BLM, Defund the police, fight choreography, George Floyd, good order and discipline, Heather MacDonald, Liz Cheney, Police IQ, Police reform, police violence, real racism, reimagining policing, social justice narratives, violence
In response to The George Floyd Case, Update 13: The Process Is The Punishment, regular reader and commenter Doug had this to say:
You’ve been submitting that many police will either quit, seek early retirement, etc. as a presumption that the streets of America will have less police to do the necessary policing and thus the streets of America not being protected anymore. This exodus you are suggesting as being the result of ‘de-funding the police’ initiatives and changes in the traditional ways police do their jobs to expose them more to the judicial process. If nothing else it’s also the overall morale decline as a result of what seems like an unappreciative public. While all these elements might serve to reduce the ranks in some sort of ‘brain drain’, likely more in some areas of the country than others, there is another side to that.
If revised policing is going to mean many things to many areas of the country depending on local or state programs, then the departure.. or attrition in the ranks… might just afford a revision in the recruitment and hiring process to match the policing goals of the new programs. While the exodus of seasoned officers may affect the mentoring processes in the real world outside the academy, it might afford an opportunity to hire ‘new blood’ given old traditions are difficult to re-train.
But.. yeah… until the ‘new’ people get years under their belt… there could be a number of years without seasoned trainers. Then again… not all the experienced officers are going to leave at one time… or even overnight. I suspect the changes will be gradual.
Actually, the changes are immediate, debilitating, dangerous and anything but gradual. The irony is they’re mostly happening in larger, D/S/C ruled cities. Just as criminals and social justice warriors—I know: same thing—mostly destroy their own communities—it must be the best way to affect social change–their efforts to emasculate the police are causing even worse damage.
One of the real problems, one of the things that has allowed the enemies of America to succeed for so long, that has brought us to, if not the brink of civil war, at least a place where we can see if from here, is D/S/C’s ability to warp and seize the language, to shape the very terms of nearly every debate, and even to restrict the language that may be used. Republicans, justly known as The Stupid Party, have been willing dupes. For as long as memory serves, they have preferred to lose nobly, and in losing, watch liberty slip away, rather than using the full power and might of the Constitution and the law to win.
This is what the Never Trump movement—Liz Cheney is its latest cheerleader—is all about. Losing for true “conservative principles,” the principles of the noble loss, the strategic retreat, the unquestioning acceptance of the premises, terms and narratives of the enemies of liberty, is what Republicans are all about. D/S/Cs engage in scorched earth tactics, eating their own, but nearly always winning, while Republicans, until recently led by the aforementioned Cheney, not only gleefully shoot their own in the back, but bayonet them as they lay dying on the field of political battle. Biden is doing incredible damage in a short time, but all many Republicans can think of is getting Trump.
Thus has the term “reform” enjoyed great success for D/S/Cs. Merely tossing out the term with indignation and confidence causes many to think “reform” must be necessary. Why? We all know none of our institutions are perfect, mostly because all are run by human beings, fallible human beings like us. D/S/Cs, who never admit their own fallibility—they are the self-imagined elite, morally and intellectually superior to mere mortals—ruthlessly exploit the good will and common sense behind that realization, no more so contemporaneously than in the “defund the police” premise. To be sure, “police reform” is still useful to them, and is a fallback term when anyone begins to understand the catastrophic reality of actually doing away with, defunding, our police agencies.
Let us then take a moment to consider whether “police reform” or “reimagining policing,” which is just another way of trying to abolish the police, is actually necessary. Let us also take a moment to consider, without accepting D/S/C premises or terms, what is actually going on.
Every state has state, county and local law enforcement agencies, all strictly regulated under state law. Something most Americans don’t appreciate is just how much the Constitution governs everything the police do on a day by day, hour by hour basis. The Bill of Rights applies directly to, and regulates, police work at the level where police officers deal with citizens.
I’ll not go into many of the realities of policing such as recruitment, training, attitudes, etc. in this article. For a basic primer, I suggest Connecticut, The Coming Storm, Part 2: Who Are The Police? And Connecticut, The Coming Storm, Part 3: Police Thinking. Those articles, both from 2014, will provide a solid understanding of important issues.
