Recommended Reads for a Nice Sunday Morning

Some excellent perspective on the crisis du jour. Here’s Claire at JPFO with “Oh, the Things We Choose Not to See

Small Missouri police forces — who reportedly “couldn’t afford” cameras on their uniforms and couldn’t get around to installing dashcams on their patrol cars so we could see what actually happened on that fatal Saturday night — confronted peaceful protestors from atop military vehicles, outfitted in gear familiar from Iraq and Afghanistan. They threatened harmless people with the type of weapons that would give Dianne Feinstein knots in her knickers if you or I owned them. They acted not like officers trying to protect and serve their community, but like an occupying army facing its enemy.

Well, cops in many places have behaved like this. Some big cities have long been notorious for it. But that all this was happening in a minor suburb made people sit up and take notice. Williamson called them, “ridiculously militarized suburban police dressed up like characters from Starship Troopers and pointing rifles at people from atop armored vehicles, i.e. the worst sort of mall ninjas.”

Along precisely the same lines, Radley Balko posts a long but thought provoking article in WaPo titledAfter Ferguson, how should police respond to protests? It’s a lengthy meditation on the differences between cooperative and confrontational policing, both in function and in results. I mean, it’s not as though this is all new and nobody knows what actually works…

Wilson believed that an intimidating police presence didn’t prevent confrontation, it invited it. That didn’t mean he didn’t prepare, but he put his riot control teams in buses, then parked the buses close by, but out of sight of protesters. Appearances were important. In general, instead of the usual brute force and reactionary policing that tended to pit cops against citizens—both criminal and otherwise—Wilson believed that cops were more effective when they were welcomed and respected in the neighborhoods they patrolled. “The use of violence,” he told Time in 1970, “is not the job of police officers.”

Elsewhere in the article Balko touches on the very first thing that crossed my mind when I first started seeing images of the police response to the Ferguson riots…ferguson_police_riot_gear_ap_img_0“This is so amazingly stupid. Why does the screenwriter of a bad scifi movie always make the baddies’ minions faceless and identical? It’s because he knows they’re going to be mowed down like wheat in the third act, and he doesn’t want the audience identifying with them.” Really, even if you truly believe all the weapons are necessary, this is bad costuming unless you just want confrontation.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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19 Responses to Recommended Reads for a Nice Sunday Morning

  1. MamaLiberty says:

    Indeed, and the answers are pretty simple. End all prohibition, end any and all “immunity” from consequences of aggressive, criminal behavior by police, or anyone else. End the theft of taxes and regulations that create the anger, poverty and displacement of people all over the country.

    That would pretty much do the job, I think. But it would require most everyone to realize that control of their lives belongs in their own hands, and that control of other people’s lives is not their business or prerogative.

    Too many people with a vested interest, let alone firm conviction in the status quo. They have no interest in a simple answer like this.

  2. MJR says:

    Police are a necessary evil for who will protect the rights and property of those who cannot? A good place to start with issues of policing is with the principals of policing laid down almost 200 years ago by Sir Robert Peel. Foremost, all power that the police have comes from the common consent of the populace and this is something that Police seem to have forgotten.

  3. Joel says:

    Indeed, as addressed here several years ago.

  4. MJR says:

    Hey Joel… Great minds etc., etc. ;^)

  5. MamaLiberty says:

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    C. S. Lewis

    “Police,” even with the very best of intentions, are incompatible with individual sovereignty.

  6. Kentucky says:

    Fred Reed has the usual interesting take, sure to offend many.

    Works for me, though.

  7. MJR says:

    Mama Liberty let me say that I respect you and your opinions and I agree you you on the accountability issue. I guess that I am lucky for up here in Canada the police are held to a higher standard.

    As for the C.S. Lewis quote, let’s also remember that he wrote “The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There’s not one of them which won’t make us into devils if we set it up as an absolute guide.”

    It is when the police become excessively proactive coupled with seeing things only in a myopic way that leads to trouble. The issues that are faced in Missouri are simply “Broken Window Theory” run amuck. I could not agree more the police need to be held to account for their actions.


