When I was 12, I was caught shoplifting. It was a stupid, childish thing I did because I wanted something and didn’t have the money for it. The store manager grabbed me and called the cops. I didn’t even conceive of trying to run, I just let him drag me to the office and sat and cried in shame.

The cop showed up and took a statement from the manager. Then he took me home. He comforted me and told my mom “he’s a good kid, just made a mistake.” I was grounded, and that was the end of it.

Here’s a boy arrested for the crime of (checks notes) “asking for money?” Oh, and he apparently spit on the cops as one might do when the cops assault you.

I wanted to highlight a couple of things here. First, the disparity in how I, a white boy in rural America was treated compared with a minority in an urban center. And secondly, the use of petty and senseless laws to ban and jail people for the most minor of offenses. Laws that are disproportionately turned upon minorities in our country.

I actually broke the law. I didn’t have to go to court. I didn’t have to pay a fine. The worst that happened to me was that I had to spend time in my room for a month, a place I preferred to be anyway since my nose was often buried in a book. Isiah Brown was cited for battery on an officer and resisting arrest despite the fact it’s not even clear he was breaking any laws or even actually panhandling. His case is still playing out.

I’ve had other run ins with police. A few speeding tickets. Pulled over once for a brake light out. Theft of lawn ornaments (yes… lawn ornaments) which, frankly, pissed the cops off more than it did the victims, all of whom laughed about it. But I never felt I was targeted. I was never pulled over for say, driving 65 in a 70 (as a recent video revealed, and it was clear the cop just wanted to harass the guy). The conversations always started with “I pulled you over because,” not “what’s your name, where are you going, where are you coming from?”

Our system is broken.

I know I’m speaking to the choir. Right now, our nation is witnessing protests on an unimaginable scale. Protests that have spread to other countries around the world. This is what happens when a century or more of oppressive police state tactics are finally called into question. When the people stand up and say “we believe in public safety, but we also believe in justice and equality and in holding cops accountable for their crimes.”

I had the displeasure of reading another long winded, bloviating tirade by a (hopefully now ex) white cop about how terrible this time is for him personally. And, well, yeah… it’s some real deep shit he shovels. So I wanted to tear down the walls and have a long-distance dialogue with this racist piece of shit. Because yes, that’s what he is, a racist piece of shit. He doesn’t think racism exist, but he thinks we don’t shoot black people NEARLY enough. “All of the research says we’re shooting African-Americans about 24% less than we probably ought to be, based on the crimes being committed.” (Link to this quote). Best of all, he uses a study that clearly shows racial bias in the use of force against blacks and Hispanics to back up his assertion.

“On non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than fifty percent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police. Adding controls that account for important context and civilian behavior reduces, but cannot fully explain, these disparities.” An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force, Roland G. Fryer, Jr., July 2017

So, America. . . let’s chat. Here’s the link to his long winded tirade telling us he’s quitting:  America, We Are Leaving

The first paragraphs are all remembrances about his dad and how he admired the cops around them. How all the kids in (checks notes) “shop class” thought his dad was cool. I could call out that shop class reference for what it infers, but we’ll skip on. It’s personal recollection and fond thoughts, hardly worth talking about. I have fond thoughts of my dad working at the furniture mill and some of the cool stuff he brought home. His cool friends. Kids don’t really have the ability to judge these things, and growing up inside the womb and protection of the blue wall skewed his perception of cops.

Another section about how he became a cop. Blah, blah, good memories. Doesn’t really tell us anything useful of course.

But then we get into the meat of things:

    • “The mentally ill used to get treatment and now they just send cops.”

Yes, this is true and correct. We used to actually think it might be better to try and help the mentally ill instead of sending cops to arrest them and incarcerate them. So, we should DEFINITELY stop sending cops to handle the mentally ill, and start sending social workers and trained people who can manage those who are mentally ill, not people with guns who aren’t trained for that sort of work. This is a call for reducing police funding so we can spend more on mental health workers, and is a great idea (though of course he’s not actually advocating for change, just bitching about how his work expanded over the years without acknowledging what that meant; a true “the leopard ate my face” moment).

