Both Sides Of The Police Debate Have True And Faux Points

Both Sides Of The Police Debate Have True And Faux Points

Rhetoric is used on both sides of the aisle.
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With two recent killings of black men by police and a mass shooting of police by a black man, the conversation of police brutality is back on the table in America. You have groups such as Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter arguing two very different things. The truth is, the propaganda and rhetoric is rampant on both sides.

Black Lives Matter is a group created after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. They have brought the conversation of police brutality into the national spotlight and advocate for police reform. Although Black Lives Matter has created a conversation in this country that needs to be had, it makes some questionable claims.

For example, on its website the group claims that every 28 hours a black man, woman or child is killed by a police officer or some other form of law enforcement. Police departments are not required to submit this data to the federal government, so anybody claiming they know how many people die at the hands of the police should be met with skepticism. However, the Washington Post has been taking a tally and around this time last year, 155 black people were killed by police out of 607 total. That is not nearly one every 28 hours.

Also, less than one-tenth of that total was unarmed, 24 being black. It is important to differentiate between “murder” and “killing.” To murder someone means to kill someone with a malicious intent. A police officer ending the life of someone who has a weapon, in fear for their own life, should not be considered a “murderer” and that person shouldn’t be considered to have been murdered. Yes, 607 people killed by police is a lot, but 85 percent of them were armed. That makes a difference.

That being said, the idea that police officers are murderers runs through the website. On the “National Demand’s” page, for example, they called for the immediate arrest of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. A grand jury found that there was not enough evidence to indict Darren Wilson. Actually, the grand jury found that Michael Brown did in fact try to grab the officer's gun, so Darren was acting in self-defense. Even though a grand jury decided not to prosecute him, Black Lives Matter still wants him arrested.

Overturning the rule of law is a very, very dangerous way to win reform. The people asking for this violation of the rule of law are the ones who should be absolutely against it. You started a movement to protest against the disrespect of rule of law for your own people (that black people are being arrested and unfairly treated by police) and to fix that you’re going to overturn the rule of law for someone else? That makes no sense and completely shatters your argument. Also, police shooting black people isn’t just a matter of prejudice. Roughly 29 percent of Americans killed by the police are black, but so are about 42 percent of cop killers whose race is known.

With all this being said, something still needs to be done. This level of police violence is unique to the United States. In 2013, England and Wales had virtually zero deaths at the hands of police. The Black Lives Matter movement would argue for less police in minority neighborhoods and put that money into improving the community. However, these communities do not need less policing. These people desperately need the police. It should not be considered a right-wing talking point that far more black people are killed by other black people than police officers. What these communities need are less-confrontational, less-institutionally racist policing.

First, America needs to fix its gun problem. Police have to be more careful because there are more guns on the streets of America. In 2014, 46 cops were shot dead and the year before that 52,000 were assaulted. Cops being shot is also unique to the United States. Simple fixes like universal background checks, preventing people with restraining orders filed against them from getting guns, and banning assault rifles could be a huge help. With fewer guns on the streets, cops will be less confrontational.

Second, police precincts need to be more transparent. As of right now, police precincts do not have to report to the federal government how many people died at the hands of their officers. This needs to be changed. Reporting this information would give the federal government a better picture of how many people actually die due to police action and locate where it is unusually high. The federal government could also locate where it is unusually low, find out why that is, and use that information to help other cities. Body cameras should be put on all officers to help both sides. If a body camera was on Darren Wilson, we would all have immediately knew what happened.

Third, police need to be held more accountable. It needs to be easier to fire bad cops. Many of the 12,500 local police departments are tiny and interdisciplinary panels consisting of three fellow officers, one of which can even be appointed by the officer under investigation. If a cop is accused of a crime, the decision of whether to indict him lays with the prosecutor who often works closely with the police, attends barbecues with them, and depends on the support of the police union if he/she wants to be reelected. To be held accountable, complaints should be held by independent arbiters who are brought in from the outside.

Lastly, and hardest, is reversing the militarization of the police. Too many officers see their job as a war on criminals and too many poor neighborhoods see their streets occupied by police. There needs to be more training and less weaponry. A good start would be for the Pentagon to stop handing out military kits to neighborhood police.

In 1980, the amount of raids done by high-security SWAT teams was 3,000 per year and that number has climbed to 50,000 a year, yet crime has fallen over the same period. Police precincts need to understand that their job is less about settling violence but more about social work. In the era of relatively low crime which we are experiencing today, cops are needed more to settle domestic disputes such as house-egging, rather than violent crimes.

Force is also used in low-level offenders. At least half of all Americans shot and killed by police each year are mentally ill. Police officers also spend a lot of time dealing with drug addicts and the enforcement of civil penalties against people who have not paid motoring fines or child support. Such people are not killers or rapists, yet cops often treat everyone as a threat.

Changes are being made. Sue Rahr, the director of Washington state’s police academy, says, “When you approach a situation like RoboCop, you’re going to create hostility that wasn’t there before.” Since 2012, Washington State’s training has emphasized that people can be persuaded to obey commands, not just forced to. Military-style drills have also been ditched.

Ideas like this need to be made in police precincts across the nations. Training police officers to properly adjust to today’s crime climate is a win for individual freedom and we the people. Once again, society works better when people are generally left to their own devices...not living in a police state.

Cover Image Credit: Boing Boing

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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‘Incredibles 2’ Redefines Gender and Family Norms, which Is Incredible

I've waited 14 years to see this sequel.

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We've waited 14 years to see the sequel to the first Incredibles movie, and it was well worth the wait. Even if you haven't seen the movie yet, you know from the trailers that Mrs. Incredible and Mr. Incredible flip the traditional family dynamics in their second film. While a vague superhero organization is trying to make superhero's legal again by hiring Elastagirl to revitalize this superhero image, Mr. Incredible takes on a more nurturing role with their kids Violet, Dash, and Jack Jack.

The Incredibles2 shows Bob Parr, both a physically and emotionally strong man, staying at home and taking care of the children while Helen Parr is out fighting supervillains. Bob has to help Dash do math homework. Bob has to comfort Violet when her date didn't show up. Bob has to make sure Jack Jack goes to sleep, doesn't fight any more raccoons and watch all of Jack Jacks powers.

It's known that Incredibles and Incredibles 2 are set in the 1960s, which was a very stereotypical time for women to be working and being the "breadwinners" in the family. Women were supposed to stay at home and take care of the children. If you're interested in what women could and couldn't do in the 1960s, check out my article from last week.

Incredibles 2's illustrates that the film recognized histories problem with sexist roles and gender norms, and it actively uses its production to change these troubling themes. However, the production's flexibility on what defines a mom or a dad, or a family in general, also shows viewers that family roles are ever-changing just like gender norms in general. Women can be the father figure and men can be the mother figure if need be.

Helen and Bob's respective roles in the Incredibles 2 also shows young people and families that your role in your own family can be malleable and you don't necessarily need to commit to the caretaker role for the rest of your life—just like you don't need to be the sole breadwinner.

Cover Image Credit:

Pixar

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