Opinion / Politics

Three Big Questions – About Riots and Police Defunding

policeDominos continue to fall, as protests turned into riots, devolved back into protests, and are followed by Democrat calls to “defund,” “disband,” federalize, and radically reform America’s police forces.  Three questions loom, after violence in 200 cities.

First, while assuring police accountability, including better training, strategic deployment, and ending persistent racism, how does defunding police ever increase public safety?

Truth is laws are paper.  They carry only as much weight as a society gives them.  If they are not abided and enforced, they are worthless.  That is why no civil society in history based on laws ever existed without police.  Still, Democrat leaders push the idea – harkening to House efforts to defund ICE – that police should be defunded.

For those who think this is a political canard, advanced but not seriously, think again.  If the idea is nonsensical, it is gaining steam.  The Los Angeles Times reported calls “for defunding the police” are spreading.

In Seattle “authorities boarded up and vacated” a police precinct, allowing armed protestors to hold an “autonomous zone,” triggering memories of the armed “autonomous zone” held by FARC terrorists in Colombia – two decades ago.

In Portland, Oregon, a white female police chief was forced to resign, untrained civilians dispatched to answer police calls, a dangerous experiment.  The city’s council members are calling for “revolution,” involving deep cuts to police.

In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed by a white police officer, defunding police is real. “Nine city council members, including Jeremiah Ellison, the son of state Attorney General Keith Ellison, who declared his support for Antifa, spoke at a protest …” pushing “to end policing as we know it.”

Notably, Keith Ellison is not without past controversy.  He gained national attention between 2006 and 2019, as the first Muslim in Congress and then as outspoken deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee.

In New York City, 300 officers have been injured, 600 are suddenly retiring, and Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he will “accede to protesters’ demands” to “shift funds away from the NYPD toward youth and social services.”

This move begs the question how New York’s police force will continue to be funded at current levels.  See, https://www.foxnews.com/us/defund-police-george-floyd-protest-reforms-new-york-los-angeles-minneapolis.  The city has 38,000 police to secure 8.2 million residents, plus 1.2 million illegal aliens.

In Los Angeles, Democrat Mayor Eric Garcetti said he will cut $100 to $250 million from police, a city with 9000 officers keeping peace for four million residents.  The city has an added one million illegal aliens.

In Washington DC, the Mayor’s decision to paint a street with “Black Lives Matter” was followed by protestors painting “Defund the Police,” which the Mayor refuses to remove.

Over strenuous objections, the DC Council passed a no-hearing, no-comment “reform bill,” leading the police union to say: “It is beyond comprehension that an entire deliberative body of legislators would so hastily make such extreme changes without the proper input and review,” adding “what we saw today was a disservice to the citizens of the District of Columbia who have been plagued with violent crime for years.”

So, how would cutting police nationwide make the country, including black neighborhoods – more secure?  Short answer:  It would not.  If more training, community policing, improved recruiting, public disclosure of complaints, ending chokeholds and no-knock warrants might, “ending police as we know it” and “defunding” the police would not.

Second question:  How does the unrest, including violent riots causing billions in damage – burning black businesses – translate politically?  How does defunding or federalizing as House legislation aims to, resonate with voters?

Short answer:  Not well.  As a strong indication of how far Democrats are estranged from struggling Americans, recent polls present a stark contrast.  On one hand, Democrat leaders support defunding police, dodge the question, or – like presumptive nominee Joe Biden – are all over the board.  Initially saying police “escalate tension,” he has now decided to up-fund them. See, e.g. https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/06/02/joe-biden-appears-blame-police-for-riots-they-escalate-tension/; https://nypost.com/2020/06/09/biden-police-funds-should-be-tied-to-basic-standards-of-decency/.

Meantime, the latest national polls show defunding police is not popular.  A Yahoo/YouGov poll released June 9 revealed “about 85 percent of Americans across party lines do not support defunding the police.” One report: “The overwhelming majority of Americans do not want police departments defunded, despite widespread calls by the far-left Democrats to do so.”  See: https://spectrumreport.com/poll-85-of-americans-dont-want-to-defund-police/.

Separately, on June 12, an ABC/Ipsos poll found “strong majorities of Americans oppose the movement to ‘defund the police’ and some of its most significant goals, specifically reshuffling funding away from law enforcement to support mental health, housing and education programs.”  In fact, “nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose calls for defunding police departments …See: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/64-americans-oppose-defund-police-movement-key-goals/story?id=71202300

All this just highlights what Democrats face – including Joe Biden’s campaign – as they approach November.  They must satisfy wild-eyed socialists while holding a center increasingly unaligned with their new leftist party.

The “defund police” movement is only the latest.  A profound crisis afflicts Democrats.  They must either accommodate radical leftists in their ranks, or risk those same leftists staying home or supporting a third-party candidate.  So, how does defunding police and radicalization play?  For most, not well.

Third question:  Unasked in recent DC violence is a question that deserves answering. Lost in coverage of painted streets, clearing of Lafayette Park, statements by the President, Mayor, Joint Chiefs and Attorney General Barr, is a simple question:  Why, if the unrest was about justice, violence directed at the police, did rioters target and burn a church?

On June 2, officials reviewed what happened on the streets of DC.  Beyond torching businesses, threatening police and the White House, the movement burned a church that – with much media fuming – the President later visited.  It is historic, attended by every president, including Obama.

While debate rages over the President’s walk across the park to this burned church, no news outlet asked the question:  Why would a peaceful, racial justice movement cover a church in graffiti and burn it?  Does that not tell us something about the movement, or those who hijacked it?

Having walked through ruins of burned churches in Kosovo, a nation we sought to stabilize, allow me to say a burned church is a very sad place.  When lost souls, spurred by ethnic hatred, violent atheism, or radical socialist dogma, deliberately burn a church, something is deeply wrong.

The question is two-fold:  Why did violent rioters deface and burn the church? Why did the press not ask that question?  The answer to part one is that forces behind the riots were more interested in chaos, perhaps ideologically opposed to faith. The answer to part two is tougher. In the rush to condemn Trump’s visit, one might wonder – why was the church targeted?  No one in the media wondered.

So, three questions linger: How would defunding police make us secure?  How do Democrats support a policy two-thirds of America opposes? And how did we end up discussing a visit to a burned DC church, without asking why the church was burned?  Sometimes, when all else fails, asking the obvious works.

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