NOTE: My statements are not necessarily my opinions. I often post point-counterpoint essays in which I strongly take one side of an issue and later counter that with antithetical views. This intellectual exercise helps me see the merit in opposing opinions and augments my creativity.

Police behaving badly

The arrogance of our government is simply mind-boggling. Here is a case that illustrates this. A family was at home one evening, minding their own business, when a circuit breaker tripped. The Mom asked her 12-year-old daughter to go outside and flip the breaker back on. While she was outside, a van drove up and three men jumped out of it, running toward her. One man grabbed her and said, “You're a prostitute. You're coming with me.”

The girl began screaming for her Dad to help, but one of the men put his hand over her mouth while the other two beat her. She was later hospitalized with eye, ear, and throat injuries.

Just another senseless crime? No, just another day at work for those three plain-clothed Galveston police officers. They were executing a raid for three white prostitutes—somehow overlooking a few no-so-minor details: this was a single 12-year-old girl, who was black, not white. The officers should have consulted MapQuest, because they went to the wrong address; the correct one was two blocks away. (If they were typical men, they also didn't bother stopping to ask for directions!)

Three weeks later, as that 12-year-old honors student was in school, the police came to see her again. To apologize for their mistakes and brutal treatment? No, to arrest her for “assaulting a public servant.” If you knew you weren't a prostitute and three men tried shoving you in a van, wouldn't you resist, too? Do we really want girls and women passively complying with physically abusive strangers who appear to have evil intent and a screw loose? Nuts.

I've heard of many similar cases in which police raid the wrong home and kill startled homeowners who pick up guns trying to defend themselves from what they think is a home invasion. For example, narcotics officers in Atlanta, Georgia burst into the home of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston. Fearing that she was about to be robbed, she picked up her rusty old revolver. The police opened fire, leaving her to bleed to death while they planted marijuana in her home in an attempt to justify this mistaken raid (read more sordid details of this case and others like it).

Donald Scott, a 62-year-old multimillionaire and heir to the Scott Paper fortune, lived adjacent to federal park lands on 250 acres of breathtakingly beautiful property that the government wanted. He refused to sell it, so the government concocted an excuse to raid his home, using weapons to threaten his wife. He heard her screaming, “Don't shoot me, don't kill me!” and rushed to defend her. He was shot three times and killed.

After reading countless similar stories from a number of sources (such as this one), it is clear that utter stupidity explains why the government killed some perfectly innocent people. However, in other cases, it is obvious that the government thugs knew exactly what they were doing. They burst into the homes of innocent people using violent techniques they knew would likely cause startled homeowners to react in self-defense, thus giving the government goons the right (in their evil minds) to kill the homeowners.

If your home is raided, you could be killed by cops even if you freeze or are unconscious. Police know that dead men tell no tales, so if they can kill the only witness, the only story told is theirs. President Obama's Manufacturing Czar is Ron Bloom, who said, “We kind of agree with Mao that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun. And we get it that if you want a friend, you should get a dog.” (Mao Zedong is the brutal Chinese dictator who killed 70 million of his own people.)

When some men put on a police uniform or otherwise work for the government, they change into monsters who ride roughshod over the rights of others. For example, consider the dozen police officers who used SWAT-style tactics to burst into the home of a peaceful Ohio family who ran a private food co-op. Once you know all of the details in that case (and many others like it), you realize that I am not being accurate when I term such barbarous behavior “Gestapo-like” because the real Gestapo would never do what they did for such flimsy reasons. Officials in Ohio should be ashamed of themselves, but they're getting too much satisfaction from acting like tough he-men to do anything but gloat about how they can stomp on anyone because they can. The first President Bush wanted to make the United States “a kinder and gentler nation,” but few government officials seem to share that goal.

Although I spend very little time watching television, in the past week alone I've seen video of police beating people without cause. In the first case, a college student whose sole crime was that he appeared to be too happy was approached and beaten by officers who thought they had a right to assault anyone who dared to be jubilant in public. In the second case, a man was repeatedly and brutally beaten by a maniacal cop who later tried to justify the beating by saying that the man was not following his orders. Bullshit, said the Prosecuting Attorney who watched the dash cam video of the beating; he clearly was cooperating.

spot a typo?
If so, please tell me about it.

