This morning I am compelled by the events of the day to comment on the evolving situation regarding the police and our society. In the past couple of days there have been shootings by police officers, and shootings of police officers. Naturally, social media is ablaze with all manner of opinions and thoughts. Many of my friends and people I respect are posting short little opinion pieces or memes. I think the matter deserves a more in depth discussion, so I am going to attempt that here.
First let me qualify what I am going to say with a little bit of info about myself. I am white, middle aged, upper middle class, and I have never committed a crime of any type in my adult life. I have interacted with the police on a very limited basis (usually traffic related offenses), and all of those interactions have been resolved without anger, violence, or bloodshed.
Much of the discussion today revolves around the race of the victims of police violence. I will leave that discussion to the people who seek to categorize every event by race. It is not my desire or intent to discuss statistics, profiling, racial disparity, etc. I want to talk about something far simpler and easier to understand. Equal protection under the law.
There is a perception in the general public that the police are above the law. All the way from being let off on parking and speeding tickets, to being let go while DUI, to being able to shoot citizens with the virtual certainty that absolutely no punishment will result. It has gotten to the point now that there are memes on the internet about it. If you want to take paid vacation as a regular citizen you have to accumulate PTO. If a cop wants a couple weeks off with pay…just shoot somebody. Right or wrong, fair or not, this perception exists.
Friends of mine post memes, shared from police groups, stating that if we would simply stop resisting arrest people would stop getting shot. This is utter bullshit. The simple fact is that if one or more individuals approached you on the street and began assaulting you, you would have the natural right to defend yourself. This fact does not change because someone put shiny little badges on the people assaulting you.
The police enforce the law, they are not THE LAW. As citizens of the United States we have constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and various other law enforcement activities. This is because our founders recognized (through experience) the dangers of a corrupt justice system serving at the behest of the heads of state. The police being the first group of people brought to bear against the citizenry in a tyranny.
Let me illustrate my point with a somewhat unlikely, but not impossible, example. For those of you who say we should just obey the police. My purpose being, to demonstrate that blanket statements are not applicable in all circumstances.
So, we should just follow orders and we’ll all be safe…right? Let us imagine for a moment that you get pulled over on some dark country road late at night and the police orders your wife to exit the vehicle and perform oral sex on him on the side of the road. Should she follow that order? Would you sit calmly, and explain to her that he’s the police and she should do as she’s told? I think not. What if she declined and he began assaulting her? Would you “resist” then? And if he shot you while you were resisting, would he be justified in doing so?
What if he says, “Give me $200 and I’ll forget why I pulled you over”? Are you going to obey that order? No? Why not?
The simple fact is, unarmed people of all races are routinely shot, assaulted, battered, and the victims of various other crimes, at the hands of the police every day. Legally armed people are also shot. One cop hollers “gun!” and all hell breaks loose. In spite of the fact that owning a gun in the United States is not a crime, and neither is carrying it (subject to state and local regulations).
In recent years videos have popped up of various incidents of this type. A cop in a median beating the shit out of a homeless woman; 6 cops beating Kelly Thomas to death in the middle of the street; people pinned to the ground and shot in the back; cops stomping on the heads of prone and handcuffed suspects. The list goes on and on.
When we live in a society where one citizen can assault, maim, or kill another citizen and all he or she has to do is mutter some magic words, “I feared for my safety”, and all the charges disappear….that’s a problem. When the system not only fails to prosecute but actively seeks to obfuscate the facts and protect the offenders, it is understandable that the citizenry themselves will decide to address the situation.
I am not advocating for violence against the police, or for any form of unlawful behavior. I am simply stating what I believe to be an obvious fact. The police are public servants, and we are the public. We want law enforcement, not the Gestapo. We want reasonable, rational, police officers to enforce our society’s laws. Not bullies with badges and guns running around thinking they are above our society’s laws. Plain and simple.
Yes, I know the majority of cops are good people doing a tough job. But the simple fact is that many of them are not. Many of them are bad people, on a power trip, and using the “tough job” as an excuse. As long as “The Blue Wall of Silence” exists; as long as “good cops” protect bad cops; this mistrust of the police will continue.
If you want your police department to have good relations with the community it serves, start by policing the police.
If you really want to understand the issue, and in particular where the people with race based arguments are coming from, you can start by watching this video. Because for many of our fellow citizens, this is what happens when you call the cops.
Ask yourself this question. If you, as an average citizen, did any of the things portrayed in this video, would you be charged with a crime? If the answer is yes, then shouldn’t the police officers in these videos be charged with crimes? Badges don’t grant extra rights.
All that said, the cowardly acts committed in Dallas are not “justice”. Individual cops, performing individual illegals acts, should face individual charges and be tried as individuals. Opening fire on any random cop on the street is an act of hate, not justice. And my post is about justice, not revenge.