Those who know me know that I am both pessimistic and arrogant. I believe that nearly everything in the US is hopeless, and I am pretty damn sure that I’m right. As such, I must admit when I am totally wrong. In the wake of yet another disturbing murder by a cop in the US caught on video, I found myself saying the exact same thing I I said when I correctly predicted the outcome of the Shaver murder case: “The cop will get zero punishment and the public anger will simmer down, eventually. And nothing will change, and policing and government will not improve at all.” A few weeks after the Floyd murder, it appears that I have been proven very wrong. And I am very happy about it.
Here are a few positive changes that have already begun to take shape within the US:
1) Public trust in police and government have plummeted even further
People did not trust them much before this incident, and the recent murder makes people hate the government and resent government enforcers even more. Hopefully, this anti-tyranny sentiment results in some pro-freedom policies being enacted throughout the US. As cops continue to violate innocent people without due process, more people will continue to resent them, eventually leading to a possible collapse of public trust for law enforcement.
2) An end to qualified immunity?
The doctrine of ‘qualified immunity’ was created by a precedent in federal court in 1967. The rule essentially makes it impossible to punish police officers for committing a crime while on duty. It sets a ridiculously high bar in order to convict them. A prosecutor (who are generally friends with the cops) would have to prove to a jury beyond a shadow of a doubt that the cop knowingly and willfully violated a clearly established law and purposely hurt their victim. This is one of the primary tools that cops have used to protect themselves from accountability.
Over the past few days, at least three US Senators have called for the abolition of qualified immunity. Again, it’s probably just virtue signaling lip service, but it’s something.
3) Defunding police gains support
While I often complain that police departments (and all government agencies) only ever see budget increases year after year, it seems that I may have been proven wrong here, too. The movement to decrease police budgets seems like it may have some support among policy makers. Mayor Garcetti of LA reportedly plans to divert $150 million from the police budget to other community needs, according to The Daily Mail. It’s not much considering the $1.64 billion dollar budget, but it’s a start. It may just be virtue signaling, but a few other politicians have claimed that they will support defunding police budgets.
Nine out of the 13 Minnesota City Council Members have indicated that they will begin to dismantle the police department. Other cities may not be far behind.
4) Demilitarization of police may have a prayer
Over the past few decades, ‘peace officers’ have grown into ‘paramilitary’ agencies who ‘enforce’ each new law passed by tyrants. Local, county, and state law enforcement has been armed by the US military with weapons that are really designed for war. From AR-15s to rocket launchers and humvees, tanks, helicopters and much more, local police have turned into soldiers who are fighting against….their own citizens?
Unlike the military, however, cops are nearly 100% unaccountable to the laws they enforce. By contrast, the military has their own strict legal system with their own courts. And soldiers can be punished by the court martial process. Additionally, soldiers have strict rules of engagement. Even when dealing with foreign enemies in faraway nations, soldiers cannot kill unless truly threatened. Cops can kill innocent Americans for any reason or for no reason at all – and get away with it. Soldiers are also trained for years and broken down and taught discipline and teamwork and security. Cops are often 18 year old boys who are given a gun and a badge after only a few weeks of training. How many soldiers have treated you like a peasant or beaten you up or violated your friend or relative? How many cops have? Which is more disciplined?
As a result of the growing epidemic of police brutality and the level of police military powers, increasing numbers of individuals are calling for police to stop arming themselves like the US military.
While libertarians like Senator Rand Paul have been calling for the demilitarization of police for years, some liberals, independents, and even a few conservatives are now questioning why police must look like special forces operators in Iraq. The Democrat House Leader, Steny Hoyer is indicating that he might support an end to the federal program that gives local police departments surplus US military weaponry such as tanks. Personally, I don’t believe that he really cares to accomplish this (the US Fraternal Order of Police donates more to Hoyer than they do to any other Congressman) or that he can if he wanted to, but it’s progress.
5) Municipal agencies are cutting ties with police
On May 28th, Minnesota University announced that it is firing the Minneapolis Police Department. It seems that they will fulfil their security needs with the University police and/or private security agencies. Unlike government-run police, private security firms and their employees are accountable to their customers, meaning that they can’t murder people and get away with it. Private security officers are more polite and more effective than government agents. The Minneapolis School Board also voted unanimously to end their contract with the local police department. They will also likely hire some sort of private security firm, which would be more efficient, effective, accountable, and less of a liability. The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority announced on Friday that they will no longer transport police officers to protests. The MTBA has regularly transported entire busloads of cops to protests, and they will no longer extend that favor to local police.
6) Training and use-of-force policies may improve
I am cautiously optimistic that many police departments throughout the US will be forced to at least revisit their departments policies on force. I have personally heard from many professionals who work with potentially dangerous people (therapists, security guards, prison workers, paramedics, etc.) that it is entirely possible to restrain nearly 100% of unarmed people without hurting them. By using grappling or multiple officers, police could restrain unarmed suspects without ever hurting them. Remember, even bad people deserve their day in court before being punished.
7) The riots ended the gun rights debate
During the riots throughout the US over the past few days, we all saw how police focused on the protests and individuals were the ones who protected their own homes and businesses – with their own guns. Police do not care to protect people, and courts have confirmed that this is the case. Police focus on arresting (and punishing) people. We focus on protecting ourselves. And to properly protect ourselves from criminals (including criminals who work for the government), we need weapons. The debate is essentially over.
8) Minorities will continue to buy and carry guns
For two primary reasons, black and other Americans will see an increase in gun ownership going forward. Firstly, they simply want to protect themselves from the threat of being murdered by cops and other government officials. Psychology and tactics tell us that once black gun ownership hits a critical mass (i.e. 40% or 75%) police will hesitate to murder black people. Secondly, black, Hispanic, Asian, and white Americans all witnessed the recent riots, and many of them noticed that the most effective way to protect one’s own business is by taking your AR-15 and some body armor and simply standing guard in front of the store. I personally saw many people doing this Tuesday night during Manchester’s protests, and it was very effective. Not a single business with armed protection was damaged, as far as I could tell.
When police and other government officials tell minorities that they do not need guns because the government will protect them, do you think they’ll listen?