Saturday, October 24, 2015

OPINION: The Police Problem

Police corruption goes back a long way. It has existed as long as police have. 
In recent years a lot more attention has been brought to the misdeeds of law enforcement thanks to the prevalence of digital video. Is it worse now than it's ever been? Probably not. But in the past the people who cried foul would often be dismissed due to their relationship to the victim, their testimony ignored because they were part of "the criminal element." Well it's harder to argue with video evidence than it is to discount the tale of a mother, brother or friend of someone the system has deemed "undesirable." Due to population increase, the occurrence of these incidents will be greater by numbers alone, while percentages may or may not rise. To be fair, I have done zero research for this opinion piece. 
Are more blacks being killed than in the past? Again, sheer numbers due to population may say yes, but I think that this has been going on all along, and it is the response to it that is changing. It wasn't so long ago that blacks were considered by many to be essentially subhuman. With the struggle for rights gradually winning over the time-honored tradition of racism and hatred, the outrage over crimes against blacks rather than just crimes by blacks is growing. And rightfully so. There is no place in our civilized nation for racism and unfounded hatred. If anything, the racists need to go. Keep America diverse.
Thanks to video evidence and the increase in law enforcement body cameras the actions of officers have been under much closer scrutiny. With the inarguable and inexcusable offenses of police against undeserving citizens on display via social media, the tide will turn. The good officers will not have to suffer in silence at the command of their superiors while this kind of injustice continues unobserved. They can speak out and, without necessarily revealing evidence that will get them into trouble as "whistle-blowers" among their fellow officers, can stand up for the oppressed and abused on citizen-supplied evidence. 
In time, police departments will take a proactive approach to hiring new officers, and they should be able to phase out the power-tripping bullies who seem so dominant in the field today. Kids can aspire to be a "good cop" and help enforce the law on both sides of the blue line, and parents can take pride in their children who endeavor to make the country a better, safer place to be. We shouldn't have to live in fear of our own public servants.
Making the "war on drugs" a thing of the past will also help get cop/citizen relations under control. When police don't have to fear that every person who may have or sell drugs is armed and ready to kill them, they can maybe relax their trigger finger a little. By decriminalizing drugs we sweepingly decriminalize millions of citizens. If cops aren't being shot at all the time, then the people applying for the jobs will be a more diverse group, rather than just trigger-happy lunatics willing to put themselves in the line of fire on the chance that they'll get to shoot someone.
One important element of this transition is that citizens (and "good cops") continue to expose the deplorable behavior of the "bad cops" and continue to wage legal battles against those who ignore and excuse the actions of police acting outside of their prescribed duties and mutilating the rights of citizens.
That being said, it is a good idea, in the meantime, to not provoke police, unnecessarily flaunting your rights in their faces, unless you want to be a martyr for the cause, as the process of weeding out the losers and uniformed criminals has not really pushed its way through the entire country yet, so you may still get yourself beaten or shot, even if it's not lawful. Screaming "I have rights!" or "You can't do this!" doesn't get your heart beating again once they've stopped it, so don't be dumb.

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