As rallying cries go, “Defund the police” probably won’t go down in history as one of the great ones.
To start with, it’s pretty Cream of Wheat bland. It’s also incredibly stupid. At the same time Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (a Democrat, natch) was announcing a plan to divert up to $150 million from the police to social causes, the city announced it couldn’t pay all of the overtime the Los Angeles Police Department racked up during the recent protests touched off by the killing of George Floyd. Sorry about that, LAPD! But keep up the good work.
Even some liberals are kind of rethinking this one. Democrat Rep. Karen Bass of California, head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said that she’d “told some friends that’s probably one of the worst slogans ever.” Well, at least she owns it.
If you’re still not convinced of the stupidity, Herschel Walker would like to have a word with you. Walker is, of course, a football legend, having racked up huge totals as a Heisman-winning running back at the University of Georgia. After that, he was a Pro Bowler with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. He started his pro career in the NFL rival United States Football League with the New Jersey Generals — a team that was owned by Donald Trump.
His links to Trump have made Walker’s politics more prominent these past few years, which is why his modest proposal to police defunders is getting some attention.
“I have an idea,” Walker tweeted Wednesday.
“For all these people who don’t want any police, I’d love to meet with American Airlines, Delta, and Southwest and make a deal to fly them to countries that don’t have police. I want them to be happy!”
I have an idea…
For all these people who don’t want any police, I’d love to meet with American Airlines, Delta, and Southwest and make a deal to fly them to countries that don’t have police. I want them to be happy! @CNN @FoxNews @DonaldJTrumpJr @POTUS @espn
— Herschel Walker (@HerschelWalker) June 17, 2020
Now, at some level, this is problematic inasmuch as there aren’t really any countries without some form of law enforcement apparatus. Granted, the law might be poorly enforced — the rule of law doesn’t exactly reign supreme in Libya at the moment, for instance — but there’s still some sort of nominal police. Go into a zone controlled by a purportedly lawless local warlord, for instance, and you’ll find there’s definitely a set of laws and they’re definitely enforced — quite harshly, in fact.
In terms of enforcing our own laws, Walker previously offered to act as a mediator in the current political affray over police reform.
“We’re civilized people,” Walker tweeted over the weekend.
“Why can’t true congressmen/women and senators get together with leaders from all ethnic groups, both left and right, to find solutions… unless certain people in Washington don’t want to see a change. I’m volunteering myself as one of the black leaders.”
We’re civilized people. Why can’t true congressmen/women and senators get together with leaders from all ethnic groups, both left and right, to find solutions… unless certain people in Washington don’t want to see a change. I’m volunteering myself as one of the black leaders.
— Herschel Walker (@HerschelWalker) June 14, 2020
This was, mind you, before the stomach-turning bit of contumely over the Senate Republicans’ police reform bill, put forth by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only African-American in the Republican Senate caucus. Senate Minority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, a man who ought to be perfectly aware of the effect of certain language, called Scott’s plan a “token” attempt at solving the problem. Good work.
Up until Scott’s impassioned speech in response to Durbin’s remarks, the Senate Democrats had shown little willingness to compromise or work with Republicans on a police reform bill. It still remains stuck, but it’s potentially less stuck, if only thanks to Durbin’s inopportune language.
The main problem, however, will be at the local level, where most funding for police takes place.
We’ve already seen Los Angeles’ plan to deal with this, which is foolhardy, particularly as the city experiences the biggest spate of civil unrest since the Rodney King protests in 1992. The police, while being unpopular, are uniquely necessary, as evinced by a Los Angeles Times report that the nearly 10,000-person force has been working every day for a week.
To resort to metaphor, the car is out of fuel at the same time that the mayor thinks it’s time to cut down on the gas bill.
Well, then, let’s get started. If someone wants to go to a place where money isn’t necessarily spent by central or local authorities on effective law enforcement, let’s go. Herschel Walker will help pick up the tab. I’m sure United, Delta, American or any of our fine airlines would be willing to partner with him, given their relative lack of customers these days.
But there’s the problem: We can certainly find a state where little money is spent on the police, but the problem is they’re likely more violent than what our liberal friends would be leaving behind.
An effective police department, it turns out, is a predicate for a peaceful society.
While we can talk about reforms, these reforms would cost money. Now isn’t the time to defund the police. It’s time to make sure, instead, that they are as effective as possible.
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