Tag Archives: police culture

Should Police Enforce Unjust Laws?

In Nazi Germany, it was the police’s (by any other name) job to arrest Jews and send them to their deaths. Even though the police made a vow to uphold the law, no reasonable person would argue that the Nazi police were morally bound to uphold that law because it was blatantly unjust. In modern-day America, the police take a vow to uphold the law as well, and the law says that smoking or selling marijuana is illegal. I would argue that calling the police on your neighbor for smoking or selling marijuana is one moral step down from calling the Gestapo on your neighbor for being Jewish. Likewise, any police officer who enforces unjust laws is one moral step down from the Gestapo, especially considering the inhumane conditions American prisons force the humans inside them to endure. Convicts may not get gassed, but they’ll be stripped of their humanity and get beat, raped, or even killed. If they’re released with a felony conviction on their record they’ll be lucky to ever get a job again. For some ex-cons, it would have been a mercy if they were just gassed the day they got caught with marijuana.

 

 

This is what American police are ordered to do to the civilian population, and they wash their hands of the blood of the civilians they sacrifice to the industrial prison system by saying, “It’s not our place to question the law, only to enforce it.” Well, that’s not good enough. Where do all those laws the police vow to uphold come from and what gives them validity? The laws were written by politicians and hold validity for the same reason money holds value: By active or passive consent, the majority of the population has made a social contract with each other to agree to give politicians the authority to pass laws and assign value to money.

The Gestapo had their orders that came down the chain of command from the highest level politicians in their government too, but no reasonable person would argue that every rule Hitler told his police to follow was automatically and unquestionably valid simply because the leader of the government said so. People are just people no matter what man-made rank they wear. Things people say or write are just things people say or write. The American Declaration of Independence said the rights of man are self-evident and exist regardless of any laws written by men, even if those men are kings. The only way we can know these unwritten rules is by reason, not faith. Thus it’s up to the individual to think for themselves to determine whether or not the laws of their land are just.

This is all good and well for the average citizen who isn’t in any position to push their morals on other people, but the point becomes poignant for police who are charged with the responsibility of enforcing a canned version of morality on all the citizens within their jurisdiction. This issue becomes even more poignant the more power the police have to fine, detain, imprison, blacklist, beat, and kill citizens without facing any repercussions.

The American people have already told their government they want marijuana legalized, and the president literally mocked them.

 

 

If elected politicians won’t honor the social contract then who else is there to stand up for the citizens who have to suffer the indignity and danger of unjust laws and an inhumane prison system? The only people standing between the citizens and the unjust laws are the police who enforce those laws. The police are the first line of defense against tyranny, and by rights, the police should serve the interests of the public over the interests of politicians. Police officers’ paychecks come from taxes, and their authority comes from the social contract they have with the people they’re charged to protect. Politicians are simply servants who try to manage the affairs of the nation. They’re not masters or gods.

You still may not be convinced though. You still may be saying, “But you simply can’t make it a categorical imperative that every cop should enforce whatever laws they personally feel are just, because that would just result in anarchy.” As true as that may be, what’s the alternative? If we make it a categorical imperative that cops should never be able to exercise their own judgment then that literally makes them slaves, and that gives their leaders unlimited power to oppress the civilian herd. That doesn’t immediately make civilians slaves, but if the executive and judicial branches of government can use thugs to force civilians to follow rules they don’t believe in then you can’t say those civilians are free.

We don’t have to choose between a praetorian slave state or anarchy, but if civil servants aren’t allowed to question the morality of their actions, then we’re well on our way to a police state.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Military Mind Control
Military Philosophy
Police Brutality
America is not the good guy

Cops Who Beat Up Protesters Are Defending Oppression

Protesters look great on TV; they look like harmless, courageous, peace-loving, innocent civilians doing their civic duty, and while that may be true on some level, police don’t have the luxury of assessing the situation from their living room. I imagine police are a lot like soldiers who have seen combat, and now, even when they’re on civilian time in civilian clothes, they’re still on edge in large crowds of people because they understand that people are dangerous, and a lot of people are really dangerous.

