Policing and Violent Crime

Which Senators – and Which Congress – Will keep Us Safe?

From a Georgia Voter:  I keep hearing from Republican Senators Loeffler and Perdue that the Democrats want to defund the police. That sounds terrifying to me. However, I’ve heard that President-elect Biden and Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock do NOT support defunding the police. Instead, they say they want to reform policing so that it works more effectively, by allowing it to focus on crime and allowing trained professionals to focus on mental health issues and so on – the kinds of things police are called on these days to address. That makes a helluva lot of sense to me. I have been concerned for a long time that our police force is overextended and they are being asked to solve too wide a range of problems that really reside in our healthcare and mental health systems. This has put everyone at risk. It really is time for a change and that is what Biden, Harris, Ossoff and Warnock are offering, while the Republicans are offering more of the same-old, same-old.”

Do you share some of those same concerns? The phrase Defund the Police has become a lightning rod in this election, entirely – 100 percent! – because Loeffler and Perdue keep landing on it, despite the fact that neither Democratic candidate supports it at all.

Ossoff: In an interview on WSB radio on June 11, 2020, Ossoff said this: “The answer is not to defund police.” He went on to talk about a topic that is all too familiar to Georgians – the militarization of the police. Here’s what he said: “Far too many local police departments are heavily equipped with armored vehicles and military equipment, and when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Policing is supposed to serve and protect – not tyrannize Georgians to the point of actually fearing any interaction with anyone representing Georgia law enforcement. Right? We want strong police protection against law-breaking for sure. But we want to be protected against actual law-breakers – not against law-abiding neighbors who might happen to be of a different race than we are. Listen to him here.

Warnock: While Senator Loeffler continually refers to her opponent as the “radical liberal Raphael Warnock” and makes claims that he wants to defund the police, this debate video shows Warnock responding emphatically: “I do not want to defund the police.” Current and retired Georgia law enforcement officers support Warnock’s candidacy and seek to dispel the notion that he wants to defund the police. His record is clear on this. Loeffler, to her discredit, is lying.

Biden: Should you be concerned that a Biden White House and a Democratic-controlled Senate will defund the police? In a word: no. Biden himself has said he advocates increasing police budgets, along with support for social support and mental health programs.

Bottom line:

Violent crime has dropped by nearly half in the past thirty years. This has been consistent through administrations of both parties. Republican talking points about Democrats being “soft on crime” or unable to deal with crime in America are completely unfounded. The issues of policing and violent crime are often used by the GOP as political weapons that do not address real solutions. The message they are trying to send: fear Democrats above all else. This message has no basis in reality, whatsoever. The facts are all in the data – check it out. The only increases in violent crime in Georgia in the past three decades have come under Republican presidents.

The outcome of the two Senate runoff elections on January 5, 2021 will determine if Republicans will continue to control the Senate. If Ossoff and Warnock both win their races, then the Senate will be split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris will be the tie-breaking vote when necessary. If anything has been proven by the horrific inability of the United States Congress to act during this year of the pandemic, it’s that Mitch McConnell’s chokehold on Congress needs to end. One man, in the Senate Leader position, can stand in the way of 80 million American voters crying out for action, on policing and crime along with so many other issues.

The choice is clear. If you want progress, including on crime and policing, we Georgians have to fire Mitch McConnell from his blocking position. As Senate Leader, he has the ability to trash every good idea that Biden and any Senator from either party might suggest.

We have nothing to fear from a Democratically-controlled Senate, other than the sweet sensation of actual competence, and movement, and improvement, for Georgians and for all Americans. A vote for Ossoff and Warnock will help us build a safer Georgia.