Why do cops love the Punisher?
First published in The Conversation | December, 2022
In Travis Linnemann’s book The Horror Of Police, he quotes David Grossman, founder of the “bulletproof warrior” seminar series, notorious for teaching police that killing is “just not that big of a deal.”
At the end of a long day, Grossman says, police should “look out on your city and let your cape blow in the wind”.
This suggests police should see themselves as superheroes. In reality, they seem drawn to one superhero in particular: the classic Marvel comics character, the Punisher.
He doesn’t wear a cape, admittedly. He’s more famous for the stylised skull logo plastered across his chest.
It’s a skull that a group of rogue officers in Milwaukee wore while on patrol in 2011. They were characterised as “brutal and abusive” by a police academy supervisor. In 2017, the logo was added to police cruisers in Lexington, Kentucky – morphed together with a Blue Lives Matter flag – and only removed after public outcry.
A Chicago officer wore a Punisher skull in 2019 while pointing his weapon at teenagers, and police wearing the same skull were spotted at the crackdowns after George Floyd’s death in 2020.
Before you think this is limited to America, the skull has appeared on an Australian police car, too.
Read the full essay at The Conversation.