Saturday, August 4, 2012

Oppression, Courage, Community: An Illustrative Episode

Via Popehat, we have the following:

Free Range Kids offers a story of a man briefly detained by a police officer because (allegedly) somebody reported him as a potential kidnapper of his own daughter, who was pulling at his hand as they walked:
The cop gets out of his car, says “Sir, please step away from the child,” then proceeds to crouch down and ask her if “everything is okay.”

After re-asking a few times, getting a more and more nervous “yes” each time, he stands up and informs me that someone had called 911 reporting what looked like a young girl being abducted. My daughter and I both explained what was really happening, and not only did he not even apologize, he chastised ME for not being, and I quote verbatim here, “More thankful someone was watching out for my daughter.”

The reactions to this episode given in the comments are somewhat varied. No one, however, evinced the reaction I felt upon reading of this example of arrogance with a badge:

Why didn't the father's neighbors draw their guns and tell the officious badge-wielder to back off or pay the supreme penalty? Did he have no neighbors at hand? Was the scene unwitnessed? Was the street utterly deserted except for the cop and the father-daughter pair?

Did it occur to absolutely none of them that fathers and their children have often been reaved of one another permanently by such badge-wielding thugs, with neither evidence nor a citizen's sworn, signed oath of accusation?

Were none of them aware that angry ex-wives have employed the police against their ex-husbands in such a fashion out of pure vindictiveness?

Might it be that they'd been disarmed by anti-Constitutional laws, and so had no force with which to respond?
Might it be that they felt no duty of mutual support toward their neighbor, despite his connection to them and their community?
Or might it be that they were the sorts of feminized pseudo-Americans who neither understand the imperative of reacting with extreme prejudice against the first hint of tyranny nor possess the cojones to do so?

The mind reels.

***

The ultimate governmental intrusion occurs within the family unit. We've been suffering intrusions of that sort for some time, mainly via the Orwellian-named "Child Protective Services" and the anti-Constitutional, completely unconstrained "Family Courts." In recent years, street episodes of the sort described above have begun to multiply. So far as I know, no parent has been shot for defending his child from a cop...yet.

Very few men will permit their children to be put at risk for any reason. That a father will interpose himself between a threat and his children without hesitation is one of the few moral near-certainties in American life. The idea that salaried bureaucrats can intrude between Dad and Johnny or Janie with guns, simply by claiming suspicion, strikes not merely at the presumption of innocence but at the last cherished remnant of Americans' autonomy: the privacy and sanctity of our families.

Yes, there are predators in the world. The great majority of them claim special authority: "color of law." Many of them carry guns. Most of those feel they can do what they please to the private citizen. Some, like the cop in the story above, demand to be thanked for it.

It becomes ever clearer why "law enforcement" prefers that private citizens not be armed. But the vignette above suggests that even ubiquitous armament would have made no difference; the cop would have gone unopposed even so. Either the father isn't sufficiently bonded to his community, or his neighbors felt no duty of support to one of their own, or they lacked the courage or the means to act.

I fear what such episodes portend. I see nothing good ahead.

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