    In 2011 according to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics more than 5.8 million violent victimizations and 17.1 million property victimizations took place in the United States.That raises the question, who will stand up and ensure that crimimals will be held to account when the victims can’t?

  8. MamaLiberty says:

    “That raises the question, who will stand up and ensure that crimimals will be held to account when the victims can’t?”

    First, most of us truly CAN defend ourselves if we need to do so, and have the tools. Our families, friends, neighbors and voluntary associations should have no problem with mutual defense, especially of those incapable of self defense. They might even wish to hire armed guards or others, of course. A very large reason for the criminal predation today is the fact that most people are not prepared and don’t have the tools to defend themselves. They’ve been sold a bill of goods in the past, that the police can and will defend them, but we know now that is a fraud and a lie. The police have no legal obligation to do so, even if they actually had the ability… which they do not.

    The problem is the coercive, non voluntary nature of the current “police” set up, paid for with stolen goods. There is almost no way I can imagine to then “hold them to higher standards.” What standards? Who decides?

    The only way police or anyone can be held accountable is not to give them such power to start with. Any time some people are given power over other people against their will, tyranny is the inevitable result. And Canadians are not exempt from that, of course.

  9. MJR says:

    Hey MamaLiberty… Well said! The way the police act at all levels in your once fine country is the main reason that I will not cross the border. As for the police up here in the Great White North, they are pretty much held in check. Yes there are instances of police overstepping their authority however the transgressions are nowhere near what happens in the States. I guess that could be chalked up to the Canadian attitude about law and order coupled with the fact that police training is a lot better up here too. Up here when the cops are found out the transgressions are stopped pretty quick not laughed off by those in power in the US of A.

  10. MamaLiberty says:

    I’m glad for you, MJR, if that’s what you choose… and I’m sure you are perfectly happy to “contribute” all that tax money to continue it. Problem is, there is little option for those of us who don’t want any of that and would rather live our own lives and not have our productivity stolen.

  11. MJR says:

    MamaLiberty don’t believe everything you read about the Great White North being a socialist over taxed place. Just in the last three years without healthcare the costs for my kidney stone operation (too big to pass) plus knee and cataract surgery (I turned 60 and the warranty has run out) that I had done in addition to the fact that I am a diabetic would have forced me to sell my home. While the thought of not paying for the services you get is nice, one of the things that you should write down is that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. The lack of understand in the States about TANSTAAFL is a major cause for the trouble that you guys are in.

  12. MamaLiberty says:

    That’s rich, MJR. Your health care was paid for completely by funds stolen from all your neighbors and you think that’s an example of “no free lunch?” Yes indeed, the “free lunch” brigade here is a big source of our problems, but that’s not going to be solved by more theft and more people living off other people’s money.

    The answer is personal responsibility, win or lose, and the completely free market. No guarantees of success, life or much of anything else. You can’t have freedom AND “safety nets” at the expense of others. They are mutually exclusive. What you can have is freedom, as much as you are willing to dare, with mutual cooperation and voluntary charity. Not nearly as easy as just robbing everyone at the tax office, but moral and sustainable.

  13. MJR says:

    First the medical stuff was paid for from my tax dollars that are collected from me out of my paycheque. Healthcare is part of the services I pay for. Second MamaLiberty you still haven’t answered my question. I understand that most folks can look after themselves but… Who looks out for those unable to do so?

    Boy I wish my world was as simple and black and white as yours is.

    I just finished rereading the posts on this thread. I see that I have broken one of my own rules… Never argue with a non-religious fundamentalist whose philosophy, which they see as literal-minded, carries the pretense of being the sole source of objective truth.

  14. MamaLiberty says:

    I see… your religion justifies theft and coercion. Got it. Carry on. :(

  15. MJR says:

    MamaLiberty you still haven’t answered the question and I suspect that you never will.

    As for my religion, I see you didn’t read what I wrote but given the state of education in the US of A that’s understandable. I was referring to your stance as that of a zealot, no better or worse that any other zealot found anywhere else in the world.

