The Fortune of Power
Much has been made about the recent rash of police shootings and their over-zealous ways of dealing with the public from the Trayvon Martin murder to the Michael Brown killing to taking the law into your own hands like Michael Dunn, but what many may not wish to see or even hear is that the road has already been paved for more violence brought on by the very ones who are granted the power to serve and protect.
I take this stance after reading an article titled “U.S. Dept. of Justice reveals plans to investigate Baltimore Police Dept.” in which it reports that “after years of alleged police brutality, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed plans Monday to investigate the Baltimore Police Department. The Baltimore Sun found that the city has paid $5.7 million in court judgments and settlements in 102 civil suits since 2011, and nearly all of the people involved in incidents leading to those lawsuits were cleared of criminal charges. Some officers were involved in multiple lawsuits.” My points are simple and my questions are many. My first point is the news that we hear about city’s going broke and having trouble maintaining services to its residents because of the lack of money. Let’s assume that the police, whose primary job is not to stop crime because no one can do that, but primarily to respond swiftly and soundly to crime, capture the perpetrators of said crime and deliver them to the halls of justice while maintaining a relationship with the public which will allow them to solve crimes and get those offenders off the streets faster, were not, themselves, the cost of so much money being spent. The “$5.7 million dollars in court judgments and settlements in 102 civil suits since 2011” could have gone a long way in keeping that city’s budget from blowing up.
Many people say that if they wish crime to decrease and take back their city, we need to arm the citizens but has anyone ever thought that the first responders who are now being judge and jury on the streets were to now commit murder, that they would not be more inclined to plant a weapon because of the concealed carry laws. Wouldn't being able to carry a weapon bring a major portion of society even closer to getting shot just for reaching inside their vehicle for their driver’s licenses?
This dilemma extends far outside the police departments however; it even has its tentacles in our judicial system. Judges using their own brand of justice to make assumptions about those that enter the court long before they have all the facts. Establishing their own style and trend within a room where we all are supposed to receive equal justice but since we have no outside contact with them, they only bond with those that they do. Imagine all of the money spent to fix a situation that a judge had clear authority to solve but because he/she felt particularly powerful that day, choose to flex their judicial muscle instead of working that muscle housed in their heads. Take the recent positions of the Supreme Court as an example of this. Allowing people of power the luxury to sow their own seeds of what’s fair and what’s not instead of following that constant and never-ending desire all human beings possess, the desire to do what is right.