It seems to me that this debate has been going back and forth since the summer of 2020 and the murder of George P. Floyd. If not longer. There’s an argument to be made that the calls to Defund the Police contributed to Democratic losses in Congress and in State Government races. Others, such as Rep. James Clyburn, insist it didn’t. Perhaps, but it certainly didn’t help mobilize a lot of key critical voters for Democrats to vote up and down the ballot, even if turnout was so much higher for the Presidential race of 2020, which successfully dumped Agent Orange back to his lair at Mar a Lago. I think the whole argument is unproductive. We need peace officers. We need police in key security roles. What we don’t need are the guns.
Your line police officer and indeed so many local and municipal police departments have bulked up to absurd and unjustifiable degrees over the last 15 years or more, becoming paramilitarized units. Huge expenditures on massive equipment outlays and transfers from the US military were justified based on national security grounds because of an overweening fear of Islamic terrorism. This has typical of the refrain about the generals, always fighting the last war, in this case the terror of a sequel to 9/11. But right wing domestic extremism and terrorism far exceeds that of an international threat. And crime, with the exception of the pandemic year of 2020, has steadily declined since the mid 1990s.
Look to England and some other developed democracies. Where do guns at the street level for police fit in? They rarely do. Now should situations escalate, there may be a need to always retain a rapid response force which is adequately armed. But your every cop on the beat or circulating in patrol cars have NO REAL NEED FOR GUNS.
This is not a Second Amendment issue, before you choose to intercede. There is no constitutional obligation to have easily accessible firearms with the cops out on the streets. If truly a fear of getting outmatched from some potential area of conflict or escalation, why not keep the guns always LOCKED IN THE TRUNKS? They would be there if truly needed. But we need to REIMAGINE POLICING. And effective policing DOES NOT require guns, not at all, particularly for initial or primary responses for people. This should be true in terms of interventions with all people: people of color as well as people who are not. Imagine how many ugly and horrific interventions against citizens could be avoided by completely scaling back the level of escalation in citizen interactions from the start.
Abolish the F&*$#& Guns and let’s reimagine how police can and should deal with situations.