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This week most of the members of Minneapolis City Council agreed to start a process that would dismantle the city’s police department and explore ways to replace it with something new. The announcement comes in the wake of weeks of protest following the killing of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis police department, and years of calls from activists across the country to find a new way to ensure public safety without relying on policing and mass incarceration.

It’s obviously not a viewpoint shared by everyone, and even members of Minneapolis City Council aren’t sure what comes next at this point. But if you want to learn more about why some people are even calling for an end to policing, and what the alternatives might look like, the appropriately titled book The End of Policing by Brooklyn College sociology professor Alex S Vitale seems like a good place to start. And the eBook version happens to be available for free from the publisher’s website at the moment.

Or if you’re looking for something a little lighter, (although occasionally pretty dark), iTunes is selling the complete series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for $10 today. And Twitch Prime/Amazon Prime members can snag 16 PC games for free (the list of currently free titles has expanded since I last wrote about it a few weeks ago, with new freebies including >obverserver_, Project Warlock, Forsaken Remastered, Dream Daddy, The Flame in the Flood, Steel Rats, and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood).

Here are some of the day’s best deals.

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20 replies on “Daily Deals (6-08-2020)”

  1. Lived in 5 major blue cities throughout the last 30 years, all of them have gotten considerably worse. Luckily my career has gotten to a point that I will never need to go back. The phenomenon of “white flight” has intensified this last decade to record proportions, I see it all the time at my job. This is the primary reason big cities have failed & will never come back.

    I like Brad as a blogger but he has no real political opinions, he just repeats whatever liberal blogs & late night comedians tell him to think. Sure, the right may be greedy & unbalanced but their policies create the most stable societies in the world (USA was built on conservative ideals). Liberal policies have destroyed every region it touched all throughout human history.

    1. A few points.

      First — you’ve lived in 5 “major blue cities” and they’ve all gotten “considerably worse”. What got worse? How did it get worse? How do you know that “blue” policies in those cities were ineffective at combating these problems, or exacerbated them?

      Second — you cite the intensification of “white flight” as being a death knell for same cities. Modern white flight is typically construed as white people leaving diversified suburbs and moving to newer, more expensive suburbs as the proportion of white residents falls. How is this going to prevent cities from coming back, especially when most recent data points at young people (millennials and younger) being much more likely to move into, or remain in, neighborhoods and communities with diverse populations? Moreover, how is white flight the “primary reason” why these cities have “failed”? If anything, we should see a dramatic reduction in white flight in the coming years.

      Third — “I like Brad as a blogger but he has no real political opinions”. Fuck you, buddy!

      Fourth — “Liberal policies have destroyed every region it touched all throughout human history.” Sure, ‘ModerationIsKey’ — was ‘FairAndBalanced’ taken? (Please see my comments on “Third”, above.)

    2. Also, just so we’re abundantly clear — stability or progress at the expense of marginalizing or oppressing a group due to their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, etc. is not something to celebrate, but something to condemn. As long as conservative policies lead to these outcomes, they are necessarily incompatible with the fundamental ideals that serve as the foundation of America.

    3. I’m curious to know how you came to that conclusion about where my personal beliefs come from. (Your guess couldn’t be much further from the truth, for what it’s worth).

    4. It’s just as easy to assume you get your news from the typical right-wing propaganda sources and that you repeat what you hear without any thought. Your statement about Brad’s political opinions, which many people here probably share(whatever they are), was ridiculous. So are your conclusions. Stability is a meaningless concept without context.

    1. Still is, if not for some trolling miscreants in the comments section.

    2. Seriously? This is the third post out of hundreds in perhaps the last five years where Brad even tangentially references current political events (on his own personal blog, I might add) and you come here to whine that it’s no longer a tech blog.

      Stop being such a snowflake.

