Police misbehavior thread

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The Great Hippo
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:24 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:There's always going to be a system. There's always going to be a way to game the system with rumours and poisoning the well and encouraging others to pick on someone. There will always be an envelope of behaviour that society tolerates and people will always skim the edges of that envelope for personal gain.
While that may be true, the degree to which our society attempts to account for this is so severe that we may be better off not accounting for it at all. Like, literally: If American police were abolished tomorrow? We'd have a lot of problems, yeah. But, y'know what? Having over a thousand people killed by the American police every year wouldn't be among them!

And you want to know what else? So long as we keep acting like 'over a thousand people killed by the American police every year' is just the price we have to pay for law and order? That number is going to go up.

The number of people killed by police every year in Canada doesn't break double digits. The number of people killed by police every year in the UK? Fuck, man; sometimes it doesn't break single digits. There are countries where that number doesn't even break zero digits! At some point, you gotta wonder: is having police in America really worth it? I mean, America averages, what -- 18,000 murders per year? If abolishing police only knocks that number up to 20,000, the gains we get from dumping this whole 'state-ordained murder-squad' thing of ours might actually make it a solid deal.

I know this sounds like a ridiculous position, but in some sense it's not: If the number of people police kill in America continues to rise? At some point, it's going to be a genuine argument we could make. That's how fucked up this is.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:51 pm UTC

I've met a disturbing number of people who think a 50 cent bullet is better than 50,000 a year in prison. Even more disturbing is one of those people had spent years in prison for GTA. Self esteem issues much?

To me, even if every last one of those people killed by the police was guilty of a crime, each one was a failure of the justice system. Death without due process? That's not just a brick in the road to fascism, that's an entire under layer of the highway.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby natraj » Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:35 pm UTC

ucim wrote:From your comments, I assume you think the very concept of a grocery store - a place where there is lots of food but you can't get it unless you pay - is a Bad Thing. Am I right?

But this isn't "police are inherently Bad", but rather, "capitalism is inherently Bad". Which is an entirely different discussion. Police are there to enforce laws; if the laws are bad that's not the police's fault, and "fixing" the police fails to address the issue .

Being poor sucks. But is the idea of police the root cause of poverty?


my ideas on whether a grocery store is Good or Bad are completely irrelevant. i had stated that our laws protect property at the expense of human life and you had challenged that. when i stated that this is, in fact, the entire root that capitalism is founded on, your assertion is instead "okay but then what you're saying is capitalism is inherently bad".

in fact i am saying that capitalism is inherently bad, but also whether or not capitalism is inherently bad it is still the case that in order for capitalism to exist, you need to protect property, even if and when protecting property comes in conflict with protecting human life. are you aware that saying "this is okay to do" is not actually challenging the fact that this prioritization exists? all you're saying is that you agree with this prioritization. the fact that you think it's fine doesn't make it magically go away. i'm aware that society says it is okay to use violent force to protect property, and to enforce laws even if they are bad. that is, in fact, why we have police. that is, in fact, the root of my issue with them. i am aware you don't have this issue with them, that doesn't make my issue with them vanish.

ucim wrote:What does it mean? Why is it Bad? Note - I am not talking about implementation - I'm talking about concept, because people have said the concept of police is Bad.


you're clearly not on the same page as the rest of us, who are very specifically talking about the idea of police as implemented in a fundamentally corrupt society. i.e., the one we live in.

if we were living in a just society, many of us would not have a problem with the idea of a method of enforcing societally agreed upon norms, ie, something that you also think of as "police". but we aren't living in that society, and many people like you have a strong resistance to the very idea of that society. so we have opposition to the idea and implementation of police in any society where they are enforcing unjust laws and norms.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gd1 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:27 pm UTC

natraj wrote:in fact i am saying that capitalism is inherently bad


I'd say capitalism with no fear of accountability is bad.

Personally, I feel that you can't legislate morality, but if people fear going to hell as accountability they will police themselves. Though I have no way to prove that, I just feel that way.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Zohar » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:31 pm UTC

gd1 wrote:Personally, I feel that you can't legislate morality, but if people fear going to hell as accountability they will police themselves. Though I have no way to prove that, I just feel that way.

