Category Archives: Labor Unions

How To Improve Relations Between Police and Citizens

Unless you avoid the news at all costs, you’re fully aware of the shootings by police, killing two black citizens, Alton Sterling and Philano Castile, both under highly questionable circumstances.

Alton Sterling (Left), and Philando Castile (right)
Alton Sterling (Left), and Philando Castile (right)

Then Army reservist/Afghan war veteran Micah Xavier Johnson, so enraged by such shootings, murdered several police officers in Dallas in retaliation.

There can be no doubt, that tensions between the governed and the government are at levels that are bordering the animosity that triggered us to war for independence against Great Britain 240 years ago. But how did we get here, and how do we get out?

Facts versus Headlines

It’s fair to say that the media push narratives that get ratings. But while according to the FBI in 2014, most black and white people are killed by people of their own race—89% for the black community, and 82% for the white, they often push a narrative that a young black man is more likely to be killed by a white cop.

There were a total of 444 police shootings deemed justifiable homicide, by police in 2014. Pointing out those deemed justifiable homicide is important to the story, because the concern is that police aren’t prosecuted for such shootings. So for police not to be prosecuted, it means the shooting was deemed justifiable.

The FBI didn’t break them down by race, but even if they were all white cops shooting black victims, which they certainly aren’t, that’s still four times less than the 2,205 black-on-black murders in the same year, or the 2,488 white-on-white murders.fbi-logo-404553[1]

Let’s be clear about that statistic, though. It has little to do with living in violent communities, a narrative that is often asserted. The first clue is that white-on-white murders are very similar.

It actually has to do with people being four times as likely to be killed by someone they simply knew.

See this table from the FBI, also in 2014, which shows that 43% of the time people were killed by an acquaintance or family, compared to 11.5% by strangers. The rest are unknown, but since the dataset is somewhat large, we should reasonably assume that nearly 4:1 ratio would be true for the unknowns as well.

The Attitude Adjustment

We need to change the way we interact with each other.

The police were hired to protect our rights. If one pulls you over or otherwise interacts with you, remember that this person is potentially willing to die for you—treat them accordingly. A little compassion for police who do such a dangerous job would go a long way to improve the exchange you have with that officer.

Credit: inhauscreative Vetta Getty Images
Credit: inhauscreative Vetta Getty Images

But as always, it takes two to tango.

Police are trained to fear the worst and prepare for it in each interaction they have with the public. The most innocent traffic stop could be their last.

But preparing for the worst doesn’t excuse assuming the worst, nor treating them as if they’re the worst. If police want people to respect them, they must first show citizens the same respect they expect from them. If an officer didn’t specifically witness a citizen harming someone, they are innocent until proven guilty—it’s an officer’s duty to act accordingly.

Blame Legislators Versus The Police Where Appropriate

Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat (libertarians already generally know this), when you try to socially engineer society by passing victimless crimes, you cause police to have to enforce those crimes—requiring more police.

This puts both police and citizens in harm’s way; increasing the odds of violent interactions between the two parties.SundayAlcohol[1]

Drugs, prostitution, blue laws, and other such victimless legislation which protect no one—yet risk many, are a huge part of the problem.

If you support passing a law, then you must be comfortable with the notion of putting a gun to the offender’s head and killing them yourself if they violate it. If you’re uncomfortable with this thought, then it’s pure hypocrisy to put police in the situation where they may have to do so in your name.

For instance, if your neighbor were smoking marijuana, would you walk next door, put a gun to their head and tell them to stop or you’ll kill them? Of course not. But if that same neighbor were raping a child, I suspect you’d feel quite differently. This is bad legislation versus good in a nutshell.

If we want to reduce senseless violence, we must first elect someone looking to undo all the senseless laws we’ve passed which trigger senseless violence. Then be sure they don’t pass new ones going forward.

Respect the Constitutiongun-and-the-constitution[1]

I’m in a state where concealed carry requires a permit. So this means I open carry when walking my dog at night, because I haven’t taken the course and applied for that license. I carry in case I get accosted by a miscreant. In so doing, I often worry I might get accosted by the police.

The current scenario is that if a busy-body citizen calls police to report me walking down the street carrying a gun, the police must investigate. They do this because we’ve allowed a litigious culture where police can be held liable for not investigating.

