• Do We Still Have the Right to be Let Alone in America?

    Do you ever want to scream at the government: LEAVE ME ALONE! I think about this topic whenever a twenty-four-hour news cycle leaves me with a crushing sense of oppression from the Obama regime’s current soft (but getting harder) tyranny, which, lately, is daily. It’s a feeling I get as if government has lifted the roof off my house with one large, calloused hand and, with the other, is reaching into my wallet and fiddling with my cupboards, medicine cabinet, trash bins, etc. Hell, government’s hand is even changing my light bulbs.

    The problem comes from people who simply won’t leave other people alone. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said, “They: The makers of the Constitution: conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.” Does this imply that those who abridge such a right are uncivilized?

    Some people simply do not believe in letting other people alone, and they are more than willing to use government to force other people to live as they believe is proper. In fact, there are many political doctrines based upon antithesis of letting people alone. Not only do these people wish to live their lives in a particular manner, which is their God-given, American right, they won’t rest until everyone also lives their lives in a liberal-government approved way. Some like to talk about never letting a crisis go to waste; well, this interference in American liberty–liberals refusing to “let people alone”–is, indeed, at crisis levels.

    When considering which political concepts to adopt, one should reflect on just what one is asking (or commanding) of ones fellow citizens. The libertarian belief is that people should be left to their own peaceful devices so long as they do not infringe on other people’s liberty to do the same—in other words: to let people alone.

    Good government exists to protect Peter from Paul, not to protect Peter from his own peaceful decisions in the name of some political and ideological moral superiority. Proper constitutional government’s role is to protect people from injury, theft and fraud perpetrated by criminals. In essence, this means people should let others alone unless they injure, steal or defraud.

    Sadly, there are people today who stretch the meaning of “injury” in order to promote their invasive ideology. Take, so-called, man-made “Global Warming” or its catchall relative “Climate Change.” I am now guilty of “injuring” my neighbor if I drive an SUV, eat a hamburger, use incandescent light bulbs or leave those lights on when I leave the room. The term “injury” has been kidnapped, manipulated and extrapolated to within an inch of its definition by liberal word contortionists. In the vein of a 1984, Orwellian conception: you control the language; you control the argument.

    As a pertinent aside, I was watching comedian Dennis Miller last night on a news commentary program. He offered an interesting analogy: He saw Al Gore and his climate change cohorts as akin to those pious and patronizing prelates who were responsible for the infamous, Salem Witch Trials. Sure, those women were cavorting with Satan. And if one didn’t believe the witches had been lewd with Lucifer, then one could be deemed a witch too.

    Today, we’re seeing ever-increasing examples of some political leaders, along with their media allies, who are treating opposing political and personal opinions as “hate speech.” Recently, two Seattle police officers were suspended, had their guns and badges taken away, and the apparent incendiary incidents seem to have been some off-the-cuff, Facebook posts. Some of the post may have been, inartful, to say the least. However, the comments essentially amounted to political and personal opinions.

    The argument is not in the merits of the posts themselves, as it is perfectly fine if one considers the comments to have been, at the very least, inartfully delivered or even to be offended by them. However, what does the First Amendment protect, the freedom to speak only inoffensively? Free speech means I have the right to offend you, and you have the right to respond to that offense and, perhaps, to offend me in return. Speech one disagrees with is not in and of itself, “hate speech,” which is a subject of its own worth exploring.

    As I’ve mentioned often (perhaps, too often—no, I’m not over it yet), a few years back, Seattle’s upper echelon of politicians, police officials and media attacked me as a racist, baton wielding, badge wearing thug (I was even awarded the dubious distinction of a Schrammie by the late Ken Schramm). Why? For having the nerve to write a series of articles in the Seattle police guild newspaper stating my opposition to the indoctrination of police officers in liberal, political ideology disguised as police training.

    There was nothing backhanded or ambushing about the articles. In fact, I’d contacted city officials for comments during the research phase for the series, and city hall receives that newspaper monthly. No one complained until the ultra-leftwing newspaper, the Stranger, took offense at the articles. This did, however, demonstrate that, while the folks in city hall read the leftwing, the Stranger, apparently, they do not read their own cops’ newspaper, The Guardian.

    The right to be let alone is a precious one and one that merits protection by liberty loving peoples everywhere.

  • Law Enforcement for Raising Revenues is Wrong.

    There is something coming out of the social conflagration that has been Ferguson, Missouri for the past half year or so beyond police officer Darren Wilson having shot robbery and assault suspect Michael Brown. That something is the controversy, generally, over towns, cities, counties and states raising revenue through the, little-to-no-tolerance, enforcement of minor traffic and other civil infractions. Officers observe a minor violation of law, and, rather than consider the option of issuing a warning, which is, technically, normally, one of an officer’s enforcement options, they nearly always issue expensive citations.

