Among student calls to defund and abolish the U of C police, three students are murdered

November 21, 2021 • 12:15 pm

Over the last year we’ve heard many calls to “Defund the Police”, which varied in intent from simply reforming the police and perhaps diverting money to ancillary law-enforcement operation (some of which sound good, like psychiatric social workers going along on domestic violence calls) to asking for a complete abolition of the police department and a replacement with. . . what? Vigilante neighborhood police enforcement? Somehow, despite the problems of police departments, I’ve never seen an adequate substitute.  And now the movement is largely dead, thanks to two factors: a rise in crime rates throughout the U.S., and especially a rise in homicides, as well as Joe Biden’s election under his promise that he’d increase police funding.

Combined with the calls for defunding is a complete demonization of the police, epitomized by the acronym “ACAB”, meaning “all cops are bastards”.  That is of course ridiculous. While everyone admits that some cops are racist, or authoritarian, or hateful, this is simply not true of the majority of them. My interactions with the police, whether I’ve called them or have been stopped for speeding, have been polite and formal, though of course I will be told that as a white person I don’t experience the full racism of the cops. So if you want to characterize “all” cops as bastards, be my guest, but I think you’re way off. But defund them? No way.

In fact, no city has voted to get rid of or defund its police departments, and the American public has consistently asked—and this includes black communities—for more policing.

Except at the University of Chicago.

While all the sensible people here are grateful for the University of Chicago Police force, which has 24 hour policing over a wide swath of the community (not just the University grounds), as well as full police powers and good communication with the Chicago City Police, the students, who take the “ACAB” attitude, want the University cops gone, banished, singing in the Choir Invisible.

Submitted for your approval: an editorial from the Chicago student newspaper’s editorial team calling for the abolition of our large campus police. Click on the screenshot to read:

An excerpt:

The University of Chicago should abolish the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) and replace it with an unarmed emergency response service better trained and equipped to handle particular, commonly occurring University-related situations. The UCPD has been, and continues to be, one of the main agents of the University of Chicago’s history of racial injustice on the South Side. Community members at UChicago and its surrounding neighborhoods have been aware of this for many years, and the University can take action on police brutality by disarming and disbanding the UCPD. Disbanding and replacing the University’s private police force would place the area currently patrolled by UCPD under the jurisdiction of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), and will not by itself solve the numerous problems endemic to the CPD. However, by disbanding the UCPD, the University can begin to make right its numerous historical wrongs perpetrated against South Siders.

As with many issues of social justice at UChicago, students have demanded better from administrators for years. #CareNotCops, a joint campaign run by Students Working Against Prisons and UC United, has been leading the charge to abolish UCPD, and organizers recently released a list of demands to defund and eventually disband the UCPD. In response to administrators’ refusal to engage with students and community members about policing, activists demanding a public meeting with Michelle Rasmussen and Kenton Rainey occupied UCPD headquarters for 20 hours on June 12. Organizers have been demanding substantial changes to UCPD for years, and we encourage students to get involved with these long running police abolition efforts—and administrators to break their habit of rebuffing students.

. . . By disarming and disbanding the UCPD, the University of Chicago can take an active stance against police violence and institutional racism, and work toward providing campus services that meet the specific needs of the University community.

The rationale hinges largely on racism: that most of police stops involve black suspects or people. But the ambit of the Chicago police force includes more black than white residents, and there’s the issue that the crime rate among blacks is higher than among whites, particularly on the South Side of Chicago (an area where blacks far outnumber whites—except in Hyde Park). Then there’s the issue of the cops shooting a mentally ill student experiencing a psychotic break when he charged the cops with a steel rod (he was shot in the shoulder). This was pure self-defense by the campus cops, but the students see it as racism (the student, Charles Thomas, is partly a person of color), and of police going willy nilly with violence.

So far the administration has held firm, refusing to “defund” or reduce the police force, leading to a student group occupying the police station (they left after they weren’t allowed to use the police bathrooms or order out for pizza), and camping in the street in front of the Provost’s house, painting rude slogans in Chinese in the street (our Provost is a woman of Asian descent).

