It’s no secret that police brutality is an issue in America. Every day there seems to be a new instance of disgusting actions on the part of law enforcement, like when Indiana cops assaulted a paraplegic man because he accidentally ran over one officer’s foot with his wheelchair, or a California Highway Patrol officer was caught on tape brutally assaulting a woman who did not pose a threat to him, or two Duck Dynasty-lovin, Pat Robertson-worshipping Texas cops not only painfully twisted a man’s arm simply for switching seats with his wife but falsely cited him for two “crimes,” or Pittsburgh officers’ brutal and unwarranted beating of a gay teenager.
The NYPD asked residents to provide examples of positive interactions with police on Twitter earlier this year, but their hashtag was about as successful as Bristol Palin’s HobbyLobbyLove campaign. The NYPD was instead inundated with numerous examples of police brutality, like the brutal beating of an elderly man for jaywalking.
Trevor Lyman, founder of right-wing blog LibertyCrier and Ron Paul supporter, has a solution to police brutality: a heavily armed populace that is sure to not only increase the risks associated with being a member of law enforcement, but also to increase tensions between police and citizens–or, as he describes it, “a way to stop it via peaceful means.”
Lyman, who has been arrested in Florida for resisting an officer, disorderly conduct, and obstruction, writes:
I believe that if the majority of the public were to open carry (which I would call “massive open carry”), police brutality would diminish greatly for two main reasons:
1.) More often than not the would-be victim of police brutality will be armed under these circumstances. Police are absolutely more considerate and careful when dealing with someone who is armed and who can defend themselves. This is the way all bullies behave. They prey on the weak, and in an environment of open carry there are simply fewer of the weak to prey on.
2.) Under massive open carry it is more likely that members of the public, who may be witnesses to police brutality, will be armed. [highlight]A cop who is doing something that is clearly wrong and excessively violent and is surrounded by a crowd of increasingly angry people who are all armed is likely to stop what he or she is doing. And if necessary the members of the public can stop the police officer from continuing their brutality and save the would-be victim’s life.[/highlight]
In other words, if these angry, armed individuals think a cop is in the wrong, they should just murder the cop. Makes perfect sense.
“More guns” is hardly the solution to police brutality. The solution lies in Rialto, California, where cops wear body cameras. All seventy Rialto officers have been outfitted with cameras that almost forces them to conduct themselves with the integrity that their uniforms require. Since the cameras were introduced in 2012, public complaints against officers plummeted by eighty-eight percent when compared to the previous twelve months. Officers’ use of force decreased by sixty percent. Surely that’s more effective than an AK-47 on every shoulder.
“When you know you’re being watched you behave a little better. That’s just human nature,” said Rialto police chief Tony Farrar. “As an officer you act a bit more professional, follow the rules a bit better.” He added, “With a camera they are more conscious of how they speak and how they treat people.”
Of course, another means of reducing police brutality would be if more citizens took the time to record and publicize officers behaving badly. We need to arm the populace (and police) with cameras, not dangerous weaponry with which to threaten the police.