• Suspect Theater


    I watched a well-teased video of alleged police misconduct on a FOX news show the other morning. “Caught on video!” My ass. They promoted the video as if it were of a clearly recorded action scene directed by Steven Spielberg. Instead, viewers could barely see some vague, shadowy images within a darkened doorway. The reporter mentioned that the suspect could be heard better than seen and was, “…clearly yelling for help…,” as if that in and of itself somehow imbues the suspect with credibility.


    The reporter repeatedly mentioned the possibility of police abuse, but never the possibility of suspect theater. I don’t think the reporter intended any malice to law enforcement, but I do think the report could have been more fair and balanced, and less inciting against the police. (And I’m a regular FNC viewer).


    The reporter seemed sadly ignorant of the notion that sometimes suspects scream simply to get attention and that suspects often lie about police abuse. I can’t tell you the number of suspects I’ve arrested or have seen arrested who scream at the least little—or no—provocation; it serves a purpose. I remember one arrestee whom an officer had handcuffed and was lying on the sidewalk awaiting a patrol car to arrive at the scene. Four of us were standing by, with only one officer in physical contact with the suspect, his hand on the suspect’s shoulder.


    Let me tell you, that suspect was screaming as if we were poking him with a cattle prod. This guy should have been nominated for an academy award the way his blood-chilling cries carried throughout the neighborhood, curtains drawing open in the high rise apartment buildings—he would have won it hands down. If I weren’t seeing with my own eyes that the guy was completely uninjured, I’d have sworn he was being tortured—not enhanced interrogation—real torture. Later at the precinct, with no sympathetic eyes watching, I asked the suspect why he wasn’t screaming now. Having adopted a rather pleasant demeanor he said, “No reason to now.”


    Look, I’d never suggest no officer ever abuses his authority, but please remember, it’s in a suspect’s best interest to make bystanders think the officers are abusing him. It takes the focus off of the suspect and his alleged crime, and places it on the officers who are in the vast instances simply attempting to protect the community. At the very least, view these dubious, grainy, shadowy news videos with that proverbial grain of salt. If the officers are guilty of some offense, we’ll hear about it soon enough and loudly; if the officers are cleared, as they usually are, we’ll never hear about it again.   

  • Obama Administration has Americans Politically Punch Drunk

    I’ve never in my left felt it necessary to pay so much attention to what my government is up to while I’m simply trying to live my life. Perhaps I may at least owe the Obama administration a thank you for forcing me to be even more politically diligent, but somehow I don’t feel very thankful to my president at the moment; instead I feel political fatigue and the soft tyrannical abuse of my government. This government is so overwhelming the people with its overreaching, overarching agenda that we’ve become a politically punch-drunk populace.


    When work is over, at the end of my long hard day, having earned roughly 40% for me and 60% for the government, all I want to do is come home, spend some time with my wife, maybe write a little, or get a workout in—generally enjoy the fruits of my pursuit of happiness, not worry about mine and my family’s future being subverted before my eyes.


    But with this government power onslaught I find myself reduced to a TV news junkie, sifting through the alphabet soup of channels to find those programs with honest information, fair interviews, and the balanced debates I need to make informed decisions. I don’t need to know how many times the First Lady can swing a hula-hoop; I need to now how many times, and how deeply, the government plans to dig into my pocket over the next few years.


    I remember being politically aware early on, especially since first registering to vote as an eighteen year old Libertarian in 1978, during the abysmal Carter administration. (I’ve since become a—small “l” libertarian). However, I’ve never felt as beat up as an American citizen as I have during this past year. I walk around with that weird feeling that I’m always being watched, or followed—an oppressive feeling indeed. It’s like if I turned around quickly I’d find the government inspecting me for proper political attitude and castigating me as a tea-bagging, dangerous, racist, gun-clinger if I don’t. I’m expected to accept him as my American president, which I do, but he apparently doesn’t accept me as his American citizen.


    Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Never has this statement been truer than it is today, especially with this current president and congress. I no longer care about the “R” and “D”, or for that matter, “L,” after a politician’s name; I care about whether or not they care about my liberty.


    I am still an optimist though; George Washington’s extraordinary perseverance during our most improbable American Revolution and early years of our constitutional republic gives me confidence to look forward to a better, more free, America, despite current activities to subvert liberty. I was watching a show one time where a Russian character, who’d obviously grown up in the old U.S.S.R. says something like, “That’s the thing about you Americans; while the rest of the world expects the worst, Americans always think things will work out.” She hadn’t intended it as a compliment, but it really is.


    But the critical question remains: will Americans step up to this latest leftist onslaught against individual freedom? Are there more people who love liberty than there are people who love free stuff from the government? I believe America has enough liberty-loving patriots who will remain eternally vigilant, and will continue to venture out of their comfort zones to do the things necessary to retain our God-given and constitutionally ordained individual rights.

  • Cops Feel Liberty is America’s True Public Option

    Chances are when you think of what cops do, in general (aside from ingesting copious quantities of coffee and donuts), you probably think they primarily protect you from criminals who want to hurt you or take your stuff. I don’t blame you; many cops probably think that too. However, I’d ask you to think more deeply on the issue. Consider that cops also protect your most important possession as an American: your liberty. Without liberty your quality of life, your pursuit of happiness, is diminished, if not extinguished. Communities should always use their cops to protect your liberty, never infringe upon it.


