April 20, 2018

"First Congregational Church of Oakland... has joined a small handful of like-minded congregations with a radical goal: to stop calling the police."

"Not for mental health crises, not for graffiti on their buildings, not even for acts of violence. These churches believe the American police system, criticized for its impact especially on people of color, is such a problem that they should wash their hands of it entirely," The Mercury News Reports.
“Can this actually be reformed, when it was actually created for the unjust distribution of resources or to police black and brown bodies?” [volunteer leader Nichola] Torbett asked. For her and for her fellow church members, the answer is no – the police don’t just need reform. The police need to be abandoned altogether.

The churches call their drastic approach “divesting” from policing... The project of divesting is organized by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a nationwide organization that tries to get white Americans working on behalf of racial justice....

“It’s a challenging ask,” acknowledged the Rev. Anne Dunlap, a United Church of Christ minister who leads SURJ’s outreach to faith communities. “It’s a big ask to invite us, as white folks, to think differently about what safety means. Who do we rely on? What is safe? For whom? Should our safety be predicated on violence for other communities? And if not, what do we do if we’re confronted with a situation, because we are, as congregations? . . . How do we handle it if there’s a burglary? How do we handle it if there’s a situation of violence or abuse in the congregation?... In the case of interpersonal violence, for the survivors as well as the perpetrators, we want to look at transformative justice... Would a punitive police and legal system actually bring us the desired outcome for everyone involved? What are our actual values? What do our traditions teach us about redemption?”
No mention of the #MeToo movement, which seems to be on a collision course. In this light, notice Torbett's rhetoric about policing "black and brown bodies." Why "bodies"? It seems that women are being called to subordinate their bodies to the even more vulnerable bodies of men — more vulnerable because the violence they encounter comes from the government. And yet it is women who are quoted in the article — Nichola Torbett and Anne Dunlap. For many many years, women were discouraged from calling the police on their men. Are we circling back to that position? How can that be, given the intensity of #MeToo?

One answer to my question "Why 'bodies'?" is that it's the rhetoric of Ta-Nehisi Coates. (Do a search the page for "body"/"bodies" on his Atlantic article "Letter to My Son/'Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage'" and you'll see what I mean.) But that simply restates the question.

63 comments:

AJ Lynch said...

Far left libruls are mentally ill.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Certainly OPD will thank you for not involving them.

Nonapod said...

My first impression is that this seems like a recipe for disaster.

rehajm said...

Ya’ll can stop calling but they’re gonna keep showing up.

Oh Yea said...

I suspect they aren't big on the 2nd amendment for self protection either.

Owen said...

So is it OK for them to suppress evidence of crimes against those who do not (or due to age or infirmity cannot) opt out of Oppressive Racist Etc Justice? Suppose a murder occurs with two victims, one a parishioner who had agreed to this arrangement and the other his friend who had not. Suppose the murderer is also a congregant. The police want to ask some questions. What is the congregation's response?

My impression is that these people haven't thought this all the way through. In fact, my impression is that they are all ready to get on the plane to Jonestown.

Rob said...

The field experiment has already been tried, for decades. Those subsets of society that cannot call on the police, notably criminals (including organized crime) and gangs, rely on their own mechanisms to enforce order and punish violations of norms--beatdowns, cement overshoes and drive-by shootings, to name a few.

Oso Negro said...

My policy is simple - Leave my stuff alone and I will leave your stuff alone. Leave my body alone and I will leave your body alone. Fuck around with me and I will fuck around with you. I have found that this policy, clearly articulated and punctuated by occasional demonstration works wonder to promote peace in my neighborhood. Calling the police usually isn't necessary.

Static Ping said...

So am I supposed to be playing "Imagine" by John Lennon while I read this?

mockturtle said...

They are wise to avoid calling police for mental illness issues unless they want the person shot. I don't blame the police for this situation. They shouldn't have to do psychiatric interventions on dangerous people. It's a lose-lose situation.

rehajm said...

Not ‘Imagine’. Did you remember the theme song from Fantasy Island?

Richard Dolan said...

What about #MeToo, she asks. I'm afraid you're looking for consistency in all the wrong places.

Drago said...

Stop calling the police...and announce that you won't publicly.

Gun free zone...and announce that publicly.

What could possibly go wrong?

gspencer said...

"Lets disarm ourselves and not call the police when we are under threat. Everyone agreed?"

Michael K said...

San Francisco, many years ago, had a similar program. The motto was "7 by 3 by 77" the dimensions of a grave.

They were called "Vigilantes" at the time. I suspect the cops will appreciate being left alone by these fools.

Tommy Duncan said...

I think I'm going to need taller boots...

Quaestor said...

