Defund the What?!

I’m sure many people think of the same thing when they think about the world without Police officers. People pillaging the land. Everything is on fire. Every man and woman for themselves.

I used to see this until I took a step back and thought critically about it.

After reading this article (or before if your heart desires) I want to hear if YOUR opinion of the police has changed and what changed it

When I am faced with an emotional situation in life, I always take a step back to figure out what is going on. I think about what is causing that emotion and if it is serving its purpose. let’s take a step back together and see what’s going on.

“Is my response to defunding the police accurate? Where does it come from?”

Before modern police we had a “slave patrol” in 1701. The purpose is pretty self-explanatory. Somehow, rich landowners convinced the population it was in our best interest to have a citizen funded policing system that protected their interests. In 1830, the North started to reject sending back slaves to the Plantation owners. That is what started the birth of our American policing system. We came up with a bureaucratic policing system so the laws of slavery can be enforced nationwide.

Reflect on this for a second. Being a slave was legally more “criminal” than actually being the one beating and enslaving them.

Ultimately, we know how this pans out. This created tension, civil war, and abolishing old-world slavery to transition to new-world slavery.

OK, Matthew, that’s all in the past. That was over 100 years ago. We have changed and now we need the police otherwise there will be chaos!

I’m glad you brought this up…

What changed my mind about policing continued when I started thinking about what we consider a “criminal.” This term is used as a way to define someone’s character. Once someone is deemed a criminal they are not seen as a product of their environment but there is something inherently wrong in their character. Once someone is convicted of a crime, they are no longer able to get financial aid for school, nearly impossible to get a job, and won’t be able to even get a place to live. This is because we don’t see individuals as redeemable after they have been labeled a criminal.

This is the exact logic people have used to justify slavery. They viewed Africans as savages and uncultured. That the White landowners were superior. They thought they were doing the Africans a favor! Their logic was that they enjoyed doing slave labor and were better at it than anyone else. They would give them a shack to live in, food, and handed-down clothes to justify keeping them in chains.

Doesn’t this sound IDENTICAL to our logic with policing? That people are savages and don’t deserve to be in society?

When we look at higher areas of violent crime, there is a strong correlation between unemployment and higher violent crime. If someone can’t get a higher education, job, or place to live, what are they supposed to do? If we really want to prevent violent crime, is putting people in jail the best option?

The last piece of information that changed how I viewed the police, was when I learned that violent crime accounted for $4 Billion a year in stolen money. White collar crime accounted for $300- 600 Billion a year. Let me repeat that number, $300 – 600 BILLION. That is a lot! Somehow, that passes as not as bad as the kid who held up a grocery store for food because he was starving.

Reflect on this: The people who are responsible for $300 – $600 Billion in stolen money are not seen as threatening as the people responsible for $4 Billion.

What would our society look like if we changed values and held white collar crime as more severe than violent crime? What could we do with that stolen money to help fund the economies that it destroys? Wouldn’t that actually solve violent crime? People getting the $300 – $600 Billion in money back that was stolen from YOU.

What do you think? Has your thoughts on police changed one way or the other?

Published by Matthew O'Connell

An English grad trying to find his way in life.

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