Dallas Circa 2016? Or 1966?

black Image of scales on white background with the words, "calibrate the scales" overlaid. As with any set of scales, the scales of justice must, from time to time, be recalibrated. Total balance is never achieved, but all in the criminal justice and legal systems must strive for it as much as possible.

By C J OAKES, July 8, 2016.

By now you have heard the news about the protests and shootings in Dallas, Texas this morning. During what was intended to be a peaceful protest, sniper fire disturbed the event. Police returned fire and by the time both sides ceased fire, at least 11 were injured. Five Dallas officers has lost their lives this night.

One Suspect in Custody…The End is Near

There were two known snipers and police managed to apprehend one suspect. In custody, the suspect ranted that the End is Near. This appeared to be referring to police specifically. The ‘peaceful’ protest was in opposition to the rash of police shootings in the nation over the last decade.

The shootings of often innocent citizens by police the last few years has been sparking protests nationwide. Yet, in reality, this is a global issue. Let us not forget that England has faced several similar protests in recent years as have many other Western/European nations. Just last year, James Boulware shot at a Dallas Texas Police Station from within an armored van.

Could this latest incident spell all out war on police in Dallas? Could this current situation spill into other communities? That possibility does exist.

The End is Near…Revolution was the Word in 1966.

During the 1960s, the United States was embroiled in one protest after another. In city after city, people were protesting civil rights and the Vietnam War. It was a time of unrest in America. And it preceded one of the toughest recessions the nation ever faced.

I mention this because, having lived during both periods, 2016 is taking the same appearance as 1966. At that time, hard won civil rights had become law, sending shudders through the deep south. However, this did not stop the unrest. Vietnam was rapidly becoming an unpopular war by 1966 and cries of ‘Revolution’ filled the streets.

But revoluton is an ugly word in today’s world. So in time, things settled down. No one really wants revolution. But it can be triggered by the most insignificant events.

Something as simple as police brutality.

Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern police said,

“The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police existence, actions, behavior and the ability of the police to secure and maintain public respect.” – Sir Robert Peel, Nine Principles of Policing

In fact, we should note that the first seven of the 9 Principles of Policing according to Sir Robert Peel specifically deal with police/public dealings. This is because Peel understood that repressive measures on the part of government are what cause upheavals in governance.

By the time Peel created the London Metropolitan Police, the British Empire had already lost the American Colonies. In addition, the English were in danger of losing other territories as well. And at home, the English people were becoming difficult to govern. The reasons were all pretty much the same. The use of military forces in the cities.

Military Police and the Public Never Agree

In establishing the London Metropolitan Police (LMP) in 1829, Sir Robert Peel established principles he believed would best-guide the new profession. He wisely understood that one key reason the American Colonies separated from Great Britain was their use of military to police the cities.

Peel also understood that the goals of the military and the goals of the general public do not align respecting security. The military operates in a way that does not mesh with public life. The military is fine ‘over there;’ we do not want it here. Peel knew this.

Yet, by the 1980s, America had begun to lash back at the restless 60s. The protests were viewed as criminal and politicians used fear of crime to garner power. So a ‘get tough’ on crime approach began and is now reaching fruition. The police are now a bit too tough. Society is turning; the police are not. Clash is inevitable.

So it is entirely possible that the Dallas shooting this morning could trigger more unrest. Much depends on how our leadership handles the situation. We’ll be watching this situation closely.

 

CJOakes
at