I also recommend a 2017 article, Police IQ 2, from 2017, which explains that even before cries for defunding the police, police executives were tending to hire only people a little smarter than average—or less. Officially, they did this on the theory if they hired really intelligent people, they’d get bored and quit after expensive training. Courts have bought this excuse. Actually, a factor just as, and likely more, important is police executives want their cops to be only so smart and no smarter. If they’re too smart they’re a lot harder to manipulate, and they’re much more likely to catch on to anything underhanded going on.
The contemporary argument for “police reform” is it is absolutely and everywhere necessary because of “police violence,” and because the police are murdering young Black men—always unarmed and doing nothing–and to a lesser degree, the generic “people of color” in genocidal lots. Because of “systemic racism,” even if there were an occasional white person in police work who wasn’t fundamentally evil, or on a city council, among county commissioners, or in state legislators, systemic racism makes it impossible to properly “reform” the police, so they must be made entirely ineffective by one means or another, if not entirely abolished, that there be no more “police violence.”
Driving the “police violence against Blacks” narrative is the fact most Americans are uninformed about this, and other, social matters. So much media time is spent bolstering this narrative, many assume the numbers must be astronomical. Not so.
Very Liberal respondents were the furthest from reality: 14.29% said ‘about 10,000’ unarmed black males were killed by police, while 31.43% said ‘about 1,000.’ Liberals were slightly closer at 6.67% saying ‘about 10,000’ and 26.67% saying ‘about 1,000.’ According to the database at Mapping Police Violence, this number was actually 27.
These figures are for 2019, the most recent available. Other sources suggest the number is even lower. Keep in mind merely being “unarmed” is not a conclusive factor in the use of deadly force. Many people die every year from being beaten to death with hands and feet. Even single blows can kill. Obviously, the narrative is not only wrong, but purposely destructive. How many people of various races are shot by the police?
An analysis performed at DataBricks from 2015-2020 further underscores this proportion of fatal police shootings and provides more context:
*51% White, 26% Black, 19% Hispanic, 2% Asian, and 2% Native American victims
*23% of victims showed signs of mental illness, indicated by on-scene mental health crises or news reports
*91% of victims were determined to be armed, with objects ranging from toy weapons to pepper spray to tasers to guns
Reality has no relationship to the narrative. Blacks comprise about 13% of the population, yet they represent 26% of those shot by the police. Systemic racism? No. They commit violent crimes far out of proportion to their population numbers.
Any sane person willing to believe the truth can, with a few minutes of keyboard work, discover the facts I’ve just provided. Think me a white supremacist for writing such things? Try The Washington Post; their figures are essentially identical. No one would mistake the WaPo for being supportive of Normal Americans, and surely, as primary purveyors of the narrative, they can’t be systemically racist.
This is why basing public policy or justice on “statistical disparity” is such a scam. If a city has a 13% Black population, but Blacks are arrested for 52% of violent crimes, the only possible reason can be systemic racism! Actually, it’s true because young Black men commit huge numbers of violent crimes. A visit to Heather MacDonald: Obliterating the BLM Narrative, will help explain reality to those able to recognize it.
Here’s another hard reality: every law enforcement agency is strictly regulated by state law and its own internal policies and procedures, all of which must conform to the Constitution and state law. But what about places like Las Vegas, and other cities where the police actually get away with murder? Those places are anomalies, and if any are run by Republicans, I’d like to know about it. Such agencies—and usually the cities–are a mess, and should be nuked from orbit; it’s the only way to be sure.
Most law enforcement agencies in America, however, and by “most,” I mean nearly all, are directly responsive to their elected political leaders. That’s a real problem in D/S/C ruled cities and states, the “blue” states. We’ve seen what happens when police officers aren’t allowed to do their jobs, when they can’t arrest the people who commit most of the worst crimes. We’ve seen, and so have the police, what happens to police officers forced to use deadly force, even when it was completely necessary, reasonable and lawful. We’ve seen what happens when the police aren’t allowed to stop riots, arson, mob violence, even murder.
