My Response to Brett’s Recent Post
As the founder of CopBlock.org and a good friend of Brett Perry, I felt the need to reply to the comments made about Brett’s recent post.
First I’d like to start by clarifying Cop Block’s mission. As stated on our Join Us tab:
The idea behind Cop Block is to highlight the double standard that police hold. We hope to accomplish this by documenting police actions, whether they be illegal or just a waste of time and resources, then having supporters call into the police stations highlighted (hopefully recording their conversations). On top of the direct pressure we hope to put on police departments, we want to be an educational resource for those who have problems with the police, a place where different techniques, viewpoints, and courses of action can be showcased.
Cop Block, as stated above, “[is] a place where different techniques, viewpoints and courses of action can be showcased.” This includes sharing your stories or police encounters. Since day one, we’ve encouraged people to share their stories with us. This doesn’t mean just the ones where police clearly violate you; in fact we’re interested in every police encounter – good or bad. This will help to not only highlight the abuses of police but also the lack of customer service provided by police. Think about your last police encounter – then, ask yourself if you’d pay to be treated in such a manner. After all, you are paying for it.
Though Brett might not have explained himself properly in his post, I still feel it’s CopBlock.org worthy and here is why.
Running a stop sign is not a valid “crime” because it has no victim. Police spend the majority of their time on crime prevention, something that is actually impossible to accomplish. The fallacy of crime prevention was best highlighted in the movie Minority Report where Tom Cruise was the head of a police agency with the ability to see crimes in the future. In this movie, the audience realized (hopefully) that people have control over their actions until the last possible minute and that prevention prior to such acts unleashed a host of ethical quagmires and civil liberties abuses. The point of the movie, to me, was that you can’t punish people for something that hasn’t happened, no matter how sure you are that it’s going to happen.
Regardless of your views on government and if or why they have the right to be Mommy and Daddy to us all, the fact of the matter is we have laws against destruction of someone’s property and for causing harm to ones body (including death). Had Brett run that stop sign and hit someone, I highly doubt he would have blogged about his experience in the context of police abuse. Instead, he would have been focused on making right with the victim – the person whose property he damaged.
In the worst-case scenario, Brett might have killed someone by running that sign. In that case, the victims could not then sue the police for not protecting them from Brett’s irresponsibility. Yet, strangely, we expect police to teach Brett a lesson by taking his money when there was no victim in this circumstance.
What purpose does the $50 ticket have, other than to generate revenue for the state? Contrary to popular belief, the purpose is not to teach Brett a lesson, since Brett already knows it is in his best interest to stop at stop signs/lights. He ran it accidentally – a fine or ticket will not deter someone from making future mistakes, because by definition, a mistake is an action one did not intend to commit. Further, the stop sign was already disobeyed so there was no hope of preventing a harm to others in the future.
I’d like to address a few comments left on this post:
Here is a comment left via CB’s FB page:
Not all laws are good, fair and just. Some NEED to be broken and ignored. But there is a need for laws.
You are insane if you think that running a stop sign should have no consequences. I’ve done it once, got hit with a nasty ticket (rightfully) and learned my lesson. Car registration also has a good reason, it helps pay for the roads that we drive on. Ever driven on a dirt road that’s soaking wet? How would you like it if all the interstates were like that all the time?
I would agree there is a need for rules and property owners should set those rules. However, we do not need a government that claims to know what’s best for us all to make those rules, and there is a difference.
If this road were privatized, Brett would have made an agreement to obey their rules while on their roads. He also would have paid for the road prior to driving on such a road. Instead we’re all forced to pay for roads whether we drive on them or not, and if we don’t pay for them, men with guns come to our house. Privatization is a more peaceful solution to this. Everything government (police) do is backed by a gun – for example, you are forced to get a drivers licenses, insurance and registration or the government will take you to jail by force. A private company would generate funds for their business (roads) by collecting tolls, fines (for those who repeatedly break their rules) and maybe even by advertising, but they would never be allowed to send men with guns to your home in order to force you to pay for their services. Why is government any different?
