August 17, 2011
Even as emerging research is revealing that you are more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist, the overwhelming majority of Americans show no concern at all about the rapidly growing police-state. Americans are so concerned about what they believe would happen if there were a lack of government security that they are willing to tolerate the highest incarceration rate in the world and daily incidences of horrific police brutality. “The worst tyranny is still better than chaos,” they argue.
But how much protection do government police actually provide? Very little if you think about it.
Police, overall, are paid the same whether they are pursuing murderers or jaywalkers. Police have no concrete incentive to choose pursuing violent criminals instead of busting harmless pot smokers. Why would a cop risk his life fighting violent crime when he can make the same amount of money ticketing people for having faulty tag lights?
And what are the odds that this cop could actually prevent or stop violent crimes from happening even if he was actively trying to do so? How many rapes have been stopped by a police officer heroically crashing through a window and apprehending the rapist seconds after he’s initiated the act? Police do not become omniscient and all powerful upon receiving their badge and the idea that police have the ability to stop violent crimes is laughable. Their badge may give them magical legal powers, but nothing else.
The idea that police have the wits to smell out and stop violent crimes becomes even more laughable when you consider that most police became police because they were unable to sell their labor and skills in the more competitive private sector, where intelligence, good social skills, and strong work ethics are rewarded. Police departments are more likely to be filled with stupider, lazier, and reckless people who desire a job where it is virtually impossible to get fired and are not likely to contain the brightest minds. Reno 911 is the probably the most accurate portrayal of police ever produced.
The best the police can usually do is show up a half hour later, if they were even called, and do the paperwork.
The rape victim can’t get her tax dollars refunded. The police might arrest her for buying marijuana days later to alleviate depression. She may even get arrested for illegally purchasing a firearm for future defense.
Aside from the frequent cases of police brutality, police produce a negative effect by providing people with a false sense of security. Because there are police on the streets supposedly ready to lay down their life in an instant to save you, people who have faith in police are less likely to lock their doors, possess guns, and take measures to provide for their own safety just as wearing a seatbelt makes a person more likely to drive aggressively.
And there is no reason to expect police services to ever improve. Unlike in the voluntary market, where the failure of a seller to provide a service leads to losses, police can’t go out of business for failing to provide adequate protection and investigative services. Even worse, police actually benefit from crime epidemics because they provide police with justifications to receive more funding.