One more reflection on the NCC “police-free future” session

Latest in a series of posts in the wake of the George Floyd murder

“An empty sack cannot stand upright.”
Ben Franklin

ref: “Some reflections on the NCC ‘police-free future’ session”

Gadfly wants to move on to one or two of the other sessions of the recent NCC “Peace and Social Justice” conference that he found interesting.

But let’s pause one more time on the “police-free future” one.

Gadfly’s thinking of the last post about the attempt in Allentown to redistribute some money from the D.A.’s budget.

And he’s thinking about what Bud Hackett had to say several posts back about putting emphasis on providing jobs if you want to do some good.

The Minneapolis “abolition” guy had a slide about instituting a “process of strategically reallocating resources, funding, and responsibility away from police and toward community-based models of safety, support, and prevention.”

That’s defunding.

While Councilman Reynolds has not used the term “defund” (hot potato!), I hear the idea in his push to have us think about the myriad societal factors at play that end up on the doorstep of the police to handle.

Gadfly likes that. Recognizing and attacking root causes.

So, as he said, Gadfly has read through the Minneapolis “Enough is Enough” report and supplemental documents.

And comes across headings like “Invest in prevention not punishment” that he finds compelling: “Whether you agree with abolition or not, it isn’t hard to see that police are a massive draw on the wealth and resources of our communities. . . . We are funding the back end of social ills, instead of the front end of addressing them. There are smarter ways to structure our budgets. Some of this is big picture, like making significant, long-term changes to how our city budget addresses affordable housing, youth programs, mental health services, addiction treatment options, jobs programs, education, etc. ”

Ok, Gadfly gets that.

But here’s the heading that Gadfly found very thought provoking: “Many people already live in a world without police.” Huh? “If you grew up in a well-off, predominantly white suburb, how often did you interact with cops? Communities with lots of good jobs, strong schools, economies, and social safety nets are already, in some ways, living in a world without police.”

Something to think about.

Police, frankly, are not a part of his life.

In a sense, Gadfly lives in a world without police.

And Gadfly wonders again what the October 29 Committee of the Whole meeting is about and whether it is not too late to to think about structuring the budget more toward helping empty sacks stand upright — and therefore perhaps alleviating some of the tension with the police.

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