    This is what the Department of Justice has accused the Ferguson Police Department and other neighboring agencies of doing. This illustrates the untenable situation today’s officers and deputies find themselves in. They are berated daily by one political party who believe in social justice over equal justice—all the way up to the U.S. President and Attorney general, and, to make matters worse, the cops suffer a barrage of local governmental policies that place them in a position to piss off the public.

    I am fortunate in my experience with the Seattle Police Department that I was never required to work under such a policy.

    When policymakers and lawmakers at any level of government create policies and laws based on limiting rights people formerly had, and/or on raising revenue, they intentionally place their cops at odds with their communities. Tell me something: is this something police officers need, especially these days?  

  • More Cops Shot: Anyone Surprised?

    Two more police officers have been shot, these two in Ferguson, Missouri, as the campaign to malign cops continues. Meanwhile, those perpetuating a vicious slander against cops stand back like little kids who’ve been accused of misbehaving: “Oh, no… It wasn’t me! I had nothing to do with it.” Yeah, right.

    What did they expect? They consistently attempt to mitigate their anti-police comments by offering some cliché such as, “Well, the vast majority of police officers are good, honest people doing a difficult job, but….” And then they paint with such a broad brush that all law enforcement officers are viewed and treated as bad apple “exceptions.”

    It is unarguable that the vitriol stemming from community activists, sports celebrities, Hollywood stars, and, worst of all, congressmen and women perpetuating this anti-police myth: “Hands up; don’t shoot,” makes a cop’s already dangerous job even more so. These “luminaries” do this, and some continue to do it, despite the DOJ’s report concluding “Hands up; don’t shoot” never happened.

    However, the political left has little appetite for objective facts. When we have a president and attorney general tacitly (and overtly) condoning this narrative because, it represents a greater social problem, what chance do law enforcement officer’s have in combating the false narrative?

    Let me see if I have this right: Apparently, it’s okay with police critics to perpetuate a lie, which puts all law enforcement officers at grave risk, as long as it fits their political narrative.

  • Insight on Police Use of Force

    I recommend this article by Lt. Dan Marcou that will help people understand police uses of force so they can better assess what police officers have to do in these dangerous situations:

    LINK: How cops can help citizens better understand police use of force

    Policing — already a dangerous profession — is becoming even more so because of anti-police rhetoric and inaccurate reporting in use of force cases

  • Ferguson Results: No Surprises.

    There are some interesting things to consider with regard to the Department of Justice findings regarding the Ferguson Police Department and Officer Darren Wilson’s shooting of a burglary suspect who assaulted him in an attempt to take the officer’s gun. First, no one should be surprised about the DOJ having found that Officer Wilson acted appropriately during the now infamous incident. In fact, if this current DOJ found that Wilson had done nothing wrong, this is about as close to affixing a royal seal to the official result as anyone could get from this administration.

    There are two other findings that must be examined: The finding of bias policing and the finding of officers excessively enforcing “petty offenses” (minor traffic infractions, jaywalking, littering, etc.) for the explicit purpose of raising revenue.

    Finding that a police department if full of racist brutes is what the current DOJ does and has done for the past six years. Sadly, it comprises much of what defines them as a government entity. So, this finding was no surprise either. In fact, last night on a news opinion program, Andrew McCarthy, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, talked about the DOJ findings. Presciently, back when the Ferguson case erupted, McCarthy predicted that the DOJ would clear Wilson and added that the DOJ would charge the entire police department with racial bias.

    McCarthy offered this formula, which struck home since this is precisely what the DOJ did in Seattle:

    1. Come to town based upon some high profile case that meets a selected narrative.

    2. Find that you can’t sustain any local or federal charges against the officer.

    3. Nevertheless, find the police department, generally, guilty of a “pattern and practice” of abusing minority rights.

    4. Impose a federal consent decree on the law enforcement agency.

    I felt a sense of vindication—not that I needed any—as I heard McCarthy say precisely what I’ve been saying and writing for the past few years. Does anyone seriously believe that the DOJ would find any law enforcement agency not guilty of racial bias–ever? Not with this administration.

    Now, back to the issue of governments using cops as tax collectors. To put it bluntly: law enforcement for the express purpose of raising revenue is unethical. The DOJ’s allegations are that the Ferguson P.D. has engaged in no- to low-discretion enforcement policies with regard to issuing citations for minor traffic offenses and other petty civil violations. The DOJ routinely uses raw statistics to paint local cops as racist while intentionally ignoring other statistical and concrete realities. However, the sheer raw numbers of tickets issued in relation to the local populations, do seem to point to a revenue-centric enforcement policy. In this aspect, although, it pains me a bit, I have to side with the DOJ, as they seemed to have accidentally stumbled into getting an issue right.

