Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants was authored by Jim Kerr and first published to July’s issue of The Liberty Tree a publication of Save-A-Patriot Fellowship P. O. Box 91, Westminster, Md. 21158 (410)857-4441
On July 4, 2013, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Deputies set up a roadblock to make unreasonable searches and seizures which are forbidden by not only the United States Constitution, but by the Tennessee Constitution. (See p. 2 showing Tennessee’s Constitutional guarantee of this fundamental right.) July 4th, the very day that we celebrate our separation from the tyrant King George III, the monarch that suppressed the God-given liberties of the peoples of the 13 colonies, is surely one day in which our government officials should respect civil liberties. But it seems the cops of Murfreesboro, Tennessee were too ignorant to think about that. These Murfreesboro police (and there were likely many other cops throught this country) harassed innocent passers-by thus violating their oaths of office. Bad idea – what with modern technology. These cops got caught! Now such criminal behavior by cops can be made public.
This July 4th check-point was beautifully video recorded and broadcast on the internet, causing an uproar. God bless the cell phone! It went viral on the Internet. Yes, We the People also have access to modern technology. Anyone can use their cell phone or other such devices to record any incident involving the police, such as when being pulled over. Even people walking down the street, witnessing an event, can use a video recorder to great effect. Remember Rodney King? That “didn’t play well in Peoria.”
There is one organization devoted to collecting such recordings of incidents involving wrongful police behavior. They may be found on the Internet at www.copblock.org. Though it is loosely organized, it has a very interesting collection of videos of bad cops that are caught in the act of breaking the law. These videos should be shown on TV and in every civics class in today’s public schools — along with having the students read the constitutions of the federal government and their state. They need to know what rights are. Indeed, inquiring minds want to know!
It has been said that “seeing is believing.” Second-hand information, even from a source deemed reliable, such as family or friends, may still not be entirely reliable. But to see something, such as an event involving wrongful acts government employees (oversees military included) with your own eyes, is effective in removing doubt as to what transpired. Video recordings, be they in Murphreesboro Iraq or elsewhere, provide unadulterated exposure of abuses of authority to wide audiences, making it a powerful tool to sway the sentiments of people such as ourselves. Indeed, honest ignorance can be cured, unlike stupidity, which can’t.
This is useful not only in making people aware of what is going on in real life, contrary to the filtered, censored, candy coated news we see on TV, but is a powerful tool to hold public officials accountable for their crimes – such as police authorities. Many bad cops are worse than Barney Fife; indeed, ignorant and arrogant public officials shall not be on the endangered species list any time soon, for there is nothing new under the sun. And We the People can do our fair share to keep the police authorities within the bounds of their oaths of office by merely keeping our cell phones handy and using them liberally.
In this country, we are beholden to the principle of public accountability. Indeed, as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis said, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants….” Instances of corruption and abuse of authority by government officials – especially cops – will be minimized if those powers are required to operate transparently.
In the past, law enforcement has not been subject to much public scrutiny. Not any more! The wide use of camera phones and the Internet is putting an end to that. And the public doesn’t like what it is seeing! Wide publication of such videos has sparked public outrage and calls for police reform. This would be impossible without the potent impact of citizen-conducted surveillance.
Of course, the law enforcement community is not happy with all this citizen-surveillance. Check out the videos on Copblock.org. Very eye opening.
Many police authorities and prosecutors have engaged in aggressive efforts to stop the public from recording police activity altogether. They have made little progress. Indeed, such efforts to chill our First Amendment rights in this area don’t go unnoticed – unlike government efforts to stifle political speech within the Patriot Community. Cf. Judge Nickerson of the Federal District Court’s injunction against Save-A-Patriot’s free speech.
In the past, it was rare that people could actually see first hand, police activity. The public’s perception of law enforcement institutions were filtered through the main stream media, which relied heavily upon official police sources for their information. Law enforcement authorities were therefore able to control the information made available to the public, so as to cultivate a favorable perception of them in the media. This fostered praise and support from the public. Illegal police activity could be concealed or if absolutely necessary, downplayed to a trusting public, thus minimizing any public disapproval. Today, We the People can police the police.
So, do your fair share: record those public servants. Even public servants need to be held responsible for their crimes.