Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Silliness: The Goldilocks Problem of Policing

What I like about this Brian McFadden cartoon is that it shows not just the racism that seems to be in play, but that neither running away or escalation make sense:

I got a wee bit of flack when I tweeted that cops should be less hair-triggery when confronting someone.  That is, that because the alleged bad guys may not hit the target so assuredly, perhaps it is best for the cops to wait a bit longer to see if the alleged bad guys are actually armed and actually bad guys. 

It was perhaps a bit glib, but the basic idea remains: if cops approach situations with hair triggers and have little accountability for their actions, then it is up to the citizens to send only signals of submission and peace.  That is problematic because, as I have said before, the burden of risk in this interaction shifts from those paid by the state, trained by the state and armed by the state to the citizens.  Avoiding getting shot is not a part of a citizen's day job, but the careful deployment of force is a part of a police officer's job.  With that job comes significant risks.   That is the simple reality, and efforts to reduce those risks should not come at the expense of the citizens. 

So, have them wear more armor, arm them with less lethal means, and certainly train them better but do not give them rules of engagement that become akin to shoot first, ask questions later.

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