    • “Kids used to be taught respect and now it’s cool to be disrespectful.”

Ah, the old respect chestnut. This explains why he spent so much time talking about his childhood and how everyone thought his dad was cool, and everyone respected his dad. Because of COURSE now things are different! There’s no respect now!

Horseshit. Old people have been bitching about this since we first built a village and started farming.

People are respectful. They are respectful when you show them respect. Respect is earned, not a right because of your duties or titles. Cops are no more deserving of respect than anyone else, and I’ve believed that my whole life. Now, I personally have never been anything but respectful to cops. But they showed me respect first, and haven’t harassed me at every turn. I don’t live in fear of my life that a cop with a light trigger finger might shoot me when I reach for my driver’s license. I damn well can see how a person who has been stopped and frisked randomly and repeatedly for no reason other than the cops designated their (always minority) community a “high crime area” might start to feel a little pissed off at the unfair search and seizure. How getting tackled by cops for the massive crime of (checks notes again) “asking for money, aka panhandling” might engender a little fucking anger.

Kids in minority communities are taught to be afraid of cops. Taught that any little thing they do might get them killed. Never mind that the “bad apples” (more on this later) also have shown a more then gleeful willingness to plant evidence or trump up charges for the sheer delight of it even if you are otherwise minding your own damn business. I’d post links to examples, but they are far too fucking numerous to bother. Look them up yourselves, lazy.

When he says “respect”, he’s saying “I believe I should be treated a certain way at all times and you should show deference to me.” He’s holding himself above everyone else. It’s a power play, pure and simple, and he resents giving up that power and having to treat others with the same respect he thinks he’s owed.

But wait, he’s just getting started.

    • “Supervisors used to back you when you were right but now they accuse you of being wrong in order to appease crazy people.”

Uh, what the fuck? Is it really your argument that if you, a cop, commit murder, you should NOT have to face justice for it? And that people are “crazy” for wanting to hold cops to the same standards as everyone else? George Floyd was an unresisting man handcuffed and lying on the ground. Any supervisor who backs up the cop who knelt on his neck until he died, or even the other three who stood around watching, should be fired as well.

You see, this is one of the great flaws of our police system. No accountability. They’ve for so long been able to operate in the shadows that they rarely have to answer to charges for crimes THEY commit. The blue wall protects them. Now that everyone has a camera handy in their pockets, the crimes we’ve heard rumors of for decades – the last century for Christ’s sake! – are available for all to see in beautiful, living color, contradicting the false reports these assholes keep filing to cover up their activities.

Oh, but they have qualified immunity! Meaning as long as their supervisor backs them, they can do whatever they want in the course of their duties. Even if they break the law, as long as they don’t break the law EXACTLY the same way as another cop was punished for in the past, they get to go free and go back to doing their work. It’s insanity. It’s literally saying one group of people are above the law. And that’s really what he’s pissed about, the loss of a privilege that only cops have. He’s mad about being held to the same criminal standards he applies to everyone else. No cop wants to be judged by THOSE standards, because there would be gaping holes in every department. Seems there are a LOT of fucking bad apples out there.

    • “Parents used to get mad at their kids for getting arrested and now they get mad at us.”

Because you tackle, abuse, and then charge kids with resisting arrest and “battery” when they’re scared of you. A kid. A 12-year old boy. Big tough cops don’t show the kid respect when they do that, you just prove you’re a bunch of pansies who think getting tough means destroying young lives. There was a time when cops weren’t held responsible for that sort of behavior, son. It was your bald faced lies against a kids, and parents tend to think their kids are dumb asses for the most part and believed you blindly. You just don’t like it’s called out now. You don’t like that you can’t lie to the parents and have them take your word over the kid’s because it’s all captured on film.

No one respects a bully, a jack booted fascist who makes shit up. No one respects a profession that feels it has to lie on the reports it files to do its job right.

    • “The media used to highlight the positive contribution our profession gave to society and now they either ignore it or twist the truth for controversy to line their own pockets.”

