The headline on the “news analysis” essay says, “Achieving police diversity not easy.”  Just at the moment I’m reading that headline, I notice the over-line in red, all caps, “Ferguson Shooting.”  Then I see the big quote at the top of the page, “The community feels better about their police department if the police department maybe reflects the makeup of the community,” says Bill Carson, the so-called suburban St. Louis police chief.

Even before reading all the whining and crying about how hard it is to be part of the gang that commits murder, rape, kidnapping, and robbery, gets away with it, and is supposedly part of the “justice” system, I couldn’t help thinking, “It is easy.  You just fire all the police.”

Crime is a distributed threat.  It is not effective to respond to a decentralised threat with a centralised system.  Inevitably, the police cannot respond to every crime that is committed.  Necessarily, in concentrating power in a police force, that concentration of power responds to the needs of other concentrations of power – especially wealth and political pull.  Even if we were to ignore the entire history of all metropolitan police forces, if we were to ignore what they were originally set up to do, if we were to ignore how they were organised to provide force to impose the will of small minorities on the vast majority of people, and if we were to agree that police should exist to protect and serve the community as a whole, we would have to admit that they cannot do that job effectively, universally, nor objectively.

Even if half the population were police and were assigned to watch the other half, there would still be crime, for the two week period prior to the system failing from economic insanity.  Obviously, half the population cannot pay to have the other half police everyone, cannot pay for the cost of so much surveillance, and would not be able to tolerate the incessant infringements on their liberty.

What, then, is the imagined problem in “achieving police diversity.”  Some hogwash is spewed in the article about how St. Louis police departments fail to attract black police officers from other districts, fail to appeal to the ordinary member of the community who might choose a career in law enforcement, but nothing in the article points out that the police departments have unions that prevent white police officers from being fired in order to establish racial diversity.

It is not as though this situation were recent.  In 1990, fully 25% of the population of Ferguson was black.  In 2000, according to the census (which, by the way, seems to be very race conscious), about 52% of the population were black.  In the 2010 census, over 67% were black.  Today, only 3 of the Ferguson police departments 53 officers are black.  That is, less than 6% are black.

Now, 24 years ago, there were police officers working for the Ferguson police department who retired in the years since then.  And, given that today there is less than a 6% black police force in Ferguson, we can surmise that in 1990 there wasn’t a 25% black police force.  So we have to conclude that the police chief, mayor, and city council (who are entirely white except for one city councillor) chose not to hire blacks to replace the white officers who retired or left the force for personal reasons, or passed away.  There wasn’t any effort between 1990 and 2000 to bring the police force up to 25% black, and there hasn’t been any effort since 2000 to bring it up to 52% black, and there hasn’t been any effort, until perhaps the last few weeks, to bring the police force up to 67% black.

One of the passages in the news analysis essay from St. Louis quotes Phillip Atiba Goff, co-founder and president of the Centre for Policing Equity at the University of California at Los Angeles.  “If you were taught from the time that you could speak, from the time that you could understand speech, that police are to be feared and that they’re part of an occupying force that is there to circumvent the democratic processes and to strip you of your rights, then it’s very difficult for that department to come into your neighbourhood and tell you that they respect you and that you should join their team.”  Certainly, that’s true.

That is how tens of millions of Americans view the police, including federal officials representing national law enforcement agencies.  The system’s not interested in justice, so calling their prosecutors and investigators “the justice system” is a bit more irony than I can stomach.  I probably get too much iron in my diet as it is.  The police are an occupying force, so it is no wonder that the military industrial complex makes profits selling them advanced weapons, armoured vehicles, and sound cannon.

The national military donates its slightly used military gear so it can order new equipment for its overseas adventurism.  For example, the featured image for this essay shows a tank that the San Diego school district has painted white and added “search and rescue” to the side of, but which is clearly not an educational tool of any sort. (It is somewhat less clear that it isn’t a tank, as all the descriptions seem to suggest.  It might be that the distinction between an armoured car and a tank is irrelevant.)  The financial cartel eagerly lines up to finance these purchases because as long as there are police to crack the whip, the peasants can be forced to pay taxes to service the debt, and the financiers don’t really care how big the national, state, and municipal debts become.

The truth about crime is uncomfortable.  About 2% or fewer of the population ever commits any kind of violent crime, and that 2% is distributed among the rest of the population.  You are much more likely to be murdered or violently assaulted by someone you know, someone very close to you, than by a stranger.  And you are very unlikely to be standing next to a police officer when a crime occurs, unless that police officer commits the crime.  So, you would expect that people living in a free country would have some alternative to an occupying police presence to protect themselves from random acts of aggression.

And, as you know, there is such an alternative.  You have the right to keep and bear arms.  You have the right to carry knives, swords, guns, and, as far as I’m concerned, rocket propelled grenade launchers, for the purpose of defending yourself.  People who are concerned about crime should learn how to defend themselves, acquire tools suited to that purpose, and perhaps even form groups to train together and watch out for each other.  In the olden days, groups that acted in that way were called “the militia.”  You can call them whatever you please.

But don’t imagine that you have to have police.  Don’t imagine that having a police force it is hard to fire half of them and hire people who represent the racial make-up of your community, if that’s a goal you actually choose to meet.  Don’t say it isn’t easy to have the people watching out for crime and violence be representative of the people in a community because prior to the invention of a metropolitan police force in London in the early 19th Century, prior to its adoption in various places where a political elite wanted to force their will upon others in the United States, the people watched out, themselves, for crime, invasion, and aggression.

Saying that it isn’t easy to create a racially diverse force for community security is false.  It is extremely easy.  What isn’t easy is keeping the police patrolmen’s union happy, keeping the law-and-order fascists happy, and keeping the politically and economically powerful happy, at the same time.  When you strip away those other agendas, you don’t necessarily still have a police department, at all.  But what you have left are the people of the community, themselves, keeping their community free and also safe.

Finally, it seems clear that there would be far fewer people in prison, far fewer crimes committed, and far less violence, if certain things weren’t illegal.  The war on drugs is a war on American freedom.  The efforts to criminalise certain kinds of gun ownership is a war on freedom.  The “fight” against immigration is a war against individual liberty.  Wherever there is a government agency saying “no, you may not” there ought to be people saying, “by what authority?”  And there are an enormous number of government agencies, prohibitions, and things called “contraband.”

Politically difficult?  Yes, certainly.  But I long ago became convinced that there were not any political solutions to the problems faced by people on this planet.  Politics isn’t a solution, it is a big part of the problem.

Everywhere I look, people are in chains.   Everywhere I look, the answer to problems is freedom.  One day, more people are going to choose to be more free.  And that’s going to be a grim day for people who think the police are protecting their interests.  It will, however, be a fine day for the rest of us.