Gas station without pumps

2020 June 22

An alternative to defunding the police

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:17
Tags: ,

I think that the “defund the police” movement is addressing the wrong problem—reducing or eliminating their funding will not do much to reduce police brutality and racism.

A more meaningful approach would be to “disarm the police”.  A big part of the problem is that police forces attract boys who want to wave guns around and shoot people with them—take the guns away and you not only reduce the chances of accidentally shooting someone, but you remove the attraction for violent gun nuts to join the force in the first place.

New Zealand has kept their police forces unarmed, and it seems to be working well there, despite some racism.


  1. Hi Kevin

    I think something along these lines is called for.

    I live in London most of each year (and now all year during the pandemic). The UK used to have police without guns, but several kinds of circumstances got them to arm. The population doesn’t generally have guns, and it is extremely rare to read about the police shooting someone (occasionally it happens). There are traditions over here that don’t obtain in the US in most places.

    I think the other problem is fear. I can’t tell in the US when a police killing happens because the police person wanted to shoot (even kill) someone, and when it happens because they think this will be the safest for them to just kill the other person.

    Comment by alanone1 — 2020 June 22 @ 23:31 | Reply

    • Warrior training courses are part of the problem. Underfunding for schools, drug treatment, affordable infrastructure, and general welfare is part of the problem. Taking money from the police so they can’t buy tanks and giving it to healthcare workers and teachers might be part of the solution.

      I was surprised that even a liberal place like Santa Cruz spends almost 40% of it’s budget on the police department.

      Comment by RFon — 2020 June 23 @ 09:12 | Reply

      • Too much is spent on the police, but just reducing the money won’t help much, as the money won’t then get spent on things like drug treatment, health care, and infrastructure.

        I think that Santa Cruz’s armored personnel carrier was a gift from the federal government—such gifts we don’t need!

        Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2020 June 23 @ 10:01 | Reply

  2. Calling for universal disarming of the police is a philosophical position unsupported by the social landscape.

    Bugaloo people and NRA extremists love that idea as some see the police are the front line of government overreach in their lives
    and the police will be the presence that comes into their homes to take their guns away when the liberals rule. Many really think like that.
    Many police departments are very good, have non-violent and helpful cultures.
    In Santa Cruz County we are so fortunate to have had good police departments always for the 45 years I have lived here.

    As a contractor I worked for officers and their families over the years and got to know them well, we have a good culture here.
    As a contractor you learn quickly how extensive the drug and violence problems are in parts of our communities, the construction labor pool is a window into that..

    The public, criminals in particular, and the extremist right anti-police bugaloo people are so armed-up with military guns that police need good defense weapons, it’s that simple.
    There are many local police cultures that are violent and racist, and that is the real problem. We are so lucky to not have that here.

    Another good example, a friend was for years leader of Pomona SWAT, and for many years while he ran that unit no fatal injuries occurred to officers or the general public, and only a couple of times
    in battles with with heavily armed gang members.
    This is a fine example of how well a heavily armed police force in dreadfully adversarial conditions can function without causing harm.
    But , departments and local social cultures need to support peaceful resolutions and non-lethal confrontations. Unless that happens, blood will run in the gutters.
    Controlling easy access to extreme firearms would be one helpful step.

    Comment by richard rebman — 2020 June 23 @ 16:00 | Reply

  3. You wrote “…reducing the money won’t help much, as the money won’t then get spent on things like drug treatment, health care, and infrastructure.” I’m not sure what your basis is for saying it wouldn’t go to those other things — but I guess cynicism is certainly not entirely misplaced. Still the #DefundThePolice movement is about redirecting police budget towards other public safety efforts, so it presumes the money is redirected well.

    Now, consider George Floyd. He was not killed by a gun, so #DisarmThePolice probably wouldn’t have helped him. And in our heavily armed country where guns are so prolific, it might not be practical to start by taking away the police’s weapons.

    Police were responding to a report of Mr. Floyd buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Community policing would probably have better outcomes in that class of crime. Still, I think what would reduce this violence most would be #EndQualfiedImmunity.