This commenter later states:
I hate the concept of victimless crimes (for example drug use. I’m personally against it, but I don’t think it should be illegal, at least on the federal level)
But running a stop sign, or driving drunk, those have the potential for very real harm done unto others. It’s the same thing if I take my rifle outside and start shooting near people, but not hitting them. It DID not hurt anyone, but do you really think I should be able to do that?
Unfortunately, what they’re really saying is that they fully support punishing people for victimless crimes, unless they are things they, for whatever reasons, doesn’t mind. Actions that have merely “the potential for real harm” are victimless crimes. Doing drugs has the potential for real harm. Drinking has the potential for real harm. Skydiving has the potential for real harm. Almost everything we do has a “potential for real harm,” including butchering up a slab of steak. Thus, there are no logical distinguishing characteristics between what this person believes are victimless crimes (doing drugs), and drinking and driving or running a stop sign. He seems to say that people should be able do whatever they want with their bodies, in the absence of direct harm to another, but not whatever they want with their property (in this case, their car), in the absence of direct harm to another. This distinction is arbitrary and makes no sense.
Then there is this comment, also on FB:
Rob – “some will feel if there is no victim there is no crime”
So you think an activity that clearly endangers the public is not a crime unless a person was actually hit????!!!?!?!?
This reminds me of my little cousin when he puts his had real close to my face and says over and over “I am not touching you, I am not touching you, I am not touching you”.
The “Non Touching” just like the “No victim” doest matter. Like my cousin, you have shown your inability to follow the simple basic rules of civility (he can get away with it because he is 8, you are not).
The fact that he isn’t really touching me or that you didn’t actually kill anyone doesn’t matter the effect is the same, the danger is the same, your carelessness for your fellow citizen is the same.
First of all, your example proves our point. Do you think your little cousin should be fined for putting his face close to yours and annoying you? Are you seriously contending that someone who harmed no one, should be fined, ticketed and harassed by police for failing to follow “basic rules of civility”? Is it civil to fine someone for not being civil?
On the other hand, if your cousin was trying to intimidate you or threaten you in someway, what your cousin did and what Brett did are not the same and are not comparable. If in fact your cousin is threatening you, this makes you the victim. Your cousin is attempting to intimidate you, which we all know is wrong, and sounds like a parenting issue. Also, the issue with said fine wouldn’t be an issue if Brett wasn’t already paying for the roads and the police – by force – and hasn’t harmed anyone. Driving itself is dangerous; you could blow a tire, break down or have an animal jump out in front of you, right? So since driving at all can be a danger to others, shouldn’t we outlaw driving altogether? I mean if your argument is for safety then everyone should trade in their car, truck and other means of transportation. Anything less would show “your carelessness for your fellow citizen.”
Finally, they go on to add:
If people like this represent your organization, then you or someone at your organization needs to speak on it… either in support of it or against it.. you can’t just sit on the sidelines and say everyone can say what they want, that’s just a way of not taking a stance.
Does your organization support that case (this latest article) and think it is police abuse in any way?
Since I support this group, I would like to know where it stands.
CopBlock.org is for everyone, no one – not even me – speaks for it as a whole. It’s a decentralized organization for people to use as a tool to help people deal with police issues and post like Brett’s create conversation and a way for others to deal with such issues.
We don’t want everyone to agree with us, or every story we post. The conversation flowing from such posts is what is beneficial to us all. If you are asking for my personal thoughts, then yes, this is police abuse. A man wearing a costume, claiming to work for the people, stopped a man and demanded money from him. There is no victim for Brett’s alleged crime. Per the precious laws of the land, you have the right to face your accuser in a court of law. How is this going to be possible for Brett? If anything this is a great example of how the police can’t protect you and an even better example of how they extort money from you while claiming they’re protecting you and others. I call bullshit.
Feel free to send any police related stories via our Contact Page.