Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Good Cops? Bad Cops?

 

Dear Ricochet readers.

I need your help. I’m conflicted. I’m struggling to come to grips with my feelings on all this. Actually, I’m struggling to push aside my feelings and let logic and reason run the show. Like many of you, the best way for me to do that is to write about it.

A few weeks ago, when police were alienating many of us by chasing surfers off the beach and arresting moms for taking their kids to the park, I remember thinking to myself that one day, those police officers are going to need the support of people like me. One day they’ll be sitting at home complaining to their spouses that the public just doesn’t appreciate and support them like they used to. Well, fast forward a week or two, and it turns out that one day is today. Police behavior is at the heart of the current unrest in some of our major cities, and the cops could sure use some friends right now.

I’ve been giving the subject of policing a lot of thought lately. It started as my anger was growing over the government overreach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I mostly blame ill-informed and maybe even politically motivated (pronounced Democratic) politicians, but it was hard to escape the fact that the street-level face of all those insane restrictions was the police. Government was making terrible policy, but the police were the ones enforcing that policy. “Just following orders” has been pretty much discredited as a defense as I recall. I sense that a lot of police officers knew that the policy they were executing was ill-advised, but few individual officers felt that this was the hill upon which they were willing to die. Police unions could have and should have stepped in to preserve the integrity of those they represent, but they failed to do that. Maybe they shared the government’s view that the policies were appropriate. Most Americans apparently do. That’s too bad. In the long run, it damaged the image of the police only days before that image would come to matter the most. As a rule, I don’t have much affection for police unions. I see them as just another public sector union seeking benefits for their members at the expense of the rest of us. The irony is not lost on me that I saw them as a potential solution to a real problem back then. Now, it seems like just one more data point in support of my view that all public sector unions are a menace to good governance.

Now we are witnessing scenes of rioting and looting in response to what appears to be criminal behavior by one or more police officers in Minneapolis. The tarnished image of the police is certainly not improved any when the Minneapolis Chief of Police admits that he withdrew officers from the scene of the worst of the rioting out of concerns for their (the police) safety. What in the world is going on here? The police were all on board when it came to arresting business owners who were trying to keep their heads above water and preserve what was for many, their life’s work. But when it came to protecting life and property from an unruly mob, you know, their actual job, that was just too risky.

I don’t hate the police and I sure wouldn’t want their job. Maybe part of the problem is the mindset of some of the applicants who do want that job. My understanding is that police forces take measures to weed out those officers. I sure hope that is the case, but I guess that is an ongoing and imperfect process. And to be honest, when I see video of rioters swarming an abandoned police vehicle or frantically looting the local Target, or burning down the neighborhood AutoZone, I think what the cops need to do is just shoot a few of those sons of [redacted] and keep shooting them until they go home. Yeah, I know. That would be an overreaction and be totally counterproductive. I get it. But tell the truth. Aren’t there at least a few of you honest enough to admit that your first reaction was the same as mine? No? Maybe it’s just me. Or maybe that video of looters beating up a lady in a wheelchair trying to obstruct their looting doesn’t really bother you all that much. For my own part, to be honest, I did kind of enjoy the sight of those rampaging nitwits throwing rocks through the windows of CNN Center in Atlanta. I know it’s wrong. I feel kind of guilty about that.

Here’s what I think I know. We need the police. And the police need to act with authority. Police must rely on the illusion that their authority is near absolute or else every two-bit hoodlum may choose to test the limits of that authority. Police need to be tough, even to the point of appearing uncompromising at times. But acting with authority is just that, an act. At the end of the day, they don’t have anywhere near enough manpower to police a population that doesn’t consent and desire to be policed. I think the police know that. Antifa and the rest of their ilk certainly know that. They are probing, and provoking, and testing the application of that knowledge even as we speak. And people like you and I should know that as well once we push away all the emotion and sit down to rationally fit all the pieces together. We’ll get through this. Minneapolis will get through this. Our nation will get through this. We have to. We’re seeing the alternative on our TVs and computer screens, and it’s an alternative that is too terrible to contemplate.

