Cops Will Have to Choose; Enforce Bad Laws or Quit

I recently blogged about Zach Wendorff, who was arrested while trying to record a University of California Santa Barbara Police Officer. That officer called backup and two Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s (SBCS) Deputies arrived on scene, one of those deputies was Wayne Johnson. While investigating Zach’s arrest I called the SBCS to see if I could get comment and was connected with Deputy Johnson.

During my first call to the department Johnson said, “He was not arrested for filming” before I had explained any important details of the case. This surprised me, so I asked if he was aware of the situation and Johnson said, “I know parts of it, but not the entire situation.”  I passed that off as odd, but thought maybe word had spread through the department and other deputies were informed of the arrest. After reviewing my notes on the arrest I noticed, “Wayne, first name of officer also on scene.” Realizing that the man I had just talked to was named Wayne Johnson, I picked up my phone and hit redial.

11040115_10204911734205695_421608689_nIt was less than five minutes before I had Johnson back on the phone. I immediately asked him if he was on the scene of Zach’s arrest and after a four second pause he says, “Actually I was at the scene.” Now, its no big surprise that cops lie, or anyone really, and I choose not to dwell on it and simply moved past it. I believe that Johnson wasn’t upfront with me because he wasn’t sure why I was calling and wanted to get a better feel for the purpose of my call before placing himself there. Since that was the case, the fact that he lied to me wasn’t interesting, just telling.

What was rather interesting is how the conversation concludes. I tried to end the conversation by stating that cops don’t always have to escalate a situation, even if a person with a camera does first. This lead Johnson and I down a path where we talked about filming public officials, victimless crimes, and cops enforcing bad laws. Watch the video.

The real humdinger is when Johnson says, “I don’t make the laws, I just enforce them.” This is something I’ve heard cops say a thousand times and cop apologists (or cop suckers, as I call them) say over 10,000 times – no joke. Just as I said in the video, it’s a piss poor excuse when it comes to justifying enforcing a law you believe is bad. Which really means you wouldn’t do it without a uniform and badge. Seriously, is Johnson the type of person you want in the role of protector of your community? Knowing he’s willing to blindly enforce any words on paper that are handed down to him?

In the video, I give the example that ketchup is illegal and asked Johnson, “are you going to start kicking down doors to grab ketchup?” Johnson’s responded by saying, “if it’s illegal I have to do my job.” When I pushed him by asking if he’d still use ketchup, even though it was illegal, he accused me of comparing apples to oranges, but he missed the point. I wasn’t comparing skateboarding to ketchup at all, I was clarifying that, no matter what the law was – pot, speeding, ketchup or skateboarding, enforcing it if you disagree with it is not only hypocritical, but stupid and dangerous.

With so many laws on the books there isn’t one person, let alone a single cop, who would say all laws are just and mean it. Therefore, at this time, every single officer out there, including Johnson – at one time or another – is enforcing a law they DO NOT AGREE WITH. The face of that is simple stupidity and the unseen is extremely dangerous. There’s a famous quote from an English author called E.M. Forster, and he said, “if I were called upon to betray my country or my friend, I hope I would have the courage to betray my country.” As I hope Johnson does when the ketchup act of 2020 passes into law.

What are your thoughts about the conversation between Johnson and I? Do you think police officers will enforce ANY law? How about the LEO’s out there, where is your line in the sand? What law would the government ‘leaders’ have to pass for you to throw down your badge?

 

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Ademo Freeman

was born and raised in Wisconsin, traveled the country in a RV dubbed “MARV” and is an advocate of a voluntary society, where force is replaced with voluntary interactions. He’s partaken in projects such as, Motorhome Diaries, Liberty on Tour, Free Keene, Free Talk Live and is the Founder of CopBlock.org.
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  • JC

    More Ademo BS. If you want laws changed, you lobby for it and go through the channels like anyone else does. You don’t just decide which laws you are going to follow this day or that day. You are a perfect example of what happens when you think you are above the law. Multiple felonies and no future.

  • mouseeeeee

    Wow do you know why cops have jobs
    They have to enforce laws if u don’t want them to enforce those laws get your lawmakers to pass new laws to state police can pick a choose what laws to enforce
    Wow great article
    Very thought provoking
    Wow

  • Shawn

    While some laws cops should refuse on general principle, those will be few and far between. It is a dangerous road. LE is NOT part of the law making process. No cop has veto rights over the laws. To say they can ignore a law they don’t like is to say they have final authority on the laws the citizens of this nation create.

