Productive discussion begins with shared reality. The shared reality between “defunding the police” and “blue lives matter” is that we need to prioritize public safety to prevent violence. The divisions arise concerning the form that this must take, though the answer is just as clear. When our Black neighbors are unable to contact the police if they are in danger because they would fear for their own lives, public safety cannot be achieved through policing.

Jacob Blake was attempting to break up a fight, and he was shot seven times in the back by a police officer. A few days later, in the same city, a 17-year-old holding an assault rifle shot into a crowd and murdered two people. When police confronted this man, he had proven that he was armed and dangerous, and he was given water, due process, and allowed to walk away unharmed. Does this make you feel safe?

I’m white and I used to believe that police provide public safety. I wasn’t paying attention. For years, white murderers have been calmly arrested, and black children have been murdered while playing outside. Police shot Jacob Blake while he was trying to stop violence, and they thanked a group of armed men who would then shoot and kill two people. This is not a result of individual actions, it is evidence of a racist system.

This has happened under administrations that have touted equality, not just the openly racist and violent Trump regime. This is not a matter of elections or parties, it is a failure of our state. If we are to prioritize the well being of our communities, we must acknowledge the white supremacy inherent in policing, and fundamentally restructure public safety in a way that protects, rather than threatens human lives.


Laura Parent


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