Types. . .
Bad laws attract
bad people to enforce them while pushing out the good (and
semi-good) people. Its a sort of Greshams Law as applied
to human society. And more, a sort of authoritarian feedback loop
that makes the situation progressively worse as time goes by.
position of law enforcer in 2012 America. What does
it entail? When we had peace officers, it mostly meant going
after thugs people who victimize others by threatening them
with violence. Frauds and crooks, too. In brief, it meant going
after those who violate the rights of others.
generally an honorable way to earn ones living. Most
citizens therefore respected cops or at least did not actively
dislike and fear cops. Most cops were ok. They
generally could be counted on to leave you alone unless youd
actually done something to warrant not being left alone. It was
a quid pro quo that made sense no matter which side of the fence
you happened to be on.
Today, it is
law enforcement that threatens harmless, morally (if not
legally) innocent people with violence. The guy who, for example,
grows a small batch of pot plants in his backyard (as opposed to
the lawful citizen who brews his own beer). Or the seatbelt
scofflaw whose actions threaten harm to none except, perhaps,
himself (and even then, only potentially). Or the farmer
who sells unapproved milk to his neighbors. And the
students who dare to exercise their right to peaceable assembly.
The driver who declines to be a witness against himself and refuses
to submit, sans warrant and very often, sans probable cause
to a random stop and search of his vehicle and person.
The list of
victimless crimes and latter-day victims of law enforcement
is long. Citizens are aware of the creepy fact that being
a peaceful, harmless person who respects the rights of others is
no longer sufficient to avoid becoming the target of a law enforcer.
That the law increasingly targets people who have violated no other
persons rights but who have violated the
law. That is, who have committed some affront against the
Which is why
citizens today increasingly dislike and fear these
law enforcers. It is also why today we have essentially three kinds
people who suit up for this sort of work:
The robotic just doing my job type. He is either not
smart enough or introspective/thoughtful enough to consider the
nature of the system; whether the laws are just or even reasonable.
This is the cop type that cant be reasoned with and more,
the type who will enforce any law and any order simply because its
an order or because its the law. Nothing more is required.
He just follows orders. And its our job to Obey.
is this type of cop is only bad to the extent that the laws he enforces
are bad. There is a limit. He usually wont exceed the
law or go beyond what he is ordered to do (because then hed
be exercising initiative and this type of cop is almost constitutionally
incapable of that because it conflicts with his inner prime directive
of obedience to the hierarchy.) He is fundamentally a bureaucrat.
Bad perhaps, but not usually deliberately vicious.
The power-luster. This one enjoys wielding power over others.
It makes him feel big and strong. He is often narcissistic and may
even be sadistic. He absolutely lacks empathy. He sees us as
civilians or worse. And its our job to Submit.
This type of
enforcer is frightening because given the opportunity he will assault
and possibly even kill you. And hes actively looking for that
opportunity. A recent example being the group of such enforcers
in Fullerton, CA who beat a helpless homeless man to death (see
here). And they will feel no remorse afterward. Indeed, they
will get pleasure out of it. This is the sort of person who
would have and may yet again line people up in front
of a ditch.
Or man an oven.
The old school cop. He is usually old, literally. A relic of
the days when cops didnt expect immediate submission, when
cops were expected to treat citizens civilly. He has mellowed
or become aware (and thus, cynical) about the nature of The
Job. He tries to be decent, within the boundaries of whats
possible given the law and current law enforcement culture.
Hes close to retirement, though, and doesnt want to
make too many waves. Hes also rare. You might get him one
out of ten times these days.
Expect to see
much less of him in the future, too.
His type is
being screened out, actively and otherwise. Actively, because our
increasingly militarized law enforcement agencies seek
order-followers as new recruits. And who better-prepared (better
conditioned) to follow orders than ex-military? A decades
worth of combat (well, occupation) hardened veterans has
streamed back to the Homeland in search of work and what
work are they better-prepared for than law enforcement?
Note well that
these law enforcers typically have a military rank structure. The
head enforcer is often festooned with generals stars or a
colonels silver eagles. They wear menacing black BDUs, complete
with flak jackets or body armor. Even in the country, were the major
crimes are hunting out of season or getting a bit too boozed up
on a Friday night. I live in an extremely rural part of southwest
Virginia in a county that has literally one traffic light. Yet even
here, courtesy of the Heimatsicherheitsdeinst apparat that
sprouted after 911, there is now a bulletproofed command post
and all the accoutrements of a fully militarized law enforcement
are just following orders. And local people have noticed
that the new crop of cop is crew cut and unforgiving. Andy Griffith
need not apply. His kinds not wanted anymore. Of course, Andy
wouldnt want any part of this mess anyhow.
with permission from EricPetersAutos.com.
[send him mail] is an automotive
columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2012 Eric Peters
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