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American Policing: Reform or Revolution?

by Dennis Galvin

[FROM OUR PRINTED SEPT 2020 EDITION]

This summer, following the death of George Floyd, the nation has witnessed a bitter debate about the role of policing in America. The discussion is driven by two schools of thought. In one school are the reformers, in the other are the revolutionaries.

The reformers view the death of Georg Floyd as symptomatic of a broken system of policing caused by years of neglect, corruption and mismanagement. They urge us to make a commitment to improve and upscale the police service so that abuses of power, as in the Floyd case, can be prevented.

 Revolutionaries, on the other hand, see Floyd’s death as an act of state terror, deliberately contrived to reinforce a system of white supremacy. This same school also believes that urban crime is a myth as well as our national policy of racial integration. The revolutionary view is that America’s power structure is controlled by the white race and will never be relinquished until it is forcibly wrested out of their hands, a variation of the Marxist class warfare doctrine with a racial twist.

While it is true that the history of our nation has been marred by racism, revolutionaries either fail or refuse to see that all human societies are flawed, and that the mark of a truly great society lies in its willingness to improve. Striving for improvement is what the United States is all about. 

It is very important to understand the difference between reformers and revolutionaries in order to understand their messages and intent. A reformer is someone who identifies and raises issues of injustice out of a desire to improve things, to bring us closer to our ideals. A revolutionary looks for issues to exploit in order to create division and erode the structure of a society in order to bring it down.

Black and white Americans have been joined in a sixty-year struggle to make integration a reality in our nation, and evidence of progress is everywhere to be seen. Although we are still too often separated by cultural, social and economic differences, the best hope for all of us is to continue that struggle and build that society, where content of character triumphs over outward appearance. Reaffirming the commitment to reform in all spheres of American life, but particularly in policing, is central. As bad as things might seem at times, they would get far worse if the revolutionaries succeed. ♦

One Reply to “American Policing: Reform or Revolution?

  1. Extremists are having great success in disrupting the American system and erasing history. Honest and caring police are needed to protect citizens and to keep order. Here in Massachusetts the only rational police reform needed is ignored by Gov. Baker. The Massachusetts State Police are the most scandal ridden state police agency in the nation. Dozens of its officers in recent years have been indicted, convicted or plead guilty of offenses. The recent overtime scandal is an example of that. Yet, Gov. Baker has done little to reform that scandal ridden agency. Then we have the only in Massachusetts police construction details. It is common to see police construction details on cul de sacs . If NYC, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia etc. don’t need or use police construction details then why does Massachusetts? It adds so much to the cost of road work here. I would support having police construction details on roads with speeds 35 mph and over. I would support police details for traffic enforcement. The drivers in this state have gotten worse and the police less visible on our highways. It is possible to support the police and the taxpayers they work for. Extremism doesn’t work.

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