Some people believe that they are the highest law in the land. They do not recognize any authority above themselves. This societal problem is contributing to many alleged cases of police brutality.

Before I go any further, you need to see an example of what I’m talking about. Check out this video. It provides a unique glimpse of two individuals who believe that they are bigger than the law. Enjoy:

That Lady was an Idiot to Challenge the Judge
Anyone with a shred of common sense understands the power wielded by a judge. What’s more, they respect it. That’s because they understand that no good can come from challenging a judge’s authority.

We entrust judges and police to administer the laws that govern us. These laws exist to help discourage us from acting upon our base desires. This helps maintain a civil society. Those who choose to violate these laws must answer for their crimes before those who enforce it.

Fairly simple, right?

Not to people who live by another set of rules called “street law.” Based upon outward appearances, it operates quite different than  traditional law. Street law is law in any place where generational poverty is the norm. This means the hills and hollers of Appalachia to the city streets of urban America. Prison culture is the most extreme example, and it’s seen in schoolyards, too.

What “Street Law” Looks Like
You don’t have to look too hard to find video evidence of people who believe in “street law.” It’s abundant in many alleged cases of police brutality caught on tape. You also can find it on WorldStarHipHop.com and several similar video-sharing sites. View enough of these videos and you’ll likely pick out the following traits:

1. A grandiose sense of self that comes complete with a list of things no one can say or do to them. (“No one calls me a bitch, cunt, pussy, racial slur, etc.”)

2. The absolute refusal to recognize any authority above them, including police, prosecutors, judges, etc.

3. Using violence as the only resort against perceived threats to their grandiose self image. (“Motherfucker was lookin’ at me,” etc.)

4. A stubborn refusal to allow someone else to have the last word in discussion/arguments.

5. A deep distrust of police and courts to the point where they refuse to cooperate with them at all costs. (“No snitching,” “snitches get stitches,” etc.)

6. The unrealistic belief that “street law” is the only law they must answer to.

7. The inability to comprehend that their behavior leads to legal problems and/or injuries.

8. Blaming other people for the above behavior, particularly their decision to engage in violence. (“People makin’ me act the fool;” “People make me act out of character;” “Why did he/she have to make me go there?” “I told that fool I would go off,” etc.)

9. Transitioning from aggressor to “victim” when their actions meet someone using superior force.

“Street Law” has no Place in a Court of Law
Let’s circle back to the couple in the above video. They refused to recognize the judge’s authority. They also refused to accept the authority of the bailiff. They also attempted to settle this dispute with shouting and physical resistance. This approach might work where they’re from, but it was a recipe for disaster outside that bubble. (Yes, even “the streets” can be a bubble.)

Which Reminds me of Something I’ve Said
While you might think the above video inspired this post, it did not. Regular readers of Trauma Central know I get material from Facebook. Most discussions of “police brutality” on Facebook ignore the points I’ve made. It’s inspired me to post this:

“Excellent news, people! I’ve just been informed that no matter what you do, cops can’t arrest you if you don’t want them to. Just a few punches and/or shoves from you and they’re legally bound to back off and let you go on your way. They can’t take you into custody if your friends are shouting, “This is bullshit!” and “Fuck the police!” You can trust this. It’s from my Facebook legal team.”

My facetiousness is intentional. It underscores the foolishness of applying street law where it doesn’t belong. To the contrary, there are those who think that legal  laws will protect them no matter where they are. (That’s the subject of another blog.) Anyone who can switch between the two as situations dictate are the most deadly people alive.

People Who Live by Street Law Should Love the Police
Yes, you read that right. And I’m not being sarcastic, either. Think about it this way: Each year, many average Americans are beaten, stabbed, robbed, raped, and/or killed by those answering only to street law. Stray bullets also claim plenty of innocent lives.

What keeps everyday Americans from attacking criminals? The fear of legal retribution from police, prosecutors, and judges. Laws protect criminals from vigilante justice. Without the legal system, this country would become The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy.

Expect More Posts about Street Law in the Future
As long as people continue thinking they can shout down and out-fight the police, I’m going to blog about it. Consider this the first of many such entries. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and observations in the comment section.

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two novels – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his written work, check out his website.

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Comments
  1. Ginny says:

    Hi JP! Just found your website. I agree that the mom in this video acted foolishly to vent in front of the judge but I think you’ve overstated things when you say “the couple…They refused to recognize the judge’s authority. They also refused to accept the authority of the bailiff. They also attempted to settle this dispute with shouting and physical resistance….” Actually from what I can tell the dad behaved himself very well. There is some shouting by male voices once the mom gets out of her seat, but it sounds like the bailiffs and others, not the dad. He stayed calm throughout and only moved out of his chair, along with his lawyer, when the melee got too close for comfort.

    Also, I will say that the mom sat quietly and respected the judge’s authority in the first minute or two of the video. She did show him that respect, and then she got triggered into her trauma loops. She is likely traumatized by and addicted to long-time verbal abuse, and knows the patterns well. When the judge kept harping on her in a sense he was priming her pump. I’m not saying the judge shouldn’t scold people, and the folks who were not raised with verbal trauma would sit there and listen and it might even do them some good, but for folks raised on a lot of harsh verbal exchanges it’s like waving a beer under an alcoholic’s nose.

    If you look at some of the Jerry Springer type talk shows, there are certain ways the hosts can trigger people who have grown up with verbal abuse, and so get them to put on a show for the audience. It’s pretty sad because in a sense they are being abused, but there’s an addictive thrill to it for the participants, they get that adrenaline pumping, and “there they go again”.

  2. Ginny says:

    Hi JP! Nope, I didn’t say anything about trigger warnings. I’m not trying to advocate for anything other than thinking about what’s going on in the video and why. I’m advocating for a little more compassion and understanding for the lady who went nuts, I guess. I could have seen that interaction going a different direction with a different tone from the judge. Browbeating doesn’t work with everyone. We all have choices.

    • JP_Ribner says:

      As you can probably tell, I have no compassion nor understanding for the woman. I’ve seen that kind of grandiose attitude nearly my whole life on the streets of Flint, Michigan. People walking around, thinking that they’re above everything, including the law. Yes, the browbeating likely triggered a certain reaction that’s become ingrained in her mind to the point of neural pathway, and yes, it’s most likely the result of how she was raised. But I’ve seen the damage that people with similar attitudes have done to others, thus I am come sorely lacking in compassion… which, ironically, is something that a disgruntled Facebook friend accused me of just the other day. LOL

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