With the June 7th primary ahead of us in California, I’ve become particularly troubled by the hysteria over the issue of crime and the same tired proposed solutions. In Long Beach, California, a rather ugly smear campaign is being conducted by a group against one of the candidates, Vice Mayor Rex Richardson. Apparently, according to the print and video ads, Mr. Richardson favors “Defunding the Police.” As evidence, the critics offer a less than two-second video of the candidate saying as much.
I’m not here to argue whether that excerpt is a true reflection of candidate Rex Richardson’s opinion (It’s not. Read his plan HERE) nor what I believe to be the racist undertones of that campaign (Just because there are some Black people on the committee doesn’t mean it isn’t a racist strategy). No, as usual in political campaigns, instead of offering voters honest policy discussions and solutions, it always comes down to smears and jeers from both sides.
I’m not the only one who believes that simply putting more police on the streets will not solve whatever problem we believe exists. Life and politics are more complicated, and we deserve to rethink what we want from law enforcement and our entire legal system. I’ll have more thoughts on the issue over time. Still, I thought the issue was immediately relevant in light of the upcoming primary. The following following program from NPR’s Code Switch program offers interesting insight into the issue of law enforcement. You should take the time to listen.
The following is the June 1, 2022, episode of the program.
“In the wake of violence and tragedies, people are often left in search of ways to feel safe again. That almost inevitably to conversations about the role of police. On today’s episode, we’re talking to the author and sociologist Alex Vitale, who argues that many spaces in U.S. society over-rely on the police to prevent problems that are better addressed through other means. Doing so, he says, can prevent us from properly investing in resources and programs that could make the country safer in the long run.”CODE SWITCH Rethinking ‘safety’ in the wake of Uvalde
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