Stopping police brutality has been at the forefront of activism at various times for decades. It’s time to be real honest:
Rioting, looting, blocking highways, and attacking people are not acts of protest.
Rioting, looting, blocking highways, and attacking people are not going to achieve police reform.
Claiming that you are “not with” the “violent minority” while simultaneously expressing your support and empathy for their actions does not separate you from their actions.
This hypocrisy is detrimental to addressing a very real problem of police brutality and lack of police accountability.
There are a few different aspects of this discussion to consider:
Black Lives Matter
There is nothing wrong with this sentiment, just like there is nothing wrong with the sentiment of All Lives Matter. Black communities are suffering from police brutality. So are all other communities, especially the more impoverished. Stopping police brutality is something that should unify us, but using the semantics between these only causes division: and it is a division that started with the BLM Organization – Not the sentiment.
In fact, it seems the most radical speech is actually coming from the organization itself, rather than from the average person who supports the fact that black lives should not have to live in fear of the police. The official BLM website is riddled with references to Marxist ideology, including the abolition of the nuclear family.
Earlier this year, one BLM Leader Hawk Newsome echoed the aforementioned sentiment that he does not condemn nor condone rioting in the streets. He attempted to draw parallels to the violent past of America, including the Revolutionary war. The irony was not missed by this analyst when he also ended his interview by stating, “I just want black liberation, and black sovereignty. By any means necessary.”
The notion of black sovereignty would be to either become self governed, outside of the current structure of the United States, or to rise to become the supreme power or authority. In other words, to either break off into their own government which would be a form of self segregation, or to rise up and take over the country as a race. Either way, this type of emphasis does not reflect equality, but rather separation and superiority, making all claims that the BLM movement is only trying to highlight a specific problem black communities are struggling with appear to be a false claim.
This issue gets much more broad, but is not the sole focus of this article. This is but one example of the extreme divisiveness of the political organization that has been encouraging the types of civil unrest we have been seeing since Ferguson Missouri.
Militarization of Police
Every President has had a hand in furthering the militarization of our police since Richard Nixon. From the War on Drugs, to mandatory minimum sentences and three strike laws which rendered the Eighth Amendment to our Bill of Rights utterly useless by locking up non-violent offenders for life. We have seen an increase in military style training and weaponry, including use of force and exceedingly lenient crowd disbursement techniques against legitimately peaceful protests.
Unfortunately, part of the militarized training that police have been receiving does not include the strict trigger discipline that a soldier must display in an active war zone. A perceived threat is enough for an officer to unload round after round of live ammunition into an unarmed civilian, while a soldier in the middle of Iraq or Afghanistan must be actively shot at during specified conflict times and areas. Even returning fire to an active shooter outside of politicized parameters can result in severe discipline of a soldier simply defending himself or his unit.
Obama paid lip service to such practices in order to become elected President of the United States. He did so again with a loose executive order in 2014, but the fact of the matter is it didn’t amount to any actual effort of change, and speeches about stopping police brutality don’t actually affect policy.
Defunding the Police is Counter Productive
Defunding the police is not going to have the outcome that is being promoted or desired. It will not result in the expansion of mental health access, therapy and counselors, or rehabilitation centers. The only thing that will end up happening as a result of defunding the police is that the authority of policing will be removed from communities and instead replaced by the federal government. It is already alarming the amount of street presence that the National Guard has had due to the increased violence and riots in the streets. Local funding of community police departments will instead be replaced with increased funding of a domestic army, which should scare you far more than it apparently does. Not only is it directly against our Constitution, but with all of the references to this person/party or that person/party being like the Nazis, Hitler literally centralized the police under federal control in order to remove their control from the communities. This isn’t hyperbole, it’s a direct example of fascism being pushed whether intentionally or unintentionally by those who claim to be anti-fascist.
You’re not stopping police brutality – but we should be.
Stop fighting each other. Stop being divisive. “You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorist” was laughably ignorant when it came out of the mouth of President George W Bush and your current echoing of this sentiment is just as ignorant today. Instead, let’s focus on unity. Let’s acknowledge that police are individuals, and that the problems are mostly systemic. Your enemy is not the average officer trying to make it home to their family at the end of the night, but is in the criminal justice system, training, and tactics engraved into police departments nationwide – many of which trickle down from the federal interventions in our communities. Remember, by removing the control that your community has over itself, its citizenry, and its police will not result in an absence of control, but instead in a stricter control by federal interventions. Keep marching, draft legislation and submit them to your state congress in the form of signed petitions. Run for office. But stop burning down your communities and economies, stop attacking each other and killing each other, and stop dividing each other.