Posts Tagged ‘police officers’

This year may be nearly the safest ever for police

September 10, 2015

police.

police1

Some police officers, politicians and journalists perceive a “war” on the police, but 2015 is shaping up to be one of the safest years on record for American police officers.

Nor is the decline in shootings of police due to recent police militarization.  The decline started long before, and is part of an overall decline in violent and gun-related crime in the USA.

Police of course have a necessary and sometimes tough job.  Any killing is a tragedy and no killing should be shrugged off.  But they also should be accountable, like other public servants.  There is no basis to discredit recent protests against abuse of police power by an imaginary “Ferguson effect” or “war on police”.

(more…)

Police fatalities are declining, not rising

September 4, 2015

blob3_0

police-fatalities

blog_police_deaths

There is no epidemic of killings of police officers.  As the charts above and the links below indicate, the number of killings is declining.

Of course any death of a police officer in the line of duty is a tragedy, just like the death of a firefighter or any other public servant, and, in addition to being an individual tragedy, the killing of a law enforcement officer is an attack on the fabric of law and justice.

Just as an unjustified killing by a police officer also is an attack on the fabric of law and justice.

But it is not a worsening problem, as certain politicians and commentators claim.

(more…)

In 2015, expect civil unrest, disaffected police

January 1, 2015

The astute John Michael Greer, whose Archdruid Report is one of my favorite blogs, predicted that the most important trends in 2015 will be the disaffection of America’s police combined with continuing civil unrest.

He said the morale of American police is at the same state as that of the American forces in Vietnam in the 1970s.  Police feel they’ve been sent into a war they can’t win, and abandoned by the civilian authority that’s nominally their superior.

I think there’s truth to that, although it’s exaggerated.  Rank-and-file police officers did not invent the “broken windows” theory of policing, which is that the way to ensure civil order is to punish every violation, no matter how minor.  Nor are they the ones who decided that the way to finance municipal government in places such as Ferguson, Missouri, is to collect traffic fines from poor people.

civil-unrest-2016Revolutions generally occur when the police and the military cease to be willing to defend existing authority against rebels.

I think there is zero chance that the military or police would go over to the side of rioting black people or even peacefully protesting black people.  Armed resistance is not a feasible option for African-Americans in the present-day USA.

Effective resistance to civil authority, as I see it, would come from armed and organized militias, such as the group that formed around rancher Cliven Bundy in his fight with the federal government over grazing fees.   They defied federal and local police with loaded weapons, and were not met with deadly force.

I believe there is a real possibility that, as the U.S. economic plight worsens, resistance to government could grow and, as military and police morale decline, resistance to government would be tolerated until it became a real threat.

If things continue as they are in the United States, I believe there is bound to be an explosion.  And, given the history of violent revolution, I do not expect anything good to come from such an explosion.

∞∞∞

Here is John Michael Greer in his own words:

(more…)

Reflections on the meaning of Ferguson

December 5, 2014

TomTomorrow2014-12-03polliceshootings

The killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., was no different from a lot of other cases in which armed white men have shot and killed unarmed black men, or armed police officers have killed unarmed civilians.  If you’re looking for reasons why this incident rather than another was the trigger, the answer probably doesn’t like in a detailed study of the incident itself.

There’s a proverb about how one final straw, added to a load, will break a camel’s back.  The answer as to why the camel’s back was broken probably doesn’t lie in a microscopic examination of that one particular straw.

The significance of Ferguson is less in the facts about Ferguson itself as in the pattern which Ferguson represents.  If you want to know what I mean by the pattern, click on this and this and this and this and this.

If I were black, I think I would see these events in the light of Goldfinger’s Rule – Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.

The linked articles described incidents that differ in circumstances and mitigating factors, but there are a few common themes:

  • The fear that many white people (not just police officers) have of black people.
  • The insistence of many police officers on instant compliance with orders (not just by black people) and their quickness to use force against perceived disobedience and disrespect.
  • Lack of training both in fire discipline and in non-violent means of defusing situations.

(more…)