It’s time to erase the Thin Blue Line. (part 2 of 3)

There’s a book by Erik Larson called, “In The Garden of Beasts.” It’s a chilling depiction of an entire society—Nazi Germany—that descends from relative normalcy into almost universal madness in just about a year. Unfortunately, as interesting a story as this would be were it fiction, it is instead devastating in that we know it actually happened. And I see it happening again. We are freefalling into almost universal madness and we need to slam on the brakes before we crash.

This three-pronged approach that I’m suggesting is going to require acceptance and change from all parties, the police, the black community, and society as a whole. There’s a social model of human interaction known as the Karpman Drama Triangle. It maps a type of destructive interaction that can occur between people in conflict. In this model, which when mapped out is shaped like an inverted triangle, Karpman assigns the three points of the triangle the names, The Victim, The Rescuer, and The Persecutor. The Victim’s stance is “Poor me!” The Victim feels victimized, oppressed, and helpless. The Rescuer’s stance is of someone who is here to help. The Rescuer feels guilty if they don’t help. In reality, the Rescuer is simply avoiding his own problems by deflecting his energies under the guise of concern for the Victim. The Persecutor insists that everything that is wrong is someone else’s fault. The Persecutor is critical of both parties, angry and oppressive, rigid in his beliefs, and sure that he’s right.

Where do police officers, the BLM movement, and society fall in these roles? Depending on your current rigid and unflexing stand, you may think that The Victim is BLM, The Persecutor is the police, and The Rescuer is society. Or, you may think that The Victim is the police, The Persecutor is BLM, and The Rescuer is society. Or, if you’re sitting at home watching the riots with anger, you may think The Victim is society, The Persecutor is BLM, and The Rescuers are the police. The truth is that in my version of this Karpman Drama Triangle the roles are completely interchangeable. The police, BLM, and society are each, at varying times and to varying degrees, The Victim, The Rescuer, or The Persecutor.

I’m going to start with the police.

Most police officers think they’re good cops. Probably close to 100% of cops you asked would tell you they’re a good cop, and most of them unequivocally believe that they are. Many of them actually are. However, an incredibly high number are really just victims of their own observation bias. They’ve genuinely convinced themselves they’re good cops even when they aren’t. When they have a true and rare moment of introspection, when they ask themselves if they’re good cops, they tend to remember the things they’ve done well as a cop. The things that have made them “heroes.” The time they gave CPR to the four-year old girl floating face-down in the pool. The time they comforted the victim of domestic abuse, spent hours with her getting her resources, walking her through the process of getting away from the abuse. The time they bought food for the forlorn family with a cart of much needed groceries and a debit card that was declined. The time they spent hours talking to a troubled teen with an abusive family, gave him their personal phone number, told him to call 24/7 if he ever needed anything at all. The time they conducted a death notification to a parent of a dead child, and sat in their living room crying with them. The times they went above and beyond, when many officers would have just filed a report and moved along, but they didn’t quit, working a case and getting justice for a victim who might not have otherwise received it. The hundreds of times they risked their own life running toward danger as fast as possible, putting themselves in harm’s way for a stranger who doesn’t even appreciate them until they’re needed, and will trash them as soon as they’re gone. And these are the things that do make them a good cop, but what they don’t remember, or what they tend to gloss over, to shove to the dark corners of their minds, are the things they’ve done that make them bad police officers, and in some cases bad people.

