Let’s talk about some current events. I don’t expect everyone to like what I have to say, but if you’ve clicked on this link I would appreciate it if you just read and listened, because it begs to be talked about.
I’m sick of waking up to news about another shooting, another civilian dead, another act of violence against police, another tragedy that sends this nation back years and years and years. It’s no secret that we need a change, and that history is repeating itself in a bloody and brutal fashion.
Gun control needs to happen. We need to realize that not everyone needs a gun, that our nation has a sick love affair with firearms and the justification that “oh they were black/Latino/Latina/Muslim/anythingbutWHITE and were carrying so clearly they’re a threat”. Dear every single NRA supporter: You do NOT get to stereotype others for a right you so often fight for because “You need to protect yourself.” It isn’t all about the white man and his rights. I mean I’m white as all hell for crying out loud and I’m absolutely disgusted by the hypocritical bullshit that is considered to be a well-presented argument by so many people who want to carry guns that have no business being in a civilian’s possession.
And then there’s our method of policing. A good portion of what follows is coming from classes I have taken and books I have read, but I’ll let the facts and history speak for themselves.
We are currently in what is known as the Homeland Security Policing Era. After 9/11 we entered a period where our response to protests and violence was bigger guns, shields, and smoke bombs, moving away from what had been proven to work years prior. I’m not saying the initial switch didn’t make sense: after all, a major terrorist attack seems like a logical time to reevaluate the safety of civilians and the roles of our appointed protectors. However, this has led to a huge problem of responding to everything with bigger guns and less conversation, as well as only being concerned about the safety of certain-read, white, civilians, causing a rift between the police and the community.
Let’s go back to the 1970s. No, we’re not talking about sexual freedom here. Actually, in the 1970s we reinstated the idea of Community Policing, aka the OG form of policing, due to an experiment done in Kansas City. To summarize, what happened was that the state government and police force split Kansas City into 3 areas, and for each area they used a different method or variation of control to see if it would affect crime rates.
You see, we had been struggling with an increase in crime due to a movement from the Political Era of Policing to the Professional Era, which meant bigger guns and more technology. Sound familiar? So for this experiment they did the following: for Area 1 they kept patrol the same, Area 2 they doubled patrol, and for Area 3 they eliminated patrol. Obviously the expectation was that Area 2 would have a decrease in crime but what ended up happening was that there was no effect on the crime rate in any of the areas, showing that the relationship with the community was lost.
Remember the idea of the friendly neighborhood cop? The guy you would call if your pet went missing or if you thought that there was a suspicious character wandering the streets at night? The guy you weren’t afraid would come at with you if a gun if you were the wrong skin color? That guy? That’s the basic idea behind Community Policing. It’s someone to be trusted, who is skilled in speaking to people and problem solving without unnecessary force. In fact, police were originally trained along the same lines of social workers, not army personnel. Crazy, right?
Back to history lesson time. the Kansas City experiment spurred the implementation of the Broken Windows theory, which is when people believe their community is safer because it looks like there is order, making it so that the police no longer acted like an army and instead went back to the friendly neighborhood cop method. Now I’m sure there are a ton of skeptics scoffing at their screens right now, because how on earth could that make a difference in crime rates?
Here’s the thing: crime in NYC dropped by 50 percent because of it. Not because we gave police bigger guns and shields, but because they went back to doing what they were trained to do.
Like I said, I don’t expect everyone to agree. I’m deeply saddened by the shooting and mass-murder of police in Dallas, but I am equally upset and furious at the racism-fueled shootings of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and countless others. We have entered a time where killing others based on the color of their skin is no longer in our history books, but is on our social media. Every. Single. Day. We have hashtags dictating basic human rights for chrissakes, and yet we still haven’t seen a change. #BlackLivesMatter #StopTheViolence
Well guess what? We need a change, we need to have a set of laws that limit the use of guns, and we need to dictate the standards to which law enforcement is held up to. We need to stop the violence.
Until next time,