Sunday, January 29, 2006

'Stop snitchin' stymies police

T-shirts saying stuff like "Stop snitchin'" are legit on the streets of Oakland:

Right or wrong, the code of the street in poor, largely black neighborhoods in the Bay Area is never, ever cooperate with police.

It's obviously a big problem for police trying to solve crimes, and obviously self-defeating for neighborhoods who want to rid themselves of crime and criminals, but poor black people don't trust cops - and why should they? Cops are at least as dangerous as the criminals the police are trying to capture - so much so that my talking of 'cops and criminals in the hood' doesn't necessary betray that I'm referring to 'cops and people-who-are-not-cops'.

This dude sums it up pretty well, I think:

As parent Melvin Palmer sees it, the culture of secrecy is not one that is going to die any time soon.

"Growing up, I was told to turn the other cheek," said Palmer, a 35-year-old father of three from Richmond who was raised in San Francisco's Sunnydale housing project. "It's just a fact of life. The police got their 'blue shield.' 'Stop snitchin' is the code of the streets."

The 'Blue Shield' meets the 'Black Shield'.

A cop kills a black kid - his fellow cops cover for him.

A poor black kills a black kid - his fellow poor blacks cover for him.

Who wins? The killers.

Who loses? The victims, and society.

How to solve this problem? Somehow we have to get police to stop terrorizing and murdering black people in their own neighborhoods. It's gonna take a lot more than 'sensitivity training' and whatever else the cops have thrown at the problem. We need something drastic - something like:
* mandatory - yearly, progressive sensitivity training (40 hrs)
* mandatory - all officers must speak at least one foreign language fluently within 3 years on the force
* mandatory - cops will be forced to take a two-month vacation in the summer, and one month in-between the other 9 months that they work.
* etc.

Why all the vacation time? Because cops are stressed, and when they're stressed, they kill - and we know they don't ever get convicted, so we need to stop them from killing - so we need to de-stress them. Heavy vacation, spaced apart appropriately, will help offset their tyrannical behaviour.

Most cops are not racists/bigots/sadists when they start on the force, but many become that. Once we have some of these 'load lightening' measures in place, we'll be able to push through more-strict regulations on prohibiting racism/sexism/classism on the force. The snowball effect of good relations and a more-professional police force - one who prime directive is not to brutalize poor black people - will take us where we need to go - a place where the police force is not a terrorist organization in any sense to any citizen.

UPDATE: Whoops. Bad type. My last graph started 'Most cops are racists/bigots/sadists when they start on the force' - I corrected it to read 'Most cops are not racists/bigots/sadists when they start on the force'.

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