  • Common Sense

    There are hundreds if not thousands of “bad laws” all over the nation, but who decides what is bad? And how do you know police even enforce them? Like the article about some city having an ordinance about leaving your car running and unattended, that was a leading story, but has yet to be enforced, ever.

    I remember an old ordinance about having “colored chicks in vending machines” and “worrying squirrels.” They exist but, to my knowledge have never, ever been enforced. If you’d want the police to enforce every statute and law, just ask. If will be you, the public that pays up. Two over the speed limit, bang, pay me. Jaywalking? That will be $100 please. How about “shoveling and/or pushing snow across a roadway.” To most, they don’t care, unless its your driveway that’s plowed in.

    Sorry Adam, I know where you were going, but this was about skateboarding and someone who probably took your advice and thought they know more about the application of law than the police and paid a price for it.

  • t

    CS:
    It’s “bad” if they don’t like it.

  • tz1

    I’m not sure if the post makes any sense.

    The problem is how do we determine what a “bad” law is? If Good and Evil are objective (as maintained by both CS Lewis and Ayn Rand), then you have a strong case. But in this case, a “bad law” is “no law” – like a law which was held to be unconstitutional, or is clearly unlawful. The problem then is not so much that the law is “bad”, but that un-law is being enforced. There is a second problem since you might not like it when objective “Good” is enforced. Objective morality contains within itself which parts ought to be enforced, violently if necessary, and which parts are merely shameful.

    If morality is relative, a law is merely the whim of the authority, and the same relative, arbitrary, law on some action is backed up with the same kind of whimsical arbitrary law concerning enforcement. You cannot say they need to decide – because there is no good or evil, either in the laws or in their enforcement.

    Yet you hit upon a very important point. One evidence of laws being bad, unjust, invalid is the very number of them. The 10 commandments had 3 laws concerning God (which police shouldn’t bother about), 5 concerning interpersonal actions (kill, steal, lie, adultery, respecting authority and what you owe by honoring your parents), and one or two with thought (coveting). The sermon on the mount was more profound but only took 3 chapters in Matthew.

    If you know what is good and evil, you don’t need thousands of laws. If you don’t believe there is an objective good or evil, you need to specify every last detail.

    But the problem then is the moral relativism.

  • keepitreal

    And you’re a perfect example of a fake ass douchebag.

  • Common Sense

    So every speeder must be stopped? Every violation must be cited?

    That’s the dangerous road you don’t want to go down.

  • Shawn

    Use sense for a change. You know full well there is a difference between discretion, ie 2mph over the limit, and a cop who doesn’t agree with say drugs being illegal.

  • Brian McKee

    “The task of the state consists solely and exclusively in guaranteeing the protection of life, health, liberty, and private property against violent attacks. Everything that goes beyond this is an evil. A government that, instead of fulfilling its task, sought to go so far as actually to infringe on personal security of life and health, freedom, and property would, of course, be altogether bad.”
    “A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper. He must free himself from the habit, just as soon as something does not please him, of calling for the police.” ~ Ludwig von Mises

  • TrollMajesty

    And you’re the vagina he’s douching out.

  • TrollMajesty

    So insightful. I’m glad we have true American heroes such as Ademo Freeman sticking up to the perpetrators of the Police States of America over the telephone. Most impressive was how Ademo backed that cop down with his verbal skills and psychological mastery and made him confess to being part of one of the most egregious examples of police brutality in our lifetime.

    Someday, Ademo, someday everyone will understand that the police serve no purpose and that laws serve no purpose if Ademo and the hipsters at large don’t agree with them. Until then, keep fighting the power with voluntary interactions.

  • t

    Shawn:
    Guy….you R E A L L Y don’t know what you are talking about.

    Go down to you local PD and ask if they keep stats on how many stops result in someone being charged for the “initial violation” that they were stopped for. You’d be surprised how few are. Lots get charged for other things that are found ADTER the stop…but that’s different.

