[Rooters agency analysis] – “One rotten apple spoils the barrel” is a longstanding and well-known proverb in the United States. Applied to institutions, it suggests that a “rotten” – corrupt or abusive – individual, upon discovery, needs to be expelled in order to prevent the entire institution from becoming rotten.
As the result of a computer malfunction at the scientific institution concerned, Rooters has recently obtained exclusive access to the preliminary results of an investigation of the Rotten Apple Thesis as applied to police in the United States. The institution, which Rooters has decided not to name, points out that the draft paper on the results of its study is yet to undergo peer review. With those caveats, Rooters believes that the study’s initial results deserve to be shared with the American public.
The draft report notes that police officers who are found to have abused, seriously injured, or even killed ordinary citizens are usually described as “a rotten apple.” The researchers therefore sought to investigate how the removal of such “apples” affected the remainder of the police force concerned.
Unfortunately, the research very early met an unexpected obstacle. As one of the quoted researchers explained: “We found it’s not the lone apple, or even the barrel that’s rotten; it’s the whole f***ing orchard.”
This did not mean that all police officers were rotten, the report notes, but merely that the healthful apples were a decided minority.
So it is possible that the researchers may shift their focus to a different, if related, question: Can one or a few clean apples purify a rotten orchard? But, as the report admits, there is no evidence that horticulture, biology, or anything else works that way.