Why, yes, as a matter of fact – I have seen this sh*t before; several times, as a matter of fact. The first go round of racial/political rioting, looting, arson and general mayhem that I took notice of was that long hot summer of ’68, interspersed with political assassinations and anti-Vietnam War protests, although the Watts riot had taken place three years before. I was fourteen in the year of ’68 mayhem, and already well-aware of current events, through reading the Los Angeles Times when it was still a great and meaningful newspaper. Mom also had subscriptions to Harpers’ and Atlantic Monthly, when they also were still solid and more or less centrist publications, and although Mom and Dad didn’t watch TV news regularly, Granny Jessie did. I believe that it was sometime during that late summer, watching coverage of the riot attendant on the Democrat Party national convention, that I remarked to Granny Jessie that it seemed as if the world were all seriously going to Hell. Recall that I was only fourteen, and had led a comfortable, fairly sheltered middle-class life. Violence was something only seen t a distant remove as part of the plot in movies and TV adventure shows (and pretty anodyne, considering what I would have seen in them back then) and the real-life violence played out on the TV news was shocking. Granny Jessie replied, “It always seems that way, I guess.” Her tone was so jaded, and world-weary, I found it actually rather comforting.
President Obama just published an essay regarding George Floyd and policing. It’s a fundamentally flawed recommendation that funnels energy down the same old pathways that have been failing for decades. I responded:
This essay is disappointing and shows a lack of vision. When improperly policed neighborhoods have a security alternative that they can choose, the police will have to compete or face the humiliation of being displaced by something better.
That threat to their jobs, their position in society is already in the law, has been since 1789 when the Constitution was passed, but has been left to molder since the 1913 passage of the Dick Act. A President who understands politics, cares, and actually spent some time thinking about this would have picked up on the opportunity.
President Obama, you blew that 8 year chance. This essay blows it again.
Police were invented because professional police of any serious quality are better than the unorganized militia. But the unorganized militia is better than what happened to George Floyd. Revitalizing the unorganized militia, making training available, updating how to communicate with it, making it a real security alternative would place an institutional floor below which any corrupt or incompetent police force would be replaced because there would be an alternative available and it would be an improvement.
There is a baseline civil rights problem that the minority community faces. Law abiding people who are white have a higher chance of being legally armed than those who are black or latino. The criminals of any color don’t care about the law. That puts minorities in an inferior security position because whites have a higher level of DIY security capability.
Blacks can and should have the same level of DIY security capability. Latinos should have the same level of DIY security capability.
The most dangerous people in your neighborhood should be law abiding members who spend time at the range and can hit what’s aimed at. In white neighborhoods, that’s more often the case than in black or latino neighborhoods. That’s something within your power to change.