    As for des creation.
    Again…..you R E A L L Y don’t know what you are talking about.
    This is the area where great friction within PDs come from.
    Officers and Admin’s but heads all the time….right there.
    Do you know what most Admin’s reaction to bias complaints and lawsuits is? It not to stop enforcing the law…..it’s to cite or arrest EVERYONE. To strip away officers discretion.
    State legislatures are similar. They respond to that pressure with statutes that have words like “shall” or “will” cite or arrest. No dsecretion

    The forces at work are far more involved than just what’s inside the police car.

  • Common Sense

    …ha ha ha “psychological master”

  • Shawn

    “Do you know what most Admin’s reaction to bias complaints and lawsuits
    is? It not to stop enforcing the law…..it’s to cite or arrest
    EVERYONE. To strip away officers discretion.
    State legislatures
    are similar. They respond to that pressure with statutes that have
    words like “shall” or “will” cite or arrest. No dsecretion”

    No one here is ignorant of the fact that the government wants cops giving out tickets. It is a major money maker for them. Thank you for admitting that policing for profit does exist though.
    Usually you pretend it doesn’t exist.

    “Go down to you local PD and ask if they keep stats on how many stops
    result in someone being charged for the “initial violation” that they
    were stopped for.”
    As someone who has experienced such a stop, most will likely be pretense. Those other reasons were the point of the stop. No PC for the offenses they really were after, so make something up to justify pulling someone over. Like in the GA stop in the news. That cop didn’t care one bit about window tint. He was on a drug hunt, under pretense.

    I had one pull me over for 17 over the limit once, in a 50 zone. We both knew he was full of it. All he wanted was to see if he had a drunk driving pegging the speed limit on Thanksgiving night.

  • Larry Capponi

    and your the small dick in that vagina

  • Common Sense

    “….Tharp and his wife were told their windows were too dark. The deputy checked the tint and found it was not within the legal limit. But, on the contrary, the Tharp’s Toyota dealership tested the tint and got a different reading that was legal….” IF they were cited, they could argue their dealership’s meter vs the officers.

    The stop was still lawful. He used a tint meter. That dealership is under no legal obligation to ensure the tint is within the limit. Same with a speedometer. Interdiction stops are just that, stops to get access to the driver/passengers to talk to them. It can be any valid reason, weaving, crossing fog line, tailgating, even 3 over is still a valid stop.

    Read more: http://www.cbs46.com/story/28416132/elderly-couple-complains-after-traffic-stop-turned-into-drug-interrogation#ixzz3UNOEx0b6

    http://elliott.org/problem-solved/honda-replace-illegal-tint-used-car/

  • S

    I know it is a two party consent to record a conversation, but did the genius from CopBlock, ask for consent to upload conversation onto the internet? It is one thing to record a conversation for private documentation between two people, but it is another to broadcast it on YouTube for public.

  • TrollMajesty

    That’s it? Come on, I was expecting something just simply devastating, a verbal assault that would make me think, “wow, Larry Capponi has a keen wit and a giant penis that keeps the ladies satisfied.” I’m not so sure anymore.

    Also, I know nobody likes a grammar nazi but it’s you’re (you are), not your, Larry. It goes towards how you’re perceived, since a string of text is the only representation you have.

  • Larry Capponi

    It’s the net dude grammar is for librarians , and yes your wife is correct my penis is huge

  • TrollMajesty

    Oh burn! Wow another scorcher! You should build a website that teaches aspiring Internet warriors how to wield the mighty sword of member size assertions and hastily crafted sentances, dude, for real. You, Larri Capponi, bring great credibility to this site and all of its contributors.

  • Larry Capponi

    Least I use my real name and don’t hid like the gay loser you are … And there is nothing wrong with being gay you embrace it well

  • TrollMajesty

    I do enjoy being gay. I wasn’t aware this website was anti LGBT, I figured it was more progressive then that. Hid what? Oh, did you mean hide? Sorry, last one I promise.

    Look Laree, I’m beginning to realize you are most probably a high school kid or someone who the education system just absolutely left in the dust. Don’t give up on education Lary, it’s never too late!

  • Larry Capponi

    You seem to be having trouble spelling a very easy name , but the question is still out there , if you are proud of being gay and stand behind what you say then why not show who you really are … Or could it be that you are a disgrace to your family and scared to show people who you are ….

