I grew up in an America with cops in the background. Most people – being not criminals – had almost no interaction with them and when they did it was generally civil and far more important, almost always on equal terms – with the cop respectful of the citizen.
It goes without saying that’s all gone now. Cops are a menacing omnipresence – and when they deal with us, it is usually order barking Command Voice style. You do not discuss, much less dispute. You Submit and Obey. Or else.The least recalcitrance – merely to question anything – is often sufficient to bring down a Fallujah-style escalation. People are routinely dragged out of their cars, roughly thrown to the ground, pummeled, kicked – and much worse than that. Often, over trivial things. Police even in small towns have become indistinguishable from soldiers.
It is out of hand – obviously so – and if left unchecked will grow much worse, much sooner as the vortex picks up speed. What was inconceivable 20 years ago is routine today. What will be routine 20 years from today?
We face a choice: Either we accept being treated as “indigs” by an army of occupation that accepts no limits to its authority and which regards us as disposable as themselves as untouchable. Or we step back from the abyss before it’s too late. We recover our senses. We no longer accept the unacceptable.
Here’s how, in a few simple steps:
* Cops must be bound by the law -
As citizens, we are told that ignorance of the law is no excuse. That it is our obligation to know the law. Surely, the same ought to apply to those charged with enforcing it. Yet cops routinely ignore the law, even when it is pointed out to them in literal black and white. Many states, for example, have open carry laws. It is legal to wear a gun in plain view in public. Yet cops will often waylay at gunpoint, detain, disarm and question individuals who have done nothing in violation of any law – who are merely open carrying in full compliance with the letter of the law. They will justify this illegal assault by referencing “concerns” – either their own or those expressed by some unnamed person who “called in.”
Similarly, cops now routinely abuse people for lawfully taking video/audio in public. They will back each other up, too.
A cop must be as willing to defend legal action as he is prepared to defend against illegal action. This includes intervening against fellow officers when he knows they’vecommitted a crime or are acting in a way that does not comport with the law. If it is intolerable for a citizen to break the law, it is doubly so when a cop does – because he may do so with relative impunity.
Until the doctrine is established and respected that the law applies equally to everyone, including cops, there will be increasingly less and less respect for cops – who increasingly hold themselves above the law.
And us in contempt.
* The Right to Resist -
Self-defense is perhaps the most basic human right, without which other rights are largely meaningless. One of the worst abuses of our era is the denial of this elemental right when a physical assault is perpetrated by a person acting under color of law. If a cop does not have the legal right to lay hands on a citizen, to violate his personal space (including his personal property) then the citizen has every ethical right to resist. To walk away – and to defend himself against aggression if he is aggressed against.
His legal right to resist must be acknowledged in law.
That means if a SWAT team got the wrong house number and executes a no-knock raid in the middle of the night, the sleeping (and innocent) citizen should be considered within his rights to defend his home and himself, even if it results in the unfortunate death of a cop.
The burden is on the cops who got it wrong – not the citizen who acted out of justifiable fear for his life.