If there is a more insightful tract for today’s tangled and tortured times, I don’t know what it is. The War on Cops – How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe was published in 2016, but the message is more relevant today than ever. The author, Heather Mac Donald, is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, best-selling author and one of the most respected thinkers and writers on America’s criminal justice system. She has been covering the issues of policing and race relations for over 20 years and is rigorous in her investigation and analysis of the data.
In the past three months, the attacks on cops and law and order have exploded to levels rarely seen in American history. Peaceful protests have morphed into rioting, looting, shooting, arson, chaos and anarchy. It is traumatizing to see some of America’s great cities, already crippled by pandemic lockdowns, vandalized and set on fire. Courthouses have been trashed, police cruisers firebombed and in some cases, mobs have taken over blocks of cities while governing officials retreat leaving merchants and residents to fend for themselves.
The seeming unwillingness of elected officials to tackle the destruction and chaos erupting in so many cities has further inflamed an already hostile environment for the police and law and order. Some city councils have already voted to reduce police budgets even as crime and turmoil have spiked higher.
The harsh reality is being a police officer in 2020 is one of the most dangerous jobs in America and getting tougher by the day. The vitriol towards the police is extraordinary. Physical attacks on police are on the rise. The turmoil and carnage mounts as militant protestors shout and brandish signs to “defund the police”. Senior police officers are retiring in record numbers and it is increasingly difficult for municipalities to find and hire replacements.
Protecting civil order is the most profound obligation of government and a part of America’s DNA. It was ordained by the Founding Fathers in the Preamble to the Constitution, “to insure domestic tranquility.” Elected authorities must understand the rising risks of disorder and confront the chaos and civil unrest. Having a well-trained, well-funded and highly motivated police force will be the key determinant of success.
Heather Mac Donald has been ahead of the curve with her reporting on policing in America. The War on Cops is an eye-opening look at how America got to this pivotal point with our criminal justice system. Mac Donald peels back the myths perpetrated by political agendas to reveal the root causes of civil unrest and what must be done to reduce crime. As the subtitle of The War on Cops warns, the attacks on law and order have made America’s cities less safe. The book is a great resource and should be mandatory reading for politicians and judges.
To sign up for updates from BPF, subscribe here.