A Cop-Free World?

Rolling Stone recently turned from rape fiction to nonsense of the kind on display in José Martín’s “Policing Is a Dirty Job, But Nobody’s Gotta Do It: 6 Ideas for a Cop-Free World” (December 16, 2014). Some excerpts and commentary (in bold):

  1. Unarmed mediation and intervention teams

Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts. This is real and it exists in cities from Detroit to Los Angeles. Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters.

It’s real? Wonderful. How effective is it in Detroit, for example? Does it prevent all crime? If not, shouldn’t there also be neighborhood courts? (Yes, says Martin; see #3.) And shouldn’t those courts reflect neighborhood mores, which seem to condone a wide range of anti-social acts, like looting and burning? (And what does the straw man non sequitur about cops as heroes have to do with anything?)

  1. The decriminalization of almost every crime

What is considered criminal is something too often debated only in critical criminology seminars, and too rarely in the mainstream. Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage.

Well, there’s the answer to the problem of crime: Decree that here’s (almost) no such thing as crime. So, there’s really no need for neighborhood patrols, is there? All that’s required is a “conversation” about what constitutes crime. I thought that “conversation” took place several thousand years ago, when God spake to Moses. It also takes place in legislative chambers across the land. What Martin really wants isn’t a “conversation” about what constitutes a crime. Clearly, he wants a definition of crime that suits him. I doubt that his definition would include the theft of cigars from a convenience store.

  1. Restorative Justice

Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails. From hippie communes to the IRA and anti-Apartheid South African guerrillas to even some U.S. cities like Philadelphia’s experiment with community courts, spaces are created where accountability is understood as a community issue and the entire community, along with the so-called perpetrator and the victim of a given offense, try to restore and even transform everyone in the process.

Yes, let’s “transform” thugs. What a great idea. Rehabilitative justice has such a wonderful track record — just ask the victims of real rapes, real muggings, real thefts, and real murders (oops, can’t ask them). And let’s “restore” property and lives that have been  “transformed” beyond restoration by the acts of violent criminals.

  1. Direct democracy at the community level

Reducing crime is not about social control. It’s not about cops, and it’s not a bait-and-switch with another callous institution. It’s giving people a sense of purpose. Communities that have tools to engage with each other about problems and disputes don’t have to consider what to do after anti-social behaviors are exhibited in the first place.

Reducing crime is about social control — the control that’s exerted through social norms that are taught and enforced in the home and in properly constituted courts of law, with the help of police and prosecutors. The real problem is that certain neighborhoods and communities fail to exert proper social control (in part because of family-destroying government policies), to the dismay of many persons in those neighborhoods and communities. And when local thugs run out of things and people to vandalize, steal, beat, rape, and murder in their neighborhoods and communities, it’s easy for them to take their act elsewhere. That’s one reason I want police in my neighborhood.
  1. Community patrols

This one is a wildcard. Community patrols can have dangerous racial overtones, from pogroms to the KKK to George Zimmerman. But they can also be an option that replaces police with affected community members when police are very obviously the criminals.

Let’s hope that the “affected community members” are armed, so they can defend themselves from thugs like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

Who are the “obvious criminals” among the police? Darren Wilson, who shot Brown in self-defense? Daniel Pantaleo, who was attempting to arrest Eric Garner for breaking a law? Cops aren’t angels, but consider what they’re up against.

  1. Here’s a crazy one: mental health care

In 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed up the last trauma clinics in some of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods. In New York, Rikers Island jails as many people with mental illnesses “as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined,” which is reportedly 40% of the people jailed at Rikers. We have created a tremendous amount of mental illness, and in the real debt and austerity dystopia we’re living in, we have refused to treat each other for our physical and mental wounds.

Crazy, indeed. Who are the “we” who “have created a tremendous amount of mental illness [etc.]” and who “have refused to treat each other”? I can’t imagine any way in I am responsible for the culture of irresponsibility and violence that prevails in the kinds of “neighborhoods” and “communities” of which Martin writes. If anyone outside those neighborhoods and communities is responsible, it is do-gooders in government and their allies on the left, who have insisted on giving handouts without demanding work in return (handouts that have caused the breakage of countless families), and whose policies (e.g., the minimum wage, anti-business ordinances, anti-school choice) rob people of education, jobs, and the dignity that goes with them.
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Martin writes in the usual truth-denying mode of leftism. The world is full of victims, especially victims of white power. The underlying causes of poverty, criminality, and familial dysfunctionality are ignored because they derive from a noxious compound of leftist policies and genetic and cultural heredity.
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Related reading:
Fred Reed, “Real-Life Policing“, Fred on Everything, October 10, 2014
Chris Hernandez, “Ferguson, Idiot Cops, and Experts Who Know Nothing At All“, chrishernandezauthor, December 12, 2014
Fred Reed, “Solving the Police Problem“, Fred on Everything, December 31, 2014
Taki Theodoracopulos, “The Year of the Truth Camps“, Taki’s Magazine, January 3, 2015
Derek Cohen, “Ignore Rolling Stone’s Dangerously Naive Ideas about a Cop-Free World“, The Federalist, January 6, 2014
Aaron M. Renn, “Why Policing?“, City Journal, January 12, 2015
Lee Ellis, “Race/Ethnicity and Criminal Behavior: Neurohormonal Influences“, Journal of Criminal Justice 51 (2017) 34–58
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