On one hand, we have the extreme new age Jacobins on the left who look for any excuse and reason to justify any selfish narcissistic action as part of some self-righteous crusade for their foolish utopian goals.
This has led to either their having goals that are too unrealistic to be fully implemented or else to disastrous consequences such as the failure of the CHOP in Seattle.
Meanwhile, there are many on the right who use the nonsense and clearly unpopular ideas of the left as justification to ignore and misconstrue any legitimate grievance and protest against the mass systematic violation of civil liberties that American POC and underprivileged communities have faced the worst of.
The militarization of police forces across this country, along with the prevailing use of broken windows theory as the prime motivation for how to deal with each small criminal violation, has led to not only the tragedy of the land of the free having the highest incarceration rates on the planet, but also mass distrust of law enforcement in many communities.
Obviously, this is not good for anyone, neither those living in the community who have the right to live in peace and harmony nor the officers who patrol it. Most are good and well-intended people, and like the rest of us are trying to make the best of a broken system in an imperfect world.
Let me also make something clear: not everyone who has an idealistic goal, whether it be completely abolishing police one day or not wanting to change tactics, are inherently evil people either, or debates in bad faith.
The first of the realistic reforms to fix the relationship between law enforcement and those who feel disenfranchised by them is to recruit law enforcement members who are ethical and have more education.
As Manhattan Institute scholar Rafael A. Mangual wrote in his June 12th article “Five Ideas For a More Sensible Approach to Police Reform,” higher recruitment standards in education would result in better educated and more professional leadership within the department.
A second suggestion is better training officers in an understanding of the law, with a focus of how to de-escalate delicate situations.
This can have an exponentially positive effect on helping to promote a better relationship between police and the communities they serve, along with giving law enforcement the skills and tools necessary to do the best job possible at establishing justice and domestic tranquility.
A third suggestion made by Mangual in his article that would have a tremendously positive effect on making a better justice system is a better recording of police activity through a mandatory camera on each officer that can’t be turned off.
Mandatory body cameras on police have helped ensure and verify that police reports are accurate, helped non-offenders have fallacious charges dropped against them, and helped expose and remove malefactors within law enforcement who abused their power. Body cameras help ensure transparency and a path for victims of police abuse to vindicate themselves and receive justice.
Another step the public can take to a freer and better world is to stop putting public resources into prosecuting victimless crimes. Imagine if the government and law enforcement treated addiction solely as a public health problem, or didn’t look to prosecute transactions between consenting adults, such as prostitution or gambling, that don’t endanger others nor pose a threat to the public.
It would immediately unclog our overcrowded and overburdened criminal justice system and give a path for millions of troubled Americans to have a second chance.
The proof of the benefits of decriminalization can be seen in countries such as Portugal, Spain, and others who solely see drug addiction as a public health issue and have a fraction of the overdose deaths per capita that the United States currently suffers from.
If we as Americans want to live up to the ideals and principles that our country was founded on, we must continue to work to fully implement the protection of all people’s basic civil liberties.
We must work to validate the concerns of those who have been disenfranchised and de-escalate the tension by making re-evaluating and reforming law enforcement top priorities. It is time we address these issues in a logical and empirical way that defends individual freedom.
Kenneth Mulvena is vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens, an aspiring writer and resident of Bellerose.