Tag Archives: Police

The Power Resides With We The People, Not We The Police

You may have read about a recent incident in Texas where a man, witnessing another man beating up a woman, stopped and drew his legal firearm on the woman’s attacker. A bystander contacted 911 who dispatched police moments later, and the attacker was eventually arrested by police with no shots fired, neither by the hero nor the police (the attacker appears to have been unarmed).

The police went on to say that they commended the heroic man’s actions for coming to the rescue of this woman. But as police so often do, stated that they didn’t want citizens exposing themselves to danger in this way.

This statement has a couple of interpretations.

Giving police the benefit of the doubt, this was to indemnify themselves from the impression that they would promote vigilantism. Meaning, that if they congratulated him entirely, gave him a key to the city, and/or named a street after him, it would encourage others to perform similar acts, one of which, if taken too far, could be felonious. There’s a line between justifiable homicide and murder, but sadly, it’s not like they teach this in school, so many may not know their rights as well as they should.

So taking this a step further, the next would-be hero-cum-felon might then say, “Well, I saw how police praised the other guy, so I wanted to do the same thing.” This then opens police up to a civil suit, arguing that the police encouraged such behavior.

The 1st Amendment
The Bill of Rights

It is upsetting we have allowed our country to become so overly litigious to the point where we’re afraid to speak honestly in such a way, but alas, tort reform is a subject for another post.

However, the other motive for these officer’s comments I most lean toward is the complete lack of hubris they often possess which leads them to believe that because they have went to a police academy and/or have former military experience, only they are qualified to use force to save a life.

I have regrettably never served in our military, nor have I went to any police academy. But I’ve been to the shooting range often, and I know my weapon’s operation well enough for defense purposes in the event use of deadly force were justifiable in a given situation.

More importantly though, I was raised with a set of morals that prohibits me from standing by and letting someone die when I’m capable of saving their life.

One good punch could mean the difference between life and death in a situation like this. I’m not about to roll the dice on an innocent life by calling 911 and hoping the police arrive in time when my partners Smith & Wesson can assist me in putting this business to rest now.911[1][1]

Government often wants us to subjugate ourselves to the men in blue. If I’m committing a crime and get caught in the act, I would agree—you’re busted, take your lumps. But to all the police officers out there who feel I should always comply with them, even when I’m in the right, I want to make a couple quick points.

  • You serve me, not the other way around. I also pay your salary. We citizens entrust you to enforce laws we voted to enact. It has never been our duty to comply with you, it is your duty to serve and protect us, and your responsibility to know the law and operate within it. If you don’t understand and appreciate all of that—you are essentially violating the oath you took when you signed up to be police officer; so resign now.
  • If it were your wife who had been getting beaten half to death, would you still have wanted this man to wait? Or would you have preferred him to intervene as soon as possible? I think we know the answer to this, so don’t be a hypocrite.
  • We have a guaranteed right to bear arms in this country. One of the reasons is because our forefathers wanted us to be free to defend ourselves. If you don’t like an armed citizenry, you can either attempt to get the votes to amend the Constitution, or you can expatriate. Otherwise, accept that you serve in a support role. So long as we have our Constitution, the power lies with “We The People,” not “You the police.” It is not our duty to comply with you. If you are in the wrong, we should not comply. If you attempt to get us to comply with force, you can rightfully be killed in self-defense.

At this time, the hero in question is unnamed, but his actions are highly commendable in my opinion—I’d gladly buy him the drink of his choice. Since this is an opinion website, unlike many police officers I suspect might actually agree with me, I don’t mind saying that I think we should be doing more of this, not less.

Every American citizen, at least the non-criminal ones anyway, should exercise their right to arm themselves. And more importantly, every state in the union should have the same laws on how and what you can defend.blog3

So while I am thankful for the 2nd amendment, I would welcome an addendum to it that reads something like:

The right for the people to defend themselves, innocent others, their property, and their position in space, shall not be infringed.

I feel this language is consistent with the Constitution’s paradigm of being a restriction on government, but I think it would further solidify one of the inherent intents of our Constitution’s second amendment, by taking away the ability of colorful language often used to subvert the 2nd amendment currently.

While there’s no doubt, self-defense wasn’t the only reason we have that enumerated right, and thus why it wasn’t specifically written in to the second amendment, the need for it was certainly understood and part of the equation. So I see no harm in specifically broadening that right. No matter where you are in America, when your life, property, space, or the life of an innocent other is threatened, you should not be wishing your lawyer was present to advise you before acting to save someone, your firearm and general understanding of the law should be all that is needed.

 

 

 

How Do We Get Better Cops? Start By Ending All The Hypocrisies.

With all of the protests lately regarding the police killings of young black men, a lot of people are lashing out at the men and women in blue.

