I was a kid in the 50’s and even then we would get a bit nervous if a squad car was following behind my parent’s car. But, in those days if you violated the law, you were ticketed and a fine was paid. I remember that police carried a side arm, a dilly club and a shotgun clamped vertically to the dashboard of the car. Andy Griffith and Barney Fife were the American image of local police. If there were any shots fired it was Barney shooting himself in the toe!
Very seldom do I recall any stories about police shooting but of course that was in Fairbanks, Alaska. As I got older, I understood that was because they had several options to exercise before a gun was even drawn unless it was a life and death moment. Besides that, the punishment for drawing down on a police officer was strict and just.
I became aware of a change in policing in the sixties where freedom of expression began to emerge as crowds of young people began protesting the ills of society and war. The police were faced with angry crowds and had to apply more that usual policing which often led to excessive force. This became a matter of survival for the police and they were faced with better equipping themself in defense of these increasingly violent protesters.
I think the issues of right and wrong or whatever a crowd is protesting quickly morphs into a form of hand-to-hand combat resulting in issues of brutality and injustice on both sides of the equation.
All of this has led to the militarization of police forces thus resulting in fearful teams of enforcement strongmen. Is it possible that in the face of demanding rights and protesters violence, that the police had no choice but to gear up for these situations.
I think also that there was a huge wave of folks coming out of an ever-increasing welfare states that saw income as a monthly government check leaving little or no incentive to go to work. I have heard many say: “why work when you don’t need to with Uncle paying us”Now-a-days, these mini revolutions are seeing American Hero’s being expunged because of past sins or past national sins. History is being broken down in the public square and ripped off walls of our Capitol or governing institutions.
I was a post war baby raised with fresh memories of WWII and how dictators removed national icons and statue to erase public knowledge, history and memories of their alleged undesirable past. In the dark ages they burned books which tells me that certainly, we haven’t come very far!
I do hope that police departments around the country will de-militarize to return to their original roles as Peace Officers. But who will defend us from hoard of marauders destroying businesses, city blocks and even churches? Who will protect us from violent neighbors or violence inside many American homes? Who of us can justify crooked governments? What are the police for?
One of my not so popular thoughts is to save the police for local law enforcement and to provide security for peaceful protests. However, when protesters become violent, then the National Guard whose men are trained for hand-to-hand combat, should be called in which, in doing so would replace one perceived foe with a more formidable and capable foe to face violent protestors. Would this lead to civil war? What do you call the clamor the is currently in our streets?
With this in mind, the peace officer is more of a protective partner within society rather than a foe.
It is a long haul to try to eliminate violence from society would involve all sectors of government to start removing corrupt employees (all levels) and installing safeguards to replace the feeble measures that currently enable criminal activities.
There would need to be a re-evaluation of private and public employment with an eye to identifying or creating enough employment opportunities for all employables in America.
In other words, this would minimize welfare in leu of good jobs for all. Of course I am an idealist but how else do we unravel this terrible mess that we have all over the world?
Another “I think”, I think that we need to try to fix or replace because when the One
World government becomes a reality, and rest assured, that’s what all of these world problems are coming to, but if we don’t fix some of our problems while we can, some higher authority will fix it for us. Rest assured there will be a Higher Authority that is above and beyond a One World government, but that option belongs to the individual.
So...what do we do? Put our houses in order, sweep our front steps and instead of being mad a ‘them’ or the government, think constructively: “right in the corner where you are.“ If they can’t fix things...maybe we can try!
Pat Wendt is a resident of Pahoa, Hawaii and a former life-long resident of Alaska