When the smoke clears and we go back to waiting for the next unsanctioned assassination of the “boys in blue” or law abiding POC (People of Color), I wonder if, at any point, these events serve as teaching moments—which will hopefully steer this nation state ship, the U.S.S America, into calmer seas. Unfortunately, I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon. I guess we enjoy hitting icebergs and plunging ourselves into the dark depths of social uncertainty.

As a digital product manager in the media business, I work very closely with content and follow how information is disseminated and consumed. It’s quite extraordinary to see the same narrative and talking points floating around since the days of state sanctioned Jim Crow. Or the reactions from non-POC, somewhat scratching their head as to “What happened?” Rather than go through the standard narrative of “this is racist” or the empty deflective rebuttal of “What about Black on Black crime?”, I think we need to go a bit deeper. We need to explore a bit of psychology and craft a 21st Century narrative of the impact of modern day tribalism and institutional incentives.

Although I’m not a Libertarian, there’s one area of expertise that the Libertarians have been masters at—and that’s understanding the impact of trade offs and incentives. What I’m attempting do is “Praxeology”, but sociological version, and the definition is the following:

the deductive study of human action based on the notion that humans engage in purposeful behavior, as opposed to reflexive behavior like sneezing and inanimate behavior.

In 2012, I wrote a blog post called The Walking Dead: Why Innocent Black and Latino Men Are Killed in America

On some of the points I touch on incentives, and this is the crux of my argument.

As it relates to public policy and social accountability, what incentives have been institutionalized that would prevent police officer(s) from killing another POC? The irony of the shooting in Dallas, is the Dallas police force have recently instituted the type of policies that would lessen police brutality. If rogue police officers are not seen as a threat to the stability of communities of color, then they’ll be allowed to carry on with this behaviour with impunity—which is exactly what is happening. In short, we have incentivized police offers as mercenaries, to kill innocent people on sight. Even the incidents on video have not resulted in any real justice in a court of law.

When I think of “Incentive Theory”, a intangible or tangible reward that is presented after an occurrence of an action, with the intention of the behaviour occurring again, this is the “gift” we have given our worst offenders in the police community.

I have more questions than answers but having aggrieved armed citizens feeling compelled to kill police officers via sniper fire during a public protest has got to be one of the most devastating public policy failures to date. Now that we have reached the tipping point, a new precedent has been set. This is no different than the first suicide bomber, the first mass shooting in America, the first IED to go off in Iraq, or the first time terrorists used commercial airlines as ballistic missiles to take down a building.

If the new normal is to continue to be cognitively dissonant about the injustices that have been institutionalized by corrupt police officers, while the U.S. Department of Justice looks the other way, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what will happen in the near future. As it relates to public policy and social accountability, incentives matter.

If we are prepared to live with this new normal of a dysfunctional incentive structure, the future looks extremely grim. A first step (and an obvious one) is cracking that blue wall of silence within police culture. If the so-called “good cops” are silent, then they are complicit actors to the crime. They are no different than the cops who believe they are hired as public mercenaries to carry out the bidding of the state. (at least it appears that way)

POC will take the law into their own hands because the state has failed them miserably. Unfortunately, violence begets violence. If the state is going to completely ignore the national crisis of police officers executing non-violent and innocent citizens of America, what type of precedent is being communicated to those aggrieved citizens? A horrible precedent, that encourages the same lawlessness that has become de facto policy of the state for the last 100 years.

About The Author

Knowledge Wisdom and Understanding

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.