Why “Demilitarizing Law Enforcement” Will Make the Country Safer

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By Mark Naison (June 9, 2020)

If we want to have a society where life expectancy and infant mortality are not at the bottom of advanced nations, and where 50% of the wealth doesn’t accrue to the top 1 percent, we have to gradually shift public funds from prisons and policing to education, health care, and affordable housing.

As we have learned from this Pandemic: NO ONE is safe when poor people and people of color are packed together in crowded residences, deprived of preventive health care, and concentrated in the most dangerous and lowest paying occupations.

As protests continue in every city, town and hamlet, we need to commit ourselves to “demilitarizing” our law enforcement apparatus and investing in a broad array of measures that improve public health and expand economic opportunity.

It is gratifying to see a broad range of leaders in business and government proclaim “Black Life Matters” and commit themselves to an honest effort to confront their own complicity in the promotion and preservation of racism and white supremacy, but without major changes in how law enforcement functions, and how public funds are distributed, these efforts at moral reformation may have little lasting impact on how we actually live
in our communities.

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