Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Revenge of Barney Fife.

We Americans love our cops. From Adam 12 to The X-Files, Marshal Dillon to Rick Deckard, law enforcement officers are part of the warp and woof of American cultural life. Most of us have grown up cheering their fictionalized exploits, and yet... well, can we all agree that policing in America is undergoing a tremendous public image crisis these days?

A man tells reporters that "My friend's dead. I'm shot up. We need justice," and the people he needs justice from are those sworn to uphold it in the first place. The police force of a major city is thrown into a frenzy of backing-and-filling after a hurried, botched raid leaves an elderly woman dead, and thanks to the irregularities already obvious in the case, it seems easy to believe that the teeny baggies of marijuana they hold up as justification just might be yet another fabrication. Elsewhere, questions linger over another SWAT shooting, this one in Fairfax, VA.

This is a republic we live in. We have crafted the laws we've asked these men and women to uphold. When their jobs grew more dangerous and "the opposition" got tougher, we've responded by giving them more and better tools, both physical and legislative, to help them undertake the task. But then it happens: At some point you see those tools misused. "The opposition" turns out to be us, or someone very like us, and we wonder if maybe we haven't created something of a Frankenstein's monster.

On the one hand, law enforcement has become trivialized to the point that we're watching LaToya Jackson get sworn in as a police officer so we can see washed up celebrities participating in a Bizarro-World mirror-image of COPS. On the other hand, its gotten so serious that a typical law-enforcement trade show has more sniper rifles, armored cars, and breaching charges than downtown Fallujah on a Saturday night. At some point the electorate is going to wonder, "Is this all worth it?" and I expect the backlash could be as severe as the enthusiasm that created the modern law enforcement culture in the first place.

We need to seriously re-evaluate what it is we want police to do, because the current setup is not working. If you want cops to sniff out every meth lab, bust every drunk driver, arrest every teenage marijuana seller, round up every prostitute, and ticket everyone not wearing a seatbelt, you're going to wind up with, not a police force, but an army of occupation. What I fear is that, rather than re-examining the task list we've handed police, we're going to focus on the tools and the tactics, and that's going in the entirely wrong direction. Now, Deputy Johnson down in Possumbelly County, Georgia may be a fine human being and a pillar of the community. He may drive drunken teenagers home from parties and visit shut-in little old ladies, but it's not going to help him one whit when lawmakers in Atlanta react to the backlash and leave him patrolling his rural beat with one bullet in his shirt pocket.

I don't care if Johnny Law has a scary looking assault rifle. Heck, I have one, so why shouldn't he? What I worry about is writing him a job description that makes it necessary to use the thing so much. We need to seriously re-think what constitutes an acceptable reason to send a policeman crashing through a door, rather than send him crashing through that door armed only with a nightstick and a whistle. We need the wisdom of Sheriff Taylor, before we wind up treating our police like Deputy Fife.

30 comments:

B&N said...

Tam,

You're right on here.

I'd much rather have a job description for the cops along the lines of driving someone home if they're impaired versus the Gestapo crap that we see handed out as DUI these days.

I'm not advocating drunken driving here, and to be honest, if there are serious consequences (property damage or personal injury) then someone needs a trip to the pokey and some therapy. But putting people in the clink and setting them down in a courtroom in front of The Man for smoking weed in their own home, or for not passing a field sobriety test, because it's .09 instead of .08 is just silly.

We are slowly walking away from being responsible adults in this world, and all the nannying is really starting to chap my ass.

Anonymous said...

As a lawyer, I very much agree. The police, as a whole, have become a law unto themselves. And when playground thugs and bullies grow up to be cops, you have a problem with your society.

Once an officer has arrested somebody, they're in for a rough time that will end with at least thousands spent on attorney's fees, and they will probably cop a plea to a lesser charge, just to avoid a jury trial and potential incarceration. Let's face it, juries hate criminals, and they're predisposed to finding you guilty before the trial.

If you have thuggish cops, your criminal justice system is going to be overloaded with minor offenses, and that's exactly what we have now, thus creating more of a totalitarian state than what most of us are comfortable with.

Kyle The Opinionated

Matt G said...

Tamara, the problem is little things that build on each other.

Bad shoot discipline.

Us/Them.

Gung-Ho "Get-some!" attitude toward catching bad guys.

The constant attitude of "whatever happens-- I'm going home tonight."

Funny thing-- [ http://maypeacebewithyou.blogspot.com/2006/12/naval-gunfire.html ]I went to Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) this weekend, and it was basically a crash course on tactical response to active shooters. The first half day was all classroom, and while the attitude was "go stop the killer neutralizing him immediately," the attitude was the antithesis of "I'm going home tonight, no matter what."

They laid it out nicely-- the priorities in the situation are: 1. The innocent victims. Get them out at any cost.
2. The officers.
3. The shooter. We really don't care about getting him out alive, so long as we can stop the killing.
4. Property-- Property doesn't matter.

Read that again-- they're training officers (for the first time in my career) to put their lives below all others but the shooters. Finally! I was glad to see it. The room got quiet. I looked around and saw that several others were nodding with me. Good.

This is becoming widespread training, but it's still pretty contrary to the prevalant attitude. Kick ass, but only to save lives.

I agree that we need to work on it. Yes, backlash is coming.

But it is absolutly true that when the crap hits the fan and that's the guy that attacked your loved one, you want the cops to be hard chargers to get him.

We want Andy Taylor 99% of the time, and Genghis Khan with a tac vest the rest of the time. Kinda like the old madonna/whore complex most men want in a wife.