Sure, maybe they’ve never stolen from a crime scene, never planted contraband on a suspect just because he deserved to go to jail, never accepted a bribe. But they have done things like pretended they heard a shout for help so they could enter a private residence illegally, or watched another officer claim he heard that plea and said nothing, despite knowing it was a farce. Looked up an obscure law so they had a reason to cite or arrest someone just because he was mouthing off. Stacked charges or infractions just because they were having a bad day and it felt good to spread the misery. Written criminal citations for completely unnecessary or arbitrary violations, knowing the citizen would never show up for court and it would end up in a warrant and the officer would be able to arrest and book the person in the future. Made up a reason to conduct a traffic stop, like improper lane travel, or failure to signal a turn at least 100 feet prior to the turn just as an excuse to check the driver for warrants because he looked shady. Engaged in competitions to see who could write the most tickets under the auspices of keeping the streets safe, but really just to win a bet at the financial expense of a number of people who probably would have been better off with a warning. Spent every day breaking the very laws they’re citing people for, under the color of their authority, laws like speeding, failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, or failure to wear a seatbelt. Intentionally escalated a situation with a scumbag just so he’d take a swing so that they could beat the shit out of him while yelling, “stop resisting” and then they could book him into jail on a serious felony charge of assaulting an officer. Profiled people based on race and actually justified the profiling because crime statistics back it up. Used unnecessarily painful pressure points and holds that leave no marks, that are impossible to notice on video, and then laughed about it afterwards with their coworkers. Justified stretching the truth or outright lying in court or on a report because they knew the guy was guilty, the truth was unknowable, and the scumbag deserved to be punished. Used an “ends justify the means” mentality and carefully worded a report around that theory to increase the odds of a conviction. Let their friends, coworkers, acquaintances, other civil servants like firefighters, and local celebrities off with a warning when any other citizen would have received a ticket or been arrested. Intentionally targeted minority citizens for specific offenses simply because they’ve seen so many other minorities of the same persuasion committing those same offenses that the officer has lost all ability to be compassionate and objective about that minority class. Enforced laws unequally, giving warnings to people who were polite and citations to those who were rude based solely on those criteria. Escalated situations that they knew could have been deescalated just because they were pissed off and the guy deserved to be punished. Invoked the Thin Blue Line and “It’s us vs them” principles to turn the other way at co-worker wrongdoing. Invoked the “I’d rather be judged by twelve then carried by six” mentality to justify violating someone’s civil rights in some form or another. Celebrated their own or a co-worker’s first citizen complaint under the justification that “if you aren’t getting citizen complaints you aren’t doing your job.” Used the power of their badge to bully, harass, intimidate or threaten, knowing the subject could do nothing about it, knowing there was no legal, civil, or departmental violation that could actually be pinned on them for these actions.

When do the good things someone does as a police officer override the bad things? When do the bad things tip the scales that are precariously balanced on the pivot point of right or wrong? The answer is that even a very few of the bad things can outweigh an enormous amount of the good. If an officer has done every good thing on this list and a hundred others, and only a few of the bad things, he’s probably a bad cop. He has contributed to the anger that has boiled over in society and is currently spewing forth in cities all around the world. He has contributed to the problems that plague our democracy. He has helped to solidify the narrative that cops are all bad actors. If you’re a cop and you know that you fall into this category, it’s okay. You can change things now. Society can be myopic when it comes to looking at the past, as long as the future is in bright focus. When an officer acts inappropriately, uncompassionately, or unnecessarily violent just one time, the victim of that action tells that story. Sometimes it’s on video and the story goes out to the public, inflaming them and solidifying the wall that the Thin Blue Line has become.

The Thin Blue Line is a concept that’s been around for more than a century. It’s a construct by police to assert that THEY are all that stands between organized, peaceful, productive society and an anarchical vast chasm of chaos, death, and destruction. It originated from the Thin Red Line, a Crimean War battle where a small group of Scottish Highlanders fended off a much larger contingent of Russian cavalry. The Thin Blue Line is a novel concept. A heroic construct that allows police officers to feel as if they’re heroes, and allows them to justify poor behavior in the name of the public good. And, at one time it probably was a novel and benevolent idea. But now it has turned from a line into a wall. It’s become the kind of wall that Donald Trump could only dream of, impenetrable, foreboding, and unbreachable. It’s become the very chasm it was devised to prevent. A chasm that separates the police from the citizens they are sworn to protect.