In New York City, protestors were heard chanting:

What do we want?

Dead Cops!

When do we want it?

Now!

While some may assume that being libertarian, I hate the police, the fact is that I don’t. I hate what government has made them become, and that’s a pretty big distinction.ap_eric_garner_reaction_12_jc_141203_16x9_992[1]

First things first, I hate bad cops with a passion. If you’re given the honor of serving your community, you damn well should remember what an honor it is. If you did it for the money or the power, in my opinion, you’re likely a bad cop already.

I feel that police officers who commit crimes should receive more punitive sentencing than the average citizen. Not only do they know better, but they’re people we trust to enforce these laws, and they’ve abused that trust.

They should be held to a significantly higher standard. Instead, they’re often given an opportunity to resign sans any prosecution on things that might put the rest of us in jail. This often lax, or sometimes non-existent, prosecution of police officers who break the law breeds a massive amount of distrust.

But that being said, bad cops are like bad people—a very small minority of the community. Most selflessly put their lives on the line for us every day, and let’s be honest, don’t get much thanks for it. The days of little kids wanting to grow up to be Andy Griffith, Elliot Ness, or Wyatt Earp are long gone for the most part—which is pretty sad.

Wyatt Earp
Wyatt Earp

I am not one to argue that racism doesn’t exist in America, but I will vehemently argue that racism has both been marginalized and has become equalized.

I think that idealistic or fundamental racists like the KKK or New Black Panthers, as well as people who either publicly or secretly hold such hateful views, are easily a small minority. Furthermore, those people are generally pretty quiet about it because they know it’s no longer widely acceptable behavior as it might have been 40+ years ago or more. It’s not like there are polls asking people if they are bigots, so confirming my opinion is difficult.

But also, I believe that the percentage of black people who hate white people has equalized to the number of whites who hate blacks. While I’ve never attacked someone because of their race, I’ve been the victim of racism a couple of times, and I’m white. Only advancements in scientific understanding and critical thinking will eradicate these non-sensical views, and that just takes time.

With each decade, it is painfully obvious race relations improve, so there’s not much need to do anything different than what we are already doing.

Many of the black people protesting against cops however, are doing EXACTLY what they profess to be the wrong thing to do. Their argument, whether you agree or not, is that the police are bigoted against black people, yet in response, they are being bigoted against cops—a blaring hypocrisy.

Assuming a few of these people have been a victim of a crime, called the police, and had an officer respond to assist them, are they now willing to end the officer’s life who may have helped them previously just because he/she wears that uniform?

I get that these people are angry, but if the desired outcome is to be treated as respectable citizens, behaving in a supremely disrespectful way is not going to help that cause.

The second issue is that if these folks are ever the victim of a crime, are they renouncing their right to call 911? Because if they don’t, that’s also being entirely hypocritical.911[1][1]

Throughout all of these incidents, I’ve tried to use critical thought instead of arriving at some preconceived notion. While I admit that I’m a science geek, and therefore tend to think more analytically than most, asking people to exhibit critical thought as a general rule, should not be deemed an unreasonable request.

So where is all this police hatred coming from? While some believe it’s the actions of the police alone, I feel the issue is far deeper than that.

I see the issue as predominately one of an ever-growing policed state. People instinctively want to be free, just as our forefathers intended. Despite the fact that few identify as libertarian, most people tend to agree with the “no victim, no crime” mantra.

Since Libertarians rarely got more than 5% of the vote, it’s well-known that 95% of black people elected politicians who pass the laws they’re then mad at the police for enforcing. A majority are Democrats, but the GOP isn’t entirely innocent here either. They’re effectively their own worst enemy. But again, it’s entirely hypocritical to vote for politicians who promise to pass these laws, then lashing out at police when they’re charged with enforcing them.

So if we want better relationships between the citizenry and the police, I have four easy solutions:

  • Stop being bigoted against cops in an effort to stop them being bigoted.
  • Stop passing laws you wouldn’t support a cop killing someone over.
  • Don’t call 911 when you need a cop, then treat them like dirt when they respond.
  • Stop allowing police to evade prosecution by simply resigning. Pass laws that make it clear, government corruption of any type will be dealt with more severely, not less than that of the average citizen.

It’s really that simple.

How to stop Big Brother – A Constitutional Amendment

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

We’ve all seen them; and we may have gotten a friendly letter in the mail from our local government as a result of them as well. Those infernal speed and/or traffic light cameras.red-light-camera-springfield-ohio[1]

The people who advocate for them say that they are a deterrent to dangerous driving and therefore reduce accidents, but when scientists actually tabulated the results, it turns out those making the “deterrent” argument are often mistaken. big_brother_obama_parody_poster-p228489253510086489tdcp_400[1]

I’m not completely ignorant of the potential benefit of these devices. During the investigation of an accident, all that is truly desired is the truth; these cameras can provide that. If for instance, an accident occurs, and in an attempt to determine who was at fault, the police wish to review footage from a camera, then this is a very good and fair use of such devices.

