After dinner tonight I hopped on my bike and rode down to the coffee shop to do some reading. It was a lovely, humid night, perfect for a ride. I rode up Annunciation on my way home, but had to go around this police activity. I could see the blue lights from several blocks away, and there were a lot of them. This picture doesn’t show the four other police cruisers packed around this intersection. As I cruised up to them, I thought about how normalized the heavy police presence has become for me. They seem to be everywhere, especially on weekends, and their lights are always going. Police almost instantly make me feel like I’m in trouble, at best, and in danger, at worst. Tonight I worried that there’s some law I was breaking by snapping a photo. I was all stealth, and felt a little panicky when the flash went off. Now, I’m a rule-following sort of gal, so part of this is on me, but I’ve also had experiences with the NOPD that predispose me to be anxious. Other folks, though, want a police presence; it makes them feel more secure in a city wracked with crime. I can’t help feeling, though, that there’s got to be a better way. We’ve got to solve the social problems that lead to what we call “crime.” Putting everybody in cages is no solution, not to mention that people don’t belong in cages.