Break-Ins Are the Price: Will We Pay It?

Decisions made in the heat of passion aren’t always the best decisions. Some might even say they are usually the worst decisions, as there is a bone in our head that precludes thought when passions run high. While passion has generally become a social driver over the past few years, it’s overwhelmed many in the past ten days. And when I predicted that “Defund Police” will gain no traction, I may have been wrong because the idea is idiotic. I failed to take into account passion.

The Los Angeles city council has introduced a bill to reduce police funding by $150 million.

Council President Nury Martinez and councilmembers Herb Wesson, Curren Price and Monica Rodriguez introduced the legislation to reprioritize public safety funds, reinvesting them in other services, including those “to uplift disenfranchised communities.”

Whether that’s a wise reprioritization or not is unclear. It doesn’t say why the funding was needed, what the police would use it for or where the money will go. As a general precept, not feeding unlimited funds to the police probably won’t make anyone not on the police union payroll sad. On the other hand, if the department needed funding to pay for the replacement of old squad cars, or in the alternative, the funding of pensions obligations, it could present a problem. Also, is there an “uplift” store where the money gets spent?

Had this question been called a month ago, when cops were coronavirus heroes, maybe the council would have doubled the increase to show their love and appreciation. Weird how that works. I wonder where all those beloved and adored cops went when they were replaced on the front line of protests by those evil and sadistic cops? Most have been their RDO.

In one of the ever-popular “‘splainers,” Newsweek, the once-credible news magazine, does some of its best ‘splainin’.

Speaking with Newsweek on Thursday, Jamani Montague of Critical Resistance—a national, member-based grassroots organization working to dismantle the prison-industrial complex in the U.S.—said that the driving goal of defunding law enforcement is to abolish the current system of policing and justice as we know it and replace it with “transformative justice.”

“There is always going to be harm and we have to find transformative ways to think about how we’re addressing harm in a way that’s not promoting disposability and not promoting punishing people,” Montague said.

In a world without policing, Montague said, communities would have to find new ways of managing harm and “building a sense of collective care and interdependency.”

“Our conflicts have become property of the state. We don’t have even have a relationship to how we deal with our conflicts anymore,” Montague said. “That automatically gets directed to 911.”

Did that clear it up for you? Lisa Bender, president of the Minneapolis City Council, is a bit more concrete about what this really means.

If you are a comfortable white person asking to dismantle the police I invite you to reflect: are you willing to stick with it? Will you be calling in three months to ask about garage break-ins? Are you willing to dismantle white supremacy in all systems, including a new system?

Those comfortable white persons and their white supremacist concerns about garage break-ins. I’m literally shaking. I suspect that it might even extend further than the garage, like supermarkets and mom-and-pop stores (at least the ones not minority owned) and perhaps your kids for not handing over their Nike sneakers upon demand of the oppressed, or kneeling to apologize and beg forgiveness for slavery.

The irony here is that there is sound reason to divert funds from policing to schools, mental health services, funding for businesses and numerous other services that are starving while cops get new bullet proof vests every year to wear while cruising in their MRAP. Police are hugely expensive (thanks, unions!).

And there is likely an enormous public safety benefit and cost savings to be had by funding services that enable people to be productive, law-abiding and successful members of society. How much is unclear, but it’s clear that giving people a vested interest in society and the opportunity to succeed will substantially reduce the alternative, that they have no way to survive but for crime.

But there will still be crime, because people will still be people just as they’ve always been people. Not every garage will be broken into, but some will. Are you willing to let it slide? Don’t call the cops as they won’t come. Don’t complain that they aren’t on the streets, as the twelve cops left on the force are busy busting stare rapists who are traumatizing strong and fierce women survivors.

How exactly this theoretical scheme that aspires to be “transformative” is supposed to work is anybody’s guess at this point. It’s not as if anybody has thought of any of this through, and given the tendency to make word salad for dinner, it’s not as if their supporters demand specifics rather than meaningless vagaries about whiskers on kittens.

But Lisa Bender came the closest to spilling the beans when she told her constituents, flat out, that if they aren’t willing to take a garage break-in for the team, then they might as well wear Klan hoods. And if they break into your comfortable white privileged house after the garage has been emptied, who will you call?*

Don’t answer. It’s a trick question, for if you think calling is the right response, that’s just your privilege showing. Property isn’t worth a life, is it? Not even when it’s your property and somebody decides to make it his because you have it and he doesn’t. Bender tells us what the price of the future will be under her plan. Will you pay it?

