"A just and free world means a world without police," is the title of the latest post by a blogger for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Purple Wisconsin community blogging project. In this post on her blog "The Collective," Claire Van Fossen writes that police officers don't help anyone, they just oppress people by blaming criminals.
To be clear, the Journal Sentinel hosts the blogs in this section of the Website but distances itself from them, noting that "The opinions voiced here are those of the individual bloggers alone."
Here's an excerpt from Van Fossen's blog post:
"Whether we call them because of a dispute between neighbors or a robbery, a shooting or sexual violence, the police rarely meet our needs. They don't help us heal. And they don't prevent future harm. Rather than serve as advocates for true justice, they use their nearly limitless power to reinforce the oppressive status quo. They threaten us with violence and incarceration and target the most oppressed and vulnerable people in our society. By blaming 'crime' and 'criminals' instead of systemic oppression for society's ills, the police exacerbate societal problems, harm citizens, and bar the people from liberation by maintaining the capitalist social order."
What's interesting is the many comments posted in response that decry her statements – people from across the political spectrum. Readers who identify as conservative and liberal agree that what she proposes is ridiculous:
"All I can say is: WOW. I would bet you she is also not in favor of the public being able to possess firearms to defend themselves. Because without police and guns we would all sit around the campfire singing "Kumbaya" and everything would be well in the world. Whenever I think liberals can't possibly become more stupid, they prove me incorrect..."
"BTW, Claire, you do realize that folks are calling you a 'liberal'? On behalf of actual liberals, I am asking you to stop with the blather - you are giving us a bad name."
One commenter wrote, "Somalia is the best example of what happens when there are no police - just one big, happy family (if your family consists primarily of drug addled teenage delinquents with AK-47s)."
Another wrote, "Claire Van Fossen - making Al Sharpton look like Barry Goldwater."
In her post, Van Fossen also writes, "This year I made a New Year's resolution not to call the police." This implies that she has called law enforcement in the past but will no longer do so. In fact, one commenter writes that he knows Van Fossen has called the police numerous times to lobby complaints. But another commenter advises the blogger that if she truly will no longer be calling the police she had better invest in a security system, because otherwise she might become the target of thieves who know of her resolution.
It seems this outright dismissal of law enforcement as both helpful and necessary has not fanned the flames of anti-police rhetoric, but has in fact pushed disparate people to find common ground and affirm their need, if not appreciation, for the men and women in blue who are working to serve and protect everyone.