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The Common Denominator: Lack of Accountability

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Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
The Common Denominator: Lack of Accountability
By Brian 4 Liberty - April 29, 2015

(RPF) - The looting and destruction in Baltimore has riveted the nation to their televisions and the internet, engrossing us in another media circus that surpasses the Super Bowl and rivals presidential primaries. Like clockwork, we have the inevitable discussion of supposed causes, of hasty and dogmatic solutions, and the inevitable flood of special interests and charlatans who will seize the opportunity for gain.

The same old rhetorical battle lines are being drawn, and polarization of opinion runs rampant. One side is good, one side is bad, one side is wronged, one side is abusive, but one question is rarely asked: what do the looters and many of these Police internal investigations have in common? The answer is lack of accountability.

Internal Police Investigations

Since the spark for the current conflagration was the death of a person in the custody of the Police, let’s start with the law enforcement sub-culture. There is a tendency among any group to close ranks and defend their own. It’s a common human trait. When a group has great power, influence and authority, and reflexively closes ranks around individuals who commit acts that would be counter to the job description, or even criminal in nature, cries of cover-up and abuse of power will follow.

For the average person, being fired is always a risk as a consequence of failures, mistakes, or accidents. When an employee commits a crime, it is almost guaranteed that termination will result. But when there are police incidents which result in the deaths of citizens or pets, there is the appearance of no accountability. The police can shoot your pet whenever they want, for whatever reason they want. No consequence. After all, it’s just an animal. When the casualty is a person, it nearly always results in the same outcome. The internal investigation finds that procedure was followed. No accountability, no consequences.

In the case of police internal investigations, multiple incidents of misbehavior that go unpunished tend to build up resentment in some communities, with the enhanced accusation of abuse of power. This lack of accountability is in no way isolated to the police and judicial sub-culture. It extends well into the rest of American society.

Fearless looting

Many pundits have commented upon the lack of fear among rioters and looters. How could they steal right in front of vendors and police alike? Wouldn’t someone stop them, possibly hurting them in the process? The answer is that they have no fear of consequences. There is no accountability. They know that anyone who might stop them has been brow-beaten into inaction by our current politically correct and hyperbolic culture.

The looters and rioters know that in reality, and in everyday life for them, there is little risk of consequences from the police. Initiating violence or theft against others is rarely punished, unless the victim fights back. The police will not be there to stop them. The truly tragic interactions with police are rare and random, somewhat like being hit by lightning. It is not the consequence of doing wrong. In the sub-culture that exists in some bad neighborhoods, the real danger is from peers in the area, not from the police. The police are certainly an irritant to them, but how often do they stop actual crimes?

Inevitably, some criminals are caught. And what are the consequences for those under the age of eighteen? A slap on the wrist? A brief detention with friends until a quick release? This sets the expectation of no consequences. Single parent homes, often unsupervised for the most part, also lay the groundwork for a culture with no accountability.

In a larger sense, the kinder, unstructured, everyone is a victim, no one is accountable culture has taken over America. This is not just about law enforcement or inner-city looters. To different degrees, it has infected the entire nation.

Is there a solution?

So what is the solution? Obviously, right, wrong, consequences and accountability are taught at a very young age. This is the responsibility of parents. No amount of money, and no new government programs will solve this problem. It can be argued that government programs which favor and incentivize single parent households have made the situation much worse. Government is not the solution, it is part of the problem.

In our nation’s history, children have learned responsibility and values from a young age. They needed to work with their family to survive. They learned to reap the fruits of their labor, and they found satisfaction in producing something. And with learning the value of their own work, they also learned to value the property of others.

Obviously we do not want to return our children to the hard life of child labor on farms or in factories, but suitable and equivalent learning should be part of the upbringing of children, and teens can certainly do the entry level work that was common not more than a generation ago.

The leisure existence of children and young adults today is unusual in a historical sense, and there are consequences. Often there is no appreciation for the value of anything, especially the property of others, when everything comes easy and free. Combine that with a lack of accountability and no consequences, and entire generations may become severely handicapped in life.

It can be safely assumed that when the mall in Baltimore was being looted, the locals that actually worked there were not involved. They valued their jobs, and they probably looked forward to better jobs in the future. The same can be said about the employees and owners of the smaller businesses that were looted and destroyed. They had a vested interest in the community.

The first solution proposed by government officials will be to spend more money. Unfortunately, this is just more free money that will have no value attached. The community must have sweat equity in rebuilding these neighborhoods. Employ the youth in cleaning up and rebuilding. Train them in construction. Train them in the jobs that will be created when business comes back.

Having the government borrow money from China, to rebuild using imported labor from outside will not solve the problem. It will not have as much value as something created by the local community.

There is no perfect solution. Teens will always be rebellious and full of energy. That energy needs to be directed towards positive growth; the growth of the community, and the personal growth that will come from participation and work.

Cameras and culture change

Is there a solution for police abuse? Once again, there is no perfect solution. Police officers are people, they are not perfect. There will be great ones, there will be bad ones, and there will be mostly average ones. The police culture certainly needs to be changed to be more willing to look at officers as employees, and additionally, employees of the people. Employers have to discipline employees, sometimes firing them. Not everyone is perfect, or a good fit for a particular job.

Some have proposed outside investigations of police misconduct. That might help in specific situations when there is evidence of endemic lack of accountability. But that would not be the first choice, as it would be expensive and may not work depending upon the people involved. Once again, people are people, and the right people need to be employed, and the wrong people need to be let go, including the investigators. No amount of government money and new departments will achieve that. It takes a cultural shift away from the “circle the wagons” mentality and towards a regular employee-employer relationship. And just as importantly, unions need to be involved, if they are truly interested in solutions.

Body cameras and gun cameras have been proposed, and that can certainly help. Compared with the vast amounts of money spent on less useful things in government, it could actually be helpful to both the Police and the community in cases where there is a controversy.

The Common Denominator

What do the looters and police have in common? They have what all of American society now has to one degree or another, a severe aversion to accountability, combined with a new lifestyle of leisure that often prevents personal growth. Children will not learn to respect themselves and the property of others by doing nothing but playing video games and other recreational activities until they are in their thirties. Raising generations of amoral couch potatoes will result in problems, and we are seeing the results in Baltimore. This is a problem that can only be solved one household at a time, and one job at a time.