Police have a tough job.
It’s not a particularly high-paying career, especially starting out. You’re expected to deal with people who dislike and distrust you for no good reason, other than that you’re an authority figure. The work is physically demanding and mentally stressful, and there’s a chance you’ll get shot in the line of duty.
Sorry, did I say police? This was supposed to be my description for teacher. I’ve been doing this for 26 years, and I “accidentally” drew one rhetorical weapon when I meant to grab another. But I guess this works pretty well for cops, too.
It seems that cops are getting a bad rap lately, and while we can debate the reason, one possibility is their propensity to kill unarmed people.
While I can’t personally fix that, I can sell you some rhetorical ammunition without a thorough background check. Use the ideas here for your next family dinner, Reddit conversation, or wherever else you might encounter a bootlicker on whom you’d like to viciously dunk.
1. Heavily Armed Apples
A common assertion of the “we don’t actually know any Black people” class is that “a few bad apples” are spoiling our collective perception of the bunch. The problem with that argument, however, is twofold.
First, “he was just a bad apple” is cold comfort when you just got shot in the chest by an apple. And with apple-involved killings at an all-time high, it’s starting to feel like “bad” is the predominant varietal in our part of the world.
And to that point, when you’ve got, let’s say, 12 so-called bad apples, it doesn’t really matter if there are 1300 good apples in the bunch. If we can’t rely on the good ones to hold their bad brethren accountable, how “good” are they? It’s not 12 bad apples, then. It’s 1312."'He was just a bad apple' is cold comfort when you just got shot in the chest by an apple." Click To Tweet
What’s that? Oh, that? That’s just a coincidence. The vast majority of the words I write are kindhearted and veritable pillars of the essay community. Only a tiny percentage of them are coded slurs against the police. Please take solace in that, and know that you would have never encountered my words if you’d just avoided reading this essay.
I blame your parents, personally.
2. Icebergs And The Willing Ignorance Thereof
Some people argue that we’re focusing on a few sensationalized cases simply because technology allows instantaneous filming and sharing of wrongdoing. The world is precisely how it has always been, they say, save the addition of internet-connected cameras in every potential witness’s pocket.
I assume these people also reject MRIs, CAT scans, blood tests, and all other medical diagnostics, given their belief that seeing the problem is what actually makes it bad. After all, gravely ill people often die once they go to the hospital.
It’s true, technology has increased the pervasiveness of stories of unjustified police violence. But the real answer is likely closer akin to a ship’s radar sighting an iceberg.
Our iPhones let us all see—and share the video of—a tiny piece of the destructive behemoth that was there all along. It was just out of our view, and worse, unprovable when we occasionally saw it live. The iPhones didn’t create anything, of course, other than easily shareable, 4k video evidence of what’s been happening for ages.
It’s still up to us to extrapolate the meaning of the images on our screens and choose to act…or dismiss those images that challenge our preferred narrative. The truth is, we’ve all been warned of the massive scale of these icebergs for generations, long before we had cellphones or cameras embedded in them.
The captains, real and de facto, have always dismissed the warnings as overblown by attention-seeking sailors who were, as a class, disproportionately prone to smashing into otherwise harmless icebergs. “Aye, if ye’d just obey the laws of the sea, ye wouldn’t run into icebergs,” the hypothetical sea captain would say, drinking a pot of steaming rum as he settled in to watch Tucker Carlson Tonight in his anachronistic, TV-equipped stateroom."Aye, if ye’d just obey the laws of the sea, ye wouldn’t run into icebergs." Click To Tweet
Before we had radar, plenty of otherwise well-meaning people wouldn’t have even known there was a tip—let alone an entire iceberg—out there.
Given what we know about icebergs though, it’s probably a bad idea to ignore the now-available evidence—in crystal-clear 4k, filmed from multiple angles—and just sail full steam toward it anyway.
And for what it’s worth, that’s true even if you think it’s the same number of icebergs we’ve had all along.
3. When You Only Have A Hammer, Everything Looks Like A Nail
In response to these now widely-televised acts, people on the left have called for a broad restructuring of how public safety is funded in America.
In a fortunate turn for those who lack critical thinking skills, the proponents of such restructuring ran with the catchphrase, “defund the police.” This has opened a predictable avenue for angry uncles everywhere to ignore the salient point and hijack the argument by assigning purely literal meaning to the phrase.
“See? They don’t want any police at all! They want lawlessness! Anarchy! Looting, open borders, Maoist indoctrination, and forced late-term abortions!” It’s enough to scare the Metamucil out of your grandma, who incidentally doesn’t know anyone under the age of 65, non-white, or from beyond a 10-mile radius of her home.
