Stop, Listen, Think: Why we need to #defundthepolice.
Let me start by prefacing that I am the granddaughter of a former chief of police. I was raised to respect the police and view them as protectors. Good men doing their job. What we have seen over the past months is a direct contradiction to that. I easily see that there is something drastically wrong with our criminal justice system. My own grandfather is ashamed.
Our criminal justice system spend millions paying settlements to those wronged by the police. Think of it this way, if you had a dog and they went and bit someone else’s kid, you would be expected to put that dog down. I know people will hate this analogy, but just sit tight for a minute. Imagine our criminal justice system is an owner; cops are dogs trained to do a job. That dog just killed someone, the group of them killed a whole lot of someones, innocent people, and they are not even really being punished. The owner is simply paying of the grieving parties and definitely is not looking to fix the training on the other dogs to make sure they don’t do something similar. THAT MAKES NO SENSE.
Honestly, given our criminal justice system, it slightly amazes me that there are any good cops left at all. #defundthepolice is NOT asking that those cops who do their jobs morally and correctly not be paid, or even be paid less. It is taking away the money that funds the systematic racism and malpractice that seem to be plaguing our police force. It is holding those who kill people accountable. The goal is to lessen the load of the everyday police officer by reallocating funds and responsibilities to those who are adequately trained for particular situations. It aims to overhaul a system that is so clearly corrupt and failing. It is decriminalizing minor offenses, reducing overlapping laws, and streamlining our criminal justice system so that it is something that can actually be effective. It HAS to be a system that works for everyone and not the few.
Over the past 50 years legislators come into office on the platform of enacting some new law, criminalizing some act. In general, no one comes into office on the platform of reducing laws. For over 50 years we have consistently added and added to the load of laws the police are expected to know and enforce. This overcriminalization has put the discretion of what to prosecute into the hands of the individual. Then we train that individual to view the people they are supposed to protect as potential threats. Why?
Police fall back on their training in times of crisis, so why are we training them to shoot? Why are we training them to fear people of color more than their white counterparts? And why are we surprised when this backfires in epic proportions?
Those officers that commit murder in the name of the police need to face punishment, they need to be held accountable, but we cannot stop there. That is literally putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. It does nothing more than punish the individual in a system that is so fundamentally flawed that it too fails the people it is meant to protect. The problem is not with the individual; it is with the system itself.
So please, do not ignore the argument being made simply because the moniker is #defundthepolice, take a minute and do some research instead.
Image by Neal Skorpen