Joe Gilbertson | Jun 20, 2022 | 12
The coming pandemic: Blue Flu
One of the predictable outcomes of the massive and irrational attack on universal policing is a drop in protection for the most violent and dangerous communities – and much of the general public as well. That is not due to the impact of defunding all police departments – or even abolishment of some agencies, such as Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). It will come from the actions — or more accurately, the inactions – of thousands of individual cops in police departments across the nation.
The broadside attack on policing everywhere and in every form is a gross misrepresentation of reality. One can understand the frustration of those who live where the police culture is free of racist enforcement. Based on recent polling, the vast majority of Americans are satisfied with – and even appreciative of – their local police departments. The exception to that perception is almost exclusively the opinion of minority citizens in our major Democrat-run segregated cities.
The misconception about policing across America is largely generated by black activists who fail to draw the distinction between the majority of well-run and unbiased policing agencies and the specific big city departments where the problems prevail. Their talk about universal racism does a disservice to eradicating racism in the law enforcement and judicial systems where it actually occurs.
Because they see political advantage in the perpetuation of the false narrative of pandemic police racism, Democrats pander to their own propaganda. Of course, they have a good reason to expand the issue of police and judicial racism to the nation as a whole because it is in the big cities run by Democrat machines that most of the de facto racism occurs.
In a very real sense, Democrats in the big city political machines have thrown the police forces that they have mismanaged and poorly staffed under the bus in the name of political expediency. They now complain about a malignant racist culture that Democrat bosses have created, promoted and maintained to this very day.
With minority leaders, Democrats, left-wing activists and anarchists coalescing behind the broad-based anti-police narrative, it is only natural that the elitist east coast media would serve as their public relations agency. Whether the increasingly radical progressives are pandering to the more strident elements in the minority leadership or propagandizing for partisan political benefit is of little difference. They are peddling an extremely dangerous false narrative.
We need the protective services of police to maintain an orderly and civil society. There should be no disagreement on that point. In fact, the greatest need is in the high crime areas – and statistics identify those places. It is no secret that the segregated communities in our major cities are in the greatest need of effective police protection – and yet, these are the areas where such policies as defunding or abolishing police will that the most disastrous impact on the innocent citizenry.
We frequently hear from the news outlets that we – the nation – must put an end to the killing of young black men. If that is a goal – and it IS a worthy one – we should not be so myopically focused on police shootings to the disregard of an even greater issue. That is not to say we should ignore abusive police actions when found — and not prosecute officers who use excessive force and unnecessary fatal actions – but we should not ignore the circumstances and conditions that kill many times more young black men, women and children.
It is a complex situation in our segregated urban areas. The minority community desperately needs more effective police protection – and yet there is a disturbing amount of what appears to be racially motivated police abuse. We need to address the problem where it exists and not hide the problem in broad-based generalizations.
The attacks on police, in general, are going to have an unintended consequence in the inner cities. Whether the calls for fewer police – less enforcement – is heeded or not, there will be fewer police and less enforcement.
It will come from what has been described in the past as the “blue flu” – significant numbers of police officers calling in “sick.” It is already happening in Atlanta where the killing of Rayshard Brooks has exacerbated an already dangerous situation. The police chief has resigned – as have a goodly number of other offices. Many of those who have not resigned are not showing up for work.
The reluctance to patrol the most dangerous inner cities will be the generator for the blue flu. Officers have three reasons to stay home. First, there is an attitude reaction. “if you hate us so much, then take care of yourself when crimes occur.” It is not the noblest response, but understandable.
The second and more serious reason is that officers are facing an increasing number of unwarranted attacks. These have come in the form of verbal attacks, pelting with rock, water and urine, and an occasional assassination or wounding. The problem those police face is the increasing limitations on what is defined as “appropriate response.”
We have seen video of police standing down as young delinquents douse them with water. Or police standing in a line as so-called peaceful protesters are pelting them with rocks, feces and Molotov cocktails. Just as fire departments have had to allow homes and businesses burn to the ground because it was not safe to enter the community, so it is with police. Police did not initially respond to a murder in the so-call autonomous zone in Seattle because of the obstruction of the “citizens” of the new “republic.”
The third reason police will not respond effectively is the result of the recent killings. The sight of fellow officers being put up for murder has a chilling effect. While the killing of George Floyd was a reprehensible act of murder, police will naturally worry that ANY shooting of a black man could be construed as a criminal action –and any struggle to subdue a resisting arrestee be viewed as criminal abuse.
This can be even a bigger problem if Congress does away with “qualified immunity” – a doctrine that precedes the American Republic. While it protects all government officials – not just the police – it “provide(s) no license to lawless conduct.” It is designed to protect against arbitrary or capricious accusations and is not a defense available to Officer Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd case. Removing it will have a chilling effect on police recruitment and response.
Police recognized that if they are not allowed to respond with deadly force, they, themselves, are more likely to be killed – or the criminal will be more likely escape to kill others. Despite that reality, they are less likely to use deadly force even when appropriate and necessary.
Whether it is due to defunding or blue flu, that pervasive attack on all police across the nation is going to have an unintended consequence – a lot more victims of crime. Our inner cities will be less safe than they are now.
So, there ‘tis.