Of course, it’s scary for the same reason a Stephen King novel is scary: it’s fictional. But it’s especially scary if you’re too dense to realize Mr. King wasn’t writing peer-reviewed research findings on supernatural clown demons and possessed ’58 Plymouths.
The point of the “defund the police” movement isn’t to wholly take away all funding for public safety. I’m an elitist leftist prick by trade, but even I don’t want that.
Rather, the idea is to give our public servants the tools and training they need to respond to a whole range of situations in more effective, less extreme ways than their current methodology of “shooting everyone.”
4. But How Can We Fight Crime Without Rocket Launchers?
That’s an excellent question!
It’s not, but that’s an example of what you should say so you don’t come off as condescending when arguing with dipshits. “Condescending” means “having or feeling a sense of patronizing superiority.”
“Defunding the police” might mean committing less money for tanks and SWAT gear, but a few more dollars for mental health responders and drug rehabilitation clinics. Or a decision to staff fewer traffic cops while adding speeding cameras. Yeah, yeah. Speeding cameras suck. But statistics show they shoot fewer people than human police officers—all without sacrificing the delicious revenue mayors crave."Speeding cameras suck. But statistics show they shoot fewer people than human police officers—all without sacrificing the delicious revenue mayors crave." Click To Tweet
Maybe we could look at doing away with no-knock warrants, such that police and suspects aren’t forced into surprise standoffs at 5:23 am that greatly increase the likelihood of exchanging gunfire. There’s a lot less need for expensive weaponry and body armor if you decrease the number of situations that require those things. And think of all the money the city will save when it gets to pay a few less $12 million wrongful death settlements for shooting innocent, sleeping bystanders!
Or perhaps we just try sending people other than Judge Dredd to deal with the myriad of situations that don’t warrant an incendiary response. “They’re having a barbecue in the park without a permit” and “someone insulted his brisket so he’s chasing him with a meat cleaver” are currently both met with cops wholly prepared to shoot and kill the “suspect.”
It doesn’t have to be that way. It’d be safer for everyone—the police included—if it wasn’t that way.
In other words, the idea of “defunding the police” is to give the whole public safety apparatus tools other than deadly weapons with which to serve and protect the public without shooting and killing them. It’s pretty smart, just unfortunately named from a “give your opponent rhetorical ammunition” standpoint.
They didn’t consult me first, and that was their biggest flaw. I blame their parents, too, for what it’s worth.
5. The Second Amendment Paradox
There’s a substantial overlap between the Blue Lives Matter
klan clan and folks who think the Constitution begins and ends at the Second Amendment. It’s worth understanding this specific type of intellectual dissonance if you’re going to stand your ground.
First, unfettered access to weapons makes police jobs more dangerous.
When your job is to confront dangerous folks and you live where anyone can buy a gun at Walmart, it’s frankly logical to assume everyone has a gun. That raises the stakes on each encounter, which in turn risks civilian and police lives. One way to improve those outcomes is to regulate the sale of guns via licensing, background checks, insurance requirements, and mandatory training. Some might even say the self-appointed, one-man militias should be “well regulated.”
On the flip side, if you think the police are justified for shooting anyone holding any object at all, it’s hard to honestly say we live in a land with a truly enshrined “Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”"If you think the police are justified for shooting anyone holding any object at all, it’s hard to honestly say we live in a land with a truly enshrined “Right to Keep and Bear Arms.'" Click To Tweet
People get shot all the time for holding cell phones, house phones, Skittles, toys, and nothing at all when the boys in blue “thought they were reaching for a gun.”
But wait…they shouldn’t get shot even if they ARE holding guns, right? The Second Amendment doesn’t just guarantee the right to keep arms, it protects the right to keep AND BEAR arms. Isn’t that true Officer? Bearing arms is our God-given right as Americans!
The National Rifle Association should be losing their collective mind on behalf of Tamir Rice, John Crawford III, Alton Sterling, Stephon Clark, Ryan Whitaker, and countless more people killed for bearing—or simply being thought to bear—arms. Hell, the gun lobbyists don’t even have to leave the safety of their yacht to just turn to the nearest congressman on deck and make the logical case!
If you’re going to match wits with a gun nut, you’re probably going to win. I know that because you’re reading my stuff, and my readers are brilliant. And sexy. Still, it never hurts to come equipped with extra facts, jokes, and insults.
That’s all I’ve given you here: a few unregistered weapons with which to fight the good fight. Use them in good health.
And wear Kevlar. Those assholes are bad sports and don’t like to lose.
I blame their parents.
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