Now the dilemma of the “defund the policers” has increased as three students have been killed via shooting in the last few weeks (see the links below), as well as an increase in other crimes in the area, like robbery and carjacking. Will the students now see the wisdom of increasing the police presence? Don’t bet on it. Even after three murders, the misguided #CareNotCops organization put out this Facebook notice for a rally:

No more cops! No more cameras! In fact, the murderer of the latest dead student was caught with the help of the new cameras. Apparently, the group doesn’t want crime to decrease, nor do they want justice for crimes committed.

Read the “questions” the newspaper is asking about the shootings (click on screenshot below):

Now they’re beefing about the fact that the students got killed. Where were the cops? Why haven’t they done anything?

What countermeasures has the University taken to keep students safe after the first fatal shooting? The second? The third? Why have they in each case been insufficient at preventing additional student deaths?

and

It’s possible that the measures I’ve mentioned and other ones that the University has taken, such as increasing police presence, may well have prevented even more violence. So, I hesitate to say that the University’s responses have been totally ineffective. But, as this third fatal shooting has demonstrated, they have been insufficient.

Does this student think that police can completely eliminate crime here—or anywhere? That’s insane. But yes, the three shootings are a big concern, and are mirrored by the big increase in shooting deaths in Chicago this year compared to last, even in the ritzy downtown area.  But what I’d like to ask these students is this: “Where were you when you should have been defending rather than defunding the cops?”  Do you think violence will abate if we get rid of our campus police? How would that work?

There’s more in the article:

In the four quarters since January, three current or recent students—Yiran Fan, Max Solomon Lewis, and Shaoxiong Zheng—have been shot and killed. At this rate, before I graduate, eight more of my classmates will die.

Or I will die.

I no longer buy the “random acts of violence” argument. Students are clearly in imminent mortal danger—even in the daytime, even close to campus, even when we act safely.

What will the University do to protect us?

In fact, the University, in response to these incidents, is doing a lot more to protect not just people associated with the school, but with a residents of huge area north and south of the University. Five days ago our Provost and new President, after some public forums and Zoom discussions, issued an official University statement outlining changes in policing. Here’s what is going to happen (a quote from the report).

  • Increase in police patrols: UCPD and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) have coordinated to increase enforcement of traffic safety in the extended patrol area and increase foot and vehicular patrols on and near campus and throughout Hyde Park. This includes joint robbery-directed patrols as well as increasing enforcement of traffic safety violations. In addition to reducing the likelihood of traffic accidents, the visibility of traffic safety enforcement can help deter criminals. The University has also expanded its Safety Ambassador program into nearby communities.
  • Additional use of security technology: CPD is temporarily adding more Police Observation Device (POD) camera technology to the Hyde Park area. The University is working with CPD and local aldermen to develop a long-term strategy for adding permanent technology solutions to the areas surrounding campus. The University already operates many security cameras and fixed license plate readers and is working to add more. The University is also exploring how to use the current technology more effectively to inform the deployment of our officers.
  • Expansion of Lyft program: The Lyft Ride Smart program, which offers students free Lyft rides in the Hyde Park/Kenwood/Woodlawn area, has been temporarily extended from Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights to seven nights a week. This is in addition to the University’s extensive and recently expanded shuttle program, available to all members of the campus community.
  • Planning with city and community: The University has been in close contact on safety issues with Mayor Lightfoot, local aldermen, and other Chicago public leaders, and UCPD is working closely with CPD on these issues. The City is formalizing, with the University’s involvement, a number of short and longer-term public safety strategies that will help Hyde Park and surrounding communities. We will share specifics soon.
  • Gathering input: The University is gathering input on public safety from all parts of the University community, with faculty and other academic appointees being major constituents in this effort. We will communicate soon about additional opportunities to discuss these important issues.

What is not going to happen is a reduction in the police budget or staff. In addition, in a University safety webinar with the President, the Chicago Police Superintendent, and the director of safety, the Superintendent announced that they’re putting 26 new beat cops in Area 2: the area around Hyde Park and the University.

Those who want the cops defunded become far less credible when crime shoots up. Their “demands” are not only ridiculous, but make the Left look ridiculous as well. If anything plays into the hands of the Republicans and Trump, it’s the claim that the Left, including woke students, are soft on crime, and in fact want to get rid of cops.  If there was an actual reason to get rid of cops, then we could think about that. But right now, the defunders should simply zip it: there’s no justification for their demand and they are driving centrists toward the Right.

