Chilling Comments on Philly.com

Every day I check Philly.com to get a taste of the local news. Like most news sites these days, this one includes the tiresome feature of reader comments.

Today there are two stories about police violence against citizens.  The first involves an off-duty cop who shot and killed a fleeing robber.  Read the comments under this story, and you’ll be left with little wonder as to how our government gets away with so much—pardon the expression—murder.  Everyone is assuming that the cop is right.  Now, please understand me carefully.  I’m not saying that the cop is definitely wrong.  There is not enough information in the story to form much of an opinion about that.  But it does say that the robber was fleeing.  Who shot first?  Did the cop shoot at someone who was running away?  Is that right?  No one on Philly.com is being quite that thoughtful about it, however.  They’re just happy that they won’t have to pay for this robber to go through the court system and are willing to give the police a pass because of it.

As much as the previous story is still murky, another story is far more definitively outrageous. In 2008, a horde of cops beat several men as they were lying on the ground—in fact at least two of them were being held down while they were being beaten by others.  They were suspected of murder, and if my memory is serving me they were found to be innocent.  The cops bludgeoned them mercilessly to the point that the police commissioner removed them from their jobs.  Now they’ve been reinstated by an arbitration panel, and the FOP is having a party for them tonight.  Again, read the comments.  When the police commissioner is convinced that there was wrong conduct, but the peanut gallery is still cheering, you know the prospects for liberty are very small indeed.  It appears that the government has carte blanche authority, if you go by the public opinion, and in the end that’s all that matters.

Let’s assume everything the cops said about these supposedly bad guys is true:  that they were murderers, that they had seen them shooting only a few moments earlier, etc.  Does that give them the right to mete out justice right there on the street corner?  That’s what trials and judges and juries are for.  Too many people have a hero complex that seems to impair their judgement in crisis situations.  Of course, if these cops were real heroes, they wouldn’t be so quick to inflict violence on others.  Part of bravery involves treating others with the dignity that is rightfully theirs.

Rubbish from the Philadelphia DA’s office

A little more than a year ago a mob of Philadelphia police beat three men whom they suspected of committing a shooting.  The grand jury investigation of this incident was released yesterday.  The grand jury, of course, found that the police acted appropriately.

Ironic, that.  After all, in the days after the beating, police commissioner Charles Ramsey fired several of the officers.  A cop thought some of his own deserved to be fired, but a grand jury finds that they acted appropriately.  Something is fishy here.  For his part, Ramsey is standing by his original decision, and good for him.  Also interesting is the fact that one of the suspects was hit or stepped on in the head after he was handcuffed.  I guess the “heroes” with the night sticks were still afraid of him.

The Fraternal Disorder of Police, as you might guess, in light of this verdict, is trying to get all the fired officers re-instated and compensated for all their lost pay.  This sinister organization combines the folly of labor unions with the diabolical love of violence.  They are also campaigning against local Judge Craig Washington because at one time or another this year he refused to do the bidding of the Blue Wall of Thugs.

The government schools, have, of course, done their part in all of this in order to make useful idiots for the “justice” system’s juries.  No one is taught to ask any fundamental questions, and people sure as hell don’t know about jury nullification (which would not, admittedly, obtain in this case).

There is another issue here, one which I hesitate to mention:  race.  But in this case, it would seem to be worth mentioning.  What was the racial composition of the grand jury?  What exactly were the racial makeups of the police squad and the suspects on the night of the beating?  Philadelphia has an appalling amount of racial tension—just the other day a city worker filed suit alleging that the bathrooms in his facility are segregated—and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it was a factor in this case.  I do think that race can be overstated, but I’m not stupid enough to think that it has no impact whatsoever.

There are signs that various members of the booboisie have hung in their windows and on their cars in this city which say, “I support the Philadelphia Police.”  These poor people don’t realize that the police are not their friends, that they will harass them, too, the first chance they get.  For my part, I support peace and non-violence and cooperation; how then could I possibly support the police?

