Setting the Example: Police Accountability Must be a Peaceful Movement

I am a peaceful person. I believe in the non-agression principle, that force should not be initiated against anyone, though obviously must be used in self defense. But even beside whether or not violence is justified, there is the question, is it effective? I don’t think randomly murdering two police officers helps the cause of liberty. I don’t think that act will solve anything, and I know it will not deescalate the crisis of police brutality, growing in this country.

While police are oppressors by their nature, a friend of mine pointed out that many are “benevolent” oppressors in a sense: they joined the police for the right reasons. This does not make these people good or their profession legitimate, but there is other more effective recourse than random violence. The reaction must match the offense. Without knowing the two slain NYPD officers, how could we realistically decide if they “deserved it” or not? I believe in a process, like due process, even though the justice system needs to be free from monopoly in order to work. The cops were not given due process, and though simply going to work every day was an act of aggression, the offense did not match the punishment, as far as I can tell.

I honestly don’t think I would choose to kill most Nazi’s given the chance. There is culpability in joining an oppressive group, but I would not imagine my actions justified to dish out punishment to a person I do not know, whose actions I have not observed. The time for violence is in defense only, especially while there exists no fair system to punish aggressors. Off the battlefield, the world had to wait for Nuremberg for the Nazi’s to have their crimes judged. And violence generally begets violence.

I much prefer the approach of Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or Jesus, where they never sank to their oppressors’ lows. To exclusively occupy the higher moral ground, so to speak, is to set yourself up for eventual, if long fought victory. At all costs those who speak out against police misconduct and abuse must remain peaceful in order for our message to be heard. I will not stoop to the low that many law enforcement in this country have fallen to. I will not murder, despite my countless brothers and sisters who have been murdered.

My heart goes out to the families of the two NYPD officers killed, who are almost certainly victims in all this. And my heart goes out to Eric Garner’s family, also innocent victims. And both will have their dead loved ones ridiculed. The NYPD and supporters wore shirts that said: “I can breathe, thanks to the NYPD”, openly mocking the man that the New York Police Department murdered. Such insensitivity disgusts me. A murderer walks free, and then has the nerve to mock the slain victim? And the victim, not convicted of any crime, is made out to be a “criminal” for allegedly selling single cigarettes. A crime, which even if Garner was proven to be guilty of, hardly deserves any sentence, let alone a death sentence.

To act as if the NYPD kept others safe by strangling him to death, going so low as to mock his last words spoken in pain and anguish moments before his death at the hands of the NYPD, is beyond pathetic, sickening, and utterly immature. Do I condone the killing of police officers? Absolutely not. And I would even feel bad for the officers killed except for that one detail. They voluntarily were part of a department that murdered Eric Garner, and then mocked the victim with “I can breathe” shirts, twisting his last words to posture as if that murder had been justified, in the name of security.

The individual responsible for the death’s of the police officers is dead, while the individual responsible for the death of Eric Garner lives freely. If you are looking for a larger segment of society to blame, do not point your fingers towards those demanding police accountability. Blame the agents of the state who openly mocked their murder victim: it is a symptom that points to a larger problem.

One thought on “Setting the Example: Police Accountability Must be a Peaceful Movement

  1. Pingback: NYC Police Show No Respect for Authority | Joe Jarvis

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