Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our Boys in Blue

I am not the type of person to glorify police officers, or the work that they do. I’m tired of hearing how they put their lives on the line every day for us, to keep us safe. I don’t believe that to be the case. I work in construction, which is a far more hazardous occupation than law enforcement. Do people glorify construction workers, saying that they “put their lives on the line every day” to provide us with shelter? The way I see it, we all work hard in order to keep police officers in a job, often times in careers far more hazardous than law enforcement could ever be, and they work for us. Far too often, this lionization of any person in uniform leads them to believe that they are a cut above the rest, and that they are our superiors. I’ve known a lot of good cops in my time, but I’ve known a lot of bad ones, too. However, the biggest problem with law enforcement today is that they’ve forgotten their mission. It is not “enforcement of the law at all costs” like they seem to believe. It is to serve and protect the citizenry of their jurisdiction, even the criminals. I’m not even talking about policemen anymore, I’m talking about the overall codes and policies driving them. Things like:

1.) Increased paramilitary-style raids on homes when no threat is apparent, using explosives and automatic weapons;
2.) Increased use of “CI’s” that are unreliable and often times have a vested self-interest in providing information, even if it is false, then using this information as valid probable cause (which it is not) for no-knock paramilitary raids on homes that are often times randomly selected by these CIs;
3.) The policy of shooting any dog that presents itself as aggressive during no-knock raids. My dogs would definitely be aggressive if someone kicked in my front door, how about yours?
4.) The fact that these no-knock raids result in the deaths of many innocent people (and beloved canine companions) each year, all in the spirit of protecting the police officers from harm and in disallowing the destruction of evidence via shock and awe.
5.) The fact that police officer’s lives are seen as more valuable than the lives of any civilian, when the opposite should be true, if the vow to “serve and protect” means anything. Proof of this is the use of these “no-knock” raids, and the fact that if a person shoots or assaults a cop, they get more time in prison than if they shoot or assault a civilian.
6.) The fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that the police have no duty whatsoever to protect you from crime; rather, their only function is to punish those guilty of the crime.
7.) The fact that if a black-clad ninja with automatic weapons ever enters my house and yells “POLICE” I’m supposed to believe him unquestioningly and not attempt to defend my family from the possibility that criminals know how to shout “POLICE” too. They are known to lie, after all. If, on the other hand, the police were to, I don’t know, knock first like human beings, identify themselves and provide identification and then enter… …well, I think I’d be convinced by then.

If a police officer truly believes in the calling of his job, then his life would not be more important than the lives of those he has vowed to serve and protect. Men would not be getting shot 15 times because they had a hose nozzle in their hand and the cops figured “better safe than sorry.” Little girls wouldn’t be getting killed because of high-risk paramilitary raids on the wrong house. I could go on for days if I started listing all of the beloved family pets killed during raids on the wrong address. Don’t accuse me of arm-chair quarterbacking. If you aren’t willing to risk your life to make sure that the innocent civilian has a sprinkler in his hand instead of a gun, then you shouldn’t be a cop. If you aren’t willing to enter a house without kicking in the door, using bombs, shock tactics, and automatic weapons, then you shouldn’t be a cop. I’m willing to let the odd drug dealer get away with it because he had time to flush his stash by the time the knock-and-identify raid got to the point of forced entry – I would much rather live with that than the death of even one more 7 year old girl.

How about you?

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