Straight out of the modern right-wing playbook. Blame the press when you get caught beating up suspects, or killing an innocent man in his car who is reaching for his insurance and registration. Maybe you could try to do better? But no… that takes rethinking how you function, how you perform your job, and that’s hard for you. Conservatives never like change, and you’ve gotten used to the privileges of your immunity.

You just be thankful phone cameras weren’t around in past decades, son. Cops got away with a TON of shit that will never come to light. How many innocent men and women did police help put away because they could plant evidence on them? Trump up assault/resisting charges against them despite having committed no ACTUAL crime cops could find? How many bodies have cops buried in swamps and woods? You’re very lucky you get to retire after 27 years and no one knows what you did for real (or at least nothing that’s provable). Because I have little doubt by the way you’re acting that you did some damn shady shit in your time on the force.

    • “There used to be a common respect among criminals. “

Well, at least you admit you’re a criminal. But boy, that’s some deep shit you’re slinging there. Criminals weren’t smiling and going “oh gosh, guess you caught me, officer. I’ll come quietly. What a great job you did.”

    • “If someone attacked a cop, they were seen as such. Now we martyr them and sue for millions.”

Maybe cops shouldn’t be such pansies, charging everyone for the slightest touching of their persons (and we’ve got video of a cops stepping INTO people on purpose, and then arresting them for assault and resisting). It’s on video kid. The eyes don’t lie. You guys shouldn’t charge innocent folks with crimes because you’re mad, bro. You’re supposed to be cool and collected. There’s a 12-year old boy in Sacramento you charged with battery after you chased him down and he “spit” on you. Spit? That’s battery?

Fucking weak, son. You’re weak and thin skinned and you should never have been a cop if this is your attitude. In most cases someone straight up assaulting cops isn’t going to be sympathized with. And you know it. We see it, and we agree with you. You’re just pissed you can’t get away with assaulting folks indiscriminately any more. We’ve got your number. We hold the cameras in our hand, and it fucking kills you that we do. Your abuse won’t fly.

    • “We used to be able to testify in court and we were believed.”

Any jury believing ONE cop over ONE defendant is wrong and has ALWAYS BEEN WRONG. You being a cop doesn’t make you a saint and worthy of our devotion. It’s your word against theirs. And we already know cops lie and make up charges. Here’s a nice collection of them planting evidence for you to enjoy.

I had the pleasure of serving on a jury trial once. The accused was said to be a drug dealer who’d been busted with heroine. The cop who testified was bright eyed and bushy tailed, clear and precise about his facts. Until it came down to listing the names of the officers who assisted him but had been strangely left off his report. Oops, he didn’t have those, couldn’t remember them. In fact, he had precious few details except “I saw him trying to sell the drugs, and I saw him throw them away when he ran. I picked them up off the street after we captured him.” No other forensics. No one to back up his testimony. How hard would it have been for him to get another of the officers there in court to help get a drug dealer off the streets? Apparently too hard.

Seriously? That’s testimony you’d buy? You’re a hell of a lot more gullible than I am, that’s for sure. I was the only white person on the jury. Everyone else was black. And I was among the first to raise my hand to acquit the man. Because yeah, maybe he was a drug dealer. But our system of justice is clear: one man’s word IS NOT ENOUGH to convict someone. Not even a cop’s word. Given that the rest of his work was sloppy as hell, no one could trust what he was saying. Your job is to catch them and do it right. Do it clean. Get all the facts. TELL THE TRUTH. If you can’t do that, you’re not doing your job, and all your words mean shit to me in the face of the lies we’ve already uncovered from cops. Too many innocent folks go to jail every year for me to trust you. Too many innocent people have been put to death in the electric chair for us to give you that faith.

You’re just mad we now know cop’s words aren’t worth the spit they come with. We saw the reports on the death of George Floyd. How he was struggling and resisting. We saw the video, too, and it was easy to tell how the officers lied on the report. Here’s the info showing they lied about his resisting. They do that all too often it seems. No pride in your work, you lie to cover up your mistakes. Because for you, everyone is a scum bag and you want to ensure they all get put away, even for stupid, petty crimes. A $20 bill that may have been forged was worth a life to the officers in blue.

