Citizen accountability, training and funding must match police accountability, training and funding.
That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
Life is a series of two way streets. Two way accountability. Marriage, business relationships, any relationship in fact. Doctor/patient. Law enforcement and citizen. Life. And I don’t mean just 50%/50%. For things to work the way they should, accountability, effort, needs to be 75%/75%. Ideally, everyone takes 100% responsibility for making things work.
“If he had not resisted arrest and simply cooperated, he’d be fine today.” Likely true. “The officer should have de-escalated the situation, not physically attacked the suspect.” De-escalation is always the better choice when it is a safe option. The point here is to stop trying to put all the responsibility on the “other side.” The one side we should all be on is fixing the problem, not fixing the blame. And the way to do that is to acknowledge and practice mutual accountability.
Okay, Will, how do we get to mutual accountability? A. By wanting to get there. The rest is straightforward. If your goal is to fix blame, then you must give up on finding a solution. If you want to fix the problem, then give up on fixing the blame.
Not everyone will want mutual accountability. Many of the most vocal do not want that at all. Much of the media, politicians and our conversations are fixed on fixing the police, not on mutual accountability practiced by both police and citizens. Defund, Reform and even Abolish. ACAB, “All Cops Are Bastards” is expressed vocally, on signs and spray painted here and there. “Say their names!” is often and loudly repeated when it comes to officer involved killings of blacks, justified or not. The overwhelming majority of blacks are killed by other blacks and no one asks for their names to be said out loud. No one knows their names. They die unmourned and unavenged. None of the killings are justified, and because no one cares, the slaughter will continue. No more than 20 unarmed blacks are killed by law enforcement each year. Thousands of blacks are shot or murdered every year by other blacks in our cities. As a statement of principle, not as support for the organization, Black Lives Matter is clearly and obviously true. My question is, “Do All Black Lives Matter?”
For every responsibility that cops have, we citizens have an equal responsibility. And our job is so much easier. Law enforcement officers must perform proactive tasks every day, and from time-to-time put themselves in physical danger. Routine traffic stops can result in gunfire from the person being pulled over. Domestic violence calls can result in danger or worse for the responding officers. All that we citizens need to do every day is avoid being involved in any illegal activity be it running a stop sign, or armed robbery. And if we do find ourselves being stopped or questioned by a cop, be polite and cooperate. If you believe that the stop or the questioning is unfair or illegal, cooperate then complain or even sue somebody. You will have established your credibility as a good citizen, will not have risked being hassled or injured, and if you’re in the right you will have exposed the offender, and likely have gotten some real cash for your troubles. You won’t wind up in the media as a social justice warrior, so if that is your goal, then protest and resist, tell the officer that he is racist or deliver other insults, refuse to identify yourself and follow that path. My favorite inappropriate response is, “I pay your salary; you work for me.
Mutual accountability training. Officers receive months of training, then serve for a period as probationary officers. Often the training lasts six months, and the probationary period is a year. And more training, especially in dangerous situations, is needed. What kind of training do we citizens receive? Anything in school? What about at home, across the dinner table–assuming that there are family dinners? Cop training is not at all perfect, but it does exist and in quantity. Mutual accountability would require that we citizens receive at least some focused training on avoiding criminal activity in the first place, and how to correctly handle ourselves if we encounter police officers in their official capacities.
Mutual accountability, while it would go a very long way to eliminating issues and clashes, does not absolve anyone of their own accountability. George Floyd, a career drug user and bad actor, ran to type when he got very high on fentanyl and other drugs, committed a felony by trying to pass counterfeit currency, and strongly resisted arrest. I know less about Derek Chauvin, the officer who committed second degree murder by kneeling on Floyd’s neck until he was dead, but he likely ran to type as well. His type being arrogant and racist. Mr. Floyd was a victim, not a hero. He would still be alive today had he not resisted arrest. And resisting arrest by itself is not a capital crime, so regardless of his actions he should still be alive today. That’s why former officer Chauvin has been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison, surrounded by inmates not likely to take to him kindly. Chauvin is not a wronged cop; he represents a cancer in the police force. And cancers are best removed by any means necessary.
Mutual accountability in videos. Chauvin was brought to justice by a video taken by a civilian. Good job. And where are the civilian videos showing the cops when they are in the right? And why do so many of them seem to start right where the cops begin taking action, with no video showing what led up to that action? For example, where are the videos supporting the multiple eyewitness’ claim that Michael Brown had his hands up, saying, “Don’t shoot,” when he was killed in Ferguson, MO? The answer is there aren’t any, because that was a lie.
Controversial thought. For those of you who believe that removing/banning guns is a key part of the answer to killings and other crimes, how about a plan to remove guns from those who have or use them illegally, and remove those users from society? Perhaps something like this:
- Possession of an unlicensed firearm, 30 days in prison.
- Use of a firearm in a crime, 5 years.
- Use of a firearm in a crime resulting in injury or death, 10 years.
Or would that be racist?
Murder rates and violent crimes are increasing rapidly. Only by everyone taking responsibility for their actions can we fix this. And in fixing this, we will start creating mutual respect–directly as a result of accepting mutual accountability and mutual responsibility. And ‘round and ‘round we will go, in a virtuous cycle that will repeat and grow.Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:14
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.
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