Thought of the day

There are no “restrictions” on rights. The right to liberty is not restricted by laws against murder. The right to free speech is not restricted by limitations on threatening speech. These are things which exist around rights, not the other way around.

Our rights exist and have definitions. It is around those definitions that other activities exist. That is, something which infringes upon another right cannot itself be a right nor can it restrict a right. Our rights come first and everything else exists around them. For instance, there are zero restrictions on free speech because things like threats are not rights.

This may sound like a matter of perspective, but it certainly is not. It’s important that we establish a frame of reference which says rights exist first and foremost. When we make arguments that say you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater, we’re playing into the notion that speech is the tenuous thing that has to tip-toe around the rest of life. That is exactly backwards. (Moreover, yes, you can yell “fire” in a crowded theater. You’ll surely get charged with one thing or another by some overzealous prosecutor, but it won’t be for the content of your speech. And if it is, get the charges laughed out of the first competent court you come across.)

Thought of the day

When the police routinely lie, escalate non-violent situations, shoot unarmed civilians, demand special treatment from the ‘justice’ system, and avoid all around accountability for their actions, how can they be surprised when the citizenry starts to react?:

As police departments around the country remain on heightened alert in the wake of the killing of two NYPD officers, a pair of shootings in California and Florida on Sunday have local law enforcement officials in those states on edge.

In Los Angeles, police are searching for a gunman who they say opened fire on an LAPD patrol car carrying two officers as it was driving in South Central L.A. at approximately 9:30 p.m. Sunday night.

The officers, who were uninjured, returned fire, but no one was hit. One suspect was arrested and a rifle was recovered, LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza told CNN, but a second suspect remains at large. The department declared a citywide tactical alert, sending every available officer to the area, Carranza said. About 100 officers were involved in the subsequent manhunt.

In Pasco County, Fla., three shots were fired at two sheriff’s deputies as they were sitting inside their squad cars at 3:30 a.m. Sunday in Dade City, where they were conducting traffic enforcement of a nearby intersection.

When Christopher Dorner went on his shooting spree, we saw a disproportionate police response. At the end of it all, the LAPD intentionally burned him alive. This, of course, was after they shot and terrorized three different citizens in two trucks that did not match the truck for which they were looking. Indeed, the occupants of one vehicle were two Hispanic women and the other vehicle had a white male. Dorner was black and driving a different make, model, color, and year vehicle. Did any of this matter to them, though? Of course not. They didn’t even bother to get the right vehicle, much less the right people. (Fortunately the entire department appears to be incompetent even at attempted murder – they hit the women’s vehicle 102 times and they entirely missed the other truck, resulting in no deaths. The taxpayers did pay out millions, though.)

We saw another disproportionate response during the recent manhunt of Eric Frein. It took the Pennsylvania state police over a month and a half to find this guy, costing the taxpayers millions. They involved upwards of 1000 officers at one point. But it was only when Frein become tired that the police got lucky and happened upon him. He was unarmed and didn’t resist (again, he was tired), but he was still hit a few times while cuffed.

Considering the two examples above in addition to the examples from the article, we can see how police respond when they feel threatened. These are the people with the power, and so they can use it as they wish. Clearly, when it is a citizen being shot at in South Central LA, the LAPD only wishes to use a minimal amount of power. The same goes for the NYPD or any other police force of a moderate size. However, when it is the police themselves who are under threat, they react with more force than most military squads in a war zone. They view themselves fundamentally differently to how they view everyone else.

Here’s the crux of it all. Police forces all around America (and Russia and China and North Korea, for that matter) view their lives as more valuable than those of others. This isn’t merely because they’re people and people tend to be selfish. They view their lives as more valuable because they wear badges. They view the lives of their coworkers as more valuable because of these badges. This is American Police 101. So why are they surprised when citizens and mayors and other politicians criticize them? Why are they surprised when small pieces of the citizenry begin to rise up against them? It’s because they believe you should value their lives above all others, too. We have a culture of cop worship in this country. The police are used to being revered and praised. Just look at their infantile temper tantrums when they feel slighted:

The shootings came a day after an estimated 23,000 police officers attended the funeral for Rafael Ramos — one of two NYPD officers killed in Brooklyn on Dec. 20 by a gunman who allegedly vowed to retaliate for the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, by a white NYPD officer. As Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the crowd, hundreds of officers turned their backs on a video screen showing the mayor’s eulogy.


Here’s the reality: Most cops are bad cops. That doesn’t mean most of them will beat someone or choke the life out of them. Being a bad person does not require an active act of wrongdoing. If I see a child drowning in a 4 foot deep pond and I do nothing to help, that makes me a bad person even though my actions were passive. Just the same, a cop who watches another cop choke someone or hit someone or falsely arrest someone is absolutely a bad cop. This is that ever-thickening thin blue line. Nearly all cops stand behind it. Those who don’t not only lose support of their fellow cops, they face active harassment. That’s the reality of the police state in which we live. The police commit crimes and then stand behind each other nearly no matter what.

