Guillaume Jeanson is a lawyer at the Paris Bar.
For several days, Dijon has been living to the rhythm of clashes between communities. Last night, faced with the intensity of the violence, the RAID – not to be confused, as Jean-Luc Mélenchon did on Twitter, with the GIGN – was even out to support the CRS and the BAC. According to the prefect of Côte d’Or Bernard Schmeltz, “A hundred opponents” were then faced with the police.
In a close space-time, while he was pounding the Parisian pavement on the occasion of the demonstration on Saturday organized by the collective “La Vérité pour Adama”, the same Jean-Luc Mélenchon gave himself up in front of a bed of cameras to a solemn appeal. An appeal for“A police force as disarmed as possible to inspire respect from citizens”.
This disarmament of the police, of course, sounds like a worn-out antiphon from a certain end of the political spectrum. No one will have forgotten the lessons of a Philippe Poutou, taught on the set of “We are not lying”, just a few months away from the 86 dead and 458 injured in the Nice attack.
The National Observatory of Delinquency and Penal Responses (ONDRP) counted 10,790 injured officers “on mission” in 2018.
This disarmament is now offered as a naive response to the crisis of confidence which, after having plagued the links between the politician and the citizens, now dangerously extends its power of corruption to what must unite the police and the population. It serves, for those who accept it, to polarize the guilt of the State on its one “armed” arm. Didn’t Raymond Aron write that “French vanity consists in reproaching yourself for all faults, except the decisive fault: laziness to think”? A laziness that makes blind to reality translated however by worrying curves: those of the number of police officers and gendarmes injured in the exercise of their functions, which reached an unprecedented level since 2012.
Last November, the National Observatory of Delinquency and Penal Responses (ONDRP), which was based on data identified by the services of the Ministry of the Interior, counted 10,790 injured officers “on mission” in 2018. increase observed by this body – that the political power decided to suppress this year – concerns as much the police (+ 16%) as the gendarmerie (+ 13%). Within the police, the total number of wounded “on mission” and “in service” amounted to 20,306 in 2018. The number of deaths is also increasing. Ten more deaths were recorded compared to the previous year. Figures that probably tell us even more about the increased level of violence that law enforcement is now facing in our country: the Observatory notes a 60% increase in injuries to police officers at the police station. using a weapon. He also notes an increase of 20% in the injuries to gendarmes following an assault.
Faced with these more eloquent figures than this umpteenth antiphon on disarmament, some would be entitled to wonder. As Hannah Arendt already wrote in 1963 in From the Revolution, the true “problem” would it not rather be due to the fact that, for some at least, “politics has become a profession and a career»?
When left to their own devices, men do not strictly observe the rules of equity and justice.
These days, the socialist mayor of Dijon, François Rebsamen, delivered himself an implacable report: “Since justice goes too late and the police do not have the means to act, the Chechen community has come to enforce their rights themselves.” To conclude his remarks, the city councilor even risked the courage of the obvious : “We are no longer in the Republic when it happens like that”.
If it is not the Republic, what is it? Is this not what the philosophers of the Enlightenment called the state of nature? A state defined as the absence of a common superior to settle our differences. A situation in which individuals can only rely on their own strength to protect their most precious assets? A situation generating, as everyone knows, this famous “war of all against all” so well described in the Leviathan from Hobbes. Because when left to their own devices, men do not strictly observe the rules of equity and justice. To get out of this despicable situation in which human life is depreciated and threatened, individuals must agree to stop doing justice to themselves and entrust the task of defending their lives and their property to a public authority which will have the means to impose its decisions on recalcitrants. An authority we call the state.
When two years ago the muscular eviction of Roma squatters from a Garges-les-Gonesses pavilion by young people from the neighborhood had turned into a real pitched battle, we had already had the leisure to recall these evidences by summoning , as here, the work of the Canadian criminologist Maurice Cusson and his concept of “vindictive solidarity”. This duty, this necessity prevails, when the state authorities disappear or are shown to be permanently weakened, to unite with his “clan” – his family, his corporation, his neighbors, etc. – to defend his life, his property and his honor. Unfortunately, a mechanism more than ever at work in our cities today. As in Dijon, where the last three nights of confrontation testify, according to the prosecutor of Dijon Eric Mathais, of the will for members of the Chechen community of “Avenge the violence committed on a young person by people from the Maghreb community”.
Give the French something to love. And first give them to love France.
Is this really the most opportune time to call for police disarmament? The political calendar is certainly not that of the criminologist. But the politician would do well to listen to criminology when it teaches that vindictive solidarity often goes hand in hand with vendetta, the endless cycle of revenge and retaliation. To end this cycle urgently, on the contrary, care must be taken to provide the police with the means necessary to accomplish their missions. Repeating this other evidence does not of course mean that the abuses, when they exist, do not deserve to be quickly and justly punished. The credibility and confidence that this institution must inspire to be able to carry out its action is at stake.
In her note on the general suppression of political parties, Simone Weil denounced this process by which a person who develops in everyday life a nuanced thought finds himself in political life to oversimplify his purpose to reach a degree of immediacy conforming to media standards. This reflection should encourage caution to those who undertake to engage in politics “A profession and a career”. Rather than perpetually seeking salvation in the weakening and repentance of the state, they should carefully re-read the writings of the same Simone Weil for whom “There is only one remedy: give the French something to love. And first give them to love France. Conceive the reality corresponding to the name of France in such a way that, as it is, in its truth, it can be loved with all its soul. ”