What should happen however is that the police should respond to the caller with, “Carrying a gun is every American’s right. Does he/she appear to be committing a crime? If not, there’s nothing for us to investigate.”

This may seem wrong at first, but the police would do this if you reported someone just driving a car down the street. Driving a car and carrying a gun are both perfectly legal actions that have an intrinsic danger if done so irresponsibly or maliciously. So while at first it may seem like a horrid analogy, they are almost exactly the same.

The reason it feels wrong is simple conditioning by anti-gun people who deem gun carriers as a threat, despite the fact everyone is a threat in some way, and gun carriers aren’t any more likely to harm someone. Most are responsible citizens exercising their 2nd amendment rights just as all of us exercise our 1st.

We then need to pass serious tort reform to preventing civil action against police who don’t investigate someone carrying a gun, on the off chance that person actually harms someone.

Better Community Outreach via Police Training

This proposal is a bit novel and controversial, and I admit it may have unintended consequences. But I like blue skies thinking, so I’ll propose it anyway just to get some creative juices flowing.

Much like we have food stamps to help the needy eat, I think police could use confiscated weapons that are normally destroyed, and start a program with impoverished citizens in bad neighborhoods to protect themselves by donating these weapons and giving classes on how to use them properly.

Of course those citizens would be screened properly for criminal backgrounds like they would for a gun purchase. And yes, it is possible one of those guns may be used in a crime later. But it’s also highly possible that those guns may save many lives of people too poor to buy one themselves, yet absolutely may need one as a result of living in a high crime area.oc_zps62e1c21e[1]

If every good citizen were armed, and prepared to defend themselves against a would-be criminal, we’d have a lot less would-be criminals.

Criminal prey on the weak, but it’s hard to call anyone packing heat, weak. Guns are the greatest equalizer mankind has every invented, turning a feeble grandmother into a Chuck Norris level threat.

Police Need To Eschew The Brotherhood Mentality

Being a Corvette owner, we tend to recognize each other—so much so, that nearly all of us wave at another Corvette owner driving past. Motorcyclists do this too. If you were from Boston, visiting California, and overhear the person next to you say he just “Pahked the Cah,” you’ll almost certainly strike up a conversation with him.

This is because people are hard-wired to bond with those they share commonalities with—it strengthens societal bonds. The easiest way to do this, is to bond over a unique common interest or trait. I say “unique,” because if you were both in Boston, you’d pay the same person no attention whatsoever.

Police know that their work is dangerous, so they form strong bonds among one another so they can be confident they’d have the other’s back, even if they don’t personally know each other—it’s a very natural phenomenon.

But they should be taught that this is a natural emotion, and that they should avoid following it blindly. Much like the placebo effect, while it’s natural, it can do far more harm than good if all skepticism is eschewed.

Violent Crime Rate comparison between general population UCR data and law enforcement population NPMSRP data. Click image for the full article
Violent Crime Rate comparison between general population UCR data and law enforcement population NPMSRP data.
Click image for the full article

This data shows that police are just as likely to commit criminal acts as the general public.

At first, you might think this seems odd, but the police are regular people, not superheroes.

We often hear stories of good Samaritans doing wonderful things. So being a good person isn’t unique to police, nor is being a criminal unique to the general public either.

The reason I say they need to eschew the brotherhood mentality is that police often defend other police who have clearly done unconscionable things.

While at first, a police officer might think defending their “brothers” is the honorable thing to do, but it’s absolutely not in their best interests.

When an officer commits a crime, they violate their sworn oath to uphold the law of the land, dishonoring their noble profession. But it also creates animosity with the public who feel as though police can operate above the law without repercussion.

This hatred and distrust often leads enraged citizens to act violently towards the police, because they feel it the only way justice will be served—putting good cops needlessly at risk, as evidenced by the aforementioned Micah Johnson.

Instead, if an officer is arrested or put on probation for a potential felonious act, police should distance themselves from that person entirely, and make it clear that if the person is found guilty, that person is no “brother” of mine.

They should also be quick to report any criminal acts among their ranks, and clean their own house unmercifully. They will never get the trust and respect of disenfranchised citizens otherwise.

And let’s be honest, if you are a police officer, are you really OK with one of your own committing a murder or unprovoked assault?

Drew Peterson should serve as a shining example of the harm that can come from this blind loyalty. His fellow officers failed to properly address allegations of abuse against Drew when his then wife Stacy Peterson reported him a multitude of times for serious domestic abuse.