Thanks for listening, Ricochet readers. I feel a little better now. Thoughts?

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  1. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I had always thought that if Beta O’Roarke or someone like that ever did get to “come for our guns” that the local Police forces would not come and kick down my door and forceably take my guns. Now I’m not so sure.

    • #1
    • May 30, 2020, at 3:50 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. The Reticulator Member

    JesseMcVay: We’re seeing the alternative on our TVs and computer screens, and it’s an alternative is too terrible to contemplate.

    I’m not seeing it. If I see any video of events like this, it will be months or even years after the fact. It’s a personal policy of mine to not be influenced by video. I still haven’t watched video of 9/11 for that reason. There are probably exceptions that I’ve made, but I can’t think of any at the moment. Well, I watched as much of the first Gulf war as I could. My wife still remarks about how strange it was for me to do that, night after night. 

    As for bad cops, there are a lot of them at the top levels of the FBI. 

    • #2
    • May 30, 2020, at 3:54 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. JoshuaFinch Coolidge

    Remember some time ago in New York City when police officers were doused with water and just walked away from the offenders? Anyone who saw that video quickly understood that the police ain’t what they used to be.

    When a vagabond encampment was slowly expanding a few blocks from my home in the San Fernando Valley sector of Los Angeles, I called the police. When they arrived, I told them to tell the vagabonds to leave. A few days later after nothing has happened I called the police again. They came back and said,. “What are we supposed to do?” “Enforce the law,” I said. “Tell that to the mayor,” they said. Finally after an enormous neighborhood protest, the police acted and uprooted the vagabonds.

    I think the fact that vagabond encampments are tolerated contributes to a feeling that lawlessness and lack of public civility are now culturally acceptable. Add to this the presence of body cams and you understand the reluctance of police to make physical contact with law breakers.

    • #3
    • May 30, 2020, at 4:11 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  4. Randy Webster Member

    We used to shoot looters. What happened?

    • #4
    • May 30, 2020, at 4:29 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) Coolidge
    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    We used to shoot looters. What happened?

    With four policemen implicated in an egregious homicide, who will give that order and who will obey that order? Maybe if they at least arrested the choker.

    • #5
    • May 30, 2020, at 4:43 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Django Member

    It seems to me that we have a mess of intertwined court rulings and stupid policies. The lawyers at ricochet can probably point to the specific rulings, but the bottom line is that police have no responsibility to protect you as an individual. They are there to enforce laws. You can’t depend on them for personal protection. So, when they withdraw for their own safety, you’re on your own. Now, if you have the means of defending yourself, even in some state or city ruled by liberal pantywaists who think the 2nd Amendment is null and void, and if you are forced to use lethal force to defend yourself, you can count on those same police to show up and arrest you. Oh, they could refuse, I suppose, but don’t count on it. They have to protect that public service worker pension.

    • #6
    • May 30, 2020, at 4:46 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  7. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Very close to my sentiments.

    I have had good, or rather , decent experiences with police, and bad ones. More bad ones, sorry to say.

     I believe the biggest problem with police is the have no leeway to use discretion, combined with a very obvious ‘dumbing down’ across the board. The new cops are little more than wet drones. They aren’t paid to think, use reason, or decide anything.

    They are a protected class. They have advantages most ordinary people don’t. They have health care, retirement and a pension, all just for going along with the program. It’s hard, boring, difficult and dangerous work, but ultimately they can go home to a nice house in a safe neighborhood.

    Those they police are generally living hard, boring, difficult and dangerous lives, but without the paycheck, the middle class life, and the security. Or the acclaim.

    Everyone is an individual. I want to apply that to police officers, but I want them to apply it to me. There’s too much us and them regarding law enforcement and ordinary people. I think the police are given too much ( maybe they just took it) deference.

