On Tuesday, December 2, the current Attorney General and former Iran-Contra fixer gave a speech at the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing in which he threatened to take away police protections from communities who refused to bow down and respect worship law enforcement.
American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officer. And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves ― and if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.
There's the obvious problem here, which is that serving and protecting the public should not be contingent upon the public's lavish praise. That's not a service; it's blackmail. If police truly covet public veneration, then they should be selfless enough to serve and protect without the expectation of reward, and simply because it's the right thing to do.
But the other, more ironic issue is about government dependency. Conservatives in the modern GOP love to give lip service to independence — to by-your-bootstraps self-determination. "People need to stop relying on the government, and take care of themselves!" they say. But here's Bill Barr, threatening to take away a government service as if it's a bad thing. We all know what "communities" he's referring to in this speech; they're the same ones that have been historically targeted, bullied, and oppressed by police. That's why these communities don't respect the police. And because they don't respect the police — for very valid reasons! — they take it upon themselves to protect their own community.
In other words, the communities who don't respect police have generally policed themselves. That's what the Black Panthers tried to do, and it absolutely terrified the authorities. They didn't want the government to take care of them, because they (rightly) didn't trust the government, so they were determined to take care of themselves.
You'd think that would go along with the values espoused by conservatives. Except the GOP never actually cared about small government. They only care about authoritarianism.
William Barr Says Those Who Don’t Show More Respect To Cops May Not Get Police Protection [Sanjana Karanth/Huffington Post]
Image via Donkey Hotey/Flickr