It's not about defunding or defending the cops, it's about redefining emergency services


Since the latest media frame “defend/defund the police” is self-limiting, the discourse should move to redefining emergency services much as “first-responders” has expanded to include those on the “front-line”.

Trumpists just don’t get it, but they will seize on the latest frame much like some celebrities (and IMPOTUS*) can confuse kneeling to signify police brutality resistance with some strange form of disrespecting the US flag.

However, reactionary discourse will try to overtake political movements in an election year. Such outrage fatigue will dog us until November. Remember that only 5% of all crime is “serious” crime.

“Defund the police” fits the bill, especially because the Covid-19 pandemic has made some kind of major reworking of budget priorities essentially inevitable.

Instead of funding a police department, a sizable chunk of a city’s budget is invested in communities, especially marginalized ones where much of the policing occurs.

The backlash from the right comes even as many conservatives begin to accept the premise that African Americans are disproportionately targeted by police. A recent Washington Post-Schar School poll found that 53 percent of Republicans backed the protests, and 47 percent believed police killings of black men indicate broader problems, compared with 19 percent in 2014.

But Trump’s die-hard conservative base is unnerved by what they view as an extreme solution from extreme leftists. To them, addressing the problem by slashing resources to law enforcement is an attack on the central tenet of the Republican Party — law and order — and one that Trump himself is setting up as a wedge issue to bolster his case for reelection in the coming months.…

The concept of defunding the police, as proponents of the movement explain it, is straightforward: Redirect police budgets toward programs addressing broader community needs such as mental health care, housing for the homeless and crime prevention. Further along the spectrum is the idea of either disbanding or abolishing the police force altogether, replacing first responders instead with social workers, mental health providers, and other community figures. At the core of these ideas is the belief that the initial set of reforms widely adopted by police in the wake of the Ferguson protests in 2014 — implicit bias training, body cameras and community engagement — were not sufficiently effective.

In the immediate wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, there is little recent polling on what Republicans and other conservatives believe may be the best path toward police reform, made even murkier by the fact that even pro-reform activists in Minneapolis are still grappling with a tangible plan for a post-police world.

Part of this is predicated on whether systemic racism exists anywhere, and especially in police agencies. The data is far too obvious, considering the disproportion in arrests, convictions, incarceration, and capital punishment. Race Matters.

“Systemic racism” is the new “radical Islam” as NASCAR seems to have moved on with banning confederate flags. Some recall the use of the term, “institutional racism” which comes from a generation of “vicious dogs” and “dominating the streets”. Needless to say there are structural features that still get reproduced on the web.

Institutional racism (also known as systemic racism) is a form of racism expressed in the practice of social and political institutions.

It is reflected in disparities regarding wealth, income, criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power and education, among other factors.. The term “institutional racism” was first coined and first used in 1967 by Stokely Carmichael .

The term “institutional racism” was first coined and first used in 1967 by Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) and Charles V. Hamilton in Black Power: The Politics of Liberation.[1] Carmichael and Hamilton wrote that while individual racism is often identifiable because of its overt nature, institutional racism is less perceptible because of its “less overt, far more subtle” nature. Institutional racism “originates in the operation of established and respected forces in the society, and thus receives far less public condemnation than [individual racism]”.[2] 


Institutional racism is distinguished from racial bigotry by the existence of institutional systemic policies, practices and economic and political structures which place minority racial and ethnic groups at a disadvantage in relation to an institution’s racial or ethnic majority.


Institutional racism’s connections to technology have been an area that has not been sufficiently addressed. In her article “Race and Racism in Internet Studies,” Jessie Daniels writes “the role of race in the development of Internet infrastructure and design has largely been obscured. As Sinclair observes, ‘The history of race in America has been written as if technologies scarcely existed, and the history of technology as if it were utterly innocent of racial significance.’”[185] Sociologist Ruha Benjamin writes further in her book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code that researchers “tend to concentrate on how the Internet perpetuates or mediates racial prejudice at the individual level rather than analyze how racism shapes infrastructure and design.”[186] Benjamin makes connections between institutional racism and racism in technology and notes the importance of future research on institutionalized racism in technology as well as the “technology of structural racism.”[186]…


Emergency Service needs to be redefined for all communities.

Ultimately the economic determinants of emergencies and their preparedness will require calmer conversations, much like the need for universal health care.

“When a particularly challenging emergency call comes in from New York City dispatchers—whether it’s an individual threatening to jump off the George Washington Bridge or a driver plowing a van through a crowd of innocent people on a bike path—it’s the NYPD Emergency Service Unit (ESU) that gets called to respond. Running the gamut of psychiatric, terrorist, and tactical and rescue calls, members of the ESU must be prepared for just about anything.”…

Emergencies do have a wide range and a division of labor, cops to maintain order, direct traffic, secure the scene. EMTs to attend to the medical needs from the scene to the hospital, firefighters to attend to more major physical emergencies. The problem is that so many events require more complex issues, especially in terms often covered in social welfare schools including mental health and behavioral crisis. The latter often moves from the civil to the criminal and more often in situations that have recently emerged, the legal rights of all involved get complicated.

Even as celebrities might be able to afford private firefighting services, most of us don’t live in wealthy enclaves or need to send fuel trucks to gas town or rearm at the bullet farm. Communities should come first, even if we know that for whatever reasons, that racial. class, gender, sexuality, ability, or other issues that plague society. A much larger professional discourse needs to happen in the context of communities, whether rural, urban, or in between. Things have simply gotten more complex with the rise of litigious society and the commodification of crisis as well as harm. We now have an IMPOTUS who believes that lawfare should rule all conflict because arbitration makes you appear “weak”.

Emergency medical service (EMS) systems were developed in the 1960s and 1970s to respond to traumatic and medical emergency conditions in the community and provide life-saving (stabilizing) care while en route to the hospital emergency department.…

There will be mass-casualty incidents (MCI) so scale is important.

While ESU and other emergency response agencies are capable of swiftly responding to an MCI, civilians must have their own safety plans in place before first responders can come to their aid. Every minute matters when taking action (or not) to help fellow citizens during a critical incident.…

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