38 thoughts on “Among student calls to defund and abolish the U of C police, three students are murdered

  1. I recall an infamous crime, highly publicized in my student days at UC decades ago, a murder in an apartment near 53rd and Woodlawn, a drug deal gone bad and a grad student was thrown from a second floor window, but the girlfriend, a witness, publicly stated she would not cooperate with “the pigs.” Attitudes don’t change, and crime is relentless. But the status quo ante cannot be allowed to continue; however, I also don’t know what is to be done.

  2. Student newspaper: “By disarming and disbanding the UCPD, the University of Chicago can take an active stance against police violence and institutional racism…” This fashion spread from the general
    anti-police meme of a year or two ago to its campus mimics. We can presumably look forward to a movement to disband hall monitors in grade schools, and perhaps at a lower level a campaign to defund
    baby-sitting. It should be noted that some faculty members are involved in these campaigns against
    campus police—perhaps attempting to recapture their childhood, in a response to mid-life angst. At one campus I used to be familiar with, this exercise has become a hobby for the local AAUP chapter.
    .

  3. Wow, the student comments on that June 2020 editorial in the Maroon. My favorite among many:

    “What do South Side residents think about the UCPD? I’m more interested in their opinions than those of a handful of privileged, vapid Marxists from boarding schools.”

    Because it’s Sunday and I’m avoiding work, I got a second cup of coffee and googled the Maroon editors. Sure enough, some of them have Linkedin profiles including places like “Phillips Exeter Academy”. One guesses these folks don’t have to worry much about being assaulted on the streets of Chicago. IDK about their Marxism.

  4. It’s a bit like the ACLU, which, in response to the Rittenhouse verdict, complained that the police had not been properly policing that crowd and keeping people safe.

    I bet they were not calling for the police to properly police BLM riots at the time.

  5. Hey, I used to live at 60th and Ellis! The weekend before classes my First Year, my roommate was mugged right outside. People calling for an end to policing (or a severely reduced effort or a refocusing of resources) have never had any credibility. UC has always been a bubble of relative safety, maintained by only be a substantial police presence.

  6. “. . . Marxists from boarding schools.” Well, I knew some guys from Phillips, Taft, Hotchkiss and other schools during my time at St. Lawrence. A couple were short-timers, completely uninterested in education–but to categorize ANY of them as Marxists is so ludicrous that it approaches “not even wrong” territory. Does that Maroon writer think that Marxist is a synonym for capitalist?

  7. Shove this in front their collective whimsical (farcical) faces. The Toronto Fire and Police strike.
    From the CBC Digital Archives. (Oct 1969)
    “…according to this CBC Television special, was a “night of terror.” Shattered shop windows and a trail of broken glass are evidence of looting that erupted in the downtown core. With no one to stop them, STUDENTS! and separatists joined the rampage. Shop owners, some of them armed, struggled to fend off looters. Restaurants and hotels were also targeted. A corporal with the Quebec provincial police was shot and killed at the garage of the Murray Hill limousine company as taxi drivers tried to burn it down.”
    Have things changed since then? in respect to civil behaviour, not very much. Would Chicago be any different now? or anywhere else for that matter. I don’t know but I can take a guess.
    https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/1969-montreals-night-of-terror

    1. Thank you for posting this. I had completely forgotten about it. (Lessee, what was I doing in ’69? Too young for Woodstock.) Montreal and Vancouver have had riots over hockey games but this one due to sudden withdrawal of police protection without any other provocation took the cake. It still beggars belief.
      Next year would be the October FLQ Crisis, with kidnapping and murder and the proclamation of the War Measures Act and the Army on the streets against apprehended insurrection in Québec….but no rioting.

      (Gently, it wasn’t a Toronto police strike — it was in Montréal. The Montréal cops were looking for wage parity with Toronto.)

      1. Oh! thanks for the correction, classic brain fade… I googled it and read it as Montreal sheee! I’m a kiwi so that part of the world is a little on the vague side, he said sheepishly. 😄

        1. Well, hey, we’re upside down to you.
          We visited NZ a few years ago, just after the Port Hills fire in Christchurch. One dark night on the West Coast we went stargazing. I half-expected Orion to be upside down and was half-surprised, but relieved, that it wasn’t. Sweet as.

