Celebrities from actress Natalie Portman to singer John Legend signed an open letter this week, calling for the complete defunding of all police departments as chaos reigns in dozens of major American cities. The celebrities claimed that billions were being spent on policing while these police continue to harass and terrorist the black community, ultimately resulting in deaths like the one in Minneapolis that kicked off this whole sad chapter in the country’s history.
“Black communities are living in persistent fear of being killed by state authorities like police, immigration agents, or even white vigilantes who are emboldened by state actors,” reads the letter. “According to the Urban Institute, in 1977, state and local governments spent $60 billion on police and corrections. In 2017, they spent $194 billion. A 220 percent increase. Despite continued profiling, harassment, terror and killing of Black communities, local and federal decision-makers continue to invest in the police, which leaves Black people vulnerable and our communities no safer.”
This isn’t just some kooky idea dreamed up by millionaires in Hollywood. While it is certainly kooky, it is also an official part of the Black Lives Matter platform. Not that that designation provides the proposal with any more credibility, but it certainly tells you something about the radical and badly-misguided goals pursued by even the “peaceful” protesters.
“Right now, Minneapolis and cities across our country are on fire, and our people are hurting — the violence against Black bodies felt in the ongoing mass disobedience, all while we grapple with a pandemic that is disproportionately affecting, infecting, and killing us,” reads a May 30 statement from Black Lives Matter.
“We call for an end to the systemic racism that allows this culture of corruption to go unchecked and our lives to be taken,” the statement continues. “We call for a national defunding of police. We demand investment in our communities and the resources to ensure Black people not only survive, but thrive. If you’re with us, add your name to the petition right now and help us spread the word.”
How, exactly, would this country work without police? To our surprise, there are leftists academics who have given the idea some thought. One of them, Brooklyn College Professor Alex Vitale explained the concept to Mother Jones this week:
It goes hand in hand with decriminalizing sex work, drugs, homelessness, mental illness. We don’t really need a vice unit, we need a system of legalized sex work that’s regulated just like any other business. We don’t need school police, we need counselors and restorative justice programs. We don’t need police homeless outreach units, we need supportive housing, community based drop-in centers, social workers.
Hmm, but what about serious crimes, like murder?
“People get killed all the time, even though our society is filled with police,” says Vitale. “Can we come up with a situation where there are fewer killings, and fewer collateral consequences?”
And what should people do to protect themselves in a society without cops?
“They won’t have this resource that they can weaponize against people,” he says. “They’ll have to figure out other ways of resolving their problems.”
That they will, Professor. That they will.