As Amazon allows anti-police apparel to be sold on its site, several cities are grappling with the consequences of defunding their police departments. Some states are working to stop cities from cutting police services.
Despite outrage and a request by the NYPD Detectives’ Endowment Association to pull the merchandise, Amazon is still selling a slew of products emblazoned with “Blue Lives Murder.”
- The outrage comes as the “Defund the Police” movement moves into some of America’s smaller cities, such as Salt Lake City, which recently saw a protest to cut the police force and its funding in half and divert it to what the protest-leading group Decarcerate Utah calls “under-resourced services” such as “housing and mental health resources.”
- In Ashville, North Carolina, a shortage of officers has led to a small budget surplus which will partially be used for pay raises for current officers and to “expand the neighborhood services and community engagement” section of the police department, all of which is being described as “a pivot last year from defunding the police.”
- The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners recently filed a lawsuit against the city for removing more than $40 million from the police department budgets and reallocating it to a new “new community service and prevention fund.”
- Meanwhile, in Texas, a bill that punishes municipalities for cutting police funding was approved by the legislature and is awaiting Gov. Greg Abbotts’ signature.
- The Washington Post offered a critical view of the effect of the defund the police movement, and the Antifa radicals who attached itself to it, in Portland, Oregon, a city which is overwhelmingly white but which has seen its murder rate skyrocket as police have to deal with more retirements and an “activist” class of white, middle-class students” engaging in violence and vandalism under the guise of social justice.
- Salon posited the current social and racial strife, and efforts to defund police departments, can be traced back to the zero-tolerance crackdowns of the 1970s and 1980s, and what one historian dubiously calls a “paradox” “between a retrenching welfare state and growing penal system.”
- CBS News reported on the Texas bill to punish municipalities for “defunding” police departments, arguing that defunding isn’t really about defunding the police, but reallocating “funds to mental health specialists who can help answer distress calls.”
- Newsmax cited anecdotal evidence per Second Amendment advocate John Lott that suggests defunding police departments and “disarming the most law-abiding good citizens” increases crime, in which Lott used Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle as examples.
- The New York Post highlighted the karma visited upon Atlanta City Council Member Antonio Brown, who was forced to file a report with the Atlanta Police Department when his white Mercedes coupe was stolen in broad daylight. Brown previously voted to cut the police department’s funding by $70 million.
- RedState, in discussing Amazon’s continued sale of anti-police apparel, lamented the cultural and social changes of the last 60-plus years, providing examples of pop culture in which police were the heroes, not the villains.
A reasonable cultural debate over the nature and tactics of policing may be warranted. But having drawn the protection of law-abiding citizens from crime into the fires of a culture war, the flames of which are fanned by partisans and pundits, is making things worse. Whether it’s Salon’s “ACKSHUALLY it was the crackdown on crime that created the current situation” apologetics or Amazon’s apparent side-taking in a culture war hotspot that actually has life-and-death consequences, the Left is getting over its own skis.
It’s another example of how biased media and political profiteering is driving a narrative that prevents discourse an stifles solutions, but hey, it’s one heck of an opportunity for ad sales.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021