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Monday, September 8, 2014

Going to the other extreme is not a solution

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

I have been a critic of police militarization and the government policies that have encouraged, increased and accelerated the use of force by law enforcement. I often wish that conservatives who were rightly critical of the federal government's deadly excessive force in dealing with the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas in 1993 would be as critical of all levels of government using violent force in the "War on Crime" and the "War on Drugs."

But in our worry about excessive force, we should not make a logical and policy error in the other direction. We do not want to discredit ourselves and turn off people who can be convinced by going too far in the other direction. An example of this is J.D. Tuccille, who argues at Reason.com that modern police forces "have become little more than a new set of predators from which the public needs protection."

Really? Come on, now, Really?

Does Tuccille actually believe that the nation's police officers - including members of our families, churches and communities - are really "a new set of predators" we must worry about? That is just silly. Yes, there are bad cops, because cops are human beings who are prone to the same temptations as everyone else. Those cops should be fired, and if they commit crimes they should be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

But when people like Tuccille make absurd over-generalizations that everyone outside of her small choir know are not true, they do great harm to the efforts to reform modern policing. People who raise legitimate concerns over police militarization and dangerously overzealous SWAT policies are not helped by statements like that.

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