    Ultimately, power corrupts and police have too much power. I can tell by every single police officer I have encountered in the last 20 years that they have too much authority by how they act personally. I can see their psychology is affected by their role. Very normal.

    It’s not their fault, but it exists. When you combine this with the dumbing-down, the political correctness, the mind-numbing forms and routines they must provide, with an us versus them culture, you are inviting petty tyranny.

     

    • #7
    • May 30, 2020, at 4:49 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. Hoyacon Member

    Excellent post. Thanks.

    We are realizing that law enforcement in our country, 2020, is very tough. My suspicion, as someone who has never been an officer on the streets, is that the perfection our society demands is not achievable.

    Every profession has people that screw up. That’s one reason why we have medical malpractice and disbarred lawyers. Must we expect police to be any different? Yes, we do. But it’s not realistic. Still, nobody riots when a doctor is responsible for a death in a hospital.

    We need to either reinvent the job or temper our expectations.

    • #8
    • May 30, 2020, at 4:55 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Some people, politicians of all stripes especially, don’t seem to realize that for society to function, lines (law) must be drawn. Lines by their very nature are arbitrary, but they have the virtue of being understood by those on both sides of the line. If the authorities refuse to acknowledge the necessity of clear and firm lines and laws, but try to stretch the requirements to please special constituencies, society soon breaks down… into rioting and thuggery.

    • #9
    • May 30, 2020, at 4:59 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    You are cop or you are little people. Always has been that way, always will be that way. Policing is the worse possible way to run civilization. Except all the other ways that have been tried so far.

    • #10
    • May 30, 2020, at 5:05 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. Michael Minnott Member
    Michael Minnott Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    Remember some time ago in New York City when police officers were doused with water and just walked away from the offenders? Anyone who saw that video quickly understood that the police ain’t what they used to be.

    When a vagabond encampment was slowly expanding a few blocks from my home in the San Fernando Valley sector of Los Angeles, I called the police. When they arrived, I told them to tell the vagabonds to leave. A few days later after nothing has happened I called the police again. They came back and said,. “What are we supposed to do?” “Enforce the law,” I said. “Tell that to the mayor,” they said. Finally after an enormous neighborhood protest, the police acted and uprooted the vagabonds.

    I think the fact that vagabond encampments are tolerated contributes to a feeling that lawlessness and lack of public civility are now culturally acceptable. Add to this the presence of body cams and you understand the reluctance of police to make physical contact with law breakers.

    Why are you living in a place where the mayor would permit vagabond encampments in your community? Also, if your neighbors insist on electing such people as your mayor, then you need new neighbors.

    I know this can be easier said than done, but you should probably start contemplating and planning a move at some point in the near future.

    • #11
    • May 30, 2020, at 5:28 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. JesseMcVay Coolidge
    JesseMcVay

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):
    When a vagabond encampment was slowly expanding a few blocks from my home in the San Fernando Valley sector of Los Angeles, I called the police.

    I lived in Reseda from 1961 until 1979 when I went into the Air Force. Small world.

    • #12
    • May 30, 2020, at 5:30 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. JoshuaFinch Coolidge

    Michael Minnott (View Comment):
    I know this can be easier said than done, but you should probably start contemplating and planning a move at some point in the near future.

    Problem is, we’re running out of places. Even the mayor of Boise, Idaho, is now a full blown progressive.

     

    • #13
    • May 30, 2020, at 5:44 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Rodin Member

    JesseMcVay: And to be honest, when I see video of rioters swarming an abandoned police vehicle or frantically looting the local Target, or burning down the neighborhood Autozone, I think what the cops need to do is just shoot a few of those sons of b**ches, and keep shooting them until they go home. Yeah, I know. That would be an overreaction and be totally counterproductive. I get it. But tell the truth. Aren’t there at least a few of you honest enough to admit that your first reaction was the same as mine? No? Maybe it’s just me.

