Going to the other extreme is not a solution

I have been a critic of police militarization and the government policies that have encouraged, increased and accelerated the use of force by law enforcement. I often wish that conservatives who were rightly critical of the federal government’s deadly excessive force in dealing with the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas in 1993 would be as critical of all levels of government using violent force in the “War on Crime” and the “War on Drugs.”

But in our worry about excessive force, we should not make a logical and policy error in the other direction. We do not want to discredit ourselves and turn off people who can be convinced by going too far in the other direction. An example of this is J.D. Tuccille, who argues at Reason.com that modern police forces “have become little more than a new set of predators from which the public needs protection.”

Really? Come on, now, Really?

Does Tuccille actually believe that the nation’s police officers – including members of our families, churches and communities – are really “a new set of predators” we must worry about? That is just silly. Yes, there are bad cops, because cops are human beings who are prone to the same temptations as everyone else. Those cops should be fired, and if they commit crimes they should be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

But when people like Tuccille make absurd over-generalizations that everyone outside of her small choir know are not true, they do great harm to the efforts to reform modern policing. People who raise legitimate concerns over police militarization and dangerously overzealous SWAT policies are not helped by statements like that.

One thought on “Going to the other extreme is not a solution

  1. “Really? Come on, now, Really?”

    Yes, really. All big-city departments are rife with corruption and lawless behavior from top to bottom. Organized crime could not function otherwise.

    “Does Tuccille actually believe that the nation's police officers – including members of our families, churches and communities – are really 'a new set of predators' we must worry about?”

    I agree with your quibbling over the term “new.” Read Frank Donner''s “Protectors of Privilege” and you'll learn that police have served America's rich and powerful, while suppressing minorities and political dissenters from the very foundation of most L.E. agencies in the 19th century. There's nothing “new” about systematic murder, brutality, oppression, and general thuggish behavior by the boys and girls in blue. If “good cops” exist, why aren't the arresting–or at least exposing–their “bad apple” colleagues? Whether cowardly or corrupt, the “good cops” are a major part of the problem. It makes no difference what families cops come from, what churches they attend. By enlisting they join a rotten subculture steeped in authoritarianism, brutality, and graft from day one. Those who stay in the cesspool and accommodate its “traditions” make a conscious choice to violate their oaths of office.


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