Whether you’re driving a car, flying a plane, hitting a golf ball, shooting a basketball, one of the worst things you can do as you’re finding your aim, is to overcorrect. If you’re aim is off slightly in one direction and you miss your mark, the natural tendency is to overcorrect in the opposite direction and miss the mark again. What makes people like Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, Steph Curry, Rembrandt, such great skilled artists, is their ability to make subtle, nuanced corrections after a miss, so they can hit their mark on their next attempt – that is where their artistry is, where their true craft lies. The quarterbacks, the golfers, the three-point shooters, the pitchers, the painters who continually fail, are constantly overcorrecting after their mistakes because they do not understand the importance of nuance and subtlety in their craft.
We no longer live in a society of nuance or subtlety. Everything is completely over the top. We see this in our politics where every issue is taken to the extreme, and the opposition is always painted as the most-evil version of themselves. And in a world of that much extreme and excess there is no room for common ground; there is no room for common decency.
In the wake of the FBIs over the top raid on Mar-a-Lago, and after the FBI’s abuse of FISA warrants to illegally spy of US citizens and a Presidential candidate, and after the convictions of citizens involved in an FBI created plot to assassinate Gretchen Whitmer, many people have been calling to disband the FBI, arguing that the FBI has become too big, too powerful, too politicized and too corrupt to continue to exist. And those feelings are understandable, and even justified because nobody wants to live in a country where law enforcement is weaponized against political opponents.
We got to this place with our intelligence agencies because we overcorrected in the wake of 911. There were some major failures within the FBI and CIA which caused us to not be able to prevent the 9/11 attacks, so we gave those intelligence agencies more power to help ensure that those mistakes did not happen again. And as always, when you give people power, they tend to abuse that power. So, the Patriot Act which was an overcorrection to the tragedy of 9/11, has been used time and again to weaponize the FBI not against foreign enemies as it was designed, but against United States citizens. But, if we overcorrect now in the opposite direction in response to the current abuses by the FBI, we will regret it equally as much as our original overcorrection.
After George Floyd’s death while in police custody in May 2020, many Democrats called to “defund the police”, and many of the politicians in our major cities embraced that policy, and stripped millions of dollars from police budgets and greatly reduced their police forces. As a result, violent crime and murders increased by upwards of 140% in many of our major cities. The majority of the victims of that increase of violence and murder have been minorities. The Democrats running those cities overcorrected against the police because of what happened in Minneapolis, and because of that overcorrection, the most impactful legacy of George Floyd’s death is that thousands and thousands of more black people have been killed. Instead of focusing specifically on the police officers involved in George Floyd’s death, people’s wrath and rage was directed at police departments across America, and the result caused more death of the people they wanted to protect than if they would have simply done nothing.
Defunding the police is insanity. If you want to see what a city looks like that completely defunded the police and abandoned law and order, go to San Francisco. There’s human excrement all over the sidewalks; drug needles littering the streets; homeless encampments set-up in every park; crime and violence around every corner; drug stores like CVS are being overrun by mobs of looters who smash and grab everything. Is that the type of city, is that the type of society we want to live in? Total chaos.
Disbanding the FBI is equally insane. How soon after we disband the FBI, will we be hit by a major terrorist attack, killing thousands of Americans? Within a year? Within six months? At some point, terrorists will seize upon our weaken posture and hit us with another attack. Since 9/11, there have been over 30 terrorist plots against targets in the United States that have been foiled either by the FBI or with the help of the FBI. This is not a defense of what the FBI did at Mar-a-Lago or of their spying on United States citizens or of what they did in Minnesota, but it is it acknowledgment that the FBI is an important agency of our national security. Acknowledging that does not mean that the FBI is infallible and uncorruptible, but we can’t overcorrect in response to its current corruption and abuses.
We must rid the FBI of the corruption that is destroying the bureau and hurting our country and get it back to what it was designed to do, keep America safe. And the best way to do that is accountability. When we empower someone in our government, we must be willing to hold those people accountable if they decide to abuse that power. And the best way to hold people accountable is strict and severe penalties. FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith was recently found guilty of falsifying information on a FISA application which allowed the FBI to spy on Donald Trump and his campaign. His sentencing is in December, and the maximum sentenced is 5 years in prison. And that right there is the problem. It is unlikely that he will receive the full five years. A lawyer who falsified information on a FISA application, violating the Constitutional rights of American citizens and compromising our elections should have been disbarred for life and thrown in jail for at least 20 years. Do you think the next FBI lawyer who is tempted to falsify information on a FISA application will think twice about doing so, knowing the extreme consequences if caught? Will any lawyer believe that penalty is worth that risk.
Why can’t we place a high standard of behavior on the people we empower, the FBI agents, the police officers, the politicians, and demand that they live up to that standard, and if they don’t, they’re held accountable. If they violate the law, they sit in prison. The police and the FBI are vital to our security as a nation if they are operating within the law and within their scope of their duties. Until we are willing to seriously hold the people we entrust with government power accountable with severe consequences, all of our government agencies will eventually become fraught with corruption. And the citizens will become that much more cynical about government, and rightly want to defund or disband agencies within the government that are vital to our survival of our nation.
It is a very easy step to go from law and order to a police state, but it is an equally easy step to go from law and order to anarchy. We must be completely on guard and aware of abuses of power at all times. We want to neither live in a police state nor anarchy. The role of the police and the role of the FBI are the same, to promote law and order, to ensure public safety. But right now, the FBI is acting like a police state while the local police are sitting back and allowing anarchy. Neither are acceptable nor should be tolerated. We are experiencing the worst of both worlds, and that dichotomy has been created by the overcorrection to tragic events. At some point, we must act rationally and reasonably, and stop making decisions out of emotion and fear. These emotion-based decisions are where all these overcorrections come from, and inevitably set us up for even more tragedy.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.