  • Larry Capponi

    Ps . For the record I am 55 fat old and bald

  • TrollMajesty

    So spelling does matter? It’s the net, dude!

    Anyway, you continue with your Internet psychoanalysis! Maybe I’m a lost, scared homosexual afraid to come out and share my name with the world. Maybe I need to nestle into the bosom of Dr. Caponi so he can tell me it will all be ok.

    I am so moved by your Internet bravery in putting your full name out there. What I really need to see, so I can emulate you, is the next step. Put your address out there! Let the world know that Larry is not ashamed of his gayness and he will tell you in person!

  • TrollMajesty

    Larry are you trolling yourself? Anyway, it’s time to board my flight so I’m going to stop for now at least. I’ve enjoyed our little back and forth, it kept me entertained. Don’t take it to heart Larry, I don’t want to read some story about a Larry Capponi road raging or kicking a dog or something

  • Larry Capponi

    I don’t kick dogs or people who can’t defend them selves , but I have helped get two cops fired / resigned cause they were POS’s and I don’t put up with their shit or the people who blindly defend them and as for my address and place I live I am not hiding and would meet anyone in any dark alley or far off lonely place

  • Larry Capponi

    Oh I am not gay , I actually have a smokn hot lady and am constantly surrounded by beautiful woman always ….. Life is good

  • WD!

    Lol

  • t

    Shawn
    Paragraph 2 takes you immediately back to ignorance.

    So…..you life is based on you speeding 67 in a 50.
    And you blame the police for that?
    That explains the ignorance.

  • Jwhite

    Obviously the filmmaker didn’t like the skateboard law but what authority did he have to decide if it was “bad”? What authority does Ademo have to decide if something is a bad law? most of the time when people get upset like this, it is because they are being held accountable to something they don’t agree with, or something they don’t want to be penalized for. It’s understandable that people get upset for being penalized but that does not make them an authority on what is a good law or not. Speeding may be a problem in some cities and therefore heavily enforced. It may not be a problem in others and so it is rarely addressed. It is all relative. What you never hear is people asking WHY the cop is enforcing the law to begin with. You only hear them denouncing a law without any real understanding, objectivity, or relationship. They yell, argue, and never listen to the cop. No one in these videos actually has a real dialogue with the officers as to why they are enforcing the law. So ultimately they leave ignorant and with intelligent understandings of the law which would be necessary for making an objective opinion on the laws validity.

  • martymarsh

    I agree, anyone that will enforce any law is corrupt. Take the seatbelt law for example, we know it is about revenue, does anyone honestly believe that a cop is giving them a ticket because they care, does anyone honestly believe the people that made the law care? The government has made billions on the word SAFETY and as long as the money keeps coming in, that is how much they care.

  • t

    Jwhite:
    Ummmm
    Maybe you’re new here. I explain exactly that here all the time.

    People hate that accountability. I laugh and openly mock many here because it’s so clear…that for them….it comes down to simple dope love. They wanna smoke their dope wherever and whenever. And I’ve gone on record as saying that I couldn’t care any less if they smoke themselves into oblivion. My issue with them is the lack of truthfulness about the topic.

    As an aside from that…..@WD wrote recently on a different thread about how the police rarely mess with him about his dope. And that is the key. Dope….like guns….you have to REALLY work at getting caught with drugs or guns. Get your dope, smoke your dope. But that’s not how it goes. It’s get your dope, drive around while smoking your dope, have a huge blaring my loud party while smoking your dope. It’s like most people put up a neon sign that says “Come and get me….I’ve got pot”.
    Think about it….if there is only 1 officer for every several thousand people…..how is it that someone gets singled out for attention?

    And all of that goes to the guns deal to. Stay home with your guns….no one is coming for them. But that’s not how it goes….nope. They gotta bring their guns out to us.

    I really have been trying to explain things here for years. I even support the stated idea of recording the police and holding us accountable.
    But that’s not what happens. In stead it’s getting involved
    In every situation. Then edit out all of that and only post what you want to show.

    But I sti go with….
    If they don’t like it….that makes it bad.

  • jwhite

    That’s a horrible example. The seat belt law is a good law. Plus, in California the government generates no revenue off of seatbelt tickets.

