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Push-back on the argument that there's too little in America


Quora Answer : Our public discourse on police has become polarized. What would a nuanced position be?

Nov 25

Cops are paranoid because America is awash with guns.

Politics makes it impossible to remove the guns. And police are not trained sufficiently well to handle their own paranoia while treating the public with respect..

Therefore, they panic and kill people they shouldn't.

When they do, again, politics gets in the way of us doing something about the systemic problem. And the police quickly close ranks rather than accepting that something needs to change.

In addition, some cops genuinely are racist and white supremacists have deliberately entered the profession in large numbers. Partly out of affinity. Partly as political strategy. And this needs to be addressed.

The whole policing system needs a major overhaul which includes shifting certain responsibilities (such as handling domestic violence and drug users) away from the everyday police towards specialists who know how to handle these people and situations without escalating to violent confrontation.

That way, cops expecting to see bad guys, wouldn't be tangling with merely angry or uncooperative citizens and treating them as though they were bad guys.

Also, decriminalizing drugs would free up a lot of resources.

And the harsh policies and private prisons put far too many people in prison, where they then learn a criminal mindset, while disqualifying them from opportunities to become law-abiding citizens who contribute to society.

America needs fewer prisons. Definitely no private profit-making prisons which have an incentive to increase incarceration. Fewer custodial sentences. Shorter sentences. And more emphasis on figuring out how to stop people ending up in a life of crime.

Like I say decriminalizing drugs would free up a lot of resources, and stop a whole lot of people who are simply committing a kind of civil disobedience from being labelled and turned into "criminals".

That would reduce the work-load on police who could then learn to handle citizens with more respect and engage in policing by consent rather than scared "shoot first, ask questions later" policing.

Every time the police kill someone, that means that something went wrong in how they did their job. And we need to recognise that and put in place new measures to fix the system to avoid it happening in future.

In a free society it should never be accepted as "OK" for the government to kill citizens. And the police are the agents of the government. If they are killing with impunity, that means that the government is killing with impunity.