Uh, if you think people who are fearful of god are always moral, have I got bad news about the Catholic church for you.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:35 pm UTC

Every system ever tried on a large scale has always had "keep off my shit", even Soviet style communism.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:41 pm UTC

It should also be noted that the potential punishment doesn't have much impact on crime; it's the certainty of getting caught that matters. The "all you have to do to get into heaven is accept Jesus into your heart" folks probably don't really consider the possibility of God punishing them for their actions, for example.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:45 pm UTC

Personal property isn't the same as private property.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:00 pm UTC

True, but the Soviets still executed/tortured theft of personal property (and of "people's property"), and while they were relatively good at ensuring everyone had access to work, those who didn't work tended to disappear.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:15 pm UTC

And? Do you think anyone around here is proposing anything at all like the Soviet Union?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:22 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
True, but the Soviets still executed/tortured theft of personal property

[citation needed] on the executed/tortured part, but in any case protecting personal property isn't at odds with wanting to abolish private property.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ijuin » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:45 pm UTC

Just to make sure that we are all on the same page, am I right in assuming that the chief distinction between “personal property” and “private property” is that “private property” is useful for economic production? Thus, a house used for one’s own residence is “personal property”, while a place of production (and its associated capital equipment) is “private property” in this context?

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:49 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Conceptually, police should exist to protect everyone. Arrests should be a measure of last resort; a way of addressing a situation in which no other solution can protect us. Instead, prison is mostly just a place where we punish people for being poor, or smoking pot.
Yes, but police are not the same as prison, not all police encounters result in arrest, and not all arrests result in jail. Don't make that equivalence. It is false. Deliberately and disingenuously so.

When police misbehave, it is misbehaviour. And when people call the police inappropriately, this is also abuse - of the police force as well as of the target. This is so because of what you say.

If it helps, think of this in computer terms. You download an app to do word processing on your phone. The app also scoops up your contact list and sends it to the Mother Ship. Do we conclude that word processors are a Bad Idea?

The Great Hippo wrote:Arresting or shooting someone is an exception you throw when there's no other adequate way to protect human life. But police, as an application, was built to shoot and arrest people first.
Either police.app needs to be rewritten, or police.function is being called inappropriately. Simply removing police.all would let bad.guys run malware, and that is also a Bad Thing.

Thesh wrote:So, because people are anti-social, we should create a system that rewards people proportionally to how much property they acquire and then use violence against anyone who violates their property rights. Your post doesn't make sense.
Because some people are anti-social, we should create a system that protects social people from anti-social acts. Police are part of that system. That system of course needs constant supervision; it won't be Good just because it exists. But it isn't Bad just because it exists either, even though it's bad that such a system needs to exist.

The Great Hippo wrote:...The number of people killed by police every year in Canada doesn't break double digits.
Per capita figures would be much more appropriate. Even so, I don't quarrel with the statement that police inappropriately kill far too many people in this country. I merely say that this is not due to the very idea of having police in the first place (as evidenced by the other countries where police brutality is lower). And that is the thing I am talking about. Yes, it's been claimed here that police are inherently Bad and should not exist.

I claim that this is false.

I further claim that police policies are in many cases Bad. Those policies need to change. But also, society in America is very varied. There is a lot of conflict, ideological, economic, racial, intellectual, and otherwise. We have a leader who is taking this up to eleven, and a significant part of the populace is solidly behind this. In the countries where police violence is significantly lower, is the populace itself kinder and gentler? If so, that is where one ought to focus.

natraj wrote:my ideas on whether a grocery store is Good or Bad are completely irrelevant.
That should be true, but it is not true. A grocery store is a place where you are punished for taking vital food if you do not fork over enough money for it. You claimed essentially that the police prioritize property over life. Well, that's also what a grocery store does. So your ideas about a grocery store are relevant to the discsussion, as it serves as the foundation for your claims.

Yes, part of the job of the police is to protect property, and that requires that property itself be a meaningful concept. I do have an issue with police killing somebody who is stealing bread because they are starving. I have less of an issue with police killing somebody in the course of protecting the grocery store itself from a firebomb attack. I certainly have an issue with police killing people where there are better ways to protect, but sometimes that is not the case.

