It's a damn shame our countries aren't run by people with exactly this way of thinking, instead of the prejudiced, ignorant and self-serving jokes that end up running them.
(First half marked as spam for linking to a news article)
I've always been a part of multi-cultural groups who all liked each other. It's sad to say things are different now. Tensions are high. People who don't bother to say, "How are you today", or ignore rl friends for years, are quick to preen themselves as "caring" for pointing fingers and condemning large groups of people based on shallow common traits, AND glorifying themselves for same (just different descriptions), despite any personal (or numerous) shortcomings unrelated to either group. Again, that's people. But...it was nicer when we all excused our shortcomings and all of us were misfits who supported each other instead of focusing on specific differences or trying to condemn and glorify.
However, I welcome, as do many, that those who judge get involved. Put your intellectual thoughts, and carefully structured posts from the comfort of home, and protests into action. Get out there. Look the people you want to help in the eye. Daily. For years. That's how change happens.
Because I know who wasn't wearing enough "armor" in Texas that day.
Your first part got to me, if not to LJ because of the rule.
It's important to be specific--when you say "people" aren't saying hello to those in other cultures anymore...which people? Because where I live, we are. In a town with at least four races (white, black, Hispanic, and Asian) while there are those who don't, most of us do greet and chat with each other. As I do when I go to the city.
As for your argument that the best way to cure bad policing would be to join the police force...from other sources (including people who did exactly that) there are data indicating that joining any organization to change it--unless you can overwhelm it (which, given that police forces have limited openings each year) doesn't work if the existing culture (which has traction, inertia, otherwise known as "tradition" on its side) does not want to accept any change. To keep a job, the newcomer has to "fit in" and newcomers rarely affect policy until they've been in place for years--so they learn to be what they wanted to change, or they get out.
Income: for the nearest large city, Austin, the median annual Police Patrol Officer salary in Austin, TX is $50,757, as of June 24, 2016, with a range usually between $42,276-$59,900 not including bonus and benefit information and other factors that impact base pay. (Bonus and benefits add to that base.) East Austin's median income is $35,053; this has long been the location of most black and Hispanic residents. Austin as a whole has a higher median income, about $77,0000, as it is the political and tech center with both highly aid lobbyists & politicians and wealthy entrepreneurs. There's also a large homeless population in central Austin, much hated by the GOP legislators and the tourist-minded developers, whose income is very low. The contrast by neighborhood is stark. Gentrification in East Austin has already begun.
This puts the median police pay in Austin just below the median household income for the nation, and well above the median *individual* income ($28.000.) Since most families now rely on at least two incomes to reach the median household income, having a salary almost twice the nationwide median individual salary, suggests to me that in the nearest large city, police are not underpaid. They are also making substantially more than enlisted military personnel with less than 10 years in service, and more than all O-1s, all O-2s under 3 years service, and 0-3s under 2 years. And these are the people who can be called onto a real battlefield in foreign lands, who can be moved around at the pleasure of the DOD. Want stress? Try 12, 14, 18 month deployments away from family. (Yes there are benefits, as in police employment, and combat pay associated with some assignments in the military.)
Are some police underpaid? I'm sure some are. So are some military personnel (not generals...), some garbage collectors, some teachers, some farm workers, some of just about every occupation. That's not an excuse for a badly paid grocery clerk to beat up a customer who holds up the line, or a badly paid teacher to attack a student who forgot their homework, or a badly paid garbage collector to throw a trash can at a homeowner who dropped the wrong kind of trash in a recycle container.
I anticipate that we will never agree, so agreeing to disagree would be a good idea.
How strange because I'm a minority (in more than one way) where I joined and single-handedly did change things; you sure don't change things by giving up without trying. Yikes.
Austin and assuming a double-income is a huge assumption. Then again so was the rest of that part of the response.
It would be impossible to disagree with a person whose never wrong (my mother had a specific term for such a person actually) and so prone to give up so quickly. Hm. I'm not agreeing to disagree. These were insights and I stick to them for whomever, not exclusively yourself.
2016-07-26 06:09 pm (UTC)
minorities and police departments
I don't know what the original response you're replying to said, but I think that more minorities joining their local police departments is a start on a cure for some of what is wrong. I don't think it is necessarily a quick cure, nor do I think it is a cure for anywhere close to everything that is wrong, but there are some things it would help. If the problem is that the police department as a whole is actively hostile towards one or more groups of citizens, then a few officers from those groups are unlikely to be able to quickly change that culture. I think a lot of police departments have more subtle problems then that though. Sometimes just having someone with a different viewpoint to point out the problems can make a difference. Sometimes getting to know a few members of a minority group can help humanize the group and make people (police officers in this case) realize they need to change their behavior. Having officers who understand minority cultures can help in some situations too. I think it is important that police departments at least somewhat reflect the citizenry they're policing, just as I think our lawmakers and our teachers should be drawn from across the range of our population.
I mostly agree with you.
But there *is* are a couple of problems with making all body cam & dashcam footage public.
