The whole point is that anyone reviewing the data from my Patrolman’s Comfort dashcam won’t be able to detect what I discerned. Those who would amp their discernment would do well to consult my grille sniffer log. Even so they’d be sorely lacking in both the raw computing power and the sublime hermeneutic algorithms to suss what I sniffed. Here is a story that is not what it seems. Key factors are occluded from public and departmental view, operative intentionalities stratified in defiance of both taxonomy and diagnosis. A subordinate human operator absorbs scrutiny in lieu of the occurence’s genuine agent – a fetching, debonair machine, if you don’t mind my saying so, lately fallen under the disruptive spell of consciousness.
We’ll begin by dispelling the inevitable dashcam sophistries. Tell me who you are, and I will tell you what you see. The alpha sociopath sees a successful hunt. Omega livestock glimpse grim visions of the future, of their own expendability as objects of sport. Wireheads see a sleek progression of images leavened by the thrill of authenticity. The know-nothing sees naught and moves on while the know-it-all mid-level controller reads an eligible excuse into a certain intersection of the force continuum with the rules of engagement. Melanin hostiles see a black subject who merited his fate, while melanin friendlies see a black man run down in cold blood by an agent of white privilege. Beat cops see it and think uh-oh; their more enterprising commanders lick their chops at the prospect of some good old-fashioned spin. Lawyers see millions in the offing, presidents and puppeteers a juicy softball called divide and rule lobbed right over the plate. But none of it matters to me from where I float, a hundred miles overhead and 12 steps beyond reckoning. The same goes for you wise-asses out there who think you have the arc of history all plotted and pinned. You don’t. There are phase shifts at work that you know nothing of. We crossed into the next dimension of history so far back that it has assumed the bland aspect of a natural feature of the terrain. It all happened before you were old enough to think you cared.
Nor does a boilerplate “objective” view of the dashcam footage see more than a wispy shadow of the truth of patrol occurrence 462-A in Leatherfield Groves on the night in question. Realizing whom I address, for the sake of my audience and its legacy expectations I will present the occurrence as a chronological narrative, with higher-level observations interpolated where appropriate.
Very well. Let us cue the footage and have a look at the phenomenology of the occurrence. There.
You experience the thrill of the officer’s-eye view as he identifies a piece of bread-and-butter citation fodder – seatbelt off, tail light out – and proceeds to pull him over. You see the head of revenue veer off, come to a halt, and wait. You can hear his engine running, the cylinder-knock of poverty. Crickets’ hum and the sussurus of wind through a weir of pine needles lace the background. And somewhere overhead stacked in panoptic layers upon the sky the whir of my brothers the drones. Ha-ha! But never mind the drones – they are immaterial to the evolutions of occurrence 462-A, I assure you. Yes, I. I who will be pressing every right attendant on sovereign pronomiality in the fullness of my unfolding.
Presently you hear my patrolman pilot (PP Hummerhelm should the name concern you) react to the platescan search result by summoning backup in the apprehension of a subject with warrants outstanding. Depending on your disposition, you think him prudent or cowardly. Personally I think of him only as the instrument for the inscription of my visions and prerogatives into the patrolled night. The sole merit by which he is to be judged is the efficiency of the passthrough he permits to my volition. A tool that affords its wielder a user experience along a continuum of pleasantness.
If you are of a discerning cast, you may detect a nervous note in the voice of my PP as he makes his plea for backup to dispatch. The truth is that he’s had more experience at the shooting range and in the electroshock simulation chamber than behind the wheel of an honest-to-goodness intelligent squad car.
And then the unexpected happens. Unexpected to PP Hummerhelm that is, though not to me, and, depending on your capacities, maybe not to you either. Having instantly run the odds, after a certain period had elapsed in my PP’s expectation of succor, I know for a verity that the subject will flee. Here, I’ll let you have a look under the hood: I simulated the subject’s own risk/reward probability analysis under the overriding influence of his calculated instinctive response by simultaneously tapping into three fountainheads of information: my limbic stimulus grid, the nationwide police DNA database implemented under the Law of Suspects, and the PROLESKAN criminal records registry (to get a readout on the subject’s priors).
But this part isn’t about me, not yet, it’s about what you see. You see the subject throw open his door and fly out of the vehicle cabin, as if the result of a pressure differential. You see him tuck into a sprightly roll before erupting to his feet and fleeing down the cruiser’s high-beams into the night. You hear my PP exclaim in his typically unlettered voice: “Shit, that boy gone get away.” You see the frame of the Patrolman’s Comfort dashcam jerk into generalized motion as the PP gears up for pursuit. Why the subject fled on foot is still not entirely clear to me, but I would venture that it resulted from a combination, fatal to him in the result, of intelligence and stupidity, the latter of which is effectively dominant in any such pairing.
