Last night, I didn’t even start writing my blog. I did a little of my paid work instead. I have been trying to stay out of politics lately, but current events have me dipping my toes in again. If you can’t handle my politics, look away now.
I’ve been getting myself exercised over this George Floyd tragedy. I think it is past time to change the police rules of using force nationally, something the Amateur President will never do. I think there is a simple fix that would at least reduce violence, even without tackling the racial bias.
Here are a few rules that I think will take a big step in reducing police violence in the US.
- If an officer performs an act of any kind that results in the death or severe injury of anyone, suspect or not, they should be suspended without pay until the incident has been investigated. This would make an officer think twice about excessive or lethal use of force.
- A Police officer charged with unlawful killing should be treated like any other perpetrator. A jailed officer is at risk in prison. Again, that should be a deterrent, not an excuse.
- An officer who kills should perform only desk duties for a period of at least six months after their suspension has ended and undergo a use-of-force training program and re-certification.
- An officer found guilty of manslaughter or assault should be dismissed without severance pay.
- If the incident is found by an inquiry panel to be in the public interest or to mitigate a severe and present danger to the community, then the officer will be reinstated with back pay, but undergo use-of-force training.
- Officers should be fined for every round of ammunition they use. This would reduce the excessive amount of force used in an incident. Bullets should be used to disable not kill a suspect. Police officers are neither judge, nor jury, and are charged with keeping the peace, not dispensing perceived justice.
- Police should never use live rounds in a riot situation. Baton charges should be banned. Indiscriminant wielding of a baton should be discouraged and punished if violated repeatedly.
- Accessories. If officers do not act to stop another violent offending officer, they will also be suspended, but with pay at the discretion of the most senior officer, pending investigation.
- The use of lethal force should be rare, and performed only by special armed-response officers trained specifically for that purpose, responding to a direct kill order from a senior officer.
- Ordinary officers are armed for their own protection, not for aggressive use of force or to stop a fleeing perpetrator.
- Officers should only draw a firearm when they are in danger from an armed suspect, not to coerce a suspect.
- Drawing a firearm at a traffic stop is unnecessary.
- An ethos of keeping the peace should be ingrained in officers, to be preferred over enforcing the law.
Police officers are keepers of the peace, not a branch of the military. It is not a job for someone on a power trip. They should be role models, rather than people to be feared.
In countries where the ordinary police office is unarmed, they are treated with respect by the community. They work FOR us, not as an adversary.
I freely admit to not being a fan of the second amendment, but at the very least, it needs to revert to the pre-1994 interpretation, which allowed the government to more strictly regulate who owned weapons, and what type of weapons. A semi-automatic assault rifle is not a defensive weapon, nor a hunting weapon. It has no sport use.
In general, a gun is an offensive weapon. If you find yourself endangered by an armed intruder, it is too late. All firearms should be kept in a locked cabinet, and all gun owners should have required certification/training and licensing for each individual armament they own. They are not toys, and they are not collector’s items, nor are they a means to settle a dispute. They are weapons and anyone who carries one is a potential murderer.
Take guns off the streets and you will reduce violence by officers and criminals.
Yes, I know the arguments. There will always be criminals, and they will find ways to have guns, regardless of whether they are legal. And the idiots will also say that it will bring a rise in knife crime. You can’t kill someone with a knife at a distance. (At least it is very difficult.)
Here are just a couple of statistics (per 100,000):
UK Violent gun deaths (ownership of guns highly restricted): 0.06
US Violent gun deaths (almost completely unrestricted): 4.43
That means for every person killed by gun violence in the UK, 74 Americans are killed. If the US stopped making guns (other than for military use), that would reduce the proliferation of weapons in other countries as well.
We are the 28th worst country for gun violence in the world, and many of the 27 worse are in south or central America, and consequently buy/obtain their guns from us. If we cut the supply, we make it harder and more expensive for their gangs and cartels to arm themselves.
Guns are also the most effective means for suicide. Remove the guns, make the means less effective. Save lives.
It is time to be reasonable, and show common sense.