I have been into the idea of defunding the police for 20 years now and when talking to people I have noticed a recurring theme. It seems the most criminal-minded individuals are the ones who most vehemently support the police.
In my early years, in one of my more heated arguments, someone was trying to tell me about how awful criminals were and how we need more police and I responded by listing all the crimes I’d seen him commit. He gave excuses and acted like they weren’t really crimes because he had been in need during that time.
I had a conversation with someone during the Ferguson protests who labeled Michael Brown as a criminal and couldn’t understand why people were upset by his death. An hour later, after switching topics, he started rambling on about all the times he had been arrested for assault for getting in bar fights. He acted like that was perfectly normal. He seemed to think it was something everyone did.
When I read up on Ted Bundy I learned that he was a passionate supporter of the police, and particularly wanted harsher sentences for murderers and sex criminals.
More recently it was Anthony Coghill, my City Council Rep in Pittsburgh. He spent half an hour talking about his support for the police but then admitted he’d had run-ins with the police as a kid when he was out getting into trouble. He acted like it was perfectly normal.
I wonder, what is causing this pattern? Have they figured out how to game the system and don’t want that advantage to end? Are they trying to compensate for their personal history? Are they trying to avoid guilt by acting like crime is perfectly rational? Are they trying to enforce values in themselves? Are they afraid if they don’t condemn the criminals, they may become one themselves? Are they trying to place the moral responsibilities of our society onto a government agency instead of taking personal responsibility? Or deep down is this the world they want to live in: a world of crime and punishment, cops and robbers, gun fights and car chases, because it’s more exciting that way?
I used to be a passionate supporter of the police when I was much younger, and for me it was a combination of all these things, but mostly the last one.