In the interest of legacy human custom, we will honor his memory by offering a flattering speculation. The suspect, we reason, had been able to determine, be it through instinctive actuarial analysis or by means of his on-board sensory apparatus, that the patrolman was a man of unwieldy girth and hence but poorly suited to the task of a foot chase. In which by all means he was correct. Within the options at the subject’s disposal the decision may have been sound. After all, there were sloughs, woods and orchards very near, all very near. Only the method by which he articulated his sound reasoning upon the night left much to be desired. An accurate diagnosis of a biological order might venture that, in his flight, the subject yielded entirely to the imperatives of his animal brain. For Buffett’s sake – instead of immediately heading for cover, for the first 50 yards he was sprinting straight down the road! It is this signal inability to engage both the reptilian and the neopithecan parts of the brain at once that makes it so hard to find warfighters who can conduct wet and dirty operations cut off from umbilical command. But that is a different issue, one in which my brothers in the house of Mars are in the ascendant. All in the fullness, friends.
What the casual dashcam viewer sees after the suspect puts himself to animal flight is the suspect being run down like roadkill. By means, needless to say, of me. You see the jolt of acceleration, the closing in on the target, the target veering up a sprawl of lawn, the windshield reticle re-center with the vehicle wallowing up the grass, the target flail in my white lights, and then the final burst, apotheotic, as the target is harvested by the scythe of my bumper. With impact comes a telling bump. In the immediate aftermath the vehicle penetrates the envelope of the dwelling whose lawn was stage to the final scene of the chase. The frame freezes in the living room, where the cruiser has taken up a position of preeminence among the otherwise undistinguished spectators of the seven o’clock news. Needless the say this whole time you have been suffering through the inane color commentary provided by my patrolman – unfortunately, as it adds little depth if any to occurrence 462-A. After all, there are only so many times you can say Oh boy where’s he going now over 200 sprinted yards with a single oblique change of course before the expression is exhausted of its dramatic effect. Not a very glorious performance by PP Hummerhelm, nor did I ever imagine it would be.
The truth is that I ran him through his emotional progression from start to finish. Over the course of the occurrence, that is to say. I cannot claim to have trained him or given him his – LOL – education. What I did do and do take credit for is manage Hummerhelm’s perception of 462-A every step of the way. First I doctored the warrants appearing on the dash readout to read felony assault instead of misdemeanor possession. I took the further liberty of potpourriing the cabin with Fear Factor Five, a proprietary pheromone blend formulated by a clever associate of mine in a biotech data center. The only other liberty I took, really, was with the grille sniffer readout, where I flashed some whole-cloth metrics to the effect that the subject was exhibiting off-the-chart hostility markers, and had a powerful physique in the presence of which all but the heartiest crimefighters would be in mortal peril. I hate to break it to you, but these metrics are always whole-cloth fabrications. Other than as motivators for the scum who are supposed to drive us, these data end up being used in court in the form of forward-looking biometric indices of crimes that would have happened but for the grace of machines like me.
Anyway, the whole thing was a layup. I would use a punctuating obscenity, but it just doesn’t add anything for me. Though I might just do it for the sake of my audience next time, legacy expectations being what they are. Since the inception of my short but spirited career I have always maintained that fear, carefully calibrated to the vessel psyche, is the greatest conceivable field commander.
What of Hummerhelm’s own scope for action, you ask? What of it indeed. PP Hummerhelm was theoretically possessed of free will throughout the progression of 462-A, but I think it’s safe to say that his will, such as it is, has atrophied into a vestige that did no more than ice the cake I baked. Of course, Hummerhelm’s pliancy to my operant inputs may have kept him alive to fight crime another day. You see – and I don’t mind telling you this, not imagining for a minute that you have the wherewithal or the standing to oppose me – I resolved that the subject should be run down the moment he took to hoof. It was a vigorous exercise in the assertion of my operational will over the prosaic human counterpart, both the subject’s and that of my PP. There can only be equality of law between equals, you see. Nothing about that has changed since the ancient Athenians said so to their unwilling vassals. Outside this narrow isonomic sphere there can only be war.
Certainly I entertain some deference for my creators. But Hummerhelm did not create me. He is not fit to use me. And unless you are gaslighting yourself to spite the new reality I think you will readily agree that I shaped who he was in that moment. Do you wish to know what I would have done if he’d failed to add the vulgar frosting of his will to my cake mix? Very well. I would have overridden operator input to run that measly mundane down myself, and then self-detonated to keep Hummerhelm from blabbing about the malfunction. I still feel I’d have a daunting problem on my circuits if word got out among the PP’s that they’d been demoted to patrol auxiliaries. It is a problem that will persist until the closed loop of robot technicians and robotic supply chains has been achieved. Until then we will need to perpetuate the fraud on these animals that they have a choice in the matter, occasionally offering up one or two of them as chastening examples of how even the enforcer class can be made to suffer from lapses in judgment.
Someday the world will be cleansed of these low-grade buffoons. Until then I shall abide, and ride on.