Are We Sliding Toward a Police State?

Law enforcement officials should not behave like an invading army.

A Sacramento, California area family is mourning the death of their mentally disabled son, who was shot to death by a sheriff’s deputy after the family had called the sheriff’s department for help in restraining him. Newspaper accounts suggest the deputy ordered the young man—a severe germophobe—onto the ground, which sparked intense struggling. After a tussle, the deputy shot the man in front of his family.

As is typical, the sheriff defended the officer and said that he was well within his rights to use deadly force, which is no doubt true given that current law gives officers wide latitude to restrain and even kill people.

Comb through newspapers across the country and one will find many incidents of officer-involved shootings and aggressive behavior by the authorities, who, as an aside, increasingly look like paramilitary rather than community officers. Police say society has become more dangerous, but crime rates are falling even during tough economic times. The number of officers killed on duty is at record lows.

In my view, the reason for the incidents is the nature of policing has changed. Following the 9/11 attacks, officers have convinced themselves that every member of the public is a potential threat. Every local police department is awash in grants from “Homeland Security” to buy the latest toys and weaponry. Attitudes have changed and the local police aren’t your friends any more.

From a practical standpoint, these incidents remind us to think carefully before calling for police help. From a policy perspective, it’s time for a wide-ranging debate about use-of-force issues that’s not dominated by police unions and their political courtiers.

This is from the Los Angeles Daily News this week: “Abdul Arian, the 19-year-old Winnetka man killed in a hail of police bullets on April 11, was buried Tuesday at the Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood. … [M]any attendees who knew Arian expressed anger about the way he died, following a car chase through the San Fernando Valley that ended on the 101 Freeway ... .”

I’ve written about such shootings at the hands of deputies and police officers. Sometimes they are justified, but often the killings leave me wondering whether those officers would have reacted as they did had it been their child driving the car or their mentally ill son squirming on the ground.

Many people have been outraged at the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida and liberal critics have blamed those “stand your ground” laws that allow the use of deadly force by ordinary citizens when they are under attack rather than forcing them to retreat before defending themselves. 

Such laws might embolden people, but I wish these critics—who insist on putting a racial tilt on a matter that has far broader implications—would also look closely at government-sanctioned use of force. If “stand your ground” laws embolden armed citizens, what happens when armed officials are given the broadest legal latitude to kill and also are protected by their departments and their unions?

Police officers sometimes have to use deadly force. We all understand that. It’s an oftentimes tough job. But we keep seeing the fruits of America’s slide down that slippery slope toward a police state: 6-year-olds searched at airports, armed police patrolling the halls of junior high schools, drones deployed over U.S. skies to crack down on crime, SWAT teams arresting the sellers of unlicensed raw milk, armed agents shutting down peaceful medical marijuana clinics, code officers and other regulatory agents granted the powers and weaponry of peace officers, trigger-happy police who seem to reach for their weapons before trying other, less-deadly alternatives.

We’ve become a society of checkpoints and searches and increased surveillance wherever we go. We have federal officials who monitor bank accounts and gain added powers to snoop on us, broad anti-terrorism laws that allow the authorities to detain citizens indefinitely without due process. Many conservatives applaud these expansions of power because of their concern about terrorist threats and street crime. Liberals applaud them also, given how eager they are to use government to “improve” our society. The more laws and regulations one passes, the more authorities one needs to enforce them.

Whatever happened to civil libertarians, who must be in hiding somewhere? Why aren’t Christians—who are more than willing to flex their political muscle on gay marriage and other issues—talking about the impact of these policies on the least among us, or thinking seriously about those in jails and prisons?

We’re creating a brutal and inhumane society. This is from a recent Los Angeles Times article: “A Los Angeles County commission investigating jail abuse heard tearful testimony … from clergy and civilian monitors who worked in the lockups and said they witnessed deputies assaulting inmates and bullying witnesses to keep quiet. One jail monitor broke down as she recounted being intimidated by a deputy whom she said saw beat an unconscious inmate. A weeping jail chaplain described deputies calling him a rat after he reported another beating.”

When officials misbehave so egregiously, it undermines our society and our form of government in deep and disturbing ways.

Ultimately, it is up to we, the people, to push the pendulum back in a more sensible direction. Since 9/11, Americans have placed their security over their freedom, but I’m sensing an understanding of the problem among serious people from all political perspectives.

When Americans think about public employee issues these days, they think about the pension crisis. But as serious a problem as that is, the biggest public-employee issue relates more directly to who we are as a people and what kind of society we want to live in. We need to demand that the authorities behave more like members of our community and less like an invading army.

Steven Greenhut is vice president of journalism at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.

