The Problem with Officer Barista

The write-up below, from Kevvie, was shared by via CopBlock.org/Submit as a response to the December 30, 2010 write-up “Why All Cops Are Bad” by Ademo Freeman. It is shared here because it is well-written and as the exchange of ideas is thought key.

In keeping with the benefit that comes from considering different perspectives, interspersed amongst Kevvie’s text are some indented, italicized blocks of text, to respond to points raised by the author.

______________

To get off to a good, honest start, I ought to say that I am, within the next few years, going to pursue a career in law enforcement, either as a peace officer on patrol or with the Department of Corrections. I’d say, at this point, I’m a bit familiar with CopBlock.org; I’ve watched “incident” videos on Youtube.com and read an article entitled “Why All Cops Are Bad” on the site. It is that same article that prompted me to write this response.

In the article, the author compared a police officer to a barista, noting how cops are supposed to serve the public they work for (yet do the exact opposite) and that, if a Starbucks barista were to act in the same manner as police (confront, detain, arrest people, etc.), Starbucks would lose customers and the company would fail. While it was well-written and clearly reflects a remarkable and intelligent point of view, I don’t think that it was an accurate, appropriate, or logical comparison.

First of all, I am a former Starbucks employee and can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that the two jobs have virtually nothing in common, save the fact that they require interaction with the public. There wasn’t a single day that I showed up to work at Starbucks that I had to confront and arrest dangerous, violent junkies, murderers, agitated rapists, or recently paroled felons for the things they’ve done wrong. While I may have made drinks or rang up such persons at one of the coffee house’s cash registers, I did so unknowingly and did not have to deal with them in potentially volatile and perilous situations.

In other words, when a rapist violently attacks one of your wives or girlfriends, who goes and arrests them? I can tell you confidently that it is NOT a Starbucks barista. When a family is murdered sadistically in their house, who is it that has to hunt the predator down (and possibly risk being killed themselves in the process)? Again, it is NOT a barista who does this. When someone steals a car or breaks into your home to steal from you or physically assaults you in public, who makes it their responsibility to go and arrest said person, removing them from the streets? I can tell you that it is most definitely NOT a barista.

Most police interactions are not with violent predatory people but with those who engage in non-crimes – actions that have no victim. Is it surprising that someone harassed, stopped, ransomed, or threatened, may take issue with the person violating their rights?

Also, as Philip Zimbardo makes clear, the capacity to be a hero (to a heroic act) – it’s not just based on ones’ attire. Kevvie, the author of this piece, sounds like a well-intentioned person – I’d be he, like myself, and like many readers of this piece, would not hesitate to speak up or step in to help stop a rights-violation.

When a cop pulls you over, it isn’t just for the Hell of it. You may have been speeding, which is dangerous for yourself, your passengers, other drivers, and any pedestrians around. Or you may have illegal drugs in your car. I’ve repeatedly heard the argument that it is a person’s right to put whatever they want into their body. On the surface it makes sense, but when you dig a little deeper, it doesn’t hold up as well. How many people are in jail because they hurt or killed someone while high on hardcore drugs? Or while they were desperate to get drug money to fund their habit? How many people’s lives are destroyed by the physical and psychological effects of addiction? Shooting up heroin is not the same thing as eating a cheeseburger or a burrito, both of which are also ingested and go into your body. While being overweight and excessive eating can certainly lead to health complications, I have never heard of anyone murdering another person because they ate one burger too many. To put it into perspective, I watched an episode of “Lockup” and one of the inmates was a young man who ran over and killed a woman with her own car, which he had stolen, while high on an illicit street drug. To give it an even more personal angle, my mother was nearly murdered by her brother when he chased her around the house with a carving knife while he was high on God-knows-what. To this day, I fail to see the harmlessness of hardcore drugs or anybody’s “right” to use them.

Kevvie, may be well-intentioned, but without question caging someone for what they might do, is nonsensical. If we were to take Kevvie’s argument to its logical conclusion, why not then cage each infant at birth, and task benevolent bureaucrats to care for them, so that they cannot grow up and possibly harm someone else?

Allowing certain folks to say what non-rights-violating behavior is cagable, sets a very dangerous precedent. What’s to prevent those folks from caging those who express views that threaten their claimed legitimacy? Or who don’t turn over 50% or 70% of the wealth they create?

To be fair, alcohol is very dangerous too and yet, it’s legal. I think this actually shows a bit of hypocrisy in our laws and government. Honestly, I respect the art of wine and beer making. I don’t think there is anything wrong with enjoying one or two glasses safely and legally in a restaurant as long as one has a designated driver or in the privacy of your own home. The problem arises when people fail to drink conservatively, end up roaring drunk, and then climb into their cars and plow into a mother and her small child one night. An in-law of mine recently got arrested for a DUI. Do you think I feel sorry him? Not in the least. I regret that he was so reckless, selfish, and irresponsible, but I am not sorry that he had to spend the night in jail, attend AA meetings, perform community service, and pay some hefty fines and court fees. None of that seems comparable to what might have happened if he had hit someone that night.

And yet when someone is driving drunk and dangerously swerving across lanes and cutting people off, who pulls the driver over? Exactly. There’s no Starbucks barista in this scenario, either. When the officer pulls the intoxicated driver over, he or she has no idea if this person is armed or has violent tendencies or becomes physically aggressive after one beer or tequila shot too many.

How about when such actions are done by police employees, and they are granted a pass from their friends in the injustice system since they done a badge? It happens. And it even happens when the police employee is sober, as the family of Milton Olin Jr. found out recently.