Stacy Peterson
Stacy Peterson

It is almost certain that had his fellow officers taken Stacy’s complaints seriously, and treated Drew like any other violently abusive husband—investigating Drew in earnest, Stacy could very well be alive today, with Drew safely in jail where he belonged.

By all means, police should have each other’s backs, but never at the expense of what is right. A criminal is a criminal, whether they wear a badge or a wife-beater, they should be treated with the same prosecutorial mindset.

I could write an entirely separate post on the tactics police unions use to protect police in ways that harm the general public, and destroy the public’s trust in them. They should merely assign the accused a lawyer, and refrain from professing the person’s innocence or any other public statements until that officer is cleared of any wrongdoing.

But once convicted, their sentences should be as harsh as what would be applied to the general public (in my opinion harsher, since they swore to uphold those laws). The slap on the wrist sentence for an offense that would land us regular citizens in jail is surely one of the largest factors in eroding the relationship between the governed and the government.

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Cops Getting Fired Over Racial Tweets: This is NOT A Free Speech Issue

You may have read in the news recently about two Ohio police officers getting potentially fired over very racists texts to one another. One of which said, “I hate n******. That is all.” (I edited out the pejorative, as I prefer not to repeat it.)

Some people are crying out that this is a clear violation of those officer’s First Amendment free speech rights. But nothing could be further from the truth.

While I am the first to complain about our rights being violated every day, this particular claim is one born from a basic lack of understanding regarding our Constitution.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

The first amendment (and all of the amendments in the Bill of rights, for that matter) exists to protect you from prosecution because of something you might say. It does not protect you from having any repercussions from it.

For instance, if the state of Ohio tried to pass a law that said police officers may not engage in any racists discussions under penalty of law; that would be a clear violation of the first amendment. But, that is not what happened here; they were not charged with a crime in any way. They were simply put on leave pending investigation, and may be fired as a result.

Since it’s a separate issue altogether, I will avoid pointing out that the police officer’s union may work to save their jobs. My hatred of labor unions is well documented, so I will just state that I think the unions care little about rights or justice, just benefits to their own. In my opinion however, rights nor justice will be best served if these officers are not fired.

Oddly, the ones complaining about the rights of the officers being violated are actually championing rights violations of their employers instead, essentially making them hypocrites.

For instance, let’s imagine I started a business called Gary’s Gun Shop. Then imagine I had two employees whom I saw at some restaurant on their break. They don’t see me though, and I overhear them saying, “You know, I f***ing hate Marines. I wish every one of them died in combat.”

Owning a gun shop, I know that many of my customers will be current or former military, the last thing I want are employees who hate them. I have a legitimate concern that they will treat them poorly, so I should have the right to fire them, and you damn well bet I would.

Sadly, people often fail to look outside of themselves when it comes to employers. Most people have never owned their own business, and therefore have a hard time empathizing with business owners who do in fact have the same rights they do.

Imagine the police came to your home and told you how to arrange your furniture. Would you be pretty mad? Well business owners own a business, just as you own your home, so it’s essentially the same thing.

SWAT team: AKA People I'd eventually see if I used my 12 year old death trap to give people rides via Lyft
SWAT team

Obviously these officers work for government, which is owned by the people, not a person. But whether the owner of a company is taking disciplinary action against an employee, or it’s just their boss who is making that decision doesn’t matter. A supervisor of any sort has the right to fire you if they have legitimate concerns about how you may do your job in a way that’s inconsistent with that organization’s mission statement.

People often fail to realize that you do not have the right to a job, you only have the right to pursue employment. Whether an employer wants to hire you or keep you as an employee is their right alone. Your right is with whom you choose to accept an employment offer from, and that’s it.

The other issue at play here is a serious issue many people are losing sight of—liability. Once news broke these officers were clearly racists, and specifically stated they hated black people, that information is in the public domain.

If that officer then goes on to carry out their duties against a black person, any policy they might violate would immediately be grounds for a civil suit against the police department he serves. The officer’s racist texts would be exhibit #1 for the prosecution, and it would be an immensely powerful bit of evidence.

The litigants would easily argue that the officer did not act in good faith, use his racist diatribe against him, and blame the police force for not dismissing the officer accordingly, arguing they knowingly kept someone on staff who had the propensity to violate the rights of black people. And furthermore, they’d be right!

