“Our will is the law, and if you submit to it, we won’t kill you.” That’s the actual message behind the motto displayed on a line of t-shirts designed by South Bend, Indiana police officer Jason Barthel.
The shirts display a badge insignia against set the “Blue Line” logo — the universal colors of the State’s privileged gang-banger fraternity — with the inscription: “Breathe easy — don’t break the law.”
The t-shirt design is intended as a rebuke to the “I can’t breathe” protest meme inspired by the police murder of Eric Garner.
“We are not here to do anything negative to the public,” insists Barthel. “We’re here to protect the public and we want you to breathe easy knowing that the police are here to be with you and for you and protect you.”
The claim that police exist to protect the public is an obvious and easily documented lie: Police officers have no enforceable duty to aid a citizen threatened by actual criminal violence. If something akin to a legitimate role exists for government police it would be to identify criminal suspects and detain them for prosecution when necessary. Nearly everything police do, however, consists of scrutinizing harmless behavior by their betters in the productive class in search of a rationale to intrude in their affairs, confiscate their property, and kill them if they object — which is precisely what was done to micro-entrepreneur Eric Garner on the streets of Staten Island.
The shirts, predictably, are a huge hit with Punitive Populists — the kind of people who chant the Support Your Local Police (SYLP) mantra as a way of insulating themselves from the abundant evidence that law enforcement is the single greatest source of lawless violence in our society.
For such people, anyone on the receiving end of lethal attention from a police officer — a Judge Dredd-like figure invested with the power of discretionary killing — obviously must have done something to deserve it. They rarely, if ever, consider the fact that it is almost impossible to breathe easily in a country being suffocated beneath the burden of “laws” that make each of us a repeat offender — and thus liable to summary execution by police — on a daily basis. Nor are they unduly troubled by the recent Supreme Court decision that relieves police of the need of observing an actual violation of the “law” before detaining an individual and finding an excuse to ruin his life.
Officer Barthel, who divides his time between law enforcement and honest work as a small business owner, could very easily be prosecuted and ruined for any of the myriad regulatory infractions he commits every day as an entrepreneur. As a police officer, however, he can commit criminal violence — including homicide — and take refuge in the claim of “qualified immunity.”
It has been said that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. In similar fashion, a police critic is often someone who has been abused by the cops, or seen this happen to someone he cares about. Given the metastasizing plague of criminal violence by the police, we can expect to see an increasing number of Punitive Populists have that conversion experience — being beaten by the cops on the Road to Damascus, as it were. As Franklin famously said, experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.
12:21 pm on December 18, 2014
Email William Norman Grigg