Really? Defund the police?

August 10, 2021 • 11:15 am

Cori Bush, a Congresswoman representing Missouri’s First Congressional District, is one of those people who want to defund the police. And yet she has her own private security detail for which her office, according to the article discussed below, paid nearly $70,00 for just 2.5 months this year.  Here’s her rationale on Twitter:

According to Woodhouse’s piece on defunding the police (below), “When asked about this apparent hypocrisy, [Bush’s] answer was sharp, “Would you rather see me die?”

Bush’s further rationale, as told to CBS News, was that her funds, unlike “regular” police funds, were being used to protect her from white supremacists who would try to kill her. But that’s the same reason that the defunders give for not having any police! At any rate, I suspect that she, like all members of Congress, could get a public security detail if her life was really threatened.

According to the article below, which just appeared on Bari Weiss’s Substack site, most of those who want to deep-six the cops seem to be from areas that don’t have much crime, and are mostly white. In contrast, black people, often living in crime-ridden areas, often want more police presence, and don’t favor defunding. I think that’s borne out by statistics, too, but I don’t have them at hand. All I know is that night after night I hear black people on the local news, people who have lost loved ones to gun violence, demanding that our mayor cough up more police presence.

Click the screenshot to read Woodhouse’s piece (he’s a documentary filmmaker and journalist):

I’ve already given his argument: those who call for defunding the cops are those who aren’t desperate for more police protection. Here I just want to relate a few anecdotes from Woodhouse’s piece, as some of the defunders are absolutely unbelievable. When they say “defunding” they really do mean no more police.  When asked what will replace the cops, they mumble about social workers and negotiators. Well, those people do have a place working with police, and I strongly believe there should be a place for non-police, like those experienced with domestic violence, to work with the police to minimize violence and show up after 911 calls. But to drastically cut police budgets to do that? I’m not a fan.

Meet a big-time defunder:

This typifies the split between the two sides of this debate: critics from the neighborhoods most affected by violence tend to regard the defund crowd as outsiders with their own agenda. Defund advocates, meanwhile, tend to regard those critics as either corrupted or manipulated by the police.

Foremost among those advocates is Cat Brooks, the co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project, one of the main groups pushing for defunding the Oakland Police Department. She was brought up in Las Vegas by a white mother who was an anti-domestic violence activist. Her father, a black man, struggled with substance abuse and ended up in prison. “I watched him be terrorized and traumatized by law enforcement,” she recalled.

While pursuing a career in acting in Los Angeles, Brooks stumbled into political activism, which eventually brought her to Oakland. In 2018, she ran for mayor, coming in second with about a quarter of the vote.

When I asked Brooks about the two Council members — both black — who voted against the reduction in the police budget she was unambiguous in her contempt. They are “representing the interests of the police, and they’re representing the interests of development,” she said. “If they were representing the interests of the people, then they, too, should want black bodies to stop falling.” [JAC: could these people please stop using “black bodies” to mean “black people”? It’s at least as dehumanizing as saying “slaves” for “enslaved people.”]

But Taylor [an Oakland councilman who voted against defunding] questions who Brooks’ group represents. “A significant amount of that movement calling for defunding without regard for those calling for service don’t reflect my community,” he said. “They’re not the ones making the two-thirds of the calls to 911.”

This is a sad tale of a meeting of the two sides, then we get back to the odious Cat:

Last month, the two sides met face to face at a rally to stop gun violence at Oakland’s Lake Merritt that was organized, in part, by the police department. I wasn’t there, but my colleague Lee Fang was. He described the scene as “surreal,” with families, mostly African-American, mourning the deaths of their loved ones, while a small group of mostly white protesters jeered at them for collaborating with the police. Towers, who attended the event and spoke directly to the protesters, described them as “a lot of white folks that don’t even live out here.”

This reminds me of the white folks eager to say “Latinx” to show their savvy when speaking of Hispanics. Only 4% of real Latinas and Latinos would choose “Latinx” as their self description, with 61% preferring “Hispanics”. So let’s cut out the “Latinx” nonsense as well!

But I digress; let’s return to Cat:

When I asked Brooks if she supports the abolition of police, she said, “Absolutely. Unapologetically.” Describing the role of the police in society, she said, “Their job is to maintain the status quo. And the status quo is race-based capitalism. And so they are the front line soldiers of the larger system of white supremacy, which is the engine of this country, both here locally and globally.”

Now there’s a mouthful of unthinking jargon for you!  I wonder what Cat would replace with the police with, or would she just let criminals go wild. Too bad Woodhouse didn’t ask her that question.

After Woodhouse visits a black barbershop and heard most of the customers denying that white cops killing black people is the big problem, but rather blacks killing other blacks, he returns to the protest and gives a few anecdotes that show the usual suspects mouthing woke sentiments:

The consensus in the room echoed what I heard from Chief Armstrong and Councilman Taylor rather than the worldview of the anti-police protesters at Lake Merritt holding signs reading “Quit Your Job, KKKop.”

