You said earlier you’re not optimistic a task force will change any of this. So how does it change? What needs to happen?
People need to imagine the end of a war. That’s what they need to accept. Our training is spot on: We’re in a war on crime, and it’s us versus them, and our neighbors are sheep we need to protect. You hear the term civilians. I thought we were all civilians! Our training fits the mindset.
The question we need to ask is: What’s the point? What do we want to see happen? It’s about what we expect the police to do. If I was commissioner of all police on the planet, I’d say there’s a ceasefire in the war on crime. We’re going to work for the 99 percent of people instead of against the 1 percent. Most 911 calls I go to are not crimes. They may become crimes, but our job is to stop it. We’re taught that it’s a war. It’s not. But it’s becoming a war.
We are the action arm for a fucked-up national mindset. This doesn’t exist in isolation. America has the police force that it votes for, that it funds. This system is what we set up. We spent a lot of money and a lot of time over hundreds of years to have this police force. We are trained for what we’re hired for, and what we’re hired for is war.
Monday, June 8, 2020
Patrick Skinner on the Police and the Protests
I wrote two years ago about Patrick Skinner, a former CIA case officer in the Middle East and Afghanistan who came home and became a beat cop in Savannah, where he grew up. When the latest crisis boiled over Ezra Klein had the great idea to call Skinner and get his take. I recommend the whole interview, but here is the last bit: