Upon reading the title question, there are likely several things that come to mind, most prominently is probably an image of Bill Murray running around NYC in a jumpsuit and oddly shaped backpack. Second, if not the first, is likely the iconic theme song made famous by the original 1984 film.
But then you’d be asking yourself, ‘Why would Murray and his associates, as fictional characters, need to be called? And why by black people?’
To answer this, I give you a clip of a recent interview with NBA great Charles Barkley from this past weekend.
Barkley, as one of basketball’s most famous players, is a featured guest for many NBA related events. In fact, he is part of TNT’s studio analyst team for the sport, making his appearance on “Inside the NBA” for a pregame show only expected.
The topic of conversation, on the other hand, was far from it. And it is his comments on these subjects that have drawn much attention in the days since.
Enter the ever-present national conversation of race and police brutality that seems to be running the nation right now.
Charles Barkley on defunding the police "Who are black people supposed to call Ghost Busters when we have crime in our neighborhood? We need to stop the defund or abolish the police crap" pic.twitter.com/uEIsnX729g
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) September 25, 2020
Barkley noted that he is a little confused. He said he understands that there needs to be some changes or “reform” made. But to “defund the police” entirely? Enter the title question, ‘Who are you going to call when you’re in trouble? Ghostbusters?’
He said, “I hear these fools on TV talking about ‘defund the police’ and things like that. We need police reform, prison reform, and things like that…” But he added that it only really makes sense, and not really even then, for white and rich neighborhoods, where crime is practically nonexistent.
In black and minority neighborhoods, where having money isn’t nearly as common, and crime is much more so, this is far from practical.
This is Barkley’s thought process on the “notion.” “I’m like, wait a minute. Who are Black people supposed to call? Ghostbusters? When we have crime in our neighborhoods?”
Sure, Barkley now lives in one of those wealthy neighborhoods where crime is practically unheard of. But it wasn’t always that way. He, like many of his former colleagues and players, came from not so affluential communities – places where crime is a near-daily occurrence and where the police are pretty much always present. And Barkley knows that it is that very police presence that keeps these neighborhoods from becoming war zones.
If police are defunded and practically eliminated, who will come to law-abiding citizens rescue when something terrible is happening in their front yard or local park?
The political left, as well as many in Hollywood, would tell you that other initiatives would be put in place. And in some areas, this is already happening. As police are being defunded, much of that money is being given to social workers and similar outreaches to help in cases where mental health may be of concern or where trained counselors can diffuse the situation.
And while that line of thinking certainly has some merits and can be useful, like Barkley says, there will be times when a social worker trained to talk about feelings simply won’t be enough. What happens then? Who will come to the rescue?
Citizens in places like Minneapolis, Minnesota, are already realizing the answer to this: no one. They are entirely on their own. Here, where the conversation of defunding the police first began, the city is being swallowed by crime, causing many to ask, ‘where are the police?’
And a recent Gallup poll shows that Barkley isn’t the only black American who has doubts about defunding the police. In fact, according to the survey, which was taken between June 23 and July 6, a whopping 61 percent of all black Americans asked actually like the presence of police in their neighborhoods. Only 19 percent said they wanted to see less police on their streets, while another 20 percent actually said they wanted to see more cops in their communities.
These people, like Barkley, realize that cutting funding or disbanding police, especially in prominently black or other minority communities, will only do more harm than good. Social workers are great and do a heck of a lot of good. But in certain situations, they are no more effective than the fictional Ghostbusters would be.