There Are some Bad Cops, but the Real Problem Is Bad Laws

January 8, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

I think it was the Roman writer Tacitus who said “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”

Originally posted on International Liberty:

It’s probably not a fun time to be a police officer. The deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York have led some – including the Mayor of New York City – to explicitly or implicitly accuse cops of systemic racism.

And then you have folks like me, who grouse about cops for reprehensible abuse of citizens as part of the drug war, as well as disgusting examples of theft using civil asset forfeiture.

Heck, any decent person should get upset about some of the ways law enforcement officials abuse their powers. Consider these excerpts from a nightmarish story out of Houston.

Chad Chadwick has something many citizens can only covet – a spotless record. …But on the night of September 27th, 2011 Chadwick’s commitment to living within the law did him no good at all. It started when a friend concerned for Chadwick’s emotional well-being…

View original 1,670 more words


The death of free speech in Scotland: “Cultures rot from the bottom up”

January 4, 2015

liberal tolerance

That’s the assessment of Charles Cooke, who also saw that “Big Brother” tweet from Police Scotland about which I wrote a few days ago. He notes that, while the police statement was offensive enough, the fact that 20,000 Scots signed a petition demanding a columnist be investigated for her annoying comments was downright disturbing. In Cooke’s view, it’s a sign of serious rot in the culture of liberty, itself:

In situations such as these, it is easy and tempting to blame the police for their excesses, and to contend with irritation that they should know better. And so, of course, they should. It is easy, too, to slam the British parliament for continuing to permit such behavior. And, of course, it should be so slammed. Nevertheless, the ugly truth here is that, like the Canadians and the Australians and the New Zealanders and pretty much every people in the world apart from the Americans, there is a significant contingent within the British electorate that believes that the state should punish people who utter words and sentiments that the majority dislikes. Of course the police are looking into the rude and the eccentric. Their employers want them to do exactly that, and there are no constitutional prohibitions to prevent them from doing so.

Cultures rot from the bottom up. In a democracy, the authorities come to reflect societal trends — both good and ill. How sad to see Adam Smith’s body decaying in the streets.

(Emphasis added)

Cooke is right to remark on the difference between the political culture of the United States and its Anglospheric cousins when it comes to free speech, and it’s a fair observation to say we almost fetishize it. But alone among the UK and the it descendants, we assume that the right to speak one’s mind is a natural, unalienable right that is inherent in humans and preexists government. In that regard, we went beyond the 1689 English Bill of Rights, which grants rights via statute, and declared “life, liberty, and happiness,” to be rights superior to the law; that laws, indeed, are instituted to protect those rights. In Scotland and in the UK overall, the beliefs that gave rise to these rights seem to be fading in favor of a “right not to be offended.” (See also Australia, where a lesser commitment to free speech lead the prior government to try to use punitive fines to silence critics of a carbon tax.)

But I think Charles is too sanguine when he writes:

…like the Canadians and the Australians and the New Zealanders and pretty much every people in the world apart from the Americans, there is a significant contingent within the British electorate that believes that the state should punish people who utter words and sentiments that the majority dislikes.

Sadly, we have Speech Police, too; they generally, but not wholly, reside on the political Left. And it’s true that here, especially in an age of alternative media, they experience serious push-back from from defenders of the right to free speech. But they regularly try to punish “wrong” thought and words. Recall, for example the howling mob that went after Brendan Eich, then head of Mozilla, just because, years before, he had exercised his right to free speech to quietly donate to a group supporting traditional heterosexual marriage. Or the feminist banshees who attacked an astrophysicist for wearing a slightly tacky shirt, until he had to issue a tearful apology for his wardrobe.

“Ah,” you say. “It’s true their behavior was reprehensible, but surely the authorities wouldn’t themselves stoop to the level of the Scottish police!” Oh, no? Well, consider this:

Dig around, and you’ll find plenty more.

Our politicians would have been far less likely to attempt these and other speech-suppressing measures, if they didn’t think there was a significant number of people in favor of such things.

It may not be as advanced as in the UK, but the “cultural rot” Cooke wrote of is a danger here, too, and we need to always be on guard against it.

RELATED: Mark Steyn on the death of free speech. Jazz Shaw on how the UK is now less free than the US.

Footnote:
(1) Remember when I said it was “mostly” on the Left?