Some Baltimore residents tried this at the instigation of their "community leaders" (Come The Revolution community leaders will be among first rounded up.) and came to regret sorely their choice. Of course, no one blamed the assorted "reverends", "ministers", and "doctors of divinity" enough to curtail their tax-free lifestyles.

Bay Area Guy said...

I know Oakland. I lived there and worked there. For decades.

There's a lotta good folks in Oakland.

But the public high schools are fully broken. 50% drop-out rate.

From this failure, emerges small groups of violent thugs.

The violent thugs are mostly black.

The violent thugs mostly prey on other blacks.

Liberal white weasels enable these thugs and ignore the victims, who are mostly quiet good black folks.

And life goes on.

rcocean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

So, I take it, if these characters see me being robbed or beaten, they will NOT call 911.

Or is this "No police" just for crimes against themselves?

rcocean said...

Combine "No Police" with "Sanctuary Cities" and you might as tell everyone crook in the World to come to Oakland.

OK with me.

madAsHell said...

Does this ring a bell curve?

President-Mom-Jeans said...

These people are retarded and I will laugh when they become victims of violent crime due to their wokeness.

mockturtle said...

Liberal white weasels enable these thugs and ignore the victims, who are mostly quiet good black folks.

Exactly, Bay Area Guy! Black folks are overwhelmingly the most victimized by black crime.

Static Ping said...

The cross to bear for a conservative is to watch supposedly intelligent people come up with an innovative idea that has never been tried before and will solve all the problems, except the innovative idea is actually an old idea that was abandoned because it always failed despite how many "innovators" have tried it over the years. I'm sure anarchy will work this time. I suppose it one way to enforce a vow of poverty.

PRO TIP: If you have copper pipes, have a plumber on call. You'll need him.

FIDO said...

Eh, I see this more as a Sharia type situation: where the community leaders try to create and maintain their own peace force.


I award them no points and may God have mercy on their souls.

Bay Area Guy said...

Here's the ultimate irony.

Housing prices are so high in SF, that white liberal yuppies are venturing across the Bay Bridge to Oakland to gentrify it and bid up the housing prices.

As such, blacks are moving out of Oakland.

Oakland in 1980:

-Blacks 47%
-Whites 39%


Oakland in 2010

-Whites 34%
-Blacks 28%
-Asians and Hispanics 38%

Source

FIDO said...

"Dear Thugs and Drug Dealers. This is a Po Po free zone. The fact that you shoot more of our young men than the cops is perfectly acceptable to us since you are black. Anyway, we are busy setting up for the Venezuelan hell hole you will soon create, so see you soon, and Shatiqua is a bitch...go get her first!"

Skippy Tisdale said...

@ Bay Area Guy

As no doubt you know, there are some incredibly valuable homes in the northern hills of Oakland (just south of Berkeley). Those properties were not gentrified, they were built for rich people many, many years ago.

YeeHaw! said...

Geez, talk about publishing a press release and calling it news!

The same article appears in the Washington Post.

This appears to be some push by an organization called SURJ (Show up for racial justice). Read the article, and you find that this "movement" consists of FOUR churches, of which only ONE is named, and some vague commitments to "recruit" more. Do the three unnamed churches even exist?

Neither the Mercury News nor the Washington Post use a picture of the named church (First Congregational Church of Oakland). Instead, BOTH newspapers use stock photos of run down, rural-looking churches. Different churches, but both run down, and rural looking. Why?

The First Congregational Church of Oakland looks quite nice. Too nice, maybe? The neighborhood looks pretty nice too. There is a Whole Foods across the street. An Acura dealership is nearby. Nice landscaping, both at the church and the Whole Foods. The neighborhood looks clean, safe, and expensive.

For commenters that want to treat this as a real thing, rather than just some puffed up press release by a social change organization, I recommend the following article:

http://paulgraham.com/submarine.html

Gahrie said...

The inner cities need more police coverage, not less.

We need to bring back beat cops who walk the neighborhood and know the people they are protecting.

Sebastian said...

"How can that be, given the intensity of #MeToo?"

Race trumps gender. Sorry.

Michael K said...

" The neighborhood looks clean, safe, and expensive."

That's why they think this is a good idea. A black church in a black neighborhood knows better.

YeeHaw! said...

A second religious organization that is mentioned -- Agape Fellowship -- doesn't seem to be much of a church at all -- the address is in some light industrial/commercial park(maybe. The address doesn't resolve exactly. The nearest set of buildings is the Lincoln Park Executive Center, but it has a different street number) and the website is a facebook page.

n.n said...

Race trumps gender. Sorry.