“On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs” is an article by retired lieutenant colonel Dave Grossman, the author of the book “On Killing.” In the article, he describes the idea that the general public are sheep, incapable of violence and even incapable of imagining violence, unable to defend themselves against attack, and completely reliant on their guardians. Wolves are the predators, the criminals, the corrupt, heinous, evil people of society who prey on the sheep and seek to do them harm. Wolves are constantly circling the flock, looking to pick off the weak and vulnerable. Police officers are the sheepdogs, the designated saviors of society, always on watch over the flock, guarding them against the wolves, even when the sheep don’t want them there. To the sheep, Grossman says, the difference between the sheepdogs and the wolves can be difficult to discern, and the sheep may tend to lash out at the sheepdogs thinking they’re going to do them harm. The sheep may not think that they have any need for sheepdogs, that the wolves don’t actually exist, or that their numbers are so small as to be of no concern. The sheep live in denial and that is what makes them sheep.

This concept was glorified in the movie American Sniper with Bradley Cooper where his father quotes him this article, telling him he better never be a sheep and he damn sure better never be a wolf. Police officers have seized ahold of this concept as well, using it much like they use The Thin Blue Line to glorify their role in society. The problem is, this article and this construct are complete bullshit.

True sheep are completely helpless, completely reliant on others to protect them from violence, with zero natural defenses. People are not like that. Sheep are born to be sheep, they have no choice, they can never change. People have full choice in what role they want to play. The analogy sounds great if you’re evil. A wolf is a badass creature with no compassion, no morals, and an appetite for soft flesh. What villain wouldn’t want to be described as a wolf? If you’re a cop, the idea that you’re a sheepdog is incredibly enticing. You are elevated above society, sitting on the hill above the serfs, watching over them. It’s glorious and you’re the unrecognized, under-appreciated hero who does his thankless job day in and day out. Not a bad way to present yourself. But, if you’re a member of society, you’re one of the sheep. Who wants to be a goddamn sheep? There might be no better analogy propagated by police officers to completely isolate, divide, and disconnect themselves from the rest of the population than this stupid fable by LTC Grossman. Much like the Thin Blue Line construct, this story has done incredible harm to the perception of police officers by society and of society by police officers. If you’re a cop and you buy into this propaganda, then everybody you contact is nothing but a sheep. When citizens are sheep who can’t make good decisions and can barely even manage to stay out of their own way, when they can not fathom the idea of danger, or of evil, or they don’t understand that people want to hurt them, then it becomes very easy for police officers to justify all manner of actions against society, under the color of doing it for their own good and protection.

When police officers divide all of society into binary roles of either sheep or wolves, decisions become black and white instead of the multiple shades of gray that actually exist. This type of binary view of society combined with the elevated self-assigned role of protector, leads to abuses on both a micro and macro scale, and contributes greatly to a perception by society that police departments are not just infected by a few bad apples, but that the entire orchard has been poisoned.

And the fact is, police officers are draping this perception upon themselves.

Let’s talk about Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter is an organized social movement that sprung up after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012. It became a widespread, national movement after the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and Eric Garner in New York City. They claim inspiration from the Black Power Movement and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The platform for BLM is that police officers are inherently racist and that they kill black people at a much higher rate than they kill white people. Now, they have other platforms and movements within the movement, and I’ll talk about some of those in a minute, but their primary objective is to stop what they see as a rash of racist killings of African Americans by white police officers.

And that entire concept is a manipulated scam.

BLM seems committed to peaceful protest despite the escalated violence we’re seeing right now that has been manipulated by extremists’ causes. As a general statement of fact, I agree that black lives matter. In fact, I identify more with that slogan than I do with “All Lives Matter,” because I definitely do not believe that all lives matter, and they objectively don’t all matter on the same scale. It’s hard to say that you don’t agree with BLM without sounding racist, because how can you possibly think that black lives don’t matter unless you’re a racist. Sort of like with Antifa. It stands for Anti-Fascist. How can you not be against fascism? The problem with Black Lives Matter (and with Antifa) is not that their cause doesn’t matter, it’s that the catchy name is hiding a deeply and fundamentally flawed platform and credo.

