American Culture

What if cops were Skittles?

According to Vox, police have killed over 2,000 people since Ferguson. Their map of fatal encounters illustrates the point with red dots.

That made me wonder. What if cops were Skittles?

Let’s just suppose only three of these red Skittles (read: police killings) were poison. You’d take a handful, wouldn’t you?

Shouldn’t Trump, Jr.s logic make us stop and take a good, hard look at all of the police and enact some necessary reforms? All that means is better training (which is good for cops and their safety, which is good for their families’ peace of mind), more transparency (helps the innocent cops; helps the people stay in charge of government use of force), and real accountability. Shots justifiably fired in the line of duty are fine, if tragic. That’s what we pay them for. But the people decide what justifies firing and what constitutes the line of duty, not those to whom we grant a monopoly on the use of force. With better training (which the people need to control), we’d have fewer instances of police crossing the line, even by accident.

If only three of these red dots are bad apples, fewer or none would be worth all that extra scrutiny, right? And it would yield a social good if better policing results in a more effectively pacified poverty class. At no point has over-policing ever successfully kept the peace.

At least with policing, there’s documented precedent for requiring scrutiny and reform.

Experts say on-duty officers kill about 1,000 suspects a year in the United States, but only 74 have been charged since 2005. A third of these were convicted, a third were not and the other cases are pending.

There’s a known history of police overstepping boundaries and committing grievous infringements on citizens’ rights.

On the other hand, there have been exactly zero incidents of refugees committing acts of terrorism on US soil to date (as far as I’m aware), and this is from Reason, not exactly a bulwark of leftist thought. To leaven that initial analysis, Ronald Bailey even went back and assessed the fearmongering claims from his own opposition.

So what to make this rogue’s gallery of would-be terrorists? Two things. First: As I wrote, none of the ones who were refugees committed a terrorist act on American soil. Second, and more important: None of these people, be they refugees or anything else, were sleeper agents who intentionally remained inactive for a long period, established a secure position, and then struck. None, in other words, fit the scenario being bandied about to justify keeping the Syrians out.

All we have to drive the desire for greater scrutiny of refugees is fear and suspicion. On the one hand, with policing, we have an opportunity to enforce greater government responsibility to the people by ourselves, personally, holding close to constitutional principles that protect the people from government abuses. On the other, based on nothing more than fear and suspicion, we have an opportunity to turn that fear into the new American principle by getting as far away from constitutional principles as possible. Added bonus for this new American principle of fear: ideological impetus to run afoul, yet again, of Matthew 25 (NASB):

41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’
45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

All it takes is three Skittles either way, right?