    I’m honest enough to admit I had the same reaction watching people destroy property of someone who had absolutely nothing to do with whatever legitimate grievance (if any) they had. It is so disrespectful. Of course it is a video game level violence reaction, no doubt in real life I would be appalled if it were actually done. But I do believe that the attitude of “life over property” just gets a lot more property taken or destroyed.

    • #14
    • May 30, 2020, at 6:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. Django Member

    I don’t blame the cops at all: 

    https://twitter.com/johncardillo/status/1266897573610127360?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1266897573610127360&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegatewaypundit.com%2F2020%2F05%2Fnypd-isnt-anymore-police-cruisers-charge-violent-mob-send-people-flying-like-rag-dolls-video%2F

    • #15
    • May 30, 2020, at 7:20 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Rodin Member

    Everyone needs to see this video: https://www.citizenfreepress.com/breaking/intense-moment-in-seattle-damn-this-cop-reacted-fast/

    That is the kind of cop we can support.

    • #16
    • May 30, 2020, at 7:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. JesseMcVay Coolidge
    JesseMcVay

    Rodin (View Comment):
    That is the kind of cop we can support

    I saw a Twitter comment claiming he was not a cop, but a private security guy for a news crew. Either way, he obviously knew what he was doing judging by the way he cleared that weapon. God bless him.

     

    • #17
    • May 30, 2020, at 8:03 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. JesseMcVay Coolidge
    JesseMcVay

    Django (View Comment):
    I don’t blame the cops at all: 

    Nor do I, but I guess we have to be smarter than the folks trying to promote the violence because you know that the promoters of the violence will use the MSM to amplify the response to provoke more violence. I first saw this video on Twitter posted by a blue check “journalist” named Yashar Ali whose Twitter profile says he writes for New York Magazine and contributes to the Huffington Post. Here’s how he captioned the video in his Tweet. It’s hard to remain peaceful when the NYPD is doing stuff like this“.  That’s what we’re up against.

    • #18
    • May 30, 2020, at 8:11 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Django Member

    JesseMcVay (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):
    I don’t blame the cops at all:

    Nor do I, but I guess we have to be smarter than the folks trying to promote the violence because you know that the promoters of the violence will use the MSM to amplify the response to provoke more violence. I first saw this video on Twitter posted by a blue check “journalist” named Yashar Ali whose Twitter profile says he writes for New York Magazine and contributes to the Huffington Post. Here’s how he captioned the video in his Tweet. “It’s hard to remain peaceful when the NYPD is doing stuff like this“. That’s what we’re up against.

    I don’t speak French, so I have to take the word of the reporter who pointed out a sign in a French zoo. It said: “This animal is very naughty. If you attack it, it defends itself.” That has to be the police now, and they need to make it clear. If you attack us, it’s game on, and if we have to kill you, we will. It’s ugly and there is no point in denying it. On their side, they have to clean up their departments or lose all support. 

    • #19
    • May 30, 2020, at 8:24 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Rodin Member

    JesseMcVay (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    That is the kind of cop we can support

    I saw a Twitter comment claiming he was not a cop, but a private security guy for a news crew. Either way, he obviously knew what he was doing judging by the way he cleared that weapon. God bless him.

    Yes that was a professional clear.

    • #20
    • May 30, 2020, at 8:34 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Headedwest Coolidge

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    I had always thought that if Beta O’Roarke or someone like that ever did get to “come for our guns” that the local Police forces would not come and kick down my door and forceably take my guns. Now I’m not so sure.

    I am fairly sure that any cop under some age (say 35 for a talking point) would happily participate in a gun confiscation exercise. They would do it because they have no clue about the constitution. It was not covered in school when they were there.

    But what about older cops? They would do it, too, because they are in range of that big fat cop pension. It would take a true hero to behave correctly in the face of that incentive. I would not depend on the preponderance of heros in the police force.