But when these devices trigger legal action, this is what changes such machines from a technology advancement in investigation towards the ominous Big Brother. George Orwell’s 1984 was not a heart warming story where Big Brother was a robotic June Cleaver after all, I suspect people from almost all political sides were bothered by it.

The reason this is wrong is that it defies the purpose of our government, which by design, exists solely to protect our rights. As such, the point of traffic laws is to ensure people drive safely so as not to harm other motorists, violating their right to life and/or property. The financial penalties should be to help pay for the people to do the work of enforcing traffic laws and to serve as an incentive not to do it again. The government is not a business intended to make a profit, so revenue generation outside the tax structure violates the core of our nation.

So how is a real police officer doing a traffic stop any different from one of these cameras? There are two very important distinctions.

Every day, people manage to drive safely along the highway using the unwritten rule of 5-10 m.p.h. above the speed limit, and they often do so in front of police who rightly determine that as long as people are driving safely, they don’t need to be hassled. But machines cannot make such judgment calls, they are purely indiscriminate.

The second issue is that if an officer on duty sees someone driving unsafely, they will pull them over in an effort to stop them before they harm someone; something I think is often abused, but is necessary nonetheless. There’s never any way to know of course, but it likely saves lives.

A camera doesn’t stop anything however, the motorist continues on their merry way until days later when they receive a letter with their picture on it, if they were driving so dangerous as to likely kill someone, the deed was already done.

So if we understand from the study mentioned above that they are not an effective deterrent, and we know they don’t physically prevent someone from driving unsafely, then their only purpose left in life is investigation, and revenue generation—only one of which should be acceptable.yourspeed[1]

My idea? A “No Big Brother” constitutional amendment. The verbiage would go something like this:

The right of the people to not be policed, fined, or governed by an inanimate object shall not be infringed. Inanimate devices either owned and/or operated by government may not be used as an impetus for legal action.

Governments have already spent millions of taxpayer dollars on these devices, so I’m not suggesting they be scrapped altogether; that would be wasteful. But while 1984 may be fictional, that doesn’t change the fact that these devices are a fairly accurate representation of how something like Big Brother would start if left unfettered. If we endeavor to remain a free country versus a policed-state, that means at some point a line must be drawn.

Our forefathers couldn’t have accounted for this, 1984 was not written or even imagined back then, electricity wasn’t even understood. But this is why they left open the amendment process so that in the future, new restraints on government could be added to fit the times and protect our liberties from an oppressive government, which is the underlying point of the U.S. Constitution.

The line I’m drawing is fairly simple. If  an occurrence needs investigated, use all the technology available to do so. However, if there has been no crime or incident reported, these devices should just be recording information that will be forever ignored.

Our forefathers may not have been able to anticipate a surveillance state, but every ounce of recorded history shows that they certainly didn’t expect nor want the government to be making the king’s ransom.

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.

Contrary To Popular Belief, Laws And Police Rarely Prevent Crime

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

What are laws actually for? If you’re thinking to prevent crime, think again. While I don’t support anarchy, if there’s no laws to be broken, there’s no crime, right?

The legislature writes laws to set a standard for law-abiding citizens to know what will and won’t land them in jail. It’s the best way to ensure fairness in prosecution.

Sure, some of the delusional legislators believe that would-be murderers would pause and think, “I want to kill this person, but Nancy Pelosi says that’s wrong,” but lawmakers with critical thinking skills know better.

Nancy Pelosi (D - California)
Nancy Pelosi (D – California)

Taking it further and speaking in absolutes; a law cannot stop a crime—criminal acts are physical actions. In order to stop a moving object, you need another physical object to interfere. Isaac’s Laws of Motion, remember? But a law is just words on a page and cannot technically prevent anything. A police officer could, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Let me give an example of why this nuance of defining standards is important and what happens when it’s done wrong.

In 1995, after the repeal of the national 55 mph speed limit, Montana passed a daytime “reasonable and prudent” law. In what could be one of the most glorious acts of libertarianism ever enacted, the state entrusted the people of Montana to determine for themselves a safe speed to travel under the conditions at any given time. To many people’s surprise, studies showed that letting people drive as fast as they wanted actually reduced highway fatalities. They got to where they were going faster too.

Montana Reasonable and Prudent Speed "Limit" Sign
Montana Reasonable and Prudent Speed “Limit” Sign

Then on March 10th, 1996, at a brisk 85 mph, along came Rudy Stanko and his Camaro, when Kenneth Breidenbach, a Montana Highway Patrol officer pulled him over, citing him for unsafe driving in relation to speed. See the legal arguments here.

