Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Suppose someone dropped off their real estate documents and I said “I’m very busy right now, I won’t be able to get to them for a couple of weeks. Unless you wanted to paperclip $100 bill to the documents, then I’d be willing to stay late to get them done today.” Would there be howls of protest over me abusing my government position to put money in my pocket?
Suppose an off-duty cop gets pulled over for speeding, shows the on-duty officer his driver’s license and oh, just incidentally flashes his badge. The obvious intention is that the on-duty cop will not write the off-duty cop a ticket, to save the driver embarrassment and also $100 fine.
Putting $100 in my pocket or keeping $100 in his – they’re both corruption, using an official position for personal enrichment.
Of course, not all cops are corrupt just as not all Muslims are terrorists and not all Blacks are criminals and not all . . . yes, yes, we know that. But we also know for certain that some cops are corrupt except – and here’s the really important point – we can’t tell who they are. A few known bad apples make us suspect the entire bunch may be rotten so the rational conclusion is to treat all of them as if they are rotten.
Lawyers talk about avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, so as not to cast suspicion on the entire legal profession. Cops don’t seem to understand the concept. The instinct is for cops to band together, to circle the wagon to protect the Thin Blue Line, to denounce their critics as ignorant, to absolve themselves of technical wrongdoing despite what appears on the video. That does nothing to solve the problem that cops appear to be corrupt, appear to be using their positions to put themselves above the law.
The Black community already hates cops. Politicians no longer reflexively support cops. Middle class mainstream America sees video of cops beating or shooting people and are beginning to lose confidence. What happens when the bulk of society no longer believes cops are trustworthy but instead begin to view them as armed gangs, not much different from the Crips, just different gang colors?
A professional public police force is relatively recent, invented by Robert Peel in London in 1829. What did society use to keep law-and-order before the Bobbies? And if the public decides the police are now hopelessly corrupt, what will replace them after they’re disbanded? Vigilance Committees made up of ordinary citizens, armed as necessary to protect their families, homes and neighborhoods?
Behold the wisdom of Federalist 29.
There’s a reason you can’t find a Federalist Paper in a public school anymore.