23 February, 2011

Lock ‘Em Up, And Pull ‘Em Out

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com. Mail sent directly to Mystic Metals will not be read.

Lock ‘Em Up, And Pull ‘Em Out


Saint Valentine was beheaded for heresy by Claudius II in or around the 270’s AD. He was marrying Christian couples in a polytheistic society, and for that, no head. Happy Saint Valentine’s Day, everyone. Obviously it’s not Valentine’s Day anymore, but I wrote this around then. It’s like time traveling. Feel comforted on the fourteenth while your swapping candy hearts and bodily fluids with your loved one that on that day, Saint Valentine was rotting away in a jail cell, waiting for his head to be severed from the rest of him. I hope you didn’t forget the flowers. She’s probably pissed that you forgot the flowers.

I have never been arrested. Unlike Saint Valentine. See how it relates? Most of the people I do know who have been arrested were all drunk when it happened, or at least there was booze involved, so their experiences may not be the most just. I don’t ever plan to be arrested, but I’d like to see how it works. Like breaking a bone. I’ve never broken a bone, so I’d like to know what it feels like. I’ll just ask Nanci about that. How’s the elbow, baby? I would imagine too that getting arrested for something like an attempt to kill the President is a little different than getting thrown in the drunk tank or getting picked up for disorderly conduct. But I suspect that some of the procedures are the same. Perhaps I’ll ask a woman in Christchurch, New Zealand.

A woman, who was unnamed in the article I read, is suing Christchurch police for $150,000. Her lawyer, Tony Greig, said she was arrested for obstruction and taken into custody where she was a party to the glorious procedures of being arrested. Those procedures that I know nothing about, as I said earlier. Part of that procedure included removal of her five piercings. And yes, one of them was in her no-no area. The pierced woman is accusing a policewoman of unlawful sexual connection, trespass to a person, and abuse of position. Her lawyer said the lawyery thing in that she doesn’t care about the money, she just wants to bring attention, blah, blah, yeah we get it. For once, I’d like a suing person to say, ‘Yeah, I’m in it for the money.’ That’s not the point. The point is that a police officer removed a woman’s piercings, including one in her genitals, with bolt cutters. Did I forget to mention the bolt cutters? Maybe I am a shitty writer. For context, the article I read referenced a professional piercer who had a similar experience. The piercer also contends that he has re-pierced many people who have had mods cut from their skins by police after arrests. As a funny asterisk, in the movie “Airheads,” Christ Farley’s character is a cop, and he pulls out a guy’s nipple piercing for obstruction. What a terrible reference.

Let me say that I have a great respect for authority. I’m not one of those idiots who think that cops are just looking to abuse people and see how far their legal arm can stretch. Yes, some people in power abuse power. That’s a given wired flaw of being human. And yes, when I see a cop light his lamps just to go through a red light, that pisses me off. I also think, on the whole, most cops are good people with a good cause doing a difficult job. I can’t speak to what it is like to arrest someone. It looks like a shitty job to do. Especially when the criminal is acting like a maniac. If I were in the position to have to remove mods from someone that just made my night difficult, I’d likely not be very civil to that person.

Back to the point, after an arrest, the mods have to come out. They do this for safety. There is a perceived threat of self harm with things like jewelry and keys and pencils and the like. I completely understand that, and I support it. Besides, you’re in jail; you don’t have any rights. If there is any one place where you have no rights, it’s probably in fucking jail. So you have to take your mods out in the company of a uniformed officer. Ch-ah! Like, awkward, right? We all know that some of them don’t come out cleanly or easily. Especially those of us with six gauge captive bead rings in our nipples. Those things are a pain in the...nipple, I guess. Without ring openers, you’re going to have some trouble. And who carries around ring openers just in case? So the police are left to get the job done however they can. Enter bolt cutters. This is where the disconnect can happen, I think. It isn’t so much that the officer needs to use bolt cutters to get the jewelry out, but rather how he uses them to get the jewelry out. I’m sure that with some care and a little focus, one could cut out the jewelry with little or no damage to the wearer. But like I said earlier, if I just had to deal with a belligerent lawbreaker, care and focus wouldn’t be on the guest list.

So who’s the dickhead? Does the pierced woman have a point to sue, or do we dismiss her treatment because she was being arrested? Dicey, isn’t it. The black and white thinker in me would immediately think, ‘Fuck that girl. She broke the law, now she shouldn’t be crying about her rights.’ People that bitch about that kind of thing really piss me off. If you didn’t want to go through the stress of being arrested, you should have obeyed the law. Simple, right?

Another side of me says that we all ought to be entitled to a certain unalienable degree of respect and shame that cannot be violated by anyone, especially those in a position of power. We should never feel as if the law enforcers are law breaking. With that said, I suppose that law enforcement cannot be prepared for everything, but modification seems to be a thing that they ought to be prepared to deal with. I understand the danger of self harm, but the skeptic in me would call that idea into question. Who is slitting his wrists with a barbell or captive bead? That would take hours, and I think the assumption here is that you’re being supervised. At least, you ought to be. I suppose that one could try to choke himself on the jewelry, but again, the officers ought to be able to read that when they take you into custody and fill out the endless pages of paperwork. Shouldn’t they look on someone and think, ‘This guy was arrested for driving with a suspended license. He’s a little cranky, but he’s not going to kill himself.’ Or can they look on someone and say, ‘This guy murdered and ate his family. I should probably make him take his tongue ring out.’ A society where law enforcement officers don’t make judgements using their five given senses is one that is mired in procedure and inaction. Stop randomly searching ninety year old Jewish ladies in the airport. She’s not the droid you’re looking for.

That’s off topic. We in the modified community have to understand that this is a part of our life. Not ninety year old Jewish lady terrorists, but this relinquishing of our personal and emotional ownership to our mods in certain situations. I do not wish the discomfort of this pierced woman, and her experience sounds trying to be sure. I do think that this is not entirely out of bounds. Of course, if an officer violates you while cutting out your hood piercing with bolt cutters, that’s out of bounds; but asking us to remove our jewelry isn’t. The only advice that seems reasonable to me is to say, ‘Don’t get arrested.’ Simple enough. I’ve lived thirty years without ever being arrested, but if I did, I would acquiesce to the law of the land because that is what a society needs to do in order to continue. Whether the law I broke is unjust or not is a different argument. The fact is, I broke a law and I need to reap the penalty for my breaking it. If part of that penalty is having my piercings cut out, then so be it. If the officer goes too far, then of course I ought to take action. But let’s keep a perspective on what’s going on. It’s not an arresting officer’s job to make my stay comfortable. I forfeited that when I disregarded the law of the land. He’s not a Hilton. He’s not even a Richie. That joke was terrible. Stay beautiful, kids.



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1 comment:

  1. Those are called consequences.
    Maybe we should take billions more from tax payers and hire a professional piercer to come in and remove them. *sarcasm*
    Fact of the matter is, even if they ripped them out I wouldn't give a damn.