 

 

I understand police took an oath to perform a role in society in the name of order, and part of that oath was to follow orders. I know that the police force has its own internal culture full of customs and courtesies built around rank and protocol. As a result, the police feel a deeper sense of pride and satisfaction in performing their job and following orders than say the average civilian working in the bowels of a giant, faceless corporation.

So I have sympathy for police who approach a once peaceful and orderly street to control a stampede of potential lunatics, many of whom are dressed like lunatics. I understand that when police get the order to clear uncooperative protesters out of an area by any non-lethal means necessary, that’s pretty close to getting a commandment from God; that order came down from the mayor to the head of the law enforcement organization all the way down the chain of command to the police on the scene. The cost/benefit analysis of following that order is stacked heavily in favor of doing so, especially because officers who don’t, will get in trouble. In a best-case scenario, this would prevent them from getting promoted later. In worst-case scenarios, they could lose rank or even their job.

From a practical, stoic point of view, it’s logical to beat up and arrest nonviolent protesters in the heat of the moment, but that’s a narrow point of view that ignores the bigger picture. Let’s take a step back and look at the situation from a broader view. Protesting and rioting aren’t normal. Sitting at home watching TV, shopping, visiting friends and having sex are normal. That’s what people want to do with their free time, and people are really lazy. They’re too lazy to open a can of pre-cut tomatoes without an electric can opener. So when people turn off the television and take to the streets it’s because there’s something really, really wrong in their lives that they want…nay, need fixed, and the more people there are protesting, the more likely their grievances have merit.

Their grievances are especially poignant when they concern inhumane government policies because the chain of command the police follow leads straight up to the civil government. So when police beat up, arrest and disperse nonviolent protesters for protesting against inhumane government policies, then the police become the tools of oppression. They’re directly enabling those inhumane policies to continue destroying people’s lives, and preventing people from speaking out against those inhumane policies is the very definition of suppression of free speech.

 

Cartoon of rich men walking past a line of riot police holding back protesters. One rich man is saying to another, "I'm just hoping we can keep this whole thing under control after the police find out we're stealing their pensions."

 

This is self-evident in theory, but on the streets it becomes clouded. You can arrest a protester for a million seemingly logical reasons. Maybe they don’t have a permit to gather. Maybe they’re outside the approved protesting cordon. Maybe they’re wearing a mask. Maybe they shouted a threat or it sounded like they did. Maybe they raised their arms above their head in a threatening gesture. On the surface, these seem like practical reasons to arrest people, but if a protest can be dispersed by using all these little justifications then the end result is that the police silenced the people’s voice in government by terrorizing them. By enforcing rules like these the police are telling people that if they attempt to make their voice heard then the government will send thugs to silence them under false pretenses in a way that absolves the government of the crime of suppressing free speech and makes offenders out of protesters. That’s how protesters have to see the police on the street.

That’s not what the police signed up for. They took an oath to serve and protect people. It’s more than a slap in the face to the police force to order them to violently suppress free speech in the name of peace and freedom, but that’s exactly what’s happening in America today.

I thought we were passed this phase of history. All my textbooks in school said the days of cops beating up citizens trying to hold their politicians accountable to the basic principles of human rights was over. I wonder how many more skulls the police have to crack before they just let the people have their voice. I wonder if the police will ever collectively come to the conclusion that maybe if they just let the people get what they want from the government then they’ll all go back home to their TVs, friends, and lovers and be happy and not go outside and cause trouble anymore.

What the police force should be doing is helping the protesters organize. We all just want the streets to be safe. We’re on the same side fighting for the same goal. Why can’t we work together?

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Military Mind Control
Military Philosophy
Police Brutality
America is not the good guy

An Intervention With The Police

Every American school kid was raised on well-meaning propaganda that painted the country’s police force as super good guys, and that propaganda has worked; many young Americans look up to police as heroes…but not just because of the propaganda; kids who have grown up in the information age aren’t dumb. They understand how important it is to have a highly funded police force. Americans are happy to wear “NYPD” hats and not just because they got duped by a marketing campaign but because they really do value their police on meaningful intellectual and emotional levels.

