A Dangerous Fantasy

width=375 Apparently the bullying mob went to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Freys home and demanded he come out and meet with them.  I have never seen a mayor or other executive look so weak so small and so powerless. Its not necessarily about physical size Fiorello LaGuardia was only 52″ or about physical prowess Frank Hague and Anton Cermak were just ordinary-looking guys. It IS about strength of personality and showing leadership. If Frey had any of either he would have told them to back off his home and that he would meet with them at an appropriate time and place. As it was he let himself be bullied into sheepfacedly saying he would not commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department and was told then get the fuck out of here." He retreated like a whipped dog and now he looks like just that. He got slapped down by the mob and now the whole world saw it happen. Abolition of the police completely is a ridiculous idea. Ive seen police departments disbanded folded into other departments and so on. Im also aware of one department that was rebuilt top to bottom a very long time ago. Im also aware of communities that do not maintain their own police force. What I have never heard of is a major city firing its entire police force and not replacing it with another policing agency. Calvin Coolidge was governor of Massachusetts before he became vice president and a model peacetime president. In 1919 the Boston Police Department went on strike seeking improvements to work conditions. As you might guess the city quickly descended into lawlessness. Coolidge quickly brought in the militia (forerunners of the National Guard) restored order and proceeded to hire a completely new force saying tersely there is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone anywhere at any time." The militia patrolled until there were enough policemen for the BPD to resume its duties. That was a different time before public sector unions and before civil service becoming the system it is now. Hudson County NJ (Jersey City and environs) underwent some drastic changes in the mid-to-late 1990s) as it did away with the Hudson County Police and merged several fire departments to create the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue service. The former was done for reasons of cost. The original concept of a county police force dates back to when NJ was much more rural and there was a need for an agency to patrol county property and keep an eye on the unincorporated areas (which were not within any towns and not controlled by the State) within the county. This was different from the various county sheriffs whose primary missions were to serve court papers enforce court orders provide court security run the county jail and only secondarily patrol etc. Eventually the sheriffs started to also provide SWAT/ERT services to municipalities too small to do it themselves and the detectives attached to the various county prosecutors offices starting providing crime scene investigation etc. As NJ became more and more built up the unincorporated areas of the various counties greatly decreased or even disappeared. By the 1990s the Hudson County Polices duties had dwindled to patrolling a handful of county roads and two or three county parks and running the 911 center for the county. All of those places fell within the concurrent jurisdiction of some city town or other municipality. The agency had outlived its usefulness. Its efforts were duplicative and when costs had to be cut it had to go. Some of its 82 officers retired if they were close to the end of their time anyway. Others mostly those who had a lot of time to go but were already trained were absorbed into the Sheriffs Department it was cheaper and easier than trying to train brand new recruits. Unfortunately not all of them were offered new jobs and some of the guys who fell in the middle found themselves out of luck trying to find jobs with other police departments or begin a second career. I believe there was some litigation but it went nowhere the Civil Service Commission was on board with it. However policing of all the county continued as the municipal departments already had it covered. No place went unpoliced. North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue was a streamlining of five small fire departments in an area that was really one big city except for the names into one large one to trim costs and refocus resources. It took 15 years and endless legal wrangling to make certain no one would lose rank or lose his position completely. It included buying out up to five years of pension time for firefighters who had 20 years or more in to slim the numbers down. As a result the regional department was able to slim down numbers particularly in management and direct resources to upgrading equipment facilities and training. The Bergen County (NE corner of NJ Hackensack and environs) police who found themselves essentially in the same place as the Hudson County Police were folded whole cloth into the Sheriffs Department 15 years ago and they still havent trimmed the numbers down by attrition to where they want them to be. However the powers that be decided that would be cheaper than outright firings and layoffs which might result in litigation even if they would probably prevail in litigation. The nearest thing to an outright abolition of a city police department in NJ was the city of Camden (across the Delaware River from Philadelphia) disbanding its police department in 2012. Its a long story but the short version is that decades of overtaxing the various businesses led most major employers (Campbells Soup and RCA were two of the big ones) to leave the city. As a result the citys tax revenue had fallen to such a level that it could no longer afford a police department. From 2005 to 2012 the State operated the police but it was then decided to hand off to the county for cost reasons. Some officers were rehired into the new department others went to other departments (there were SEVERE cutbacks in benefits). However the city of Camden did not go unpoliced for even a single day. Most small communities I am aware of in rural Pennsylvania contract with either the county or state policing authorities for policing services. There is no such thing as a totally unpoliced municipality though some may be far from the reach of those agencies (hence a lot of rural Pennsylvanians being armed but thats a whole separate discussion). I cannot fathom doing away with a whole department of 800 officers as in Minneapolis without there being some major legal issues. What happens to the officers especially those with clean records? Do they spend already scarce public funds on buyouts of those near the end of their tenure? Are all officers just dumped out on the street whether they have 25 months or 25 years in? What about pensions? What about accumulated vacation and sick time which probably has to be paid for under union contracts? Do they think litigation wont result? It will and I think the City will be in a tough spot. Judges will take one look at a