How Are Safe We?
When killers are finally put to “justice”, for most, there is an immense sigh of relief knowing that they will be able to sleep well at night. However, with hundreds of police officers roaming around in the streets, are people ever really safe? According to the judicial system, yes, that’s what they’re here for. To make us feel safe. So why is it then, that as time goes by, people seem to not just fear the cops, but even view them as killers themselves? That is because the only real difference between a killer and a cop is a uniform.
When someone commits a crime, specifically murder, the ideal is that they receive a punishment that is best suited for them. John Wayne Gacy, also known as the killer clown who raped and murdered at least 33 males, was sentenced to death and executed in 1994 by lethal injection. Bowling Green State University conducted a study on Police Sexual Misconduct (2014). They found that many cases of sex-related crimes were often during work hours, and even had victims younger than 18. They also found that most of these cases went unreported, and why wouldn’t they? Who can one go for help when those who are supposed to make society feel “safe” are the same people causing fear? Michael Medved from U.S. Today tells us to “slow down” because he believes that the cops are the good guys. In an article written and published in U.S. Today, Medved states that statistics from the Bureau of Justice show that crime has reached an all-time low in 1991, and apparently it only continues to decrease. Again, that is most likely due to the fact that not many crimes are reported, especially not those committed by cops themselves. The only difference between Gacy and the cops on the street is that people have an idea about how many victims he had. Society is clueless as to how many rape victims a cop has, let alone how many the entire cops have all together.
Criminal law has a way of separating those who are in danger from those who cause the danger. Of course, there are those who believe the justice system to be corrupt, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Messerschmidt, author of Criminology: A Sociological approach, states that “if a police officer kills someone, the killing is not murder, according to criminal law, if it is reasonable under the circumstances and if it occurs in the lawful execution of police duties.” The loophole here, a cop could simply claim self-defense, it was justifiable since often times officers feel “isolated and vulnerable,” (Medved). Then again, Alton Sterling was on the ground when he was shot by Officer Blane Salamoni, as well as Vernell Bing, shot to death simply because he got outside his car.
There has been an increase in the use of deadly force by the police recently. All over social media, news, and radio, we are constantly watching police kill people, specifical minorities. It is hard to ignore history and view this as a sudden problem that is new to society, it is a song we’ve heard more than once. Yet, we still manage to make the serial killers like Dean Corl, Larry Eyler, Ted Bundy, and Ed Gein seem like the only ones capable of cold-blooded murder. When looking at Jenkin’s analysis (Messerschmidt, 39), serial killers had no more than “350 to 400 murders each year during the 1980s”. According to a site on facebook labeled “Killed by Police”, 1,207 people killed by the police in the year 2015, and according to an article by Dr. Q, called How Many People Have Been Killed by the Police? they had 457 arrest-related deaths. However, the number could most certainly be higher, since Dr. Q expressed his concerns with just how inaccurate the number could be due to the fact that the estimates included in the report “only count homicides committed by police that were determined to be legally justified by a government agency.”
I believe that often, we as a society don’t want to come to the realization that the people who most likely deserve to be inside bars are the ones who are making the arrests. We should watch out for police as much as we do for strangers who are acting funny because the reason cops are more dangerous than any other hate-filled organization out there is that in the end, it doesn’t matter if the cop is black or white. Corruption sees no color, therefore, we are all in danger. Both subjects, killers, and cops, have committed crimes that unspeakable and questionable. The sooner we are able to see the two as similar, the sooner we can come up with ways to put a stop to such corruption.
Mejia, Paula. “Why Cops Get Away With Rape.” Newsweek. N.p., 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016. <http://www.newsweek.com/police-sexual-assault-rape-justice-258130>.
Stinson, Philip M., John Liederbach, Steven Brewer L., and Brooke Mathna E. Police Sexual Misconduct. N.p., 2014. Web. 16 Sept. 2016. <http://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1029&context=crim_just_pub>.
Medved, Michael. “Slow Down, Police Are the Good Guys: Column.” USA Today. Gannett, 21 Aug. 2014. Web. 16 Sept. 2016. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/08/21/police-militarization-ferguson-crime-violence-justice-bureau-column/14307505/>.
Kindy, Kimberly, Wesley Lowery, Steven Rich, Julie Tate, and Jennifer Jenkins. “Fatal Shootings by Police Are up in the First Six Months of 2016, Post Analysis Finds.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 7 July 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/fatal-shootings-by-police-surpass-2015s-rate/2016/07/07/81b708f2-3d42-11e6-84e8-1580c7db5275_story.html>.
Q, Dr. “How Many People Have Been Killed by the Police?” Massachusetts CopBlock. N.p., 15 Sept. 2013. Web. 16 Sept. 2016. <http://masscopblock.org/how-many-people-have-been-killed-by-the-police/>.