August 21, 2014

America: an anti-police state?

Is America becoming an anti-police state? Every law enforcement officer in America, after having successfully passed a rigorous battery of mental and physical tests, medical and psychological examinations, a polygraph and a background check will raise his or her hand and swear an oath to uphold the laws of their community, state and nation to do their job honorably and honestly to the best of their abilities. This oath-taking requirement is rare among professions. For example, journalists, the folks who most examine, investigate and criticize police officers are also expected to be honest, fair and to do their jobs with integrity. However, to the best of my knowledge, they do not swear an oath to do so. Which, in some cases, does seem apparent.

There are some on the left who question whether America is turning into a police state; I would challenge, instead, is America degenerating into an anti-police state? Sadly, because of the nations’ political slide to the left since the election of Barack Obama and his appointment of Attorney General Eric Holder, an anti-police state, in many ways, is what we now live in.

Of course, the racial fraud occurring in Ferguson, Missouri, is currently in the nation’s consciousness, while here in Seattle, the DOJ consent decree, also, in part, a racial fraud, continues to destroy the Seattle Police Department, which has been one of the most respected and emulated in the United States.

So, if America has chosen not to trust its cops, then why should law enforcement officers continue to take oaths? First, we have to ask what an oath means. Essentially, an oath is a sacred or solemn, often legal, pledge or promise one makes to hold one’s professional duties above any personal biases to the best of one’s ability. To judge how someone feels about an oath that one has taken, look at one’s behavior. For example, the president, the attorney general and Supreme Court justices all take oaths to uphold the U.S. Constitution. A casual skim through Constitution-ignoring news stories over the last half dozen years alone demonstrates how lightly some office holders (pun intended), especially on the political left, hold such oaths. Based on this observation, is it a stretch to believe that one who doesn’t hold one’s own oath in high regard, might not be able to fathom that another individual would hold his or her oath as professionally critical?

The issue of video cameras in police work is the proverbial double-edged sword, but is arguable, However, more departments are mandating videos in cars, videos in holding cells, and, now, videos on officers’ uniforms (I wonder how long a politician would last in office if he or she had to wear a video body camera throughout their work day). The result: unless there is a video of an officer’s actions in a given controversial circumstance, the officer seems to be presumed guilty. In the past, taking the oath afforded an officer the benefit of the doubt. In general, police officers act on behalf of the community that has hired them to face the danger and the criminals so residents won’t have to. The criminal, on the other hand, by definition, acts to his own benefit. However, when an incident occurs, such as in Ferguson, MO., which seems to be looking more and more like a justifiable shooting, the new American anti-police state gives the benefit of the doubt to the criminal (turned victim) instead of the cop. President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and Governor Nixon have all spoken out for justice—justice for Michael Brown and the Brown family—but not justice for Officer Darren Wilson. If it turns out that the facts show events unfolded in such a way that Officer Wilson acted exactly as he should have, will these politicians apologize? As the Brits say, “Not bloody likely!” And if this isn’t more proof of today’s American anti-police state, I don’t know what is.

If an officer gains nothing by taking an oath because the society he is swearing to protect and serve no longer values such a pledge, then perhaps the law enforcement oath’s time has passed. If an officer, who has chosen a profession in which he or she will risk his or her physical and mental health, and perhaps even life, cannot get the benefit of the community’s doubt, then who else in society deserves this benefit? It seems, more and more, the criminal does. The vast majority of police officers take the job so they can help people to live in safe communities where they can pursue their happiness in whatever peaceful ways they choose. It is one of the highest and noblest of all professions, and one without which peaceful society cannot exist. The racial aggitators would have everyone believe that we live in a police state where black teens are being gunned down in the streets. However, the statistics show that out of 12 million arrests per year, over 30,000 per day, 99.9% occur without a suspect being killed. And of that .1%, the vast majority are justified police shootings. Hardly the bloodbath myth some would like to portray.

I don’t know of another profession other than law enforcement where more people feel compelled to tell the trained professionals how to do their jobs. Are we witnessing a time when the most qualified people to do this job will no longer be willing to pin on the badge? Are we witnessing the inception of America, an anti-police state?


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