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On The #EricGarner Case And Our Obligations As Guardians Of The Republic

03 December 2014 @ 21:51

William Jacobson is quite correct and says it better than I could, so I’m going to quote him in full:

It’s very tempting to jump to conclusions in either direction about the Eric Garner Grand Jury non-indictment of one of the arresting police officers.

It would be really, really easy to jump on the “injustice” bandwagon, with a visceral reaction to the video.  Or to take the contrarian view because there was, after all, resistance to a lawful arrest.  No resistance, no death.

In fact, we’ve gone through multiple drafts trying to sort this out.

But none of them worked because we just don’t know enough about the evidence to determine whether the death of Garner was the result of an unlawful homicide, or just a tragic confluence of resisting arrest, health problems and lawful use of force by police.

I think we’ve done well in the many criminal cases we’ve followed — George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn, Joseph Walker, Michael Brown, Theodore Wafer, Merritt Landry, and others  In fact, I think we’ve done better than well, because we always followed the evidence.

We have the video, or at least one or two of the angles, but we just don’t have enough … yet.

I want to understand this case better. That may take a day, a week, a month, or never.

There are plenty of opinions, but at least for tonight, you won’t find them here.

Especially in these times where many policing departments have become para-military organizations to be feared as the Standing Armies of the Colonial Period were, this kind of incident requires that we be given all of the information possible before we render an opinion.

We conservatives are traditionally strong supporters of Law Enforcement Officers and Officials because we believe in Ordered Liberty and The Rule Of Law, but we also understand that, like any of the powers placed in the hands of government employees, they can be abused by the imperfect men who wield them.

As governments at all levels have become more Tyrannical, it is right and proper that we be on heightened guard for abuses and uspurpations by those in the employ of our governments at all levels.  Too often lately, especially in the last two decades, Law Enforcement Officers and Officials have inflicted injustices on the Law-Abiding, because (1) the laws passed have been Despotic and (2) some of those Officers and Officials have forgotten their obligations under our Constitutions [ie: their Oaths].

Laws and Regulations [which have the force of Law] have become so numerous that every American breaks at least one every single day.

We live in an age of Leftist Hegemony where Leftist Thinking has pervaded American Society, where ideas that are Alien to The Founding have been given a Legitimacy that they do not deserve.  We live in a time where our understanding of Freedom and Ordered Liberty has become deranged, where our view has been filtered through a fun-house mirror.

Conservatives realize that we can no longer assume that Law Enforcement Officers and Officials are, in the main, to be trusted with the immense power we place in them.  And, at the same time, we are quite aware that the Masterminds behind the Left In America are doing everything in their power to destroy every aspect of American Society, to sow Chaos, and to promote Tribalism, which is the enemy of a Free People.

We are in a situation where we have no choice, if we are to remain true to the magnificent Legacy gifted to us by The Founders, to question every action taken, be suspicious of all motivations, to doubt all who say ‘We’re from the [insert organization or group here] and we’re here to help’.

Now more than ever, we conservatives must be suspicious of all hope and all change.

This is a sad situation, but how else can we approach such grave matters?  How else can we properly perform our duties as the Guardians Of The American Republic?  And our obligations to our Posterity:

Let us remember that “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.” It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.

—Samuel Adams, writing as ‘CANDIDUS’ in The Boston Gazette, 14 October 1771

13 Comments leave one →
  1. 03 December 2014 @ 22:19 22:19

    Enter any bank in Mexico and you will see an armed guard with an AK-47 who looks like a soldier. If he ever turned the eye of his disfavor upon you, you’d quickly realize that he meant nothing good to you. Granted, you’d have to be robbing a bank to cross the path of his disdain. Even so, if he looked at you, you’d run, resist, and fear for your life. Here in the States, you merely have to be selling a loose cigarette. But the fear is not much different.

    Anyone who’s ever been pulled over by a surly cop for some minor infraction of an illegal lane-change knows only a tenth of the fear presented by the power gap between police and economically powerless citizens.

  2. Littleeif permalink
    04 December 2014 @ 00:38 00:38

    Please allow me to make the point that local, county and state law enforcement are completely distinct from the federal agencies. Completely. Their budgets are distinct. They do not share personnel, hiring practices, supervision, equipment, investigative leads,informants, resources. Local agencies receive no direction or management from the feds. They seldom coordinate their activities. They do not train in common.They do not enforce laws in common. Remember the Arizona immigration issue and the dispute between state vs. federal enforcement of immigration laws? To apply the Bill of Rights and thus the jurisdiction of the federal courts to the states, an amendment to the Constitution ( the 14th) was required. Each federal agency has an individual set of laws to enforce. The feds do not respond to a common murder or robbery; the local police do not respond to a bank fraud and embezzlement. Driving by an assault on the street, an FBI agent would keep on driving – he has no authority beyond that of any other citizen to effect an arrest. He has no radio to “radio” dispatch. The local police may have never met him or even heard of him. He has no jurisdiction.