And sometimes it's bad (or corrupt) judgment on the part of the police. I have an issue with that (but again, that's not an issue with the idea of having police in the first place).

natraj wrote:you're clearly not on the same page as the rest of us, who are very specifically talking about the idea of police as implemented in a fundamentally corrupt society. i.e., the one we live in.
No, "the rest of us" are not talking about that. Some have issues with the very idea of police existing in the first place. That is what I am addressing. There will always be a last resort. If it's the state, you have police. If it's not the state, it's the strongest warlord in the area.

natraj wrote:if we were living in a just society...
...we wouldn't need police at all. As long as everybody agreed with you as to what was "just".

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:54 pm UTC

ijuin wrote:Just to make sure that we are all on the same page, am I right in assuming that the chief distinction between “personal property” and “private property” is that “private property” is useful for economic production? Thus, a house used for one’s own residence is “personal property”, while a place of production (and its associated capital equipment) is “private property” in this context?


Yeah, more generally the principle of socialism is that your social relationship to property determines your authority. Personal property is something that an individual or small group, like a family, use to the exclusion of others, while communal property is something that anyone in the community can use provided no one else is currently using it (which there may be rules, i.e. a wood shop has rules around cleaning up after yourself and putting stuff away).
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby natraj » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:00 pm UTC

ucim, it's cool that you have a problem with the police killing someone who is stealing food, but the law itself does not have a problem with that. maybe you need to be on the same page as the law, because what i am talking about is the fact that our laws, as written, are such that the job of the police is to enact violence against people who are stealing. you are citing the most extreme examples (ie, "because sometimes the police might protect against actual violent crime it is important that they exist") in order to defend the entire concept of police as they exist in our society today and disregarding the fact that as they exist in our society today their role, specifically and as written into law, is also to exert that violence against shoplifters, teenagers selling bottled water, homeless people sleeping on the streets where they aren't legally "allowed", etc. i don't care one bit if you, personally, disagree with the police doing these things and if you, personally, think they should only be focusing on Violent Enough Crimes! the fact of the matter is that this is our legal system, and this is the legal job of the police. the police are doing their legally enshrined and mandated job when they throw a homeless person in jail for sleeping in the wrong place. they are doing their legally mandated job if they shoot a shoplifter in the back who is stealing from a grocery store! whether you think they are doing it appropriately is irrelevant. this is what we, as a society, pay police to do, and the fact of the matter is that these cases have been litigated again and again and again and again and the police have been legally protected repeatedly.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gd1 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:42 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
gd1 wrote:Personally, I feel that you can't legislate morality, but if people fear going to hell as accountability they will police themselves. Though I have no way to prove that, I just feel that way.

Uh, if you think people who are fearful of god are always moral, have I got bad news about the Catholic church for you.


Actually, I'd say that's probably from a lack of fear of accountability.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Coyne » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:16 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Personal property isn't the same as private property.

Not exactly. Personal property is private property that belongs to a person. There is private property that does not belong to a person--land belonging to a church congregation for example--so private property is broader than personal property. ( I used church land as an example because some people consider corporations to be persons under the law.)
In all fairness...

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Zohar » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:23 pm UTC

gd1 wrote:Actually, I'd say that's probably from a lack of fear of accountability.

I'm not sure what your standard is for "being fearful of god" is if priests don't fit that category.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Quercus » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:25 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Personal property isn't the same as private property.

Not exactly. Personal property is private property that belongs to a person. There is private property that does not belong to a person--land belonging to a church congregation for example--so private property is broader than personal property. ( I used church land as an example because some people consider corporations to be persons under the law.)


I don't think that's the definition that most political theorists use. Own your house, the land it stands on and its contents? That's personal property. Own a farm, a factory, a forest or someone else's house? That's private property.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Sableagle » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:26 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:The number of people killed by police every year in Canada doesn't break double digits. The number of people killed by police every year in the UK? Fuck, man; sometimes it doesn't break single digits. There are countries where that number doesn't even break zero digits! At some point, you gotta wonder: is having police in America really worth it? I mean, America averages, what -- 18,000 murders per year? If abolishing police only knocks that number up to 20,000, the gains we get from dumping this whole 'state-ordained murder-squad' thing of ours might actually make it a solid deal.

I know this sounds like a ridiculous position, but in some sense it's not: If the number of people police kill in America continues to rise? At some point, it's going to be a genuine argument we could make. That's how fucked up this is.
Well, there's a good starting point, and the earlier suggestion to get rid of the for-profit prisons is another.