  • martymarsh

    No, it is a fantastic example, are you a child, you need to be told to buckle up? If you get a ticket, they are generating revenue, you want to call it something else, that is fine with me I’m use to the corrupt lying.

  • whoopsydoodoo

    For starters, a law is bad if it cannot identify an individual victim

  • JWhite

    Yes people need to be told to wear seat belts and it’s obvious. People die all the time without seat belts.Do you know how much their deaths costs the government and the taxpayer? In California alone the costs of vehicle accident related deaths is over 300 million a year. You really think that the state issues anything close to that many seat belt tickets a year? How much is a seat belt ticket fine, $100-$200? But how much does it cost to write that ticket… Here’s an answer… $50-$75 dollars by the time it is written, processed, and dealt with at court. So at most the state “makes” a hundred bucks on that ticket. Then how many people take that ticket to court? How much does that cost? $400+? The cop on overtime, the judge, bailiff, clerks, recorder, security, etc.

    Writing a ticket is expensive.

    So if the state makes $80 bucks per seat belt ticket, and issues a million tickets the state would still be loosing money to seat belt related deaths. We haven’t even covered the costs of lawsuits, government programs in social security, welfare, etc that are effected by the death of someone not wearing a seat belt.

    It surprises me how ignorant people are about laws and the costs of government. Most people’s ideas about the workings of government are false assumptions based on little to no empirical evidence. Emotions and guesswork replace research and expertise.

  • martymarsh

    I think you just threw out a bunch of bogus numbers, which people that are in favor of laws are good at. How on God’s green earth does it cost the state if a person is not wearing their seatbelt, that is what insurance is for. A cop writing a ticket just got 80 bucks for whoever and you are claiming it still cost, while most people won’t bother fighting them in court, also had that cop not written the ticket all he would be doing is riding around burning up gas. I understand you want people to be stupid, but cops these days are nothing more than revenue agents. Which is trying to cover the cost of programs you mentioned. It is a total scam, in the name of SAFETY, you people found a gold mine in that word.

  • jwhite

    the numbers are not bogus. Google how many people die a year in California from traffiC collisions. Then Google how much does it cost to investigate traffic collisions. it is not less than $100,000 Per accident if you include police, fire, experts, coroner’s office, district attorney’s office, etc. there is also clean up, and hazmat. evidence, evidence technicians, capital stock required to store the evidence that costs money, etc. then there is the National Highway Transportation Safety Association that reviews every incident. another government agency checks for equipment failure. every fatality easily costs over $100,000. I’ll google for yourself how many fatalities there are in California

    you’re also assuming that cops want to write these tickets. Or that they are forced to write these tickets. Each cop is different, and it is against the law for quotas and for agencies to order a number of tickets. So they don’t have to write any tickets. What incentive do they have to write these things? They don’t make any extra money? Most tickets they write don’t even go back to their agencies or governments.

  • martymarsh

    Any reality to those numbers are the same numbers you would have to use even when people die with their seatbelt on. You are also making every accident complicated and anyone with half a brain knows they are all not. Of course cops don’t want to write tickets, but it is either that or find another job, I had a VA trooper tell me about 30 years ago, I don’t want to give you this ticket but if I don’t I will be out of a job and they will put someone out here that will. Now as far as quotas, yes it is against the law, but anyone that says it don’t happen is nothing but a liar, there have been to many cops admit to this. The system keeps hiring cops and because there are so many they have turned them in to revenue agents, you can deny it all day but I don’t think to many will believe you. Also, it does not matter who is getting the money, because it is obvious someone is, and the political pressure is on to bring in more.

  • jwhite

    your first rebuttal is faulty logic because it assumes that seat belts have no effect on safety. There are numerous studies that show how much seatbelts reduce fatalities. Secondly, you have no evidence about quotas. Your one example is from 30 years ago when quotas were lawful. They have not been lawful for over 20 years I believe. Regarding the costs, and research are some links.please read them before coming back to me and tell me I’m making this up.

