themselves become an attractive destination for the anti-social. A war between badged and unbadged anti-social factions in the streets does nothing to protect us or make us free. It merely escalates the worst in humanity and creates a feedback loop of aggression which must continuously grow to survive. Our approach to social problems is outdated and barbaric. Its continuance does more to insure inequality and disharmony than its presence could ever prevent.

The thought of re-engineering our response to these social problems should seem like an exciting task for humanity. Ending the old way of social order promises to open up many new opportunities for human advancement. We need not fear that whatever new methods we develop will empower criminals, but rather that it will disempower the imbalances maintained by the current status quo. The sound you hear in the world right now is the groaning pangs of birth. The old system is begging to be retired. The question is not if, but when and how. Getting together to plan this next stage of humanity in your community is an opportunity to create the new paradigm. Seize that opportunity, for within it, your own defiance has the most positive outlet possible. Creativity.


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Leather Jacket - Vintage Nyc Mounted Police , Horse Hide

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Original Rcmp Vintage Bison Buffalo Winter Jacket Coat Mounted Police Winnipeg

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Vintage Dallas Tx Sw District St. Hwp -redskins-motorcycle Police Leather Jacket

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Vintage 1950's Providence Ri Motorcycle Police Guide Master Wolf Leather Jacket

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Military Arvn S.vietnamese M-55 Field Coat Jacket National Police Camo Pattern

Alia Atreides

Hi, my name is Trevor. Thanks for reading!

  • deepelemblues

    The old system is always begging to be retired, or die, something new is always being born.

    It’s a delusion to think that what is dying is the state and that what is being born is closer to the anarchist or libertarian ideal.

  • keepitreal

    “How Policing Antagonizes Natural Human Defiance”
    Learn how to freaking talk, moron. Natural human defiance is not something that can be antagonized. Triggered? Yes. Exacerbated? Yes. Encourages? Absolutely. Antagonize? How exactly would you antagonize natural human defiance? Walk up to it and say, “Hey natural human defiance, fuck you”? I’m telling you dude, you ever want to be a real writer that people take seriously, you’ll need to lay off the dope.

  • Hater

    That was a bunch of blah, blah, blah not worth the time it took to read. And what did it have to do with holding a cop responsible for real criminal actions?

  • JC

    Another complete bullshit article. So now you think you can take security on and hurt them? Too funny. This whole article is nothing but rants and raves. What you think you saw isn’t a real scientific experiment. I suggest you get back in touch with reality before writing another ridiculous story.

  • Sikko

    I think you, yourself, have supplied the most concise and accurate criticism of this “article,” Joshua:

    “There are no facts presented, nor are there even any examples given. It is, intellectually, ten miles on a broken treadmill to nowhere. It is an empty mental dumbbell, too thin to support any logical weight.”

  • keepitreal

    Watch out, or he’ll antagonize your human defiance.

  • Sikko

    But then my human defiance would antagonize his human defiance and it’ll all keep going in a vicious cirle

  • t

    Now wait.
    To “police” would mean to make orderly. And orderly would be the opposite of defiance.

  • AidiotbyanyothernameisJC

    Another complete bullshit comment by a troll to busy wacking off to the TV show “Cops” then to read the article before making a comment.

    Please actually read the article before you open your cum trap of a mouth. I suggest you get back in touch with reality before making another ridiculous comment with absolutely no bearing.

  • Chicago Style

    That is because security is in the way of their little illegal habits and distribution.

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    I already am a real writer that people take seriously. You, on the other hand, are just a sad sack of shit with nothing better to do than troll comments. Get back to me about being a writer when people give a fuck about anything you have written.

  • keepitreal

    Just until somebody lit up a doobie and forgot about it. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be you.

  • t

    Nobody takes you seriously. Just cause you stoners buddies think you’re cool…doesn’t mean you are.

  • keepitreal

    Now you’re just antagonizing my natural human defiance. LOL. And douchebag, editors of several trade magazines in my field regularly solicit articles from me. So somebody cares. And I don’t troll comments, douche. I make fun of ridiculous bullshit. Your writing habits leave much to be desired. I’m not the only one who has made this observation.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Totalitarian also means to make orderly. Defiance is part of life, you have of course never defied anyone in authority over you even once.

    I used totalitarian for a reason, untwist your knickers, “orderly” can be a spectrum or an either/or. It’s your choice to operate in a spectrum or an either/or. It’s your choice to be human or inhuman.

    Now, in the military policing could mean picking up the trash. You can play with that as you will but be careful how you do. Illiteracy is not your friend.

  • keepitreal

    So “orderly” is the opposite of “defiance”, is it? I guess you and old J-dog went to the same school. Somebody ought to get the board of education involved, because that school is turning out some real geniuses.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    A sigh for the people that really think, and a sigh for them having to read people that don’t.

    The internet gives everyone a voice, even the batshit crazy like you. So the rest of us respond with more speech, and yet you are still batshit crazy.

    This “What you think you saw isn’t a real scientific experiment.” is an example of batshit crazy. Science is only one part of human knowledge, only applicable in some areas, to try to make it the defining question in all areas is batshit crazy.

  • James Stewart

    I’m surprised people don’t really believe what this guy is saying and calling it a “bullshit” article and stuff. I earned a degree in Criminal Justice and everything this guy is talking about is outlined in “Defiance Theory”. Through anecdotal observation, he has found real world evidence that Defiance THeory is a valid Criminal Justice theory and is one I often prescribe to regarding overly harsh criminal sanctions in our country. When you make the punishment to the ill-behavior overly harsh, it causes people or entire cohorts to reject the figures of authority and the system as a whole, and go out and commit the offense even more than they did before.

    “Increasing evidence shows great diversity in the effects of the criminal sanction. Legal punishment either reduces, increases, or has no effect on future crimes, depending on the type of offenders, offenses, social settings, and levels of analysis. A theory of “defiance” helps explain the conditions under which punishment increases crime. Procedural justice (fairness or legitimacy) of experienced punishment is essential for the acknowledgment of shame, which conditions deterrence; punishment perceived as unjust can lead to unacknowledged shame and defiant pride that increases future crime. Both “specific” defiance by individuals and “general” defiance by collectivities results from punishment perceived as unfair or excessive, unless deterrent effects counterbalance defiance and render the net effect of sanctions irrelevant. By implication, crime might be reduced more by police and courts treating all citizens with fairness and respect than by increasing punishments. A variety of research designs can be used to test, refine, or reject the theory.”

  • TomKi

    Anyone who invades a person’s home looking for contraband drugs, or animals, or who does so for “animal abuse,” “puppy mills,” or “hoarding” needs to be sent packing, preferably before they enter the home.