We must reimagine public safety, policing

Webster defines “defund” as “to withdraw funding from.”

“Abolish” means “to completely do away with.”

While the Globe accurately described the intent of defund the police at the end of its editorial — “There should be more funding for social services, and let police focus on just catching the bad guys.” (Globe, June 14) — the rest of the editorial appears to be conflating the two terms.

Defunding the police is not the same as abolishing the police. The call to defund the police is in response to systematic racism that has not significantly improved with reform efforts, not a reflection of good cops. Of course good cops exist; I’m the sister of two of them who proudly serve on the Joplin Police Department.

However, to use the analogy of the bad apple that so many are quick to reference, Philip Zimbardo, famous for his Stanford prison experiment, suggested the problem is a bad barrel (system) rather than a bad apple (person).

My brothers are good men doing their best at their job, but they’re also working in a system, like many others, that has its origins in slavery.

“Defund the police” is a call for critical analysis of what communities expect police officers to do and how they do it. Rather than solving all of society’s ills with limited training and even more limited funding, are there other organizations that are better suited to respond to mental health crises, domestic violence situations and homelessness, just to name a few?

This analysis will likely result in different conclusions for different communities. We might find Joplin is already using city funding to its highest and best use. We might find there are alternatives we haven’t tried yet that would benefit both the community and the officers who serve it.

Defund the police isn’t a call for anarchy, but rather, a reimagining of public safety.

Just like you have to see race in order to fight racism, you have to look at a system with a critical eye if you want it to truly live up to its ideals. Our love and support of individual officers should not blind us to problems that exist within a larger system. We cannot fix what we will not see.

Robin Blair

Carthage

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Editorial cartoon was disrespectful

I totally agree with Derek Snyder (Globe, June 17).

First of all, there was nothing funny about your editorial cartoon (June 12). It was disrespectful, demeaning, degrading, disgraceful and anyone at the Globe who had a hand in letting it be published should be hanging their heads in shame right about now.

I agree that what happened to George Floyd was a shameful act, but it was only one man — not the police of this country and every other country, as your cartoon depicts. The police put their lives on the line every day. How many of us do that? How many of you kiss your significant other goodbye and watch them go off to work and then wonder for the next eight hours or however long the shift might last — sometimes it lasts for many more hours — if they will come home in one piece. Or will you be going to the morgue to identify them or to the hospital to see them wounded so badly they will never be the same? Such is the life of a first responder’s spouse.

Despite what Leonard Pitts thinks (Globe, June 17), not all police are bad.

I think that you owe all of our first responders and especially the police force a huge, huge apology.

Cheryl Ricks

Pittsburg, Kan.

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Country must learn to control spending

You have run numerous editorials addressing our federal debt and overspending. I always agree with your concern. The question is, what can be done to reverse this trend? It simply must end. Our government is extremely bloated. We have so many agencies that do overlapping things and so many agencies engage in “mission creep” and continue to outgrow what they were originally intended to do. A prime example is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has far outrun its initial mission to the point of engaging in areas of social engineering. Search into what all it does. And then look at how woefully unprepared it was to do its primary intended mission when COVID-19 struck.

As a local newspaper, and in concert with your CNHI group, you should be continually make the public aware of the status and possible future consequences of our government’s irresponsible spending habit. Tell us what the current status of the national debt is and tell us how much it increased in the last week. We need to know this. We need to pound our elected officials with it.

We are fortunate to have conservative representation in Congress, but not every area has this. Help spread the awareness. I believe your combined editorial voices can make a difference. We must start someplace to curb our addiction to spending and debt growth. I believe this problem will not be solved without serious sacrifice. We must begin to choose which government services we can do without. One I could do without is the federal funding of National Public Radio and public television. Another would be all the funding of the various arts venues. This may be a slow and painful process, but it must happen. Think of how our country sacrificed to preserve our freedom by fighting World War II. It may take a similar effort to correct this problem. We live lavishly.

As we cut programs, people might lose jobs. Mitigate this loss by implementing a federal hiring freeze, and then retrain and reassign government workers while the growth is reigned in. Government workers are paid very well. Why not have an income freeze? There isn’t much harm in that when you are already well paid and have premium benefits. We must have a spirit of sacrifice if we are to survive.

Don Eiken

Carthage

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