I wasn’t raised here. Sometimes I’m glad. But South Carolina is my home. And most of the time I’m proud as heck. And not just because Flava Flav was born nearby.
For all the grief we get about being stupid, backwards, and bigoted, South Carolina got it right where so many other jurisdictions have failed recently. Swift and decisive action against a police officer for whom we have every reason to believe probable cause of murder exists. Not manslaughter. Or unauthorized use of force. Or jaywalking. Murder. Not administrative leave. Or loss of pay. Or additional statement and internal investigation. Or advanced tickle torture techniques. Arrest. If it happens to be something else, or nothing at all, our criminal justice system can sort it out. But, North Charleston chose to prosecute Michael Slager exactly as the facts, presently in evidence, would dictate. And, I have it on good information the quality of this Police Chief and the personal role he has played in the decision to proceed this way. Any instinct to call it brave is strange. It’s just right. No one should get points for charging murder when the suspect shoots a fleeing, unnarmed 50 year old man in the back. But, apparently that’s where we are. So kudos North Charleston Police Department.
So what are the solutions?
Body cameras are in vogue. Like literally runway fashionable. Put Apple on a new smart vest or Jeffery down at RTW on a Gaultier GoPro. Wearable technology that breaths and lets people keep breathing, literally.
My boss has proposed a Remount Road Runway show to introduce the seasonal looks in shield and safety. But, that’ll be some of the fastest, most evasive catwalking in high fashion ever. Is Klum in a military crawl?? It’s literally life or death to introduce a new line in North Charleston these days. Bandolier is the new black.
In all seriousness, there might be some interesting community goodwill in a fashion show to introduce new safety features. A little levity could be good medicine at some point. Presently too soon.
Education. Just require some. Four year college educated cops are a start.
Post-cop/post-weapon. This is where it gets squirrelly. But sometimes you just have to ask the question. Do we need cops? At least as presently constituted. Could you have small violent crime task forces to engage serious and organized violent crime. For everything else is there a crowd sourcing alternative? A digital age community watch? I mean we’ve collectively circumvented taxis and hotels and record labels for crying out loud. We’re monitoring police movement and traffic congestion privately. Can’t we develop a shame/policing application for misdemeanors from traffic violations to petty crime? I don’t know. Someone a lot smarter than me probably does though. Just credit me when you do.
And guns? Are they necessary to most police detail? It’s like the debate in football over concussions. The very thing designed to protect against brain damage is likely the thing that is principally to blame — helmets.
Part of the solution is reducing the interaction between cops and society, in person and force. We just need less. If cops exist, they feel like they need to be busy. Writing tickets. Profiling. Shooting people. It’s not their fault. I’ve talked about this before. If you take a self-defense class, you’re looking for an opportunity to “defend” yourself. If you’re a mall cop, you’re looking for a “disturbance” to justify your existence. It’s the same thing with any authority. And weapons. Wear it exists, it’s used. Whether necessary or not. We’re busy bodies.
Accountability. Prosecute this crap. Just like here. We’re not going to win the hearts and minds of cops on this issue. It takes a certain mentality, which we actually want, to be a cop. They just need to know there are real consequences. This is the part that people understand practically but misunderstand legally. It is really hard to hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct, as a legal matter. I know. Shocking. Obviously, that’s what everyone is so upset about. But, it’s not just because there’s an unwritten bias. That’s the way the law is written. The responsibilities of law enforcement are in violence and intrude on the liberties and rights of others, necessarily. And, so in various ways, the law acknowledges the numerous grey and nuanced circumstances within which law enforcement operates. So that police officers can perform these sometimes very subjective duties without constant fear of retribution and prosecution, they are given a certain degree of insulation and immunity. Qualifiedly so. But, I think the line needs to be adjusted some. Just a little recalibration.
Sincerest condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Scott. There are blongs and blongs to say on that side every time.
Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Produced by Nomis.
Today’s blong here:Busy Body