proposal like that vis-a-vis existing contracts and say are you kidding?" More importantly What happens to law and order in the city? Will Minneapolis become a city of close to half a million with NO ONE to keep order? Its absolutely clear from the video above that the activists dont want this department merged with another and they dont want the state to take over. They want a completely police-less city where no one can enforce the law only try to persuade everyone to behave. If that happens what recourse do shopkeepers and business owners have if they get robbed? Whats a wife to do if her husband gets drunk and decides to knock her or their children around? If a womans date decides the date is going better than she thinks it is and refuses to take no for an answer who can she turn to? If an argument turns into a street fight what then? What about traffic control? Whos going to make sure no one plants a bomb at a bus or rail station or disarm one if they do? If someone decides the quickest way to a big payday is to kidnap a child or hold a few office workers at gunpoint who steps in? (hint: the deliberate weakening of law enforcement capabilities to look peaceful is a big part of what led to the disaster at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and led to the establishment of the GSG 9 German police special forces unit believe it or not the Bundeswehr didnt follow suit until after 9/11) What about the Minneapolis international airport? Will the city just step aside and leave that to Homeland Security or do they want FPS ICE etc. all to pack up and leave too? What about the other emergency services? What firefighters or medics in their right minds will enter an unsecure scene (hint: no firefighter wants a repeat of the ambush of firemen that happened in West Webster Christmas eve 2012)? What insurance company is going to write business or homeowner or auto policies in a city where no one will respond to losses and no one will follow up to try to retrieve anything stolen? Has anyone thought ANY of this through? What is more now the same people whove been cheering on the mobs now want the various networks to not only do away with police shows but to start shows that show alternatives to policing" in order to start filling peoples minds with the idea that yes we can find another better way." Honestly I can only think of two television shows that even came close to that idea. One was Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" the Jane Seymour period piece vehicle that ran from 1993 to 1998. The good doctor who thought and talked like shed been picked up from Clinton-era San Francisco and transported back in time 120 years was of course shown to be always right. The rough-and-ready townspeople just needed her to show them the way as she introduced gun control encouraged members of the military to desert and treated the local Indians like saints. Eventually even that show backtracked on unarmed policing as her adoptive son Matthew Cooper (Chad Allen) who tried to be the town sheriff without a gun was nearly shot dead and shown the error of his ways by legendary" Marshal Elias Rinn (Willie Nelson). The other was Touched by an Angel" the 1995-2005 Roma Downey faith fantasy where three angels (occasionally assisted by others) roamed the US convincing people to find kinder gentler ways out of problems sometimes doing diametrically opposed things like giving one person a tongue-lashing for an affair in one episode convincing another unhappy wife not to leave her husband in another but convincing another husband to an unhappy wife it was time to let her go in a third. Somehow love and kindness always won out in the end and a planned occasional fourth angel who would step in to punish the irredeemable or defiant was cut because the producers wanted to keep things pleasant and nice (of course the show aired on Sunday nights). Pure fantasy and wish fulfillment. Im a fantasy writer myself and fantasy is a great thing. We all need to escape this dreary world now and then. Whether you like light fantasy where the kindly lady with the Ive-got-a-secret smile down the block who befriends the unhappy boy during the summer hes grappling with his mothers illness might be just a nice person or she might be…something else or full-on fantasy where knights with glowing weapons battle dragons wizards throw fire and lightning and that unopened door or crumbling stairway leads to Things Better Left Forgotten theres no harm in reading it. Some of it is wish fulfillment like being the hero who gets the hottie or taking revenge on the jerk… or people who act badly in life acting better or those who ignore you in life being persuaded by your great ideas. Its that last part where it gets dangerous for adults. None of us are so dumb that well put on a red cape and try to fly out a window or buckle on a sword and go looking for a pyrokinetic reptile to fight. However it is very easy to believe that the ideas we have are so good that if only others would listen to us we could make this world into the perfect place and they should listen or will listen because they are just that good. Sometimes they DO sound good good enough that we dont think and others dont think whether these fantastic ideas will really work in this real world. Karl Marx said from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs." We all know how that worked. He also said the state would wither away. In the Communist nations the state was maintained by force. Lenin promised peace bread and land." He delivered none of the above. Hitler peddled the myth of a master race." The less said about what happened there the better. The Berrigan brothers sought a world where violence would never be used because it would never be needed. Well theyve come and gone and most of their disciples are sporting gray ponytails and beards themselves now but the military and police are still around. If the world has calmed down a little its because of a lot of brave men doing their jobs not some radical priest with a big mouth. Ira Einhorn and his ilk promised a world in harmony with the earth. If we got better about the environment it was because of a lot of people doing their jobs not some bearded idiot who stank like a hoagie with onions and murdered his gf. These were all dangerous adult fantasies. So now we get this latest crop with big ideas bigger egos and big foul mouths telling us that they want law enforcement to just disappear the communitys got it covered. The facts show otherwise but they dont give a damn about facts. Theyre just sick and tired of being sick and tired" and they wont be quiet anymore." Anger certitude loudness and fantasy. Some fantasies you experiment with to see if they work. Weve already seen this one doesnt work. It needs to end and it needs to end now. These leaders need to find their spines and say Enough. This has gone on for days its disruptive and its not what the constitution envisioned. Get back to work let those who need to clean up this mess get to work and then lets discuss a real solution when you are serious.
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