Cops Continue To Make The Best Argument For Defunding The Police
from the 'blue-lives-matter'-replaced-with-'soy-un-perdedor' dept
“Defund the police!” people shouted as cops continued to kill unarmed black people in ways that went far past “subjectively defensive” into “objectively racist.” Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd for ten minutes, personifying 300 years of white oppression of black people. Floyd died, suspected of nothing more than passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a local store.
The nation erupted. Calls came to strip funding from cop shops that had done little but extend the racist narrative of this country, focusing their enforcement efforts on poor minorities to ensure they were never able to raise themselves to the level where their votes or opinions might matter.
Cops are terrible at solving crimes. In most cases, it’s a lack of interest. Your average property crime might feel significant to the victim, but the distribution of law enforcement resources doesn’t prioritize petty theft.
Instead, law enforcement focuses on the one thing that benefits it: the War on Drugs. Kicked off by a president who obliged noted drug abuser Elvis Presley with a White House photo op, the War on Drugs has become a handy way for cops to help themselves to people’s property without having to worry about actually providing probable cause to support their actions.
The crimes people care about, the police don’t. Homicide/murder clearance rates are abysmal. In many large cities, murder is a seller’s market. Clearance rates make it clear committing murder is as likely to pay off as spinning a roulette wheel.
When people expect police to act quickly, cops respond slowly if they bother responding at all. Most of the law enforcement action we see stems from traffic stops predicated on violations most drivers consider to be, at best, simply annoying. Failure to signal? Following too closely? Driving too slowly in the left lane? We honk, we throw the bird, we curse under our breath. But we aren’t cursing cops for failing to enforce these laws.
But that’s what cops do, because it allows them to talk people into consent for warrantless searches. That’s where the action is. Sometimes they find drugs. Other times they find cash and property they can seize by speculating about how it was purchased. The remainder of drivers are free to go, hassled but hopefully not litigious.
In Uvalde, Texas a shooter entered an elementary school and killed 19 students and two teachers. Uvalde police officers — sent by an agency that demands 40% of the city’s budget — were on the scene. But they weren’t doing anything. According to conflicting and constantly morphing accounts, officers tried to enter the room but two officers suffered “grazing” bullet wounds. The effort to stop the killing was abandoned. Officers retreated to another room, ignoring multiple 911 calls from students that made it clear the shooter was still alive and still killing students.
Uvalde cops rode to the proverbial rescue but abandoned their “run to the sound of gunfire” when it became apparent the sound was linked to actual gunfire. Officers hung back and waited for someone else to save the day. Other officers gathered outside of the building busied themselves with preventing parents from rescuing their children and threatening people with probation violations for talking to the press.
It took a federal agency to end the nightmare. A division of the US Border Patrol actually took the gunman down. Read that again: a border control agency was asked to go 60 miles inland to perform duties unrelated to its usual enforcement efforts. And it accomplished the task, despite being “backed up” by officers who had received specific training in handling active shooter situations.
The retreat was unjustified. The training these officers had received informed them they were expected to sacrifice their own safety to ensure the safety of others. It noted that if officers felt they were incapable of putting their own lives on the line, they needed to find other employment.
These cops took 40% of the city’s budget and engaged in 0% of the rescue effort. They did not kill the shooter. They did not rescue students until well after the gunman had been killed by officers from another agency. Why are we paying these cops? Because we want small traffic infractions addressed and property crimes treated with shrugs and the perfunctory filing of reports?
This is what billions of dollars of funding are buying us every year:
It’s not just murder. Manslaughter is down to 69 percent clearance from 90 percent forty years ago. Clearances in assault and rape cases have dropped to 47 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Nonviolent property crimes like burglary (which involves illegally entering a property), theft (which involves taking property from another person), and motor vehicle theft are getting solved at a microscopic 14 percent, 15 percent, and 12 percent, respectively.
Mass shootings may fall somewhat outside of this tabulation, but it’s still part of the law enforcement equation. Some statistics posted by Eugene Volokh in support of the “good guy with a gun” theory don’t make the point Eugene thinks it does.
