Letter: Police behavior reflects US values

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To the editor:

It's not really about the police. In my view; this current iteration of Black lives Matter is about the persistent and deeply ingrained reality that white lives matter more in our society. There are certainly problems that stem from this fact within the nation's police but it is not reflective of causality. Rather, the police reflect the values of our American society. Changing police policies and tactics may offer improvements and save a few lives but major change will not happen until more of us that benefit from white privilege take an honest look at ourselves and acknowledge what we all must know deep in our hearts.

We tend to get the police we demand. For example, in the 1990s, we wanted more police and more jails because of the increase in street violence and drug problems and we got them. We approved of stop-and-frisk because we thought it was needed and after all, it wasn't going to happen to us. We were vaguely aware that people of color were given drastically longer prison terms for drug offenses but didn't do much about it. We gave up some of our right to privacy after 9/11 when we started seeing terrorists on every corner. Was it that long ago that we were thanking police for being heroes?

Now we have cell phone cameras everywhere and we can't look away anymore. We blame what we see as the fault of police and demand change. Are we willing to change, I wonder.

Scott Haskell,

Lenox

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