The thing is, the police are making it really hard to keep liking them. Americans who were raised on Saturday morning cartoons want to believe that every police officer is like Andy Griffith meets Robocop. That’s how Americans were raised to perceive cops. So that’s how they try to perceive cops, but it’s hard to keep giving the police the benefit of the doubt when the public looks around, and they don’t see Robo-Andy-Griffith. All they see are protesters getting pepper sprayed and shot in the head with tear gas canisters, and the public can’t do anything about it because anytime they bring up the issue of excessive use of force they’re told they’re ungrateful and spoiled and are sternly reminded that all police deserve the full honors and privileges of Robo Andy Griffith.

The “you’re a spoiled, naïve liberal” excuse isn’t cutting it anymore. There was a time when young Americans smiled when they saw cops. Now seeing a cop is more likely to wipe the smile off their faces, and the reason they’re scared of police is because the police go out of their way to scare them. Police cars are designed to appear menacing, not welcoming. I’m sorry, but you don’t get to act surprised when you pull up in a car that looks like a prop from a Hollywood movie about a futuristic dystopian police state and people say they feel menaced by you.

 

 

And it sends a mixed message that undermines your authority when the side of your car says, “To protect and serve.” but it’s an accepted fact of life that you do not ever speak to the police without a lawyer present. Ever. The police are even required to remind you that “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Why would anyone want to be anywhere near someone who can and will use anything they say to put them in a prison system that is globally famous for its unchecked human rights violations?

The thing is, young American aren’t even asking anymore. They’re telling the police they feel absolutely miserable, terrorized and afraid of the people they pay to protect them. Some people have even given up on the system so completely they’ve left America to go live in less wealthy places where at least they don’t have to be afraid of the police or the corrupt government the police are protecting.

The correct way for the police to respond to that charge isn’t to say, “Oh, well then screw those people if they don’t like it here.” The correct way for the police to respond is to say, “I accept that I have a problem and am ready to listen.”

And the good news for the police is, young Americans are smart enough to understand that police aren’t just inherently bad people who deserve to be hated because of the color of their clothes. The American people understand that people who are police officers aren’t the problem. Unethical police behavior is a symptom of a flawed police system. To blame it all on the cops on the street would be like holding teachers (who work at the bottom of an obsolete and compromised education system and have their hands tied behind their backs by cumbersome bureaucracy) solely accountable for children’s test scores, and that would be ridiculous.

There are some serious flaws in the way the police force is designed on paper, and the police should be more eager than anyone to address those flaws because they’re setting up good cops to lose sight of the purpose of the law, and if the law has no purpose then you don’t have a police force; you have a mafia. I actually wouldn’t believe any senior cop who says they’ve never been pissed off at how ineffective and backward and in need of upgrading the police system is.

The police want the police system fixed. The people want the police system fixed. Everyone just wants the streets to be safe. The police and the people just never talked about it together because they’ve  always been compartmentalized with a great divide between them. Now they’re both part of the 99%, and there are people with tables all over the world listening to ideas, writing them down and sharing them with other people.

If the politicians can’t figure out an effective way of balancing crime, authority, freedom, and equality then the police and the citizens are the only parties left for the responsibility to fall to.  The people took the first step setting up the tables at the Occupy protests. All the police have to do to have their voices heard is sit down at the table. The least the police can do if they want to live in a better society is not kick the table over and beat the hell out of everyone sitting around it.

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Military Mind Control
Military Philosophy
Police Brutality
America is not the good guy

American Cops, You’re Delusional If You Don’t Understand Why Civilians Hate You

Hate is a strong word, but that’s the situation on the streets of America. Don’t shoot the messenger, bro. America has always had a love/hate relationship with its police force, which was morbidly exemplified on July 8th, 2016, when a sniper in Dallas, TX shot 14 police officers, killing 5 in revenge for the hundreds of unarmed civilians police kill every year. In a show of solidarity towards the police and condemnation towards the killer, thousands of people lined the streets along the funeral procession for the slain officers.