The point he’s trying to make is that citizens with guns are instrumental in ending mass shooter situations, which results in saved lives that wouldn’t be possible if gun control efforts had prevented these people from responding to acts of violence. To be fair, Volokh states that he draws no inference from these incidents other than the fact the 2nd Amendment allowed these people to return fire when faced with gunfire. But he buries that hedging under this headline:
10 Cases in Past Year Where Law-Abiding Defenders “Have Stopped Likely Mass Public Shootings” With Guns
Depending on the criteria used, there was anywhere from a half-dozen to several hundred mass shootings during this same time period. The information gathered by the site Volokh quotes doesn’t appear to be tied to any particular count of mass shooting events. It is only a compilation of cases where citizens stopped a gunman by using a gun of their own.
Even if you believe people with guns are instrumental to stopping mass shootings (and that any gun control methods would lower this number), the percentage of cases where this happens is extremely low. In most cases, it’s cops responding to active shooter calls. And they’re definitely not great at handling those incidences either. At best, this suggests there are too many guns out there at any given time and that people wanting to kill other people are taking advantage of this situation most often.
Law enforcement has fallen down on the job multiple times in recent years when responding to mass shootings.
When Omar Mateen finished pumping bullets into dozens of people sprawled on the dance floor inside the Pulse nightclub on June 12, he walked toward the bathrooms, where many patrons had hidden. It was just minutes after Orlando police were called about the gunfire, and law enforcement officers began descending on the club.
Four of them entered the building through one patio, while six others shot out a window to get inside. Among the 10 officers who went into Pulse, some had powerful military-style rifles and one had a shield. At least two had tactical experience.
Police fired at Mateen when he popped his head out of one of the bathrooms. The shooter was outgunned and outnumbered.
But then, police decided not to pursue him.
Communication problems among federal and local authorities complicated the search for the gunman during September’s deadly mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, according to a D.C. police report that says city officers were unable to make use of live video of the shooter as they streamed into harm’s way.
The report says the U.S. Navy failed to tell police commanders that a video feed from 160 cameras in the corridors where Aaron Alexis, 34, opened fire could be accessed from a room just inside the building. A private security guard had locked himself in the room and apparently did not try to contact anyone.
Too many command buses crowded the scene, officers talked over each other on different radio channels, and there was confusion among some responders — and even top officials — about who was in charge.
“We never saw the base commander during the entire incident,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in an interview.
Not just a United States problem. From Canada:
When police arrived at the first crime scene at 10:36pm on 18 April, in a quiet cul-de-sac in the the seaside community of Portapique, they found a bloodbath.
Several bodies were strewn in the street and buildings were on fire. Over the course of the next few days, police would find 13 victims across seven different locations in that single neighbourhood.
An hour later, RCMP tweeted they were investigating a “firearms complaint” in Portapique and that people in the area should lock their doors and stay inside.
It would take eight hours before they sent another tweet, and another two after that for police to tell the public that the gunman was wearing a police uniform and driving a police cruiser.
The former school resource officer accused of hiding during a South Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead will have to convince a jury that he wasn’t criminally negligent, a judge ruled Thursday.
The police have proven they’re really only efficient when they can combine laziness and opportunism. That’s why forfeiture is a multi-billion dollar law enforcement industry while most murders go unsolved. That’s why cops pour money into drug task forces rather than hunting down people who commit property crimes. And that’s why — when faced with anything out of the ordinary, whether it’s a mental health crisis or an active shooter situation — they respond so poorly.
We expect police to be heroes when children’s lives are on the line. But when these lives are on the line and heroes are nowhere to be found, the self-proclaimed heroes tell courts they have no duty to protect the lives of citizens.
The shooting in Uvalde highlights the disconnect between our expectations and what cops expect from themselves. The outsized budgets law enforcement agencies command for themselves makes it clear cops view themselves as far more indispensable than they actually are. When seconds matter, cops did nothing for over an hour. That doesn’t justify commandeering 40% of the town’s budget. And it only adds fuel to the “defund the cops” fire. Police are their own worst enemy. They’ve just been lucky it hasn’t cost them more than it has to this point.