I just posted another science fiction story that I wrote a few years ago, called The Atrocity Planners. This is an EVE Online fan fiction piece. I got this published in EON Magazine, issue #22, back in 2011. I call this my first publishing experience since I don’t count those two fetish porn shorts that I still don’t talk about outside of Fetlife. I decided to publish it here finally, figuring they’ve had their proprietary hands on it long enough. They didn’t pay me anything and I didn’t sign anything promising not to publish elsewhere and the magazine has gone out of business anyway, after issue #30, so they shouldn’t be mad at me 🙂
It surprised me that they were willing to publish it considering the message of the story, where I generalize that police are atrocity planners and portray them as the bad guys. It surprised me that some people who support and believe in criminal justice also enjoyed the story. It’s like normal people separate their real-world morality from their story-time morality, allowing them to see terrorists like Luke Skywalker and criminals like Han Solo as heroes, when if they actually lived in that universe, they would hate them the same way we hate Al-Qaeda. In the same way in this story, we see the terrorists or pirates (I never totally explain which they are) as human beings, and we care about their family and want their children to get away and maybe even kill a couple cops along the way. It’s like most people enter a different world when they read this kind of fiction, one where morality works totally differently.
A couple of the folks at the No Safeword Writers Group helped edit this for me in one of their sessions and I’m not sure if I would have gotten it published without them. One of them even suggested the title, which now is one of my favorite aspects to the story, the title and its meaning.
Because police are our atrocity planners. Criminals don’t really plan atrocities, at least not nearly as often. Most violent criminals do not plan their crimes, and even if they do, only a few of them are doing so out of a deliberate desire to cause someone to suffer. At worst, criminals commit crimes to punish someone, the same way the police do. This is different with police. Their whole job is to make people suffer. That’s their purpose for being. We call it a deterrent, and it’s not going to work as a deterrent when a criminal is overflowing with emotion or looking at a potentially huge profit from committing a crime, unless it’s a truly horrible thing the law is doing to them. That’s how it works. Society wants criminals to suffer. We say it’s to keep them from committing again, when in reality it’s because we enjoy knowing they are suffering. The police make all this possible as they sit around planning their raids, taking only a moment to justify it by listing off a few crimes, rarely caring about who they are or their motivations, then they plan their attack to break down the door of someone’s home, then haul them off to prison where their sole intention is to make them suffer and to destroy their lives.
You can argue that planning the atrocities is necessary. You can argue that there’s no other options because some criminals are just so awful. The government must take control and commit horrible things in a controlled manner to keep the majority safe. But in a literal, real world manner, you can’t tell me police are not atrocity planners, and yet when we meet police or talk about police, we always forget this simple fact and insist on viewing them as heroes of wondrous virtue… until, of course, they come breaking down our doors, or the doors of our family, and we meet, face-to-face, the fact that they are, every day, in a planned and systematic fashion, going out and providing people with some of the most psychologically damaging events of their lives.