Make all prisons state-run not-for-profit. Emphasise the heck out of rehabilitation, education and training. Adopt Scottish policing methods that apparently work so well they have to look up how many years it's been since they shot anyone. Make firearm possession dependent on completing a course and assessment showing the ability to use that kind of firearm safely and make firearm owners who fail to secure their weapons culpable for crimes committed with those weapons as a result. Abolish no-knock warrants. Disarm the police. Make "armed police officer" a specialist role for vetted veterans, and make damn sure they can lose their vetting EASILY if they shouldn't be trusted with that power and responsibility. Have non-police supervision of the police and investigation of alleged police wrongdoing. Invest in the education system. Train, equip and pay people to clean up their own neighbourhoods. Follow Portugal's lead in treating drug addiction as a medical issue, not a crime, and refer people found in possession of tiny amounts of cannabis to optional medical treatment for addiction rather than throwing them in jail. That seems to be working pretty well. While we're on the subject, do some proper testing and find out just what THC dose is enough to render someone unfit to drive and how long it takes a person's body to clear it out.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Sableagle » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:37 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Dude
Dude.

HOW.png
HOW.png (4.38 KiB) Viewed 2960 times


Thesh wrote:But I know you don't want that. You don't want to do th bare minimum of work to try and understand how to organize society without laws.
YOU!
ALREADY!
SAID!
IT!
WOULD!
BE!
WONDERFUL!

If you've got such an amazing idea for how to achieve it, share.

Thesh wrote:... the "if something else cannot be perfect, accept what we have" side,
Rather than "If the police can't be perfect abolish the rule of law entirely" side?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:40 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:
Coyne wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Personal property isn't the same as private property.

Not exactly. Personal property is private property that belongs to a person. There is private property that does not belong to a person--land belonging to a church congregation for example--so private property is broader than personal property. ( I used church land as an example because some people consider corporations to be persons under the law.)


I don't think that's the definition that most political theorists use. Own your house, the land it stands on and its contents? That's personal property. Own a farm, a factory, a forest or someone else's house? That's private property.


I think that the confusion is that in capitalism, public/private are legal classifications, and in socialism there is no legal classifications and so things are described as being common or personal.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:54 pm UTC

natraj wrote:the law itself does not have a problem with [police killing someone who is stealing food].
Actually, the law (statute) does have a problem with it, starting with the fourteenth amendment. But while written law is one thing, enforcement of written law is another, and enforcing law against an enforcement officer is not done well in this country. That needs fixing, but that's not the same as abolishing police. To your point that the law doesn't make stealing "not a crime" if one is stealing bread because they are starving, you are correct inasmuch as the statute likely doesn't distinguish between how hungry you have to be to be permitted to steal. However, the statute isn't the only law. There is also case law, and the judge (and/or jury) in front of the case in question - all of these are part of "the law" even if they are not part of the statute. These are people, and they are there to ensure that the law isn't enforced like robocop. These people come from society, and society has made certain choices. (No, not monolithically, but that's not the point). Enforcement of the law reflects, albeit imperfectly, the wishes of society.

In practice, this means the wishes of the most empowered portion of society.

This needs fixing, but again, that's not the fault of the police.

I can get on board with "In some areas of the country, law enforcement is broken". But you (and some others) seem to be saying "Everywhere in the country, the very idea of having law enforcement in the first place is a bad idea". I cannot get on board with that.

Sableagle wrote:Make all prisons state-run not-for-profit. Emphasise the heck out of rehabilitation, education and training. Adopt Scottish policing methods that apparently work so well they have to look up how many years it's been since they shot anyone...
I can get on board with that too, but I would ask (picking on the Scots for now) whether the Scottish people themselves are better behaved and less fearful than Americans. Because it's easy to police people who are well behaved.

The profit motive can be extremely damaging. It's a great source of motive power, but it's a terrible way to steer.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:16 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:HOW.png


That you think this question is answerable to your satisfaction is why I know you haven't even began to even try to make an attempt to understand the most basic question "How can we organize anything or resolve any conflicts without the threat of violence?" And to to do that, you have to address the causes. How? You identify them and come up with solutions.
Sableagle wrote:YOU!
ALREADY!
SAID!
IT!
WOULD!
BE!
WONDERFUL![/center]
If you've got such an amazing idea for how to achieve it, share.


Really? Where did I say that?