Such suits can cost communities, and therefore taxpayers millions. So kudos to this police department for taking swift action. Let’s hope the police union breaks with tradition and sides with justice, instead of opting to protect the bad actors among their ranks—I’m not holding my breath though, they have a history…

Production vs Sales. Let’s redirect our focus for a stronger America

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Read any want ad section and you will notice one thing is abundantly clear. A predominance of the jobs available in the United States are in the field of sales & marketing. This phenomenon has always troubled me.

A salesperson is selling a product, but someone has to produce that product, a process that is surely more labor intensive than selling it. So how can it be that we always need more sales people? Because the production jobs are going away.

I’ll briefly point out that many sales positions are commissioned, so companies often over-hire because they don’t really have to pay salespeople unless they do well. They’re effectively throwing ten darts at once in hopes of hitting a bull’s-eye instead of putting the effort in to being a better dart thrower. It’s both lazy and ineffective. You often damage your brand more than improving your actual sales.

But while advertising is important, it should always play second fiddle to production, let me give an example.

If I were to offer you the car of your choice, cost-no-object, what would it be? All over the world, many of you would choose a Ferrari. Yet, have any of you ever seen a Ferrari television or magazine ad? Likely not.

2014 LaFerrari from Ferrari
2014 LaFerrari from Ferrari

Yet, millions of you would buy one tomorrow if you could afford it, despite never being faced with a single advertisement from them. Aside from their racing efforts and emails, Ferrari doesn’t really do much marketing. People wear Ferrari-logoed clothing and put up Ferrari posters, essentially marketing Ferrari for free. This is genius! You pay Ferrari for the privilege of marketing their stuff, instead of them paying someone to market it for them.

So how is it possible that one of the most desired and recognized objects on the planet does not need to be sold? Because it sells itself, just look at it!

A beautiful design, flawless engineering, a sound that is mechanically orgasmic, and a palpable passion ooze from these machines. This quick video, one of their few actual marketing efforts which will never air on TV, but has been shared (for free) at the time of this posting 5 million times, should illustrate my point.
The lesson here is pretty clear. Too often you see business owners thinking that their issues stem from poor salesmanship instead of poor craftsmanship.

There are certainly bad salespeople, and some turnover should be expected, but marketing in general seems to be where companies want to spend their money instead of research, development, and production. I see (and occasionally have worked for) companies who have incredibly outdated equipment, inefficient internal processes, and products of inferior quality that could be easily updated, but they’ve emptied their bank account on advertising instead.

We’ve all heard the story of The Goose that laid the Golden Egg, this is exactly what many companies are doing. Profit-margin is the holy grail these folks are after, but this is how they kill the goose.

A company with a great reputation will hunt for a more cheaply made product, often in China, and then hope through marketing they can continue holding on to their market share. But once you gut that goose, and people find out you used a respected name to market an inferior product; profit margins may remain high, but overall profits will start to plummet as people take their business elsewhere.

For instance, let’s look at Irwin tools. You may have never heard of Irwin, but you’ve certainly heard of Vise-Grips, and they’re the makers of them. Since 1921, they have been making these pliers that just about every person has in their “tool drawer” at home. Irwin Vise Grips have been a superior quality hand tool for nearly a century, but no more. Irwin moved them to China in recent years as they hunt for greater profit margin.

As a libertarian, I certainly want companies to have the freedom to build wherever they wish to, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s stupid.

These companies are hoping most people won’t notice the loss in quality and continue paying a premium price, but consumers who use products are pretty good at noticing when a product’s quality has been diminished, and it’s insulting. Believe me, I notice the difference—the new Vise-Grips are clearly inferior.

So these days, I don’t mind buying a cheap $5 pair from the local Harbor Freight, because I know they’re probably the same plier at this point, and I’m not paying extra for the Irwin name if I’m not going to get the legendary Irwin quality.

They’re now just another cheap Chinese version no different from all the other copies out there, there’s a good chance they all come from the same factory—China doesn’t exactly believe in intellectual property. We are talking about a country that brazenly opened up an Apple Store that wasn’t actually affiliated with Apple in any way. So it’s not unlikely that the factory Irwin commissioned to make their pliers isn’t selling the exact same pliers to others, literally giving Irwin’s design away to someone Irwin didn’t sell it to.zhuhai-iphone-store[2]

I want to point out that there can be no doubt, with labor unions, overbearing regulations, the highest corporate tax rate on Earth, and the ever-increasing cost of living in the United States thanks to a poor economy, the costs of building in the U.S.A. are ruining our chances of keeping these jobs. Irwin is not completely to blame here.

