Veith on worldview and disbanding the police

"But these proposals come out of a completely different worldview. Are human beings moral agents responsible for their actions, so that committing a crime is a moral offense that society needs to be protected from?  Or are human beings not responsible at all for what they do, so that those who commit crimes are themselves victims of the society?" - Gene Veith

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Aaron Blumer's picture

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Veith has a lot of good thoughts here. As one who reads the debates going on in law enforcement every day, though, what I see is the vast majority in the justice system somewhere between the oversimplified "arrest our way out of crime problems" approach of the 80s and 90s and the oversimplified "educate/rehabilitate our way out of crime problems" approach only exists as a total approach in small scale experiments, university classrooms, the works of theorists, and the speeches of politicians and activists.

I'm persuaded that there has been, and still is, a significant percentage of people in the justice system that are better--and less expensively--helped by social programs, and that society is better off if we don't send these to prison to be trained into hardened criminals. (See, for example, Colson and restorative justice on this, for a Christian perspective.) Then you have the people who simply can't be helped, and the best route is punishment and isolation from the general population.

So the trick is to figure out which are which more often than not. And "more often than not" is about as good as that's ever likely to get--though a range of effectiveness is possible. It can improve.

The rest of crime fighting is strategic and tactical ... by police (which are still police if you call them something else).

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Joeb's picture

A lot must have changed since I was there.  My impression back then was very positive compared to Philadelphia.  Plus being that the State is mostly Swedes and Norwegians and Democrat my understanding was that the support for the inter city poor was very good financially.    Something really must have changed over this time.  
 

Jim my brother bought in neighborhood in Minneapolis when it was in the gutter and it totally flipped.  He did quite well when he sold his house there.  I don't remember the name of the neighborhood but it really turned for the better.  I have many family ties to the area and both my brothers went to Bethel.  
 

Now the center core of Minneapolis was pretty much business that rolled up the sidewalks at 5 PM and no real neighborhoods in the Central town area.  I don't know what went wrong with the Police Department in Minneapolis.  I'd have to say something was missing in their training and connection to the community.  
 

There is no way your going to get rid of the Police.  That's like saying your going to get rid of the IRS.   No matter what you call it your still going to have some type of Police Department and tax collection agency.  
 

I know in Philadelphia the Police and all other city workers are required to live in the city limits.  Hence the Police and other City workers have skin in the game.  I don't know if Minneapolis requires that.  Some cities in real expensive areas probably can't have a requirement like that.  I don't know.  Philadelphia actually has had more abuse and shooting of the Police Officers over the last five years or so and I believe  Houston where those 4 officers were taken out by the one shooter were in the same situation. They were both really down in numbers of any major abuse of force by the Police