Rudy Giuliani Wants to Strip Search You

This post, written by Jeffrey Feldman, originally appeared on Frameshop

For those lucky enough to have never lived under the Stasi-style rule of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, it may come as a shock to learn that "Rudy's" formula for the good life in America is: 200 strip-searches per day (give or take few).

This is no theory, mind you. It is a formula derived from Giuliani's record as mayor. Specifically, the data about Giuliani's use of strip-searches as police policy came to light when a large class action law suit was filed against the city in 1997, resulting in the largest civil rights settlement against New York City ever, and one of the largest against any municipality anywhere.

At the directive of Mayor Giuliani's office, over a ten month period from 1996 to 1997, the New York City police conducted over 70,000 strip-searches of ordinary citizens for minor offenses including: trying to board the subway without paying a fare and jaywalking.

If 70,000 strip-searches were conducted by Giuliani's policy squads over 10 months, that meant roughly 233 per day, about 10 per hour or one every 6 minutes.

Ah, yes, America. That cool breeze you feel on your naked legs as you stand spread eagle in a police precinct--that's the refreshing sensation of Giuliani-style freedom. Invigorating, eh?

Seem excessive? Worried that a hypothetical "President Giuliani" would turn the whole country into a 21st-Century version of East Berlin? Well, that just means you are one of those "liberals" who does not yet understand Rudy Giuliani's core operating principle--that "freedom" can only come about if we are willing to willfully "cede" all our rights to the absolute authority of the police.

For some New Yorkers, ceding freedom to thug-style police brutality authorized by Mayor Giuliani was a great way to get rid of muggers and subway station panhandlers, but for most it just increased the likelihood of being strip-searched or--even worse--gunned down by Rudy's trigger-happy cops.

Scaring Our Pants Off

While he likes to brag about stopping crime in New York, what really happened under Rudy's reign was the rise of Stasi-style police brutality. The theory was that crime is not just stopped by enforcing the law, but by preemptive attacks on any citizen suspected of breaking the law.

The broader logic in Giuliani's 200-strip-searches-per-day approach was that crime happens when citizens are not afraid of the state. Fighting crime, therefore, is not just about arresting people for criminal acts, but about spreading fear of the police. Once the fear spreads, crime is supposed to stop.

In practice, however, it did not work that way.

What resulted from the 200-strip-searches-per-day policy of Mayor Giuliani was a massive spike in human rights violations that offset the crime rate decreases.

One can only imagine what Giuliani-ism would bring on a national scale.

Rather than turn back the bestial human rights violations of the Bush administration, a Giuliani administration would probably increase it.

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