I
SAID
YOU
NEED
TO
EMPOWER
PEOPLE
.
YOU
DON'T
WANT
TO
ADDRESS
EVEN
THE
BARE
MINIMUM
OF
WHAT
IT
TAKES
TO
BE
EMPOWERED
AND
INSTEAD
JUST
POINT
OUT
THAT
SOMETIMES
PEOPLE
CAN
BE
POWERED
TO
DO
HARM
IN
ORDER
TO
AVOID
ANY
EFFORT

Sableagle wrote:Rather than "If the police can't be perfect abolish the rule of law entirely" side?


The police enforce the property laws that cause poverty. The poverty is the cause of most of our crime, and the private property is keeping toxic social relationships alive when the people themselves would split and go separate ways if they were empowered.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Sableagle » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:49 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I know you haven't even began to even try to make an attempt to understand the most basic question "How can we organize anything or resolve any conflicts without the threat of violence?"
Have you?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:55 pm UTC

Yes, I have. But this isn't like quantum mechanics; you can't just explain how it works in a few paragraphs and expect the reader to have a clear understanding of everything, because it doesn't follow rigid rules. You have to actually do the work, study the root causes, and ask how they can be solved. For starters, look at societies that are not organized around rule of law. Then start asking "what other solutions are there to using police" for anything we use police for.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby arbiteroftruth » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:15 pm UTC

Thesh, this line of discussion started because you said Sableagle didn't want to do "the bare minimum of work to try and understand how to organize society without laws". But now you're saying that it's not reasonable to expect you to outline it in a forum post.

It would seem that "the bare minimum of work" to understand your ideas is actually quite a high bar in this case, so it shouldn't be surprising to you that people would be skeptical.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:26 pm UTC

Sure, let me outline the framework for solving race issues, gender issues, bullying, poverty, sexism, bad family dynamics, resource conflicts, poor education, propaganda... When you don't even have a basic starting point for what you want. Like, do you want me to describe a utopian future society? Teach you anthropology? Teach you social psychology? Do you want me to say "imagine society organized as a large, extended family without any law at all and consider what problems they would have and how to solve them?" Because that's not much. Do you need me to teach you competing economic systems like mutual aid and gift economies? Because use Wikipedia.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby arbiteroftruth » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:32 pm UTC

Okay, so it's an awful lot of work, not reasonable to fit into a forum post, and incredibly complicated. Fair enough. But then, why would you conclude that people who don't already agree with you are simply too lazy to do "the bare minimum of work" to understand your ideas, when your ideas are admittedly far too complex to even reasonably summarize in a discussion?

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:36 pm UTC

Because they are dismissing them when they deem them imperfect, while admitting our current system is imperfect; they don't even say why this is better. They don't explain what problems they are trying to solve, so I'm assuming they are just imagining the world exactly today without police and saying "this is stupid".
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby arbiteroftruth » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:42 pm UTC

That's just a matter of cost/benefit. Given the choice between A: incremental reforms of our existing flawed system, or B: an incredibly complicated overhaul of our most basic social concepts with no compelling argument to expect drastic improvements over what we could achieve with option A, why would you expect people to choose B? The bigger the proposed overhaul, the more compelling the argument needs to be. 'Look it up yourself' is not a particularly compelling argument.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:41 pm UTC

Great; let's introduce a constitutional right to well being and make sure everyone has what they need for good health and education. Let's recognize that if we implement that, we don't have to care about property values or stock prices and can simply give everyone complete ownership of the homes they live in, and convert any monopoly to a consumer cooperative. Let's use the government to organize independent labor unions for the workers of every business. Let's start gradually increasing the minimum wage while introducing a unconditional basic income, starting at a level where we are confident we can do it without significant problems today, and increasing every year based on the same principles. Let's recognize that punishment doesn't work, and people don't deserve to be punished for being born poor and move all prisoners to 100% "prisoner"-ran rehab communes, learning to cooperate and resolve their conflicts without violence while working with social workers and then taking complete ownership when the social workers are no longer needed. Let's recognize that experience is more important than school education, and do whatever we can to help workers and consumers start their own cooperatives. Let's recognize that deliberately spreading misinformation is harmful, and have the government fund independent local news cooperatives so that consumers can control their own information without external influence. Let's reduce patent and copyright terms year over year, until it actually becomes a problem. Let's do any of the billion other gradual things we can do.

