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“Law and order” conservatives: When they are right, they are so right; but when they are wrong, they are so wrong.

By  | LewRockewell.com

revenue-collector

They are right when they decry the militarization of local police. They are right to point out that the DOD 1033 program has transferred over $5 billion worth of military equipment from the Defense Department to local police forces. They are right to oppose more federal laws and mandates relating to local police. They are right to oppose a federal police “czar” like the Congressional Black Caucus has called for. They are right to oppose nationalizing the local police. They are right to point out that the Constitution only provides for the federal government to punish the crimes of treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. They are right to decry all the federal police in the alphabet soup of federal agencies. They are right to oppose making the police like a branch of the U.S. armed forces. They are right to oppose federal funding of local law enforcement. They are right to oppose federal control over local law enforcement.

But does this mean that Americans should always support their local police? To the contrary, most of the problems with local police have nothing to do with the federal government.

Here are twenty-five questions to consider before making a blanket statement like “Support your local police.”

  1. Should we support our local police when they issue tickets to motorists for not wearing seatbelts?
  1. Should we support our local police when they forcibly extract DNA, urine, and blood from suspects?
  1. Should we support our local police when they pull over more motorists in order to meet their monthly ticket quotas?
  1. Should we support our local police when they shoot people who try to defend themselves from police brutality?
  1. Should we support our local police when they go online and pretend to be crack whores trying to pimp out their teenage daughters?
  1. Should we support our local police when they equip themselves with weapons powerful enough to conquer a small country?
  1. Should we support our local police when they drive around in vans equipped with X-ray scanners to secretly search vehicles?
  1. Should we support our local police when they conduct undercover sting operations to entrap people?
  1. Should we support our local police when they tase people who are offering no resistance?
  1. Should we support our local police when they conduct “non knock” raids in the middle of the night?
  1. Should we support our local police when they arrest people for victimless crimes like prostitution and gambling?
  1. Should we support our local police when they dress up as prostitutes and try to entice people to solicit them?
  1. Should we support our local police when SWAT teams are deployed in situations where a search warrant is being executed to just look for drugs?
  1. Should we support our local police when they drive around in unmarked older vehicles in order to ensnare unsuspecting motorists?
  1. Should we support our local police when the enrich themselves by seizing property and cash from people who have not even been charged with a crime?
  1. Should we support our local police when they assert that someone might have a weapon as a pretense to search someone without any warrant, probable cause, or reasonable suspicion?
  1. Should we support our local police when they plant evidence like weapons and drugs?
  1. Should we support our local police when they strip-search people who have been arrested even if there is no reason to suspect that the individual is carrying “contraband”?
  1. Should we support our local police when they lock people in cages for possessing substances that the government doesn’t approve of?
  1. Should we support our local police when they hide at the bottom of a hill, off the side of the road, or just after a speed limit change in order to collect revenue under the guise of enforcing traffic laws?
  1. Should we support our local police when they dismiss charges of police abuse as alleged and charges of police brutality as greatly exaggerated, and most of the time never investigate any of these charges?
  1. Should we support our local police when they enter homes without search warrants?
  1. Should we support our local police they go undercover and lie so as to beguile people to commit some crime?
  1. Should we support our local police when they major in ticketing and tasering instead of protecting and serving?
  1. Should we support our local police when they buy up all the fresh coffee and donuts at Dunkin’ Donuts?

Do all local police in American cities and counties do all of these things? Of course not. Do most local police in American cities and counties do most of these things? Perhaps not. Do many local police in American cities and counties do many of these things? Probably so. Do some local police American cities and counties do some of these things? Certainly so. And way too many.

The first reply is that the local police are just doing their jobs. Sure they are—just like guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

How quickly will those who say that the local police are just doing their jobs change their tune when one of their disgruntled neighbors gives the local police they support an anonymous tip that they might have illegal drugs in their house and the local police they support break down their front door in the middle of the night, shoot their dogs, and tase them and their family for the non-crime of asking what all this is about?

The second reply is that the local police are just following the law.

How quickly will those who say that the local police are just following the law change their tune when their local police enforce a law that requires roadside anal exams of everyone pulled over for traffic stops to make sure they have no hidden drugs or weapons?

I haven’t said that all cops are bad. I haven’t said that there shouldn’t be any police. I haven’t said that libertarians shouldn’t be cops. I haven’t said that a libertarian society wouldn’t have any police. I haven’t said that Christians shouldn’t be cops. I haven’t said that police detectives don’t solve crimes. I haven’t said that a police presence doesn’t deter crime. I haven’t said that the police don’t perform a valuable service.

I am merely pointing out that the main problem with local police is not that they have been centralized, federalized, militarized, or nationalized. I am merely pointing out that conservatives should not be making blanket statements like “Support your local police.”

After all, you can’t have a police state without police—local police.


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