When I woke up Monday morning I decided to write about the first two aspects of this article for Wednesday’s publishing. Then, as is my habit, I read the New York Times and the Washington Post. Both had articles about a pending Trump announcement that dovetailed with my intended topics, (USA Today actually broke the story). The juxtaposition of history and the present made this a must address subject. Let’s explore.
The other day I added Criminal Injustice by Matthew B. Robinson to the Recommended Reading Section. Not all of what I read makes “the list”; only the works that truly touches and/or educates me. Dr. Robinson’s book did both.
He uses an acronym that was new to me and gave an accurate appraisal of one of the failures of our government. The Acronym is: WORMs. It stands for white, older rich males. I cannot completely explain Dr. Robinson’s theory (which I agree with) in a few sentences, but I’ll give you an overview. Our elected legislators – the people who make the laws – are disproportionately whiter, older and wealthier than the general population. They decide what acts are illegal and what the priority of enforcement will be. Hence offenses against society committed by other WORMs often are not covered in criminal statutes and if they are tend to be much less vigorously enforced. This is a flaw in our representative democracy and much of it can be attributed to the influence of money in politics.
When we have a breakdown in law enforcement the public at large tends to blame the street cop or perhaps the local police department brass. The fact is they are charged with enforcing the laws that the WORMs made. The allocation of resources is not of the street officers’ making, but the allocation that the WORMs have deemed appropriate. Often police departments are incentivized to pursue certain crimes and not others. That yields the result of inequitable law enforcement. Street officers are trained and equipped to go after street level drug dealers or protesters but precious little training and resources are allocated to pursuing white collar criminals. The patrol officer undoubtable has received weapons training and has a pistol on their belt. How many have been provided with advanced accounting training?
Monday morning’s newspapers revealed that President Trump was going to announce the reversal of an Obama era moratorium on the 1033 Program. That is the program that transferred massive amounts of military equipment to local police departments. That equipment has, can and will be used against street protesters but I doubt I will ever see it used to raid the headquarters of a Fortune 500 company, the offices of its outside legal counsel or the offices of an accounting firm. I doubt there are a lot of WORMs on the street; you can complete my thought.
I’m not defending every action that the police have taken either recently or over the past few decades. What I am asking my readers to keep in mind is that the street officer they come in contact with is much like the frontline serviceperson in the military. They do not write their own orders. Largely they carry out the orders that are dictated to them. While those order may come from their captain or sergeant in reality the genesis of them are the WORMs.
My concern is the actions of Trump. Going back to his campaign and continuing to the present Trump goes out of his way to praise law enforcement. Now he is resuming arming them like agents of war, not peace keepers. Is Trump trying to build a quasi-military unit that will enforce his orders and control the masses? History does repeat itself and we have 1930’s Europe to learn from.
With the exception of a few bad apples the police are not to blame; the WORMs are.
PLEASE NOTE: To a significant extent today’s article utilizes the work of Dr. Matthew B. Robinson. If you want to learn more about our criminal justice system I suggest you read his book entitled Criminal Injustice.
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