    I wrote a bit about using officers as tax collectors in my book, Is There a Problem, Officer? A Cop’s Inside Scoop on Avoiding Traffic Tickets.” I tackle this issue in greater depth in a project currently in progress. Here’s a preview:

    “It’s amazing to me that police administrations around the country constantly talk about improving relations between their police officers and communities. All the while, they institute policies that do the exact opposite. These include, low- to no-tolerance petty infraction citation policies. Why do administrations do this so often? If I haven’t mentioned this before: when I got into police work, I was told by several crusty veterans that the highest degree of stress I’d experience on the job wouldn’t come from the blood, guts and vomit, or from dealing with stupid people or violent criminals. They said my worst stress would come from my own police and city administrations (add to that state and federal). After over twenty-one years on the streets all I can say is: they were so right.”

     There is a whole slough of reasons why this type of enforcement is bad for society, the damage it does to police-community relations being chief among them. However, people should also remember that when mayors, police chiefs and sheriffs issue such stringent enforcement policies, their officers have no choice but to comply or find themselves in violation and subject to discipline.

     It is important to remember: the cops don’t pass laws or institute department policies; they simply enforce them. It is also important for citizens to keep themselves apprised of the laws and policies politicians and officials pass in their names.

     

     

  • No Surprises in Either of the DOJ Ferguson Findings.

    So, who is shocked regarding the DOJ’s final release of the findings in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of a robbery suspect who assaulted a police officer in an attempt to take the officer’s gun? No one? Good. Because no one should be the least bit surprised. The findings regarding Officer Darren Wilson’s actions that day reflect logic and common sense—not to mention, evidence.

    However, my sarcasm is not limited to these finding; I’m also asking: who is shocked regarding the alleged broad “racism” charges leveled against the Ferguson Police Department? If you are, you shouldn’t be. The DOJ, under President Obama and outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, has a long anti-police legacy. In other words, the DOJ hasn’t met a police department it likes. And there wasn’t any way, after Officer Wilson avoided the wrath of Holder’s DOJ, that someone, anyone, wouldn’t suffer. In fact, because the DOJ couldn’t charge Wilson, which they had virtually promised to do, it decided to go after the entire department—that’ll teach Wilson to have acted properly!

    Whether or not the accusations against the Ferguson PD’s bias policing are true or not, to what ever degree, the DOJ has a storied history of jumping on some high-profile events, injecting racism where it doesn’t exist, and then, even after exonerating the officers involved in the initial controversial incidents, arriving at pre-determined conclusions. The investigated police departments are inevitably found to have, a pattern and practice of physically abusing minority citizens’ and violating their rights. Why do critics find these conclusions suspicious? Perhaps, because the DOJ refuses to release the methodology by which it arrives at its unscrupulous results.

    I can speak to this because I watched as the DOJ took one of the, formerly, most emulated and praised police departments in the nation, the Seattle P. D., and eviscerated its effectiveness by alleging abuse and racism without releasing how they arrived at their dubious conclusions.

    A Seattle University criminal justice professor and former DOJ statistician, Matthew J. Hickman, did a more thorough counter-study. Hickman, in the form of a special to the Seattle Times, placed, gift-wrapped with a big red bow, in the laps of Seattle’s leaders, potent evidence to counter the DOJ’s erroneous allegations. Incomprehensibly, Seattle’s leaders chose to ignore Hickman’s present, and a consent decree was entered into by the city, thus sealing the decline of the SPD for years to come.

    Today, whenever we read about this DOJ consent decree in national and local media, the fact that the initial study and implementation was extremely controversial, with allegations contradicted even by those entering into it on the city’s side, reporters consistently fail to mention the initial controversy, which would put the issue into a more accurate context. The media’s anti-police bias is almost as visceral as the DOJ’s.

    Evidence of this bias can be found in stories and website posts regarding Seattle’s new police chief, Kathleen O’Toole, which report about how she has walked, “into a quagmire as the police department has been investigated by the Justice Department and placed under a federal consent decree for use of excessive force and biased policing.” In this type of reporting, there are no allegations, the statements are declarative and unequivocal–and, apparently, not well researched.

    Well, when federal consent decrees are instituted based on fraudulent data, of course there is going to be resistance from those who have been maligned so intensely and maliciously. Doesn’t that just make sense?