Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Divisiveness Between Our Police and Our Citizens

“There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”

-        Dallas Police Chief David Brown, in the wake of the recent shooting of five police officers and several others

Mr. Brown, most (but not all) of the causes behind the divisiveness are due to decisions made by individuals well above your pay grade. 

I offer a few simple actions that can be taken immediately in both Washington DC and in every state capital around the country – these actions will have immediate beneficial effect toward ending the “divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”

1)      Eliminate all laws regarding victimless crimes – including, and especially, drug laws
2)      Eliminate minimum wage laws
3)      End civil asset forfeiture

As soon as these are ended, several benefits will be immediately realized: the number of negative interactions between police and citizens will be overwhelmingly reduced; more fathers will be free of prison, available to tend to their families; low-skilled and unskilled individuals can work legally; police will have far less incentive to stop and search the citizens.

I could write more – end the subsidies for fatherless families and end public education, for example.  However these are much more complex.  The above items can be ended tomorrow without concern. 

Of course, that we live in a society where it is legal for government employees to commit crimes contributes to this divisiveness.  It is also true that residents of high-crime neighborhoods can and should take matters into their own hands.

But if we don’t want to continue on this certain slide toward ever-more divisiveness, enacting the above-listed items will go a long way.  Police and citizens are fighting an uphill and losing battle as long as measures such as the above remain in place.

Tonight (July 14) Obama will hold a town hall on the topic of race relations, justice, policing and equality.  Let’s see if he is truly interested in improving race relations, justice, policing and equality or if he is interested in doubling-down on the status quo.

Sadly, I know the answer already.


  1. Though I agree that the changes you outline would be very positive, I'm not willing to let people like Dallas Police Chief David Brown off the hook as much as you are. He could:

    . Instruct his officers to treat the public with respect at all times, even when arresting someone.

    . Instruct his officers to stop asking people if they're carrying a large amount of cash. Don't ask, don't tell.

    . Make it clear that in every way he will hold the people under him to a higher standard than is applied to the public at large.

    It's true that cops are charged with enforcing unjust laws. That in no way lets them off the hook for their "Us vs. Them" attitude in my book.

    1. I agree with you and thought about expanding the post for such things. However I left it focused on these broad themes because it is such items that create the environment.

      It also isn't clear to me that one police department changing their methods would change much of anything. But maybe.

  2. You missed #4. End qualified immunity. If you have a license to kill you will use it. Have police buy malpractice insurance like a doctor, nurse or lawyer. It's not right that tax payers are on the hook for police bad behavior.