Totalitarianism in One City: Shreveport's Gun-Grabbing Mayor

Any time a motorist is stopped by a police officer, insists Shreveport, Louisiana Mayor Cedric Glover, “Your rights … have been suspended.” This includes not only the freedom of movement, but also, in the event the officer inquires as to whether the driver is carrying a weapon, “Your right to be able to hold on to your weapon and say whether [you] have a weapon or not” — as well as the right to retain possession of that weapon, should the officer decide to confiscate it from you.

Should you choose not to answer the question, or answer it in the negative, the officer could still choose, “in the interest of officer safety, to secure you in a safe position” — this most likely means outside the car with your hands cuffed behind your back — “and then do an appropriate inspection of your vehicle.”

The phrase “appropriate inspection” is more honestly rendered “Unconstitutional warrantless search.”

Should the police officer then turn up a firearm or other weapon in the car, the driver “would be guilty or potentially guilty of even a more severe offense” than whatever he had allegedly done to precipitate the traffic stop, according to Mayor Glover. Police officers, according to Glover, are invested with “a power that the President of the United States does not have … and that is the ability to be able to suspend your rights.”

This is “one of the things that I say to each and every one of the police officers who graduates from the Shreveport Police Academy since I’ve been mayor.” Fortunately for the public, one supposes, Mr. Glover remembers the lesson that Peter Parker learned from his kindly and sagacious uncle Ben — that is, with great power comes great responsibility. “You have to understand there is a great deal of power that is vested within … the law enforcement personnel of this country,” Glover insists. “It’s why there is a great deal of responsibility that has to go along with it.”

Glover offered those remarkable observations, and many others like them, in a recorded phone call with Shreveport resident Robert Baillio.

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Mr. Baillio had called to complain about a recent traffic stop in which an SPD officer, who — before dealing with any other matter of business — asked if Baillio had a firearm, then temporarily seized it from him.

Louisiana law recognizes the right of the state’s residents to carry loaded weapons in their vehicles, and Baillio has a state-issued concealed carry permit — that is, a piece of paper in which the state generously recognizes one facet of Baillio’s innate right to bear arms.

According to Baillio’s account, he was cordial and polite when he was stopped after supposedly neglecting to use a turn signal. That this was almost certainly a pretext stop is illustrated by the fact that Baillio never received a ticket. Supplemental evidence is offered by the fact that the conversation between the officer and Baillio focused entirely on the issue of gun ownership, including a question about Baillio’s membership in the National Rifle Association.

Baillio doesn’t conceal his NRA membership; it’s advertised by a sticker on the rear windshield of his truck, as are his very passionate views of the right to armed self-defense. “Armed We Are Citizens! Un-Armed We Are Subjects!” exclaims another bumper sticker, expressing a core truth of our republican heritage. Yet another sticker displays various kinds and grades of ammunition captioned by the directive, “Celebrate Diversity.”

It’s the safest of bets that what triggered the stop, as it were, was not a traffic infraction by Baillio, but rather the police officer’s conditioned reflex to treat the public expression of pro-gun ownership sentiments as innately suspicious.

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In brief, Baillio was a victim of political profiling of the sort being encouraged by the Department of Homeland Security and the totalitarian “watchdog” groups who have spent decades indoctrinating the police.

In his telephone chat with Glover, Baillio — who was persistent but unfailingly polite — pointed out that he “answered the [officer’s] question honestly and he disarmed me.”

“Which would be appropriate and proper action, sir,” replied Glover. “The fact that you gave the correct answer — it simply means that you did what you were supposed to do and that is to give that weapon to the police officer so he could appropriately place it in a place where it would be no threat to you, to him, or to anyone in the general public.”

“Well, you know, he still had a gun,” observed Baillio, hoping to underscore the fact that guns — as objects, rather than actors — do not pose a “threat” in and of themselves. “How is he — “

“Because he’s a police officer,” interjected Baillio before he could finish the question. “As I’ve just related to you, that police officer has powers, sir, that you do not have.”

Let’s unpack that reply, shall we?

From Glover’s perspective, it is only when firearms are in the hands of people other than the state’s uniformed enforcers/oppressors that they constitute a threat, not only to the public and those in charge of exercising official violence but also to the private gun owner himself.

Glover, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, clearly believes that any firearms in civilian hands should be considered illicit. This is, in both a cultural and constitutional sense, entirely un-American.

Interestingly, it is in harmony with the UN’s position, however, as summarized in the world body’s 2000 agitprop film Armed to the Teeth: The World-Wide Plague of Small Arms. That film insists that the only “legal” weapons are those “used by armies and police forces to protect us” — as if the word “protection” describes the uses to which weapons are put by the enforcement organs of the criminal states that compose the UN.

It is his attitudes toward civilian firearms ownership and the plenary power of police, not his ethnicity or any similar accident of birth, that would make Glover a very suitable ruler of any of the scores of squalid Third World thugocracies represented in the UN.

According to Glover, a police officer may properly disarm any civilian at any time, and the civilian’s duty is to surrender his gun — willingly, readily, cheerfully, without cavil or question. This is because police officers, as numinous beings anointed by the Holy State, exude the essence of pure goodness and would never commit acts of criminal violence against disarmed civilians.

Tell that to Angela Garbarino, a woman who was arrested by the SPD last year for DWI and wound up lying in a pool of her own blood after being “subdued” in a police holding cell.

Gaps in the security camera record of the incident occur at convenient intervals, so it’s not clear exactly how Garbarino wound up bloodied on the floor. In a photograph taken later Angela displays the marks of a severe beating, including two black eyes, a broken nose, and a cut on the forehead that required stitches.