Connect with Point of View   to get exclusive commentary and updates

Abstractions and Reality

Police badge, gun, cuffs
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

George Floyd was killed three weeks ago, and protests have been with us since the video surfaced. You would think that some of the focus would be on who is responsible for his killing and others like it in the city. Kevin Williamson says the “answer to that question is not unknowable – but it is, in many political quarters, unspeakable.”

There is a reason for that. Minneapolis is a Democratic city with a Democratic mayor and a Democratic city council that is in a state with a Democratic governor and a Democratic state house. That is why the focus hasn’t been on specific changes that should be made but on abstractions that take the focus off the politicians. However, the city hasn’t been governed by abstractions but by real people.

The most concrete proposal we have heard so far is to “defund the police.” Protesters in nearly every city have called for cutting or even eliminating the budgets for law enforcement. But most cities won’t cut the police budget, except for the harsh reality that tax revenues may be less because of the pandemic lockdown. In the end, “defund the police” will be merely another abstraction.

A more reasonable solution is to abolish or reform police unions. John Fund documents how these unions protect bad cops. One retired NYPD commander writes that police unions in New York City outright protect cops. An article in the Stanford Law Review documents how police unions shield their members from public accountability.

The former Minneapolis police officer who held his knee on George Floyd’s neck had 18 prior complaints. One of the officers who stood by and did nothing has 6 complaints (one still open and another lawsuit settled by the city). This would be a good place to start by focusing on the reality rather than talking about abstractions.

viewpoints new web version

Viewpoints sign-up