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We have been looking through jaded glasses.
For the last couple of decades, we have been unknowingly desensitizing the populous through shows like Cops and other LEO glamorizing shows like CSI and a host of others. At the same time, the mainstream media is careful to portray the police and the government in a positive light for fear of loosing access to future stories. Thankfully, the Internet has brought us a new media. Sites like CopBlock.org cover stories of our police shooting dogs, kids, and other innocent people, as well as other police state and police brutality stories that we will hardly ever see on the 6 o’clock news.
There is a culture of impunity among law enforcement. When an officer is accused of a crime, an internal investigation is conducted while the officers in question go on what amounts to a paid vacation. Even with damning evidence, the officers involved are often cleared by the internal investigation, return to work and then, often receive a promotion. It appears they rarely suffer any serious consequences. How many of us have heard the idiom, “I have to” use such aggressive force, “so I can make it home to my family”? Well, what about the innocence slain that will never be with their families again?
Americans Killed by Cops Now Outnumber Americans Killed in Iraq War – There are over 40,000 military style “knock and announce” police raids a year. You are 29 times more likely to be murdered by a cop than by a terrorist! The US Department of Justice reports that an average of 400-500 innocent civilians are murdered by police every year. Militarization of the police is a growing phenomenon. From the National Drug Strategy Network: “It’s a very dangerous thing, when you’re telling cops they’re soldiers and there’s an enemy out there,” said Joseph McNamara, former chief of police in San Jose and Kansas City. McNamara, now a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, added, “Despite the conventional wisdom that community policing is sweeping the nation, the exact opposite is true.” Kraska observes that SWAT teams attract a different kind of officer — less a “social worker” and more a special operations soldier. “The SWAT teams love this stuff,” says Kraska. “It’s fun to fire these weapons. It’s exciting to train. They use `simmunition’ — like the paint balls and play warrior games. This stuff is a rush.”
Lots of SWATing
USAToday.com – Critics knock no-knock police raids – The roughly 3K swat raids per year in the ’80’s has risen to 50K raids in 2012 according to Peter Kraska, criminal justice prof at Eastern Kentucky University. Wrong door no-knock-raids put innocent lives at risk. Here is a nice interactive map of botched Paramilitary Police Raids by the Cato Institute.
Where is the danger?
Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in the Country: Police Officer is NOT on the List – Another story shows Law Enforcement Fatalities Dip to Lowest Level in Six Decades; 33 officers killed in firearms-related incidents is the fewest since 1887. “Officer fatalities unrelated to firearms or traffic saw a 33 percent increase in 2013. Thirty-two officers died of other causes in 2013 compared to 24 in 2012. Job-related illnesses, such as heart attacks, increased substantially in 2013 with 18 officer deaths compared to eight officers in 2012.” “Firearms-related fatalities peaked in 1973, when 156 officers were shot and killed. Since then, the average number of officers shot and killed has decreased from 127 per year in the 1970s to 57 per year in the 2000s. The 33 firearms-related fatalities in 2013 represent a 42 percent decrease over the average of 57 per year that occurred during 2000-2009.” It doesn’t help that: “Of the 31 automobile crashes in 2013, 18 were multiple-vehicle crashes and 13 were single-vehicle crashes.”
Why should you care?
If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear, right? Did you know, in 2005, a Supreme Court decision declared that it is NOT the duty of any police force in the US to protect the citizens, but to enforce the laws. Those laws are practically arbitrary now. Each of us commits several crimes every day in our normal, harmless lives. Victim less crimes may not involve you, but they could. Are you a gun owner, a pot smoker, a raw milk drinker, a front yard gardener, a lemonade stand operator? These things are all likely illegal, but harm no one. Prohibition has another nasty creature the government likes to use to bolster its coffers. Civil Asset Forfeiture allows government to take your money and property with not even any charges, much less a conviction. They just need to suspect the property has been used in a crime.
We have the tools to change this. Now. Even with all this apparent doom and gloom, we have never had better tools to make changes. We have to realize a few things, though:
The “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror” is a war against its own citizens. It needs to end. We should heed the lessons learned during alcohol prohibition. The profits and violence of prohibition always leads to corruption.
Cognitive Dissonance is a huge problem. People have a very hard time believing there could be any trouble with law enforcement even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Realize this and get over it.
Police should be held to an even higher standard because they wear a badge and a gun, not allowed impunity. Law enforcement must be held personally responsible. They should not get away with paying off settlements with tax payer money.
We can use Open Source accountability to bypass and make the mainstream media irrelevant. We have cameras and the Internet to film our public servants. Websites like youtube.com, CopBlock.org, benswann.com and plenty of others are available to broadcast your story.
If there is no victim, there is no crime. Just because there is a law, doesn’t mean it’s a just law. Nobody likes scummy politicians, yet we follow their laws. So, when arrested for a victim less crime, don’t take the plea deal.
If you are a juror, understand and use jury nullification for victim less crimes.