It’s really hard to understand how we got to where we are today. The video of George Floyd’s death was deeply disturbing, but there has to be something else at work to bring about the widespread rioting, the wanton destruction of our national monuments, the vitriol directed at law enforcement officers, and the insane demands to defund and dismantle our police departments.
There are those who try to defend those revolutionaries. They say no one really wants to abolish our police departments – they just want to reform them. But they haven’t been listening to radical lawmakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has said, “Defunding the police means defunding the police.” And they haven’t been watching the events unfolding in Seattle or in Minneapolis. While those two cities are at the forefront of the anti-police movement, more than a dozen major cities across the country are taking steps to drastically cut police budgets and manpower.
The cuts have nothing to do with budgetary concerns. They’re in response to the frenzied mobs.
Those mayors and city administrators are foolish to believe that they can prevent future incidents like Floyd’s death by weakening the police. Every confrontation between police and criminal suspects has the potential to spiral out of control. A less-effective police department would only result in more injuries and fatalities for the officers. And with no police presence whatsoever, countless innocent men, women, and children would face brutality and death in a society overrun by violent criminals.
Maybe those city leaders feel a need to do something – even if it’s wrong. If they’re trying to punish the police en masse, for the Floyd incident, they’re not only foolish, but small-minded and petty.
Or maybe they’re simply intimidated by the growing anti-police hysteria and acquiescing to the mobs. In that case, they’re foolish, cowardly, and utterly unworthy of the positions they hold.
But more insidious are the city officials who have bought-in to the lies of the agitators – the mayors and city administrators who truly believe that police, in general, are systemically racist.
According to a report by the Department of Justice conducted in 2011, an estimated 31.4 million Americans requested assistance from the police at least once during that year. Of those, 93 percent reported that they were just as likely, or more likely to call the police again under similar situations.
Another DOJ report, issued in 2018, addressed the issue of police-initiated contacts. Contrary to the inflammatory claims by the left, it reveals that police were just as likely to initiate contact with blacks as with whites.
George Floyd’s death was a tragedy, but it was also an anomaly, an aberration. Systemic racism in our police departments is an illusion, conjured up by anti-American zealots and malcontents.
Those who unhesitatingly bow to their demands are flying by the seat of their pants. They’re scrambling to defund the police, but don’t know where to go from there. Some have suggested replacing police with unarmed social workers or re-molding law enforcement officers into something called peace officers. They have no concept of the real dangers police routinely face when they respond to those 911 calls. They haven’t considered the consequences of drastically modifying a law enforcement system millions of Americans depend upon.
There are so many more rational steps that could be taken to reduce those rare instances of police misconduct. These might include independent oversight of police actions, expanded use of body cameras, better screening of police candidates, better training, and an easier process to remove misfits. All of that would require increased funding – not budget cuts. Efforts to villainize and hobble the police, or eliminate them entirely, can only lead to increasing lawlessness and an anarchic society.
More than 2000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle understood the importance of laws in society. He wrote that “law is order.” That hasn’t changed, even in this 21st century society. And something else hasn’t changed. Laws mean nothing if there is no one to enforce them. It only took a few weeks to prove that in Seattle, Washington.© Peter Lemiska
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.