His next section is a long tirade about how he’s not racist, he’s never seen a cop act racist, and the only bad names he ever heard came from black cops directed at other black cops. Then a section about how terrible the job’s become and how people treat him like shit.

Lies, damned lies, and a crock of shit. Yum yum, eat up that shit he’s slinging.

Let’s get into the meat of the rest of his arguments:

    • “Doctors kill 250,000 people a year. They call them “medical mistakes” because society understands that they do a very difficult job under high stress and they must make the best possible decision in the moment.”

Doctors are required to be licensed by a medical board in their state. They must maintain this license and meet standards regularly. Doctors must carry insurance for those same mistakes that this jack off so glibly passes over as if no one is appalled when they happen, and no one ever sues. What a load of nonsense this is.

But sure, let’s hold cops to the same standard. You must be licensed by a state board of emergency response professionals consisting of retired EMT’s, firefighters, and cops. You must renew that license regularly and meet standards, including anti-bias training, continuing education requirements, and FITNESS requirements (maybe if you weren’t so out of shape, you wouldn’t rely on your weapons so much). You must carry your own personal liability insurance, so that the tax payers are not paying out of the nose for your mistakes. How does all that sound? Oh, and also, no more military gear. You don’t need it. You’re not the fucking national guard.

But you’d get pissed if that happened. You’d claim it was preventing you from doing your job. It would make cops second guess their choices. They might not pull their gun when they should. Although I think it’s far more likely they won’t pull their gun when they shouldn’t. It’s pretty easy to know the difference. Is the suspect holding a weapon? Yes or no? Done.

Doctors hold life and death in their hands. One mistake, and they could kill their patient. Their philosophy is “do no harm”, and they try like hell to save lives. They don’t always succeed of course. The same goes for cops. You hold life and death in your grasp. Make a mistake, and you will kill innocent people. But the culture of policing says “it’s better to make a mistake and kill an innocent person than die yourself.” The focus isn’t on the patient, isn’t on the people you protect and serve, but on YOU. It is a self-centered philosophy that puts your life above anyone else’s.

I get it. It sucks facing life or death every day. But that’s the job. That’s why you put on the badge. That’s the oath you took (or it should be at least). You should strive every day to get it as right as possible. You should push hard to make the fewest mistakes you can. When you make a mistake, you should OWN it instead of lying about it. Saving your ass should be the LAST thing you’re thinking of, it should be SAVING THE PUBLIC. Because you’re a sheepdog, right? And we’re all just sheep. Isn’t that what killology teaches?

Here’s a fun fact: the moment the sheepdog starts killing the flock, the farmer puts the dog down and gets a different one. Simple as that. You can’t have it both ways, son. Pick one. Right now, the people are tired of you dogs killing us. We’re putting you down.

    • “Despite the most violent society we have ever seen”

Violence has been dropping for decades. This dickweed apparently didn’t get the memo. But that’s what happens when you only listen to right wingers on television.

 

Violent crime was dropping even before Clinton put “100,000 new cops on the streets.” It had been dropping since the early 70’s, with only a modest upswing during the late 80’s “war on drugs.”

Yet our incarceration rates remain near historical highs, after rising through the 80’s, and 90’s, and into the 2000’s. We are the most incarcerated modern country in the world, despite pretending we are the most “free.”

Incarceration Rate in the United States, 1960-2012 | The Hamilton ...

As of 2017, almost 1.5 MILLION of our citizens are in jail, most of them for relatively minor crimes. Who the fuck cares of someone shot up with heroin? Why arrest them and jail them when they need addiction treatment instead? It’s stupid and senseless.

And all of the above despite the fact that property crime isn’t even the crime that steals the most from the American people each year. That’s wage theft. The people who commit wage theft? Almost none of them ever go to jail. This despite the fact that wage theft steals more from the American people than all other property crimes combined.

