I’m not gonna lie, this isn’t exactly what I expected — lying here in the hospital. I mean, it’s only a few broken bones, a punctured lung, and some stitches to the head, but I almost feel betrayed. Three weeks ago when I took the five-hour online course to become an unarmed rapid response social worker, I thought I was helping mankind. After all, with the police abolished, somebody had to be there to mitigate when people had inevitable disagreements.
My first mitigation didn’t go great. I was called to the scene of a bank robbery — which, there weren’t supposed to be any bank robberies once the capitalist-driven oppression of the police no longer created crime, but this guy apparently didn’t get the memo, I guess. He was a Latinx male-presenting person about 5’6” holding a shotgun.
Thinking back on my extensive training, I tried to calm things down with a breathing exercise. But he just kept yelling and pointing the gun at me, which again, not supposed to happen. I told him that as a white cis man, I could never know the trauma the Spanish-speaking people suffered under white genocidal maniacs like Cortez, and while his desire to rob the bank was understandable, even laudable, we have collectively decided not to support such actions, and resources were available to him.
That’s when he hit me in the head with the butt of his gun; I think it was the butt of his gun, anyway. When I woke up, I realized this job was not going to be as easy as I thought it would be. That was just one person, though — one person who is really rich now. But to assume he represented the entire criminal class would have been the height of privilege, right? And after all, it’s only money, and a slight concussion.
The next day went remarkably better. I was called to a gang fight that was about to get very heated. No guns this time, just knives and brass knuckles. I suggested we all sit in a circle and use a feelings chart to determine what had brought us all to that place. I did not, of course, suggest that why I was there was for some inherently better or more virtuous purpose, and I think they really got it! They stopped fighting each other and stole my wallet, instead. Progress.
It was yesterday, my third day on the job, when things really got dicey. There were reports of revolutionary redistribution of corporate assets, which used to go by the patently racist name “looting.” I consulted my Rapid Response Social Worker app, and it advised me to start gently chanting, “Hope is the thing with feathers.” Dickinson. It’s a technique that was developed in Denmark to deescalate harmful situations with poetry.
The rest is a blur. There were a few baseball bats to the legs. A large glass bottle of something sticky, organic maple syrup maybe, was smashed on my head. People were kicking me in the ribs, and I saw a few people fighting over a Ralph Lauren down comforter they were steali… I mean redistributing. The comforter ripped, there was chaos everywhere, and when I woke up in the ambulance, well, I was the thing with feathers.
This morning when I woke up, my supervisor was right there next to my bed. I thought maybe xir had brought flowers or one of those shiny balloons from the hospital gift shop. But actually xir had a long complaint form, detailing the ways in which I had failed in my job and failed the collective community. I was still kind of groggy. I didn’t catch it all, but something about failure to recognize and ameliorate systems of oppression. Which, I mean, yeah probably.
I’m not giving up though. Nobody said this would be easy. They also didn’t say it would put me in the ICU, but that’s beside the point. We are creating a better world — one where police, the real criminals, no longer exist, and more equitable forms of community support for need-based compelled law suggestion can thrive. Are we there yet? No, but once I’m out of the hospital and off suspension, I’ll be right back to work making America a better place.