There’s been a lot of talk lately about the weapons that American police forces use and the way in which they use them. Remember the scenes from Ferguson, Mo., where police, looking more like soldiers than cops, marched through the streets, armed with army-surplus sniper rifles while wearing camo? Many worry that American police now rely more on their weapons and armour rather than honest detective work or dialogue to resolve problems.
Now, I am not against our police having weapons. There are times when they are needed. But they shouldn’t be the go-to solution for every crisis, and they don’t need to be military-grade.
Use-of-force must be in line with the situation and should always be a last resort. Otherwise, innocent civilians can get caught in the crossfire, and distrust and disrespect for the police grows.
The attitudes of “the person with the biggest gun wins,” and “shoot first, negotiate later,” are present in labour relations as well. Unions tend to hold strike votes before they even start negotiations, and companies don’t hesitate to lockout workers if the union doesn’t cede to their demands—no matter how unreasonable. Just ask former Electro-Motive workers in London, who were locked out and lost their jobs when Caterpillar, the parent company, moved Electro-Motive to Indiana.
Employers often aren’t prepared to negotiate until there is a stick hanging over their heads, and sometimes they refuse to allow neutral third parties to resolve disputes. And neither side seems prepared to give up any power.
Work stoppages should be used only as a last resort after all attempts of negotiation have failed. Because in a strike or lockout, no one wins.