Supporters of Black Lives Matter point to the data: On a per capita basis, police officers kill 2.5 times as many black people as they do whites. This is true. African Americans comprise about 13% of the population, and they comprise a little over 31% of unarmed Americans shot dead by the police. Taken in the abstract, this statistic seems horrifying, and many supporters of BLM have pointed to this as a demonstrable example of the existence of a systemic racial bias in police. I would like to point to another stat that will show that the police, in addition to being very racist, are also incredibly sexist. Men make up just under 50% of the U.S. population, but they comprise more than 93% of all unarmed Americans shot by cops. If one of these conclusions is true—that police are racist—than the other also has to be true—that police are sexist—according to these comparable data points. So many people would scoff at the idea that police are inherently sexist and kill men at a higher frequency because of sexism, but they happily accept that the correlation exists with race. They refuse to believe the data that shows that black people commit homicides and violent felonies at a much higher rate than white people do. BLM supporters make justifications for this, citing systemic racism in the justice system and unfair targeting of minorities as the reason for the elevated statistics. Even if you could make this argument in support of petty crimes like theft, DUI, or simple assault, it’s pretty hard to find the correlating path that leads to murder and other violent felony convictions. It’s like the principles of Occam’s Razor and even those of logic and reason are shoved right out the window by emotion when it comes to these police shootings of black men.

However, like so much of the data that has been manipulated and cherry-picked by organizations and even by the media in order to forward a narrative, police do not kill men because of rampant, systemic sexism in the ranks. They kill more men because men commit more violent felonies than women do. A lot more. According to FBI statistics in their homicide database, men commit almost 90% of all murders and more than 90% of all violent felonies. Men also resist arrest and escalate the violence and scope of that resistance far more often than women do, and this leads to more shootings.

Here’s an excerpt from an article from the National Academy of Science that disputes the idea that there is racial disparity in police shootings:

26% of civilians killed by police shootings in 2015 were Black even though Black civilians comprise only 12% of the US population. According to this 12% benchmark, more Black civilians are fatally shot than we would expect, indicating disparity. News organizations and researchers using this method find robust evidence of anti-Black disparity in fatal shootings.

However, using population as a benchmark makes the strong assumption that White and Black civilians have equal exposure to situations that result in FOIS. (Fatal Officer Involved Shootings.) If there are racial differences in exposure to these situations, calculations of racial disparity based on population benchmarks will be misleading. Researchers have attempted to avoid this issue by using race-specific violent crime as a benchmark, as the majority of FOIS involve armed civilians. When violent crime is used as a benchmark, anti-Black disparities in FOIS disappear or even reverse. *bolding is mine.

African Americans commit about 30% of all rapes, about 55% of all robberies, and 33% of all aggravated assaults. Again, this is despite consisting of only 13% of the population. I won’t go into the lessor crimes like burglary and theft because it is almost certainly true that blacks are charged with those crimes at a higher rate than whites are, but the violent felony numbers are appalling. If these numbers make you uncomfortable, don’t worry, it’s not entirely the fault of African Americans. One of the platforms of BLM is that blacks have been discriminated against for so long that they find themselves in a position where economically one has no choice but to resort to crime to stay afloat, and this is absolutely true. Our circumstances in life lead to our decisions, and it’s tough to stay on the right side of the law when the alternative is a life of misery. If your family is starving, burglary or theft seem like easy decisions comparably. If life is continually beating you down, it might be easier to resort to drugs for a release. If you feel constantly wronged by systemic racism, it can feel right to lash out at the apparatus of that racism. Any of these decisions can lead to arrest, conviction, and jail or prison. When you are a convicted felon, society makes it nearly impossible to succeed further, especially when you’re plopped right back into the very soup of despair that cast your original decisions. And so, these decisions escalate and compound and the vicious cycle repeats itself until you feel that you have no choice but to resist arrest because prison is unbearable. Until you feel that the system is stacked against you and there is no escape, and so you embrace the darkness.