Those men deserve sympathy and credit for the good things they did, and they deserve for their deaths not to have been in vain, but they will be if America can’t have an open dialogue about why people hate the police.

The inconvenient truth is police provide the civilian population with an assembly line of reasons to hate them. The animosity they receive is blowback for the unacceptable things they constantly do.

At the top of the list is the aforementioned body count of innocent civilians. To add insult to injury, police regularly deflect ownership of the problem by blaming the victims. One police officer recently summed up their argument in an article, “Following Commands: A Lost Art,” which, unfortunately, is no longer on the internet.

“I am going to say what no one else is saying.  From the President of the United States to every local news reporter in the country, no one is saying it, ‘Follow the commands of a police officer or risk injury or possibly worse…’ You can debate all day long about what proper police force is, when it should be used and if the entire criminal justice system is racist but there is one thing in common with every so-called “excessive force” video you have seen in recent years. The suspect is not following commands… The way I see it, we have two options to stop police use of deadly force. Police stop being police or citizens can do what an officer says to do.”

 

"OBEY OR DIE: This message brought to you by the people you pay to protect you."

 

There’s some truth to this argument, but if the author can’t see why civilians would be underwhelmed by his logic, he’s crazy. “Obey or die” isn’t the social contract Americans were promised, and it’s not one they can accept. And if that’s really how police see civilians, as sheep to be controlled with violence, then citizens would have to have Stockholm Syndrome to love police unconditionally. The police may not realize that, but the people do, and they resent cops for expecting them to celebrate their subjugation.

It’s hard to look at police as good guys when they aren’t even trying to look like it anymore. Police cruisers are intentionally designed to appear intimidating. How can the police more clearly brand themselves and communicate their intentions than by painting a big sign on their cars that says, “We don’t want you to feel safe when you see us. We want you to feel intimidated.” By dressing like Nazi Storm Troopers from a dystopian future and acting ones. That’s how.

 

Photo of two police dressed in black body armor charging at a skinny black girl standing calmly and non-threateningly

Milton from the movie, "Office Space" saying, "I was told I was paying you to protect me."

Mauri Povich reading a piece of paper with the caption, "Dressing like a Nazi Storm Trooper from a dystopian future and bum-rushing dainty women determined that was a lie,"

 

Any time a police officer gets caught doing something immoral, the rest are quick to concede there are a few bad apples among them and counter that 99% of the time, all police do is protect people. That argument sounds good on paper, but it fails to sway law-abiding citizens who live in constant fear under the thumb of all law enforcement.

A black comedian, whose name I can’t recall, once said, “I’ve always resented the fact that I don’t feel safe when I see a police car behind me; I feel scared.” He’s not being irrational, and neither is the rest of the civilian population. Everyone feels the same way, and they’re right. A police cruiser behind you is like a shark hunting for prey.

It’s common knowledge the reason police write so many traffic citations isn’t because drivers are that bad or cops are overzealous. It’s all about revenue. Cops are highway robbers shaking down well-meaning people for mostly inconsequential technicalities. And the cost of a superfluous ticket can equal weeks or months of an unskilled worker’s wages. On top of that, police regularly seize civilians’ assets without trial, and getting your stolen property back can cost more money than what was taken.

 

 

Heaven help Americans who screw up and commit a legitimate crime in a moment of desperation or incoherence. The cost of paying bond, court fees, legal representation, fines and probation quickly add up to years of wages for minor offenses, let alone big ones. The legal system makes it as hard as possible to pay off these fees by requiring you to take time off work for multiple court appearances and probation meetings, which is almost impossible since American employees get less time off than any other first world country.

