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We can’t be anti-gun and pro-police
A brief discussion why we can't fix our gun problem without first fixing our policing problem.
It is likely what we discuss today may make you uncomfortable. It could make you upset. But that’s not my intention. It’s just that hard conversations are rarely pleasant, or so I’ve learned. I hope you trust we are speaking in good faith. It’ll help if we can first agree on a fundamental truth. Here it is:
By design, our law enforcement and justice systems disproportionately target Black and brown Americans.
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Do we agree? Okay, let’s go.
Because we’ve allowed for so long for law enforcement to gain power unchecked, every new law we advocate for must consider how it will be enforced and who will be the recipient of the enforcement. If we fail to make these considerations, any gain in life new gun control legislation brings will be met with unjust killings by those we hope to enforce that legislation. The difference is how those deaths are recorded in history. Hint: those deaths will never be recorded in any official capacity.
Our (liberals) loud calls for gun control legislation paired with our silent and fearful calls for bigger police budgets each year is harmful to our BIPOC communities. And it’s apparent liberals have silent support for more police funding. Otherwise— Biden wouldn’t have made it the centerpiece of his State of The Union. Senator Amy Klobuchar, senator from Minnesota, wouldn’t have proudly announced a cop holiday on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder.
Let’s say we pass actual gun control legislation, the type of law that knocks on their door and asks for your AR-15. How do we think that law will be enforced? Do we believe that the Good Ol’ boy network in Stone Mountain, Georgia will enforce that law? Or do we think urban cops will use the law as an excuse to continue killing Black and brown Americans?
Are you sufficiently upset yet? It’s understandable if you are. Whenever these systemic entanglements are brought up, it is inevitably met with the same response— “are we to do nothing then?!” The answer is no. Of course not. It’s not that we remain complacent about the problem, just that the solution requires a more involved, multi-pronged strategy. We need to advocate for an approach where we first demilitarize our police force; a plan where we stop allowing cops to devour our city budgets and reallocate those funds to rebuild our communities.Then, when we get to pass meaningful gun legislation, its a victory for all Americans.
I know President Biden signed an executive order in place of the George Floyd act democrats promised. Not only is that order not enough, it’s a side-step, perhaps in the wrong direction, because it allocates more funds to the police force. We need to call for defunding the police loudly. But first, let’s learn what that means for most organizations who back the initiative.
Defunding the police means:
Breaking up the police force into smaller departments. We don’t need a man armed with a shotgun to handle a mental health call.
End street-level enforcement of minor offenses that cause over-policing of BIPOC communities.
End the police presence in schools that cause the school to prison pipeline.
Outlaw no-knock warrants.
Outlaw cash bonds.
Reallocate some city funds away from local police to rebuilding our communities.
Break up the Fraternal Order of the Police. This organization is so powerful they’re basically the 4th branch of government.
Demilitarize the police force.
Does any of this seem unreasonable to you?
We will never get meaningful police reform if all the government has to do is show us out-of-context crime wave stats for us to clutch our pearls and open our wallets. And the day we get meaningful gun control laws, without considering enforcement, will be the day we put the BIPOC community in even more danger.
We need to rethink our strategy. We need to stop lying to ourselves. We can’t just hand over a blank check to a corrupt system and ask it to fix itself. Even if we so desperately need it to work.
So the next time we’re vocal about gun reform, maybe we can make sure the government knows— that goes for cops too.