The leverage created by color trumps the leverage created by sex, because the equal division of women reduces politically exploitable leverage of sex. The former situation exists for gender, or rather transgender.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

"My impression is that these people haven't thought this all the way through."

They only feel: I feel hungry" "I feel horny" "I feel someone should give me money" "I feel you are racist" "I feel you should give me coffee"

YeeHaw! said...

I'm not even sure that the church members actually are all signed on to this. The website for the church states that: "Currently, there is no called pastor at First Congregational Church of Oakland and this triad ministry is disbanded." Hmmm. Wonder what association Rev Anne Dunlap actually has with the church...I thought from the article that she was the pastor, but she isn't.

NONE of the people named in the article seem to be officers of the church or members of the church leadership council, as far as I can tell by reading the website.

Frankly, the more I dig into this thing, the more it looks like a bunch of SJWs put out a press release and two major newspapers publish it as an article.

I think I have dug deep enough to call BS on this "trend"

YeeHaw! said...

What's weird about this article is how this is being treated as a trend, a real thing, by the whole political spectrum. Fifteen minutes of googling (or Bing-ing) shows that it is a ginned up BS pseudo-trend.

But it made both the Washington Post AND the Mercury News. LOTS of chatter about it. There are PR people who DREAM of that type of exposure for their clients.

Teller said...

I hope this "Don't Call, Don't Tell" policy is picked up by the Whole Foods down the street.

buwaya said...

This is mere fashion.
Not religion.

Howard said...

Another safe-space for triggered racists.

Martin said...

This should be interesting... from a safe distance.

Jim at said...

My first impression is that this seems like a recipe for disaster.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

PatHMV said...

If they didn't insist on prioritizing the racial element of this, I'd probably be on board with it. The police training and standard procedures we have today are bad, in my view, and weigh too heavily in favor of officer safety at the expense of community safety. I'm about as white and "privileged" as they come, short of being born to a millionaire's family. I'm a former prosecutor and have a respected job at a respected institution. And I have found myself fearful of police officers, including fearful for my personal safety and that of my family.

The vast majority of cops are, I believe, good, decent, well-meaning people. But there's a chunk of bad apples, and union and civil service rules make it very difficult to get rid of them. Further, their training and standard procedures prioritize them getting home safely (certainly a very important goal) over not shooting innocent people or guilty people who are not, in fact, about to shoot the cops. The training also prioritizes that they demand absolute, unquestioning compliance by citizens, and enforcement of that compliance by force without any effort to reevaluate their initial impressions of the scene.

If I had a mentally disturbed relative who was engaged in some dangerous activity at my house, I would think long and hard before involving the police, because I fear very much that the cops would wind up shooting them rather than finding a non-violent resolution, simply because the disturbed person would not comply with their demands.

This applies in the non-violent realm as well. Given the FBI's penchant of late for prosecuting people for "making false statements" to the FBI (that are not even recorded electronically), I'm not certain that I would even speak to the FBI even if I was just a simple witness to a bank robbery or something.

Ken B said...

Mockturtle
Not black "folks". Black *bodies*. Get with it, white body!

Clyde said...

Carte blanche for criminals in Oakland. I'm sure that will end well.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

“It’s a challenging ask,” acknowledged the Rev. Anne Dunlap, a United Church of Christ minister who leads SURJ’s outreach to faith communities. “It’s a big ask to invite us, as white folks, to think differently about what safety means.

"A challenging ask." Just for lulz, I googled this chucklehead. Yup, higher Clown World credentials confirmed.

Sample: "The sacredness of working to end white supremacy — a conversation with Rev. Anne Dunlap. Quote: "As a spiritual leader rooted in radical Christian tradition and informed by liberationist, feminist/womanist, and post-colonial praxis..."

Hookay, but surely "womanist" and "post-colonial" perspectives are a bit dusty and dated in the world of bleeding-edge SJW-ry? Fear not, perspectives have indeed broadened and deepened: "What is 'effectiveness' that is prophetic and revolutionary...that honors not only human life but all creatures, flora, fauna, mineral, liquid, vapor?"

Michael K said...

But there's a chunk of bad apples, and union and civil service rules make it very difficult to get rid of them.

Affirmative Action bit Los Angeles on the ass as the AAs wound up in the gang unit and the Rampart Division Scandal resulted.

tim maguire said...

On its own? Disaster.

But as part of a larger program, it could improve the community. First, as we all know, police are not there to protect any person, they are there to protect the status quo--to keep the power where it currently sits. Which is great for some, bad for others. (On a side note, in most mass disturbances--protests that get violent, for instance--police tend to heighten the tension and violence, not defuse or disburse it. They are a force for mayhem.)

If this "let's live without the police" program is part of a larger Jane Jacobsesque community responsibilty movement, it could make things better. But that requires some good old fashioned cultural norms, everyone becoming just a little bit the police. And I doubt that's what they have in mind.

William said...

I think a lot of communities get along fine with very little police presence.. I've never had much dealings with the police. The few times I've had to deal with cops qua cops I've been disappointed. They're blunt instruments. You won't find much nuance when you ask for their help.

Michael K said...

"
I think a lot of communities get along fine with very little police presence.."

Those are the communities that don't need police. They are called "law abiding" or "middle class."

The Obama/Holder types thought you could make lower class /violent underclass types into middle class by moving them into middle class areas.

Cart and horse problem, just like selling houses. Even Margaret Thatcher got that one wrong.

William said...

Rwanda offers a fine example of how to handle crime with mass incarceration. Some four hundred thousand people were murdered by their neighbors. When something like this happens, you've got a lot of murderers. Instead of arresting or sending to jail all those murderers, they had Truth & Reconciliation Meetings. The murderers stood up before the assembly, confessed their crimes, and asked forgiveness. How enlightened. The state was able to avoid the cost of imprisoning all those murderers, and the murderers themselves were able to lead useful, productive lives that wee befeficial to the community. Perhaps Oakland can learn from Rwanda 's example. Once a year , the murderers, rapists, and robbers can stand before the community, confess their sins, and, in turn, receive forgiveness and redemption from the community. Win win for everybody.

Char Char Binks said...

"Bodies" because, like the UUs, these "Christians" don't believe in the soul, and because they don't believe black and brown folks have minds.

Michael K said...

Instead of arresting or sending to jail all those murderers, they had Truth & Reconciliation Meetings.

It helped that the murderers were running the country, sort of like 1914 Serbia.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

So...Stop Snitching with a church-y gloss?
Hey, good luck with it, really. I have to laugh at the people who decry the authoritarian methods of agents of the state while the same people explicitly work to give MORE power and authority to that very state.

Anyway the idea that individuals and communities should provide for their own defense is not novel. In many--maybe most--cases the formal police exist as much to protect criminals/the accused (from mob-type violence, vigilantism, etc) as law-abiding citizens.
How'd leftist darling Winnie Mandela & her gang take care of people they suspect of "crimes," again? Yeah...probably could have used some cops.


That "black and brown bodies" tic is something I picked up on waaaaay back, before Coates even, but I agree he's the most prominent user. It's just weird.

mockturtle said...

Angle-Dyne observes: Sample: "The sacredness of working to end white supremacy — a conversation with Rev. Anne Dunlap. Quote: "As a spiritual leader rooted in radical Christian tradition and informed by liberationist, feminist/womanist, and post-colonial praxis..."

Not to offend anyone here but the United Church of Christ is a phony 'church' and they don't worship Christ. They should not be allowed to use His name. False advertising.

Anonymous said...

These fools will find out the hard way why we have police. What they are proposing here is anarchy.

This should prove to be a problem that solves itself. Once the police are gone then all the bad stuff is on them.

buwaya said...

" and post-colonial praxis.."

They wouldn't know "post-colonial praxis" if it whacked them with a bolo.

Unknown said...

I can understand why they do not trust their city government. Oakland's last Republican mayor left office in 1977.

Ken B said...

I shoot William then rape his mother. Next day I confess and am absolved. Win win for everyone. Well, not for William or his mother but hey how enlightened.

RigelDog said...

(( If they didn't insist on prioritizing the racial element of this, I'd probably be on board with it. The police training and standard procedures we have today are bad, in my view, and weigh too heavily in favor of officer safety at the expense of community safety. I'm about as white and "privileged" as they come, short of being born to a millionaire's family. I'm a former prosecutor and have a respected job at a respected institution. And I have found myself fearful of police officers, including fearful for my personal safety and that of my family. ))

I too am a prosecutor and I too am very wary to say the least of encounters with the police. How, though, and you overlook the fact that police ability to investigate certain crimes is irreplaceable? How else to discover the identity of the persons responsible for the string of home invasions involving a certain signature and common fingerprints??

PatHMV said...

RigelDog: That's why it's so vital for the police and their civilian leaders to make significant reforms to police training and, perhaps more importantly, to police culture. We NEED a good police force to keep us all safe, so we don't return to vigilanteism, blood feuds, and the many other dangers from which the fundamental rule of law has protected us.

Rick said...

In ten years police not responding to violence in black neighborhoods at the same rate as white neighborhoods will be presented as proof of police racism. Knowing this is a lie but allowing the accusations to stand will be the "moderate" or "liberal" position.

I feel bad for the victims but unfortunately living in a community dominated by radicals willing to trade your safety to make a political point has some unavoidable penalties.