I never said they did it for fun or sport or even that it is the norm. What is the norm is police brutality, against citizens of all color. I didn't focus my attention there because I wanted to stay in this narrow line of questioning, but we agree. As far as there being an "epidemic" of police murdering black people, I don't see it, but there is a number of murders committed by police that a society should not accept, and a number of brutal acts by police a society should not accept. This isn't even a strictly moral stance, it's an effectiveness stance. Many institutions lose all effectiveness when trust in them is gone, the police are one of them.
We fundamentally disagree about whether someone can be killed for an alleged crime, but I don't think that's a stance I'll talk you back from.
What I will say is, I agree, being a police officer is an incredibly difficult and stressful job. But, you know what is also stressful? Having a gun pointed at you. I've watched many videos of people being shot just because they are visibly scared shitless of the guns pointed at them and therefore fail to obey instructions because they are under enormous amounts of duress. You know what the difference between a citizen scared shitless of a police officer wielding deadly force and a police officer? One is trained in deescalation (or should be), one has a civic and professional responsibility to control their emotions and reactions, one is wielding a weapon already that can snuff a life out in an instant. The other isn't.
I think there is also an enormous discrepancy between when a police officer actually deems the drawing of a weapon necessary based on race. I remember as a kid watching videos that were meant to be comedies of naked violent white men literally assaulting cops, and people laughing it off. That shit still happens. I would still be pissed if the police were shooting the naked white guy, but there would be far less room to blame it on race.
I'm kinda rambling, so sorry about that, but one statistic that I think really captures to some degree what both of us are talking about: 1/5 police feel near constant frustration or anger, and this anger is directed at citizens they police. Workplace frustration is normal, but it's deadly when it happens to police and breeds a sort of callousness that may not make murder fun, but makes murder easier.
I recently wrote a short piece about this. First, you're not alone, nearly half of the population doesn't trust the police. The police have an image problem they are utterly unmotivated and refuse to address, instead they blame it on others.
And I agree, we are never going to get a perfect police force, but we aren't even close to trying to have one. Perfection should be the goal, but knowing we can only do our best. THis is not our best:
1. Of the 50 states, only 16 require de-escalation training, of those 16, only 10 set a minimum hours requirement, with the highest minimum being 4 hours per year (good job, Massachusetts?)
2. On average, a state or local police officer who attends police academy will only need a High School Diploma and will receive 806 hours of training (excluding field training which is typically an additional 500 hours). For comparison, barbers need 1,500 hours.
3. Two studies have found that at least 40 percent of police officer families experience domestic violence, in contrast to 10 percent of families in the general population.
4. Police are also kept on the force at incredibly high rates after breaking the law (29% stay employed after a DUI, 28% after domestic violence, 26% after assault)
I keep trying to make this first bolded point. BLM is, by all measures, a coalition, not a unified movement.
I don't condone looting, rioting, or violence, but we've just expressed that enormous stress can cause a police officer to murder. I can't imagine a life of stress and frustration at the lack of accountability by the police. I am generally really confused what a second amendment uprising would look like? Would it be peaceful? From the folks I hear talk about it, it would be violent. This is tyranny through a different vehicle, in my opinion. I disagree with both the second amendment preppers and the BLM rioters, because I think we still have democratic institutions which are somewhat responsive to the desires of the people... when that finally goes away, ask me again how I feel about it.
Finally, there have been enough verified reports of right wing and anarchist instigators and provocateurs in these protests. I am relatively certain it doesn't account for all of the violence, but it's certainly exacerbated it.
Not going to touch on the politics of it, because honestly, I can count on one hand the amount of politicians I trust at the national level.
Agreed on most points. The issue is "reform" has been tried time and time again. The gap between the idea police force and what we have right now is ENORMOUS. Also, look at the reception that these reforms have within the police community. They are rejected out of hand, and cops feel so comfortable that they commit all sorts of atrocious race baiting and trolling online. You can't tell me that attitude is the result of stressful split second decision making. That is a conscious decision to reject the key responsibility of your job, and to see yourself as some badass skullbasher who has the backing of the government and strong police unions. You want to reform the police? You're going to have to fire a frick ton of police. For instance, here is a list of the NYPD officers who are STILL employed despite tons of VERIFIED accusations from the community they serve, many of them making over 6 figures in tax payer dollars: https://www.nyclu.org/en/campaigns/nypd-misconduct-database
Man you touched on poverty in your closing statements, I need another page or two just to tackle the crippling effect of poverty on crime, health, education, etc.
As always, glad to have these conversations. I hope you'll continue to engage