Who Will Guard the Guardians?

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”
– Plato

This morning I read two different stories involving police officers, and both speak wonders. The first story rightly labeled a local police officer as a hero after he bravely rescued a woman from drowning. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article and left a “thank you” to the brave police officer in the comments section. It was nice to read something positive after all of the negative that has been filling my timeline lately. Then a comment made by another woman on that same article made me doubt the human race once again. This peculiar commenter made it known that she would love to see people that post police overreach articles face this brave young hero. Basically, she dared anyone to say anything negative about any other police officer because the man that saved a woman from drowning had a badge.

I can’t wait to start posting articles about heroic civilians and follow it up with, “I’d love to see those who speak out against child abuse and rape face these heroes.”

“Please remove this article about sex trafficking, my husband just so happens to be a man, and this paints all men as sex addicted monsters.”

“Please remove this article about Andrea Yates, my Mom is a mother, and this paints all mothers as psychopaths.”

“Please remove this article about how bad aspects of the public education system can be, my wife is a teacher.”

“Please remove this article about being careful when getting in a stranger’s car, my husband picks up hitchhikers and delivers them home safely.”

Do you know why bad things happen to people? Because bad people usually use the same techniques that good people happen to use, just for different reasons. Don’t justify your silence on issues by saying there are good people, it just allows the bad to continue deceiving, sometimes even turning the good people into tools for bad. Hence this blog post.  

The second story I read was revolting and should leave everyone outraged.

In 2012 a police officer was arrested for planning to kidnap, torture, rape, kill, and eventually cannibalize his victims. He had used the NYPD database to track his potential victims, and had detailed out and established his plans in chat rooms and phone calls. He had even brought on coconspirators to help him be successful, he even brought the idea of harming his wife into the debacle. His google searches included “How to knock out someone with chloroform.” Yet, the acts of this monster amazingly have nothing to do with today’s blog post; however, what happened to him does indeed relate to today’s blog post. He walked this week. He was sentenced to 1 year, time served, for using the perks of his job to hunt down his potential victims. 1 year. *taps on microphone* 1 year.

He faced less time for conspiring to barbeque a woman while she was still alive, after the brutal rape he had planned for her, than an 18-year-old would spend for having sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend. I’m not justifying statutory rape, I’m just demonstrating how the magic a badge holds in the courtroom can make David Copperfield look like a hobo playing shell games on a street corner.

So, to the point: I’ve let the idea for this blog post mull around in my brain for a few months. I wasn’t sure how to approach such a divisive topic, I wasn’t sure how to avoid being offensive, etc. but honestly, at this point, I’m not going to squander time designated for perfectly good sleep worrying about whether people can have an adult conversation about a legitimate issue, or if they’re going to go Stephanie Tanner stompy foot on me. Life is short, I have a lot of opinions, and this isn’t going to be the last viewpoint that makes enemies.

Topic: Police Overreach (Insert Jaws theme music here)

So, I kind of feel like I kicked a puppy just by flirting with the idea of going towards this topic. Immediately upon reading this many people will say, “Oh yeah, well let’s see who she calls when someone breaks into her house!!”

I’m going to go ahead and answer that question: The cops. Because I’m not anti-cop, I’m anti-Police State. Oh, and that’s sort of their original purpose, as opposed to being suited up like The Terminator to go investigate a joint.

No, I’m not going to apologize if adults can’t talk about real issues without a bias that causes them to lash out at people, even if what those individuals are saying is logical. I’m not even going to back down when confronted by those who want to voice their frustrations because they have friends and family in law enforcement, because I do too.

Hey, finish reading, and if you disagree, I would love to discuss it with you via email, or in the comments section.

The barricade that keeps us from solving issues:

Conservatives have a tendency of behaving like liberals when it comes to certain conversations that need to be had; guarding certain topics better than they would the holy grail. I was blocked by a police officer after having a discussion concerning police brutality, apparently discussing a legitimate issue is no longer permitted. This is like men getting mad if you discuss the issue of rape, because they have the same tools that were used in the crime.

