When it comes to policing, diversity is going to get someone killed

In 2005, Brian Nichols, who was awaiting trial at the Fulton County, Georgia courthouse, escaped and went on a killing rampage that ended when a hostage convinced him to surrender.  What struck me most was that his spree started when he overpowered a female sheriff's deputy, beating her into a coma.  It's entirely possible he could have done the same to a man, but I have no doubt that her being a female facilitated it.  I thought of that sad story when Not The Bee dug up footage of two female police officers in Montreal struggling with a skinny man.

The video from Montreal, I must admit, is incredibly funny.  Two female police officers have a skinny guy up against their vehicle as they prepare to cuff him.  Instead, he shakes them off with practically no effort and runs away.  The women are too slow to chase him on foot, so they race back to the car and chase him — leaving their abandoned handcuffs lying in the gutter.  People speaking what seemed, to my untutored ears, to be an African language laugh hysterically as this plays out in front of them.

I laughed, too.  But the fact is that this ended reasonably well.  Worse things could have happened.  As John R. Lott wrote in 2005, at the time of Nichols's escape, affirmative action (now rejoicing under the name "diversity") has made life generally more dangerous for police.

We older folks grew up in a time when police had to meet size and strength standards.  However, as women pushed to be on police forces and become firefighters, the standards changed:

The problem is that because of large differences in strength and size between men and women, different standards are applied to ensure that there are more female officers. In the Nichols case, the difference was stark: the suspect was 33 years old and 6 feet tall; the female sheriff's deputy guarding him was 51 years old and 5-foot-2.

These same differences in strength requirements benefited minority men as well because some ethnic groups, such as Filipinos, tend, on average, to be smaller.

I have done martial arts on and off for years.  The finest fighter I ever met was a small Filipino man whose speed and strength made him a match for anyone in hand-to-hand combat.  I've known some powerful women, too.  But on the great bell curve of human strength, guys are bigger and stronger than women.  They just are.

As Joel Abbott, in his post about those two police officers, wrote when it came to women who serve, "y'all are awesome so please don't roast me alive" and "mad respect for you women to serve."  In his 2005 article, Lott agreed that women play an important part in law enforcement:

There are extremely important benefits to having police departments that mirror the characteristics of the general population. Females and minorities are important for undercover work. A female victim of crime might feel more comfortable talking to another woman. Women might be particularly useful in domestic violence cases.

The same holds true for minority victims of crime. Minority officers who come from the local communities they are policing might also bring knowledge about the area that makes them more effective officers.

But you can't get around the fact that policing is physical work — and at the end of the day, biological reality is such that, in a battle between an average, or even skinny man, and a couple of average women, the man's going to win every time.  And that is good only for the criminals.  As for the rest of us, sometimes we're going to get a laugh, and sometimes, as happened in Atlanta, a lot of people are going to die.

Image: Female police officers.  Twitter screen grab.

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