  2. You don’t end policing without a clear plan of something to replace it with. I don’t care how bad some people think it needs to go, however understandable their reasons, you can’t create a power vacuum that gigantic and expect life to become anything but solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
    I’m sure they’re not dumb enough to replace it with total anarchy despite who the Minnesota AG and his son are and associate with. But it is without a doubt the wrong decision, meaningless at best, incomprehensibly deadly at worst. I’ve seen the true extents of hatred people carry these days, and all the directions it acts in, and there are many, not just the ones powerful people have permitted us to acknowledge. There’s no room for optimism in the face of such hatred.
    You want sentences to be shorter? Fine. Replace years of life lost, and spent associating mostly with criminals, with a vasectomy or a few days at the pillory, or doing community service with decent people? Awesome. Stop making so many damn things felonies? Sure! Great! We could all use that! Break up or reform police unions so you can actually fire people who screw up? Wonderful! Have some police for the police? Better than removing them! I’m open to other ideas too!
    But someone has to stop people from doing bad things when they do bad things and bring them forth so that the interruption of their lives might be justified to the public! And unless you want to stop doing that entirely (in which case, I hope you have a rifle, ammo, Level IV SAPI plates, and peace with God), whatever replaces them is going to be so police-like it might as well be police!
    God help us, lest we forget that we have police in the first place because using soldiers, people optimized for war, led to too many innocent people getting killed.

    1. That’s why the council is describing this as the first step in a process. Nobody’s saying they’ll dissolve the police department tomorrow and spend the next few years figuring out how to build a system designed to help people rather than one that’s built to hurt so many.

      The fact that a major American city is willing to even consider this step, though, shows how much the conversation around the systems of police and prisons has changed in recent years.

      I agree that it’s a big step from thinking that police brutality, mass incarceration, and other components “criminal justice” system have become huge problems, it’s hard to imagine a world without police and prisons look like. But at a time when millions of Americans live in justifiable fear of police, it’s clear that something needs to change… and advocates for “prison abolition” largely make the case that we’re asking the wrong questions when we ask things like “what do you do with bad people then?”


      There are some folks who argue that calls to abolish or defund police departments is sort of a bargaining tactic to push for more serious reforms than we’ve ever seen. But as the recent news in Minneapolis shows, some are truly trying to figure out what it would mean to completely replace police departments with different sorts of institutions.

      Personally, I’m very much looking forward to reading the book mentioned in today’s deals roundup to learn more — I snagged my free copy and added it to my Kindle reading list.

      1. I am glad to see the continuation of the libertarian position “911 – For when you want someone to come an hour later to do paperwork (or shoot your dog).” I do not see a ready next step which will serve our cities better than police, and I know that talking about “What will serve since police do not” is a way to get there.

      2. Just to be clear here, I’m only asking “what do we do with the bad people” within the context of the time frame in which they are still doing bad things.
        You can make major changes in the courts, the correctional facilities and practices, the organization of cities, without changing much about the day to day duties of your typical police officer (except maybe regarding police unions, which I know little about other than that, like any union, they would try to keep workers from getting fired), which is what this city is doing instead.
        It’s not fair when people get robbed or their homes broken into, and it’s not like everyone can afford the technology to stop that. It’s scary, known to be deadly, and very disruptive. Don’t tell me you’d think you deserve it! Don’t tell me you deserve a situation where there’s no one around to help you! Don’t tell me you deserve to be put in a situation where you have to fight for you life, health, and ability to help people! When people do bad things, they have to be stopped, and some body has to stop them.
        And a big part of why many people unfortunately have to fear confrontations with the police, is because they are stuck living around and with people who keep breaking the law, and it’s that subset that keeps dragging them all down like crabs in a bucket (and much like the crabs, they often don’t realize or care that they’re doing it).
        To stop that, you have to ask some hard questions about why they keep breaking the law. Is the law wrong? Does the arrangement of buildings encourage breaking the law? Are they spending too much time around criminals after sentenced for breaking the law? Is it because they’re taken out of their communities so their communities can’t try and correct them? What if it’s because there’s no sense of community whatsoever anywhere in 2020, not even among family? I think those last three are bigger contributing factors to high crime rates and recidivism than police brutality, because they cause a culture of criminality and general lack of empathy to develop. Young criminals can be taught by older criminals that cops are bad…because cops get in the way of your business. Also greater than police brutality is the fact that officers often live in a bubble, not really among the community, so even the law abiding fear just talking to them, under the possibility that they might just be arrested to meet some kinda quota. That’s also a problem for prosecutors. And the bigger the city the stronger the bubble can be.
        And there could be other factors as well, but unfortunately, asking questions about a few of them isn’t allowed. But break down the criminal culture, restore the sense of community, try to make the police part of the community who can be talked to, and eventually, police won’t have to be so harsh. But it will take a long time to heal.
        If you don’t fix these things, and get rid of the police, you’ll end up with something else being the police but maybe way worse, under a different name.

