By Will Arthur | USA
In today’s times, it feels like at least a few times a year a cop kills a citizen or video footage comes out that a cop killed a citizen in the past. Every time news comes out of a murder like this there are protests and much outspoken opposition: whether marches, celebrities speaking out, or social media banter. Typically, these protests revolve around the idea that the whole police force needs serious fixing and reconstruction because people being wrongly killed by police is a serious problem. In response, Conservatives and Republicans say back to these protests that “one cop does not represent the rest”, “one bad decision does not define the group, or “not all cops are bad”. These responses from the right wing need serious considering. Specifically, the phrase “not all cops are bad”. Is there really a good cop?
Another common argument the right side uses is that cops are only doing their job; they have the best intentions in mind. Cops cannot be blamed for the actions of themselves because they are only taking orders from higher-ups. Cops have the best intentions but can only do what they are told. This idea that cops can get away with terrible actions because they are just taking orders is ridiculous and goes with the saying “if someone told you to jump off a bridge would you?” No, cops should be able to logically think about what they are told to do and determine if the orders are good or bad. They should be held to the standard that every other employee is held to.
There was another side to the argument besides that cops should not be blamed for the orders they follow: cops have the best intentions. This part of the argument may very well be true for many cops. Some may just want to protect and serve the taxpayers the best way they can. While the opposite may also be true for a few police officers.
These arguments may bring another option to the table, however. It may be that yes, most of the people in police officer roles are overall good people and want to do the best for society, but the job/position of being a police officer today is not good for society.
To validate this claim that the job of a police officer may not be good for society we would have to look at where police officer’s orders are coming from. Well, police officers do not technically pledge an oath to a person, but to a thing: the law. Police officers swear to execute and enforce every law passed by the United States government. For a cop’s job to be positive to society, one would have to agree with every single law passed in America. Whether the law is putting people in jail for using cannabis, fining someone for pumping their own gas in New Jersey, unconstitutionally seizing citizens by means of the PATRIOT act, and nearly an endless amount of other unjust laws.
It is not that every single person in the position of police officer is a bad person (even though some definitely are) or that the idea of wanting to protect and serve society is a bad idea. Wanting to protect and serve people is an admirable thing to do. The problem with today’s police force, however, is that they hold the job of enforcing all of the government’s laws and regulations, and many (arguably most) laws and regulations are flawed and unjust. Until the laws are cleaned up and give the citizens their natural rights back the police force will be doing a disservice to society and be inherently bad.