    J. Edgar Hoover, during his tenure, sought mightily to change this so that law enforcement in the US was a single, coordinated effort. He saw the obvious benefit to having one enormous law enforcement effort similar to a domestic standing army. To that end, for example, he established the National Police Academy, an elite executive training program conducted by the FBI for select local and state police officers at management level in the hope that this gospel might spread generically. This, of course, has been rejected historically and in his era as fundamentally un-American. .

    Even local agencies are distinct from each other, separated by different state laws, geographies, jurisdictions, etc..County Police may not have jurisdiction in certain cities, city police in the county. There is no such thing as lateral transfer from city or state agencies to the feds – in fact, the FBI’s historic hiring practice has been to hire very few law enforcement officers at all, choosing instead accountants, law school grads and the like.There is often no lateral transfer from one local agency to another. Decisively, local law enforcement is inherently, supremely local.

    It is absolutely amazing to me and, yes, laughable the above fact has been lost on otherwise informed and thoughtful conservative minds. There is a strain of Libertarian-ism that has seeped into Conservative thought of late that sees all law enforcement as a single congealed mass of “Government”. One need not read long in certain, usually more populist corners of the internet to read these comments that are not, in the end, essentially different than the thought on the left, cynical, and rebellious.

    As Chesterton pointed out in reflection on his visit to the states, ours is a society bound together not by an ethnicity, a religion or creed as is Europe and the rest of the world, , but bound together by the rule of law. The rule of law cannot exist without enforcement, and that enforcement must continue to be distributive – carried out at the lowest level possible. This is the principle Conservatives must defend.

  3. Adobe_Walls permalink
    04 December 2014 @ 01:30 01:30

    The real tragedy in Ferguson is that it’s hijacked the story about the real problems with current law enforcement. Militarization of our police forces at every level is a major problem, but had no bearing on what happened to Mike Brown. It had little bearing on how the police handled the ensuing riots and protests with this exception, there were far too many M-4 carbines and far too few beanbag shotguns carried by LEO dealing with the unrest.
    Ivy Mike Cafe had an excellent piece on this.
    http://www.ivymikecafe.com/2014/08/21/ferguson-when-assholes-collide-2/

    Almost no one is talking about the massive overuse of SWAT teams for the simplest of police tasks at all levels of LE. The child in Georgia permanently injured by a flashbang grenade during a raid created a firestorm among the patriot community but received very little coverage outside that community. That story and thousands like are what people should be freaking out about.

    • littleeif permalink
      04 December 2014 @ 15:23 15:23

      This is an example of the “conservative” thinking to which I refer. “Militarization” of police forces is a red herring and is in solidarity with the very emotions that have burned Ferguson. Uniforms, equipment and tactics within the scare quotes of militarization are not the problem.What kind of credulity leads us to freak out at tactical gear, but relax at the lawlessness and chaos that bring it forth?

      • Adobe_Walls permalink
        04 December 2014 @ 16:01 16:01

        M-4 carbines are the wrong equipment for dealing with civil unrest because they won’t use them unless their lives are in danger. Not even then if they can retreat and let the savages loot and burn. The upgunning of police departments were a reaction to the North Hollywood bank robbery shootout and the 1986 FBI shootout in Miami and then 9/11. Every pot bust doesn’t rate an assault team. Even worse perhaps is the fact that most of these cops can barely hit a boat sitting on a trailer.

        • littleeif permalink
          04 December 2014 @ 16:10 16:10

          Makes no sense. The same logic would apply to carrying any firearm, the only reason is to protect life. So the proposition, then, is to disarm police? Silly. Some pot busts (in the real world where pot bust is not a diminutive) do merit a swat team and swat teams are not called out for every pot bust. But then your final ad hominem explains your bias. Logic not required.

  4. Shermlaw (RS) permalink
    04 December 2014 @ 09:00 09:00

    We forget, the idea of a professional police force is relatively recent in this country. It evolved in major cities, but until the end of the 19th century, law enforcement was deemed to be the both the right and responsibility of each citizen. The local sheriff or marshal might have one or two deputies, but he could summon the citizenry to give chase to criminals and protect the community.