Pasadena Wage Theft Enforcement Increasing - Pasadena Independent

 

The police don’t respond to reports of wage theft. They can’t. It’s not a crime you arrest folks for. But don’t steal a box of pens from your boss, you can be jailed for that even if he stole all your tips and paid you far less than minimum wage.

In the United States, policing isn’t about stopping crime. It’s about punishing the poor and minorities at disproportionate rates as the wealthy and white. Keep them in line, keep them in check. Keep them poor and struggling so they’ll be happy to take whatever shitty job they can get.

Instead of building a robust social system that helps people in times of need, provides a safety net, takes care of the mentally ill with dignity and respect, provides good public transit and healthcare for all, sick leave, paid time off, quality childcare for working families, we pay for lots and lots of heavily armed cops and a huge ass military. Because that’s the only system we know. We can’t even begin to CONCEIVE of anything else, which is why so many folks don’t understand “defund police.”

Back to our righteous asshole:

    • “less than 1,000 suspects are killed a year.”

This number is, first, a lie. That’s just shootings he’s talking about, and yes, it’s just under 1,000. There are approximately 10,000 shooting related homicides in the United States very year, so cops are responsible for 10% of all of them.

When you track ALL deaths that involve the police, total fatal encounters jumps to almost 1,700. When compared with all homicides (roughly 16,000), that’s again over 10% of all homicides involve the police.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s justified to worry that the people hired to keep law and order are involved with 10% of all murders. Especially in light of how often they lie on reports to make themselves seem innocent. Sure, plenty of them involve violent people who are trying to hurt others. But how many didn’t? How many are just innocent folks caught in the crossfire of police action? How many are unjustly pulled over and then murdered by cops who, despite having weapons and training, claim later they “feared for their life” when the driver reached for their wallet to get out their ID?

Yes, cops HAVE TO BE PERFECT. That’s the job. If you can’t tell the truth ALL THE TIME, if you have to reach for your gun to feel safe at a simple traffic stop, then it’s not the job for you. Get out. Find other work. You can save lives by becoming a firefighter, or an EMT. Hell, a crosswalk guard.

    • “96% are attacking us with weapons”

And 4% are not. But really, his stat is totally made up and random, no one can tell you the number of actual incidents involving violence directed at the cops because, as noted… COPS LIE ALL THE TIME. The number one interaction with cops is traffic stops, at roughly 40% of all interactions. Very few of those involve weapons. So there’s already almost HALF of all police activities that involve NO WEAPONS.

Did I mention that COPS LIE ALL THE TIME?

    • “Cowards are all around us. From chiefs to sheriffs to politicians, no one has our back.”

Maybe it’s because, when you clearly did wrong and your work was an impediment to good public order, you doubled down and did WORSE. Maybe because you fought so fucking hard against ACTUAL and USEFUL reform that this is where we landed. Police unions have powers no other unions have had. Mayors can’t even get them to stop using tear gas on the public who are protesting peacefully. And when folks ask you nicely to stop, you whine and cry and go on television to tell us “fine, we’ll slow down our work.”

Hey, New York tried that a few years ago. They refused to make arrests, slowed everything down. Guess what? The city did not descend into violence. Violent crimes actually decreased (because there were no lying cops around to make shit up I suppose). Life went on with fewer cops, and everyone seemed to do just fine. And that should scare you most of all, son. Because it’s clear we don’t need all of you to build a safe public.

    • “If you think Minneapolis will turn into Mogadishu and that is far from you, it’s coming.”

No son, it’s not coming. You’re going. Your way of policing America is coming to an end. No more cops believing they are sheepdog and we are sheep, protecting their own asses while taking our lives. No more arresting folks for petty $20 crimes while the big dogs run free and loot American for billions. We’re going to take all the money you waste on tear gas and MRAPS, riot gear and drones, and we’ll find new uses for it.