    Research:

    http://www.ots.ca.gov/OTS_and_Traffic_Safety/Score_Card.asp

    http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/seatbelts/facts.html

    This says 507 fatalities without seatbelts in california in year 2011:

    http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/state-by-state-overview

    The costs….
    http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2014/NHTSA-study-shows-vehicle-crashes-have-$871-billion-impact-on-U.S.-economy,-society

    This pdf says the costs are about 6 million PER person.
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=OLcJVYb9OoHToASu1ICwBA&url=http://www.camsys.com/pubs/2011_AAA_CrashvCongUpd.pdf&ved=0CDEQFjAI&usg=AFQjCNGx5Klhc0SktWSOEB3a5ufQ_t4zIQ&sig2=eQPrFTRVdDddum9MtCAo6g

  • martymarsh

    Talk about faulty logic, I never said that seatbelts were a bad thing and I know they work, but your cost for picking up a dead person remains the same whether they wore one or not. The 30 years ago was just the first time I heard about it, and anyone denies it is as corrupt as the people doing it. I am also not impress with your government sites, corrupt people corrupt the information.

  • jwhite

    you’re missing the point. Enforcing the seatbelt cost the state money. It also saves the state money. if they don’t enforce seatbelts, more people will be killed. That will cost the state money. So the state spends money issuing tickets so they can lower the overall cost. This is all because people don’t put on their setbelts. All of the evidence is in the links above. yes, the costs of investigating accidents of all fatalities is the same as a fatality involving a seatbelt. There just happens to be fewer fatalities because of seat belt.

    it totally baffles me that you have 0 empirical evidence, that all of your assumptions are based on your guesses or emotions. You have nothing to back up your arguments. You can’t just dismiss all of that data because you feel like it. You’re not an authority on the law. You’re not an authority on the data you are not an authority on any of this stuff. You picked seatbelts as your example for bad laws and you happen to have picked the worst example you could possibly find. Then, I point out to you all of the flaws in your argument, and you have no evidence to backup your opinion. The fact that you won’t even consider what I’m saying demonstrates that you would rather live in ignorance, then educate yourself. With that kind of attitude, the only thing you are an authority on, is nothing.

  • martymarsh

    You have that double talk down to a science, how does it cost them money to enforce it when the revenue agents are out there anyway, not to mention once the ticket is written that is a plus for the state. If they don’t enforce it more people are killed, can you see in to the future or something, that is something you couldn’t possibly know short of people getting thrown out of the vehicle. If you remember right I agreed that seatbelts are a good thing, I just don’t want some overpaid revenue agent telling me what to do, because it never stops. The trucking industry has been over regulated by using the word SAFETY also. Which is the biggest crock ever, even a blind man can see that. All of this is about revenue and politicians and the cops are nothing more than overpaid revenue agents for the corrupt system. Now what makes a person an expert on all this? How well they can bull shit the masses. Why do you suppose a person with bad credit has to pay a higher rate with their insurance company, because just because they have bad credit means they are bad drivers? I believe that I am very educated when it comes to corruption.

  • jwhite

    For as educated as you are you cannot prove any of your response.

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  • martymarsh

    You are right, not to the blind. But for some reason people are starting to see, but then when you keep trying to take all of their money with all of this bogus BS that is going on today, you are the one making them see.

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  • JWhite

    Funny, the government could get raise taxes lawfully but they somehow decide… “Lets just send the cops out instead to raise revenue. Who cares if its unethical and immoral…” OR they actually are trying to enforce the law. The fines are set up not to make money but to be a deterrent. THATs the POINT!

  • martymarsh

    Well it is obvious that in this day and age the people are not going to stand for to much more when it comes to taxes, but deterrent was the original intent, not anymore. Good example of that, Ohio was one of the last states to raise the speed limit from 55mph, they fought it long and hard saying it is a SAFETY issue, now the good part. You get off the interstate on some 2 lane road that you can barely do 30 mph on and presto, there is a speed limit sign that says 55mph. So they think it is safe to do 55mph anywhere? No, they knew that people on the interstate couldn’t do 55 and the whole state was one big speed trap. Here is the real funny part, if you used the turnpike you could do 65mph, you pay to go faster legally, what a scam. Then all of the tickets I got when the speed limit was 55mph nation wide, today I am no longer a threat to society, but they still kept my money. Don’t get me wrong I am not complaining about the tickets, I always figured it was a part of doing business. But to claim it is a SAFETY issue and then today there are places you can do up to 85, the system is a pack of liars, money grubbing liars that is.

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