But if the American people demanded our government ease regulations, get rid of the corporate tax rate (they can’t vote, so why should they be taxed?), and make the concept of manufacturing in the United States more viable again, maybe the want ads will be looking for more than just the next Ron Popeil, and real jobs and quality products will again be a part of the American economy.

Democrats and Republicans: They can be a crazy bunch!

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

In matters of choice, there are two basic options: those made by logical thought versus those made from emotion. As I read about those who attack libertarianism, I can’t help but note that their opinions often eschew logical thought and dive head first down the hole of hypocrisy and illogical assumptions. So with that in mind, let’s explore the hypocritical logic of those who think libertarians are “crazy.” I may use some tongue-in-cheek humor and hyperbole here, but there is a mountain of truth to all of it, the facts are the facts.

  • The media constantly push to infringe our right to bear arms, yet they’d be apoplectic if we attempted to infringe on their freedom-of-the-press rights. They’re welcome to show me where the Constitution indicates one right as more negotiable than another, but I’ve actually read it, it’s not there.
  • The left staunchly support a woman’s right-to-choose regarding something as important as aborting what is arguably a life. Yet they think choosing an incandescent light bulb or a toilet that can flush more than 1.6 gallons of water is a choice people cannot be trusted with. I am pro-choice on all accounts, but certainly think the choice to end a potential life is a decision that is infinitely more important than my choice of household appliances.
  • The left are constantly fighting against hatred and bigotry stating we cannot judge people by their race, religion, sex, etc. They couldn’t be more right—denying the rights of a specific group of people en masse is immoral. Yet they have no qualms with infringing on the rights of those who earn six-figures or more. Apparently, the rich are the new “separate-but-equals”? This should come as no surprise since Democrats have a history of such rights violations with their pointy white hats in tow. Only four Democrats voted to abolish slavery, after all. Hats off to Democrats though, they’ve done a phenomenal job of pinning their own documented history of bigotry on Republicans. While we’re at it,  women can thank Republicans for their rights as well.
  • Democrats will argue we need to improve education in order to win votes—the youth are our future, right? Yet they attack private schools which generally outperform public schools. Then they champion teacher’s unions which have policies like tenure; a system by which teachers remain employed based on their time on the job while ignoring their actual job-performance. I’m curious what would happen if you asked one of them regarding their own children, “If you had the choice of a teacher with documented positive results versus a disinterested teacher just waiting it out until retirement, which one would you choose?” How do you think they’d respond then?
  • Social conservatives claim to be the party of liberty, limited government, and Constitutionality, yet the liberty of homosexuals or those who wish to engage in paid sexual activity where there is no victim, just two consenting adults…well…we can’t give them liberty, they’re sinners. These “social conservatives” should just ask that we change the first amendment from “establishment of religion” to “establishment of religion unless it’s the King James Bible” and get it over with. As long as I’m potentially forbidden to buy liquor on Sundays in this great nation, I do not live in a country free from religious oppression. It is free-ish at best.

    The 1st Amendment
    The 1st Amendment
  • Both sides of the aisle claim to be against government waste, yet have you ever seen a government building? They’re often ornate structures with massively expensive architecture. If they were serious about reducing government waste, city halls would be as sparse as pole barns, if they even existed at all. They could meet at private meeting halls for much less money. I look at the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court buildings, and all I can think about is how much of the cost of those monoliths affects my ability to pay my electric bill each month. While I’m at it, no American branch of government should be permitted to buy statues, paintings, or other decorative items either. How exactly do they serve the people’s interest?

