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John Bradford

A history most relevant…

I wrote this piece in April of 2020 for my senior thesis titled “Civilians on Patrol;” a bulk of critical design essays putting history into context amongst relevant discussions relating to American law enforcement. Yesterday, March 31st, 2021, Recreational cannabis was legalized in my home state of NY. I figured today was a good day to remind ourselves why cannabis had been outlawed these last eighty-four years, and the countless resources wasted, and lives ruined, to keep it that way.

In the year 1876, America was celebrating its 100th birthday with the International Centennial Exhibition. Nations…

Image by John Bradford (@BRAAAAAADFORD)

“Help is on its way.”

On July 1st of this year, Department of Homeland Security acting secretary Chad Wolf announced the beginning of a special task force called the Protecting American Communities Task Force. (PACT) The task force was established in reaction to demonstrations across the nation, some having targeted monuments and statues to confederate officers, slave owners, and the like. The DHS force would claim responsibility for the protection of such monuments, labeling them akin to federal facilities. …

Why we need to call the mechanism, and its history, into crisis.

“In some blacks, when [a lethal chokehold] is applied, the veins or arteries do not open as fast as they do in normal people.” — Daryl Gates

Designs are often attributed to the director, or the individual who led their team to the end product. It’s important to remember that behind that designer was the team itself, a system of checks, and usually a delivery party of some kind. We function this way because if we didn’t, if we created alone and in the dark, the practice becomes…

Why we should all listen for it when discussing policy design

A mysterious silhouette rests center a red background. Peeking behind on the right is W. Hurst, from the left is N. Gingrich.
A mysterious silhouette rests center a red background. Peeking behind on the right is W. Hurst, from the left is N. Gingrich.

Throughout this collection of essays, you’ll hear me route the source of most all poor design choices to this issue: misinformation. Any area of law enforcement’s structure you find questionable can likely be tied to a tactical use of misinformation. But how can the mechanism create a condition that confuses voters, and dictates policy? It might be easier than you think.

Whether you know it or not, the form of American history we’ve all grown up with is misleading, represents a westernized, and, if I may be so bold…

A disclaimer of distinction.

Before we get into some detail on present designs of law enforcement, I want to introduce a note on the semantics we’ll be using throughout this study.

The title of our undertaking, “Civilian on Patrol” is no doubt highly intentional. Oftentimes on late-night television, you’ll hear terminology misused. Civilians are often described as “perps” and Civilian officers are labeled simply as “Officers” or “Cops.” Make no mistake, no matter how militarized our modern police force may be, they are civilians in legal nature. I make this distinction both so we can heavily criticize the image of…

John Bradford

Designer, critical writer, image-maker, seltzer enthusiast. All things design history and critique. Lone author behind; “Greater Fool.”

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