I admit it — my vision of America has always been an idyllic one. Living with an eternal optimist for twenty two years now hasn’t helped matters. My wife always sees the glass half full, not half empty.
My father taught me to cooperate with the police. Their job is “to protect and to serve” the general public. Good cops were nice guys, like Andy Griffith. Sometimes they were gruff good guys, like Kojak. Bad cops were usually just lazy or incompetent, not mean and stupid.
Or so I once thought. Now, I’m not so sure.
Without a doubt, police work can be a tough, dangerous and mostly thankless job.
If we were not already going broke as a country, spending money on social programs like drunken sailors on shore leave, it might make sense to increase police pay for the rank and file officers. We would attract better, more qualified people in the process.
Even as I wrote the blog entry titled Police State, I deluded myself to believe the sort of incident described in the article was isolated.
Nevertheless, it chilled me to the bones to think a cop ignorant of the law did not hesitate to draw his weapon and detain, threaten and harass a citizen conforming with local ordinance.
There’s plenty of aggressive and/or violent nuts in the general public who are roaming the streets without the cops joining them. Lunatics everywhere are doing crazy stunts like threatening people at Dairy Queen with a grenade, trying to use a sword at Pizza Hut to similar effect, or two female thugs beating the crap out of a transvestite at McDonalds for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Mean people suck!
I don’t know what is more appalling — that two women relentlessly and viciously assaulted an innocent victim with so little provocation, or that several grown men stood there and watched. One even videotaped it but did nothing to intervene and help the victim, instead warning the attackers that the police were coming.
We need the police to protect us from people like this.
But who will protect us from the police?
You might be thinking that we have no reason to fear our men in blue, right? They defend against injustice, stop crimes, catch the bad guys.
Then I read about the police in Arizona, who shot an Iraq war veteran more than 60 times in the process of conducting a drug raid.
The article from ABC news reported Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik “scolded the media for questioning the legality of the shooting.”
Really? We aren’t even allowed to wonder what happened?
Shot sixty times in less than seven seconds, left bleeding to death for more than an hour before paramedics were allowed to touch him, and we aren’t supposed to have questions?
The victim was an Iraq war veteran who served two tours of duty and had two family members killed in a home invasion in the past year.
Might he legitimately have mistaken the police for criminals in the act of invading his home as they attacked without warning, sirens or flashing lights?
The police have refused to confirm or deny reports that no drugs were found in the house.
Clarence Dupnik…why is that name familiar? Ah, yes, it’s come to me — he’s the idiot who blamed “right wing rhetoric” on the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
In truth, the radical left wing propaganda of “truthers” polluted Jared Loughner’s troubled mind.
So forgive me (or don’t) for refusing to take Sheriff Dupnik’s word at face value.
On the other hand, these are isolated incidents, right? We don’t have to fear bad cops everywhere, do we?
Except today’s depressing news is courtesy of metro Washington DC police. Two cops grab a man sitting in a wheelchair by each arm and slam him face-first on a concrete sidewalk in the process of arresting him.
The police released a statement that claimed, “The patron resisted arrest which resulted in him falling out of his wheelchair.”
Civilian witnesses vehemently disputed that official statement.
The police version of events is unfortunately contradicted by video as well, which clearly shows two burly uniformed officers forcibly lifting the man from his chair and slamming him to the ground, landing on top of him.
If you still aren’t worried, think about this little nugget.
The 4th Amendment just got trampled upon. Several hundred years of legal precedence tossed out the window.
And if you’re thinking the U.S. Supreme Court is our best hope and defense against this erosion of personal freedom, think again. It just issued a truly abominable ruling of its own.
The “high” court of last resort just decided 8-1 that police who believe they smell marijuana can force their way into a private residence without a warrant under the guise of fearing “those inside were destroying incriminating evidence.”
Throughout my lifetime, I’ve heard or read a number of stories where guilty people were acquitted of heinous crimes on a technicality.
Murderers were often released because they weren’t read their rights, or the warrant had a technical error. The rule of law was more important than any individual case.
Now the courts seem to be saying, screw rules, screw precedents, screw warrants.
Do whatever you want if you have a badge. Cops can now claim they thought they smelled pot and use that excuse to enter your house without warning or warrant.
The pendulum has swung to the other extreme. Innocent people are slowly learning to be afraid of the police, who now enjoy near absolute power.
Lord Acton warned us, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
We are being conditioned to live in fear and not to resist the authority of the police.
Yet I wonder — how are we supposed to tell the police from the criminals?