    Library of Congress
    Library of Congress
  • The left tout small business as the people they are vehemently in support of. Yet somehow, when a small business owner gets it right and becomes a large corporation, they have suddenly become evil and should be taxed to hell and back? At what point exactly did they become evil? Was it the part where they had a good idea, wanted control of their own destiny, or just the part where they made a profit?
  • If we disagree with Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, it’s because we’re racist and/or sexist. If we support Thomas Sowell or Ayn Rand, we’re still somehow racist and/or sexist.
  • The left often champion socialist policies like Social Security or single-payer healthcare, ignoring the history which shows the deplorable living conditions and human rights violations of Cuba, North Korea, China, Nazi Germany, or the former Russia, all shining examples of what socialism is when taken to its ultimate conclusion. If the left could supply one example of a socialist nation whose people live in conditions that are remotely as good as those in America, I’ll be willing to talk about the logic of social engineering. They argue that there is a good balance between socialism and capitalism to be met. I like to retort, “then there must be a good balance between a healthy diet and an arsenic diet as well.” They’re usually not amused.
  • A man solely with a law degree, two years of senatorial experience, and no private sector work experience was eminently qualified to govern the United States. Two former governors with a plethora of executive experience and both highly successful business owners as well (Mitt Romney and Gary Johnson) somehow were not.
  • The left will complain about the right’s advocacy of the death penalty and our staunch rebuke of Democratic policies, but then wear a Che Guevara shirt, a man not only famous for executing people who didn’t agree with him, but often for doing so without a trial.
  • The left complained about The Patriot Act, drone strikes, and Guantanamo Bay under Bush. Obama has either carried these policies on, or even grown them, but it’s now magically the right thing to do.
  • When Obama lies about keeping our health care plans, Benghazi, etc., it’s OK because he knows what’s best for us and he meant well. When Bush received what appeared to be bad intelligence in hindsight, and then acted earnestly on that bad info to protect American interests, he should have been impeached and imprisoned. There was never a shred of evidence that Bush knew the info was wrong, making it an error, not a lie. And there is evidence the weapons were simply relocated out of Iraq prior to the invasion. I am neither accepting or rejecting this theory without more info, and I’m not condoning the Iraq war either, but it leaves reasonable doubt about whether Bush was inaccurate on Iraq’s WMD’s.
  • While I could go on forever it seems, let me end it here: Princeton University defines classical liberalism as “a philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets. So what has transpired here? There is a stigma attached to socialism and communism. As such, leftists who are fully aware they are promoting socialist policies have decided somehow to call it liberalism, something big government and non-free markets certainly are not. If socialism really works, let it stand on its merits, don’t lie and call it something it is not. I intend to never to call them liberals again. But to be clear, I won’t call myself one either just to avoid the confusion. That word is dead to me.

A Good Police Officer Is A Humble Police Officer

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

I have a great respect for police officers. Like soldiers, they selflessly put their lives on the line for my safety. But a good police officer is a humble one. They understand that they are not above the law—they are there to serve and protect the citizenry. When a humble and respectable person is wrong, they admit it. More importantly, when they’re wrong, and a 12-year-old kid asks for their badge number, they give it up and show dignity and honor for the job they are charged with. This Las Vegas police officer however, has traded such dignity and honor for a sense of entitlement and a god-complex.US_Park_Police_badge[1]

He did something illegal by parking his motorcycle where a motorcycle shouldn’t be parked unless he had been chasing someone, or doing other official police business that required an emergency parking job. As it turns out, he was getting food/drink and he got called out on his illegal parking by young Jeremy Drew, a kid with a pretty good sense of justice.

If this officer had a shred of dignity, he would have looked at Jeremy and said something like, “You know, you’re right. My sincerest apologies. I was wrong to park here. Here’s my badge number, and if you feel a duty to report me, then by all means, you should do so.” Would the officer had been so kind had I parked my motorcycle there while I got lunch?

Las Vegas PD Officer In Question
Las Vegas PD Officer In Question

Then that officer should seriously reflect on why he became a cop in the first place, and whether he’s serious about defending the Constitution and local laws—therefore not violating them himself. He then should either resign if he doesn’t have the honor to do the job properly anymore, or change his way of thinking and behaving if he does.

Many police get upset when we citizens show little respect for them. To those officers I say this: don’t do actions that are disrespectful, hypocritical, arrogant, or plain illegal, and you won’t usually get disrespected. The corrupt among you, the indifferent among you, and the good officers who do nothing about the bad ones, serve as the main reason respect for the badge is waning.

We all know bad cops are bad, but that’s simply not the whole issue. I understand the idea of the police “brotherhood,” but if one of your fellow officer’s is out of line and you accept it, allow it, and/or condone it, you’re indifference might as well be an endorsement. If it is a crime for a person watching a murder to do nothing (depraved indifference), then you as police officers should also do something to stop your fellow officers when they do wrong as well.