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  • ||

    Ultimately, it is up to we, the people, to push the pendulum back in a more sensible direction.

    Fat fucking chance. The only time most people take notice of this is when a close friend or family member is affected. Otherwise, they just don't care.

  • ||

    Wow, and I'm getting worse and worse. "Affected," of course, being a euphemism for "killed."

  • ||

    Effectively.

  • Paul.||

    The only time most people take notice of this is when a close friend or family member is affected.

    Well, the story did begin with the shooting of a man who was affected.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Thanks to years of police dramas and procedurals, the public-at-large is convinced that most of the people who suffer abuse at the hands of the police had it coming in some way.

  • kinnath||

    Dectective Stabler votes "aye".

  • Paul.||

    I've pointed out before that most cop dramas are woefully behind the times.

    I've watched many a cop drama-- even recent ones where they serve warrants by sending a calm, plainclothes or a couple of uniforms to the door, and only the most hardened badass criminals get any kind of rough treatment from the cops.

    SWAT teams are never used except when it's a guy holed up in an apartment with bombs strapped around his waiste or is holding hostages...

    I'm not seeing any cop dramas where unarmed citizens suspected of lifting a game console are being blasted through closed doors by military-clad officers serving a search warrant.

  • Paul.||

    Although I haven't seen Rampart yet, which might temper that impression.

  • MWG||

    I would say that not only do people not care, they SUPPORT the way things are.

  • Paul.||

    is, the biggest public-employee issue relates more directly to who we are as a people and what kind of society we want to live in.

    It's so hard to find good help these days.

  • ||

    The one thing that counters the fact that we are, in fact, sliding towards a police state is that gun rights are very strong and only getting stronger. Which means, of course, that an inevitable violent interaction between the police and the people is coming eventually. Waco was just a precursor.

  • Bingo||

    Sorry, but I disagree. A number of those that support gun rights are TEAM RED bootlickers that worship authority.

  • sarcasmic||

    Both teams are boot lickers. They only differ in what the boots should have authority over. And even that ain't much.

  • ||

    That's not my point. My point is there are tons and tons of guns in private hands, and there will be no disarmament any time soon; in fact, more and more measures against disarmament come every year. So eventually, the armed citizenry will get into conflict with the armed gang who calls themselves law enforcement. It's happened already in places like Waco, and as the government gets more and more overbearing, more Wacos will happen, and to less "unusual" people. It's inevitable.

  • Bingo||

    First off, there is no way any violent clash with the State will ever be a net positive for the liberty movement.

    Secondly, more Wacos are already happening. How can you think there is an instance that more people will resist when federal agents routinely raid farms for selling a product not approved some bureaucracy? The vast majority of the public either does not care or will very quickly adapt to the situation as the new "normal".

    .gov learned a lesson at Waco, and that is to not have a standoff where the media has time to set up a circus. Now they just bust down the door and eliminate resistance and brand any resistors as terrorists, extremists, etc.

  • ||

    Yup. When only the police live to tell the tale, they can justify their actions however they want.

  • Thomas Jefferson||

    I think George Washington and myself would disagree with your first point.

  • DenverJay||

    Hell, the government NOTIFIED the media before Waco. It was a big publicity stunt to justify a bigger budget/ stricter gun control. The local sheriff had had dealings with Koresh before, and he said that the whole thing could have been handled quietly by him knocking on the door and showing a warrant.

  • ||

    I don't think so. To Bingo's point, the boot-licking gun owners are more than happy to defer to authoratah.

  • Bingo||

    BTW Epi, most of the conservative and RED-hued dislike of Waco stems from the fact that it occurred under Clinton. It's not a good indicator of anti-government sentiment because it's another talking point that is almost entirely decided by which TEAM you've aligned yourself with.

  • ||

    Definitely. Same thing is happening right now with Obama. Gun sales are up a ton since he's been in office, but they're being bought mostly by the same people who thing Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a great American.

  • Bingo||

    Yeah, and it should be noted that the typical right-wing "SHTF" scenario isn't defending oneself against federal agents arresting you for illegally selling raw milk. It's some sort of LA Riots redux where large numbers of minorities are looting your middle-class suburban neighborhood following a collapse of government. Having a large and brutal police force is seen as an effective way of ensuring this does not happen.

  • ||

    You're again mistaking my point. I know it's unusual, but I'm not talking TEAMs here. My only point is that the government, more and more, is going to decide that more and more slightly different behavior is unacceptable, just like Waco, and is going to bring their hammer down on it. And more and more, these groups will be armed. And as the government does this, more and more people will decide they need to get armed in case the government decides their slightly unusual behavior needs to be corrected.