9/11 turned this country insane. We saw terrorists coming out of every dark corner. Never mind that we actually KNEW about these terrorists ahead of time, caught wind of their plans before they executed them, and they only succeeded because folks ignored the warnings. Once it happened, we assumed “it can happen any time.” And we lost our every loving collective cool over it. Just. Like. We. Always. Do. We are a reactive society, not given to deliberative contemplation. We’ve spent twenty years pouring money into defense, intelligence, weapons, arming every police force to the teeth. And the result? More civilians being hurt or killed, while whatever terrorist threats we faced were dealt with the usual way: good intelligence work, and a midnight raid. We’ve had more incidents of right-wing terrorism since 9/11 than of anything else. Bombings of mosques, mass murders in churches. And we’ve spent almost nothing rooting out THOSE people.

No one has all the answers to these issues. But there are a shit ton of better ideas than setting up another civilian oversight commission that will be underfunded and ignored. And the response has to be broader than simply taking away cops military gear.We have to attack the roots of our corrupt, wealth-based society. A society that values profits over people to the point our president would willingly ignore the climbing death toll from a pandemic to ensure the economy keeps humming along. And then use the pandemic as an excuse to make sure 500 BILLION dollars disappears into the bank vaults of his friends and allies.

  • Reforms begin with reforming our failing social services network. Healthcare for all to start. Mandatory requirements for sick time and vacation time for all workers, no matter how long they’ve been employed or how many hours they work. Improving child care access for all. Better schools, better hospitals, better mass transit systems. Increasing minimum wage immediately to $15 an hour. Ensuring ALL Americans have access to high speed internet bandwidth cheaply, and NOT wifi or satellite (both of which cost significantly more to implement and are not nearly as fast as fiber solutions). Congress should begin enacting these reforms as quickly as possible. The country needs a new Deal again to fix what conservatives have damaged so badly over the past half century. UBI should be considered as well, along with free college for all and price controls for all public services. Congress holds the power of the purse, we can easily afford these things if we wanted them. And Americans by and large do.
  • Policing as it exists today should end immediately. All unions will be dissolved, all cops fired. They will then have to reapply for their jobs, and police may join the union that represents teachers as well so they can bolster and support each other. Local communities will decide what number of cops they need and how they will be structured. Oversight will go to people of the community, not politicians or the police. The police will be REQUIRED to live in the community they serve. District Attorneys and other officers of the court must have no relationship with cops. Cops make arrests, DA’s decide whether or not to prosecute based on the filed report.
  • Cops will be required to earn a state license to operate as officers of the law. They must renew the license regularly, and must show continuing education as well as continual bias and deescalation training. If any cop is found willfully breaking the law or filing false reports, they will immediately lose their license and be unable to serve. Police must also maintain liability insurance just as other professions with the power of life and death must. Payments for mistakes should never fall on the taxpayers.
  • Police will no longer wear guns to every encounter. No weapons are needed when someone shoplifts a candy bar, or is “panhandling,” or any of the tens of MILLIONS of other interactions cops have every year, including traffic stops, which account for the majority. Suspects are presumed innocent, not guilty, by ALL members of the criminal justice system. Only when a call involves reports of a weapon or potential serious violence that might harm someone will they take their guns.
  • Any stop of a suspect must be for a legitimate legal reason. Petty laws will be removed from the books. Police may no longer charge someone with “resisting” or “battery” if there is no legitimate crime that they are being charged with. Police are there to make us safe, not to catch and arrest us at their whim. Assume innocence at all times, and learn to deescalate conflicts between people rather than simply slapping handcuffs on folks. Police will issue fines on the spot for petty offenses, not arrest people.
  • People caught using drugs will no longer be jailed, but remanded to appropriate addiction treatment facilities if needed. Drug USE should not be a crime. Marijuana will immediately be descheduled and handled like alcohol is. All marijuana related crimes will be expunged from records and those individuals who do not have other charges unrelated to the use or sale of marijuana will be released.
  • Working with the mentally ill is for trained professionals, not police. Each department should have several of these folks on staff to assist, as well as serve community needs with outreach programs and guiding citizens to resources for their wellness.
  • Military equipment is for the military. Police do not need it. Ever. Full stop. If a problem is large enough to warrant these items (armed terrorists taking over a wildlife refuge for example), states can call out their national guards. Police will immediately give up all riot gear, military equipment, high powered rifles and weapons, and will limit themselves to normal cars and small arms. To the people in the government who were selling police drones and mortars: fuck you bastards, that’s sick. These are American citizens you want to use them against.
  • Criminal justice reform is integral to this work. People will not be jailed for petty theft or minor crimes. If someone stole $20 worth of groceries, they should be fined $20, immediately payable just like a traffic ticket. Failure to pay the fine is not a jailable offense either. The punishment for crimes should fit the crime, not the shifting whims of “law and order” folks who believe jail is appropriate for minor infractions while the types of crimes that remove billions from the hands of hard working people are rarely punished. Focus will be shifted to attacking white collar crimes, financial crimes, tax evasion by the wealthy, and other upper level crimes that lead to the ruin of American society and an inability of Americans to trust leaders. Good order must start at the top.
  • Jail reform. For profit prisons are immediately banned. The bleak and punishing jail system will be torn down. Only the truly violent and dangerous offenders will be kept in high security facilities. The rest of the criminals will stay in facilities that offer training programs, financial programs, and other social safety systems designed to help them with whatever problems led them to commit a minor offense. We should be reforming and helping folks, not punishing them. Just as the cop who arrested me realized it would do no good to put me into the court system. Putting minor offenders in cells only increases the likelihood of recidivism and continuing criminal activity. See What America can Learn From Nordic Police for a vision of what this would look like. If it works for other countries, it can work for us.
  • Finally, gun reform. With a few notable exceptions (the Brady bill), every attempt made has been a mess. The conflating of “appearance” with “function” leads to stupid bans on weapons that look dangerous but are functionally no different than other weapons in the same categories. States have a hobbled together confusing messes of laws. We need real reform done right at the Federal level (per the Constitution and the term “well regulated), that respects the 2nd amendment while making people safer. I recommend banning ALL semi-automatics. Period. Full stop. Single shot weapons are what the founders had in mind, not thirty mag repeaters that can kill masses of folks quickly and are almost never used for what proponents say they are. Barring that, though (and I’m positive it would never get passed in our current environment), the penalties should be on the OWNERS. There should be huge penalties every time a gun someone owns is used to kill. Whether its stolen, or a child picked it up, or a suicide. Owners need to be held liable and responsible. Period. THAT is what being a “responsible gun owner” really means, keeping your weapons out of the wrong hands. Make them get liability insurance like the police at the very least. The more guns, the higher the insurance.

