Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Police

Did we ever not know that police work is hazardous, that the police have to act boldly and with restraint, making split-second decisions about the use of force, sometimes deadly force, in ambiguous situations of indeterminate danger?  And did we ever not know that police officers sometimes use unnecessary force, sometimes deadly force, whether from panic or sadism or racial prejudice and hatred?

In recent weeks we have gone from a focus on police brutality and racial prejudice, to sympathy with the police for the deadly dangerous situations in which they are placed, choose to be placed, continually.  We swing from one pole to another, demonizing and idealizing the police in a search for clarity.  The truth is much more complex and confusing, not amenable to stereotyping.  

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