     

    • #21
    • May 30, 2020, at 9:18 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  22. Stad Thatcher

    JesseMcVay: I think what the cops need to do is just shoot a few of those sons of b**ches, and keep shooting them until they go home.

    This is why I’m not in charge. I would issue orders anyone rioting will be shot on sight.

    • #22
    • May 31, 2020, at 6:11 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. The Reticulator Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    JesseMcVay: I think what the cops need to do is just shoot a few of those sons of b**ches, and keep shooting them until they go home.

    This is why I’m not in charge. I would issue orders anyone rioting will be shot on sight.

    It has to be a more drastic situation than this before shoot on sight orders are issued. Under orders like that there is a lot of room for convenient errors, or even inconvenient ones.

    • #23
    • May 31, 2020, at 7:14 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  24. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    JesseMcVay: I think what the cops need to do is just shoot a few of those sons of b**ches, and keep shooting them until they go home.

    This is why I’m not in charge. I would issue orders anyone rioting will be shot on sight.

    It has to be a more drastic situation than this before shoot on sight orders are issued. Under orders like that there is a lot of room for convenient errors, or even inconvenient ones.

    Shoot on sight? Not gonna happen. They will allow all our houses and businesses to burn to the ground before they chance hurting a non white protestor. Not even sure why the cops are involved at this point.

    • #24
    • May 31, 2020, at 7:25 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Rodin Member

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Not even sure why the cops are involved at this point.

    Send out the Karenwaffe!

    • #25
    • May 31, 2020, at 7:29 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. GrannyDude Member

    This is what I wrote to a pastor friend with a similar response (though she didn’t actually object to cops being sent to enforce stupid social distancing rules!). Her take was “if this (George Floyd’s death) can happen in Minneapolis, it can happen anywhere!”

    Dear [Friend]

    I (so far) take the opposite lesson re: Minneapolis. Well, I’m me, so of course I do!

    Police officers are not separate from the governments that hire, train and discipline them. And American police officers are not a national entity independent of state and local control. It makes no sense to malign (let alone attack) a police officer in Dallas for something done by a police officer in Minneapolis.

    Indeed, there’s no way to interpret the death of George Floyd that doesn’t strongly and specifically implicate the elected officials in Minneapolis. Minneapolis hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1970—which means that every law enforcement officer in Minneapolis has been hired, trained and disciplined by unusually liberal Democrats for nearly fifty years. So if Officer Chauvin and his colleagues are bigots, why is Minneapolis hiring bigots?

    I am not suggesting that the uber-progressive government of Minneapolis is secretly racist. My strong suspicion, rather, is that they are hiring the wrong people for the wrong reasons, and focusing on the wrong training goals, and its citizens are suffering and dying as a result.

    This is going to sound strange, but I don’t know and I don’t actually care whether Derreck Chauvin is a “racist.” The word is, increasingly, becoming meaningless through over-use (after all, the my denomination apparently firmly believes that all its members are “white supremacists!”).

    I do care that Officer Chauvin appears to be incredibly stupid. Not only is he videotaped endangering his suspect in a way that a rookie cop in Mattawamkeag, ME would know better than to do, but he is so insensible that he doesn’t even seem to realize that his suspect is not only no longer resisting, he’s actually dead. 

    Why is Minneapolis hiring people who can’t tell the difference between a resisting suspect and a corpse?

    Cornel West, weighing in unhelpfully from Princeton, called this a “lynching;’ nonsense. Poor Emmet Till wasn’t beaten to death before a crowd of hostile spectators armed with I-phones; he was murdered in the williwags, his body dumped in a river by men who expected to get away with it. There is no cop in the country who doesn’t know what the arrest of a black man in front of an I-phone (not to mention department-issued body cams) means in 2021. And yet, somehow, the bien pensant of Minneapolis managed to hire and train four guys who missed that memo?

