Tom Riggins: Protests and Police
It is amazing how quickly the media replaced the COVID-19 issue after states began to reopen with the George Floyd protests. There has been almost non-stop coverage of the protests. The media has attempted to gloss over and excuse the violent and destructive riots that have been an outgrowth of these protests. One pundit even had the audacity to call a protest peaceful despite the building burning in the background. Thus is the arrogance of the media.
The death of George Floyd was a needless tragedy if the published videos are accurate. To be clear, the perpetrators were charged under our justice system within three days, an almost unheard of short time frame. And to be clear, everyone has a right to peaceful assembly to protest virtually anything. The key word being “peaceful.” Finding reported pallets of bricks that must have conveniently fallen off of trucks in strategic locations in major cities changes the tenor of the protests. It raises the question of political intent of paid operatives and demeans those with peaceful intent.
There is no doubt that there are bad cops. Within any societal sector you choose to define there is a large percentage of good people and a small minority of bad. That sector can be career or profession, social standing, religion, gender, race, or any other one you choose. It is human nature that a small percentage will abuse their position or standing.
Yet a small sector of an honorable profession has smeared the rest. I have rarely encountered a bad cop, at least not in Nevada. In my experience they have been courteous and professional regardless of the circumstance. I can’t say the same of California Highway Patrol. Every encounter there appears to have been with the intent to escalate. I can only conclude it is a culture encouraged by leadership. That may be a problem in larger city forces as well.
Today there is a huge disincentive for good cops to report bad behavior. I think it to be from a combination of factors. This ranges from police unions protecting bad behavior with the same vigor as frivolous complaints, to leadership and internal investigations ignoring all but the most egregious behavior, to fostering an “us against them” culture.
The current cry is “Defund the police.” No one is sure what exactly that means, as even the proponents can’t say for sure. It could mean completely eliminating law enforcement and replacing it with some other yet to be determined model. I have to say, eliminating law enforcement is a foolish move. You might as well post “Pillage, rape, and murder welcome” in big neon letters. The result is anarchy. That probably won’t phase oblivious Democrat leaders in those cities. They think everyone will “collaborate” forgetting that collaboration only works when everyone agrees. Ask Antifa in Seattle if they will agree. Have you seen their list of demands?
Other interpretations include dismantling and reorganizing existing police forces, or some iteration thereof. That really isn’t defunding, but the narrative sounds good. In the meantime, firearms purchases have spiked. Any idea why?
There needs to be a way to change the current mindset of police and by police. Police must operate under a fine line between enough force and too much. Of course, the Monday morning quarterbacks are always right from the safety of their smart phone screens. Police need a clearer policy under which to work. And there needs to be a better way of holding bad cops accountable. Several ideas are out there. One includes review boards being in separate agencies from law enforcement.
Another idea, from Illinois of all places, is to license law enforcement officers. Other careers require licensing, so why not police? It would remove local, possibly cronyist, oversight of infractions. It would also help stop a bad cop from getting a job in another city after being censured or fired. There might also need to be some easing of the qualified immunity in certain circumstances. That would remove the idea of immunity from their actions. I don’t know if these ideas would work, but they might be worth trying.
A police force is the least acceptable alternative, except for all others. The anti-police rhetoric must stop. That means from liberal politicians, educators, and self-appointed civil rights leaders. No person or group is perfect but police are the line that gives pause to criminals. Otherwise every Democrat run city in the U.S. will have anarchists running the show, like Seattle.