The Jan. 23 edition of The Globe had an article about Sen. Bill Weber being for tougher penalties for those who try to kill a police officer. These bills are no-brainers that everyone likes. When I heard of someone taking over 140 shots at cops over three days when he was surrounded, I thought he should get the proper sentence plus one year for each shot even though he did not kill any officers.
Weber makes the routine point that the police put their life on the line for us. Actually, when I was farming in the '80s, the statistics showed that more farmers per thousand died on the job as did cops. Since then, the number of cops shot on the job has gone down by 30 percent. Both when a farmer dies on the job and when a cop dies on the job, it is very sad that the family has lost a spouse and parent. The difference is that when a cop gets killed, it is also disgusting because another human being decided to kill that person.
When my sister and her husband were teaching Christian school for missionaries' kids in Africa, I asked her if the cops kept them safe. She said the question is, ‘Are we safe from the cops?’ In Minnesota, there is a law that says we cannot prosecute a cop. So when a cop kills someone when it is not in self-defense — such as happened to George Floyd — there is a sense of hopelessness, which causes dysfunction, which causes mental illness and anxiety. When Floyd got murdered while handcuffed (not self-defense), the legislature tried to end the law that the cops can not be prosecuted, but Sen. Weber and his Republican friends stopped that. To make it show as if they cared about justice, they instead passed a bill to make it illegal for cops to use choke holds. But if they can not be prosecuted, they will get by with choke holds as well.
But is Weber actually for law and order? When he was speaking at the legislative debate in Worthington before the November election, he stated that it is sad that when there are riots that we do stop listening to the peaceful protesters. He seems to think that any reason is enough to look the other way when cops do crime. What he said about looking the other way when a few protesters do wrong makes as much sense as when someone thinks all cops are bad just because a few are bad.
When someone has a position of authority, they should have a higher standard and not just get a free ride when they commit crime. We do not want kids to aspire to positions of power just to be able to get by with crime.
While there are problems with cops covering for each other — which is why they have difficulty firing bad cops in the cities — there is proof that there are also good cops that want other cops to be responsible. The proof is that there are more cops that die of suicide while being investigated than get killed by the public. The bad ones wanted power for the wrong reason, and their little world falls apart when they are going to lose that position.