Monday, May 5, 2014

contrarian corner: cops behaving badly

Yeah, it's time for another stupidly long rant.

I remember when I was young, I liked the idea of becoming a cop.  I love the concept of helping people in need and I liked the idea of helping to serve true justice.  However as life goes on, I can't help but view most officers with disdain, and the reason why is a multifaceted answer.  I'll address these in my usual haphazard manner.

It's been pointed out that cops and other emergency services risk their lives every day.  This is true, but some also make the statement that soldiers in combat are simply facing a 'raw' version of life as an LEO.  I take issue with that statement for a couple of reasons.  First is that cops are civilians (yes, I'm one of those nitpickers) as such you get to clock out, go home sleep in a nice bed at the end of the day, and unless you live in one hell of a bad town, you never have to worry about getting killed in the middle of the night by artillery, getting blasted on the road by an IED, worry about co-workers getting captured and beheaded on international news, or deal with the possibility of dying on foreign soil and never receiving a proper burial, because the local populace insisted on desecrating your body.  All while contemplating this in a foxhole while away from family and friends for months on end, and worrying about getting court marital-ed for doing the right thing.

You have a plethora of non-lethal tools at your disposal to subdue the uncouth people you encounter, whereas the average soldier has nothing more than his rifle, armor, bayonet, and fists, then is told to keep order in entire cities with a handful of buddies, but if they kill anyone without a uniform on, it's never ending NJPs plus a court martial for you.  I doubt you'll ever go to a riot encounter with nothing but those tools and under those conditions.

At the end of the day, because of your civilian status, you can quit at any time; things get too rough and you can go tell people to stuff it.  A soldier has no luxury like that when facing death, and they are forced to confront it or face punishment.  So no, you're not on equal footing with a soldier, and no, you're not experiencing "combat-lite" or it's filtered/canned/processed equivalent, despite the stresses of your job.

Speaking of which, my second point: despite it not being war, your job is supposed to be tough.  By it's very nature, you are to assume all are innocent until proven guilty, all while constantly dealing with the most unsavory types of people and situations peacetime has to offer.  So, that being said, the whole point of your position is to put yourself in harm's way, the moment you start complaining about how unsafe it is, all I can think is, perhaps it's the wrong job for you.

Thirdly, your attitude sucks.  Granted it's hard to maintain a good one when you deal with the worst of civilized America every day, but for the love of everything holy, why is it that every time I talk to an officer for whatever reason, they either treat me like a retarded child, or like I just threatened the lives of their family?

Here's a hint for you guys:  If you want to be treated with more respect by both veterans and other civilians, perhaps you should stop the posturing like you're some superior being and treat other people as equals.  Yes, dangerous situations call for being defensive and/or readiness for violence, and I know you have to be prepared for any situation to turn violent, but does that really warrant treating me like a felon at 2am because you thought part of my windshield wasn't scraped of ice to your satisfaction?  Don't act like you're better than anyone else or that your sizing them up for a fight, and you may notice a sharp incline of respect headed your way.

I agree with many in that not all people in the military are heroes or even good people and the same goes for the cops.  However, unless proven to be otherwise, I believe all veterans deserve respect.  However, it's increasingly hard to justify respecting all cops.  Why?  Because of the "good cops."  Not only are the "good cops" so few and far between, but it appears to everyone that they are ineffective in making changes in their department.

The modus operandi of the 'bad cop' is double standards, code of the blue, corruption, complete ignorance of law, irresponsibility coupled with unaccountability because he is untouchable.  In a worst case scenario, the cops are just another organized crime syndicate.  Best case, your respect is demolished because your department's few 'bad cops' are not disciplined/prosecuted and instead given a paid vacation for hurting or even killing innocent people, when the same activity performed by the average citizen would warrant prison or in some cases execution.

Why do I blame the 'good cops' for this?  Well, when's the last time you arrested one of them?  Particularly when they do something illegal in public.  Show the populace that no one is above the law.  When in private, are you actively working to build a case against them?  If they are committing crimes, are they not just as much of a threat as (if not more than) any other criminal?  Does not your job require a higher sense of personal responsibility than the burger flipper down the street?  Why do you let these people go on ruining all you stand for?  They may be the ones actively destroying your reputation, respect and authority, but by not lashing out and pressing charges to the fullest extent, or not shooting one when they are harming another innocent, you are passively condoning it.  Why do you continue to give support to unconstitutional laws and practices?  Believe it or not, as an officer you have a choice to enforce or not enforce a law.  Make a stand and risk being fired if that's what it takes.  By not doing so you are no better than the guards at concentration camps who "just followed orders."