It’s a nauseating cycle, and Black Lives Matter is absolutely correct about this type of systemic problem in our society. If you don’t agree with this, you are approaching it from a perspective that comes from true white privilege. Citing examples of blacks who have pulled themselves from the wreckage of the ghetto and become successful is simply pointing to what are indisputably outlier events in denial of the incredibly tough life and circle of bad decisions that encompass the existence of the vast majority.

Poverty will absolutely create criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

This is a society problem on my Karpman Drama Triangle and society needs to address it, but Black Lives Matter needs to own up to the fact that they have a part to play in this as well. Right now, BLM is The Victim and the police are The Perpetrators. Society is acting as The Rescuer with all of the marches and rioting. But the narrative is flawed and destructive actions based on flawed narratives only serve to widen the divide. BLM needs to stop the false narrative going out to our children that police officers are bad. “Hands up, don’t shoot.” “I can’t breathe.” These mentalities and teachings become self-fulfilling prophecies. When black people are convinced from childhood that cops are racist pigs and that they’re going to get killed on a routine traffic stop, they become much more nervous. When they’re nervous they look suspicious. This extends their interaction time with the police officer which extends their nervousness, which draws more questions, which leads to panic. How many of these videos we see of police shooting black men started out with a fairly calm interaction only to escalate into the black person fleeing or fighting? Why are they fighting or running when the cop first makes physical contact for the simple reason that they’re going to either pat them down or to restrain them? Why are so many of them fleeing or fighting when they’re completely innocent of criminal wrongdoing? Why do we see so many black people run from police and then, when they’re caught and sitting in handcuffs and they’re asked why they ran, the answer is, “I don’t know.”? It’s because of fight or flight syndrome. The instinct is kicking in because the confrontation starts with such high energy already. The suspect/victim isn’t able to control that instinct because it has built to the point where it has become a fog and they are no longer capable of good decision making. It derives from an ingrained, indoctrinated idea for their entire life that interactions with the police are going to end in violence or death for them, and this is a tragedy.

BLM needs to educate the public. When a cop decides to arrest you, it is not a negotiation. You are going to be arrested. Whatever that takes. When you resist, the level of violence escalates, and it can escalate quickly. When people fight with the police, it’s not the cop’s job to make it a fair fight. When a cop is getting punched, it’s not his job to just punch back—to stand there in a slugout. He’s going to escalate the level of violence because he doesn’t know what’s going to happen if he loses this fight. He can’t lose this fight for the simple reason that he’s carrying a gun. If he’s knocked out, pinned down, beaten to the ground and incapacitated, and his gun is taken from him, this is a situation where he or a member of the public is often going to be murdered. This is always on his mind. So, he must escalate the violence. He needs to assure that he will not lose this fight. Pepper spray applied to a suspect can scatter in the wind and end up incapacitating the officer. A taser is often ineffective at close range. His asp/baton/nightstick may work, but that can be a deadly weapon too, especially if it’s taken from him. If a cop is losing a fight, particularly if he’s outmatched and outmuscled, he might have no choice but to resort to his gun. It’s not his job to be a champion bare-knuckle brawler, or a Judo blackbelt. It’s a citizen’s job to not resist arrest. When a cop makes a decision that he’s going to arrest you, you will be arrested, regardless of your opinion on the matter, or even of your guilt or lack thereof. And when you decide to resist, you are often going to get hurt, and sometimes you’ll get killed. That’s on you, not on the cop. We are cultivating a culture of resisting arrest which means we’re going to see increased violence in police/civilian encounters.