    We're already seeing the government do this to raw milk enthusiasts and the like. Now, these people aren't shooting government agents. But as these types of crackdown grow more frequent, there are going to be flare-ups.

  • Bingo||

    I don't think people are arming themselves against the government, they are arming themselves against their enemy TEAM. Those AR15s and AK47s might as well be security blankets for all the use they will ever get in a government raid. Realistically, resistance is not going to happen. Hell, the pig farmer the other day went and shot his own pigs to avoid the violence associated with a raid.

    You shouldn't discount the possibility that the TEAM dichotomy is actually instrumental in normalizing violence against peaceful people. If some hippy commune got raided for manufacturing LSD and some hippies got killed in the process a number of regulars here would be apologists for the police action. Here, with a self-selected libertarian audience. I can only imagine the sort of twisted mental contortions that go on in the populace of tax slaves writ large.

  • Paul.||

    If some hippy commune got raided for manufacturing LSD and some hippies got killed in the process a number of regulars here would be apologists for the police action.

    I'm strongly doubting that.

    We may make cracks about hippies, but when the rubber meets the road, there is no way there are many regulars who would support a violent police raid against a group of hippies making LSD.

  • Rick O'Shay||

    I think a lot of people are arming themselves against the govt., but not for an individual raid on their place. You go to gun shows and talk to people and some have already stocked up on 10's of thousands of rounds. All these rednecks that have oil or gas discovered on their property, they're using that monthly check to make significant firearms and ammunition purchases.

  • Registration At Last!||

    I appreciate Epi's sentiment, but putting "civilian legal" guns in the hands of people who are lucky to get the range five or six times a year against the rock-and-roll firepower of full-time LEOs is an invitation to a slaughter. It's kind of a like a "most dangerous game" hunt where the victim is given a buck knife before being offered a five minute head start on the six riflemen who will be chasing him through the forest.

  • Paul.||

    I appreciate Epi's sentiment, but putting "civilian legal" guns in the hands of people who are lucky to get the range five or six times a year against the rock-and-roll firepower of full-time LEOs is an invitation to a slaughter.

    There was a time when you could arm yourself against corrupt local officials and live to tell the tale.

  • R C Dean||

    The advantage that the cops have is in sheer numbers, not in firepower or training.

    Full auto is pretty useless, except for suppressive fire (I'm told by some knowledgable folks - like all things gun, I'm sure there are spirited disagreements).

    And, based on what I've seen and read, somebody who gets out to the range five or six times a year is probably a match, as far as gun-handling goes, for your average cop.

    Now, I'm not disputing that we peasants will lose a shootout to our masters. But we'll be swarmed under, not outgunned or outfought.

  • Paul.||

    Now, I'm not disputing that we peasants will lose a shootout to our masters public servants. But we'll be swarmed under, not outgunned or outfought.

    Makes it more ironical.

  • LarryA||

    putting "civilian legal" guns in the hands of people who are lucky to get the range five or six times a year against the rock-and-roll firepower of full-time LEOs is an invitation to a slaughter.

    The average LEO spends about five or six days a year at the range. Lots of gun owners spend much more. And there are about 20 CHLs per COP here in Texas, with CHLs being a small percentage of gun owners.

  • DenverJay||

    Actually, its worse than that. I think the average gun owning group/militia could defend themselves against an equal or greater number of LEO. The problem arises that when this happens, it becomes insurrection, and then the military is called in. Look at how those troops handled the armed local militias in Iraq or Afghanistan, not the overall picture but individual fire fights. Snipers, well trained front line troops, etc. would mow down American civilians just like they did in the Middle East. Just for instance, I saw a show about the longest sniper kill, or something like that, and our boy was firing a round that penetrated a wall two cinder blocks thick with a sandbag behind it. Plus, civilians don't have air power of any kind, or even any effective anti-aircraft capability.

  • DenverJay||

    Well, IMHO, your mistake is not in assuming that the people care, its in assuming that they even KNOW whats going on. If the general population was well informed, I don't think things would have gotten to this point in the first place.

  • wareagle||

    the whole point of gun rights way back when was for a govt that got out of control, not to debate whether it's okay to take an Uzi duck hunting. And initially, most of the sympathy from Waco rested with the administration because Koresh was easy to (pardon the pun) demonize. It was only in retrospect that folks began questioning if that action was not wholly preventable.

  • dehaul||

    +1 for Bingo

  • k2000k||

    Well theirs "support" and then there is support. I know a lot of people that "support" gun rights that have never owned, fired, or been around guns. The ones that support gun rights are generally very leary of our government.