The point is, ucim and Sableagle are centrists; they don't want to do any of that gradual stuff that would be necessary to empower people. They want to pretend that the world today is a meritocracy so they can feel superior.
Last edited by Thesh on Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:57 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:52 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Yes, but police are not the same as prison, not all police encounters result in arrest, and not all arrests result in jail. Don't make that equivalence. It is false. Deliberately and disingenuously so.
? Right, but the function of police IS to arrest people. Just because not every interaction results in an arrest doesn't change that.

The complaint about a deliberate false equivalence sounds like you're just misinterpreting what I'm saying.
ucim wrote:When police misbehave, it is misbehaviour.
ucim, do you know how many of the thousand-plus people killed by police every year are treated as homicides that result in arrests and prosecutions? Again, we're lucky if that number breaks single digits.

The police murdering people isn't misbehavior. The system doesn't treat it as "wrong". The police killing over a thousand people per year is how the system is supposed to work.

This isn't some bug you can fix by twerking a few values. Go ask a police officer what they think of that statistic (keep in mind, some of them will arrest you for asking. And no, I'm not exaggerating. While you're at it, ask to file a complaint -- they'll probably arrest you for this, too).

This is what it looks like when the system is working. This is normal. This is good. The police think so, and so do a lot of our politicians. This is not misbehavior to them; this is a job well done.
ucim wrote:If it helps, think of this in computer terms. You download an app to do word processing on your phone. The app also scoops up your contact list and sends it to the Mother Ship. Do we conclude that word processors are a Bad Idea?
I'm not saying all word processors are a bad idea; I'm saying that the word processor designed from the start to steal your contact list is a bad idea. OTHER word processors might work, but the one literally designed from the beginning to steal your shit? That one is a problem.

And yes, if it continues to delete my documents in its rush to send my personal data to the aliens, eventually I might just give up on word processors entirely. Especially if people keep telling me it's fine, stop complaining, this is just how word processors are supposed to work ("why are you so against word processors, Hippo? Those twenty times it stole your contact list were all just isolated bugs, it's not like it was designed to do that!").

At some point, I need an entirely different word processor. Either that, or fuck it; I'll just use pen and paper.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:18 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:Well, there's a good starting point, and the earlier suggestion to get rid of the for-profit prisons is another.

Make all prisons state-run not-for-profit. Emphasise the heck out of rehabilitation, education and training. Adopt Scottish policing methods that apparently work so well they have to look up how many years it's been since they shot anyone. Make firearm possession dependent on completing a course and assessment showing the ability to use that kind of firearm safely and make firearm owners who fail to secure their weapons culpable for crimes committed with those weapons as a result. Abolish no-knock warrants. Disarm the police. Make "armed police officer" a specialist role for vetted veterans, and make damn sure they can lose their vetting EASILY if they shouldn't be trusted with that power and responsibility. Have non-police supervision of the police and investigation of alleged police wrongdoing. Invest in the education system. Train, equip and pay people to clean up their own neighbourhoods. Follow Portugal's lead in treating drug addiction as a medical issue, not a crime, and refer people found in possession of tiny amounts of cannabis to optional medical treatment for addiction rather than throwing them in jail. That seems to be working pretty well. While we're on the subject, do some proper testing and find out just what THC dose is enough to render someone unfit to drive and how long it takes a person's body to clear it out.

These all sound like great ideas! And I don't mean that sarcastically -- that's all stuff I can 100% get behind! But guess what? Outside of maybe limiting civilian access to firearms and more education? I guarantee you that the American police unions will fight tooth and nail against every single one of them (heck, they already DO oppose a lot of this stuff).

At some point, you gotta start asking: "Wait, why are they against all of these reforms? Even the ones that demonstrably save lives?"

Maybe it's because saving lives was never their job in the first place.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:19 am UTC

I would argue that the ideology of America today, that is both in theory and practice, is Liberal Fascism: "Society is naturally hierarchical and social cohesion requires conformity, and so authority should be centralized to the level of the elite who is naturally selected by capitalist markets because the good of the elite is the good of the collective, and if some individuals/families/genes/cultures/traditions/values/etc. cannot compete in the markets, then it's okay if they die out because it will ultimately lead to a better society."