In his incredible Making Sense podcast #207, “Pulling back from the brink,” Sam Harris says this:

“When a cop goes hands on a person in an attempt to control his movements or make an arrest, that person’s resistance poses a problem that most people don’t seem to understand. If you haven’t studied this problem…if you don’t know what it physically takes to immobilize a non-compliant person, who may be bigger and stronger than you are…and if you haven’t thought through the implications of having a gun on your belt when attempting to do that…a gun that can be grabbed and used against you or against a member of the public, then your intuition about what makes sense here, tactically and ethically are very likely to be bad. If you haven’t trained with firearms under stress, if you don’t know how suddenly situations can change, if you haven’t experienced how quickly another person can close the distance on you and how little time you have to decide to draw your weapon…if you don’t know how hard it is to shoot a moving target, or even a stationary one when your heart is beating out of your chest, you very likely have totally unreasonable ideas about what we can expect from cops in situations like these.”

(By the way, this podcast is one of the best podcasts I’ve ever heard, and I highly recommend giving it a listen. It’s about two hours long, but if you’ve read this far into this article, you obviously have a lot of time on your hands. This excerpt was from around minute 53, but you can find the full podcast here: https://bit.ly/2AGumUR)

People often complain when they see multiple cops taking someone into custody. “How many cops does it take to arrest one guy? Come on!” They’ll shout. What they don’t realize is that swarming a combative person is for the suspect’s own good. You should want to see multiple cops making arrests in these situations. The more cops there are, the more likely it is that they’ll feel confident enough that they will win this fight that they don’t have to resort to lethal options. When police get into a fight, citizens expect them to be fair about it and that’s ridiculous. This isn’t a sanctioned boxing match. This isn’t the wild west days where two men meet on the street at noon and draw at a prescribed moment. The cop didn’t ask to be in this fight and he’s not going to make it a fair fight. He’s going to do everything possible to ensure it’s NOT a fair fight. Because, no matter what, he can’t afford to lose. It’s not a bar brawl where the loser goes home with a shiner, a bloody lip, and some hurt pride. The result of losing a simple fistfight when you’re openly carrying a weapon, and, if you’re alive to give a description of the person who won the fight that person will go to prison for a long time, can be deadly. The cop may, and often does, lose his life when he loses the fight. And he didn’t start it. He doesn’t want to be fighting. He wants to go home to his family, so he’s going to make sure that he can do that. He’s going to win the fight however he needs to.

Black Lives Matter should make this clear to their followers. They should encourage people not to resist, to allow themselves to be arrested, even if you know for a fact that you are innocent. If you are falsely arrested, you will have a chance to defend yourself. In some cases, you may be eligible for compensation for false arrest. At the very least you’ll still be alive, and it’s a lot easier and more rewarding to defend yourself from above ground than below it.

The evidence is overwhelming that African Americans receive harsher sentences for similar crimes than whites do. This is a massive problem with the justice system, and this part of the BLM platform is absolutely justified and supported by fact. This is a problem that society needs to solve, so let’s discuss the third point of the Karpman Drama Triangle, society.

Society:

There is NO QUESTION that somebody, probably multiple somebodies, will label me a racist for my regurgitating of facts that definitively shows fundamental flaws in the BLM platform. This is a society problem. We as a society have absolutely lost our collective minds. So many people today have made it their mission to tear down the very fabric of our society and remake it more to their liking. They have assigned themselves a quest to silence any and all opposing opinions and to make a world in which they won’t have to hear any opinion that is at variance with their own little echo chamber. They are attempting to force their own will and vision on the rest of society under the umbrella of being “woke” and pure and righteous, with intolerant indignation toward anybody who dissents.

This tweet by my friend, Liv Boeree says it better than I ever could:

Greyscale – and indeed any colour scale – is beautiful because of its nuance. Like all things in this complex world, there is so much more to it than just right and wrong, good and evil, black and white.

But social media is the antithesis of nuance, forcing us to oversimplify complex ideas and points of view into basic hashtags and memes – a dangerous path, because complex problems require complex answers.

Don’t let the dark side of social media suck your mind into this cartoonish good guy vs bad guy view of the world, because it is making us lose sight of the intricacies of people and reality.

I recently saw this article by Alaska Airlines that claims they’re taking steps to increase the number of African American female pilots in their fleet in an effort to bring that percentage closer into line with their representation in society.

