Saturday, November 9, 2013

Not Enough Part 2: Enablers

Persons cloaked in "authority" and minded to brutalize generally don't do it all "on their own." Indeed, they couldn't. They need support. Validation. Repeated, vocal affirmation by others of the importance of their oppressive trade, and the necessity of tolerance toward that trade regardless of the excesses of "a few bad apples."

Time was, there was a saying that one rotten apple can spoil a whole barrel. That concept doesn't seem to be in play any more. Worse yet, many Americans have lost their grip on an understanding critical to justice: that the accomplice after the fact is as guilty as the perpetrator, and deserves to suffer alongside him.

Remember "Officer Friendly?" (Don't admit it in the comments; you'll date yourself.) He once visited grammar schools to exhort the kiddies to obey their parents, always cross at the crosswalk and only when the light is green, and regard policemen as "your friends." The pitch worked far more often than not, back then.

There were, and are, a million ironies in this. Cops are de facto indemnified for breaking the law; you and I are not. Indeed, you and I can be "Eckertized" by a cop on any pretext whatsoever. (Most common: "I smell marijuana.") Constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz and his minor son were arrested at a baseball game and handled very roughly indeed -- for being in seats originally purchased by someone else. You can read about it in his book The Best Defense, which I highly recommend.

The policeman is not your friend. He comes closer to being the neighborhood strongman. His badge gives him a personal prerogative to suspend or dismiss your rights. As time has passed, police forces everywhere have been populated by persons who enjoy doing exactly that, gradually displacing the older generations of cops who retained some vestige of respect for the communities that employed them.

Hearken to Mike Hendrix on this subject:

That “leaning into your space” bit reminds me of the time years ago when I broke down on the New Jersey Turnpike just outside NYC. A Jersey Trooper pulled up, motioned me over to his car (it was about 15 degrees outside at the time, so no way was he getting out of his nice warm car), and when I walked to his window, he immediately started in: “So you wear a leather jacket, huh? What are you, some big tough biker? You a Hells Angel, huh? You think you’re tough, huh? Think you can whip my ass? Wanna take a swing at me, big tough biker guy?”

My response every time was a humble “No, sir,” which I have to admit kind of stuck in my craw a goodish bit. But the truth is, I’ve never seen any percentage in being rude to cops, much as I may dislike the smell of whatever they’re shoveling my way at the time. He was one of those young, over-eager types: buzz-cut, over-muscled, tucked in and squared away as he could be. I always figured guys like him wanted to be in the Marine Corps but couldn’t hack it, probably for psychological reasons, so they pretend to be one anyway whilst riding around in a cop car beating off to fantasies of dominance and subjugation. Hopefully, he got shot by some gang-banger or thrown off the force for some reason; the thought of this guy rising through the ranks to a position of even more power over the hapless serfs is chilling indeed. But he’s probably made Captain by now.

So much for "Officer Friendly"...who, incidentally, was more often than not a civilian hireling rather than a genuine police officer.

Armed agents of the State couldn't get away with their oppressions if the far more numerous civilian populace weren't predisposed to defer to them. We do so out of reflex: a conditioned-in response that arises partly from habit and partly from the pre-conscious assumption that they're the "good guys" we pay to "protect us." In point of fact, cops -- county, state, or federal -- don't protect anyone but one another. They were never intended to do so, and surely won't assume the responsibility for it now.

Those who confer the "good guy / protector" presumption upon the armed agents of the State seldom have reasons for doing so grounded in personal experience. Mainly they've been conditioned into it by an enabler or enablers. Those who "teach" our children are perhaps the most important of the enablers.

"Educators" have become ever more insistent about conditioning those subjected to their ministrations to "defer to authority." Whence arises that authority? What limits must it respect? Under what conditions is it being abused? A schoolchild who dares to ask those questions will usually be disciplined. Can't have them questioning Teacher; she, too, is an "authority" who demands that you defer to her.

Glenn Reynolds has said on several occasions that subjecting your children to the "public" schools ought to be considered a form of child abuse. Consider the above an observation in support.

There are other enablers, of course: "supervisors" who'll do anything to avoid taking official notice of police misconduct; a press that routinely soft-pedals incidents of police brutality and overreach; media personalities who harp on "law and order" rhetoric, regardless of whether order increases or diminishes as the Myrmidons of the Law tighten their grip; rabble-rousers for some cause they demand be written into the law; "gun control" activists implacably hostile to an armed citizenry; and "public advocates" who mainly exist to reassure the protesting citizen that, yes, the nice policeman was only doing his job when he shoved his nightstick up your ass. The federal courts provided their contribution with U.S. v Barker and Martinez. (This, in the country that imposed the Nuremberg Tribunals on defeated Germany, and whose judges insisted repeatedly that "I was only following orders" is not a valid defense.)

Such enablers seldom change their tune even when confronted by a case such as that of David Eckert. Sometimes they change the subject; more often, they counterattack the questioner as "an enemy of law and order." What's this? You're not really objecting to the War on Drugs, are you? You must be a druggie yourself, maybe even a dealer! Where'd you get the money to pay for that BMW? Besides, that TSA agent who insists on groping your private parts is only doing his job!

These are accomplices, both before and after the fact, in the totalitarianization of American society. It doesn't matter whether they do so out of conviction or for personal gain. They are equally as guilty as the thugs at the sharp end, uniformed and otherwise, to whom "civilians" are a lesser form of life over whom they can ride roughshod as the please.

Remember this photo from the days after the Boston Marathon bombing?

Somewhere off in the distance, I hear Madame DeFarge's knitting needles clicking away.


Pascal said...

I recalled the lines from this clip when reading this and several other of your other recent posts.

"Mr. P[orretto], this is not the United States... go back to America!"

Martin McPhillips said...

About Boston: Still no word about who ordered Tamerlan Tsarnaev's name taken off of a terrorist watch list.

Anonymous said...

Working as a lowly security guard supervisor on private property I have noted two distinct types of cops: the older seasoned gentleman who I work with regularly that will go out of their way to not arrest you & tolerate being called every name in the book, and B) the younger breed of new street cops who look for trouble & any pretext to arrest you. I have been often disrespected by younger cops who have told me to fuck off, or give me blank stares when I ask for a case number. Those guys I walk away from because I know what's coming my way if I push it. The off duty officers I work with are quite happy for a quiet evening, and so am I. But as soon as the cavalcade of squad cars shows up, my stress level begins to climb.
Case in point, I saw a younger officer casually pull out his taser-gun and point it at cuffed patron's face. Scary. I find it curious that most of my officers have to wear tattoo sleeves on their arms when on duty, but it is not unusual to see metro cops show up tatted up and down their arms beaming with shaved heads or crew-cuts. It's like the war over there in the sandbox came home, and these new cops have the same mentality: War.
I had one new security officer come work on my shift. I like him. Ex-paratrooper, in the guard, but the guy looked over at my car one day and said, "Oh, you're one of those guys," referring to my Gadsen flag bumper plate. He made it pretty clear if the shit came down, "we", whoever that is, didn't stand a chance. We'd just all get wiped out by a single hellfire fired from a drone, or we'd get lit up in an ambush. Mind you, this guy is Army, so you get the drift of how things are going in this country.

Anonymous said...

And related, this from JW Rawles.