    While I don’t like paying taxes I do recognize that they are a necessary evil. It’s that TANSTAAFL thing. I suspect that you put more work into avoiding paying your fair share than I do earning a living.

  16. MamaLiberty says:

    Nice try, but no cigar. I worked my ass off as a registered nurse for 30 years. I paid all of the taxes, at GUNPOINT, like everyone else. I retired and live on my savings and what little I can earn… long story not your business. There isn’t any “fair share” of theft, murder and tyranny, thank you, and I want no part of either end of that.

    I don’t recognize tax theft as any kind of “necessary.” TANSTAAFL means that each person, family, community, etc. are responsible for themselves and must live without theft and coercion. I laugh when you use the term. Collectivists just never understand it.

    Theft and coercion are not in any way “necessary” to provide for ourselves, our families or the truly poor among us. Theft and coercion are not in any way necessary for peace and prosperity, and are, in fact, mortal enemies to both. The path to peace and prosperity is non-aggression, voluntary association and cooperation, mutual respect and defense of the helpless – voluntarily. Charity cannot be forced, or produced by threats.

    Democracy is the insane idea that we are all too stupid and evil to control our own lives, but are somehow smart and good enough to “choose” others among us to do it for us. Makes absolutely no sense at all… unless you are one of those who thinks you qualify to control other people.

    My only “fanaticism” is dedication to the principle of non-aggression, and doing whatever I can to stop others from aggressing against me and those near me.

    If that doesn’t answer your question… I’m sorry. You are obviously not willing to accept any answer but the one you want – and I can’t help you there.

  17. PJ says:

    “Police are a necessary evil for who will protect the rights and property of those who cannot?”

    Well, that is patently false. This country got on fine through the whole colonial period, and for decades thereafter, without police. Police are an unnecessary evil.

    By the way, all this talk about Peel’s 9 Principles, keep in mind those were used in order to sell people on the idea of policing. Once established, there is little incentive among cops to follow them. We shouldn’t be surprised that cops are the violent thugs they often are. Anyway policing is inherently opposed to liberty.

    “Boy I wish my world was as simple and black and white as yours is.”

    Actually, the world is quite simple, at least philosophically. What is wrong for an individual does not become right when a mob does it. Collecting taxes is no more justified than you going over to your neighbor’s house with a gun, demanding they pay for your operation. In a free world, unfortunates will be taken care of – there is this thing called “charity”. A lot of people think charity can’t work, but even now with government trampling all alternatives, there is still a lot of charity out there. It would multiply if government stopped “helping” us.

    Look at the condition of “blacks” in this country. They were doing fine until government decided to “help” them. It’s a terrible thing to be “helped” by government, as it saps all one’s initiative and self-respect.

    “Government can only do two things: It can beat people up and kill them. Or it can threaten to do so. When it seems to be doing something else – for example, handing out money or, say, surplus cheese – what’s actually going on is that something has been taken away from one set of individuals by deadly force or the threat of deadly force, a hefty middleman’s fee deducted, and whatever is left thrown to peasants delighted to receive stolen goods.”
    — L. Neil Smith

  18. Joel says:

    Look at the condition of “blacks” in this country. They were doing fine until government decided to “help” them. It’s a terrible thing to be “helped” by government, as it saps all one’s initiative and self-respect.

    Let’s keep it real here, folks. I grew up in Detroit AND the deep south, both strictly segregated when I was a kid, and in my experience ‘Blacks were doing fine until…’ is not an accurate statement. If Johnson & Co. had contented themselves with breaking up the Jim Crow laws and really evened the playing field, we might be singing their praises now.

  19. MamaLiberty says:

    Some people have always had problems with other people, and the blacks in the Jim Crow era are no exception. I fail to see how the police were of any assistance to them, however… :) Far as I can remember, the police were the major enforcers of that “law.” The police have never been a benefit to any but the ruling class in the long run. And Detroit is a sterling example of that, for sure.

To the stake with the heretic!