Unexpected from a good friend & very liberal New Yorker

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Re: Unexpected from a good friend & very liberal New Yorker

Postby Keirador » 19 Jun 2020, 03:37

V wrote:disband the police department


To be clear on this point, the most common protester chant and demand is defund the police, not disband the police. "Defund the police" can seem like a radical demand, until you realize the United States has spent several decades defunding the schools, defunding infrastructure, defunding public health and health care, defunding housing, defunding living wages and thereby defunding work, defunding children, etc. Basically, if it doesn't carry a gun, we cut its funding.

Accordingly, we have cops who carry guns doing too many jobs, because we defunded all the other people and agencies who might have done that job. A college house party is so loud that it's bothering local families? Our solution is to send a team armed with guns and trained primarily in violence and physical domination. A person suffering a mental health crisis has stopped traffic by standing in the middle of the road and yelling? Our solution is to send a team armed with guns and trained primarily in violence and physical domination. A family holding a barbecue may be violating city regulations by using a charcoal grill at a public park? Our solution is to send a team armed with guns and trained primarily in violence and physical domination.

Most of the day-to-day problems that the police are asked to deal with are not best-solved by sending trained killers. And increasingly, being "trained killers" is exactly what the police themselves believe their job to be.

"Defund the police" means drastically slashing the budget of police departments, and accordingly, sharply curtailing their mission. No serious person and no prominent protester has advocated the idea that there should be no law enforcement officers available to confront and combat violent criminals. But that is so little of what modern American police departments do. And you don't need a gun, training in violence, a state mandate to engage in violence, and immunity against violent acts you perform against innocent people, to do the vast majority of the work cops are asked to do. "Call the police" is just too common a sentiment. We should say "call the police!" when we see someone being physically assaulted, or a home being broken into, or somebody being raped. But Americans also say "call the police!" (and the police do indeed come, with their guns and their warrior training) when what we should have said was "call the city mental health emergency unit!" or "call the department of transportation!" or "call the school truancy officer!" or "call the city addiction recovery service!"

So "defund the police" doesn't mean we need to disband every police department. If anything, it's a pro-cop claim. Police officers are doing too many jobs that they haven't been trained to do. Since their primary training is in lethal force, it's mundane and expected that sending trained killers to do things like look into noise complaints or unauthorized lemonade stands is going to end in preventable, tragic death.

Imagine if we asked the fire department to take on as many jobs as the police are supposed to perform. We would have very frequent cases of people unfairly and unjustly doused by high-powered fire hoses. And we might well ask ourselves "why exactly is the fire department taking up 70% of the city budget, and why do we solve every case of loitering, homelessness, drug addiction, or unlicensed bootlegging by blasting people with water? Perhaps we should. . . defund the fire department?" It doesn't mean there shouldn't be anybody we can call to put out fires. It just means maybe the fire department shouldn't be called to respond to somebody who was maybe playing music too loud.
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Re: Unexpected from a good friend & very liberal New Yorker

Postby Keirador » 19 Jun 2020, 03:55

schocker wrote:Elections data in the US shows that the younger voters ALWAYS vote in a more liberal fashion than their elders. In addition, as those younger voters age, they tend to vote more conservatively. No matter which election, McGovern to Reagan to Trump the results have always been this way. There have been shifts in voting trends but the above has always been true in the last 50 years.

This deeply depends on how "liberal" is defined. There has been a sharp divergence in how perceptions of racial subjects impact both voting patterns and ideological self-identification.

I totally buy that young people love high taxes and old people hate high taxes, and the same person who wanted high taxes as a youth with no income changes their mind as they become the person who would become taxed. The extent to which you think black life matters seems to me to be a more immutable subject. But we shall see!
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Re: Unexpected from a good friend & very liberal New Yorker

Postby Keirador » 19 Jun 2020, 04:38

Minneapolitan wrote:Broadly speaking, I think way way waaaaaaay deep down in the subconscious of white Americans there is a mental association of racism with action. The cause is probably the memory of blatant and overt racism of previous generations that was inherently active - the most powerful image of which, though certainly not limited to, is the Ku Klux Klan. The image of the Klan is legendary. They're absolutely iconic. I can't think of anything in the Western Hemisphere like it. Little children today don't even know about things like 9/11 or the Cold War but somehow know about the Klan.

