Police are imperfect. Humans are imperfect. And just like everyone else, individual officers vary. Some are jerks; most are not. Some aren't very good at police work; most are at least competent. And just as the jerks and bumblers rely on the respect most people have for the badge and the uniform, the good ones bear the ill-will engendered when things go terribly wrong.
And when things go wrong? There are plenty of angry, murderous, warped people out there and some of them are moved to act against police generally. Violently; Texas and Louisiana are only the most lurid recent examples.
It's like nuclear fission: Action, reaction, reaction2, reaction3... If there's a critical mass, it keeps growing.
Various groups are planning to protest at the RNC in Cleveland, and good for them! It's the American way: wave signs, yell, try some attention-grabbing stunts, get your face and your cause on the news. Maybe the suits and bosses will hear you. Some of the groups -- the Black Panthers and at least one nativist bunch -- say they will be open-carrying, which is as legal in Ohio as church on Sunday; thousands of Buckeyes open carry without problems. (And generally, the groups that do so as a protest or message have a good grasp of this kind of edgy street theater.)
Reaction? "'Gov. Kasich [...] could very easily do some kind of executive order or something -- I don't care if it's constitutional or not at this point,' Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, told CNN." [Emphasis mine]
Ohio's Governor, aware that he was not elected God-King, has pointed out that such an action is not within his power.
Threepers have been telling the rest of us for years that a very small minority willing to employ force can effect change. It turns out that they're right -- and that a lawless few can distort public discourse, public confidence, police attitudes. (See, there's this about methods and means: they don't have sides. They're just tools.)
Violence, violence, action, reaction -- Not a bit of it does a damned thing to address a very real demographic skew in who gets arrested, who gets shot being arrested, and who goes to jail. I think it's largely economic, but there's no denying the stats. I think a little of the Black Lives Matter movement is grandstanding at the top and and an excuse for looting at the bottom -- but in between, there are a lot of essentially decent, frustrated people who want things to be better, just like all those decent, hardworking police who are neither saints nor simmers, and who also want things to be better.
If you could get right down to the core of most of the people who will be protesting in Cleveland, you'd find most of them just want things to be better, too.
If you could get right down to the core of the bastards shooting at police from hiding? I'm certain they want things to be worse.
You want to pick a side? There's your sides: do you want things to get better, or do you want them to get worse? As a society, we need to sort that out first; only then can we argue, with means short of fists and brickbats or worse, about what and how.
8 months ago