Our police problem can be solved, but it starts with ignoring people like this

Against my better judgment, I watched two videos this last weekend that I won't soon forget. First, the Paul Pelosi home invasion video was bizarre, confusing, and extremely disturbing. Not long after seeing that, I scrolled down and watched as much of the graphic Tyre Nichols beating as I could. Watching the brutality of those five Memphis police officers was disgusting, infuriating, and left me with this disconcerting sense of betrayal. These are supposed to be the good guys.

The first video, including Pelosi's cryptic 911 call, demonstrates in obvious fashion the extraordinary need our society has for law enforcement officials. Pelosi's only hope in those frightening moments was the arrival of police officers to his home. You can almost see the relief wash over his face when he opens the door and sees them standing there.

But then, that second video makes you realize the gut-wrenching truth of how corrupt so many who are sworn to protect and serve have become, how lawlessness can infiltrate law enforcement, and brutishness can permeate even the peacekeepers. Pretending our cities don't have a problem with the debasement of law enforcement is to bury our heads in the sand.

The solution is not defunding the police, obviously. Ask Paul Pelosi. But the solution is also not to "back the blue" with impunity. Ask the family of Tyre Nichols.

No, fixing this begins with a painful recognition that in many ways we are reaping what we sow.

Americans have an unreasonable and grating tendency to whine about our choices at the ballot box when in actuality those poor options are mere reflections of the collective character of the people they run to represent. The same is true for those we have protecting our social order. Sick societies will produce both narcissistic leaders and corrupt police officers. Any real solution then will have to begin with fixing the moral depravity of our people.

And therein lies a grave challenge. I simply don't think our country has the patience or the attention span for such an undertaking. We're too busy wasting our time and energy reacting to foolishness like this:

And this:

It's not that I don't understand the game. It's not that I don't get that Van Jones and Jemele Hill are provocateurs who make their living doing things like this. Of course it's gross, and of course it's mindless. It may serve Hill's racial grift to pretend that history started with the antebellum south, but police forces date back to ancient Egypt, nearly 5,000 years before the Fugitive Slave Act. European countries employed police forces for hundreds of years before the American Revolution.

Obviously, no one with any understanding of American history would pretend that the "Slave patrol" wasn't real post-1850. But no one with any understanding of American history would pretend that police forces in cities like Boston and New York didn't predate such patrols.

But bringing up these inconvenient facts will earn the condescending condemnations and racist showboating of grifters like Hill. "You just don't want to understand," or "your whiteness prevents you from getting it," they will say. And for minority citizens who dare to disagree with her, they will be labeled "Uncle Toms," "House Negroes," and all sorts of other racial epithets.

Hill, Jones, and company will accuse those who point out their factual errors as "not seeing the forest for the trees," for failing to "see beyond the whiteness" that permeates society and colors our collective cultural lens. "Policing itself is about uplifting whiteness," they will cry, all the while driving the conversation about "justice" away from the actual victim, Tyre Nichols, and towards their own pet cause. You gotta fundraise.

And that's what's utterly despicable about these antics. While it lines the pockets of the race-baiting class who live, like Jones and Hill, in palatial multimillion-dollar estates, it turns proper attention away from real victims, real brutality, and real justice. Notice how they both effectively strip the spotlight off the debased Memphis police force and the corrupt culture that produced those criminals with badges. Notice how their "white supremacy" canard so effectively distracts from the important work of purging law enforcement of similar crooks.

As Thomas Chatterton Williams observed,

These five men were…agents responsible for their own reprehensible actions and not merely hapless puppets being manipulated by the invisible hand of inescapable and omnipotent white supremacy.

Pretending otherwise may be a smart business decision for the race hustlers like Jones and Hill, but it also perpetuates the problems of police abuse.

Power corrupts, here in the United States, and around the world. Wherever there are positions of authority, wherever there are those who are handed a gun and given power and authority over their fellow man, there will be those who abuse it. It will happen regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity, and regardless of socioeconomic status. It will happen because of our fallen nature.

The best place to start in dealing with this very real problem? It seems three-fold. First, introduce rigorous character development for all police recruits and police academy cadets. Second, start valuing moral integrity among law enforcement candidates more than racial diversity quotas. And third, start ignoring voices like Van Jones and Jemele Hill.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Not the Bee or any of its affiliates.

Ready to join the conversation? Subscribe today.

Access comments and our fully-featured social platform.

Sign up Now
App screenshot