PistolPete wrote: ↑
Thu Oct 29, 2020 11:01 am
Every country has unique problems and we can take two approaches- find a country that has a worse problem on a given statistic or focus on the root causes of our problems and try to solve them. We can always find a worse situation, but that doesn't seem to offer a lot of value. To me it's about taking personal responsibility, which starts with identify issues. My world is only going to get better if I take an active role in making it happen.
Well now we are getting somewhere.
In my experience swimming in the mental health field, the law enforcement field, and the crossroads where the two meet, and listening to community leaders talk about issues, there are two big causes put forth: "systemic racism" and "fatherlessness."
In short, the evidence I have seen for "systemic racism" in the US causing problems falls short.
The evidence I have seen for "fatherlessness" causing problems in the US is pretty solid.
In addition, there are cultural issues which play a role in Police Encounter outcomes. The evidence I have seen for "culture" impacting outcomes is pretty solid too.
Race is not a good predictor of outcomes. Family history, history of substance abuse, and attitudes towards authority are good predictors of outcomes. Gender is also a good predictor, but that is because our system is heavily biased in favor of women.
"Race" is a good proxy variable for "family history" and "cultural attitudes." But it is just that, a proxy which signals likely positions on the "family history" and "cultural attitudes" variables. Its like saying "if I know you are urban or rural, I have a better than 50/50 chance of guessing your 2A attitudes." Urban and rural does not cause 2A attitudes, but it predicts a set of experiences and cultural attitudes which you are likely to have.
Until we start talking about the real culprits and causes of problems, we won't see change. It doesn't matter what changes we make to the police, if they are social workers, or have some sort of bias training, or get new tools, or the community polices themselves, if we don't fix the lives of the people causing problems and stop the cycles of trauma which create more people who will cause problems, we won't have better outcomes, we will only have more of the same outcomes.
"Change fatherlessness rates and cultural attitudes" does not sound as sexy on a political campaign.
Also, "social worker approach" does not really work in my experience. Partly that is because of what I said above (it fails to get at the real roots of the problems). Partly it is because you need to have people capable of maintaining their own safety while dealing with difficult populations. At a previous job we poached a lot of social workers. The social worker experience could include rape, kidnapping, hostage taking, and at least 1 murder. They were incapable of protecting themselves and in fact were (still are, I suspect) mandated not to protect themselves because that might harm the relationships with the communities they serve. You might imagine what that does to agency morale. So you need people who can look after themselves if somebody decides to chase them down with a knife. But what happens when an agent of the State protects themselves from a knife weilder intent on harm? We have already seen the end of that story three times in 2020 (so far).
A massive percentage of the police encounters in the US end with nobody dying. A small percentage do end in a death. Moving towards a "social worker" model of policing is, in my opinion, not going to change that because we aren't going to change the population of people causing problems and grabbing knives, guns, cars, or other tools of death to visit mayhem on their fellow human beings.
And last I checked, the British police were very proud of the fact that they were able to police while unarmed. Until life got too dangerous and I think now 50% of Bobbies are armed. So something happened over the last 15 years in Britian to cause some of the best police in the world to decide it is too dangerous to do their jobs without guns. This, despite some very strict gun and knife laws. So I don't see "disarming the police" as an effective solution if others with (according to an article mentioned above) superior training can't manage without guns.
My answer is "change the criminals before you change the police." And my experience is criminals CAN change. That was the whole point behind the existence of the agency I used to work for. Some won't ever change, but some do after 2 or 4 or 6 or more encounters with the criminal justice system. But "decriminalization of offences" or Police ignoring certain offences means people then don't have access to State resources which can help them change (if they are ready to change).
But the root causes of criminal behavior for the majority of offenders have nothing to do with race and everything to do with cultural and personal experiences and choices. The more we can do to change lives, the fewer police we will even need.
Just my experiences.