Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Supporting The Police
America was grievously gob-smacked by the awful murders of five Dallas PD officers. Of course all right-thinking people support their police. They have a difficult, necessary and potentially dangerous job, and most do it well, with thoughtfulness and good judgment.
So yes, just about everybody supports the police. But we should not support them unconditionally. Black and Hispanic communities have endured police abuses for many decades. In too many parts of the country it continues. When some cops engage in brutality, racism and shoot-first tactics, we cannot, must not, support those actions. Yes, being a cop can be tough, but you're not allowed to behave that way and you don't get a pass on that shit.
There is a segment among the police that wants just that -- absolution for their abuses just because they're cops. They insist on unconditional love and bristle at the slightest criticism. They whine that the president doesn't tell them "good job" often enough.
These attitudes are counterproductive and are part of the problem. To improve in this area, we're gonna need all the peace, love, understanding, compassion and empathy we can muster, from everybody.
Many police departments are making great strides in changing the old-school cop culture. (Ironically, the Dallas PD is one of them.) But too many others cling to the methods and attitudes of the past. They just don't get it. Two examples:
Looks like the cops in Baton Rouge don't get it. Were the storm trooper tactics really necessary at a BLM march protesting the death of Alton Sterling? Was this lady really so dangerous?
And some cops in Minneapolis don't get it. At a Saturday game, the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx players wore warm-up shirts which read, "Change Starts With Us -- Justice & Accountability" on the front, and displayed the names of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the Dallas PD shield, and the words Black Lives Matter on the back. Four thin-skinned off-duty cops working game security were offended and walked off the job. The president of the Minneapolis Police Federation said, "I commend them." It was not commendable. He doesn't get it either.