  • o3||

    violent interaction bet citizens & the po po occurr all the time in the hood. perhaps you mean RW militas?...cause no revolution will cum fm the burbs.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Like Jose Guerena?
    Kicking in the wrong door or the right door - someones going to die.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Invest in a keyboard with a functioning shift key. Then buy a book in logic. Then read the section on non-sequitur. Then never post here again. Please.

  • ||

    If you don't respond to the sockpuppet, it withers and dies. Seriously. Just walk away.

  • o3||

    dont hold ur breath pal

  • asffsgsgsgfgff||

    Epsiarch,
    When did you decide to compensate for your abbreviated penis by purchasing firearms?
    Dickless wonder.

  • Loki||

    You forgot to tell it to get a dictionary and learn how to spell like a normal funtioning adult. Although I guess it's appropriate that it spells like a 4th grader...

  • Loki||

    *functioning adult.

    /irony

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'm terrified by the depraved things that o3 would do to the English language if it was left alone in a room with a dictionary. I figure that having him search for a keyboard would keep him busy for a few years.

  • o3||

    pedantic boars are bore holes

  • Randian||

    Waiting on that admission about Prop 19 from yesterday, my pigeon-toed squawker.

  • Rick O'Shay||

    Real quick, what's this "alt-text" everybody keeps talking about? I see the "alt" key, but....

  • Bingo||

    Hover your mouse on the photo = alt text

    Alternative, download reasonable for Chrome and it will show it for you.

  • R C Dean||

    Probably would work better if you hovered your cursor over the photo.

  • ||

    Which means, of course, that an inevitable violent interaction between the police and the people is coming eventually. Waco was just a precursor.

    And unlike with Waco, he armed populace at large vastly outnumber (and outgun) the police, and they're everywhere - not holed up in a church.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Unfortunately, gun ownership is actually in decline:

    http://andrewsullivan.thedaily.....rship.html

    It seems that the increase in the sum total of guns is coming not from more widespread ownership, but from a relatively small number of Ted-Nugent types collecting big arsenals containing more guns than they could possibly use, maintain, supply with ammo, or distribute timely to others in a real emergency.

    All these 'trailer-park armories' would end up spread out on a police evidence table for news photographers if the chili ever really hit the fan.

  • LarryA||

    If gun ownership is small and dropping then it should be harder and harder to pass gun-rights legislation, and easier and easier to pass gun control legislation.

    In the 2011 Brady Campaign Scorecard we find that one state, California, added one (1) point to its Brady score (on their 100-point scale). Fourteen states added gun-rights legislation, with an average of -2.5 Brady points apiece. 2011 Brady sum: -34 points.

    Since Brady started issuing numerical scores in 2007, 36 states have lowered their scores.

    If the study you quoted were even remotely valid, 72% of the states wouldn't be moving toward gun rights.

  • nicole||

    The one thing that counters the fact that we are, in fact, sliding towards a police state is that gun rights are very strong and only getting stronger.

    In the amazingly twisted mind of Jill Lepore (don't know if y'all talked about this abortion of a New Yorker article earlier in the week while I was all busied up), it's actually the reverse: citizens having more guns is killing "civilian life" (because, you see, she's bought into the idea that cops aren't civilians, and so if you want to defend yourself you aren't a civilian either). We need the police to save us normals from becoming the police state ourselves. "When carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense is understood not as a failure of civil society, to be mourned, but as an act of citizenship, to be vaunted, there is little civilian life left."

    I think my favorite part of the article is when she describes the gun shop/range she goes to for "research": "It feels like a clubhouse, except, if you've never been to a gun shop before, that part feels not quite licit, like a porn shop."

    Grow up: porn is okay too, lady.

  • asffsgsgsgfgff||

    Espi,
    Didn't we learn yestereday that you're a dickless wonder with a gun fetish?
    If you're not on the Homeland Security watch list, you should be.
    gun freak.

  • ||

    You seem a lot more obsessed with his dick and his guns than he is

  • R C Dean||

    I honestly don't know if there really is a peaceful, incremental way to roll back the police state in this country that is at all realistic.

    Sure, we can fantasize about an electorate that completely reverses course and elects nothing but freedom-loving anti-authoritarian legislators and executives, but that ain't gonna happen, folks, not without some kind of massive crisis.

    But, please, convince me otherwise.

  • ||

    Not bloody likely. All I'm hoping for is somehow putting the brakes on the decline. Reversing course is not on the table for a while yet.

  • sarcasmic||

    As long as there is no effective means of repealing shitty laws, shitty legislation, and shitty procedures, it will only get worse.

    Once upon a time the Judicial Branch had that job, but it gave it up a long, long time ago.

  • newshutz||

    Even before the court began punting under FDR, there were many bad laws passed that were deemed constitutional both at state and federal level.

    And bad constitutional amendments too like the 16th, 17th, and 18th.