First, it invades the privacy of everyone the cop talks to or stops. I can think of a lot of bosses who'd cheerfully fire you if there was dashcam footage of you getting stopped by a cop. and if you belong to a gang it could be worth your *life* to have been talking to a cop even if it was unavoidable and "innocent".
Second there are things where the police *do* need to not have stuff publicly available. Talking to informants is obvious. But interviewing witnesses is another, and probably others I've not thought of.
But we can't let the police decide who gets to see what either. And if politics gets involved...
I think--and I could be wrong--that the tech may enable the cultural shift simply by forcing more transparency. If you do not know what happened, are are culturally conditioned to trust law enforcement, you are less likely to shift your opinion until you see proof of the problem.
This cancer has been in the police for a very long time.
I'm old enough to remember the riots that happened after the Rodney King trial. I watched the verdict being announced in a state of complete and utter shock. I simply could not believe that those men had been found 'innocent'. Did the jury not see the same video I did? (They did, but decided to ignore it.) Clearing the patient of this cancer is going to be neither simple or easy. I'm afraid that a lot of home truths are going to have to be rubbed in this country's face before change actually happens on a large scale.
2016-07-16 10:40 pm (UTC)
Just a quickie head nod. (Hoping your note function works.
The thing to keep in mind is that the US isn't free, and hasn't been for decades or longer. It has become a police state, a plutocratic olligarchy disguised as a democracy. We need to uproot the entire power structure and oust everyone in it (violently if necessary), repeal Citizens United, make massive overhauls to the system to get rid of the corrupting influence of money in politics (partly by making lobbying illegal and making it so anybody in office caught taking lobbying money is immediately fired, partly by setting up something so that you don't have to be a multibillionaire to run for office, maybe even making it illegal for millionaires and beyond to even run for office), ban military equipment (riot gear, military grade weapons, etc), fire every damn cop in the country, then put laws in place to weed out the bad apples (racists, sexists, psychopaths, and power trippers, among others) during hiring before starting to restaff police stations around the country, have a war crimes tribunal for Bush and Cheney (and probably every President for the last 30 years, too; or at least the Republicans), come up with some way to make third parties actually have an equal chance of winning, and modeling our voting system off Australia's - so that you don't just have the ability to vote *for* someone, you can also vote "no" on the people you don't want in office. (I know I for one would vote "no" on both Trump AND Clinton if I could.) Maybe also require that people who get elected to office can make no more than whatever the minimum wage is, and/or rely on food stamps to feed themselves, at least for a year or two. Oh, and make diversity requirements for the SCOTUS so it isn't just a bunch of old white men all the time. For that matter, diversity requirements in all levels of government; a government of/by/for the people should reflect the diversity of the people.
So...an autistic man leaves a group home, holding a toy truck, and is followed by a staff member. Someone calls the police to say that an armed man is threatening suicide (someone who can't tell a toy truck from even a toy gun, let alone a real one.)
The staff member catches up with the unhappy autistic man (and since our son was in a group home for almost a year, and unhappy there, I can understand someone wanting to get out, if just for a few hours...a group home is stifling--no way to get some alone time if you need it.) He is talking to him when police arrive, guns drawn of course. Staff member puts his hands up, talks to police, explains situation as he tries to calm down the autistic man who is (naturally) scared and jittery. Still holding the toy truck. A truck, dammit.
And so one of the cops shoots the staff member, who falls over, hands still up. The cop who shot him, when asked why he shot, says "I don't know."
I do. He was tense, he was anxious, and he had a gun in his hand. Holding a loaded weapon, just by itself, increases one's sense of risk--increases tension. Pointing it at a target increases tension again. How do you discharge tension when you're holding a gun pointed at something or someone? You pull the trigger. There. Loud bang, something falls over, tension less. Having zero fire discipline and zero situational judgment just about ensures this will happen. That officer shouldn't be in the police and shouldn't own a firearm, because any time he picks it up he will feel tense and the easy out will happen.
But then what...then the officers rush over and *handcuff the innocent, unarmed man they shot, and roll him over face down, while he bleeds into the pavement.
It is necessary to mention that the unarmed man they shot, the man holding up his hands in plain sight, who was trying to help a developmentally disabled and unarmed man holding a toy truck, was black? No, I didn't think so.
I agree with most of what you say. One of the things that I think needs to happen is that the police union needs to stop helping the bad eggs keep their jobs. The police where I live mostly do a good job as far as I know. They're over-worked and under-funded which means they don't do as much as I'd like, but they try their best. They have a few bad eggs though, and those officers need to go. They tried to get rid of one of them who was involved in multiple incidents involving accusations of excessive force but the union wasn't having it and took them to court, demanding that he get his job back. Another bad egg recently got himself arrested for pulling a woman over for failing to use a turn signal when parking then assaulting her and trying to destroy her phone because her daughter used it to record his behavior. He hauled the woman and her boyfriend off to jail on trumped up charges, all of which were dismissed after investigation by the DA's office which then arrested the officer. A local judge dismissed the charges against him. The DA's office has refiled them, saying the judge made a mistake. Time will tell what happens. You can bet that the union will support the officer until and perhaps even after he's convicted though.