This assumes you can even get a job after a conviction since you’re required to divulge your criminal record to potential employers and most landlords. It also assumes you have transportation to get to court, work or your probation meetings. Police regularly confiscate people’s cars and revoke their driver’s licenses for crimes not even related to driving. If you were arrested for having sex with a 17-year-old, the law prevents you from living anywhere near anything.

If you can’t pay your fees after the police destroy your career, your fees will increase relentlessly until they bankrupt you, after which, you’ll be sent to debtors’ prison, which was outlawed in 1833. Since jailing people for not paying fines is breaking the law, that means cops are breaking the law, which makes them criminals. Since they’re also government officials who are violating the founding principles of the government, they fit the exact definition of tyrants. That’s not being hyperbolic. This is the exact kind of situation the word “tyranny” was invented to describe.

 

 

The total cost of bond, court fees, legal representation and fines for major criminal offenses can add up to decades of a poor person’s future earnings, but less than 1% of a rich person’s savings. Without being hyperbolic, that literally constitutes economic oppression, which makes the police foot soldiers of economic oppression. So when cops say their job is to “serve and protect,” that might be true for rich people but definitely not for poor people. You’ll notice poor people shoot more cops than rich people.

In addition to economic oppression, the police’s job description also includes the regular taking-your-freedoms-away-against-your-will kind of oppression. Again, this isn’t exaggerating. It’s spelled out in black and white letters in America’s law code, which contains thousands, if not millions, of laws against inconsequential victim-less crimes.

I know a man who had a warrant issued for his arrest for not mowing his lawn and then not showing up to court because he didn’t receive the summons. I know another man who walked home from a bar because he was too drunk to drive, and he was arrested for public intoxication. I know a girl who was arrested for drinking a beer one hour before she turned 21. I went to a concert at a major venue, where the law required the bar staff to pour all their drinks out of single-serve bottles into plastic cups that you couldn’t take out of the designated drinking area, resulting in mountains of trash at every event and zero crimes prevented. I went tubing at a river, and the cops were standing in force at the exit point arresting anyone who brought open containers of alcohol out of the river because it’s legal to drink on water, but not on land. In a separate incident, I was ticketed on a river for drinking alcohol when I was 20 years old, which my European friends find hilariously sad. Americans aren’t even free to walk across the road without getting a ticket, and women aren’t allowed to take their shirts off. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are still dumber things you can be arrested for in America.

 

 

Nobody is protected by any of these laws. The only outcome is control for the sake of control. If you think these laws aren’t a big deal, then you’re implying freedom isn’t a big deal. You’re also ignoring the fact that a threat to freedom anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere. Minor losses of liberty set the precedent for bigger ones, and the justice system has already taken advantage of this fact.

Prostitution and recreational drug use are strictly illegal to say nothing about how hard it is to buy life-saving drugs. Sex and drugs are nobody’s business but one’s own, and a government created “of the people, by the people, for the people” has no place regulating them, especially when the majority of people don’t want the government to. That goes double when every study done on them has proven them to cause more harm than good, and triple when other countries have already legalized them and proven in practice that criminalizing them does more harm than good, and legalizing them does more good than harm.

America’s own police force knows better than anyone how futile and damaging the war on sex and drugs is. Yet they go out every day and keep fighting even though they know that ultimately, all they’re accomplishing is war. And they wonder why people don’t like them. The people are equally baffled by how the police can sleep at night and go to work each day to wage war on their family again.

Lawmakers justify the war on sex and drugs by saying they’re protecting people from themselves, which is confusing because everyone knows it doesn’t. But the argument is moot for at least two reasons anyway.

First, nobody agreed to pay the government to protect themselves from themselves. When the government tells you that you can’t do something you want to do (that doesn’t hurt anybody), and you don’t have a choice in the matter, that’s the opposite of freedom. It doesn’t matter what a lawmaker’s justification is for doing their job wrong.

Second, sending people to jail for sex and drug-related crimes is like shooting them in the head to protect them from shooting themselves in the foot. American prisons are the most inhumane of any first world country. In addition to the lethally low quality of food and hygiene, the frequency of murder, rape, abuse, and humiliation that happen inside is the stuff of legend.

