Would you support police if

Would you support police if the concept of police were introduced today? A quick thought experiment:


Generic politician:
Hello everyone! I know you’ve all done pretty well defending your family yourself with, but what if I told you I have a new solution? Rather than defending yourself, I propose we dedicate some collective money together (don’t worry, we don’t have to use the ‘socialist’ word out loud if it makes you uncomfortable) and use this money to hire a new set of government employees that can enforce the laws we set for you.

You can still have your guns, but these government enforcers will also have guns. If you pull your gun out or they even think you are pulling a gun out they are 100% in their right to shoot to kill on the spot.

All this great new service will take is roughly half of all your hometown’s annual budget. We will start using that money to arm them with professional military equipment so they can better… Ummm… give out speeding tickets. Yeah, that.


It’s got all things conservatives claim to hate:

-Big government
-Confusing and wasteful bureaucracy
-Armed enforcers of the state
-Literally control over citizens
-Erosion of Rights
-Relying on the government for something you could supposedly do yourself
-Socially funded

So, anyone want to support the creation of the police in this hypothetical?

I got to thinking about this in an earlier thread. It seems that by many things about government the right claims to hate, the police should be of grave concern.

In this hypothetical, no. In the reality of the law enforcement that we actually have instead, by and large, yes.

What about the hypothetical is wrong?

  1. “If you pull your gun out or they even think you are pulling a gun out they are 100% in their right to shoot to kill on the spot” is not the way it is; not without probable cause.
  2. That line about “We will start using that money to arm them with professional military equipment so they can better… Ummm… give out speeding tickets” is nothing but hyperbolic BS.
  3. It isn’t “big government” because it’s one of the few legitimate functions of government, a lean, austere government.
  4. “Control over the citizens” is largely the result of legislative, executive, and judicial overreach, and as we saw with the pandemic, some law enforcement agencies told their power-mongering governors what to go do with themselves.
  5. “Erosion of rights?” See above. The police are a tool to enforce the law. The misuse of that tool by the legislative, executive, and judicial bodies are the responsibility of those bodies.
  6. Self-policing doesn’t work worth a crap. Remember those police-free zones during the riots?
  1. In theory, yes, but how often are police convicted for killing someone because they thought they had a weapon?

  2. I stand by this, there’s no reasonable justification for the militarization of police.

  3. Thinking it’s legitimate doesn’t make it not government having a huge presence in our lives. Police officers are government workers.

  4. & 5. They are literally the enforcers of government policy (laws). If the government passes an unjust law, they are tasked with enforcing it. Maybe it’s the laws that try to control your actions, but the police are the branch of government that actually enforce the control. Perhaps the police who refused to do their job are those “bad apples” I keep hearing about.

  5. If self-policing doesn’t work, why all the insistence that people need guns to stop “bad guys?”

So then the problem, as Gene points out, is that police often do pull their gun out on “suspicion” of harm.

Now, here’s my question. If you’ve dedicated your career to being a police officer and you unjustifiably kill someone, what percentage of those cops are going to say, oops, yeah, I screwed up?

I mean, in the history of policing and questionable actions has an officer acctually admitted that they shot too soon or without proper justification.

Quite literally, “I thought my life was in danger”, or I thought he had a weapon" is what every single cop says who shoots an unarmed person. My kids tell me all the time, “I didn’t know” or, I thought I was", or “I didn’t do it on purpose”. I don’t accept that argument from my kids and I certainly won’t except it from a police officer.

If that is an acceptable excuse, then how can you tell the difference between those lying and those who aren’t? Unless you believe that in the history of policing that all instances of shootings are justified (god knows I think you know better).

Therefore, the problem is one of accountability. I think most of us can accept that an officer makes a mistake, what we can’t accept is an officer that makes a mistake, a mistake that leads to the unjustified killing of another human being, without any accountability.

If the officers that killed (insert a case where an officer/s unjustifiably killed an unarmed person) were held accountable, this would be less of an issue.

BTW, police will tell you that their suspicious is probable cause. There may be, and I’ve have to Google it, but I believe there are places where the officers suspicion often counts as probable cause.

Lastly, if a person is unjustifiably killed though a tragic series of circumstances, at the very least, should there be an evaluation of the circumstances that led up to that killing to see if there are improvements to training or policy that might have avoided that circumstance?

In my business we call it a “root cause analysis”. And shouldn’t the public be privy to that info?

1 I need some clarification. Are we talking about a situation where a cop (or anyone else, by the way) is legally permitted to shoot if the suspect has a weapon?
2 Define “militarization” in this context.
3 Define “huge.” I rarely see a cop.
4 Yes, but the root problem isn’t the police; it’s the legislatures/executives/judiciaries. I would like to see more police resist unconstitutional laws, but it’s the makers of law and judicial fiat who are at fault. I don’t see carefully politicized “anarchy” as an improvement. And no, resisting unconstitutional laws isn’t the mark of a “bad apple.”
5 Huge difference between protecting one’s self, family, and nearby bystanders in an emergency (which, for an example, is generally better for holding a mass shooter at bay than apprehending him) and having trained professionals go in and finish the job. Also, armed citizens aren’t the best bet for enforcing traffic laws or conducting investigations.

1 I’d like to see a clearer definition of your use of “suspicion,” and I’d like evidence of the claim.
2 Probably about as often as anyone else who’s facing serious trouble if they admit they broke the law. Which is why we have the courts.
3 And they’re in a tough job where their lives are often in danger, and where some of their brother officers have made a one-way trip to the cemetery because they misjudged the other way.

4 You sift through and sort out the evidence and do the best you can, just like with any potential criminal case. You’re not going to have a perfect system, either with cops who commit crimes, or with anyone else who does. The pursuit of it is a fool’s quest in this fallen world.
5 We have accountability. The courts. I think it’s essentially a nonissue.

6 I doubt that it’s overridingly so, if so at all.
7 I think that’s been done to death.

Get rid of all police, get rid of all laws. Unless they pertain to social justice. If someone calls me by the wrong pronoun I want the right to ruin their life.

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A commentator made a good point about the dilemma the jurors face in the Eric Chauvin / George Floyd case. If they find Chauvin guilty, they will get peace. It they vote to acquit, the mob will burn their houses down.

There should have been a change in venue for this case.