Quite frankly, I’m getting sick and tired of saying anything about our need to reduce the police state mentality only to have people assume that I have a Guy Fawkes mask in my purse, and that I belong in zip-tie handcuffs. Come on now, People… Now I finally understand why I rarely find a logical article on the subject! Either you have articles worshipping law enforcement, or you have articles showing complete distain for law enforcement, or you have the articles that are never written because sane individuals approach the topic only to be taken on a guilt trip to the land of heroic stories, where the rivers of bravery floweth, and the dangerous changes taking place in our society are forgotten.

Seriously, I love the police. I appreciate the police. I just want to request that our law enforcement simply do what they were originally designed for before 1984 becomes prophetic.  

On that note:

In 2011 Jose Guerena was shot 22 times while standing in his kitchen. The 26-year-old man was an Iraq veteran who had returned home and was now working the night shift at a mine. After seeing a suspicious person by their house, he put his wife and child in a closet and took his gun out to investigate. A SWAT team riddled his body with bullets while in search of drugs throughout the neighborhood. His home did not have any drugs, and the only marijuana found by the SWAT team was a small bag located in another home.

Reminder: A cannibalistic police officer is unencumbered, and probably fantasizing and enjoying a beer right now while this veteran is in a grave.

In 2010 a 7-year-old little girl was badly burned by a flashbang grenade that was thrown into the window of a her home, landing on her blanket. She was instantly disoriented and unable to hear and follow orders, a member of the SWAT team then entered the home and her life was ended with a single shot in the wake of all the madness.

Just this past May, a no knock SWAT raid ended with a 2-year-old child being thrown into a medically induced coma after have a flashbang grenade land in his crib. A search for drugs that weren’t even found in the home, a home that the suspect didn’t even reside in, ended with an innocent child having a gaping chest wound.

That’s just a sampling. All around the United States the Fourth Amendment is violated because people don’t know their rights, and men in uniform are either ignorant of those rights themselves, or they are taking advantage of the fact that many citizens are oblivious.  Yet if you mention this fact, you might as well have said that dogs don’t go to heaven, and baby ducks should be thrown in wood chippers.

In a press conference held in February of this year, concerning the ridiculous arrest of a jogger that was “resisting arrest,” or in reality, wearing headphones that made her unable to hear the cop shout at her after she jaywalked (no joke,) one police chief actually said, “In other cities there’s cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy…” This girl was placed on the ground and handcuffed while she cried and begged them to understand that she didn’t do anything wrong.

I followed the comments section of an article on the jogger story and was amazed by the support from other officers for this, well, thug-like arrest. But it’s acceptable that the pigtailed jogger was a victim of police overreach, because well, she’s just lucky that she didn’t get sexually assaulted? That’s a logical defense? I mean, maybe in Soviet Russia, but here? Yes, the chief eventually admitted to the fact that he could have worded that better. By I’m going to throw “worded that better” out into the cold and replace it with, “should’ve never tried to justify it in the first place.”

I hate to go here, but…

No, that’s a lie. I’m pretty ok with going here. The greatest weapon that the Gestapo had in their power was fear. The people thought that the Gestapo had ears everywhere, could do what they wanted without repercussions, etc. and that fear gave the Gestapo the ability to actually do what they wanted without repercussions. Imagine that. They fed off of the ignorance of the people. They even leaked stories of brutality by police so as to put fear into the people. The “it could be worse for you” mentality was rampant, and the people simply wanted to stay safe, so they blindly complied.

I was listening to a video of a gun owner talking to a police officer. The police officer was in full agreement with the man concerning the fact that it was his right to carry his weapon. When the man asked the police officer why he didn’t just explain our rights to the concerned caller that had called the police, the officer eluded to the idea that they would rather not see a lot of people knowing that they can exercise those rights. The police are to blame for much of the anti-gun propaganda, they have aided in fueling so much of the fear surrounding guns…

SIDE NOTE: I’m not justifying the actions of those that are carrying long rifles into restaurants. My opinions on that will be in a different blog post.

