"Defund the police" doesn't mean defund the police, unless it does

I am relieved to see now that I am no longer supposed to take liberal activists and politicians literally either. The airwaves and websites—even the newspapers, what’s left of them—have been overloaded with experts and journalists acting as interpreters for their left-wing brothers and sisters hollering from the barricades. They take the straightforward words of the activists and translate them into the soothing tones of the op-ed and the think-tank chin-wag. They serve as kind of a reverse version of Key and Peele’s Obama Anger Translator, the hovering id who bluntly expressed the passion that allegedly lay behind Barack Obama’s phlegmatic demeanor…

“For most proponents, ‘defunding the police’ does not mean zeroing out budgets for public safety,” Lopez writes, “and police abolition does not mean that police will disappear overnight—or perhaps ever.”

These are reassuring words until you dwell on them. That ever rings an unsettling little bell. So the ultimate goal is for police to disappear, “perhaps” at some moment in the future? And note that “defunding” might very well zero out budgets for police, just not for “public safety”—a field that will come to include, by Lopez’s telling, therapists, medics, social workers, addiction counselors, and many other traditionally irenic trades. But … any cops in there? That is, the kind of public employees who arrest bad guys? Lopez is hazy on the point. Maybe bad guys will be zeroed out too.