Virginia police over-step authority

These kinds of stories are becoming so common as to hardly merit specific mention anymore, at least as “news.”  At this point the more crucial matter is taking account of the erosion of freedoms in this country.  In a kind of sequel to the Professor Gates outrage, in which Boston police harassed him long after it was obvious that he was indeed the owner of the house, local Virginia police tased a cooperative grandfather and a pregnant woman at, of all things, a baptismal party.  Read about it here and here.  (Recall that tasing can be life threatening, and that it was originally conceived as a possible substitute for deadly force, but only in those situations which would call for the use of deadly force.  In other words, not a baptismal party.)

In both cases, the outdated “disorderly conduct” law was cited as cause to arrest these citizens who were minding their own business.  This is a law that was created to give cops the authority to tamp down race riots over labor conflicts that occurred in the early 20th century between various immigrant groups.  In both states concerned, the law specifically says that the alleged disorderly conduct must have occurred in public in order to be considered a violation of the code; in both these cases, the arrests were made on private property.  Let this be another lesson that the government never follows its own rules.  Keep this in mind when they try to allay your fears about this or that proposal.

Many people have commented unfavorably on my principled dislike of the police, but how else am I to feel about an organization which uses its monopoly on violence to harass peaceful citizens?  These men are considered “heroes” by many, but heroes don’t shoot black labs and claim that they felt threatened; they don’t invoke war zone-like rules of engagement, treating fleeing potential suspects as definite aggressors, as a proposal in Chicago would have it; and heroes don’t tase dudes that just want to ask Sen. John Kerry a question, man.  These acts are not heroic; they are cowardly.  The cops want you to think that they risk their lives for you, but this is not true to the extent that they lead us to believe.  The fact is that they are far more willing to engage in pre-emptive self-defense than they will ever admit.

Worse than the cops, however, might well be the citizens who defend this tyrannical behavior.  These reflexive traditionalists don’t seem to realize that some day they could be the victim of police brutality; that it might be their relative in the ambulance that gets pulled over and medical care delayed (a misdemeanor, btw) because of some power-hungry cop; that it might be they who are harassed by the TSA when they inquire as to whether or not they’re legally compelled to answer questions.  Et cetera.  We call these kinds of incidents “harassment” precisely because the people on the wrong side of luck in these cases did nothing wrong.  So what is going to prevent something like this from happening to you?

The reflexive traditionalists, and some of the thoughtful ones, too, will answer that the police guard the tranquil order.  I suppose that in a State in which the police take appropriate action against violators of the rights to life, self, and property, this argument can be made.  But today the police are, if anything,  disturbers of the ordo tranquilitatis, and our sick willingness to look the other way until it affects ourselves enables them to perpetuate this errand of hostility.

Jury acquits cop of shooting defenseless woman and boy

From LRC we have this story.  William Grigg has said everything that needs to be said, so I’ll only add that my dislike for the police is now principled.  There have been too many incidents like this, and the only time MSNBCCNNFOX seem to take any notice is when the story has the potential to stir up wider-ranging strife, such as when race is a factor.  Other than that, they have no interest in whether or not the cops are actually respecting the rights of the citizens.

A few interesting things from here and there

1.  An English court has ruled that a blogger has no right to anonymity.  Hardly comforting that this is on foreign soil, since the quacks on the Supreme Court have been citing laws of other countries for a few years already.

2.  William Grigg on a cop who pulled over an ambulance that was taking a patient to the hospital.  Turns out this cop, who manhandled the ambulance driver while the patient’s family watched in horror, had gotten back from Iraq about a month before this incident.

3.  Finally, I always knew Paul Krugman was a clown, but I didn’t realize that it was this bad.

Texas Cop Tasers Woman, 72

Here’s your latest installment of “Land of the Free,” as it were.  Travis County Deputy Chris Bieze tasered an unarmed 72-year-old  woman after she dared him to do it—which was after he had already shoved her.  Sgt. Maj.  Gary Griffin, the commando in charge of the precinct, said that the taser was only used after the lady became “combative.”  