    When our Founders created our republic they implicitly and explicitly set individual liberty as our young nation’s first public policy. Remember, what made us different from every other nation on earth at that time was this distinction: our commitment, devotion, albeit initially imperfect, to the individual American’s freedom. How have we allowed ourselves to drift so far from that original public policy? It’s ironic that now that our nation has evolved, through blood, sweat, and toil, to the point where all Americans enjoy liberty, our government has taken and continues to take so much freedom away—from everyone.


    What cops do, or should do, other than protecting you from thugs out to hurt you, and capturing them for the justice system to deal with after they do, is to protect your liberty. Too often police are charged with protecting, ostensibly, your “safety,” or more accurately government’s power, rather than protecting your liberty. When people vote for socialistic laws, police are then, contrary to our founding principles, expected to protect your “safety” at the direct expense of your liberty. Patrick Henry said famously, “Give me liberty or give me death.” “Give me safety or give me death” has about as much of a ring as the Statue of Safety. Keeping us “safe” from our own behaviors and choices; what more perfect way to control a people exists?


    Individual liberty should be every American jurisdiction’s public policy, but sadly it’s not. When an officer stops you exclusively for not wearing a seatbelt, or for failing to wearing an “approved” helmet, he’s enforcing a law intended to mandate how you protect your own body while engaged in a legal activity, which is an obvious infringement on your individual liberty.


    People can argue whether or not each “nanny-statist” law is a good or bad thing, but there is no argument that these types of laws infringe on a person’s liberty. So, you don’t mind wearing a seatbelt or helmet, in fact, you’d choose to if it weren’t a law? Well, please remember, just because a particular law doesn’t bother you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t infringe on liberty; it only means you don’t mind the leash. The nanny-state proponent believes that the violation of liberty is worth the infringement.


    What would our communities look like if we once again adopted liberty as a public policy, reflecting what our Founders intended for our great republic? How would it work? Well, whenever a law, at whatever level, municipal, county, state, or federal, were proposed, this preeminent question would have to be asked first along with cost analysis and such things is, “Will this infringe on an American’s individual liberty?” I call it the, Liberty Litmus Test.


    As a nation, too many of us have gotten so complacent with our taken-for-granted freedom, we no longer appreciate where our liberty comes from and that real flesh and blood individuals have paid, and are currently paying, the price for our liberty. Too many of us seem so willing to turn our lives to ever greater degrees over to the care of Mommy government.


    Is it that hard to understand that when we give the government the power to give us stuff, we also give them the power to regulate that stuff, or to take that stuff away? There’s nothing sadder in a free republic, which we still currently enjoy a tenuous hold, than to see that it’s not the government placing chains on us; all too often we’re clamping those shackles on ourselves.


    So, let’s try to remember what our nation’s goals were—and should be—and use our police not toward social engineering, but toward individual liberty; just as George, Thomas, John, Ben and the boys originally intended.


    The venerable and trite argument statists often use when debating nanny-statist laws is: “You must wear a helmet, seatbelt, raincoat, whatever, because if you get hurt—and if you have no insurance—we as a society incur the cost of your medical bills.”


    What a slimy, insidious argument, after all, they’re the ones who made “society” responsible for certain individuals’ medical bills in the first place.


    So I say, even though I do have insurance, I lose my liberty because the next guy who crashes doesn’t have insurance, so the government will have to pay? I don’t remember casting a vote to give up my rights in deference to some irresponsible deadbeat who won’t provide for his own care. Cover the truly needy, not every irresponsible person.    


    The solution: “Don’t automatically pay for an uninsured person’s medical bills.” To which, as one local elected Democrat once said to me, “What are you gonna do, leave people to die in the gutter?”


    How can you reason with the unreasonable? How insulting. Of course we don’t leave people to die in the gutter. In fact, I as a cop have pulled many injured folks out of lots of gutters; it’s not for me to ask the question of insurance or responsibility at the scene; that’s for folks to assess later on down the line. Whether or not someone has coverage had no bearing on receiving emergency care—and that Democrat knows that.


    Look, if someone fails to pay any other kind of bill, utility, car, house payment, etc., there are courts and garnishments and various tools to recover the amount due, and in extreme cases there’s bankruptcy protection. People incur and are obligated to pay for other commodities and services all the time; what makes medical expenses any different? If the government doesn’t pay for people’s medical care (something far outside its limited Constitutional mandate), then they don’t have the power to tell people how to care for their own bodies.


    For those on the political left, it seems, a person’s body is only sacred when it comes to terminating pregnancies. My wife and daughter are not allowed to choose whether or not to wear a seatbelt or helmet, but they would be well within their rights to abort a human fetus within their bodies. You’ve heard the left-wing mantra, “Keep your hands off my body;” to which we could add, “unless I want you to wear a helmet or seatbelt or not eat trans-fats, or smoke, or drink a soda or….” They practice a sort of selective sacredness.”


    Liberty is America’s only legitimate public option. I get chills up my spine whenever I hear the national anthem, observe American’s bravery, or watch a TV show or read a book about the founding of our nation. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie, As Good as it Gets, when expressing his feelings for Helen Hunt’s character, “I’m proud of myself that, regarding the U.S. Constitution and our Founders conceiving a nation in liberty, I get it.”