On the national stage, though, the “KKKop” message has real resonance. Cori Bush has compared policing to slavery. So has Jamaal Bowman, a recently elected congressman from the Bronx. Rep. Rashida Tlaib has called policing “inherently and intentionally racist” and said that it “can’t be reformed.” The same arguments have been published in The New Yorker and The New York Times.

Yes, do check the links, because they say what Woodhouse said they said.  The world is insane—or at least a big slice of it is.

44 thoughts on “Really? Defund the police?

  1. Here’s my syllogism

    1) It is crucial for Marxism to destroy the moral and political notion of “private property.”
    2) The valid purpose of government/police is to protect private property rights.
    3) Therefor, Marxists will engage every opportunity to destroy the notion of — and existence of — “police.”

      1. I don’t care about any given individual in this issue. And yes, of course, the refrain rains down, “these Democrats are not the Marxists you are looking for.” I could have used a euphemism. But I won’t. The US Democratic party is Marxist at its root.

        I care about the principle at the root of the issue: the call to “defund [obliterate] the police.” If you would like, for amusement, I could repost my syllogism and label individuals shouting to destroy — not just the fact of police — but the concept of policing for the protection of property – Anarchists. Would that work for you? Would that take the pressure off, since by implication, that would be me claiming that Cory Bush — and many others on the left — are Anarchists instead of Marxists?

        1. This does not change that the defund the police idea does not come from Marxism and states that self-professed to be Marxist never even considered it, let alone doing it. Regardless if these people are otherwise Marxist or not, they jumped on this bandwagon for different reasons. Often because they (wrongly and often dishonestly) see it as a racial issue. Or because they are put off by the militarization and aggressiveness of the police and do not realize that it is just a symptom of the state of the entire society. Cori Bush is probably the former, she seems to be a carrier-racist to me.

          1. It’s rather ironic to tout that Marxist states never even considered or accomplished eliminating (‘defund’ is a euphemism) police — the Marxist state is one complete police state in and of itself. Oh …. until that magical moment when the state is not needed, because NewMarxistMan has emerged, and people share into total egalitarian utopia with no crime, selfishness, inequality. Etcetera.

        2. You need to inform yourself about the Democratic Party and about Marxism. Note: in most European countries, a party with policies similar to the Democrats would be considered right of centre. I once compared Bernie Sanders’s programme to the current situation in Bavaria, the most conservative state where the most conservative party (excluding the upstart AFD which is more of a loony protest party) has headed the government since WWII. Essentially all of his demands have been implemented decades ago and no-one wants to change them. You seriously need to broaden your horizon.

          1. I’ve been broad. The view, both far and close up, validates the essential truth: the Democratic party of the USA is Marxist at the root. It is only a matter of degree, and time, for the Full Monty to manifest.

            1. No, that is totally false. Sorry, but you need to do some research to understand what Marxism actually is.

              Edited to add:

              By the way, even by your definition, the Democratic Party is not Marxist. You say:

              It is crucial for Marxism to destroy the moral and political notion of “private property.”

              Can you name any member of the Democratic Party who claims that the notion of private property must be destroyed? If you can, do you think their opinion holds sway with anything more than a tiny minority of Democratic Party members?

          1. note my word “crucial.” It subsumes the truth that all Marxists seek the end of private property, by definition. If you don’t seek the end of property (and person), and by necessary implication the end of the only function of police, you are not a Marxist.

        3. “The US Democratic party is Marxist at its root.”

          Those who want to defund the police aren’t at all Marxists or anarchists. First, very few Democrats want to defund the police, as people here and everywhere have told you many times, so expanding your thesis to say Democrats are Marxists is totally bogus. Second, those who really want to defund the police are totally focused on their version of anti-racism. In many ways, they are run-of-the-mill fanatics who think the world must revolve around their issue and everything else can go to hell.

          1. @Paul Topping
            Explain how someone advocating the elimination of policing of property rights (the real meaning of ‘defunding’) is not an anarchist.

            1. Easy. It’s the difference between stupid people advocating something (defunding the police) that, according to you, will result in anarchy and those who actually advocate anarchy. Only the latter are properly labeled anarchists. Defunding the police may well result in anarchy but they just don’t realize it.

              1. Nixon famously said “I am not a crook.” Thank goodness he is not a crook, I thought he was, so I have to apologize to him. He is not a crook.

  2. Woke logic: All crime is caused by white supremacy (crime did not exist in most countries before white Europeans colonised the world). Therefore, once we have dismantled white supremacy, there will be no crime and so no need for the police. And dismantling the police is a big step towards dismantling white supremacy (after that we’d only need to dismantle capitalism as well). Makes entire sense.

  3. Cori Bush (like AOC) is clearly such an important person that no expense should be spared for her protection; as for those unfortunates in her district, more social workers and more community organizers, rather than the evil police, would surely allow them to feel more secure. The very wealthy Leona Helmsley famously (but perhaps apocryphally) once claimed that the paying of taxes was for the “little people.”

  4. This IS madness. The public should pay for her protection, but not its own. I would love, LOVE to see her go to poor neighbors in St. Louis, and explain why she deserves protection and they don’t. Then she really would need protection.

