I was following a thread on Facebook yesterday and the debate there highlighted a simple fact that bears some attention. A lot of people are blaming the police as a group for many of the problems arising between the police and the general population. Why?

     There have always been problems with excesses committed by some police officers, and the cover ups related to these excesses. There is also a growing trend to militarize the police forces in many areas. These things are wrong, and need to be stopped. The question is how.

     The answer is to target the cause of the problems, and eliminate or neutralize those causes. Many people in the liberty community think they are doing that, and some of them are right. Unfortunately, many of them are wrong, and are aiming their sights on something that is not the cause of the problem, and by doing so are only making the situation worse.

     Let’s look at a few related items.

     A group of people belonging to a different race breaks into your house and steals your stuff. You proclaim that all people of that race are thieves. You have become a bigot.

     A small group of religious people wave signs in your face while you are trying to enter the business of your choice. You claim that all religious believers are intolerant. You are wrong.

     A person of a different sexual persuasion is accused of attacking a child. You accuse all people of that persuasion of being pedophiles. Bigot. Again, that is what you are.

     A corrupt police officer working for a corrupt agency headed by a corrupt chief in a corrupt city attacks you in violation of the law and basic morality. You accuse all police officers everywhere of being evil, corrupt monsters. You are a freedom loving hero, right? Nope.

     You are a fool, committing the intellectually deficient error of generalization. For some reason, you have chosen to make the mistake that all bigots everywhere embrace. You seek to blame the whole group for the failings of some members of that group.

     I know, you defend your actions by saying that all people who voluntarily put on the uniform are planning to attack innocent people and put them in cages, or at least help in the process. This is as intellectually deficient as the decision to commit generalization.

     How do you know why people decide to become police officers?

     Have you ever been one?

     Do you know any personally?

     Have you ever went out of your way to get to know any of them?

     Maybe your hatred for the group, your bigotry if I may, precludes all attempts to find out the truth of why they do what they do?

     Get over it. Now on to the real cause of the problem.

     Have you bothered to notice that the problems with policing are worse in some places, almost non existent in others? If all police officers were guilty of being oppressive monsters, these problems would be everywhere, not just in certain areas.

     It is the corrupt city that appoints the corrupt police chief, who in turn runs that police force corruptly, and hires, trains, and allows to stay, the corrupt officer. There may even be a few good officers inside of that corrupt agency, but they can do no more than mitigate the damage done through corruption, or they will be dismissed. Some of these good officers only remain because they believe that they are doing the right thing by staying and putting a brake on the corruption so that it does not become as bad as it would without their presence.

     I’ll give an example here. In what is probably the worst agency in the county in which I live, the chief has instituted a policy that if someone calls 911 and says that they fear for their life because of you, the officers are to automatically take you to jail, regardless of the situation. We all know that this is wrong. So did a police sergeant one night who went on such a call. He found that the person making the call was at the accused’s property, and made the call just to see the accused get hauled off to jail. This sergeant decided to violate the chief’s policy, as it had no merit, and it would have required him to violate the accused’s rights. He simply defused the situation, made sure everyone was safe, and left. When his supervisor found out what happened, officers were sent back out to arrest the accused after all, and lock him up until the next day. After the situation was resolved and the sergeant determined that no arrest was warranted.

     An innocent man was caged, and the sergeant who tried to stand up for his rights was punished severely.

     Who is at fault here, all police officers, or the corrupt city and the corrupt chief, both of which caused the agency to become corrupt? This is where liberty activists who want to be effective need to aim their criticisms.

     Also in this county, there are other agencies that are led in such a way that no one has a problem with them. Most of their time is spent waiting around in case they are needed. They don’t go at all out of their way to find anything. Most of what they do get called to do is theft investigation, traffic accidents, assist the fire department at fires, and the occasional fight at a bar or celebration. That’s it. I have made a point to get to know as many as I can personally, and most of them are good people who value our freedoms, but just wish some of us would leave our neighbors be so they don’t have to leave the office to help us solve our problems.

     Attacking all police is seen as attacking the good officers such as this, and that is why we don’t get nearly as much public support as we should in our efforts to end police corruption and militarization. We are alienating the very public we are claiming to try to help!

     Let go of your hate. You may condemn total war because it targets innocents, but then you do the same with the police. Let go of your hate for all, and start targeting exclusively the evil people who are responsible for creating the evil agencies and fostering the empowerment of still more evil people. Do this, and the public will be on your side.

     If you have never worked in law enforcement, or do not know a significant number of people who do, defer to those who have and who do. I have and I do, and I understand the causes of abuse and oppression very well.

     I have been opposing this corruption for some time by targeting specifically those responsible. I need your help. People accusing all policed officers regardless of their involvement makes my task far more difficult than it should be. Help me by attacking the illness instead of the patient.