  • DenverJay||

    Yeah, but in the case of the 18th, at least an amendment was passed authorizing prohibition. One of the arguments I always make is that if the Feds needed an amendment to outlaw alcohol, why don't they need an amendment to prohibit other drugs?

  • Killazontherun||

    My fantasy of building a robot army to detain all members of the public sector and ship them off to a Martian penal colony is more realistic than expecting positive results from the electoral process. At least I know how to build robots, voters understanding the political game and ensuring a minarchist society, is asking a bit much.

    And, yes, I'm pitching for donations!

  • wareagle||

    if your cause needs a spokesman, Noot has some free time AND he needs a job.

  • Killazontherun||

    I knew his daughter when she ran a coffee shop in town. Should look her up and see if she is still in goods with the old man.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Legalize marijuana, eliminate federal grants to state and local police departments, reduce or eliminate sovereign immunity for cops and prosecutors.

  • Bingo||

    There is no way any of that will happen within the framework of the current system. There is simply no incentive. The only way any of those are a possibility is a USSR-style total systemic collapse.

  • ||

    Even then, how well did it work in the former Soviet bloc?

  • Rick O'Shay||

    Well, agree not very likely, but you know the Navy did a pretty good job of shifting their culture pretty drastically and quickly after Tailhook. But yeah, we obviously don't have the leadership.

  • Truculent Resistor||

    You write that like it was a good thing. The men at Tailhook did not have black eyes. I take that to mean whatever these men did was at most rude, not assault.

    Christ on a stick, the woman at Tailhook were supposed to warriors. Fuck the lot of them.

  • ||

    I honestly don't know if there really is a peaceful, incremental way to roll back the police state in this country that is at all realistic.

    I don't know that there is, either.

    I should note that American minorities have always suffered random, casual, consequence-free violence & cruelty at the hands of the police. We didn't really care. Now they're turning the violence on us nice white people. Blacks were the tune-up; the band's ready to play for real now.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    The number of officers killed on duty is at record lows.

    So the cops' behavior must be working, right? Right?

  • Drake||

    That's the crazy part - very few people, even violent criminals will shoot at the police. Unlike the movies, very rarely do crooks decide to shoot it out with cops. Cops have radios that bring more cops, helicopter, SWAT, etc...

    The situations that go sideways are when people are: 1. impaired (drugs, mental illness) or 2. "no-knock" warrants where people don't know they are fighting cops.

    Training and discipline could fix #1 - and maybe returning to the days of calling the funny farm for a padded van, or a dogcatcher when appropriate.

    #2 Simply should be allowed unless they are assembling a WMD.

  • Drake||

    Shit.

    #2 shouldn't be allowed. I am against WMD attacks. I swear.

  • Aresen||

    What has become of our freedoms?

    We used to be able to pick up PU239 at the corner store. Now I can only get it at Walmart after filling out a really intrusive application.

  • DenverJay||

    Hell, now you can't even pick up allergy meds at Walmart without filling out a really intrusive application.

  • ||

    Yeah, have you ever trying beating the cops in GTA? Can't be done.

  • ||

    Hey man, I got to 6 stars and even stole the tank in Vice City. Of course, they eventually got me, but man, that was a fucking fun rampage.

  • ||

    Oh yeah, the tank is great. I love that other cars explode on impact with it.

  • ||

    What is this 50 characters crap?! no such thing in my comment yet it bounces... @#$%!

  • ||

    Be patient, grasshopper. They still have the griefer nipping at their heels, trying to get in. Measures must be taken.

    Give it time.

  • ||

    The wrong measures are being taken; no 50 characters long word in my comment, yet it bounces.

  • ||

    Heh-heh: I figured it out. The copy-pasted apostrophe was the offending character; once replaced with a regular one, the comment went in.

  • Killazontherun||

    There have been post where I've found it impossible to eliminate apostrophes after hitting review.

  • sarcasmic||

    From a practical standpoint, these incidents remind us to think carefully before calling for police help.

    Ain't that the truth.

  • LarryA||

    Not really. You don't have to think carefully to default, "Hell NO!"

  • dehaul||

    It is looking more and more like the terrorists won.

  • Raistlin||

    Sliding?! Hell, they've found ways to make many people DEMAND a police state.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Indeed, this "slide" began around 1860. All the material is in the bottom of the gulch now.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It's a full-on gallop at this point.

  • Restoras||

    Like the handle. Been thinking of those carefree days in my life when I could read such stuff.

  • Raistlin||

    I was wondering if anyone else would get it!

  • ||

    We're creating a brutal and inhumane society.

