LJ Cunningham

The United Police States of America Threatens Public Safety

I can’t help but notice patterns of behavior in the government that isn’t just negatively impacting my personal and professional life, but is definitely okay with eliminating certain types of people and arming others.

Post Published: December 11, 2022

Police Don’t Provide Safety In The United States

An alarming showcase of “Police-involved” murders in the recent years have created a very real threat to public safety in the United States. Unfortunately, the more money police get, the more of a threat they become. And as police continue to murder more members of the public, our legislators continue to award departments across the country with more money. The very real threat to citizens’ lives increase.

A Man In Uniform

The first time I felt genuinely unsafe about taking my child to a protest was in 2015, after we’d moved to Columbus.

When my first child was born, we did everything together. I was a single mom before finishing grad school, and after as I began my career as a counselor. My firstborn and I lived alone in Cleveland at that time. Whenever I went to protests, I brought my child with me. Whether the protest was for Planned Parenthood, or Tamir Rice, we were there.

On this occasion in 2015, I’d met up with some friends to protest outside of a venue downtown, at an appearance by the then-future President. Things didn’t get weird until after dark, when police arrived out of nowhere, and started yelling at everyone to get off the sidewalk.

A man in uniform, wearing what looked like riot gear with a camera attached to his helmet, stood in the crowd and turned his head around, as if his job was to film everyone.

The More Money Police Get, The Less Public Safety They Provide

Today I woke up and did what many do: went directly to Twitter to see if today is the day I will always remember when Roe fell. It wasn’t today. Today, we have the Supreme Court ready to protect police, and Stacey Abrams wanting to fund them more.

The Uvalde police stood around, within earshot of a massacre, and politicians are still stuffing police budgets. Imagine if your loved one died in Uvalde because police restrained another cop who was trying to save his wife, or blocked parents trying to save their children. .

Uvalde spent 40% of their city budget on this police department, but I don’t believe it was money well spent.

Across the U.S., more states increase police funding and militarization while simultaneously restricting the autonomy of citizens, to the point that police passively allow the crime of murder to occur instead of taking action to stop it.



Dissociation is a diagnostic umbrella term for experiencing events that don’t feel real.

There are many ways dissociation can occur. It’s a major player in PTSD symptoms; dissociative disorders exist separately from PTSD; and can happen during times of extreme stress. Some forms of dissociation cause events to feel unreal, as if they’re not actually happening to us at all.

A state that doesn’t honor the humanity of all its residents is not a free state. It’s a police state. At this time, a very swift movement to eliminate the lives and quality-of-life for trans people is underway. Across the country, there are nearly weekly attempts to restrict funding for school lunches, insurance reimbursement for healthcare, and sports participation.

Police idle as shooters murder children in school, and politicians petition for greater funding for their departments. Elected officials are handing them money in an enthusiastic bipartisan display that boldly and solidly aligns with the definition of police state. Meanwhile, legislators strong-arming educators into denying America’s racist history, and attempting to rob anyone who isn’t white, a Christian, and cis from personhood.


An Inherent Distrust

As a Ohio resident, I sit in the disquiet. Almost academically, I muse on whether or not I am dissociating because this feels unreal. Or have I simply lived through an incredible series of changes so far in my life?

I’ve never been a person with blind trust in my government. The first election I voted in was the 2000 election, and that guy didn’t win. He still became President anyway.

This is different. Creepier. A more frightening, intimate, fear. More personal. Maybe it’s the legislative attempts at justifying hate and writing it into law that make it so.

I can’t help but notice patterns in the government that not only negatively impacting my personal and professional life, but which also openly seek to eliminate certain types of people, while arming others.

This isn’t easy to process. So I sit, and I notice that. Just feeling the knot in my stomach until it eases itself away.

I look out the window, and see the tree leaves are still green, as they blow in the warm summer wind against a blue sky. This, they call mindfulness. I’m being present, sitting with difficult emotions. I don’t have a plan. But I do know that these feelings are real, and I will sit here with them for awhile.

Another coping skill.


Featured Photo: via RawPixel 



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