The honor for the badge should be far more important than the honor for the random person behind it. If they don’t respond apologetically and remorsefully—showing clear signs such behavior will cease, then maybe a discussion with superiors or internal affairs is in order.

While most police officers are good, the ones that are doing illegal and/or inexcusable acts are rarely dealt with when their offense is only a misdemeanor like above, and this tolerance of bad behavior is exactly why America has shifted from a country that heralded Andy Griffith to a country that embraces the “F*** the police” mantra so prevalent in pop culture these days.

In another instance, on May 26th, 2012, a Portland Maine law student who remained unnamed by choice, was carrying a sidearm, as is his Constitutional right. A resident with what appears to be little understanding of the rights to carry a sidearm, decided to call the police and report the innocent open-carrier. Officers were dispatched to the scene. See the story here:

Again, an officer was in the wrong, and reacted incorrectly once confronted by a citizen who was in the right. Here’s what should have transpired but didn’t.

  • An officer should have never been dispatched. The person who called the police should have been advised by the dispatcher that carrying a weapon is a legal act and that they cannot dispatch an officer unless it appears there is an illegal act happening.
  • The officer merely did his duty in responding, but he was incorrect in his interpretation of the law. I can forgive an officer for not being in command of the laws like a lawyer—a law degree takes a lot longer to attain than your typical police academy certification. But if someone is telling you the law, and they seem to know what they’re talking about, especially when you don’t, then stop acting like you do. The law student was right, which means the officer was either purposefully being incorrect, or just wasn’t certain and thought he knew the law. Either way, arguing with someone when you don’t know you’re right is pure arrogance. What would have been so hard about saying, “You may be correct, let me check with my superior” or “You’re right sir, my mistake” once corrected by the law student.

There are a litany of videos of police officers abusing their power, these are merely two. The military and police are somewhat similar, yet where the military is revered for its respect and honor, the police are too often not. The one glaring difference between the two is labor unions—soldiers aren’t unionized. When union entitlement mentalities take over a workforce, the workers rarely fear for losing their job. Someone with little fear of getting fired, isn’t so compelled to do the right thing—in government, this is a recipe for abuse.

When legislators, police, and other government employees violate the law, the penalties imposed are usually far less severe than what John Q Public might endure if he committed the same offense. This is fundamentally wrong in a country where “We the people” give power to the government.

Instead, government officials should be penalized more severely. I didn’t take an oath to defend the Constitution, but they did—they know better. If we can’t trust them, who can we trust? And if we can’t trust them, “We the people” who actually have the power according to our Constitution, might as well get rid of them. Would you hire an employee if you thought they would steal from you?

Barney Fife and Andy Griffith from The Andy Griffith Show
Barney Fife and Andy Griffith from The Andy Griffith Show

We voters must vote to rid our government of organized labor so that we can better hold the rule-breakers accountable. But police must start to care about the honor of their profession and police themselves as stringently is they police us. Doing so will yield top quality public servants. Until then, we get the Barney Fifes and/or Joseph Miedzianowskis instead of the Andy Griffiths and Elliot Nesses. We deserve better.

Illegal Organizations Operate Legally, But Why?

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

I wish to lay out some hypothetical arguments to consider before identifying my point in making them—please don’t jump ahead.

  • Let’s imagine that Walmart, K-Mart, Kohl’s, et al. decided they weren’t making enough profit. The companies met and agreed to hike their prices by 10% across the board to address the issue. If they unite together, they can all raise their prices equally, make more money, and the consumer is left no choice but to pay the increased costs. It’s a genius idea for the stores of course, but there is one problem. There’s a name for such shenanigans—it’s called collusion. It is highly illegal because it violates the competitive principle of free-market capitalism.
  • In the world of contract law, in order for a contract to be valid, it must have a quid pro quo. Meaning that if I write a contract that simply said I’d give you a million dollars with nothing in the contract I get in return, that contract is unenforceable—a contract must be beneficial to both parties. Why? Because there’s no logical reason for a person to sign a contract where only the other party benefits. It either implies something illegal that is unwritten,  or someone who is mentally disadvantaged in such a way that they cannot fully understand what they are agreeing to.
  • Standard Oil Common Stock
    Standard Oil Common Stock

    In the 1800’s, as Standard Oil rose to be arguably the most powerful company the world has ever seen, they kept buying up all the smaller oil companies who dared compete with them, making it so no one could get oil unless they got it from Standard. As a result, Standard could charge whatever they wanted, they could treat employees like dirt, and they didn’t have to concern themselves with the quality of their product. Why? Because there was no competition for consumers or employees to force Standard to be better. This is called a monopoly, and is also highly illegal—now. Mostly because of Standard Oil.

