(Yet Another Thurber Brigade Sidestep)
Shocking opening statement: police are human. I know, I know, you are saying "duh!" very loudly to this blog, but when we hear about the police or interact with them we often forget that. We often think they are just automatons doing a job. To a point that is true, we hire them to do the things we don't want to do. However, although they are human we expect them to be able to overcome that and not resort to human behavior. In other words, we expect them not to brutalize or kill us.
Too often police in this country let their human side come out and they panic and overreact to a situation. For example, in the murder (you heard me) of Philando Castile in Minnesota, just listen to the voice of the cop who shot him. He's freaking out. He's let his human side, that sees all blacks as potential thugs and possible threats, override his duty to execute the laws fairly and killed an innocent man.
The same thing happened to Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge. The cops had this idea in the back of their minds that this black guy, overweight, with gold teeth and poorly dressed, was probably an evil thug and so when he began to react to having his arms put in unnatural positions, they assumed he was reaching for a weapon and killed him--before he even had a weapon on display!
If you go to a football game, watch the line judge. He stands on the sideline and usually has some coach yelling in his ear about how lousy all of his fellow refs are behaving. He doesn't flinch. We need our police to have that ability. They are paid to be more human than human.I mention that quote (you got it right?) because in "Blade Runner" there is a scene in which someone is going through a psychological test. He freaks out at a question and kills the guy giving the test. Yeah, he's not human. We need to have a test like this for our police. Too many of them do not have the temperament to carry a weapon.
Not only that, but most don't have the training they need. In the US it takes more training to be a hairdresser then a cop! That's right, our country apparently believes it's more important to ensure that your hairdresser knows how to braid your hair than that a policeman should know how to deal with humans.This is why in our country we have over 550 civilians killed by police and we're only halfway through 2016! By contrast, the police in the UK only killed 55 people in 25 YEARS (that's about a week's worth here in the US). Is it because we are more violent people? If you think that, you've never been to a soccer match over there. No, it's training. Police in the UK must go through 2 years of training. That's nothing. In Norway (even less civilian deaths) they have to get a three year degree from a university.
Plus, a big factor is that like here in the US European police are taught to use a weapon, but more importantly, they are trained how NOT to use that weapon.
Another big factor is that police are trained to have a certain attitude about people here. It is ingrained in their subconscious that all civilians are criminals. Don't believe it? What do you think they are learning when they go through that street scenario where they must spot and shoot the bad guy? Subconsciously they learn that around every bend is a baddie. Yet in reality, the majority of the time they just give out tickets to people with a taillight out. They are bred to believe that on every stop they will encounter some evil guy and so are on edge every time they approach someone who fits the image in their mind. If they are white, that image is any black person.
Lastly, the one concept that people don't seem to understand about police is that their mission is to "maintain and control." Maintain the status quo and Control the population. "Serve and Protect" is just a PR campaign.
It's always been like this. When kings first founded the idea of a police force, it wasn't to solve crime or murders, it was to protect their property. In more modern times, when corporations needed a strike broken, who did they send in to bust them up? Yeah, you know. When Suffragettes paraded down streets, who hauled them off to jail for daring to want to be treated like humans? Who waded into those evil reporters at the 1968 convention? Who pepper-sprayed protestors just sitting on public parkland? You get it now? Sure, they investigate burglaries and murders these days, but the overriding function of police is to control us humans.
As a people we have progressed from living in caves to living in high rises. We no longer draw on that cave wall, we post to Facebook. Although our police have modern weapons and equipment, isn't it time they also modernized their behavior? When will we have the police that we expect for the 21st century? The US needs to reform the police now!
Another Brigade apology: Too often The Thurber Brigade takes these sidesteps. Believe me, it's more fun to talk about the difference between men and women then the latest society atrocity. Yet again I apologize for straying, but keep in mind that as long as there is injustice or mayhem that bothers my soul, these sidesteps will keep showing up. Sorry. I also want to apologize for those who have read my articles on HUB about police reform. Yeah, I'm repeating some stuff here, but it's important enough that it is worth repeating. Feel free to share this info too as it's the only way we will ever see reform--enough people need to be raising their voices.