Free to speak your mind in Scotland, as long as the police approve

December 30, 2014

This from the land of Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment, which informed so much of our own political thinking, from before the Revolution to the present day:

Most of the replies were what one would expect from stiff-necked Scotsmen, along the lines of “Go bugger yourself!” Quite apart from the police having almost no business monitoring what anyone says on the Internet, one has to wonder at the resources being diverted from solving real crimes — you know, against life and property.

Of course, this isn’t the first instance of criminalizing thought in the UK in recent years. Just last year, a minor politician was arrested for reading from a work by Winston Churchill, on the grounds it might have been offensive to Muslims. Before that, another man was hauled in for posting online a couple of mildly tasteless jokes about Nelson Mandela when the former South African president was dying. Do some searching and you’ll quickly find more.

Freedom of thought and speech isn’t quite dead in the nation that gave birth to it, but it’s clearly on life support.

PS: In case they pull the tweet, here’s a graphic:

Scotland police

Carry on, Citizen.

 


Illinois state legislator: “Maybe the police are killing some of these kids”

July 21, 2013

The stupid, it burns:

Illinois State Representative Monique Davis is blaming the Chicago Police Department for the high number of killings in the Windy City. She is not just blaming the CPD for bad policing, though. She wonders if the police are doing some of the killing.

Davis, a House member from Chicago’s South Side district, uttered the accusation on Detroit’s WCHB-AM radio on July 16.

“I’m going to tell you what some suspicions have been, and people have whispered to me: they’re not sure that black people are shooting all of these children,” Davis told the Detroit radio audience.

She continued saying, “There’s some suspicion — and I don’t want to spread this, but I’m just going to tell you what I’ve been hearing — they suspect maybe the police are killing some of these kids.”

She doesn’t want to spread rumors, but she’s “just sayin’, you know?”

People are suspicious because so few have been arrested and prosecuted for these crimes.  Couldn’t have anything to do with an overwhelming case load and city budgetary woes. Nope. It has to be a “death squad.”

And Representative Davis is right there to happily demagogue it.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Operation Fast and Furious: “walked” weapon used to kill Mexican police chief

July 7, 2013

Remember “Operation Fast and Furious,” aka “Gunwalker?” That was the “felony stupid” inter-agency investigation lead by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and “overseen” Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder. The bright idea was to allow straw-buyers working as cutouts for the Mexican drug cartels to buy illegally heavy-duty firearms at gun shops in southwestern states and walk them across the border into the waiting arms of the crazed psychos of the Sinaloa and other cartels. The goal was to then trace the weapons to the cartel heads, who could then be arrested and their organizations broken up.

Left unexplained, of course, was how these weapons would be connected to the cartel bosses, since there was no way to trace them once they left the shop. Almost the only way any of these guns would ever show up again was at a crime scene, often with dead bodies present:

Those are just the ones we know about. And now it’s happened again:

A high-powered rifle lost in the ATF’s Fast and Furious controversy was used to kill a Mexican police chief in the state of Jalisco earlier this year, according to internal Department of Justice records, suggesting that weapons from the failed gun-tracking operation have now made it into the hands of violent drug cartels deep inside Mexico.

Luis Lucio Rosales Astorga, the police chief in the city of Hostotipaquillo, was shot to death Jan. 29 when gunmen intercepted his patrol car and opened fire. Also killed was one of his bodyguards. His wife and a second bodyguard were wounded.

Local authorities said eight suspects in their 20s and 30s were arrested after police seized them nearby with a cache of weapons — rifles, grenades, handguns, helmets, bulletproof vests, uniforms and special communications equipment. The area is a hot zone for rival drug gangs, with members of three cartels fighting over turf in the region.

A semi-automatic WASR rifle, the firearm that killed the chief, was traced back to the Lone Wolf Trading Company, a gun store in Glendale, Ariz. The notation on the Department of Justice trace records said the WASR was used in a “HOMICIDE – WILLFUL – KILL –PUB OFF –GUN” –ATF code for “Homicide, Willful Killing of a Public Official, Gun.”

Naturally, the ATF refused comment. I guess they haven’t heard that the preferred excuse of the Obama administration is “We’re not evil, just stupid.”

A lot of innocent people are going to be paying a price in blood for the ATF’s bright idea, for years to come. I know this has slipped out of the limelight for now, given all the other scandals swirling around the Chicago thugocracy, but, other than Benghazi, this is the only scandal in which people have died. And it is absolutely inconceivable that the Attorney General had no idea was what going on, not when Fast and Furious has been designated an OCDETF case.