What is most amazing about the many abuses of power by the federal and state governments is that the officials committing those wrongs think they're a good idea. In reality, they are just digging their own graves because the more they mistreat us, the more likely we are to realize that we need a different government once our economy crumbles and our government collapses as a result of its own stupidity. The only thing sustaining them now is momentum. If we began with a clean slate and could choose what type of government we want and what type of politicians and officials we want, few would choose the ones we now have, who all too often act like schoolyard bullies, beating up others because they can get away with it.

By acting so abusively, the government is shooting itself in the foot because at a time like this, it needs to work repairing its bond with the American people, instead of giving us reasons to cheer and say “good riddance!” once it succumbs to its loony policies. The one thing that people never forget is when they are mistreated. Once the idiots in government destroy our government by doing more idiotic things, what's the chance that we will rehire them to lead us again? About the same chance as a patient rehiring a doctor who cut off his right arm while nurses pleaded with him to stop.

A survey of 393 academic emergency physicians in the United States found that 99.8% believed that police use excessive force to arrest suspects. I thought that police generally used only as much force as necessary until I saw how unnecessarily rough they are on various television programs that show police at work. One can only imagine that they are no more gentle when cameras aren't around. A few days ago, I saw a man's head needlessly shoved through a plate-glass window by a cop who apparently forgot that cell phone cameras are ubiquitous.

Police have always been decent or even respectful to me, so why am I so riled by how they sometimes abuse others? I don't want to see anyone's civil rights violated. Have you ever heard this poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller showing the indifference of German intellectuals after Nazis began purging selected targets, one by one?

In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist;

And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist;

And then they came for the Jews,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew;

And then … they came for me …
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

And then they came for Joe the Plumber …

The American government has abused its power for many years to erode the civil rights of its citizens. Everyone, all at once? Of course not, because we'd revolt in a heartbeat. Instead, the government prefers the slower-but-surer incremental approach. Our government is like a schoolyard bully who beats the hell out of a girl in a wheelchair, gives presents to the high school football team, and glares at others, intimidating them to keep out of his way lest he go after them.

If you keep silent, sooner or later you will regret it. You don't have to do anything drastic like going postal; just let the government know that you won't tolerate them acting like schoolyard bullies on steroids with a terminal case of 'roid rage. If they want to act like tough guys, let them blow off steam when they capture rapists or the men who murdered my father. But a 12-year-old girl at home? Or a frail 92-year-old woman who was scared out of her wits? Or a man who refused to sell his property? Or a family running a food co-op, not a methamphetamine lab? Knock, knock, hello, Mr. Policemen, these are not the type of people who deserve such harsh treatment!

Everyone representing the government should first have to pass a class in applied constitutional law AND take a class in empathy given by a psychologist who wouldn't pass students unless they could put themselves in the shoes of others. For example, those tough cops who roughed up the 12-year-old girl would likely be incensed if one of their daughters were attacked. And how would those cops feel if it were their grandmother who was murdered? Furious!

Related topics

Another lost American freedom

Notes:

  1. Police Fatally Shoot Naked Student at Ala. College
    Comment: If people could legally shoot everyone who runs at them, funeral homes would be very busy. Police too often act as if there are two sets of laws: one for everyone else, and one for them, giving them the right to kill people with flimsy justification. The officer who shot this student will likely not be charged with murder, as George Zimmerman was for shooting Trayvon Martin. I don't agree with what Zimmerman did, but Martin reportedly did more than run at Zimmerman. Zimmerman's life is effectively ruined even if he is found not guilty, but the officer who shot the naked college student will get a pass, I predict. By making a mockery of the rule of law, the police increase contempt for the law. When justice is unevenly meted out, it is capriciousness or favoritism, not justice.
  2. ‘Suspicious’: Sober driver arrested for drunk driving after deputy runs stop sign and crashes into her car
  3. Cops Face Charges in Killing of Elk
The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

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