*This is where someone cracks a joke about cops shooting your dog, if not your son, when they arrive or “When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.” It’s not that there isn’t some truth to the jokes.

22 thoughts on “Break-Ins Are the Price: Will We Pay It?

  1. scott fowler

    Less police funding does not necessarily equate to inadequate police protection. You rightly point out that these funds may better serve society by being reallocated.The American model of policing and incarceration has evolved into a 600 pound gorilla that somehow must be dealt with.See Ryan Cooper’s June 5 opinion in “the Week” . Unfortunately ;no practical blueprint exists to achieve Nordic model but perhaps reallocating(not defunding) is a starting point.

      1. Miles

        But Sweden, which is exactly like New Jersey, except for everything. Every time some child brings up the Nordic Model, a puppy dies.

      2. scott fowler

        thinking not hard…sarcastic replies not hard..recognizing problem /implementing change/foreseeing unintended consequences…that is hard.

        1. SHG Post author

          For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

          H. L. Mencken

          Thinking is hard. Very hard.

    1. Onlymom

      There is nothing wrong with the ideal of defunding the police. But the devil is in the details. What we need to do is defund the 50 year plan to turn them into an occupation army. Limit their access to military equipment. Sorry but there are lot more of us than there is of you. Plus no matter what military equipment you have we still have more weapons than you do. That fight won’t end well for anybody. The so called “war on crime” is over….you won! Crime overall is at a 60-70 year low.

  2. B. McLeod

    It won’t prove to be a good thing, for anyone.

    It is somewhat helpful that the hitherto nebulous slogans are being reduced to concrete proposals, so that people who feel they have to “support the protests” understand what they are signing on for.

  3. John Barleycorn

    A symbolic 4.7% cut is not exactly passionate. Percolating perhaps…

    Speaking of traction, if LAPD decides not to merge a few of its nine Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau platoons, takes a pass on eliminating all the pencils with erasers in its Office of the Inspector Genera, and decides instead to merge the Art Theft Detail back into Specialty Robbery Division, you will finally have your answer as to why we can not have nice things.

  4. Alex S.

    My experience as a public defender in a rural county is that when police get enough money to hire additional patrol officers, there is a noticeable increase in arrests. My educated guess is that patrol officers are going to be arresting people, rather than sit on their asses, even if they have to engage in aggressive “social contacts” until they develop PC on a drug charge or other minor violations, or run IDs until they pick up a warrant.

    In my county at least, I suspect certain law enforcement budgets could be cut some amount without reducing any policing in violent crimes or major property crimes. Opinions may differ on whether increasing arrests of status offenses and other minor crimes is a good use of money, but it seems to me there are much better potential uses of those funds.

  5. JRP

    I don’t know if those advocating for this have thought if the obvious consequence. More home owners getting into violent altercations and shootings with criminals. The canard to “wait for the police” isnt very strong if you know they arnt coming. Those home owners will be all races because black people like their stuff and fear for their families to, unless the woke mob includes a provision to still have the cops respond if your black…

    1. Skink

      The Hotel has a special for you! Fortunately,the League of Logical Expression is holding a conference in the Grand Ballroom. Management has been given a few vouchers to attend for only $20.00, where the regular price is $756,213! Hit the orange button and it’s all yours!

      1. JRP

        I have dreamed of the ball for so long! To bad, I hear its in New York this year and Im a few thousand miles away (and NY looks dangerous).

    2. B. McLeod

      I have pointed out this problem to a few of the local defunding proponents. They maintain that police only help white people and do not help black people. Consequently, black crime victims have nothing to lose from defunding police. Also, they posit that only “closet racists” mention black-on-black crime, which, apparently, does not really exist.

  6. Rengit

    Reading Lisa Bender’s comments on Twitter, she appears to believe Twitter posts, retweets, likes, and replies are the real election, the real democracy, and the calendar events that we hold in November (and other times throughout the year) where people who live in her district participate to express their opinions covertly are merely annoying formalities at best, fake racist pageants at worst.

  7. cthulhu

    Steven Pinker:

    “As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that had competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order. This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist).”

  8. Matthew Scott Wideman

    “new ways of managing harm and “building a sense of collective care and interdependency.” – Usually means armed militias and death squads in most countries. I have a friend who’s father served as a “collective care agent” for his community in Columbia during the communist and narco trohbles. He will be the first person to tell you that we need an independent tax payer funded police agency to make sure each garage break in is not a blood fued.

    How about we just fully legalize weed and stop wasting the tax payers money with the drug war? I aware the US vacillates between one extreme or another. All the while sweeping badly needed changes under the rug.

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