So forgive the civilian population for not being excited to see a cop. The smartest advice you can tell a child is never talk to someone who starts the conversation by announcing, “Anything you say  can and will be used against you in a court of law to throw you into pound-me-in-the-ass prison.” That’s not something a friend would ever say or do to you. Cops are the opposite of friends, and it’s regrettably responsible to forewarn your children of this truth.

In an unbelievably more dystopian twist, American prisons have sweatshops that use inmates as slave labor for private corporations, and there are more black men in prison than there were in America before the Emancipation Proclamation. Private corporations even own prisons and sell shares on the stock market, creating a financial incentive to incarcerate as many people as possible and provide the lowest level of care to them as possible.

Compton is the new Slave Coast, and business is booming thanks to the police. America has the highest prison population in the world. By definition, it’s factually inaccurate to call the country with the highest incarceration rate “the land of the free.” The architects of America’s legal system should be held accountable for taking this title away from America, but so should the people with their boots on the ground who are rounding up victimless criminals and sending them to the meat grinder that is America’s prison system. The police who are complicit in this crime against humanity aren’t public servants. They’re corporate mercenaries who enforce slavery, and that’s not something to be proud of.

On top of all this, civilians have to put up with the TSA sexually assaulting them, the NSA spying on them, the CIA pushing drugs in ghettos, and using civilians for science experiments and the FBI covering up corruption. Every member of the American law enforcement system should be ashamed of themselves for more reasons than I have time to list here.

Last but not least of those reasons is how law enforcement behaves when the American people exercise their First Amendment right to protest against the lethal injustices they suffer. Anytime protests get large enough to make a difference, police are sent in with military gear to brutally crush the demonstration with tear gas, tasers, batons, and bullets. That’s a guaranteed outcome of a well-organized protest, and it doesn’t matter what age, race or sex the protesters are. There will be blood. At the end of the protest, the government will use it as an excuse to further militarize the police, which will require more money, which will require the police to rob more people, which will require them to come up with more excuses to make criminals out of well-meaning people. This makes law enforcement officials the vanguard of oppression.

 

 

It can’t be said enough, America isn’t the land of the free, and saying it is, is Orwellian doublespeak. Americans are oppressed all to Hell, and the first line of oppression is the police civilians pay to protect them. In that regards, the police force is, by definition, the bad guy.

To be fair, police do some good, but patting them on the back is like patting a Gestapo agent on the back for helping an old woman across the street. If you want to fault me for breaching Godwin’s Law and using too many Hitler references, I would counter that the police have already exonerated me. Police often deflect responsibility for their crimes against humanity by saying things like, “I was just following orders. The law is the law. If I don’t do my job I can’t feed my family. The justice system isn’t perfect, but I have to respect the system.” Using the Nuremberg Defense doesn’t demonstrate integrity or courage. It completes the Nazi comparison.

As intolerable as the actions of the police are, I can’t condone reciprocating the violence they inflict on the civilian population. In addition to being unethical, it would only result in justifying further militarization of the police and erosion of civil liberties as per the status quo. If you want to protest income inequality, government corruption, or excessive force, the most logical place to stage your protest is in front of your local police station. Put their guilt on their front door. If they respond to the protest the way they always do, at least they’ll have to walk past the spot where they beat down little girls every day they come to work. Maybe that will get them thinking enough is enough.

It shouldn’t have to come to that. The people shouldn’t be working up the courage to stand up to the police. The police should have the courage to stand up to the system. The people shouldn’t be organizing to figure out what they’re going to do about their cop problem. The cops should be organizing a gigantic internal meeting and fundamentally reassess their approach to helping people. If the system won’t facilitate an official meeting, the cops need to organize their own. The alternative is to keep digging their own graves, and that doesn’t help anybody.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Military Mind Control
Military Philosophy
Police Brutality
America is not the good guy

%d bloggers like this: