The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Editorial: Violence must end, reform is necessary

Illustration+by+Amber+Davis
Illustration by Amber Davis

Anyone with access to social media or mainstream news outlets has probably heard about the push to address a serious epidemic America faces.

In 2020, there were only 18 days out of the year that U.S. police did not kill one or more individuals, according to Mapping Police Violence. Talk of police reform has been especially prevalent in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of a former officer last summer.

There have been protests, petitions, fundraisers and phone calls to legislators. So why have things remained static?

Why does the violence still fail to relent? Why is it that just over a week ago, Daunte Wright, a young Black man with a girlfriend and a child, was killed during a traffic stop when an officer supposedly mistook her gun for her taser?

Must every year be spent like this? Protesting the racism and inhumanity that permeates the U.S. criminal justice system down to the marrow of its bones?

According to Prison Policy Initiative, police killings in the U.S. occur more than three times more often than they do in countries such as Canada and Australia.

What’s more, people of color are at greater risk. A Black person, specifically, is three times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a white person, according to Mapping Police Violence, in spite of only making up 13% of the U.S. population.

This is so much more than just “good cops” versus “bad cops.” This is a trend that has cost the lives of countless people.

That includes those who were incarcerated for low-level crimes, losing years of their lives in prison, coming out with a permanent stain on their record that bars them from their rights such as voting.

 A report by The Sentencing Project showed Black people in the U.S. are imprisoned over five times more often than white people are.

This issue of police brutality and mass incarceration is systemic. Reform is needed, and policing is not a replacement for taking care of the underlying issues at the root of crime.

Why not put a greater focus on mending the economic disparities in this country? On addressing the lack of opportunities and resources afforded to underprivileged communities? On providing proper treatment for substance abuse and mental health?

Fighting the symptoms does nothing but put more people in prison, tear more families apart and ruin or end more invaluable lives. Innocent or not, no one should be in mortal danger when they are pulled over for a traffic stop.

When people call to reform or defund the police, they aren’t advocating for a world wrought by crime. Quite the opposite, actually. They’re advocating for a world where the root causes of crime are given appropriate attention.

It is beyond shameful and unfortunate that these violent injustices continue to transpire. It may feel as though hope is gone, but people should not stop making an effort to create change, and the lives that have been lost should not ever be forgotten.

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