You can remove all crime that has anything to do with being disadvantaged. You still have the tiny percentage of people whose neural networks are broken, irreparably. Some of the most hideous things ever done, were planned by people who’ve had as much learning as the societies of their time could provide. Some were even taught Kant, I’m sure.
Most people are good and don’t need laws against murder at all. Nearly all people can be taught good and wouldn’t need such laws if taught.
Some people don’t. And there’s a tiny enough number of these to leave the essential notion of humans as good undiminished, but a large enough number to make a society without some manner of defense against such as these hell.
After all, the police you describe with such eloquence aren’t the underclass in your model, surely? And yet, even if you poofed them away they’d still be with us, just as rapacious, just as incapable of empathy, just as destructive as you presently describe them as.
This all, of course, entirely avoids the problem of not crimes but, ah, destructive inconsiderations that the police can be a tool to avoid. Such as calling in a noise complaint when a neighbor refuses to tone matters down. Without an external authority, what are you left with? Organizing a shunning campaign? Revenge? Guns at dawn? Swords at a quarter past?
Most countries get along quite well with their police, by and large. This seems an uniquely American problem. And while it is true that some countries don’t arm their police, others do and yet don’t find themselves with quite as many murdered children. Hardly any. None, in fact.
Why? What’s wrong with America? Plenty, in fact, but the chief problem, seen from the outside, is that the police are not just poorly trained (19 weeks is a hollow farce) but trained wrong. They are, in fact, trained to kill kids. Well, the authors of the training programmes don’t likely see it like that, but the whole ‘shoot paper pop-out targets’ business and the stressing of instant fire response (that’s what those courses are for) create people who’ll, even if they are nice, non-violent people, shoot first and then forget what question they meant to pose.
That’s not a defense of murder, of course, just an extension of complicity to the geniuses who decided to give military training to peace officers. It’s okay for the army because they operate in wartime. The expectation of hostility is there. But for a police officer to stroll into downtown Ferguson with reflexes optimized for Fallujah and a military carbine in-hand is to court disaster.
Why was this allowed to happen? Because the police were sent into high-crime areas and told to treat them as if they were an occupying force. Except, they had .38 police specials and the opposition force had whole arsenals. So they got shot. A lot. The turning point was probably the 1986 fiasco in Miami. After that the police arsenals got horrifyingly upgunned (it’s interesting to note that the Ferguson police are one of the users of the .40S&W cartridge which is as hilariously overengineered a handgun cartridge as you are likely to find aside from lunacies like the .50AE) and, crucially, a whole new school of training focused on bringing the officer back home alive started.
Of course, as cold as it is to say, you can’t prioritize the officer going home alive because then the most logical thing to do is to shoot anyone you see as even slightly threatening. And indeed, that’s what the new training is about. To react to perceived threat with instant violence. That’s a horribly stupid thing to teach to people who are meant to work anywhere where there isn’t currently an actual war.
The original error was treating trouble spots as if they needed conquering, forgetting the Peelian principles that are precisely what differentiates the police from yet another gang. Then this error was compounded by optimizing police equipment and training for conquest-policing and then, once the police roll into downtown trying to conquer it, well, it’s amazing how quickly it starts looking like a place that needed conquering in the first place.
This tragic state of affairs is perpetuated by Dave Grossman and his ilk who find a commercial opportunity in the further militarization of the American police. Worse yet, the worse it gets the more people who do want to abuse and hurt and kill will join the police force (which has no fitting method by which to reject them) and the less civic-minded non-violent people will want to join. There is a positive feedback that isn’t leading anywhere nice.
I wish I knew how to fix this, but I don’t. What I do know is that releasing this concentration of maniacs-with-a-mission from whichever strictures belonging to a police force brings is a bad idea. Oh and body cameras. Body cameras are brilliant and should be mandatory and universal.
 Which has culminated (one hopes!) in the absurd trend of giving police APCs with machine guns on. I have the gravest difficulty of imagining a scenario where that ends up a good idea which also doesn’t sound like the plot of a Michael Bay movie.