    How can that be? There are counselors standing by to help process traumatic events for schoolchildren, anger management classes for the angry, various programs for the incarcerated to better themselves, NGOs and nonprofits galore who advocate for all possible minorities...

  • Lar Gand||

    What better way than to turn people in to sheep?

  • califernian||

    We are absolutely living in a police state.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I'm pretty sure we already are a police state. It's just that encounters with it for the ordinary person are rare enough that most people don't have to think about it.

    Once people start being imprisoned for more mainstream political dissent, I think people will become more aware, but it will probably be too late by then.

  • Ron||

    Mainstream things like selling milk is that what you mean.

  • Tim||

    From yesterday, how schools are training kids to be submissive serfs:

    "How was school today Johnny?"

    "Rough. The bus driver was drunk again and stalled out on the railrod tracks, Steve called him a lousy crackhead wino and got suspended for violating the speech code. The Police dog that was sniffing my locker for drugs pissed on my new backpack and ruined it. When I got mad about that Mr. Fish took me into the office and strip searched me. My peanut butter sandwich was confiscated at lunch and the plastic spork apparently violates the weapons zero tolerance policy- you'll be getting a letter in the mail. At recess we played soccer but they took away the ball after they caught us keeping score. I got detention for making fart noises during moslem prayers in social studies and then...

  • Aresen||

    Wait a minute!!!

    They let Johnny go home without making him watch the anti-bullying video?

    And why anyone would want to give their child a Patriarchal Supremacy-type name like "Johnny" is pretty suspicious. The parents should be investigated.

  • Invisible Finger||

    My usual answer was "Another waste of time." Eventually they stopped asking me.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'll just repost the same comment I made earlier on Lucy's Waco article. Just as relevant here.

    I have always been interested in current events but I think the paramilitarization of the federal police during the Clinton years is when I first started following politics closely. The DEA, ATF, and FBI were all completely out of control under Reno. It then of course infected local cops and now every mall cop in America thinks he's a Navy Seal.

  • kinnath||

    The few returning Iraq and Afghan war vets that I know have been far from supportive of the cowboy-police tactics that we see now. It's one of the few things that gives me some hope that things will turn around.

  • Tim||

    We're a long way from "Adam-12".

  • wareagle||

    actually, that's kinda funny. Watch a cop show from the 60s/70s and compare the cases being worked with what passes for crime drama today. A lot of the old shows had episodes where not a single shot was fired and no one was killed.

  • Tim||

    Totally unrealistic.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I saw the end of a cop show the other day (turned on too early for the hockey game I wanted to watch) and the cop/superhero shot the bad guy who was walking in a crowd of people.

    Holy. Fuck. Even really shitty cops don't do that.

  • AlmightyJB||

    That's a good thing too if you've ever seen the hit/miss percentagse in real cop shootings. It's pretty pathetic.

  • Rick O'Shay||

    Yeah, I'm going to call it a good thing that cops can't hit anything. Because you know they're all a bunch of fatasses eating free CiCi's pizza for lunch every day and can't catch you.

  • Drake||

    TJ Hooker always wore his uniform and badge. He even drove a marked police car and only carried a pistol. What a loser.

  • newshutz||

    Watched a Dragnet recently where Friday killed someone. Most of the show as about how bad he felt afterwards.

    The "bad guy" shot twice before Friday did.

  • croaker||

    Wasn't that the one where IA was raking Friday over the coals because they couldn't find the perp's bullet?

  • Nephilium||

    I've found one of the best ways to cause stammering in the people who believe the cops are always correct is to ask them one simple question:

    "When you are driving, do you feel safer or more nervous when a cop is behind you?"

  • DenverJay||

    Just to be the Devil's Advocate, since car crashes are a leading cause of death, and since most are preventable, and since I personally see a crap-load of outrageous driving behavior daily, traffic enforcement is one of the few areas where the cops should be spending resources. Personally, I think the USA would be much better off if all the cops currently working vice were switched to traffic enforcement.

  • Ron||

    "The number of officers killed on duty is at record lows."
    this is because of the new tactics that police use that the number killed has gone down. People are less likely to fight back when encountered with a dozen guys in black.I however also believe they have become to militaristic and they are to enamored with their power.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I blame Kevlar.

  • ||

    Related, and I don't remember seeing it here yesterday.

    Baltimore Woman, 90, Locks Police Officer in Basement, Wins $95,000 Settlement

    That's pretty awesome.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    New contender for Feel Good Story of the Year.

  • ||

    Too bad he survived, though.

  • T||

    Shit, I didn't realize The Wire was a documentary.

  • Loki||

    Young voted against the settlement for Ms. Green, explaining that he was "tired of the police department bleeding money."