        1. Nobody is saying this will be easy, but fundamental changes are in order. American cops kill a thousand citizens every year. Yes, some of those are life or death situations, but armed police forces in places like Germany and France also face dangerous criminals and somehow manage to only kill a handful of them every year.

          The US also has by far the highest incarceration rate in the western world, five times the European average. Whether the cause is drugs, “tough on crime” policies, the legalized extortion that is plea bargains, politicized law enforcement appointments (attorneys, judges, etc), or something else, something has to change.

          And we can’t keep crying wolf or whine about our taxes going toward the undeserving every time we want to try something new, like beef up the parole program, or focus on de-escalation and rehabilitation — things proven to work and reduce the cost of crime.

          But, for the last time, nobody is talking about abolishing the police. You seem to have a lot of worries that this might happen, but rather than spend more time voicing these worries, why not read the free book and other sources that explain what’s really being proposed?

          1. The article linked at the top of this page seems to make it pretty clear that abolishing the police is the intent. The book can talk ideals all it wants, but what matters is what the politicians are actually choosing to do, and they can ignore everything the book says.
            And I don’t think the proponents of this action will be satisfied if the practice of policing continues, performed by some other body, still acting with the intent to enforce the laws that are on the books, still engaging with the same courts and prison system.
            And the prison system in particular is something I think needs to be changed before the police. How can people be rehabilitated when surrounded by nothing but criminals for decades and decades? Maybe I sound like an idiot for thinking of the police and prison system are separate entities, but I think this because I’ve been told that the prisons are typically privately owned whereas police are generally employees of the cities they work in. When reforming different parts of a multi-institute system, you have to do them in the right order for them to work. And it’s foolhardy to pretend that the people the police are called in to interact with aren’t part of this system.
            You know the vast majority (94%) of the people killed by police were armed right? Banning guns, then mandatory buybacks could be argued as the solution to the bulk of deadly police violence instead of eliminating the whole department. The point is there are other solutions that haven’t been tried, and “tried to pass through legislature and rejected” is not an attempt at a solution, it is an attempt at an attempt at a solution.

          2. If the prison system is an issue (and boy howdy, is it ever), it doesn’t matter if it’s privatized or not in this context. The decision to put someone on trial with the purpose of sending them to prison, and for how long, is the sole prerogative of the criminal justice system. If they are fully cognizant of the deleterious nature of prison, and they regularly send people of color to prison at a higher rate–and for longer amounts of time–than their white counterparts, they are still responsible (in large part) for the outcomes.
            As far as prison reform is concerned, it’s been an ongoing discussion for years, but there haven’t been as many high-profile incidents as there have with the police to drive the sort of large-scale movement for reform like we’re having now. I think that now is the perfect time to push prison reform as part of the overall conversation we’re having about the criminal justice system.
            No one is saying that this is going to be easy. Simple, maybe–“get rid of the police” is not an inherently complicated statement–but as you’ve pointed out, there is a lot to unpack with that. There still need to be resources to serve a lot of the functions that police currently serve. But they don’t all need to be armed to the teeth and trained to view themselves as soldiers fighting in a warzone. Some will be armed, sure; we’ll still have a need of SWAT teams and the like. But armed response units should be a resource to be brought to bear when the situation demands it.

    2. Until 2 weeks ago the Dem platform was:

      “No Trump. No wall. No USA at all!

      Now it’s:

      “No police. No Trump. No wall. No USA at all.”

    3. @Some (particularly scared) Guy said:”You don’t end policing without a clear plan of something to replace it with.” There is a clear plan, the police will be replaced with far-left indoctrinated thugs that will pummel you and your family if you don’t do exactly what they say and think exactly like they do. Welcome to Venezuela.

  3. Oh man — Forsaken was a load of fun and my brother and I sank countless hours into the N64 version. Hope the remaster lives up to the memories!

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