Countless videos of civilians refusing a vehicle search are all over the net, and yet those conducting the searches find the ignorance of one’s own rights to be a benefit for the thousands of other cars searched without question. Unfortunately, even GOOD cops are being led down the road of the police state mentality. It’s the ends justifying the means again…But is that who America is? Is that what we want our country to be like? I’ll pass.

The video of a police officer supporting the rights of gun owners made the rounds as well, I shared it excitedly, and then realized that this shouldn’t be considered a “good deed,” it should be considered “their job.”

Let’s look at some facts:

Civilian body counts are rising:

In 2013, 33 police officers were killed in the line of duty. This is a horrid statistic, but it is also the lowest number since 1887. Facts are, crime is not increasing; actually, it is the contrary. Yet in 2012 (couldn’t find 2013 data yet) over 400 civilian deaths occurred, and that unprecedented statistic has continually been increasing since 9/11.

Crime has always existed, and shockingly, homicide rates are down! Taking into account population increase, technically the wild west – well before gun control laws – had the lowest homicide rate between 1880 – current day. Suddenly in the late 1890’s, early 1900’s, union-led gun control laws were enacted and the homicide rates skyrocketed, decreasing once again when prohibition was ending. Then after the JFK assassination, gun control laws were enacted again, and homicide rates skyrocketed.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, as of 2013, the percentage of non-fatal gun crime victims dropped 75% since 1993, going from 725.3 victims per 100,000 in 1993 to 181.5 in 2011. Gun homicide rates dropped by 49%, going from 6.5 victims per 100,000 in 1990 to 3.6 in 2010. All in all, there has been little change in crime, there are some ups and downs, but it’s pretty clear that people have been breaking the law for a very long time (I mean come on, the first born human committed murder…). Funny enough, they tend to do it less when individuals carry weapons. Unfortunately, the numbers indicate that crime is not on the rise, police fatalities are not on the rise, and are actually on the decline, but police are more frequently resorting to violence.

Point being, we’ve been living in a corrupt society with psychopaths for quite a while, nothing is going to make that fact go away. The difference is simple – Now we have social media monitoring every move that societal bottom dwellers make. Stories that once upon a time didn’t even make it to a breaking news report across our TV, or the newspaper for that matter, now have a twitter hashtag before an ambulance arrives. Don’t get me wrong, staying informed is beneficial, but understanding the impact social media has had in our ability to hear about the crime is essential for our perspective. Crime is in your face more than ever, that doesn’t justify police overreach.

Scary statistic: More individuals have been killed by Police in the United States than soldiers have died fighting terrorism in the Middle East since the World Trade Center attacks.

Unwarranted Searches & Knowing Your Rights:

After the Boston bombing, Tsarnaev was on the loose. The police proceeded to search homes in Watertown, without warrant, and the occupants of said homes appeased them out of ignorance. This was a direct violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, but our government sold it as an attempt to protect us. As people answered their doors with their hands over their head (little too fearful???), law enforcement began their in-depth searches.

Everybody says, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” And to those people I kindly ask that they get a history book.

According to the Department of Justice, you are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a terrorist. Yet we actually have people defending no knock raids, and complete violations of the Fourth Amendment through unwarranted searches. They support the legal assaults that take place in airports on children and Grandmas. I live in a country where I can’t take my hairspray on a plane, but someone can troll the NYPD database looking for women to victimize and only serve a year in jail.

I’m going to need to blackout for a minute and digest that.

Alright, I’m back.