Which brings me to my next point…

I feel that police officers and anyone else in law enforcement ought to be able to carry guns, tasers, pepper spray, cuffs, batons, and anything else they need to subdue and take a criminal into custody. Unfortunately, there are some police officers who use excessive force. I admit there are some cops who take the physical part of their job too far. But there are unethical doctors who perform risky procedures, construction companies who cut corners and ignore laws and codes, and lawyers who knowingly and willingly defend guilty clients, even killers, for large sums of money. All of these things are wrong and unacceptable too, yet no one is calling to get rid of doctors, lawyers, or construction companies, are they?

Certainly, more folks are recognizing the harms inherent in monopolies. If a good or service is in demand, it can best be provided via consensual interactions.

You are right when you say that your taxes pay peace officers’ salary, but guess what? Officers’ own taxes pay their salary too. It’s because we, as a community, county, city, state, and country benefit from having trained officials to enforce laws and keep order. Imagine, if you will, a nation where there are no jails, no cops, and no one to lock up anyone who has done something heinous and destructive. The idea of it bothers me greatly.

Police employees are trained to employ coercion. That is the only tool in their toolbox. The “order” they strive to keep is that set by their friends, who also subsist on stolen money. They all are incentivized to grow their sphere of influence. That is much more bothersome and destructive to order than a common criminal.

If anyone thinks that official laws and authority figures are not required to keep the peace, I highly suggest that he or she read a novel entitled “Lord of the Flies.” Yes, even though we have laws and rules and regulations, crime still exists and crimes are still committed. However, I can only imagine how bad things would be if every single murderer, rapist, conman, and child abuser were free to walk the streets without having to fear arrest, prison, and incarceration. At the very least, if the cops cannot prevent the crime from happening, they can arrest the offender, put them away, and make sure that they are never able to hurt the public again or, hopefully, for a very long period of time.

If you’re in the reading mood, check out: The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State by Bruce Benson > at Mises.org I at Amazon.com Other related content can be found at CopBlock.org/Library

I am very liberal when it comes to video recording the police. I personally see no problem with it. Cops are supposed to assist the public and keep the peace and, if they are doing everything legally and by the book, then they’ve got nothing to fear. I’ve actually watched videos where police officers acknowledge the fact that they are being taped and introduce themselves to whoever is recording the interaction and any viewers who may view the material in the future. At the same time, I don’t blame officers for becoming angry and annoyed when a camera is in their face. I have never enjoyed taking pictures or appearing on video for whatever reason and can certainly appreciate a police officer’s hesitancy to engage in such things.

The slogan of CopBlock.org is, “Badges don’t grant extra rights.” Well, what extra rights do peace officers have exactly? They are not allowed to use or possess illegal drugs, speed in their personal vehicles, drive drunk, steal from stores or people, get out of paying taxes, or even not be arrested themselves if they do something against the law. If an officer speeds to a fast food restaurant on his lunch break or parks his motorcycle on the sidewalk in the case of a non-emergency, then those things are wrong and absolutely should NOT be allowed. Though the public prefers to hold a grudge against them, officers are reprimanded, fined, placed on leave, and/or fired when they do things they shouldn’t and are caught. If they knowingly and repeatedly do such things, then they ought not to be peace officers. Plain and simple.

Police employees are said by their friends in legaland to have “sovereign immunity” – and thus to be not responsible for their actions, even those actions that take the life of someone else, when they don a badge. That situation is based on a bad idea – on that idea being peddled for years, and being bought-into. The purpose of the site is to share ideas thought better (i.e. that individuals are responsible for their actions), to erode the institutionalized violence of the police apparatus.

When police employees act in the wrong they are “investigated” by their friends – how likely is that situation to facilitate justice? In fact, 99% of compalints go uninvestigated. Also, police employees are protected by their unions. All these internally bankrupt institutions depend for their survival on the legitimacy granted to the bad ideas that they have extra rights.

The bottom line is this: When I become a police officer, I feel that I will be serving the community and the American taxpayers. I’ve got a family and I want to make this dangerous world a little safer. Don’t do illegal, reckless things and you needn’t fear the police at all. I understand not wanting to consent to a search because we, as human beings, feel violated when a stranger goes through our things. The last time I checked, it is perfectly legal to refuse a search of your vehicle and, should the search be carried out anyway and illegal items discovered, the fact that you did not consent to the search does factor into your overall sentencing and outcome.

Kevvie, you want to serve people, do it via voluntary means. Extortion is wrong, no matter how it’s sugarcoated. Perhaps, you’d find value in the “Welcome LEOs” playlist at YouTube.com/TheCopBlock

I passionately believe in liberty and that is precisely why I both support police and want to become one. I want the RIGHT not to be raped, killed, paralyzed, stolen from, assaulted, beaten, abducted or any other such heinous possibility. Do I have those rights? Absolutely. And so do you. That’s because if any undeveloped subhuman cretin does any of those things or attempts to do any of those things to me, a police officer will find him, arrest him, and throw him behind bars with others threats and violators of liberty.

Great to see your commitment to liberty Kevvie and for taking the time to share your thoughts. Before you become involved with a police or correctional outfit, I encourage you to really think about the underpinnings of the current injustice system.

If you don’t agree with me, I hope that what I’ve written presented an interesting alternative side to “Cop Blocking.” Thanks for reading and for giving me your time.

Best,

Kevvie


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