We have to overcome two centuries of fucked up thinking about what police are and what they do. The forces that started out as private armies to recapture slaves, that morphed into the forces used to maintain oppressive Jim Crow laws and ensure white superiority over blacks, have not reformed far enough since the civil rights movement in ensuring they are serving the people of their communities and not some warped image of what our country is supposed to be. For every “bad apple”, there are not hundreds of “good apples.” The quote is: “one bad apple spoils the barrel.” In other words, one bad cops leads to all bad cops because of a culture of silencing critics, shielding each other from the ramifications of their actions, and treating all of society as a violent, guilty mass they must bite and claw to keep in line. The writer of the long winded pile of excrement I’m responding to thinks he’s a good cop. He never was. He is the beneficiary of a fucked up, twisted system that is anathema to our stated societal goals. That everyone has rights. That everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That no person should stand above another. That we should be BETTER every day than we were in the past.

I’m tired of us being held back by these folks. Let’s move forward without them and build a vision of community safety that is robust and inclusive of ALL the things that our safety means. Food, clean air and water, safe roads, opportunity, education. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And yes… sometimes we need folks to keep the wolves away.

But not by making them into wolves themselves.

To Travis Yates I say:  good riddance. We don’t need you or the people like you. It’s time for better cops, smarter cops, cops who care about their communities and don’t act like they deserve respect merely for wearing that badge. Your long winded “poor me” bullshit is tired and old and its time to sweep people like you into the dustbin of history.

 

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