And that's how you explain police violence.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:42 am UTC

Thesh wrote:I would argue that the ideology of America today, that is both in theory and practice, is Liberal Fascism: "Society is naturally hierarchical and social cohesion requires conformity, and so authority should be centralized to the level of the elite who is naturally selected by capitalist markets because the good of the elite is the good of the collective, and if some individuals/families/genes/cultures/traditions/values/etc. cannot compete in the markets, then it's okay if they die out because it will ultimately lead to a better society."

And that's how you explain police violence.
To be clear, I don't actually oppose police 'in concept'. I oppose American police 'in concept'. This is because I think American police ('in concept') is so intrinsically linked to punitive measures ("punish criminals"), enforcement of a hierarchy ("criminals gave up their rights"), and flat-out fascism ("failure to support police is treason") that the only way we're going to get a better police force is if we start by dumping our (very American) definition of what a police force is (and what it's supposed to do).

At the very least, I would agree that the reason our American definition of 'police' is so fucked up probably has a lot to do with the intersection of capitalism, centralized power, and the notion of a 'natural hierarchy' that must be enforced to maintain 'social cohesion' (IE, fascism). I think far more effective models of police are typically demonetized, decentralized, and refuse to enforce any notion of 'natural hierarchy' or 'status' (a criminal is just a civilian who happens to currently be doing a crime; no more, no less. Being a criminal isn't even bad, because sometimes breaking the law is in everyone's best interests).

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:54 am UTC

I think once you sufficiently eliminate the inequality and decentralize control of the economy, you can replace police with mediators and teach community self defense.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:06 am UTC

Thesh wrote:I think once you sufficiently eliminate the inequality and decentralize control of the economy, you can replace police with mediators and teach community self defense.
Maybe? Maybe not. I don't think it really matters. Not right now, anyway.

One of the reasons I haven't been engaging too deeply in the whole 'eliminate police entirely' end of this discussion is because I think the path toward an effective, safe, decentralized model of police that promotes the welfare of the public -- and the path toward a society that doesn't even require police -- are, up until maybe the last few steps, all but indistinguishable.

Whether your goal is to reform police into an organization that promotes the public welfare (rather than violently enforcing the letter of the law) -- or to ultimately abolish police altogether -- we can still all agree on the list of reforms that Sableeagle brought up. After all, notice how just about every one of them involves either: 1) Taking power away from police, or 2) Making police involvement unnecessary to begin with!

Even if the destinations we envision are completely different, the way we'll get there is largely the same. Decentralize police. Focus on solutions that require no one going to jail. Train police to act as mediators, and to de-escalate conflicts. Define arresting people as a failure of the system (fucking ARREST quotas? Are you fucking KIDDING me?). Get rid of 'criminal' as a rung on our social hierarchy.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:23 am UTC

It affects your biases. If you see it as a future goal, rather than something that can be implemented to varying degrees today, then you might be too focused on criminal justice reform today when you should be looking at the areas of our society where we don't need police to have authority today, like non-violent domestic disputes or small towns.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:01 am UTC

Thesh wrote:It affects your biases. If you see it as a future goal, rather than something that can be implemented to varying degrees today, then you might be too focused on criminal justice reform today when you should be looking at the areas of our society where we don't need police to have authority today, like non-violent domestic disputes or small towns.
But how isn't that part of criminal justice reform? Why wouldn't I -- as someone who wants overwhelming police reform -- not want to address the ways police abuse their authority in small towns or non-violent domestic disputes?

Besides, while it's true that someone in my shoes might overlook this problem (because we're focused on reforming power rather than abolishing it), that's the whole point of having people who want to abolish power around! To remind us: "Hey, you missed a spot."

During the Trump election, a lot of people gave Professor Cornel West shit for refusing to vote for Hillary. But you know what? I get it. I voted for Hillary, because I'm a utilitarian, and I perceived Donald Trump as an existential crisis. But for Cornel West, Trump is just one dumpster fire in a long unbroken chain of dumpster fires. To him, Trump is not an existential crisis -- he's just the first President bad enough to actually scare white people. Hillary Clinton is marginally better, but she's not even close to what Cornel West wants in a President. He's not playing the short-game. He's playing the long-game.

There's always two sides in every reform movement: The side that argues for what good can be achieved right now through compromise, and the side that argues for what good must be achieved in principle. Reform works best when both sides agree on what can be done to satisfy both ends. Principles are nothing without practical hands working to achieve them, and practicality is nothing without principled beliefs to set the goal.


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