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Roger’s Rules

Andy Taylor on the Coercive Power of the State

July 9th, 2013 - 5:25 am

There are several worrisome things that my friend’s experience illustrates. One concerns the increasing militarization of the police in this country. Do we really want these latter-day Gauleiters swaggering about the joint with their preposterous uniforms, minatory attitudes, and an amount of firepower more appropriate to a battlefield than a small town? (“Ah,” quoth our masters, “everywhere is a battlefield today.”) There was a character in the television series Hill Street Blues, a city police department employee who had a military-garb fetish. He like the boots-jodhpurs-and-belt-across-the-chest look. He was a slightly comic, slightly dangerous, wholly pathetic character.

Now our police and other official agencies are full of such characters. What are we going to do about that? Acquiesce or resist?

My friend’s note also illustrates the larger point that Ken Minogue made. He quotes that bit from The Servile Mind I quoted above, and adds Ken’s conclusion:

Nor does the state deal merely with principles. It is actually telling its subjects to do very specific things. Yet decisions about how we live are what we mean by “freedom,” and freedom is incompatible with a moralizing state.

So two goons from a state-funded acronym get duded up in scary uniforms, strap on some heat, and terrorize the local kids and their grandparents: “Remember the first time we went jug fishing, grandpa, and these scary men came up and ruined the evening?” Thanks a lot, pal.

What do we have here? One thing which you should never forget: your tax dollars at work.

And here’s a prediction: you will be seeing more and more intrusions of this sort. Sooner or later, it will move from intimidation to tragedy: “I had to shoot the kid, he was reaching for his pen knife.” There’s only one thing that can stop it. The people who elected the bozos who allowed this apparatus of intimidation to form must be the people who stand up and replace them. All of them. Now.

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Top Rated Comments   
"I bet we wouldn't hear complaints about DNR patrols then."

Why yeah, then he could have lost a kid AND gotten a ticket. Dressed up in bullet proof vests you can rest assured they weren't going to be doing much in the way of rescue work.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is not just the police. I was walking with my kids to the 4th of July show in my town. We take a nice 15 minute walk through side streets, a park, and a bike trail to get to the central park in the town because it's actually quicker than driving (traffic is murder at this show). On the bike trail, the police had a checkpoint up and were searching bags. Suspicionless stop and search on a public way? Since we hadn't brought any bags, we just walked through but it rubbed me wrong so I checked up on it. The police story was that they had trouble with hard liquor and freelance fireworks shot off from the crowd, but that would have justified checks at the park entrance. So I checked further. The town lawyer eventually opined that given the recent events in Boston, they were now taking the position that at events, they had the right to stop and search anyone without suspicion and both at the venue and on the streets and sidewalks nearby.

Since when is exercising basic constitutional rights subject to change at executive whim?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Coincidentally, I was thinking about this subject over the weekend. I live in a leafy, bucolic, fairly well-off part of small town New England. Driving through a neighboring town, I noticed a police officer on traffic duty in the town center, which barely merits a traffic light. In the past, this town's officers dressed in fairly traditional navy blue trousers, light blue shirts, and flat shoes. Of course they carried sidearms, but the officers always seemed approachable, and I often would chat with them while waiting to cross the street. The cops were basically regular guys with law enforcement training whom you would just as likely bump into as civilians at a neighborhood barbecue as you would be to see them "on the job." Sometime in the last couple of years, they dropped the old uniform, and now they wear black tactical dress head-to-toe, from service cap to combat boots. Perhaps even more significant, the cop on traffic duty this weekend had a physique which is not typically attainable without chemical enhancement. Quite frankly, the vibe I got from this cop was not, "If you need help, come to me!" but, "If you speak to me, you're asking for trouble."

Mayberry, indeed.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (72)
All Comments   (72)
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Kind of a nice thing local police do on Mother's Day in a restaurant here in Essex junction, VT, is to fill in as waiters, with the tip proceeds going to charity.
HOWEVER, it's a bit disconcerting when you see them with guns batons and bulletproof vests!
Vests!
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
The cops should certainly be able to wear body armor and carry all sorts of neat weapons.

However, they should be costumed as circus clowns.

Y'know: the big striped and polka-dotted pantaloons, the white face paint, the puffy international distress orange yarn wigs, the cheerful red rubber noses, the whole Ronald McDonald bit.

Why not? Ask any little kid. Clowns are scary, right?

But make the government thugs look stupid and ridiculous. Make sure that they're conspicuously contemptible. Take all the strutting Stosstruppe romance out of their job, and humiliate them, every working minute of every working day.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Are you guys really all so dim that you don't realize these are the same guys who had these jobs when George was president?
Or does PJ media just make these posts up?
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, are you mistaking us for Republicans? Har-de-har! Quel drôle.

====
"In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican."