But in most of Normal America, generally the “red” states, police officers are held accountable for their behavior. I certainly was, and never worked for an agency where that was not the rule and reality. In fact, discipline was sometimes overzealous and unnecessary because police executives wanted to err on the side of caution. In so doing, officers were sometimes treated unfairly and even denied due process. No one benefits when that happens. Oh, and in all those years I wielded police authority, I saw not the slightest hint of racism, systemic or otherwise, among my bretheren (and sisteren).
The point is, “reform” is necessary only where good order and discipline is not maintained in a given agency. This is not the case for most. And even if it is, it is the corruption and fecklessness of elected officials that is responsible for not fixing whatever legitimate problems exist. If a local agency has devolved to laziness, arrogance or criminality, there are state and federal agencies that can handle that—if they aren’t too busy pursuing political enemies and people who didn’t vote for Joe Biden and persist in saying so.
“Police violence” has come to be understood to be police officers using any force against “people of color,” or most particularly, young Black men. That most of those men are addicts, violent felons or thugs in general doesn’t matter. Such people, injured or killed by the lawful application of force immediately become holy social justice martyrs and a convenient excuse for impromptu “reparations” in the form of looting, destruction of property and arson.
Here’s reality: in making a lawful arrest, police officers may use whatever force is reasonably necessary to make it. That’s just what we want them to do. Keep in mind the police make millions of contacts with citizens every year. Very few of them require the use of force, and only a tiny portion of those contacts where force is necessary result in deadly force. Of those requiring deadly force, the public virtually never hears about those where the criminal was white or any other victim group not currently in favor. This is so not only because the racists are those attacking the police, but because the police usually do it right.
We pay the police, and in most places, not very well, to use force for us, to engage in hand to hand combat, and sometimes, deadly force combat, with truly evil people. We pay them so we won’t have to deal with evil hand to hand. We have the police, in large part, to protect criminals from us. Left to our own devices, our solutions to crime would tend to be rather abrupt and final. History teaches us just that.
When the police have to use force, it’s never pretty. It’s not fight choreography like the movies. It’s brief, nasty and bloody, and above all, violent. It never looks good, particularly if multiple officers are involved in struggling with a single criminal. In virtually all cases, they’re doing that to avoid having to really hurt them. Movie-based notions of “fairness” have little to do with reality. Even worse, a public falsely primed to believe the worst of police officers makes everything, for everyone, even more dangerous.
If we deny the police the authority to use violence, evil and far more violent people are going to be using it on us. The same is true if we so hamper and dispirit the police they are unwilling to use violence on the people that most deserve it. And again, if they are unreasonable, if they step over the line, that’s effectively handled in most American law enforcement agencies. We don’t hear about most of the officers suspended, even fired, but it happens every day around the nation. This too is why it’s so important to find the best and most stable people for police work; they use good judgment and seldom violate policy or the law.
The thrust of “police reform” is to do away with the police for using the violence we empower them to use—particularly against Black criminals whose lives are the only lives that matter–and “systemic racism” is the rationale.
Are there people of good will with noble motives who want to do away with the police? Perhaps, but they obviously have no understanding of human nature, history or reality. They are, in a word, stupid. We have police officers for very good, important and real reasons, reasons rooted in a clear understanding of human nature, history and reality.
We have police officers because without them, we can’t have civilization.
I’ve often suggested there is another, more sinister reason, some want to do away with local police agencies. They want to establish a national, federal police force, beholden only to DC, with no roots in the places they enforce the law, and with no reason to listen to or care about the people they police. It’s a motivation similar to, but more evil than, those who built the Transportation Security Administration by arguing that private security firms, locally controlled, were insufficient. “You can’t professionalize if you don’t federalize,” they argued. We’ve all seen how well that has worked out.
We’ve allowed D/S/Cs to dominate the debate and accepted their terms by not actively refusing to demand honesty and accuracy in the use of language and fact. That’s why we’re fighting a defensive battle against those who argue any use of police force is “violence,” and must be punished. When we even tacitly accepted those terms, we set ourselves on the road to barbarism.
The only real racism involved comes from those who would immunize criminal, violent, evil “people of color,” from the consequences of their crimes.