You’ve no doubt heard the term, “checks and balances.” It’s usually mentioned in the context of government – of the American form of government (well, its theoretical form) in particular. The idea that the legislative branch acts as a check on the powers of the executive, while the judicial balances the legislative – and so on.
It’s a sound concept that maybe ought to be applied to police work.
Something’s got to be done.
On this point, almost everyone’s agreed. Because it’s obvious that cops are increasingly out of control.
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But not surprisingly.
Because there are few – if any – checks and balances on cops. Much less in the way of legal constraints – or consequences. Even in cases of egregious, indefensible conduct. Hence, they are in a very real sense encouraged to engage in egregious, indefensible conduct.
Those wearing state-issued uniforms enjoy something called qualified immunity – an obnoxious doctrine that sets them apart as a special class under the law. A protected class.
How America Was Lost: ... Best Price: $4.29 Buy New $11.62 (as of 03:05 EDT - Details) Which inevitably becomes an entitled class. Armed to the teeth – and turned loose on us.
Is it surprising that excesses occur?
Cops have every incentive to behave badly. Are rewarded for being irresponsible.
And so they do – and are.
Expecting this not to happen is kind of like not expecting stray cats to show up in ever greater numbers if you keep on putting bowls of cat food out on the porch every night.
Suicide Pact: The Radi... Best Price: $0.49 Buy New $3.29 (as of 06:05 EDT - Details) We’re often told (by Clovers) that government is a necessary evil because if left to their own devices, most people would otherwise run amok. Beat others up, kill them – take their stuff. It is only the prospect of consequences for reckless and criminal actions that keeps most people in check.
If true, why does the same principle apply less to cops?
Especially to cops?
Who, after all, are given life and death authority over other people. The bar ought to behigher – not lower. A prizefighter who uses his fists and skills to beat up a guy on the street faces much more serious legal consequences than a cop who does the same thing. Even though it amounts to the same thing.
Arrest-Proof Yourself Best Price: $4.22 Buy New $6.00 (as of 01:35 EDT - Details) A worse thing, actually.
Unlike Mike Tyson, who is just one Mike Tyson, a berserking cop has the weight of an entire system backing him up. And while no one in his right mind wants to go toe-to-toe with Mike Tyson, at least you can try to kick him in the nuts or poke him in the eye or something like that – and then get the hell out of there. But if you’re facing off against a berserking cop, any self-defense – even an attempt to ward off his kicks and punches to the head – constitutes “resisting” and opens you up to summary execution at worst, multiple felony charges at best.
This is an odd idea. If you are the victim of an assault – an unwarranted attack – why should you be denied your right to defend yourself simply because your attacker happens to be wearing a special outfit?