    Comment by whatisron — 2020 June 23 @ 21:39 | Reply

    • You are right that my belief that money taken from the police would not be spent wisely is pure cynicism—I don’t trust even the best of our local politicians to spend money wisely.

      I agree with you that ending qualified immunity is an essential step—if cops have no consequences (or only minor slaps on the wrist) for killing people, then there is little incentive for them to stop.

      Both you and RIck Rebman above argue that cops need guns to take out the violent gun bearers. This arm-them-with-bigger-guns mentality leads to ever escalating violence. Remember that the cop-killer up in Ben Lomond was not captured by heavily armed cops, but by an unarmed civilian, despite the cop-killer having an automatic rifle and improvised explosive devices.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2020 June 23 @ 21:55 | Reply

      • Kevin, no,
        not what I said.
        I’m not arguing they need bigger guns to out gun the bad guys, and thus the escalation that results, etc.,….in order to take out the bad guys.

        What I said was, they need adequate and often big defensive weapon capability to compete, to defend themselves adequately against the heavily armed criminal elements.

        The guy Sam in Ben Lomond is a hero, no question. James Bond style movie-hero stuff, handing the gun violence freak old house keys….amazingly sound thinking.
        Event he evil insane little shit cop killer was confused and impressed, asking him conversationally while held down how he learned to fight so well,
        asking if he knew “JJ”, slang for ju jit su.
        Crazy people out there, with lots of guns.
        Sam’s success is not going to be typical, a lightly armed officer or civilian with or without a vest would most often be injured or killed quickly in such a situation.
        We should only be grateful for Sam’s heroic cool head and actions, not conclude that martial arts trumps big guns, like the crazy guy thinks.

        Comment by richard rebman — 2020 June 24 @ 10:02 | Reply

        • And really, seems to me there is an attempt here to find a solution or make a comment on police actions, not just gun violence , current situations shining a much needed light on these problems.
          One identifiable and solvable basic problem is the level of gun presence in all these dynamics.

          Many were angry at Mike Bloomberg for the “stop and frisk” campaign which took place mostly in black communities around New York.
          This was called racist, even though the majority of gun crimes and murders happened in those areas and involved young black men.
          Guess what?
          Thousands of guns were taken off the streets and gun violence and crimes statistics immediately dropped like a rock off a cliff.
          Excellent result, yet not politically popular.
          A talking point of some NRA people is, take all the guns away from “the blacks” (an offensive use of language we have to ignore for now,
          speaks for itself) and you can solve the gun problems in America (they really do say that).

          The thing is, taking the guns out of the picture does improve the picture hugely.
          But you also have to take away the crazy white guy machine guns, the mass murder/war weapons.

          Canada is on a good track, making the AR15’s illegal.

          Long ago a book called the Martyrdom of Man was published, and even H G Wells and Winston Churchill proclaimed it inspirational and
          a view of the future.
          the book concludes that we no longer need war, racism, slavery, or religion, only science to guide us forwards socially.
          Sadly, humanity is not up to the challenge I don’t think.
          Not smart enough.

          Comment by richard rebman — 2020 June 24 @ 11:06 | Reply

  4. Once they can only afford to pay them what they pay social workers and teachers and so on, they’ll only have women. That will probably help quite a bit. And they’ll be able to take that money to help reduce the huge turnover in socialwork which will help a lot of other problems. I don’t see how defunding the police (and directing those resources to other services) can be anything but a win-win, especially given how they are misusing those resources, raping women and children, killing and harassing black women, and not actually solving crimes.

    Comment by nicoleandmaggie — 2020 June 27 @ 12:35 | Reply

  5. How fortunate we are!
    Not knowing about pay rates or social worker turn over reasons,
    It is good we have you to turn to for support with that knowledge.
    Maggie and Nicole, police officers are social workers too. And, yes, sometimes females.
    When Elizabeth Butler was murdered she and officer Baker were on a social worker style visit.
    She was a wonderful person who helped so many, they both were always good, always king, in my experience.
    Every time I spoke to one of them I felt good afterwards, I felt the situation was safer.
    I don’t know that more money is going to prevent social workers from leaving some situations.
    Ambitous undertaking, causing people to behave like responsible adults.

    Comment by richard rebman — 2020 June 28 @ 15:07 | Reply

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