- Ta-Nehisi Coates
- “The real problem is the belief that all our social problems can be solved with force.”
- “There is a tendency, when examining police shootings, to focus on tactics at the expense of strategy…were they justified in shooting [instead of] were we justified in sending them. At some point, Americans decided that the best answer to every social ill lay in the power of the criminal-justice system…fear and compliance have their place, but it can’t be every place.”
- “Peel back the layers of most of the recent police shootings that have captured attention and you will find a broad societal problem that we have looked at, thrown our hands up, and said to the criminal-justice system, ‘you deal with this.'”
- “There are many problems with expecting people trained in crime-fighting to be social workers…Body cameras are helpful in police work, but they are also helpful in avoiding a deeper conversation over what it means to keep whole swaths of America under the power of the justice system, as opposed to the authority of other branches of civil society.”
- “Police officers fight crime. Police officers are neither case-workers, nor teachers, nor mental-health professionals, nor drug counselors. One of the great hallmarks of the past forty years of American domestic policy is a broad disinterest in that difference.”
I don’t think I can add much to how Coates explained the situation, but Gary Haugen’s TED talk can. In summary, Haugen says that the reason charity and education don’t help alleviate poverty is that poor people remain poor when they are not protected by the rule of law. There’s a long and finely graduated continuum from “Mad Max” to “1984.” In the developed world none of us have to worry about warlords or slavery, but some of us have to worry about law enforcement that’s ineffective or unavailable.