Why? I don’t care about the racial makeup of the cabin crew on my flight, I care about having the safest, most competent pilots available. I think this is fine to do in general, as long as your only efforts along this path have to do with recruiting, but I suspect that what they will do is what every company has done in an effort to diversify…they will push through underqualified pilots just because of the diversity goals they’re trying to reach, and this will make us all less safe. I’m not saying that black females are not every bit as capable of being superb pilots as white males, or white females, or whatever, I’m saying that when you decide that competency is less important than racial characteristics in a role as important to public safety as commercial airline pilot, you compromise all of our safety. If there were qualified black female candidates out there, why aren’t they already pilots? Alaska Airlines is either admitting that they have employed racist hiring policies in the past, or they’re admitting that they’re going to intentionally alter their hiring practices in order to conform to public perception, and either one of these is really bad. Now, in their defense, they do say in the article that they’re focused on recruitment to forward this goal, and that’s great, but what recruitment practices have they been employing already that didn’t encompass black females? These types of knee-jerk responses when public safety is on the line are concerning.

The brand, Aunt Jemima, which features a picture of a black woman on its label, just rebranded to remove that labeling from its products, and it was closely followed by brands like Cream of Wheat, Uncle Ben’s, and Mrs. Butterworth’s. What is going on here? These are more examples of companies deciding that the feelings and opinions of a tiny minority of the country—the fringe far-left—matter more than common sense. Nobody wants a picture of a black person on their label because that is now deemed racist? This is cancel-culture and lunatic appeasement. It takes a true stretch of the imagination to link these brands to detrimental activities against African Americans in any way, and yet, these companies are so terrified of the screaming minority that they want to be seen as enlightened.

Everybody seems to be in a massive competition to try to prove how racist they aren’t, and the way to prove this seems to be constant and vocal virtue-signaling. Facts and logic are being overshadowed by the narrative, and the overwhelming majority of this is spewing from the far-left. Don’t get me wrong, the far-right isn’t any better. In fact, the political fringes of our society have created what is probably the most daunting, most destructive, and existential threat our civilization has ever faced. However, the far-left is unequivocally the most vocal and therefore the most dangerous. It’s easier to side with the left than it is to side with the right if for no other reason than bullying. The left is full of vocal bullies and purveyors of righteous indignation, while the right simply sneers and calls you a snowflake, usually in a message full of misspellings and punctuation errors. The far left will pander to anybody who agrees with them with sickening levels of sycophantic fawning and a complete inability to find any level of criticism. The far right will tell you that they are better than you because both of their lords and saviors, Jesus Christ and Donald Trump have told them that theirs is the path of the righteous.

Both sides are idiots.

If you’re over the age of three-and-a-half and you’re spouting that Donald Trump is the best president of your lifetime, you need to reexamine your history. Actually, you need to rethink your life choices. His divisiveness alone objectively disqualifies him from that honor, not to mention the hundred other things he does and says that make him both a terrible person and a terrible president. If you say that he’s the worst president to ever live, you’re also delusional. There are quite a few good things that he has accomplished and just that fact alone elevates him over a few presidents who accomplished nothing at all for the good of America. If you’re unable to even objectively view the good that he has accomplished, or the bad that he has propagated, then you’re part of the problem. Unfortunately, neither side of this argument seems capable of objectively looking at any fact without spinning it into their narrative, and this is destroying us.

With regard to the police, we as a society expect too much of our police officers. We expect them to be medics, grief counselors, family counselors, teen counselors, domestic abuse advocates, firefighters, targets, and shields. We expect them to be fair and impartial, but at the same time cut us some slack when they pull us over. We expect them to make perfect decisions every single time. We expect them to be robotic, to show up for work every day and never let their own personal problems affect their job performance. We expect them to see the horrors of pure evil, and never let those sights affect their mentality, objectivity, or job performance. We expect them to be emotionless robots who never lose their temper. We expect them to take a barrage of verbal abuse that would have made Ghandi throw a punch. We expect them to know every single law every single time and to never make a mistake in their interpretation of those laws when even the Supreme Court often can’t agree on what the laws exactly mean. We expect them to accept that we will file a complaint or sue them every single time they get something wrong. “I screwed up, I’m sorry,” is NEVER acceptable to us, even for minor, correctable mistakes, and we expect police to live with that and go about their jobs with a smile on their faces.