          1. Eh? Orion not upside-down in NZ, from a Canadian’s perspective? I haven’t had the good fortune to visit New Zealand (yet), but I’m certain the familiar part of the night sky would appear upside-down to us northern hemisphere residents.

            I just fired up Stellarium to confirm. Betelgeuse and Rigel have swapped places in the asterism, and the Orion Nebula is above the ‘belt’ stars instead of below. Definitely ‘upside-down’.

            1. Now you’ve got me doubting my memory of my own eyes. Which is two iterations of the broken telephone. We concentrated mostly on the circumpolar constellations, Alpha & Beta Centauri, the Magellanic clouds, and the Milky Way, sights you never see here in the north. Worth the trip for that unforgettable naked-eye experience alone.

              You do seem to be right according to multiple sources I’ve just checked.

              Wait, I get it. The stars are obviously in the same places, it’s only my frame of reference on a spherical earth with centripetal gravity that changes. Movement of a heavenly body (or a high-flying aircraft) toward the horizon is perceived falsely as “down” because your eyes move toward the ground to track it and ground-ward is the way terrestrial objects fall. If you have to turn your body to look north instead of south, as you have to do to see Orion south of the Equator, your brain will now interpret down as toward the north instead of south. Voilà upside down.

              If you were sailing due south and viewed Orion at the same time every night, he would climb in the Heavens (as Polaris sank below the horizon) until he went over the top and started down the other side, now shoulders closer to the horizon, or “upside down.”

              I’m really glad you noticed this. False memory time.

  8. Among many other things, the “defund the police” attitude, whether real or performative, will cost the Dems the House and the Senate. The Republicans have an extremely effective messaging operation. The Dems do not. In fact, their inability to convince skeptics of the Biden administration’s successes in spite of no Republican support, borders on a level of incompetence that is even worse than during the Obama years. The fear of ruffling the feathers of the “woke”, has overridden what should be the Dems clear, unambiguous call to support the police, decry riots, and eschew looting. I would suggest that a Democratic victory in the 2024 Presidential election is also in doubt at this point. Things do not look good.

  9. Thank you for putting the word Demands in quotes.

    “Demands”… are reflective of an in-your-face attitude that is unfortunately becoming more and more prevalent. This attitude is moving us further away, not closer to, solving the underlying problems.

    Negotiating? Listening? Evaluating? Problem-solving, with the understanding that there will be tradeoffs? What exactly is “demanding” going to solve?

    The whole Rittenhouse issue so demonstrates this. He was, and should have been, acquitted, based on the wording of the law. But the law ITSELF is problematic. We are no closer to addressing that, and indeed, move further away from addressing it, when we throw fits and eggs.

    I was confused by something I read about pre-trial testimony. An expert witness, out of hearing of the jury, said that there is no provocation when someone is armed. The witness made it sound like the law was meant to address the issue from the viewpoint of the police, that all confrontations with police are assumed to involve a gun, since the police are armed, and therefore there cannot be provocation. He was specifically asked by the prosecuting attorney if the same exemption would apply if he were not armed, and the expert said no. But this morning I read the actual text of the Wisconsin law. Armed people are specifically exempted from the assumption of provocation. So if you go into a restaurant, say, and strut and threaten and are loud and disruptive, if you are not armed and someone responds with violence, you are assumed to have provoked the fight. But if you have a gun and someone responds with violence, you are presumed to be defending yourself because you feel that your life is threatened.

    The gun wackos in WI clearly wrote this law and passed it. Are the rest of us supposed to just roll over and let this happen? Making “demands” is the most useless, pointless, counterproductive strategy I can think of to meet the challenge of watching our civilization slip away.

    At least the UofC, as an independent non-governmental body, might have a shot at generating some real solutions. Maybe the students who have more grasp of complexity can make a real contribution.

    L

    1. Totally agree with you about most of this. But about the definition of provocation in that statute I can kinda see the point. If someone responds to provocative statements or actions by a person who doesn’t have a weapon, then the responder might be acting reasonably. It might be a sensible thing to react to the provocation if it’s unlikely to result in serious injury or death. But if someone responds to a provocation by a person who is armed, then the responder could be viewed as behaving irresponsibly, because the responder is likely to get shot. Not saying this is good or just, merely that it makes sense from an NRA sort of viewpoint.

