A Response to George Sand’s Pancake Post

Cop Block is a decentralized project supported by a diverse group of individuals united by their shared goals of police accountability, education of individual rights and the dissemination of effective tactics to utilize while filming police.

That decentralization means contributors don’t always agree. And it’s not that I disagree 100%, just some, but I think that “some” is an important difference to tease out. After all, discussion is healthy.

On November 9th Cop Block contributor George Sand* posted to Cop Block’s Facebook page:

“We all need to recognize cops are the enemy. They’re not just the enemy of the black guy. They’re not just the enemy of Miguel who came across the border without a bureaucrats permission first. They are our enemy too, they will pick on us as well. When we allow government to prey on societies least liked memebers, it’s only a matter of time before they prey on us too” – Becky Akers

The quote was lifted from an interview Akers, a LewRockwell.com columnist, did with Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio (listen here, 26-min.).

The Akers quote attracted this comment by Quinn Mack:

They are your neighbors and the person your standing in line with at the grocery store. Educate yourself and get to know them and we can all be on the same page. Have you ever taken a ride along with your local PD? Have you ever went to a pancake breakfast and learned what they talk about? Do you even know one personally? Didn’t think so. You are depending on a story or some third party blurb to make drastic decisions about your viewpoints are without taking the time to form your own opinions with real data imo. I have some of those things planned in the near future to learn about them. I don’t know enough yet to form a valid firm opinion but plan on learning and talking with them.

A short time later Sand responded to Mack with the post “You can’t judge cops unless you’ve eaten pancakes with them first,” in which she likened his statement to “the good ‘ole ‘walk a mile in their shoes, before you judge’ argument.”

Sand then detailed that she had gone on a ride-along with someone she “truly believe[d]” was one of the “‘good apples.'” Yet that person was “either completely ignorant of the law when he arrested a parolee for no reason, or simply didn’t care.”

Assuming this is true – that the person was “completely ignorant of the law” or “simply didn’t care,” does that make them worthy of an absolute communication ban? Can’t ignorance can be overcome through information? Couldn’t the sub-par work ethic be remedied through the introduction of competition**?

Sand continues, “Regardless of whether you accept that all cops are enemies, the idea that eating pancakes and making small talk with someone somehow has bearing on the American ‘justice’ system, the problems of police brutality, and lack of government accountability is absurd.  I cannot emphasize enough how FUCKING STUPID this line of logic is.”

I disagree, and Sand’s own statement a couple of sentences later discloses why: “Police must be judged for their individual actions . . .”

There is no benefit to write-off an entire group of people based on their place of employment. Yes, cops subsist via political means*** (stolen money, aka taxes), but if that is the lone criteria for a policy of non-communication then does Sand cease communication and view as an “enemy” anyone who takes money doled-out by the great fiction**** of the State?  Including local, state, and federal government employees (and military)? Contractors? Social welfare recipients? Corporate welfare recipients? College students?

Don’t you think it likely that some of those individuals might, once exposed to new, better ideas, shed their old, worse ideas? Like anyone else the average cop has been exposed to a lifetime of pro-State, defer-to-authority rhetoric. Hell, my own views were once similar to those Sand now rightly decries, but I’ve learned and I know I’m a better person.

Also, when in conversation (with a cop or anyone else) the impact to the audience – those in the immediate area (or, in more increasing numbers with cops, via videos online) – shouldn’t be overlooked.

And to go back to Sand’s question of how a “small talk with someone somehow has bearing on the American ‘justice’ system” – it does. Accountability will come only after individuals cease to grant extra rights to someone simply because its claimed (cue the Marginal Revolution).

Sand later left two comments to the article:

they [cops] are NOT decent folks to the people they ‘serve.’ They routinely say shit like ‘no stop is routine’ and ‘officer safety first.’ This is very simple. This means they view every single person as a potentially dangerous criminal, and will kill you if they are scared. There is no dispute about this.

—–

I also disagree that talking to police personally enlightens an individual about why these abuses occur or where they stem from. The abuses quite clearly stem from police behaving in an out-of-control manner, because they can. They do not get punished when they do, therefore, they are more reckless about their actions.

Yes. But to halt there without asking why that is the case is to stop short. The badges-grant-extra-rights mentality exists only because people believe it to be the case. A policy of non-communication toward individuals wearing a specific costume casts them as “the other,” which only pays homage to, rather than erodes, the artificial power claimed.

It is to ones determent to treat those employed as police officers as a monolith that should receive the exact same treatment (in this case the silent treatment) rather than as individuals that think for themselves. Again, I’m not saying invest all your time here but it’s worth a try. Bradley Jardis did it. And more and more cops are speaking out against the aimless violence caused by their colleagues at Occupy events.

One mind at a time, consent of the violent, ineffective, monopolistic organization will be withdrawn whether due to morality- or efficiency-based rationales. As Nicholas Recker commented on Sand’s post, “
Looking at them as the enemy will leave us all guilty of stripping the other of their humanity.

”

*I have nothing but love and respect for George Sand!!

** Today the provision of “law enforcement” is provided by a monopoly. That is bad. Think about it this way: If two or more individuals reach a consensual arrangement everyone is better off, otherwise they wouldn’t have made the arrangement. They would voluntarily buy or barter or gift a good or service. Today, with no competition there’s an oversupply of policing, and they have a lot of guns and thrive on the fear they peddle. But that monopoly exists only because people believe it so. Law is emergent. Its creation and interpretation cannot be granted to or conducted by an individual or group of individuals. The surest (most moral, most efficient – take your pick) way to have a safe and prosperous society, free from institutionalized brutality and double-standards, is not through centralization but decentralization. For more watch this 5-min. video Problem: Police, Solution: Agorism based on a speech given by Austin-activist John Bush.

***From The State  by Franz Oppenheimer (1919), “There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one’s own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others.”

**** Government by Frederic Bastiat (1848), “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

EPN

Pete Eyre

Pete Eyre is co-founder of CopBlock.org. As an advocate of peaceful, consensual interactions, he seeks to inject a message of complete liberty and self-government into the conversation of police accountability. Eyre went to undergrad and grad school for law enforcement, then spent time in DC as an intern at the Cato Institute, a Koch Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, Directer of Campus Outreach at the Institute for Humane Studies, Crasher-in-Chief at Bureaucrash, and as a contractor for the Future of Freedom Foundation. In 2009 he left the belly of the beast and hit the road with Motorhome Diaries and later co-founded Liberty On Tour. He spent time in New Hampshire home, and was involved with Free Keene, the Free State Project and The Daily Decrypt.