Because of all this, those same people who make that subconscious mental association fail to understand - or at least accept - that the current racism isn't action. It's inaction.

And here my point ties directly in with Keirador's point about cops, statues, etc.

8-)

I would say that the current racism very much IS action, aided and abetted by a huge amount of inaction that I would actually call acceptance. Killing a black person for doing nothing wrong is action. Not giving a shit is inaction/acceptance.

Denying a family a home loan because they're black is action. Not whistle-blowing to the Department of Justice is inaction/acceptance.

Choosing to over-police black communities is action. Failing to show up at a protest or vote accordingly is inaction/acceptance.
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Re: Unexpected from a good friend & very liberal New Yorker

Postby V » 19 Jun 2020, 17:36

“To be clear on this point, the most common protester chant and demand is defund the police, not disband the police.”

Yeah, I’ve read defund, disband, dissolve, dismantle all badly defined. “d” being popular.
It’s a delicate issue, which I wouldn’t wish on any administrator. Many folks with different agendas all have to be comfortable with the outcome, risking violence & as in South Africa’s case mass departure, if it’s done wrong.
Best wishes & fortune to any living in the affected cities. Glad I don’t have a rerun impacting my life again.
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Re: Unexpected from a good friend & very liberal New Yorker

Postby Keirador » 19 Jun 2020, 22:32

"Risking violence" is interesting verbiage. Because what we would really need to look at to determine what we would be risking is "even more violence." The violence is already here, the police kill 1,000 Americans a year and brutalize many more, almost always unaccountably with no justice for victims.

That has been an interesting dynamic to observe as some protests have taken a dark turn into property destruction or physical altercations. I have heard so many people say something along the lines of "hey I support PEACEFUL protests, but I can't support anything that turns violent against innocent people and business owners." Somehow, this line of logic never gets extended to the police. The message the protesters want to send is "hey I support the just and fair rule of law, but I can't support anything that turns violent against innocent people."

Can we risk defunding the police? I don't know, but I ask: can we risk letting the police continue as before? How many more lives are an acceptable price to pay to have a militarized, unaccountable police force? How many more people need to be killed in their own homes doing nothing wrong before letting the police continue unabated becomes too big a risk? 10? 100? 10,000?
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Re: Unexpected from a good friend & very liberal New Yorker

Postby V » 19 Jun 2020, 23:11

Definitely, violence wouldn’t be a new feature in this debate. However if it descends to South African standards, the USA “hasn't seen anything yet”.
Agreed also that the statistics for deaths at hands of US Police are scary (& not limited to black people). Of 1,100ish dead in 2019, 400+ were white. I lived in USA for 12+ years & American cops are definitely intimidating (I’m potato white).
To answer your question regarding the police. My view is that inaction is not an option. But don’t like reinventing wheels.
There have to be examples of successful policing domestically in USA, or found internationally if necessary. My suggestion for a path forwards would be a detailed study of what some get right & others get wrong, followed by mandatory conformity in best practises. Retraining, recruitment as required.
Although the brutality problems are undoubtedly serious, inflammatory & urgently needing solutions, I believe using tried & tested problem solving methods (devoid of political emotive polemic) could serve everyone well in fixing the matter.
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Re: Unexpected from a good friend & very liberal New Yorker

Postby Keirador » 19 Jun 2020, 23:24

It's hard to disagree with that sentiment except to say that political emotive polemic seems to have shifted popular opinion more in a few weeks than several decades of staid lawsuits and scholarly approaches ever did. There are a lot of people paying attention to the issue of police violence now that weren't paying attention before. Even folks that don't approve of the protests seem to be admitting en masse that the protesters do at least have a point. That's something of a victory.

As for how to reform/rebuild, the US has plenty of good policing examples to emulate. The problem up to this point has not been that we don't know how to get policing right (or at least better), it has been that we simply refuse to do so. Related to defunding and my previous comments, a huge first start would be dramatically limiting the scope of the police. We simply ask our police to do too much, and sending people with guns into a myriad of situations they are not trained professionals in how to resolve is dangerous for the police themselves and the communities they serve.
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