Combative?  What, did she bring guns and knives?  Tasers are only supposed to be used as a substitute for deadly force when the police feel threatened.  (There is of course this court ruling, which, however does not apply to Texas and which is monstrously wrong and ought not to be recognized anyway.)  Did this pig feel threatened by a 72 year-old woman?  What’s all this claptrap we hear about the “bravery” of our police when they’re tasering people left and right?  Sounds to me like they’re wimps, or that they have something to prove with regard to their….um, masculinity.  Kind of like guys in fast cars or big trucks, or school principals.  

There is a video.  Where is it?  If the cops are so right they should release it immediately and prove to us how this lady, who was pulled over for speeding (another non-crime), genuinely threatened their safety.

Local Polizei kill man

Police in a Philadelphia suburb killed a man on Friday night.  Admittedly, the deceased was being a violent maniac, but this doesn’t seem to add up to me.  The suspect viciously attacked a woman.  The Polizei pursued, and when the aggressor brandished a brick, they shot him three times.  Thrice.

Now, while, in my Weltanschauung, the Polizei have no actual authority, it would seem that they nevertheless have the right to protect their own persons from aggression, just as each of us has a right to do this.  All the same, one has to wonder about this situation.  News reports are always sketchy and always to be taken with a grain of salt.  But a brick vs. a gun?  Three shots?  Come on.  Honestly, this strikes me as excessive.  

Yes, I know bricks can do damage, but where is the bravery that these kops are said to have?  It seems to me that they are often quite quick to shoot.  And then bureaucrats have the guts and/or stupidity to wonder aloud why there has been a rash of incidents in which citizens kill a member of the Polizei.  I am not advocating violence against the police; I am only saying that one must take stock of all the dynamics surrounding a situation.  Police violence against the citizenry is one of them.  Philadelphia has the additional ignominy of being a city which firebombed one of its own neighborhoods.  The old-timers tell me that this event created a stifling level of racial tension.  So much for the idea that authority creates peace!

It sounds like the suspect in question in this recent incident was a dangerous man and potentially mentally disturbed as well.  But was it necessary to kill him?  Maybe it was, but situations like this deserve better than the usual banal press releases from attorney generals’ offices.

Female teen pro-life demonstrators publicly strip-searched by Maryland police

So what? They needed a stupid permit. Big freakin’ deal. Hell, they even tried to comply by moving their demonstration. They were rewarded by being strip-searched by perverts.

But, of course, the last thing we should ever expect is for a cop to be reasonable. The State is not eloquence, it is force. Nor is the State introspective. The prosecutor dropped all charges, but I have seen no evidence of an apology. If a private entity wrongs you, they must make proper restitution, but if the State wrongs you, they just try to brush it off. People observe this and then say that we need the State to guard our rights. Phoooey!

I hope the lawsuit of the pro-lifers is not only successful, I hope that they win a judgment that bankrupts the entities that pounced all over their basic human dignity.

Cops marching in military formation in St. Paul, causing more trouble

The thugs in Minneapolis are continuing their martial law.

More journalists arrested by jack-booted thugs

From democracynow.org:

ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, a s they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfully detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.

Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and S alazar. These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).

Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists.

During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this action.

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists from the nation’s leading independent news outlet.

Demo cracy Now! is a nationally syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.

Commentary:

When are people going to wake up and realize that when one person’s rights are eclipsed, so are everyone else’s? Americans tend to forget the idea of precedent, and I don’t like the implications of what went on in Minneapolis on Monday. It only stands to get worse this week. What are they gonna do next, arrest Ron Paul for talking about the Federal Reserve?

I have an idea: Why don’t we create “Police Zones,” cages marked off by chain link fences such as we saw in Denver for the protesters? All the police can go in there, and as long as they are in these marked areas, they can arrest whomever they want. Outside those zones, the Bill of Rights shall hold sway.

Finally, just what the hell is “suspicion of rioting”?  It sounds to me like nothing more than a convenient excuse to arrest people.

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