As of June 15th, 27 police officers have already been feloniously murdered this year. 22 others have been accidentally killed in the performance of their duties. Can you name a single one of them? Unless you’re a cop or a close relative of one, I bet you can’t. For that matter, can you name a single one of the unarmed white people killed by police this year? There are more of them than there are unarmed black people killed, but I’ll bet you can’t name one of them either. However, I bet you can name at least 3 or 4 of the unarmed blacks killed this year or last. And that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem lies in the media portrayal of these killings. Is it a surprise to you to learn that police officers kill more unarmed whites—twice as many, actually—than unarmed blacks every year? It was to me, and that’s because of perception driven by both the media and by social activists.

Police officers in this country make about 10 million arrests every year. Approximately 1000 of those result in the suspect being killed by the police. Taken without any further information, you have about a one in ten thousand chance of being killed by the police if you’re arrested. However, this isn’t the abstract, and the fact is that not all arrestees are equal. You see, many of them are armed and decide to use that weapon against the police or a citizen. Of the 1000 people killed by police last year, only about 50 of them were unarmed. Of those 50, the majority were actively fighting with the police, or at least actively resisting arrest. While quite a few of those deaths are tragedies, and a couple might actually be murders, as a percentage of the 10 million total arrests each year, the number is staggeringly low.

And here’s the thing: This number will never be zero.

If you had a magic machine and could somehow completely eliminate racism in its entirety from our civilization, and if not a single person ever resisted arrest, there would still be people killed by police. 10 million arrests is a staggering number, and some percentage of those will end up dying. We as a society need to find a way to accept that. No matter what changes we make, it will never be zero.

What we can do to lower the fatality number though, is to lower the number of arrests that police make each year. 10 million arrests is ridiculous. A huge number of those arrests are due to drug charges, and many of the fatalities stem from probable cause arrests that are drug related. This is absurd. There is a plethora of information out there that proves that this forty-year war on drugs is an absolute, unmitigated failure, and it needs to end. By decriminalizing drugs, we can instantly cut the number of arrests by a huge number. In fact, just by decriminalizing possession alone, we can chop 1.2 million arrests each year—12 percent of them—and save tens of billions of taxpayer dollars. Going into a comprehensive discussion of all the problems of the war on drugs is well beyond the scope of this article, but aside from the far-right extremists, most people agree it needs to change.

Right now, the Defund the Police movement is gaining strength and traction. This is a fringe-leftwing movement. It is not a position held by most liberal people. In fact, it’s such an absurdly lunatic position, that liberals have tried to control the narrative and soften the stance by claiming that Defund the Police just means “moving some resources around.” However, this was not the original intent of this movement, and it is not the current platform of the demented segment of the population that occupies so much of our time and our social media timelines. They truly want to abolish the police entirely, or at least disarm them, under the premise that the police do more harm than good. It is our job as civilian members of this modern society to strongly disavow this concept. It is the job of police officers to figure out how to alter the perception that they do more good than harm, and it is the job of BLM to say, “Hey, this is not our platform. We want change, not anarchy.” But instead, everybody seems to be elevating this concept through their actions or words, and it’s absolutely incredible—and entirely our fault—that it has gained as much traction as it has. Quoting Sam Harris from his Making Sense podcast again, “If you think a society without cops is a society you would want to live in, you have lost your mind.”

In part three of this three-part series of articles, I’m going to talk about how each group: the police, Black Lives Matter, and society, need to accept responsibility for change, as well as how we need to be looking for solutions upstream, a concept taken from the book, Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen, by Dan Heath. You can read part three by clicking HERE: https://wp.me/p7aEcB-xM

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