Stanko was initially convicted, but “Reasonable and prudent” wasn’t properly written, making Stanko the victim of bad law.

Stanko’s attorneys appealed, stating that the “reasonable and prudent” statute was constitutionally vague—they were right. The judge agreed that a person cannot be cited for not driving reasonably and prudently unless the state first defines reasonable and prudent, which it hadn’t. As such, Stanko had no way of knowing if he was doing something that would earn him a ticket, and thus no way to avoid doing it.

Although I hated to see the Montanabahn go, we cannot allow police officers and courts to arbitrarily decide why one person doing 85 is OK, and the other is not. Why? Officer Ken or Justice Joe, for instance, could cite their cheating ex-girlfriends at will for something they let everyone else get away with—I assume you get the point.

As a libertarian (and a Corvette owner), I of course hoped that Montana would have attempted to define reasonable and prudent, which I concede may have been monumentally difficult, but instead, they reverted back to an actual speed limit of 75 mph, and this great bastion of libertarianism died a sad yet preventable death.

So now that I’ve illustrated the purpose of laws and what a good law does, to be fair, I should point out that some laws may serve as a deterrent. However, crimes of a violent nature are also usually crimes of passion, which are usually only preventable with a weapon, not a law.

So do police prevent crime?

Think about all the times you might call the police. More often than not, they are called because either a crime is in progress or has been committed. Also, when police pull someone over, they are doing so because a traffic law has been broken, not because you were about to run a red light—which was clearly still yellow—dammit.

In both instances, the crime is investigated and/or prosecuted, not prevented. It is a very rare occasion you would call the police before a crime is perpetrated and the police would intervene to stop the act before it was able to be carried out. EC689123235C04BEBFE698A4CC_h231_w308_m5_caksoayGp[1]

Again to be fair though, as evidenced by high rates of recidivism, when police arrest someone who committed one crime, they are often preventing the next one on that felon’s “to-do” list.

To all police officers, if you’re one of the many honorable and law-abiding people putting your life at risk for me on a daily basis, I appreciate you immensely—as we all should. So please don’t assume I’m criticizing your sacrifices.

But I believe preventing crime is ultimately a duty of the people. This is one of the many reasons why we have the 2nd amendment and why we all should be more apt to take advantage of it. We should encourage citizen-based crime prevention options, and stand your ground legislation should be nationwide. If a criminal knew most of the neighborhood was armed and would gladly shoot them without repercussion, the innate sense of self-preservation might just override the desire to steal your car stereo—it is not worth dying for.

As far as the police go, I firmly believe that as a nation we should have far less police officers in favor of more police detectives. I don’t blame the officers themselves, they’re just doing a job, but too often the police serve as a means of income for the community via traffic enforcement instead of preventing and solving crime, and this isn’t in the people’s best interests.

So how do we prevent crime then? As you may have imagined, I have some suggestions. Here’s but a few:

  1. Stop writing unneeded laws: I won’t go deep into the drug debate here, but it is a perfect example. Most violent drug-related crimes occur because recreational drugs are illegal. This idea was proven beyond any doubt during alcohol prohibition and its subsequent repeal approximately 80 years ago. Deep within our nature exists a truism: if you encroach on mankind’s freedom, we will lash out—sometimes quite violently. Don’t believe me, tell your kid not to do something, see what happens.YourSpeed
  2. Reign in entitlements: As long as we’re paying welfare mothers to have welfare babies that serve more as a source of income than an outlet for an abundance of motherly love, we’re going to have children who grow up with little to no sense of morality. If I feel I’m entitled to your car, I’ll likely just take it? However, if we force people to sink or swim, we’ll have a lot more people who develop a good work ethic. People who work for things appreciate them and don’t feel compelled to take what others worked for due to another innate quality in most humans—empathy.
  3. Improve education: Get rid of teacher’s unions, public schools, etc., and have proper free market education. If free markets can make a better car, and I think Russia vs. America proved this, then it can build a better school too. Studies have shown private schools routinely outperform their public counterparts. One look at any prison shows that most of the people in there can’t even spell incarceration. Sure there are genius criminal minds, but contrary to Hollywood hype, they’re not as common as you would think. A smarter society is usually a more peaceful one, whereas most criminals are idiots.
  4. Improve the economy: Some criminals are psychopaths, but some criminals are just desperate. Psychopaths will commit crimes as long as they are free, but with a strong economy, you at least reduce the crimes of desperation.

Ultimately we need to adopt a “No victim, no crime” policy then restore our country’s greatness such that people don’t feel the need to do bad things to survive. but the answer is almost never more laws and more police.