Being police officers (unlike the military) you are required to police the american populace, a people with all the rights and privileges thereof, which necessitates a responsibility placed upon you to uphold not only the law and answer to your employers, but to protect those rights.  What do I mean by this?  Well, as an officer, you are employed by US; you know, we the people.  So, considering you answer to us, most cops seem to place higher esteem on city/county/state officials or other cops than they do with John Q. Public.

I don't care if there is a LEO union working in the background, if you truly want to do your job right, you will help to weed out these people from law enforcement whatever it takes.  Not simply transfer them to another department, not give them paid leave, not shelter them from charges being pressed, you need to either destroy their entire future in law enforcement or let them know you will do so if they do not act responsibly in wielding such rampant power.

The same goes for the militarization of the police.  You may not have replaced your cruiser with a MRAP, or suited up in mall ninja gear for a no-knock raid, but why are you letting it press on in your department without speaking out?  You may not be in charge, but that doesn't mean you can't do something.

Every single person I know (not counting minors of course) has had a bad experience with the cops in which they were falsely accused, treated roughly without cause, had their rights curtailed, fined for something they didn't do, etc.

Let that sink in for a second.  EVERY SINGLE PERSON I KNOW.  No exceptions.  I don't make a habit out of associating with ruffians, I don't live in the ghetto, I'm not friends with a bunch of felons, I'm not even located in a massive city, but everyone I know has had a bad experience with the police acting far out of line.  Now, to say that the cops simply have their fair share of bad apples, sounds unlikely at this point.  It diminishes the real scope of the issue if ALL the people I know have had this happen to them.  These issues are not isolated, or a minority, it's become very widespread problem to the point of being a national issue of the police being saturated with "bad apples."  Federal cops are by far the worst (you can generally assume there's hardly any good ones among the lot of 'em) and have always been, however this has fermented among local and state cops for so long that they have slowly come to the forefront of the problem as well.

We hate the fact that SWAT teams can do no knock raids on the wrong house, shoot up the place and get off scott free, while the poor occupant who had to defend his home from unlawful intruders is sent to prison.  We're tired of being treated with no respect, and like we have no rights.  We're pissed off at the rampant corruption that goes on and on without improvement.  We're outraged at being served warrants for simply exercising free speech.  We're sick of you working for politician's personal interests instead of upholding the law.  We're through with you getting special treatment after breaking the same laws we do but not getting the same punishment.  We're infuriated with laws being passed for us to obey, but for you be exempt from.  We're tired of your word against ours in a trial when your side is so often taken because of special treatment.  We're tired of you not holding your officers to a higher standard.  We're tired of you standing back and doing nothing when rights are being infringed in front of your eyes.  We're tired of you enforcing laws that restrict us from filming/photographing public places or employees. We're enraged by the repeated violations to our 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th and other Amendments. Were're tired of the bull-crap of no name towns getting APCs, MRAPs, and GMPGs for no other purpose than to waste our tax money fighting imaginary tanks, and we are pissed that you're able to buy them and we can't because somehow you're better than us despite a higher crime rate than the general populace!

That and where did the service go to in "protect and serve," eh?  When's the last time you saw a cop stop to help someone broken down on the side of the road?  When's the last time you heard a cop ask how he can help you out when lost?  When's the last time you heard a group of cops discuss anything other than "how do we get this guy?" as opposed to "how can we help?"  When's the last time you heard a cop tell another bad one that what he's trying to do is wrong?  When's the last time you were treated with basic politeness and respect from a cop?  When's the last time you talked to a cop that didn't try to treat you like an immediate threat?  When was the last time one talked to you without giving off a massive superiority complex?  When have you ever seen a cop tackled and tased for getting in a person's face and threatening them?

This is the reason the average American and in particular the American serviceman hates you.  To be told our whole lives that men are created equal, and see nothing but special exceptions for you to the point that you're nearly above the law.  For the servicemen to fight and die solely for our rights then come home and see that they are trampled on by your kind nearly on the hour, all while the good cops stand back and do nothing.  That is why.

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