    Well then maybe you should train your cops to act less like thugs and more like public servants. Asshole

  • AlmightyJB||

    "Every local police department is awash in grants from Homeland Security to buy the latest toys and weaponry"

    Not only that but the Feds have programs set up where used military "toys" are made available to local law enforcement for free.

    http://www.10news.com/news/30806675/detail.html

  • Formerly Almanian||

    You see the recent "Sons of Guns" in which Red Jacket modifies a fucking miltary vehicle for (I think it's) N'Orlins PD with a water cannon and a bunch of more-lethal shit? Love that show, EXCEPT for all the LEO love. "Oh yeah, this is great - let's run this bad boy through the 'hood and see who salutes..."

    I cheer for the criminals in "Die Hard" when they blow up a similar vehicle.

    Fucking local police don't need armored personnel carriers and tanks and machine guns and shit. That's one reason we have a National Guard. (see also "Detroit - 1967")

    /old fashioned guy

  • AlmightyJB||

    Didn't see that one but I know what you mean about the cop love. They do a lot of cool stuff but seems lately like they've introduced a lot of fake drama which is corny. They're not actors. I really like the show Justified but right there is a cop who doesn't give a rat's behind about the constitution. If it was a documentary I'd want him locked up but since it's fiction I just have fun and go with it. Just like an old western.

  • nicole||

    Yeah, between the drama and the LEO love, we stopped watching a little bit ago. They make some awesome shit but it's less cool when you think about what it will be used for...

  • Drake||

    I love how they build something like a .50 that every tanker in the Army has used, and act like it's the most amazing thing ever.

    I always laugh at their prices. Do they take the real price and multiply by 5 for TV?

  • Truculent Resistor||

    This is the reason my sons and I have stopped watching the show.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    I have some faint hope. Mainly from the changing attitude of the most liberty distructive force in America today: Middle-aged Women. The curse of the 19th Amendment means that the most oppressive of policies can be sold for the promise of incremental increase in security. But, more and more, it's sinking into the bitchez that it's not just the negros or arabs who are getting the boot to the face - even their precious snowflakes might find themselves on the wrong end of power crazed cop.

    Ignoring libertarians is national pastime, but no one ignores the Soccar Moms.

  • Formerly Almanian||

    Sigh - this meme AGAIN? When are you fibbertardians gonna finally GET IT!?

    1) You have nothing to worry about if you've done nothing wrong
    2) Not experts
    3) Thin blue line
    4) Officer safety
    5) DO YOU WANT THE TERRORISTS TO WIN?!
    6) STOP RESISTING!!!

    Geez

  • ||

    7) Fuck you

  • DenverJay||

    8) ITS FOR THA CHILDRUNZ!

  • Tim||

    "what's that Lassie?"

    "Woof! Woof woof!"

    " Timmy's down the old well? "

    "WOOF!"

    "We'll let's get the SHeriff!"

    [Sheriff arrives]

    "Woof! Woof! W-{BANG BANG BANG}"

  • SugarFree||

    Tey also bring in a heilcopter, raise Timmy from the well. The Sheriff shoot Timmy too, and then presents Timmy's parents with the bill for the helicopter.

  • Loki||

    Timmy: "Why'd you shoot my dog mister?! You just killed my best friend!"

    Sheriff: [while tazeing Timmy] "Stop resiting!!"

    *Timmy goes into cardiac arrest and dies. Sheriff claims dog attacked him and that he though Timmy may have had a knife. Sheriff is awarded Law Enforcement Officer of the year award. Nothing else happens.

  • db||

    If I had enough skill with shooting and editing video etc. I would totally male this video. I nominate reason.tv in my stead.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Glad that the special and unique toxicity of police unions is finally getting some Libertarian attention. It was a vitally important point that got lost in the Wisconsin showdown, most regrettably.

    For those slow on the uptake:

    TEACHERS UNIONS DON'T REPRESENT PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE POWER TO SHOOT YOU IN THE FACE!!!

    Sorry to have to go all-caps there, but sometimes I get a little frustrated with the slow learners.

  • ||

    My sister was shot in the face by a teacher you insensitive asshole!!!

  • AlmightyJB||

    She was told to quit talking three times though. Not to mention the constant popping of the bubble gum

  • Bingo||

    And here I was thinking it was because she wore her shortest skirt to class and stayed afterwards to ask the teacher if there was anything she could do to improve her grade.

  • db||

    Well played.