  • If I owned an automotive chassis manufacturing business but needed to find an engine builder to help me produce a car I want to bring to market, I would meet with several and begin to work on deciding who best suits my needs. After picking a few who show promise, I’d choose the one I liked best from the group and enter into contract negotiations with them. If none of them were to my liking, no contract would be agreed upon. I’d be back to square one and they’d be out of a job, but at least neither of us entered into an agreement we didn’t want—that’s how contract negotiations work. But more importantly, the option for both parties to walk away is the one and only thing that ensures contract negotiations are fair and mutually beneficial.
  • John Gotti - Famous Racketeer
    John Gotti – Famous Racketeer

    In an illegal tactic known as a protection racket, if I were to say, “You pay me to protect your business or else…” you would either do it, or you risk me destroying your business’ property or physically attacking you. It’s a tactic made famous by organized crime. Such a contract would be a contract signed under duress, also highly illegal and unenforceable. It is similar to the quid pro quo issue, but the people doing the threatening present the act of not harming you as the thing they are giving you in return.

So now that we’ve covered these tactics, why do I mention all of them? Because labor unions violate each one.

How is this possible?

Government officials over time, courting the unions and the powers they possess to help them get elected, have carved out laws to allow these otherwise illegal practices to be employed by unions. In doing so, it gives the impression they are helping the populace, even though the large majority of Americans are actually non-union.

There was a quid pro quo here, but it wasn’t between the unions and the employers who have a contract with each other, it was between the unions and the politicians. The people and the employers merely got the shaft.Bribe

So how do they violate these rules?

Collusion, protection racket, and contracts signed under duress: Union employees unite together to force employers to pay them more instead of competing with each other in a free employment market. They don’t ask for a raise on their individual merits, they demand them as a collective “or else.”

No quid pro quo: They force companies to sign contracts that are beneficial to the union at the detriment of the employer. They insinuate that their quid pro quo is that they provide a good work force to the employer, but if you asked any employer if they wanted a union versus a non-union workforce off the record, I defy you to find employers who would prefer union-workers. Let there be no doubt that if any unionized business was given the option to get out of a union contract and peacefully hire a new non-union workforce, they’d do it without hesitation. The idea that unions provide a service to the employer is a myth perpetuated by unions to overcome the fact that there is not a proper quid pro quo in their contracts. There is no logical argument one can make whereby a contract between an employer and a labor union is mutually beneficial.

Monopoly: No business or employee gets to choose between which union it deals with, nor are there multiple unions competing with each other in an industry. The applicable union a business is compelled to do business with merely dictate they are the ones to be dealt with whether you like it or not. In non-right to work states, they don’t even have a choice as to whether or not to participate as a condition of employment.

Contracts signed under duress: A business owner has no option to just walk away. This is called union-busting, and there are actually laws to prevent it, which effectively strong-arm business into making a deal by legislative force, also a form of duress. Union workers don’t just threaten to quit and find employment elsewhere if their demands aren’t met, they stand outside your business and prevent, deter, and/or interfere with customers and other workers from going in and doing business there. It’s not a Let’s-Do-Business-Together contract, it’s a Do-Business-With-Us-Or-Else contact. 

The list of companies that were made healthier and more profitable by the addition of a unionized work force is so minimal as to be non-existent. Much like socialism, it’s sold as a system designed to serve the greater good, but also much like socialism, I have yet to see an effective example where the greater good has truly been served. Until labor unions are forced to operate under the same rules as everyone else, they continue to be illegal enterprises only made legal by selective legislation—our economy will suffer until American’s elect honorable politicians who care more about the moral high ground than election results and put an end to this.

Public Unions Poll

With local governments scrambling to get money wherever they can, many people are voting down levies left and right. Much of this is due to the costs that are so often associated with public employees who are almost always unionized. So with that in mind, what’s your position on public unions? Are they the problem, part of the problem, or have nothing to do with the problem? Vote now, and as always, please share or re-tweet the poll once completed. Thanks!