A Beating in Suburbia - Part One: Jack's Story

Jack had just moved to Suburbia when he was severely beaten by local police for no reason at all, paralyzing him from the waist down. 

By Katrina Dubin Ardely | Contributing Editor for Cajoling Tone Magazine

We, the fraternal order of police
Sometimes must go to war to keep the peace.
–"Fraternally Yours," traditional Suburbia, USA police force theme song

Sipping from a plastic cup, standing on the sidewalk minding his own business, Jack was surprised to see the police officer walking toward him. Like so many others, he had moved to Suburbia to settle into a quieter life, to be surrounded by its idyllic mountains and preserved forests, to live as one small cog in a safe and essentially self-governed community. His surprise turned to anguish when the officer, whom we’ll call Sergeant Drewer, proceeded to beat him within an inch of his life. Jack will never walk again.

Better think twice before you break a law
‘Cause we’re not nice and we like to guffaw.
"Fraternally Yours"

Most of Jack’s friends were devastated when they learned of the tragic beating he suffered at the hands of Officer Drewer. "I don’t know exactly what happened that night, but it could have been avoided," said one friend whom we’ll call Joe. He went on to say, "Police brutality in this town is ritualized. New cops have to bludgeon a random person as part of their initiation to the force." Another friend, previously unaware that Jack can no longer walk or that the police had anything to do with it, spoke under the condition of anonymity, citing fear of retaliation. He said, "Are you sure Jack is paralyzed? Because I saw him last night at our weekly pick up basketball game. I think he had like fifteen points and eight to ten rebounds."

We don’t care what you think you might’ve done
Because each one of us always carries a gun.
"Fraternally Yours"

In a seemingly peaceful, bucolic town like Suburbia, it’s sad to discover that people secretly live in fear of those sworn to protect and serve. Speaking with another of Jack’s friends, longtime resident Earl White, this fear was evident. "I don’t think the police beat up Jack at all. I heard a couple of random guys jumped him that night – they broke his nose and he had a few bumps and bruises, but he survived and is doing fine." When pressed, Earl stuck with his story, his certainty perhaps scariest of all. The omnipresent, silent pressure exerted by Suburbia police pushes people to deny truths, twist reality to quell their fears, reinforce a false feeling of safety.

At Jack's request, because of his own understandable fears, we have not attempted to contact Sergeant Drewer. When we spoke with the chief of police, he declined to comment.

"I’ll never stop having nightmares and never feel safe," said Jack. "All because of that one night when I was in the wrong place at the wrong time."


  1. cops jump in like gangbangers, only not on one of their own, but rather one they're supposed to protect & serve. Funny the inflated authority a badge, a gun & a nightstick can confer.

  2. What a scary place to live in. I found this story quite disturbing.... which mean if you initiated that response in me Richard you've written a good one!

  3. And here I went and read this the day after seeing an exhibit about the films of Stanley Kubrick. Rather scary how well it goes with, say, Dr. Strangelove.