Noa and her friends were trapped on the side of a reservoir in northern India. A dam had been opened and the water was rising quick, cutting them off from their route. They climbed the banks and spotted police officers in the distance, approaching them for help. The cops decided to use the opportunity to search their bags. After extorting them for 100$ for the gram of weed they discovered, they guided them to safety on another route.
I was riding a Bird (electric scooter) yesterday when suddenly I fell into a Santa Monica police sting operation. They were swooping up riders in batches, collecting money from each person for not wearing helmets.
Why do we love firemen? They protect us from external threats. They are on our side.
Why do we have significantly less love for the police? They also protect us from external threats. But somewhere along the way, they took on the guise of protecting us from ourselves, which almost always entails money.
Swooping up scooter riders at 200$ a pop is significantly more lucrative than chasing purse snatchers. Why did it take LAPD 30 years to catch a sloppy serial killer dropping clues like breadcrumbs, but a beer-drinking tourist on Venice Beach will quickly find a dark police ATV ready to disrupt their vacation with a 250$ fine? The vehicle weaving between sunbathers is clearly a bigger danger than a 6 pack. But it never was about safety.
This "protecting us from ourselves" routine has been a boon for law enforcement for a long time. During the 13 years of alcohol prohibition, they seized on the opportunity to take off-the-books cuts of the money. The legalization of alcohol in 1933 was disastrous to their bottom line. They needed new income streams under the same pretense. For this reason, police unions and prison unions have joined hands to lobby hard against the legalization of marijuana.
Portugal, which took the bold step of decriminalizing all drugs, has provided a model for the entire world on how to handle the subject. 17 years later we pretend the incredibly successful policy doesn't exist. American law enforcement doesn't have a more humane, effective, or compassionate policy. They have a more profitable one.
This entire enterprise is as disastrous for individual police officers as it is for citizens. Wouldn't they love to be embraced by the public the way firemen are? Loved in the old school sheriff, Andy Griffith kind of way? Of course, they would.
Call to Action
If you support the idea of happier police & citizens please research the disastrous statistics the war on drugs has tallied. In a nutshell, a phenomenal amount of lives have been ruined for zero change in drug consumption. Strongly consider these statistics when presented with the opportunity to vote for legalization or decriminalization in your state or country. Strongly consider giving the control of personal safety over to the individual, the educational system, the community, and the family. Let's relieve law enforcement officers of this ridiculous burden and remove the temptation of the financial incentive. Allow them the status of heroes who protect us from bad actors, while not interfering with our choices for how to live our lives.
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