To make things worse, blog posts like this are huge liabilities. The police routinely arrest or otherwise harass those who criticize them. They sometimes even arrest people who write quotes that were directed towards no one and not even intended to be seen by police. Much like when only a few newspapers were willing to re-print pictures of Mohammed, I am practically required to qualify everything I’ve written. Whereas the papers faced the threat of violence from Muslim terrorists, this situation is virtually the same; the difference is merely in the actors. So with that in mind: None of what I’ve written is a threat or promise or any other indication of violence or potential violence. That would be ridiculous. Aside from my opposition to the death penalty as well as the killing of those who don’t pose an immediate threat to life, there is zero benefit to these police killings. I am happy to finally see a reaction from the citizenry, even if this is the wrong one. However, these killings will only embolden the police and inflate their budgets. They will feel they are even more justified in the daily murders and other crimes they carry out. Grand juries and trial juries will be even more reluctant to indict or convict. I want to see a reduction in police by virtue of firings and lay-offs. I want to see the destruction of police unions via the legislative process. I want to see fewer rights violations by 1) severely weakening police immunity and 2) forcing police departments to carry their own insurance – if they can’t get insured, they can’t operate. I want these people to work in fast food and carnival security where their skill sets will be appropriate. I don’t want to see them dead (except where they escalate the situation and/or invade a home like common thugs, thus forcing citizens to use justified self-defense). I don’t want to see police forces reduced and scaled back because their continued escalations and attempts to be para-military groups force militias to crop up around the country. That leads to dead people and that’s no good. I want to see a reduction in badges, not a reduction in people.

Thought of the day

In the intersection between the citizenry and the government, race clearly plays a big role. There’s a reason we imprison more black people as a percentage of the population than apartheid South Africa ever did. But when we’re talking about the intersection between police and the justice system, the issue shifts. Whether we have a case of a white officer killing a black victim or a black officer killing a white victim, the only color that really matters is blue. Cops get away with murder in America because we live in an outright police state. Even when there is video evidence of a murder, prosecutors intentionally do everything they can to avoid getting an indictment while simultaneously acting like it isn’t their fault. There are two primary reasons for this symptom of the police state.

First, prosecutors interact with the police on a daily basis. That thin blue line is quite likely to retaliate if a prosecutor does his job. (Despite the macho exterior, police seem to be very sensitive to every little slight. Whether it’s a calm, friendly family pet they fear might sniff them too hard, therefore ‘justifying’ a shooting, or if it’s a black person with his hands in his pockets in the middle of a cold day, they get upset easily. This may explain why they routinely escalate situations, I don’t know. But it does certainly shed light on what it might look like if a prosecutor offended them by applying the pesky law.)

Second, our laws are written to effectively defer to the police. I recall an instance where a defendant was pulled over for no reason whatsoever. The police claimed it was because he crossed the center line, but video evidence 100% contradicted that lie. Thus, he was pulled over for no reason. The judge wouldn’t dismiss the case, claiming that we should defer to the police because they were actually there. I’m really not making this crazy shit up. Our judicial system is designed to think exactly like young Earth creationists.

Race is obviously an issue throughout our entire system, but that isn’t the problem when we see cops getting away with murder. Situations with the same perceived risks but which occur between two useful citizens would, at the least, get an indictment nearly every time. In fact, they do. It doesn’t matter what color the people are. Indictments still happen. Unless the person wears a uniform and a badge.

Thought of the day

Regarding Ferguson: Did anyone ever doubt that the government was never going to indict one of its own? If there’s an iota of doubt anywhere for any reason, no matter how minute, police are allowed to get away with absolutely anything.

Incidentally, I’m listening to the prosecutor talk about the grand jury as I type this. Of course, I’m going to wait until he actually declares there’s a no bill before I post anything, but I have little doubt he and the police will get exactly what they want and were always intent on obtaining.

Thought of the day

It would be impossible to say one or another right is the utter cornerstone of a free and democratic society – they all work in tandem – but if I had to narrow it down to one right that I value more than any other*, it would be the right of free speech. Interestingly, this is the right that is under the greatest attack every day. From bad actors in positions of power to frivolous libel claims to unpopular groups not getting the support they deserve when their speech is threatened, free speech is one of those rights we all too frequently allow to fall by the wayside when it doesn’t benefit us personally.

*For reasons outlined here, I feel it’s necessary to state that this doesn’t mean I don’t greatly value other rights.