      Also excellent metaphor “might have a shot at generating some real solutions.”

      1. So then, what would be the correct response to an armed provocateur? The NRA would say get a gun yourself. And then what?

        The gun people want to be “free” to carry anywhere and everywhere, including on private property. It will be interesting to see which “conservative” parameter wins out when these two collide.

        And if the legislatures and courts decide that the gunners win, will they include themselves in the line of fire? At the moment, courts and most legislatures are off limits to armed citizens, although in Michigan it is legal to carry weapons into legislative sessions, but not protest signs.

        L

      2. I can’t agree. In the type of circumstances you describe having a weapon on display increases the provocation significantly. Particularly in a society like the present day US when shootings are relatively common.

        Presented with such a situation it is entirely plausible that other people would reasonably fear that their life and the lives of others are at risk from the provocative gun wielder and that trying to preemptively attack. Not being afraid that the gun wielder might end up shooting people would be abnormal. Trying to incapacitate or disarm the gun wielder is a perfectly predictable and reasonable sort of response. This is exactly what the gun rights extremists claim they need their guns for.

        In my opinion such a law is unbelievably ludicrous. A gun removes provocation? Ridiculous. It escalates provocation higher than just about any other factor. With respect to police I could see it as a necessary thing, but in the general case? Absolutely ludicrous.

    2. Armed people are specifically exempted from the assumption of provocation. So if you go into a restaurant, say, and strut and threaten and are loud and disruptive, if you are not armed and someone responds with violence, you are assumed to have provoked the fight.

      As I understand it, if you strut and threaten and are loud and disruptive and have a gun, then that is indeed provocation.

      But merely possessing the gun is not itself provocation, so if you were quiet and peaceful and entered the restaurant and sat down and ordered a meal, and had a gun, then others could not claim provocation.

  10. Ditto Jerry’s last two sentences of this post. Disclosure: Three of my cousins were policemen—two members of the CPD, one a chief of two suburbs. One of my neighbors is a county sheriff’s cop. Their characters and accomplishments are strong rebuttals to ACAB. Like Jerry, I can also rebut ACAB from both my personal and professional experiences. In particular, I will always be grateful to a Chicago policeman for saving me from harm when I had confronted a shoplifter who I was afraid was going to throttle me. I’m sorry, I have to quote Rahm Emanuel again (please forgive the harsh, politically incorrect language): These progressives seeking to defund the police are “f*cking ret*rded.”

  11. >Then there’s the issue of the cops shooting a mentally ill student experiencing a psychotic break when he charged the cops with a steel rod (he was shot in the shoulder).

    The young student is exceedingly lucky to be alive. Full marks to the police officer. To eliminate a threat to life the police are justified to shoot with deadly intent, multiple rounds if necessary. This surprises Canadians sometimes who wonder, “Why didn’t the cop just shoot the steel rod out of his hand?” Perhaps the officer knew or guessed accurately that the student was mentally disturbed and made extra effort to avoid using lethal force. Well done. Hope he gets a medal.

    1. Anyone who wonders about why the metal rod was not shot out of a hand clearly has zero experience with firearms and no clue how difficult that would be. An absurd expectation, at best.
      The officer deserves an award for hitting the shoulder (assuming that was the target).

      Lucky to be alive is an understatement in my opinion.

      1. That would be true of most urban Canadians, yes, and the point I was trying to make. Years ago, I took a hunter- and firearms- safety and proficiency course, the type that would qualify for a Firearms Acquisition Certificate today, for no other reason than to learn about something I didn’t know much about. (It didn’t cover handguns because for practical purposes, i.e., ordinary self or home defence, we can’t own them.). And they didn’t teach us how to shoot people; the stress was on shooting targets accurately and not shooting people carelessly. But even that rudimentary knowledge exceeds that of most people who noisily criticize shootings by police officers, other than actual gun-toting criminals.

        Recently a young constable on the municipal force of a small city in one of our poor eastern provinces fired five rounds from his service pistol at or into a woman in a meth-fuelled rage who had surprised and cornered him with a knife on a elevated exterior balcony. He had been called to do a “wellness check”. Canadian cops on ordinary calls are not allowed to draw their pistols unless they actually need to use them, which meant he had a lot to do and think about in that second or two as the woman rushed him.

        But I kid you not, the complaint was made by some random citizen, “Why couldn’t he have just shot the knife out of her hand?” (The case was racialized, as per current euphemism.). The officer was exonerated by the external investigation as a fully justified use of force.

        The Federal Minister for Indulgence of a Certain Group even got into the act. On the day of the shooting while the young cop was still in shock, he whined, “What I don’t understand is how a young woman gets shot to death during a wellness check.” I’m sure he was being disingenuous but he did get his answer in the end.

    2. I agree and think the police acted appropriately in this case, per their training. But looking at the general case, comparing this specific incident with similar ones in some other countries, for example the UK, situations like this one are routinely handled without shooting. In the US our laws, precedents and training of police all lean more heavily towards justified use of deadly force than most any other country. Given examples of how some other countries do things I think it is reasonable to seriously consider making some changes in our laws, attitudes and training of police. I know at least one police officer first hand who thinks so too, and many more second hand.

  12. Comment #8 points out that the Progressive “defund the police” attitude will cost the Dems the House and the Senate in 2022. Very likely, and in line with a rule that is centuries old: the historic function of the performance and/or sentimental Left is to help the conservative establishment maintain its grip on power. However, this outcome in 2022 might be preventable, if only national figures in the Democratic Party issued a “clear, unambiguous call to support the police, decry riots, and eschew looting”. The reluctance of so many Dem spokespeople to speak like this is baffling.

    Some parties of the center-Left have in the past managed to eschew the seductions of sentimental Leftism. In the early 1930s, the British Labour Party passed through a period of sentimental pacifism under George Lansbury, who pronounced: “I would close every recruiting station, disband the Army and disarm the Air Force. I would abolish the whole dreadful equipment of war and say to the world: “Do your worst”.” By 1935, the labor unions, aware of the dangers of Fascism in the real world, had had enough of this kind of verbiage, and Ernest Bevin of the TGWU mocked Lansbury scathingly. His sentimental position lost on a Labour resolution about the Fascist invasion of Abyssinia, and Lansbury resigned as Party leader. The Labour Party’s former program of opposing every kind of re-armament was dropped. During WWII, Labour under Clement Atlee joined Churchill’s war cabinet coalition. Labour returned to power in 1945.

    Lansbury continued to work for universal disarmament, going so far as to appeal to Adolf Hitler in a personal meeting in 1937. Hitler was not persuaded,,
    it appears

    1. Unfortunately, national Democrats are very slow learners. They cling to the belief that by forthrightly condemning the radical left’s cultural agenda they will alienate minority support, thus jeopardizing their electoral chances. The evidence suggests otherwise. Such attitudes are evident on MSNBC. For example, during the riots in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, you barely heard a word on the mindless destruction or else certain guests made the irrational comment that destruction of property should be ignored because the rioters were justifiably angry at a police murder. As I have said many times before, the Republicans are masters of messaging. Their ability to stoke fear in white America cannot be matched. Democrats are clueless in how best to win over voters.

      1. ‘Their ability to stoke fear in white America cannot be matched’

        Ironically, it is Black people in America who are at constant risk of being shot by the police, pulled over for no reason, targeted by white supremacists, discriminated against at work and at school and whose lives are regarded as of little worth by society in general.

        As a result, they vote Democrat as they know that the Democrats are the party that will support and help Black people.

        1. “Ironically, it is Black people in America who are at constant risk of being shot by the police, pulled over for no reason, targeted by white supremacists, discriminated against at work and at school and whose lives are regarded as of little worth by society in general.”

          When you look at the research, it turns out that none of these are true.

          Blacks are shot at a lower rate than whites given the inordinate amount of crime they commit.
          Blacks are pulled over at a lower rate than the amount of traffic violations they commit.
          Interracial violence is almost totally black-on-white.
          Blacks are hired and admitted at rates much higher than their actual qualifications due to explicit hiring preferences and affirmative action.

          Your sentence is basically a summation of leftist mythology.

  13. Of course the University is going to strengthen their police force. It will hurt enrollment and their reputation if UC becomes known as an unsafe campus in a crime-ridden neighborhood where a student can get murdered in the broad daylight while minding their own business.

    All three of these students were murdered by guns- so the police need guns. We live in a society rife with guns, creating an arms race between the police and the citizens. I sure don’t like it. Make the criminals give up their weapons, then talk to me about an unarmed police force.

    I do find their point that the UCPD is a private force and not accountable to the public they impact, such as being subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, to be an important issue. I am not aware of the laws pertaining to private police forces, but they should have transparent accountability in a free society.

  14. My own suggestion is to start by making people who buy guns more responsible for the uses they are put to. Far too many people buy guns for others who could not purchase one themselves.
    Holding buyers accountable for everything the purchased guns do (unless reported stolen) seems a fair start to better control.
    NRA harps on personal responsibility/accountability, I say game on. Hold them to it.

    1. In 1970, a heavily armed Jonathan Jackson entered a California courtroom to free his brother and two other defendants who were on trial. They took Judge Haley and a couple of jurors hostage, after which the judge was killed (and one juror wounded) in the resulting shoot-out. Jackson’s weapons, including a shotgun used on Judge Haley, had been purchased by Angela Davis, the activist and supporter of the defendants. Ms. Davis was charged with participation in the kidnapping and murder, fled California, but was eventually captured in New York. At her trial, Ms. Davis explained that it was a complete mystery how guns she owned had inexplicably come into Jonathan Jackson’s possession. The prosecution could not disprove the proposition that gremlins or visitors from another dimension had purloined her guns and beamed them down to Jonathan Jackson, and so the jury found her not guilty. US law does not make a gun owner accountable for the gun’s use, no matter how far-fetched the owner’s story.
      [After this adventure, Ms. Davis busied herself with CP politics, a pilgrimage to the model utopia of east Germany, and, eventually, the abolish-the-police movement in the US.]

  15. You’d think even among the most idealist ideologues, there’d be little appetite for getting rid of the police altogether. Rather that a certain amount of money that goes into enforcement could be better used to prevent the factors that go into crime in the first place. In that, there are legitimate civic debates to be had.

    Honestly this is where I think the polarised state of politics is a problem. When the right treats crime as a moral failing (and thus endorses police response as an appropriate moral punishment) what else can we expect from left wing activists but to push back in the strongest of terms? There’s little room for nuance when a cop killing a suspect is called justified in pretty much any circumstance other than to say that the whole system is rotten and needs replacing. Where’s the room for a nuanced discussion in that?

  16. “But right now, the defunders should simply zip it: there’s no justification for their demand and they are driving centrists toward the Right.”

    I’m exactly one of those centrists who have gone to the Right. And I won’t come back as long as the Left is intoxicated by this terrible and dangerous woke ideology.

    1. Count me among your numbers. I voted Hillary in 2012, but will now vote against every Democrat I can. I want the Democratic party in its current form to have as little power as possible.

  17. Defund the police? How about simply firing any policeman who donated to Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal fund?

    ‘Police officer fired after allegedly donating to Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal fun’

  18. The original post states: “Combined with the calls for defunding is a complete demonization of the police, epitomized by the acronym “ACAB”, meaning “all cops are bastards”. That is of course ridiculous.” The post goes on to claim that ACAB is not true for the majority of the cops.

    How often has one police officer engaged in some outrageous violation (oh, I don’t know – something like slowly suffocating someone in handcuffs until they die) only to have all of the other officers on scene look the other way or actually provide assistance in the extra-judicial murder of someone in custody? How often do those other officers falsify their official reports on the incident? How often do those other officers actually step forward to stop that violation being committed by another officer? How often do they arrest that other officer? On those rare occasions when an officer faces discipline for their ethical violation, how often does that officer get hired by some other officer in some other jurisdiction so they can continue to violate those they swore to protect?

    Many people so often claim that the number of bad apples is small and that the vast majority of officers are good officers. That is simply not true. How could a good officer look the other way?

    I don’t want to defund the police. I just want to fire the 75% that look the other way, that facilitate the abuse, that falsify the reports, that hire officers knows to be violators. Like many, I agree that some communities need more officers. But they need better officers than they have.

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