  5. I wonder what would happen to your insurance costs if the police were removed? I have a pretty good idea most people could not afford it. And why not defund the fire department as well. That would shake up your insurance a bit also. I guess now that we have full regulation free guns in this country so why have any law enforcement. We can all be police and shoot everyone who looks suspect. I would rather see them defund the military than the police. We might someday be overrun by another country but who was it that stopped a recent insurrection on the country. Oh yeah, that was the police. Does this representative from Missouri not know this?

    1. She strikes me as one of people who want to see the breakdown of society in expectation that what will come in its place will be better. I don’t think she’s ignorant, just stupid.

    1. And, Robert, two senses of the word “idiot” apply here, viz., the modern meaning of someone who lacks basic intelligence and the ancient Greek sense of someone so into herself (ίδιος) that she’s not fit for participation in democracy. Steve (who’s other car is a TARDIS 😉)

  6. It bothers me that the Biden administration doesn’t take a more proactive approach to the worst ideas coming from the Far Left, “defund the police” being perhaps the worst. Each of these bad ideas could be turned into a more reasonable position. This would help defuse GOP attempts to exploit them, while guiding both Dem politicians and voters into more constructive positions.

    Probably the main reason Biden isn’t doing this is fear it would cause the AOC/Bernie wing of the base to bolt. It’s a risk but where would they bolt to exactly? Instead, Biden can invite them to debate and contribute. They won’t because their bad ideas can’t be defended but that’s ok with me.

    1. I dunno, but I’ve seen Biden only saying he does not support defunding the police, he’s been quite clear and consistent there (AFAIK).
      He was scathing about Trump actually defunding the police, when the latter shot down a $ 515 million proposal for crime reduction, including $ 170 million direct aid for local police.

      1. Yes, that’s my point. He’s only saying he doesn’t support defunding the police. Instead, he could attempt to solve the underlying problem and use his bully pulpit to explain how that’s a better solution. AFAIK, he’s mostly turned it over to Justice to pursue but it is not their job to explain such things to the American people.

    1. Wow, that’s bonkers. Just the assertion

      policing has entirely failed to improve public safety

      is so obviously wrong: take the police away and then see what happens to public safety – only don’t do it anywhere near where I live.

  7. In a million years, I would have never thought that I would see the phrase, “the odious Cat”, on these pages.

  8. When “defund the police” first came out, my reaction was “Who you gonna call?” When the stupidity of saying “defund” was pointed out, too many came out with Humpty Dumpty’s “you don’t know what I mean until I tell you what I mean” and what they meant was “reallocate resources from the police department to social services”, which is too long to fit on a poster and too complex for [word that will get me scolded by the Roolzmaker] to grasp.
    Biden does not support defunding the police. He will get around to saying so at length and with a policy/program/proposed bill when the pandemic, infrastructure, voting rights and wildfires have been handled. If you think you could do better, get off your butt and run for office. (I’m younger than he is, but I haven’t got the brains, the energy or the patience to handle what he’s been handling.)

  9. My understanding of the defund the police movement is not that they advocate for eradicating policing, but rather that that policing in broken and needs to, in many cases be rethought from the ground up. There are a lot of instances where armed police are the first responders where investment in mental health and social care would remove the need for them showing up at all. Housing support is better use of public funds than criminalising poverty by arresting homeless people for vagrancy, for example. If local governments took a fraction of the money used for militarizing the police against its citizens, to build up the social structures that prevented anti-social behaviour in the first place, society would be healthier overall. There will always be times when police are needed, but giving someone 6 weeks training, a gun and a badge, and then send them to a mental health crisis – that’s madness.

    1. But according to part of Woodhouse’s article quoted by our host in this post:

      Rep. Rashida Tlaib has called policing “inherently and intentionally racist” and said that it “can’t be reformed.” The same arguments have been published in The New Yorker and The New York Times.

      which suggests that for some leading Defund the Police advocates it is about more than sensible measures like better training.

  10. Right, a society without a police force, so that only those rich or well-connected enough to afford private security guards can be safe. Everyone else is left at the mercy of thugs and gangsters.

    For details of how this works out see almost every big city prior to the last couple of hundred years.

    Seriously, supposed lefties are calling for the privatisation of security?

    1. “Seriously, supposed lefties are calling for the privatisation of security?”

      No. Cori Bush was just defending her own use of private security. It was not a good look for someone who wants to eliminate the police. She evidently thinks the little people can do without the police while she already has her ass covered. I doubt she’s thought far enough ahead to see the implications.

      1. So in effect she is calling for the privatisation of security, just not quite explicitly.

        Security for me but not for thee.

  11. I think the defund the police discussion has lost a lot of nuance. The way I understand it is that there are 2 different views that fall under that umbrella
    1. Literally defunding the police in the sense of severely reducing their budget and numbers- a rot of punitive measure for the killings and other misdeeds some of their members have committed.
    2. Re-assessing the things police are tasked with doing and determining which do not need (e.g traffic stops, dealing with mentally disturbed people etc).
    I’m not a fan of the first view but I am sympathetic to the second.

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