    You watch: When the smoke clears, this will be met with calls for “implicit bias” training, something that has been demonstrated in every possible way to be worse than useless., and something that I would bet my life has been inflicted ad nauseam on Minneapolis’ finest. ( If Colorado game wardens have to endure two training hours every year of implicit bias training, how likely is it that Minneapolis P.D. hasn’t gotten a snootful of it?) And yet, George Floyd is dead. And—more to the point—a black (Somali, immigrant) police officer, shot and killed an innocent (white, middle-aged, Australian immigrant, female) citizen in Minneapolis a mere 18 months or so ago. [I’d forgotten to add the death-by-(arguably) incompetence of Philando Castile into this!]

    The “systemic” problem in Minneapolis isn’t racism, it is lethal incompetence.

    The riots are something else altogether. As an SDS activist back in the 60s once said “the issue is never the issue. The issue is always the Revolution.” Protesters in L.A. are chanting “Eat the Rich.” What does that have to do with the death of George Floyd? Answer: nothing. Why, when Justine Damond was shot and killed by Mohammed Noor, were there no riots? Another question worth asking: off the top of your head, how many unarmed black men were killed by the police in the United States in 2018? I asked this of a very sweet, progressive young woman…her answer was “100,000.” The real answer? 17. (And I would add: “Unarmed” does not mean “not dangerous.”)

    I believe that all of us—if, especially, nice, compassionate liberals — are being trained to see through a very particular and, I would argue, extremely unhelpful lens.

    Given that nine black Americans died in Chicago alone over Memorial Day Weekend (including a grandmother shot and killed while attempting to rescue her daughter from an assailant), given that these numbingly familiar tragedies have been met not with outrage and Target-looting, but with the usual, collective shrug…I believe it worthwhile to consider whether powerful, cynical people are, yet again, taking advantage of the latest opportunity to further their own agendas, the cost to real human beings be damned. That grandmother’s death, like Justine Damond’s death, couldn’t be made into “ issues” that could serve the” revolution”. George Lloyd’s, on the other hand, fit it so perfectly that former president Obama couldn’t resist translating it into metaphor (“the white man’s knee on the black man’s throat!”) before George’s body was even cold. But human lives—George Lloyds’s, the grandmother’s, Justine Damond’s and even the sixteen year old gang-banger killed by another sixteen year old gang-banger—are not metaphors to be turned to our (or “the Revolution’s”) use. If they matter, that means they matter by definition, because they are human beings, not merely because they can be posthumously recruited as bit-players in some political psychodrama. There is only one legitimate reason to “use” George Floyd’s death, and that is to honestly and humbly seek to discern how and why it happened so it does not happen again. As with the death of Michael Brown et al, that’s clearly not in the cards. And that is…discouraging. But we have a duty not to despair, and so I’m trying not to!

    • #26
    • May 31, 2020, at 7:46 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  27. GrannyDude Member

    Sorry—kind of long!

    • #27
    • May 31, 2020, at 7:48 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Randy Webster Member

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    They will allow all our houses and businesses to burn to the ground before they chance hurting a non white protestor

    But I won’t.

    • #28
    • May 31, 2020, at 7:48 AM PDT
    • Like
  29. Randy Webster Member

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    There is no cop in the country who doesn’t know what the arrest of a black man in front of an I-phone (not to mention department-issued body cams) means in 2021.

    This getting old is ugly. Here I’ve been thinking it was 2020 all along.

    • #29
    • May 31, 2020, at 7:51 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. GrannyDude Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    There is no cop in the country who doesn’t know what the arrest of a black man in front of an I-phone (not to mention department-issued body cams) means in 2021.

    This getting old is ugly. Here I’ve been thinking it was 2020 all along.

    Whoops! (It wasn’t even a typo…!)

    • #30
    • May 31, 2020, at 8:31 AM PDT
    • 1 like