My Thoughts On Police Shootings

militarization-of-police

This is getting to be FAR beyond insane.

When I heard about the SEVERAL police shootings in the past several weeks, I needed to take a moment and collect my thoughts. Right now, the police are in the midst of some really bad Public Relations, and they’re only digging themselves into a deeper hole.

Take the recent police shooting in Miami, where a Behavioral Tech was trying to attend to an autistic boy (about 14 years old) who had escaped the group home he lives in. The boy was sitting in the middle of a street, and was holding a toy truck. The therapist was attempting to get him back to the house, and a nosy neighbor called the police, thinking that something bad was happening, and that they’d seen a gun. The cops came, and drew guns onto the two, who were still in the street.

There is video of this as it plays out, but not through the actual shooting. Take a look:

The office involved shot his gun, and hit the therapist in his leg. Note that the therapist was laying on the ground with his hands in the air. When the Police Union commented, the following happened:

John Rivera, president of the Police Benevolent Association in Dade County, told reporters Thursday that the officer who fired thought Kinsey’s life was in danger.

“It appeared to the officers that the white male was trying to do harm to Mr. Kinsey,” Rivera said. “In fearing for Mr. Kinsey’s life, the officer discharged his firearm trying to save Mr. Kinsey’s life and he missed.”

So, their justification was that he boy was going to harm the therapist with a TOY TRUCK. The officers were made aware that it was toy truck and not a gun when the therapist SHOUTED it at them. You can even see that in the video above too.

I’m not going to go any further with the stupidity of the police unions logic. It’s pretty evident. This whole situation is absolutely stupid, and could’ve been completely avoided had the officers actually taken a moment to listen to the therapist, and not immediately thought “I’m going to get shot”.

And with that, I need to address a few things. Police shootings and general brutality is becoming a more pressing and bigger issue. More and more people care, and it’s becoming quite divisive. Either #PoliceLivesMatter or #BlackLivesMatter and the cops need to be disarmed. If you don’t fall into either of those categories, you’re either a terrible anti-cop person who should never call 911, or you hate all black people and are a racist.Doubt me on that? Look at the mainstream news and the Presidential candidates.

I would like to propose 4 methods of reducing police violence, as a WHOLE. You’re going to have to bear with me, and hear me out. These solutions do not amount to disarming the police, or banning guns, or letting the cops become fully militarized. My methods are below:

  1. Repeal laws and reform the criminal justice system
  2. Change the training methods for new trainees and current cops
  3. Dissolve Police Departments for private policing firms
  4. Demilitarize the police

The first two seem more practical than the third, and I’d agree with that, but just hear me out through all of these.


#1. Repeal Laws and Reform the Criminal Justice System

This one is probably the biggest way you can prevent people from having the shit beaten out of them by the cops. You see, you need to understand how laws are enforced. Laws are enforced by the use of force. Every law comes with that guarantee. Whether it be a fine for your grass becoming too high, or selling loose cigarettes in the streets of New York City, each law has a threat of the use of force behind it. This FACT is undeniable. You can not argue it. This is solid.

When you break a law, you get a punishment from the government. A lot of people attempt to get past this and act as if it won’t happen, but they find out that they’re not free of this very principle of basic government. The cops are there to ENFORCE, not to argue or debate on laws. That’s why when you make something illegal, you’re guaranteeing that there will be the use of force behind said act.

It’s why I can’t stand that people want laws banning or making things more difficult. Take marijuana or instance, or even the whole War on Drugs. Drug busts and drug-related crimes have over-filled prisons around the country, and vastly expanded the prison network in the country. All because some people decided they wanted some substances and their use made illegal. The people doing these substances didn’t want them to be illegal, and many sure didn’t go quietly.

The laws need to be repealed, and the use of force needs to be lifted. The Criminal Justice system also needs to be reformed, so that mandatory minimum sentencing is done away with, since it should be up to a Judge or a Jury of your Peers what your punishment should be, and not a Congressional or Legislative mandate. These only make things worse, in that they prolong the problem, and ensure that more people will be effected.


#2. Reforming Police Training Tactics

These are some of the tactics being taught to officers as we speak:

“It was literally a training to seek the legal opportunity to kill,” he said. “As [Bostain] said in the training, ‘Right and wrong are about morality, reasonable and unreasonable is about the law, and that is where we are focused.’ This meant a wounded officer from Texas was criticized for refusing to take an intermediate distance shot because there were civilians in the suspects background.

“To my horror, Bostain followed up to that particular video with a statistic indicating most officers shot to death never shot back.”

According to the learning materials, Bostain argues there isn’t time for logic and analysis, encouraging officers to fire multiple rounds at subjects because “two shots rarely stops ‘em,” and outlines seven reasons why “excessive use of force” is a myth.

Other lessons Jack learned from the “Anatomy of Force Incidents” training in January include a need to over-analyze one’s environment for deadly threats by using one’s imagination to create “targets of the day” who could be “reasonably” shot, to view racial profiling as a legitimate policing technique, even if the person is a child, pregnant woman or elderly person, and to use the law to one’s advantage to avoid culpability.

In Glennon’s May training class, Jack says he was instructed by the charismatic, macho, former interrogator on how to learn to ignore natural human reactions such as stress in order to use force without hesitation.

“Glennon’s version of the ‘don’t hesitate’ message is the most dangerous I have seen, even after researching police apologists,” Jack said. “This was apparent in Glennon’s defense of the Albuquerque officer’s killing of a homeless man with shots to his back.”