So far, Eric Holder and Barack Obama have successfully stonewalled Congress and the American people about the truth regarding Fast and Furious, but we have to keep after them to get to that truth.

The dead, now including Chief Rosales-Astorga, deserve no less.

via Yid With Lid

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious. Investigative journalist Katie Pavlich wrote a must-read book on the scandal.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Survey says! Police oppose new #guncontrol regulations

April 10, 2013

Pretty significant, I’d say, since the cops have to deal regularly with violent criminals and the aftermath of violent crime. If a majority of them say new gun regulations won’t do any good and might do harm, then why pass them? (1)

An authoritative new poll of more than 15,000 cops released on the eve of this week’s Senate anti-gun debate shows that a sweeping majority of officers don’t believe gun control will work or keep them safer, and nearly nine in 10 believe having more armed citizens would curb gun violence.

According to the lengthy survey of law enforcement professionals, one of the largest ever of street cops, 85 percent believe that President Obama’s gun control plan to ban assault weapons, limit the size of ammo magazines and expand background checks won’t improve their safety, with just over 10 percent believing it will have a “positive effect.”

The poll from PoliceOne.com, a site dedicated to police policy and news, also found surprising support for arming citizens. The poll found that 86 percent of officers believe that casualties would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the onset of a shooting. Another 81 percent backed arming teachers, as the National Rifle Association has called for.

I’m willing to bet this doesn’t include LAPD Chief Charlie Beck

Read the rest for more intriguing results, including broad support for police organizations that have stated they will refuse to enforce new gun control legislation.

PS: This morning a “compromise” bill featuring increased background checks, sponsored by Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Toomey (R-PA) is being introduced. I’m withholding final judgement until more details are known, but my gut feeling is that this is a bill that will fail to prevent more mass shootings, but will further burden our Second and Fourth Amendment rights. In other words, a bill written to be seen to be “doing something, anything.” Very disappointed in Senator Toomey, if this is the case.

Footnote:
(1) But we know why, don’t we? So does Dan Bongino.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Chicago cops for rent?

April 7, 2013

And that’s not a metaphor for police corruption; these are uniformed police officers “financially sponsored” by individual citizens or groups. In other words, rented:

A philanthropist or business could sponsor a police beat and put more off-duty cops on the streets under a plan being put forth by a downtown Chicago lawmaker on the City Council.

Alderman Brendan Reilly originally pitched the idea last October but is pushing it again following weekend incidents of teen mob activity on the Magnificent Mile, an upscale area of the city.

Under his plan, off-duty officers would work minimum six-hour shifts and make $30 an hour. The money would be paid by businesses, civic groups and churches at a time when city finances are stretched thin. The officers would be in full uniform and under the command of police supervisors.

“This is a way to make use of well-trained police officers who are moonlighting doing other things, bringing them back on the street to do what they do best, which is great police work,” Reilly said.

To say this is a bad idea would be to insult bad ideas. Moe Lane provides one answer to “what could go wrong?”

Those would be rented cops, and the difference will become clear the moment that somebody very important from one of those “businesses, civic groups and churches” happens to commit a trivial, surely-not-worth-mentioning, purely technical violation of the law.

Look at it another way: Order in a society such as ours depends on the law being applied equally — blindfolded Justice holding the scales, and such. And that includes the police serving all the public, because, in large part, all the public pays for the police. While we all know there are imperfections and exceptions, the acceptance that this is generally so is important to social order.

Alderman Reilly’s proposal, regardless of his protests otherwise, would break that perception. I don’t care how much anyone might say “they’re still Chicago police and they still enforce the law,” the fact is that their pay will come from individuals, not the public. As Alexander Hamilton said:

In the main it will be found that a power over a man’s support (salary) is a power over his will.

In other words, “You work for me.”

You can imagine what wonders this could work on a society based on the rule of law and its equal application.

That a loony idea such as this can even be floated is indicative of how far down the drain liberal, Blue-model governance has taken a once-great city like Chicago. (Detroit, on the other hand, is at the end of that drain…) The city’s finances are so strapped by out of control pension costs and greedy unions, as well as businesses fleeing high-tax Illinois, that they are having trouble paying for basic services such as police.

Is the next step RoboCop?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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