Editorial Note: As this is much longer than usual (1900 words), it is broken into two parts. Part 1 was published yesterday. If you want a complete copy (Word or PDF), please ask in the comments, and I will send it to you as a single document.
Continuing the review of “12 things to do instead of calling the cops” published by several groups seeking to defund and/or disband police forces. TPOL comments are in italics.
7 Encourage teachers, coworkers, and organizers to avoid inviting police into classrooms, workplaces, and public spaces. Instead, create for a culture of taking care of each other and not unwittingly putting people in harm’s way. If you’re part of a group that’s holding a rally or demonstration, don’t get a permit or otherwise cooperate with the police.
You would think they’d have someone proofread these sorts of manifestos. Still, this is not bad advice. And as for “public places” – gee, they are public. Cops have as much right (or power) to be there as you do! As lovers of liberty, TPOL believes that permits are unconstitutional; but it doesn’t hurt to make sure that someone in your community knows what you are going to do, to prevent understandings.
8 If your neighbor is having a party and the noise is bothering you, go over and talk to them. Getting to know your neighbors with community events like monthly block parties is a good way to make asking them to quiet down a little less uncomfortable, or to find another neighbor who is willing to do so.
Amen, and amen! Ditto for people with weed problems, excessive smoke drifting your way, and other neighbor annoyances. Don’t call the cops – OR code enforcement. If the neighbor won’t listen to you along, get a couple more neighbors to go with you and help convince them to be better neighbors.
9 If you see someone peeing in public, just look away! Remember, for example, that many houseless people do not have reliable access to bathrooms.
This is utter nonsense. Even if a “houseless person” (homeless?) can’t find a toilet, there is something wrong with people who urinate in public. Tell them (kindly, and with due concern for your own safety) to go do it somewhere else – even if it is an alley behind a trash can.
10 Hold and attend deescalation, conflict resolution, first-aid, volunteer medic, and self-defense workshops in your neighborhood, school, workplace, or community organization.
Again, a worthwhile suggestion: you do NOT need government (police, fire, code enforcement, etc.) assistance OR approval to do such things. And accept their assistance with great care. Notice that this does not list your local church, synagogue or mosque – wonder why? All those places can and do provide such things already, and usually are very willing to do so.
11 Street art is beautiful! Don’t report graffiti and other street artists. If you see work that includes fascistic or hate speech, paint over it yourself or with friends.
Yes, SOME street art is beautiful. But most of it is ugly, damaging, and disrespectful. And all too often done on private property: it is a form of aggression, of theft, and of damage. At least report it to an owner or occupant; let them decide how to deal with it. When you see people damaging private OR public property, take action: try to get them to stop (again, with due concern for your own safety). And encourage them to find peaceful and legal ways to express themselves.
12 Remember that police can escalate domestic violence situations. You can support friends and neighbors who are being victimized by abusers by offering them a place to stay, a ride to a safe location, or to watch their children. Utilize community resources like safe houses and hotlines.
Again, good advice – and should include family members as well. But often it is MORE than just offering them sympathy and safety. You should take action to deal with the aggressor, including getting other family, neighbors, and church and clubs involved to get the abuser to move out – and get help.
13 As readers know, I am fond of Baker’s Dozens, so let me add one more that they SHOULD have included in “Things to do instead of calling a cop.” Take responsibility and accept accountability for your own actions and those of your family members; defend yourself instead of counting on police (or others) to do it for you, and do not coerce or aggress against other people.
We don’t need police for most things in life, but that does not mean we have to accept chaos, condone aggression on the part of others, or act in a disrespectful, demeaning, or intentionally annoying way. We can and should treat people in uniform in the same way we would anyone (whether we know them or not): with respect, with understanding, and with caution to reduce opportunities for others to take advantage of us – or even harm us. While we are working to “get rid of” them, or “reform” them, or “replace them,” we have to remember! The special powers and privileges that society has given to police DO MEAN that they can easily harm us with far less potential for backlash than others. And that their training and rules do NOT mean interactions with them are safe. And that defending ourselves against them does pose many more risks than against other criminals.
But rejecting peace, prosperity, private property, freedom, and justice just to get back at police is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It will (and does) backfire on us, our families and friends, neighbors and communities.