on police

H’s mother was hit by a car in NYC last week.  Now, first of all, I’d like to note that I can’t think of anywhere worse to live than NYC.  OK, maybe Barrow would be worse.  But seriously, I can think of few redeeming features of NYC, particularly now as the epidemic rages.  In what other city would getting mowed down *on a crosswalk* draw so little notice?  H’s mother was in surgery for 6 or 7 hours afterwards.  Her life will be permanently impacted.  At 84, she will never fully recover from this.  It’s unclear whether she’ll be able to continue living on her own.  I can’t begin to fathom the financial impact.  And yet, to get the police report, H had to go the precinct in person.  Once there, he felt so intimidated by the NYPD, that he was able to extract almost no useful information from them.  The report itself minimizes MIL’s injuries and provides no indication that anyone is planning to pursue any type of punishment for the driver that ran her down.  He “misjudged.”  OK.  My personal opinion is that if you hit someone on a crosswalk, you should go to jail.

I’ve been sitting back watching the anti-police demonstrations around the country with very mixed feelings.  In Seattle, removing police from a few blocks for a few weeks resulted in two teenagers dead and another in critical condition.  In Atlanta, I read that an 8-year-old girl got shot.  That is heart-breaking and utterly unacceptable.  Suffice it to say that in my opinion, getting rid of cops entirely or even significantly defunding them is not a good choice.

However, there is clearly a problem.  Even H’s experience with what he perceived to be hostile cops at the precinct to me indicates something is broken.

Ultimately, I think we need to disarm the people so that we can disarm the cops.  I don’t think you can do the latter without the former.  I believe our higher shooting rates in the US by cops are not primarily about racism but about the proliferation of weapons in this country.  However, this solution seems intractable right now.

I’m honestly not sure what the “next best thing” is.  Getting rid of bad cops would be a good start.  There was a bill in congress with a lot of commonsense reforms, but I haven’t heard anything about it since.  People’s attention span is practically zilch.


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