So, what changed? Police departments have become militarized. Originally, police officers were armed citizens who took on the responsibility of having arrest powers to protect the people. Now, they are more like a paramilitary organization. People fear American police more now than they ever have, and I had my concerns validated when a police officer said “Good!” when I mentioned that very fact. Officers have adopted a warrior mentality, and have assumed that the rest of the population consists of ignorant sheep. Looking at those they swore to protect and serve as enemies, or weaklings. Yes, many police officers give their lives in the line of duty, and many civilians are also killed recklessly. Could it be that it is everyone’s fault? If we are teaching officers to look at civilians as below them, or enemies, are we not just fueling the separation?

I’ve heard from many good hearted and conservative police officers that sincerely wish for civilians to be less armed. That’s not ok. It just means that we are failing the police officers being trained, because we clearly aren’t teaching them to respect the rights of citizens. Amazingly, when I talk to retired police officers they say the exact opposite. So, are we currently encouraging police officers to behave irresponsibly, to see innocent civilians as the potential enemy? I once heard a cop say, “I couldn’t care less what their rights are when I’m in the heat of the moment.” I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this particular police officer probably should’ve chosen a different career path.

Police officers do not face the same justice system that civilians do:

If you kill a police dog, you will be charged with taking the life of an officer. Yet if a cop comes on to your property without a warrant and kills your animal, you’ll get to pay the vet bill to have them cremated.

I personally take great issue with this. I have a German Shepherd that is trained to guard my home, and she stays inside all day. She doesn’t know the difference between a cop breaking in, or Jeffrey Dahmer (apparently it could be both,) she just knows that it is her job to keep my home safe. I don’t like the idea that a police officer can get off the hook for slaughtering my dog  if for some reason they decide to illegally enter my home, only to escape the justice system because they have a badge. If that’s the way it’s going to be going forward, law enforcement is going to become the career of choice for aspiring criminals, similar to how it was for the Gestapo.

SIDE NOTE: Yes, I read the adorable story of the cop that saved a dog and found its owners. Once again, that cop deserves a thank you. Interestingly enough, he recognized the poor image that the police now have with civilians concerning pets, and he made it a point to say that they all don’t behave that way. I give a sincere kudos to that officer.

My recommendation:

If you are a police officer that is easily angered during police overreach discussions, you’re just increasing the chances that those listening will learn not to trust the police. Don’t defend criminals, even if they wear a badge, because that only gives us a substantiated reason to doubt whether your loyalty lies in protecting the innocent, or protecting whoever has a matching outfit.

If a group of mid-20’s blonde women with brownie batter addictions break in and rob a jewelry store, I’m not going to defend them because I’m a mid-20’s blonde woman with a brownie batter addiction. If you don’t want the world to act like the police are the largest gang in the United States, Hint: stop acting like it by pulling the gang loyalty card with the “Blue Code of Silence.” I get it, there is loyalty there, like in the military; However, let’s draw the line at say…oh, I don’t know…An unreasonable raid that left a 2 year-old with a gaping chest wound from a flashbang grenade. A woman that was stripped nude and pepper sprayed multiple times even after they had her in control behind bars. Or, maybe the unreasonable search of vehicles and homes without warrants?

I hope to see police officers bringing up these issues. If you are dedicated to protecting the people of the United States, why not call out those that are harming them, or those that are violating their rights?

Police, I want to work with you, because I am a law abiding citizen that hates crime. I want to see us be friends again, I don’t want to fear you when I don’t have a reason to do so, I don’t want to have to fear for my rights, I want you to know and understand them, and I want you to want the people of this country to know and understand their rights so that we can build a safer tomorrow. A tomorrow where we realize that a SWAT team is not necessary to apprehend little Billy’s weed stash.

To all of the police officers that respect the rights of the people, please let me express my gratitude. We need people like you on our side, I respect you, and I am thankful for your sacrifice. I appreciate the few that commented on some of those posts calling out your fellow brethren for violating the rights of the people. I don’t want the police to go away, I just want them to know their place in a free society. Contrary to both sides of the debate, respect and restraint are not antithetical.

Alright…I’ll take my lashings now. If by lashings you mean a piece of cake….or pie…I’m not picky.

–  MB

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