As the anti-cop rhetoric continues to spool up in the ongoing #WarOnCops, I have been doing my best, going on three years now, to defend my chosen profession of nearly 20 years. During the course of those three years, I have had a great number of discussions with people from all over country via Facebook and Disqus in response to articles I have written. Those conversations have me convinced that a great number of the people protesting “police brutality” and “militarized cops” really don’t have a damn clue what they are mad about.
They are angry at the cops because we are the visible, very real hand of government that is slapping them on the back of the hand and telling them they screwed up. We are the unemotional middle man in the whole system who neither makes the rules nor deals the punishment. We are just the one catching the screw ups and making them be held accountable for their errant behavior.
Recently, I wrote a blog post in which I examined and countered the “policy change suggestions” being put forth by the Black Lives Matter movement, or as Sheriff David Clarke more correctly calls them, Black Lies Matter. Many of the “conversations” that resulted from that article evoked arguments based on some or all of the following categories of displaced blame directed at law enforcement.
Political Cognitive Dissonance
I find it disturbing how many soft headed people are yelling about laws, that are supposedly part of the “police brutality problem” in this country, and blaming the police for the laws. People are angry about the enforcement of those laws that are in place. Some of the laws are national, some state and even others are local laws. Some people point to loitering or public drinking laws as the problem, others point to drug laws, others to traffic laws. Depending on the person or group, they all have a different pet peeve law.
Despite all those differences on what they consider the problem to be, there is one thing that all of those laws have in common. Exactly NONE of them were created by law enforcement. Yep, that is right. We do not create laws, we are merely tasked with enforcing them.
Now I, as a conservative (as are the vast majority of cops) find this particular part of the whole dichotomy simultaneously both disturbing and humorous. The overwhelming majority of the cities and states that are in an uproar over “police brutality” are politically speaking, deep blue areas. Every single city that has had rioting or marching in the streets, is a Democrat run city, and most of them have been for decades. Thusly, all of the laws and policies being complained about by the “activists,” are written and enacted by Democrat politicians. Those that were not written by Democrats are at least being maintained by Democrats.
So, what does that mean? It means that the people complaining about the police enforcing the laws are the same people electing the very officials creating those laws.
Don’t like the cops citing and/or towing cars with expired registration out of your driveways? Yell at your politicians. Don’t like strict enforcement of seatbelt laws, or that “money generating speed trap” that you got cited for violating? Yell at your politicians. As cops, we did not write the laws, we just enforce them. Don’t like the fines for a particular violation? We don’t set them, yell at the courts and the politicians.
To use a very old saying, don’t shoot the messenger.
When I point out to the folks complaining that the laws we are enforcing are not created by us, and that rather than being mad at us for doing our jobs, they would be better served by directing the angry words to the people making the laws, a good number of those people then suggest the following:
“As a cop, you can choose not to enforce those laws”
While I happen to work for an agency that gives it’s deputies a great deal of latitude in using officer discretion, my agency is a rarity in today’s America. Additionally, agencies run by an appointed Police Chief are actually under the thumb of the elected politicians, not necessarily the head cop, and as such, officer discretion is often overrided when officers are directed to enact strict enforcement policies.
Now, ignoring that, and let us just assume that cops all across the country were given huge leeway with their officer discretion, and we were in fact allowed to determine which laws we were going to completely ignore, these same “protesters” would be the first to file a lawsuit when one person was cut a break and another was cited or arrested.
So, who gets to choose what laws we enforce and which we ignore, the person being arrested? I mean really, looking at the list of crimes that the Black Lives Matter group suggested we ignore in their “policy suggestion” list is crazy.
This whole argument is just more deflecting fault. They do not like the laws, do not follow them, and bitch about it when they get caught. It is just one more attempt to decriminalize crimes, which if you want to see how well that works, take a look at the results of Prop47 in California.
The final part in this cacophony of logic lacking arguments is the fact that the people screaming about “police brutality” have based the overwhelming majority of their arguments on stories where allegations of “police brutality” have been Thoroughly Disproven!
The cases that they constantly point to while they scream for “justice” (ie: revenge) include Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray.
- Trayvon Martin – despite all the times they throw his name around, he was NOT killed by a cop. He was shot in self-defense, which was confirmed by the courts.
- Michael Brown – absolutely none of their claims in this case were based on fact, other than a black criminal was shot by a white cop. This whole incident was nothing but a lie. Multiple investigations, including eyewitness testimony, have proven that.
- Eric Garner – no matter how many times they try and scream it, Garner was absolutely NOT “choked to death” by a cop. Garner died from coronary failure, which was brought on in part by him struggling with the cops as they tried to arrest him and in part by his horrible health and morbid obesity. The officer involved did use an unapproved hold in trying to subdue him, but he was not choked which was confirmed by the autopsy.
- Freddie Gray – the witch hunt, err, I mean “prosecution” is still ongoing. What we know so far is that Freddie Gray was not beaten or abused by the cops before he was escorted to the transportation van. There are numerous versions of what happened once he was inside, but none of them point to any specific intent by the cops to injure him, and at best contain allegations that he received injuries that occurred during a rough ride while not seat belted. The results of this case are yet to be determined, but based on how quickly it is unraveling, I suspect all 6 of the officers charged will be acquitted.
The very few instances where there appears to have been actual cases of police abuse (illegal use of force), such as South Carolina Police Officer shooting of Michael Scott or more recently, the Arlington Deputy shot Christian Taylor, the cops have actually agreed and have taken the correct steps, including dismissal of the offender and in most cases, filing of criminal charges (some cases are still being investigated).
Now, what do EVERY SINGLE ONE of these cases have in common? The person shot/killed/allegedly abused was in the act of committing a crime, AND in all of those cases, they were ALSO resisting arrest.
The “protesters” however are completely ignoring that, and are putting every ounce of the blame on the cops, and not on the person who took the encounter to that level.
How To Fix This
The solution is really, really simple. Just about anyone should be able to follow along here. I mean if my 7 year old can figure it out, any adult should be able to, right?
- If you dislike the laws, don’t blame the cops. Stop voting for people who pass the very laws you dislike (Democrats).
- Don’t break the law, even the laws you dislike
- If you break the law and get caught, don’t blame the cops. They did not make you do anything.
- If you get caught breaking the law, don’t resist arrest and you will not get injured.