Reforming the training tactics that new trainees are taught is the second biggest thing you can do to reduce police brutality. I say the second because it is only addressing a symptom of big government, and mountains of laws needing enforcement. This one would need to be done along with the reduction of laws on the books needing to be enforced, otherwise, it’s kinda not going to do anything, though it actually may end up harming officers.

Officers first instinct should not be to suspend all judgement and pull out a gun. Their minds shouldn’t always be focused on “Am I going to make it home tonight?”. They should be the highest of people in control of their emotions, and should be level-headed enough to handle the situations that they’re getting involved in. They took a dangerous job, and they should have been well aware of the associated risks. If they’re not fit enough to handle these above criteria, I don’t care how strong or whatever, you’re not qualified. Period.


#3. Consider Private Policing

Hear me out.

There’s a saying that goes “Whatever the government does, the private sector can do better”. I have a feeling that this saying can be applied to this situation, but it’d be just a bit more than just privatization.

In Atlanta, there’s a small little part of town called Atlantic Station. Everything is privately owned, such as the roads, sidewalks, parks, and even the police. Jeffrey Tucker went there a year ago June to have a look around, and he was quite astounded by his findings in this private city:

I was walking along and a uniformed police office greeted me good evening. I responded with delight, and we had a nice conversation. She wanted to know if I was enjoying the evening, made a few bar recommendations, we chatted about the weather, and I went on. She was uniformed, yes, and probably armed, but in a non-threatening way. She looked sharp and helpful, as well as official.

Then it struck me: the police in the community are privately employed by main stakeholders in the community, which are the merchants, apartment owners, and other service providers. (The streets are also private but public access.) For this reason, the police themselves have a deep investment in the well-being of the community and the general happiness of the consumers who shop there. They are employees of the free enterprise system. In particular, Atlantic Station owners contract with Chesley Brown for experienced service.

So what makes these police different from the rest?

What makes the difference here is the private nature of the contract that employs them. Just as every other employee in this community, they have a direct stake in the value of the space. They are there to serve customers, just as every merchant in this community does.

The more valuable the community, the more valuable their own jobs. They have the incentive to do their job well, which means enhancing the experiences of rule keepers while driving out those who do not keep the rules.

So, what happens if someone breaks a rule in Atlantic Station?

The first time I entered Atlantic Station was about 18 months ago. I had some sense that something was different about the place, but I hadn’t understood that it was entirely private. I stepped out on the sidewalk and lit up a cigarette. One of these very nice private policeman came up and greeted me and politely asked me to put it out, on grounds that this was against the rules in this private community. I said, you mean by this building? He said, no, for the whole community.

I didn’t resent it. In fact, I was delighted to comply. I even thanked him for being so kind. There were no tickets, no yelling, no moments of intimidation. No one is taking your stuff, threatening to arrest you, or even giving you tickets. You have the right of exit. The rules themselves become part of a larger market for rules.

All in all, the experience of the people and the roll of the officers is of much more quality. People are treated much better, since they too have more of a stake in it besides living there (which for many public departments, who hire outside their jurisdiction, is debatable), meaning that they put more effort into making sure that people are okay and that if rules are broken, they are dealt with in an actual, humane way.

Tucker summarized his comparative thoughts to the current public departments like this:

Where monopolistic, tax-funded enforcement can be cruel, inflexible, and violent, the same enforcement brought about within the matrix of an exchange economy can yield results that are humane, orderly, and beautiful. The right to just walk away makes all the difference.

The implications for policing are perhaps the most interesting, given the current controversy over police abuse. When the police function is part of the market order, the phrase “to serve and protect” takes on substantive meaning. It’s this feature of public vs. private property that is decisive.

The lesson to be taken from this is that privatized police can actually be for the good of people. But, in order for this to also work, you need to cut back on the laws needing enforcement. I can’t stress that one hard enough, because it’s so important and far-reaching that it effects everything involving policing.


#4. Demilitarizing the police

The militarization of the police has been going on for more than 100 years, since it’s beginnings in California. The innovations of tactics, to the formation of SWAT, to the Department of Homeland Security’s diffusion of military equipment meant for the War in Iraq has progressed this militarization, and transformed our police forces from the blue or tan uniforms of the past (see Andy Griffith Show) to the darkened, scary looking soldiers of today.

This has helped to increase the violence against police, and especially by police. When you look completely foreign and inhumane, do you honestly expect to be treated with respect, an well-liked by the people you serve? Many will fear you, some will hate you, many will distrust you. This is not necessarily the police officers fault themselves. This is the fault of a system that has been in motion for many, many years.

Cops should be speaking out and demanding that these things, like their tanks, bayonets, and grenade launchers, should not be used. But, police unions and the departments are not usually run these days by people who want smaller government, and more peaceful policing. They’re usually thinking about what the worst possible thing is that may happen, and preparing for that.


Can police and civilian lives both be protected by these reforms? Absolutely. That’s why they should be done. We don’t need to wait for the Federal Government to do them. That’s why things are so bad: because of federal involvement. States and localities can take steps to put in these reforms and improve the conditions of their territory. Lives can be saved: on both sides.

The question ultimately beomes: who will listen, and who will do it? BLM isn’t currently interested, since they’re off trying to get the police disarmed, and fiddling with symptoms and not addressing the root problems. People who support the police no-matter-what will not listen, and will just brush you off, saying you don’t care about cops. It takes some sane, level-headed, not politically indoctrinated people to push this through, and until that comes, lives will only be lost and ruined on both sides.

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