It is often said that the police don’t write the laws but they just enforce them. This is usually used as an excuse for the immoral actions that police take while they are in uniform. They have been given orders by lawmakers to carry out these actions, and as a result, they believe that they no longer have moral responsibility for the actions they take.
It is true that the people who write the laws are at the root of our problems. However, it is obvious by now that lawmakers and politicians are entirely unapproachable, and are on a path that is unwavering by public opinion or moral considerations. These politicians are basically celebrities who are out of reach to the average person and they will not change their goals regardless of how hard people vote or fill out petitions.
Police on the other hand, are not unapproachable. They are not ruling class celebrities that are out of reach to the average person. Even though police like to think they are above the rest of us, they are still working class citizens, and their family and friends are still victims of the policies that lawmakers enact, and police enforce — including the police themselves.
The police are the final barrier between the common people and the ruling class, and this why the buck must stop with them.
It was ruled at the Nuremberg trials after World War 2 that “just following orders” is no excuse to carry out immoral actions on innocent people. This ruling was related to the horror that Nazi soldiers inflicted on people who they were ordered to hurt. Despite the fact that they were following orders, it was ruled that these soldiers were morally responsible for the actions that they took while in uniform.
The Nazi regime is one of the most extreme examples of this dynamic in human history. However, this dynamic has existed in every government that has thrust immoral orders on their populations, which is basically every government.
In the examples of the Nazis, those soldiers had the power to change the world by refusing unjust orders from a madman who was unapproachable and removed from the population he ruled over. Sadly, the order followers did not take that opportunity to be the final barrier between a tyrant and his subjects. However, it is not too late for police in America, they still have time to change the world by refusing to follow orders that bring pain and oppression to nonviolent people.
What this means is that police who have a moral compass of any sort should be only concerned with dealing with real criminals, people who are guilty of theft, murder, assault, rape, fraud and crimes where there is an actual victim. When it comes to the drug war and other revenue generating schemes, police who have a sense of moral duty should begin refusing to enforce unjust laws and become the change we all want to see in the world.
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