-- H.L. Mencken
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
We go back and forth to my parents all the time. A couple of years ago, we were headed out to my parents for Easter. There is a small town we roll through all the time. It has a four-way stop. This particular morning, my husband missed the stop sign until he was halfway through the intersection. By then, it's too late, so he goes on. About 10 miles out of town, we get pulled over by the town cop who has chased us all that way. He pulls us over for running the 4-way. He asks for our proof of insurance and when we find out our is expired because we forgot to put in the new ones we just got, he threatens to arrest my husband right there - just for running a 4-way stop sign, no speeding, no erratic driving - just a for running a 4-way stop sign and having a recently expired proof of insurance. Oh, and we were out of state.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"when we find out our is expired because we forgot to put in the new ones we just got, he threatens to arrest my husband right there - just for running a 4-way stop sign, "

No, he threatened to arrest your husband because he was driving without insurance.


You sound like one of those kids on Youtube complaining that a cop arrested or tased or shot somebody "just barbecue he was speeding", when in fact, the person fought with the officer after being stopped.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"just barbecue he was speeding",
Barbecue??????
You've made your opponent's point. Innocent people make innocent mistakes. Like, they leave documents home. They shouldn't be criminalized because of it.
How like a liberal. Sneak into the US without permission, you are merely "undocumented". Drive without your current insurance form, you are a target for a SWAT team.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Uh, no that's not why, and they did have insurance. Probably just forgot to put the new card in the car. Just because the card is expired doesn't mean they didn't have insurance.
Been through that, and a reasonable LEO recognizes the situation. If it's like mine, there is even a toll free number on the card to use for verification. I know this because the patrol officer who stopped me for having a bad license plate light pointed it out to me...instead of threatening to arrest me because the card was expired.

Obviously, you are like the LEO aharris was unfortunate enough to have to deal with. You would fit right in. Apply for a job and then you can berate people in person.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, and the cop had to have come out of the station, gotten into his car to chase us down. He appeared suddenly in our rear view. We thought he was going on another call, not chasing us. We were surprised because he pulled over after us.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"They had guns, dressed as Gestapo, and had bulletproof vests." Sadly, we have these same goons in Washington State. I've been harassed by them so many times now that I no longer care to go fishing anymore due to the hassle, as they quote obscure laws that aren't posted in the regulation guidebook or on the Internet in order to get you. My running joke is that you have to be either a lawyer or a Navy Seal with more firepower in order to go fishing anymore. Of course this is all by design I think.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
They were lucky they didn't have the family dog with them. The Police seem rather inclined to shoot dogs these days.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"One concerns the increasing militarization of the police in this country."

FEMA's "Homeland Security Grant Program" is one of the reasons why state and local law enforcement agencies are gearing-up in a military way. Since 2001, Uncle Sam has been outfitting state and local law enforcement with all manner of para-miltary and military equipment and training.

All in the name of anti and counter terror.

9/11/2001 had some consequences.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am in charge of the budget for a small town police force of 8 officers. They are good people by and large, but you have to remember that most cops don't see any shades of gray, only black and white.

You are absolutely correct about the "Homeland Security Grant Program". If you give a cop the money to buy scarier toys, he/she will buy scarier toys. Our county recently scrapped a radio system that worked just fine for our needs, and spent $2 M in HSGP money. They could have narrow-banded the existing system to keep up with FCC regs for about 10% of that cost.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's a big part of it, but these grants having been coming through as part of the war on drugs for far longer. Add in to that the abuse of seizure laws, and police departments getting first or advantaged access to military surplus gear. It just seems silly to to and cast this as a partisan problem. It's been decades in coming with plenty of politicians to blame.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly right. In fact, it's mostly been "law & order" Republicans who have done this damage, supported by blind "law & order" Republican voters.


"Nothing's too good for our boys in blue!"
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Roger's article and most of the responses make one thing vividly clear, Obama's state is terrified of the citizens they supposedly serve. Their paranoia is evident in every over-reach, every scandal and every new regulation. The paranoia of the left, who practice an ideology in which fear of freedom is paramount, has spread like a virus into every corner of our lives. We must put aside our differences - we are, after all, united in our love of country - and get these people out of office.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I took 3 of my grandchildren...We left about 9:00 p.m...my boat...horn, which did not work, never has. They asked if I had a whistle. I didn’t...Then they asked to see the life preservers which I had."

Imagine how scared and exhausted the kids would have been if your boat capsized at night, nobody was WEARING a life preserver, and you didn't have a horn or a whistle? I bet we wouldn't hear complaints about DNR patrols then.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I bet we wouldn't hear complaints about DNR patrols then."

Why yeah, then he could have lost a kid AND gotten a ticket. Dressed up in bullet proof vests you can rest assured they weren't going to be doing much in the way of rescue work.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
These stormtrooper kiddie cops should ALL be forced to wear pink & given toy guns. Our police have become an arm of a fascist gov't trying to control every fact our lives. There is no reason to have all of this Nazi get up they have. In fact, my city just bought an urban assault vehical that cost over $100,000. The city has never had any riots & is a bedroom community of SF in the central valley. People were outraged. They make YOU pay for any 911 call for medical help, but have TONS of money to buy a toy for stupid cops that fantacize that they are Navy Seals. What a bunch of idiots we have in law enforcement. Organized thugs if ya ask me.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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