What is the cost of a human life? Can you really put a price on it? Should we even put a price on it?
Well, apparently, Sheriff Donny Youngblood of Kern County, California thinks that a human life is worth about $3 million dollars. I’m sure that makes many of the families of the thirteen people killed last year by police officers in his county feel better.
Now, in case you think that I’m making this up, Matt Agorist gives us the details:
In responding to a question posed to him regarding specific areas of Deputy training, Donny Youngblood said, “When a guy makes a bad shoot on somebody and kills them, $3 million dollars and the family goes away.” He continues, “When a deputy shoots somebody, which way is better financially? To cripple them or kill them for the county?”
An off camera interview attendee states, “Kill them.”
Donny Youngblood replies, “Absolutely, because if you cripple them you have to take care of them for life and that cost goes way up.”
This sheriff stands behind his claims too. According to a five-part series by The Guardian, covering police killings in 2015, Kern County’s deputies and police officers are “America’s deadliest police.”
According to the data, the county had more people killed by law enforcement officers per capita than any other U.S. county.
Now, if we take the emotion out of it and are dealing purely with the financial side of things, he makes a point. The appalling thing is that we are even having this discussion. In our world in which more and more people are concerned about police violence and police brutality, police should be thinking more about how to save lives than about how to minimize the financial impact of someone being killed.
It’s absolutely infuriating.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that Sheriff Youngblood’s viewpoint about police killings is similar to the thinking of other police departments with their increases in military hardware and, in some cases, military training for what used to be called a “peace officer” job. It makes you wonder if their job is really to be a peace officer or if their job is to be “law enforcement officers” even if the law is illegal and overbearing.
The kind of flippancy which Sheriff Youngblood seems to hold for the lives of other people is outrageous, and we need to demand better from our elected officials.