Police misconduct occurs from time to time, as evidenced in the dramatically tragic death of George Floyd. Unfortunately, that singular incident poured gasoline on a popularized myth: Police brutality is an everyday occurrence and police are our enemy rather than an essential part of society. This gross error in popular opinion portends devastating consequences.
In reality, any person not involved in crime (including misdemeanors) will have little or no interaction with police. Those who do not resist arrest will rarely experience police brutality. No crime equals no police; no resistance to authority means no brutality.
Although those facts seem blatantly obvious, they are strikingly absent in our frenzied anti-law atmosphere. Have our societal norms altered to the point that we actually expect, excuse and implicitly encourage crime among those suffering poverty? If so, we do these people a disservice, since crime and poverty are siblings. The lawless neighborhood will ever remain a poor community.
“Thou shalt not steal” is (or historically was) a fundamental principle of society. Where theft is prominent, stores must charge higher prices, close or flee. Thus honest interchange benefits entrepreneur, consumer and society.
Is the importance of societal honesty taught in our schools? It would seem not. District attorneys in many American cities now refuse to prosecute theft or “misdemeanor crimes.” Crime rates are skyrocketing as neighborhoods become increasingly undesirable.
Were Martin Luther King Jr. alive today, would he not strongly urge avoidance of behaviors leading to conflict with the law and those tasked with its administration?
North Provo, Utah