    The advent of professional law enforcement separated protection from those being protected. That, in turn, caused the citizenry to believe that keeping a community safe was no longer its responsibility. From there, it was a very short step to believing that citizens have no right to determine whether and how to keep their communities safe. We see that in the rabid efforts to disarm the populace, because protection of self and others is “the police’s job.”

    An unfortunate side effect is that which Adobe mentions above. The professional police force invariably begins to see itself as distinct from its community and begins to act with self-appropriated impunity in dealing with the citizenry. When you see yourself has a “lord” governing by divine right, it doesn’t matter whether a toddler is horribly burned by an unnecessary flashbang.

    • littleeif permalink
      04 December 2014 @ 15:36 15:36

      So the logic is that professionalism in law enforcement (as defined ?) – discounting the history of law enforcement from Sir Robert Peel to the dawn of the American 19th century as professional – causes citizens to despair of their rights? Seems to me that in the wake of the Watts riots and for years thereafter the constant drum beat was that police caused the riots by by being atavistic Luddites as well as racists and needed to be brought to a professional standard. Remember, we have been through all this before from Community Policing to sensitivity training. You’re just completing the circle in a circular journey.

      • Shermlaw (RS) permalink
        04 December 2014 @ 17:20 17:20

        Not so. My point is that the idea of a professional force as separate and distinct from the community itself gives the false impression that the community is no longer responsible for its own safety. It’s the “where’s a cop when you need one” mentality. It breeds an “us against them” world view. It is not about “professionalism,” a term which can mean many things. I use it to mean a group which views itself as disconnected from those it serves; a group which views all members of the public with suspicion; a group which becomes a bureaucracy, intent upon advancing its own agenda which is distinct from the public good.

        • Littleeif permalink
          04 December 2014 @ 17:57 17:57

          Circular. You’re forgetting the local police come from the locality – your neighborhood if you’re working class. Consider some of the efforts undertaken in this bailiwick (KY – certainly not cosmopolitan) in the last 40 years since Watts to bring the police “closer to the community”: residency requirements, take home cruisers, walking patrols, community relations meetings, community policing, fixed shifts and beats, accountability at City Council meetings, presence at business councils, block watch, Crime Prevention divisions, DARE units, Public Relations units and now school resource officers, not to mention race preferential hiring.

          And the professionalism you’re decrying: civil service (an end to the merit system which underpinned police corruption), statewide 400 hour basic training, statewide 40 hour yearly training, yearly firearm certification, college degree requirements for hiring, a complete revamp of the state penal code. Police conduct is guided by and enforced in the following ways, all of which sprung from professionalization of law enforcement: city ordinance, state law, city council review boards, internal affairs investigations, chief’s orders, civil law and tort actions, the civil rights division of the Justice Department, federal civil rights lawsuits, the EEOC. On a bad day at a 30K a year gig, your local police officer could book himself a seat at any of these venues on his way to the unemployment office.

          So I’m saying straight up that in addition to being sore over that speeding ticket or whatever, you’re scapegoating the police. It’s a periodic and convenient tool we use to change the subject.

  5. indyjonesouthere permalink
    04 December 2014 @ 12:48 12:48

    What everyone leaves out of the NY cigarette case is that politicians (like Bloomberg) were after aggressive enforcement of cigarette tax laws as they felt “cheated” of considerable revenue by the cigarette “vendors” like Gardner and even the Indian tribes that are exempt. Then the Gardners, Browns, and Trayvons are usually found on the opposite side of the law as that’s were the money is for the marginally educated and undisciplined. So a significant portion of the minority population is killed or jailed in the attempt to collect enough tax money to support the rest of the minority population. But what more can you expect from big government….it provides life and death. Bloomberg even mandated “drink” sizes and he pushes gun control as well….all for the improved efficiency of collecting more revenue and power for the state.

  6. 04 December 2014 @ 18:31 18:31

    Look, I blame Bill Clinton for all this. He’s the one that greatly expanded police forces throughout the country, and when that federal ride busted the locals were left to fulfill the employment promises made in a good economy by turning their cops into tax revenuers in a bad one.

    When a community has so many cops that they can waste time hassling the populace, it’s bad for everyone. In the belly of the State’s beast there is only one law: grow or die. It’s insatiable.

    Now give all that advanced force and none of the disciplines of the military to a buncha guys with no real rules for engagement with “the enemy” and you’ve got soup, baby!

    • Littleeif permalink
      04 December 2014 @ 19:36 19:36

      Yes. How Thoreau-like. The goal of the true Conservative should be the return of society to that pristine pastoral setting of yore populated by humans living like competing troops of baboons lead by alpha males. We can arrive given time and the will!

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