Now Is NOT Time For Knee-Jerk Police Reform

     Apparently, if you oppose looting, then you hate Black people, at least according to the apologia from Vice.com. The author went so far as to justify looting as a necessary tool to effect social justice.

“It’s really hard to defend something you don’t totally understand, particularly when it feels like a thorny topic. If your relatives are wringing their hands over the fate of that poor ‘small business’ CVS and you don’t know what to say, I strongly recommend reading Vicky Osterweil’s 2014 essay ‘In Defense of Looting’ in The New Republic. It corrects the myth that peaceful protest is the only way to successfully fight for civil rights, and explains the connection between property, anti-looting discourse, and white supremacy.”

     David Thompson notes that you can not justify looting as proof that “black lives matter” when these riots are most heavily hit neighborhoods and businesses are predominantly… Black.

“Among those of us deemed insufficiently woke and therefore suspect, questions may arise. For instance, in what way will those “black lives” be improved by the destruction of local infrastructure, local businesses, and the subsequent, perhaps dramatic, reduction in trust and goodwill? And what if the stores and homes in question – the ones being smashed, stripped of their contents and set ablaze – are owned by people who happen to be black, as has often been the case? What if the places being looted and vandalised with abandon, indeed exultation, are depended on by people who also happen to be black, whether as customers or employees? After the razing and ruin of their places of work, should these people be pleased to be former employees? Unemployed people who now have no local grocer, or garage, or pharmacy?”

     The article “In Defense of Looting”, by the way, was written do defend looting and other such destruction to… protest the legitimate use of self-defense against “gentle giant” Micheal Brown of Ferguson infamy.

“Throughout the civil rights era, massive non-violent civil disobedience campaigns were matched with massive riots. The most famous of these was the Watts rebellion of 1965 but they occurred in dozens of cities across the country. To argue that the movement achieved what it did in spite of rather than as a result of the mixture of not-non-violent and non-violent action is spurious at best. And, lest we forget, Martin Luther King Jr., the man who embodied the respectable non-violent voice that the white power structure claims they would listen to today, was murdered by that same white power structure anyway.”

     Note how the Watts riots are called a “rebellion”.

     What does all this have to do with police reforms?

     It’s about NOT validating violence, arson, looting and arson.

     There will be a time and place to calmly and civilly review the death of George Floyd, and more broadly problems within various police forces or areas where they are lacking, as well as assess what some departments are doing right and how other departments can improve by adopting that.

     There will be a time and place to look at broader questions, such as reforming qualified immunity, the militarization of many departments, civil forfeiture, and a plethora of other questions.

     That time will likely be soon, but not while riots are happening or anarchist communes are imposing their anarchic governing on unwilling people. The place will not be in said communes or in the press conference of any radical group.

But we must not rush reform, superficial or fundamentally transformative, in order to appease the mob.   All that will do is encourage them to riot, loot, rampage, and torch people’s homes and businesses.

     When you listen to fools, so as to say…


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