I went on a kick about 10 years ago where I watched Wild West movies. The movies are known for their simplicity and usually feature a small cast of characters, a remote town, and at least one white horse.
Even in these out-of-the-way places you can always count on there being a bartender, an undertaker, and a sheriff. Then, in predictable fashion, some band of outlaws ride in on their horses and cause trouble. Call the sheriff!
I use this story as a backdrop because it seems there's always been a need for a police presence, even in a 10-horse, one-tavern town. Now there seems to be a rallying cry to "Defund The Police."
This call is gaining traction in part because it's so easy to understand. It's like "Build A Wall." Anything that can be said in three words helps with momentum.
When I hear folks talk about defunding the police, my first thought is to recoil in fear. This is not a good idea.
The city of Minneapolis appears to be taking this slogan to the extreme as the Minneapolis City Council has a majority of members, according to reports, who will vote for to eliminate the city's police department in its current capacity.
What Minneapolis City Council members don't seem to have is an alternate plan. Calling up Billy Bob at 11 p.m. on Friday night to bring his shotgun and check on all the commotion at the store is not a recipe for favorable results.
Whether any of these "Defund The Police" protesters want to admit it, we need the police to protect our communities. We may not like the police, especially as we're getting a speeding ticket, but society needs a means to enforce its laws.
We must have a way to keep truly dangerous people, the ones who have murdered, off the streets and behind bars. Otherwise, the result would be chaos and lawlessness.
It's crucial to remember so much of law enforcement is done at the local level. National cries to "Defund The Police" would require reorganization in thousands of communities. Counties elect their own sheriffs. Police departments have their own chiefs. There could be top-to-bottom changes in Woodbury and absolutely nothing done in Manchester.
I wrote in last week's column that I believe our local officers do a fine job with law enforcement in our community. I stand by that statement 100%, but I'm also well aware of the unrest taking place around the nation. I have read the news reports, like many Americans, and I am alarmed at the number of unarmed black men who are killed at the hands of white police officers.
It would be nice to think that when protesters eventually leave the streets and go back to their sofas that we can move toward positive change. No one needs to live in fear because they are black and I believe that does happen in America.
"Defund The Police" is a crazy idea in my book. But we do, as a nation, need to evaluate our officers and agree some agencies must work to do much better.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.