LOS ANGELES—I’m a law and order kind of guy and a former applicant to the Los Angeles Police Department—I didn’t make it through because of a previous back surgery—but the truth can no longer be denied; we live in a police state. America is a police state in which a significant percentage of its citizens live in fear of persecution by armed agents of the government at the local, state and federal level.
The trend by police to shoot dogs that are pets is probably the most visible and in many ways disturbing illustrations of police as the enemy of the people. I can think of few actions that would warp the soul of a child than to have a police officer kill their dog for no reason, but it seems to happen with astonishing regularity. I can only hope that something like that never happens with my family.
Of course, shooting someone to death under cover of a law enforcement badge for basically nothing is also problematic, but it also seems to happen with a frequency that should have Americans taking to the streets. But of course, the Salon article today excerpting a large section of Radley Balko’s new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces. From SWAT raids on private poker games (in states running multi-million dollar lotteries) to planned undercover actions against political protests, to full-scale police assaults of the homes of suspected child pornographers, Balko covers the many ways that law enforcement now uses often deadly force in its daily course of business, and the courts that regularly excuse and support America’s war on its own citizens.
None of this is terribly surprising; Americans live in inherent fear of their governments because they know that the Bill of Rights has become all but meaningless in the real world, and when it is invoked, in court, it is only the privileged who can afford to purchase its protections. The cover story of our nation is that we are the land of the free, a beacon democracy for the rest of the world, but we need to realize the extent to which the cover story is used as a pretext by the government to keep its boot placed firmly on the neck of its own citizens. As a red blooded American who truly loves his country (and the people in it) it is not pleasant to see the Matrix hood pulled over our heads with such impunity. Hopefully one day we will feel free enough to take to the streets the way citizens are in Egypt!
On the other hand, I am probably like most middle-aged Americans with a family to support in that I dearly want to support law enforcement without having to worry about any of this. I also realize that seeing these cases of abuse of power in the aggregate makes it seem as if they happen every day. They do not happen every day, but neither are they the rare incidents that police departments around the country claim them to be when it is their SWAT team that shreds the Fourth Amendment, albeit with the court’s blessing. It is worse than a shame when law enforcement abuse forces regular people likee me to make choices they do not want, and should never have to make.
I also cannot help but be struck by the fact that, as documented by Balko, some law enforcement agencies are now saying that their warrantless raids are actually “administrative searches,” while in the 2257 case the government is saying the law’s actual warrantless searches are nothing to be concerned about. Trust us, they tell us; we know the difference between a military style home invasion and a gentlemanly look at your business records. They may know, but the problem is that all too frequently, they do not care.
The LAPD just shot a pet dead the other day, It was all caught on camera. My question is, why doesn‘t Los Angeles media hold the individal officers accountable for their wanton use of dealy force; do profiles on them, go to their homes, interview their spouses and kids, make them public figures for having made the decision to shoot people’s pets with impunity. Why not make these officers (and their superiors) individually accountable for their actions? What are they going to do, arrest the reporters and their editors, and shoot their dogs?
On second thought…