Taser, Gun, and Character: What You Cannot Train

I am tired of all the convenient talk of “more training” and other improvements in the formal management of police practices, as if they were a mere problem of technical engineering. They are not. The most important quality of police officers is not the skills they take from the academy to the precinct. It is … More Taser, Gun, and Character: What You Cannot Train

It’s a wonderful life, but not for Ebenezer Scrooge

With all the crises and stress in our family and in the world, we decided to spend a good part of Christmas day watching old Christmas movies. First, we watched the 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring James Stewart, which I had not seen in decades. Then we watched the 1984 version of “A … More It’s a wonderful life, but not for Ebenezer Scrooge

Public Health, Personal Liberty. and the Scourge of Interdependence

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced to the surface some very peculiar ideas about American values. Those values have changed significantly since the explosive century of industrial consumerism. As industrial extraction, production, and consumption expanded through the twentieth century, right up until the pandemic, economic change has transformed the character of the old “rugged individualism” as … More Public Health, Personal Liberty. and the Scourge of Interdependence

Good Cop, Bad Cop: You Can’t Train a Psychopath to be Compassionate, But You Can Destroy a Good Man’s Compassion

The continuing surge of news stories about highly questionable police killings of unarmed civilians, is shocking enough on its own account. The victims are mostly young black or brown men but also women and even children. It is important to keep in mind that this pattern of police violence did not start with the advent … More Good Cop, Bad Cop: You Can’t Train a Psychopath to be Compassionate, But You Can Destroy a Good Man’s Compassion

A Teachable Moment: Criminalizing Everyone

A recent “dust-up” in Santa Fe, New Mexico, between the school district and the police department ought to be an important “teachable moment.” But the opportunity to resolve institutional overreach and get back to basics is likely being ignored. It all started when a highly respected middle-school teacher Marcy Slaughter allegedly threw a paperback book … More A Teachable Moment: Criminalizing Everyone