Guy Farmer: Defund the police? Never!
I don’t oppose the idea of reforming the police by getting rid of bad and/or racist cops, but I’m adamantly opposed to the idea of defunding the police. No way!
These are important issues in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death at the hands of a rogue Minneapolis police officer, and the city’s subsequent decision to replace local police with an ill-defined Department of Community Safety, sort of an expanded Neighborhood Watch Committee. I think that’s a dangerous idea. How about you?
Here’s a not-so-hypothetical for you: Let’s say that you’re an honest, taxpaying Minneapolis homeowner and a group of armed thugs show up at your front door to commit a home invasion robbery. Of course you immediately call 911 and the operator promises a prompt response. But she doesn’t send police officers because the police department has been abolished. Instead, she sends two very polite social workers from the Community Safety Committee, who patiently explain why the home invasion is your fault.
“You must understand the home invaders’ legitimate grievances,” the social workers explain, “and you must understand that they’re the victims of ‘income inequality,’ and ‘systemic racism,'” and therefore they have a valid reason to come into your home and take your stuff. And moreover, if you’re an elderly white person like your favorite Appeal columnist, you must pay an additional “white privilege” penalty. “Sign here,” they tell you, “to certify that you understand why the home invasion is your fault,” as they’ve carefully explained. An impossible scenario? Maybe not.
A recent editorial in the conservative Washington Examiner asserted that the Defund the Police movement “is just another way for the Left to push its usual agenda.” According to the Examiner, “Liberal columnists and some elected officials . . . argue that defunding the police merely means shifting some money spent on police into other priorities such as housing, education and healthcare. But that’s really just a fancier way of saying everybody should support the same big-spending, left-wing agenda they were pushing long before George Floyd became a national figure.”
So far former Vice President Joe Biden, a 77-year-old career politician, has resisted calls to abolish the police, but left-wing crazies in his party, like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio – Cortez and her Democrat/Socialist “squad” mates, are urging Democratic presidential candidate Biden to defund the police, open our borders and outlaw fossil fuels. I hope the elderly, frequently confused Biden can resist strong pressure from the Far Left to adopt their socialist agenda.
Meanwhile, here in Carson City, community leaders firmly oppose the Defund the Police movement. Mayor-elect Lori Bagwell, who worked in law enforcement and retired as the deputy director of the state Corrections Department, told me that defunding the police “would lead to chaos and the inability of any form of government to function effectively. . . . Our Sheriff’s Department is the enforcement wing of our government. Damage that wing and our government cannot fly.”
Although I greatly admire my friend Bob Crowell, our very capable and popular Mayor, I’m glad he’ll be succeeded by someone with a law enforcement background.
Carson Sheriff Ken Furlong told me “the extreme notion of ‘Defund the Police’ is an outrageous response to the challenges America faces, and clearly puts the health, safety and welfare of a community at a very low priority.. Progressive law enforcement should always be structured around the community with multiple layers of engagement.” Well said, Sheriff.
Both Mayor-elect Bagwell and Furlong are Carson City natives who care deeply about our community. We should be grateful and thankful that they strongly oppose the extremely dangerous Defund the Police movement.
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.