Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Five Modest Proposals: The Honey-Bee Rule

          The Honey-Bee Rule


Here’s a modest proposal for the police:

Kill A Civilian, Lose Your Job.

          If a policeman kills a civilian, then he’s kicked off the force, immediately, automatically, and permanently. No delay, no exceptions, no appeals. The policeman gets pension and honors if the review board says he did right, without pension and with prosecution if the review board says he did not; and the review board has civilians on it, and its proceedings are public. The cop gets job placement and PTSD counseling; we owe him that much. But he must never do public  policing again; he owes us that much.

Call this the “Honey-Bee Rule”, for under this rule, the policeman’s weapons are like a honeybee’s stinger; career suicide to use.  Even when killing is justified, killer cops must leave the force.

          The Honey-Bee Rule must be enforced rigorously. We know what happens when we are lax about this. The police swagger, their trigger fingers get itchy, and they tell juries, “I feared for my life when he pulled out his wallet”. Such cowardice becomes systemic.

Under the Honey-Bee Rule, the police will lose their subsidized love of military hardware, and will insist on less lethal options. For instance, talking the suspect down, like they do in civilized countries.

Automatic dismissal for homicide is hard on the police. They will complain that this rule creates impossible professional dilemmas. All true, but nonetheless, this check on police power is necessary. After all, who is to be boss? The police or the people? The boss gets to be a jerk; the servant must say yessir. Tyranny is when the police get to be jerks; liberty is when the people get to be jerks. I choose door #2.

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