By Tim Baldwin
Excessive police force is rising despite more public exposure of the problem. The most recent examples happened in Minnesota and Louisiana. While people in Dallas were protesting, a man shot and killed five police and injured others. The man who did this was gravely wrong for many reasons. We grieve for the families and communities. That said, many Americans are rightly growing very concerned over police abuse.
The abuses where police kill are extreme highlights. The more common abuses happen daily but go undetected by most Americans. Unconstitutional searches and seizures, bullying tactics, unwarranted targeting, pre-textual stops, fabricating and exaggerating investigations, presuming guilt before innocence, destroying or ignoring evidence, pressuring witnesses, protecting the “bad apples,” slanting testimony, not cooperating with defense attorneys, etc.: these systemic problems contribute to and cause the extreme abuses.
While many police do a good, honest job, our systems do not adequately remove incentives of bad policing, and many of the “bad apples” are promoted through a domineering ethic. In contrast, honest peace officers quit for too little pay and frustration with internal corruption. As the “bad apples” control hiring, training and supervising, abusive police power germinates and infects the system.
Standards need improvement in our large, complex society. Implement better qualifications, training, and leadership (with better pay). Require more transparency and accountability. Demand that prosecutors and judges do justice, and juries do the same.
By Joe Carbonari
The Dallas shooting was horrific. Police are now viewed as the guardians of those in charge, the establishment. If you believe that things aren’t going so well in your life and that you can’t get ahead, and you can barely keep up, you want a change.
There are a lot of people that do. Many of the Trump and Sanders supporters do, as do the Black Lives Matter activists. America is restless. Much of the rest of the world is as well. Disorder grows.
Disorder does not serve. The changes brought by disorder tend to be rough at the edges. The suffering can seem indiscriminant, unfair. It is better to smooth societal transitions, to plan ahead, to orderly mitigate the harm of creative destruction as technologies change. Colstrip comes to mind.
Our political class has the responsibility to do a better job of leadership. A disturbing number of people are casting votes that seem ill-considered. Many others are not voting at all. The most highly motivated tend to be the unhappiest, really wanting change and willing to accept some risk and some unpleasantness along with it. These people can be, and are being, exploited. Donald Trump comes to mind.
Skin color is not a marker for character, intelligence, or talent. Neither is gender, height, weight, or country of origin.
Leaders set examples, expectations, guidance as to what is acceptable. Rhetoric does matter. Talk to your friends and your family. They may vote.
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