Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

No Victim? No Crime

In 2016, police shootings have resulted in the deaths of some 706-844 people, depending on various estimates. While that thousand mark is just over the horizon, police officer deaths in the line of duty number at 92. Of those, only two-thirds (60, specifically) were related to criminal acts, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page for 2016. So what is happening? One would think that with so many officers frequently claiming “they were in fear for their lives,” that they would be constantly engaging in many more high danger situations. After all, there are anywhere between 700% and 840% more civilian related deaths; so are cops constantly involved in major shoot-outs?

A quick reasoning session is all that is needed to determine that that isn’t the case. We know that police in America tend to shoot people for no real reason. Too often, the victim still doesn’t even know why they were shot, and was completely innocent.

Are cops just good shots? Not even close, claims the website, thetruthaboutguns.com.

“Not much, according to a first-of-its-kind study by the Force Science Institute that is set for publication in an international law enforcement journal . . .“[T]his study’s results indicate an alarming need for improved firearms training for officers,” writes lead researcher Dr. Bill Lewinski, FSI’s executive director. After finishing academy instruction and practice, new officers “were a mere 13%” more accurate than novices in shooting at distances where a high proportion of officer-involved shootings occur. What these statistics appear to imply,” Lewinski states, “is that officer firearms training is not extensive enough and occurs too sparsely for officers to gain, and maintain, the expert level of accuracy with their service weapons that is expected of them.” This training deficiency “may result in injury, death, or other severe consequences.”

Only 60 crime related cop deaths this year, while civilians number almost to a thousand... Cops have, at best, mediocre firearms training that gives them “a mere 13%” better accuracy than the average person... So why are cops constantly utilizing their weapons, or responding with deadly force much more often than it seems is necessary?

While I don’t have a hard answer for that, I have a suspicion. Personally, I think it is primarily related to the war on drugs. Too often these days, a young man is killed over a small amount of pot (here’s a story you likely haven’t heard from last year, but need to), and sometimes, it isn’t even his.

There are many reasons why the drug war is unnecessary, extreme, and backwards. But I want to simplify it a bit, and apply the basic principle at work here to virtually every other law on the books.

“No victim. No crime.”

Did I, by running a stop sign in the parking lot, hit somebody with my car? No? Then no crime was committed. So please don’t anally rape me. No victim. No crime.

 Even if I did have some marijuana on me, please don’t reach down my pants and fondle my vagina in search of drugs, on a busy highway. No victim. No crime.

Did I take my hands off the steering wheel to dance a little while I was at a stop sign? Sure. But is that grounds for impounding my car, and taking me to a psychiatric ward where I am sedated, and injected with lithium? No victim. No crime. 

No to those things? Ok. Then if there was no victim, then there is no one who, thanks to my actions, is hurt, or dead now? Then there is no victim. If there is no victim, then what actual crime has been committed?

 

Just the ones being done by police in America. Their actions are the only ones causing physical, psychological, and emotional harm. Their actions are resulting in the deaths of civilians, at 700%-840% higher than the people committing the actual wrong doing.

It is based in racism. It is based in statism. And it is based in poor, inadequate – and frankly, laughable – training that American police go through. And it is resulting in our deaths.

Racism isn’t easily fixed. It will take a lot of time. But it’s being addressed, at least on the civilian side. That conversation is happening. But police training is not. It needs radical revamping. And the law itself is, as usual, going unquestioned. In my humble opinion, that is largest component to this. The law could be so much simpler. And if it was, we would undoubtedly see an immediate decrease of instances of police “fearing for their lives,” and end up killing a kid with a bb gun. All we would need to do? Make law based on a simple maxim:

No victim. No crime. 

Edited to included some extra sources, and some supplemental reading.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings-2016/

Also, here is the link to my essay on the militarization of the police (Written at the end of the year in 2014):

http://www.the-3-pillars-of-anarchy.com/essays-on-anarchy-related-topics/2016/9/26/the-militarization-of-the-police

 

Chris, Sept 26, 2016

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