Is it hate or fear?
Yes, I am using the “hate” word here, because I saw a report yesterday in which a Black leader in the United States used it at a rally decrying yet another senseless police shooting of a Black man. He mentioned the “racism” word, too.
“When will the hate and racism stop,” he cried out.
Given my revelation recently about the “hate” word, I found myself asking the opening question here.
My answer: We can’t generalize, though as I mentioned in the earlier post on the “hate” word, people on the receiving end of discrimination often feel hated. I totally get why some Black people feel hated by law enforcement officers.
And I think they really are hated by some officers. The George Floyd killing sure appears to have been fuelled by hate. The officer who killed him had no reason to be afraid. George Floyd posed no danger to him or anyone else while he lay on the ground with a knee on his neck.
But I’m not sure the recent shooting of Jacob Blake — shot seven times in the back — was fuelled so much by hate as it was by fear and plain incompetence on the part of the officer who did the shooting.
I would like to think that the vast majority of law enforcement officials — in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Australia etc.– are competent and compassionate.
There are obvious exceptions, though, and you have to wonder why those officers were/are allowed to wear a badge.
Therein lies one problem, I think: the law enforcement system may have noble objectives, but it is not screening its officers properly. I guess it is an old problem: there have been movies made about dirty cops on the take, for example.
Of course, there is systemic discrimination at many levels in society, but we are seeing the most violent part of it from the very people who are sworn to serve and protect everyone no matter their colour, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity etc.
It is inexcusable.
Maybe it’s time to rethink law enforcement altogether.
How can we ensure that officers of the law aren’t corrupt, racist, power trippers or just plain jittery nitwits who are afraid of their own shadows?
Yes, better training is the obvious answer. But how can we be sure every officer in every little burg is getting that better training — and won’t shoot Black men in the back or knee them to death out of fear or hate?
We, as a society, have to make this better.
imo, amounts to the same argument(discussion) as capital punishment; in so far as “making this better”. Big picture, other “sovereign” nations, of course, handle this in their own fashion. as is their right. Society will never be able to pick out the wack-jobs, no matter the Edu. Such is the “nature of the beast”, and as far as I understand human History. Brave New World,DPRK,etc. “it is what it is” %@%O
It has to change because people will continue to protest in the streets until it does. I think some politicians understand that, and some don’t.
MLK said “Riots are the language of the unheard”
My g/f is from Britain and she points out that most police in England don’t carry guns. Maybe that would be a solution in Canada, if not the U.S. Cops could carry stun guns or tranquillizer guns.
There is a surplus of garden variety bullies on the police force. Probably a fair number of racists too. Probably not most cops but even the good ones are taught to DOMINATE a situation. Because if they don’t, the suspect may try to.
We have militarized our police. Glocks with 18 round magazines are for close combat in Falluja. Police here used to use 6 shot revolvers. They have a naturally low rate of fire. Even Dirty Harry used a revolver. Most police go their entire careers without needing to draw their guns. I don’t see the need for all that firepower.
Police firearms usually have a hair trigger, just a touch will set them off. In the adrenaline of drawing a weapon it is insanely easy to accidentally fire. City of NY discovered that a large reduction in police shootings resulted just from making the trigger pull heavier.
Once that trigger is pulled everybody fires. They keep firing because it is difficult to stop firing. They’ve been taught to keep firing. Just the recoil of the gun may be enough to keep you pressing the trigger.
George Floyd was killed by a garden variety bully who was also a racist and may have had a grudge against him. (They once worked as bouncers at the same club. Heck of a coincidence if you ask me.) Other people die because of a combination of fear, poor training and poor equipment selection. And a number of people are justifiably killed and hopefully there is video to prove it. However those deaths will be ascribed to hate because that is the mood of the times.
I did a blog on this earlier.
As prison guards; and of course, military, albeit they are taught to carry a weapon where the target is not civil. all though this is now very suspect. A Few Good Men also comes to mind %^
Interesting point about the hair trigger. It never would have occurred to me, given that I know very little about guns.