There’s an interesting article in the NYT today about policing. Written by a civil rights lawyer, you know what it’s going to say, but in some respects I’m surprised we’re still hearing it. I’m even more surprised to be hearing that police forces around the US are hiring.
Like millions of others, I watched the BLM rallies with a mixture of admiration and disgust, and walked away with the comment that they (the protestors) would be more likely to make a difference if their demands made sense, and they stopped looting and burning.
To me, the cry to “defund the police” was always prima facie unworkable. It will actually cost more money to improve policing. Yet in some places less was what they got. Police numbers and budgets slashed, takeovers by hostile civillian administrators, a police-culture purge.
If the Minneapolis experiment is any indicator, you got a lot of white-guilt-inspired hand wringing by legislators eager to virtue-signal their woke credentials via hastily-drafted laws — what the author labels “progressive posturing” — that reduced public safety in Black neighbourhoods without any increase in police accountability.
Missed opportunity? You betcha! And the inevitable uptick in violent crime.
In a recent survey, Minneapolitans largely (53 -v- 33) continue to hold an unfavourable view of the police, yet are ambivalent (49 -v- 41) about replacing them with “peace officers“. They feel strongly (55 -v- 29) that the city should not reduce the size of it’s police force, and overwhelmingly (74 -v- 25) feel that crime has surged since BLM.
So, “Defund the police!” and then what?
The civil rights lawyer thinks she has some of the answers: For example, you won’t need so many cops if you “end the war on drugs” and prohibit “low-level” traffic stops. I guarantee you won’t hear many cops disagee — they’ve got more than enough real policework to be gettin’ on with.
Just remember, when you’re looking for a scapegoat after a stoned Black driver runs a stop-sign and kills a family of five, don’t blame the cop who didn’t stop him a mile up the road for failing to indicate a lane change.
I’m being silly-serious of course. “Defund the police” for most just meant “Stop killing us!” Which is fair enough. The world doesn’t need less police, it just needs better ones. Demanding anything less is just a cop-out.