We need police for police reform

Loved this piece by Jamelle Bouie because it does a great job hitting what I think is an essential point in all the controversy over police lately–the police themselves need to embrace reform.  To me, the most depressing aspect is the way in which it seems the entire police-industrial complex has seemingly embraced a victim mentality over the fact that many Americans are concerned that cops can seemingly kill citizens with impunity and that they may not be treating minority citizens the same as white citizens.  I would love for just a few outspoken police to stop sticking up for any and all police action as if police were somehow superhuman figures who never made mistakes (or who were never lacking in good character).  You can respect police, the job they do, and still see the substantial need for reform (argh, why so many false dichotomies?!).  Anyway, Bouie:

This sympathy—police officers just want to do their work without fear of death—isn’t too different from what police critics have to say about their friends and family. “I am tired of being scared that my son is not going to make it home from work,” said Dinetta Gilmore, who participated in the Justice for All march in Washington in December. “It’s time that this stops,” she said. “When are we going to be able to stop marching?”

All of this fear is understandable—but it’s not equal. High-profile cases aside, policing has never been safer. The rate of officer assaults has been on the decline since the 1990s, and the rate of officer deaths is at its lowest point in a century. “You’re more likely to be murdered simply by living in about half of the largest cities in America than you are while working as a police officer,” writes journalist Radley Balko…

With that said, fear isn’t always a bad thing. In the case of the “black lives matter” protests, it’s been constructive, prompting new calls for police reform and other efforts to improve minority communities. The problem is on the other side, the police side, where fear is an impediment to embracing beneficial reform…

The problem, besides the illiberalism inherent in the rejection of civil authority, is that de Blasio is on their side. The goal of police reform isn’t to punish cops; it’s to better connect them to the communities they serve, which makes it easier to fight crime and more likely they’ll come home at the end of each day. [emphasis mine]

Bouie continues on with a nice discussion of police reform in the LAPD, while not perfect, is a nice model for more police forces.  It’s past time for police forces to want to get better rather than insisting that everything they do is perfect.

Photo of the day

It’s hard out here for a duck.  From Telegraph’s animal photos of the week:

A mallard duck attempts to walk on a frozen pond in Yukon, Oklahoma

A mallard duck attempts to walk on a frozen pond in Yukon, OklahomaPicture: AP

Mega Quick hits (part I)

1) Do you remember the Domino’s pizza Noid?  Here’s why he disappeared.

2) NYT on the Republican move to “dynamic scoring” to make it easier to cut taxes.  John Patty with a contrary take that it is actually a good thing.

3) Enjoyed this op-ed on how to find a feminist boyfriend (my wife did).

4) Does auctioning off the rights to hunt a troublesome rhino help the species?  Maybe, maybe not .

5) Saudi Arabia beheads people all the time and you never hear about it.  Of course, this is through their legal system rather than terrorist hostages.  Not that that makes it okay.

6) Interesting story about an NC pastor that admits to being attracted to men but decided Jesus wants him to marry a woman anyway.  I do feel sorry for his wife.

7) The science of how a very high-fat diet can help you lose weight.  (Sorry, but I love my carbs).

8) It used to be that being rich was all about working less.  Now it is about working more.

9) I had three cheap lightning cables in a row not work.  Cheap is the way to go for HDMI for sure, but apparently not lightning cables.  I wish I had read this before I spent 3o minutes one night trying to get the cable into Alex’s Ipad in just the right way.

10) Love this research design that shows there is a causal element to Fox News making its viewers more conservative.  It is all based on the fact that people (and I know this includes me) have a bias for TV stations with lower numbers.

11) If you don’t mind holding an Ipad up to your ear, you can now use it for phone calls way cheaper than a cell phone.

12) It is indeed interesting that you can use FB to complain about pretty much any element of your life except your marriage— that’s definitely a taboo.  Kids drive you crazy?  Rant away.  Spouse– not so much.

13) Scientists have just maybe come up with an awesome solution for bed bugs.  Yeah, science!

14) This story about a town in West Virginia with no Wi-Fi and no cell towers (by US government mandate) was totally fascinating.  People who are convinced that electromagnetic signals make them sick have therefore been moving to this extremely rural area.  Cultural conflict ensues.

15) Can’t say I’m all that surprised by the (seems very compelling to me) argument that there was no single individual “Homer” writing the great Greek epics.

16) Think you understand genetics?  Epigenetics just makes it so damn more complicated.  How exercise actually changes your DNA.

17) That whole “learning styles” thing.  Of course it is not actually real.  I’ve always found the kinesthetic learners idea particularly silly.  (Of course, we all learn in a multitude of modes and we all learn by doing).

18) I’m hardly much of a drinker at all (mostly because I hate the taste of most alcohol), but I’ve always had a soft spot for hard cider– surely because I am such an apple lover.  Enjoyed this 538 story on it’s current dramatic rise in popularity.

19) Nice NYT piece on how Ebola roared back this past spring when it looked like it had been defeated.  Speaking epidemic diseases, I bought Pandemic: The Cure for my son for Christmas.  It’s a cooperative board game where you work together in different roles to prevent disease outbreaks.  So much fun.

20) Just another nice summary of the clear evidence that racism is so not over.

21) Politico strikes again with a disturbing piece on all the ways the US Senate is still horribly sexist.  Into the future Gender & Politics syllabus this goes.

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