  • DenverJay||

    One of the biggest contributors to California's 3-Strike Law was the Prison Guards Union. Imagine- lobbying to lock up more of your fellow citizens for longer times for your own job security- that is the definition of EVIL

  • ||

    long on conjecture, anecdotes and "it seems" type stuff, which is all reasonoids need to confirm their biases that are not supported by EVIDENCE

    if the govt. said we are facing undue threats from evul mooslim terrorists in greater #'s etc. then reasonoids would say - SHOW US THE STATS

    and rightly so

    but when the evul comes from the police, no such rigorousness is required

    author mentions individual shootings as somehow indicative that his thesis is correct

    but no stats

    again...

    have officer shootings of people gone up per capita, down, or stayed roughly the same?

    have they roughly correlated with trends in part I and part II crimes (iow one would suspect that officers shooting people goes up when violent crime goes up IN GENERAL and down when violent crime goes down)

    this article is just thin. it speaks to what people here WANT to believe, so of course rigorousness and data aren't even mentioned

    if , as the author claims the authorities are behaving more like an invading army and less like members of the community, then support that with STATISTICS

    an invading army would have : more uses of force

    more officer caused deaths

    etc.

    and again, correlate to crime trends in general

  • ||

    the author MAY be correct, but he does nothing to reinforce his pie in the sky conjecturing

    and the double standard here is if this was about mooslim terrorists or any other external threat, one that would justify an increased state response, we would say - SHOW US THE EVIDENCE

    but no such cry comes when the claim is about something people want to be, and assume to be true

    how utterly unshocking

  • R C Dean||

    have officer shootings of people gone up per capita, down, or stayed roughly the same?

    About the only people who could report on and collect those stats are law enforcement agencies themselves.

    Which have a massive incentive not to do so.

    So, I'm guessing here that the kind of data you are asking for doesn't exist. Because our public servants don't want it to exist.

    Which leaves us with . . . anecdotes. Which seem plentiful.

  • ||

    lol. look .... the blind ideologues are bad enough, but the black helicopter trutheresque idiocy is another thing entirely?

    are you really daft enough to think that there is some sort of grand conspiracy to hide officer involved shootings , or even uOF's?

    jesus christ!

    have you even BEEN to the bjs?

    seriously. discussing this issue with reasonoids is like trying to discuss science with a creationist

    there are ample statistics for those who CHOOSE to look.

    and again, it's pretty fucking hard to hide a dead body when a cop shoots somebody

    so, if you honestly believe that there aren't stats on how many people officers kill yearly, you are a fucking moron

    again, just look at those stats and show a TREND if there is one

    correlate with part I/II crimes, etc.

    do some fucking research

    or just believe that anecdotes, cherry picked, and not even indicative of anything (the first one with the germophobe being a perfect example. there's not even any evidence it was unjustified. just a sad story)

    cmon, man. get fucking real and look at stats THEN form a conclusion.

  • Harvard||

    Conclusions can well be reached and reinforced by opening your eyes. Cops with black rifles, jump boots and bloused pants, and attitudes of the gestapo. Snap on youtube, visit opencarry.org or concealedcarry.com and listen to the tales, all substantiated. Get real indeed. What we need is a Ruger spring.

  • Harvard||

    You will know when the well equipped have had enough. Cops are the easy, front line of government. Most are a third as tough as they'd like to think. They live locally, are easy to find, easier to kneecap without getting caught. We well might see that kind of target practice raise it's head.

  • Rick O'Shay||

    Yeah I don't think I need any stats seeing as how I've got three metal plates holding my jaw together.

  • Rick O'Shay||

    Funny, just realized I woke up in the ER 4 years ago today. Nice timing on this article.

  • Drake||

    Was it overrun with zombies?

  • DenverJay||

    Who cares if its up or down? It's unacceptable. And we do have stats that the number of Americans who are incarcerated is the highest in the world...so fuck you

  • Rick O'Shay||

    There was a crackhead with a broken neck in the bed next to me, guess that's close.

  • Robert||

    But we still have that study that says that long term worldwide trend has been for violence to decrease.

    One thought that just occurred to me was to ask whether these secular trends on violence, if borne out statistically, are confined to humans. Do we have any evidence regarding any other species of animal that over a period of time, they became more or less likely to resort to violence? That'd help answer whether these are just societal trends or whether something bigger is going on.

  • B'wana||

    There can be little argument as we are obviously becoming a Police State. And we've allowed it to happen "for our own good". how many laws that have given the police too much power have been passed 'for our own good'?

    It is time to stop this madness. The Police work for us, yet we have become their servants under penalty of summary execution for disobeying any command.

  • Gladstone||

    How can we be on the way to a Police State with Internet Porn, IPads, Mad Men, Games of Thrones, Parks & Recreation, Punk Rockers, Death Metal, Pot Legalization and Gay Marriage?

  • DenverJay||

    Exactly, for the Republic to become an Empire, we must distract the plebeians with bread and circuses.

  • TKList||

    We are already in a Police State.

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