Uh. Maybe a bad analogy.

Matt G said...

"I'd much rather have a job description for the cops along the lines of driving someone home if they're impaired versus the Gestapo crap that we see handed out as DUI these days.

I'm not advocating drunken driving here, and to be honest, if there are serious consequences (property damage or personal injury) then someone needs a trip to the pokey and some therapy. But putting people in the clink and setting them down in a courtroom in front of The Man for smoking weed in their own home, or for not passing a field sobriety test, because it's .09 instead of .08 is just silly.

We are slowly walking away from being responsible adults in this world, and all the nannying is really starting to chap my ass."


B&N, you're part of the problem, I'm sorry to say. Read your last paragraph. I agree that smoking weed in your own home shouldn't be a problem. But if you're over .08 and you're driving, then you're endangering people tha matter to me. Time to wake up in a jail.

That's what personal responsibility means. Nannying is driving people home after they endanger my wife and kids.

Anonymous said...

look at this picture. Disturbing, and a sign of the times:

http://www.cpoy.org/61/winners/C61-01-CookJ-01.jpg

Anonymous said...

Matt, I think you are part of the problem. The .08 is a very arbitrative number and I have seen several studies that show that eating and talking on the phone are more dangerous than the average person with .08 alcohol in their system. Shall we lock up all those people to, they are just as dangerous to the people that matter to you.

The whole bussiness of DUI is just that, a business. 30000 people a year get a DUI in Colorado multiple that by the lawyer fees, increases in insurance and fines for a total of about $50000 and what do you get? A $150 million a year industry. Of course they are gonna promote how "bad" drinking and driving is and in the process turn America into a nation fo "criminals".

Brass

Rabbit said...

To me, it's a good incentive to not drink...not that I ever did much to beging with.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Rabbit said...

damn cats, trying to help me type again..sorry...

Anonymous said...

$50000 should be five thousand and fo is of. I think Rabbit's cats have been visiting.

Brass

phlegmfatale said...

You hit it out of the park with this one, Tam. In Dallas, our police force is used a money-generating department, with "grant" intersections set up randomly to make money from seat-belt non-compliance. Meanwhile, blocks away someone's being raped or robbed. It's ironic. The question is HOW to go about re-vamping a system when its very plinth is so badly fractured?

B&N said...

matt g,

I don't care if you think I'm part of the problem. Deal.

I don't drive if I'm drinking, period. I don't drink more than one beer when I do drink, and that is by choice.

If someone, most anyone has had one beer, they will fail the breathalyzer test. Sorry, but this is no more dangerous than someone driving while tired (sorry to say, I do this a lot), and even if I'm not drousy, I may yawn often, which is, admittedly, not all that safe. The differentiation in the two matters is that we severely criminalize one behaviour and, in only some instances, slap someone's wrist for the other. WAKE UP!

If someone is .09, a cop should just tell the "offender" to get off of the road for a while, or use some judgement on the matter. Escort the guy home if he's close, or just have him park, lock up and offer a ride.

The current thinking is that there is a doctrine to follow, and no room for thinking involved. I have a problem with this, and from the looks of it, there seems to be at least a few who agree.

I am not saying that there shouldn't be penalties for someone who is obviously too drunk to drive. I also don't think someone who is making it a habitual thing should be let off of the hook. There just isn't any sense being exercised any longer, and DUI is just one example of over-the-top adherence to process and protocol.

Sorry, I have to respectfully disagree with what you're saying about this matter matt_g.

Billy Beck said...

Tam -- did you see the photograph of the cop standing over the little kid taking a leak in the bathroom? I first saw it linked from Balko's place.

Your "Sheriff Taylor" reference is extremely illuminating. Could you ever imagine him involved in a scene like that? What's the difference between him and that cop? It's simply this: where it was Sheriff Taylors job to reason to a moral conclusion on his very own authority (as a man first, and a cop afterward), cops today are increasingly simply not permitted to do that. "Training" and "policy" preclude that very thing. The danger in this cannot be overstated.

I'll keep saying it as long as there is anyone left who will pay attention:

We are talking about the mentality that did not hear the sound of its own conscience as it rounded up other human beings and loaded them into cattle-cars at rifle-point.

Now, whether or not the situation in American will ever arrive at that precise strait, there can be no question that that is the direction that things are headed in, and they certainly could. When I combine that prospect with what I see as a manifest fact that the work is attracting all the wrong types for all the wrong reasons (consider the implications of the Latoya Jackson bit as a matter of glorifying everything that's wrong in policing today), I tremble for my country.

I'd like to take up a basic consideration of political theory. You said --

"We have crafted the laws we've asked these men and women to uphold."

I know damned good and well that it's never popular to point this out, but that doesn't matter to the truth of it:

There are any number of people in this country who are not in any way responsible for these laws. It is simply not right to tag them with responsibility for them. The point of this goes to the nature of political organization and how we come to a situation like the one we face now. For one important thing: collective authority, posed in these kinds of terms, always means the complete lapse of responsibility when things go wrong. These are moral decisions made by individual human beings, which is the sole seat of morality. Denial or ignorance of that fact is what's going to make it a Herculean task to correct all this.

The very first step will be to understand the nature and implications of political organizations that come to this.

Yes: I am a rational anarchist.

I have damned good reason, and it's being writ large every day of our lives, now.

Joe said...

Tam has done it again - she's hit the mark that I agree with and has pointed out the same things that I see.

I used to be a regular posting person over at the Lightfighter.com forums. It was a good mix of LEO, civilians, and active-duty military and most anything you could want to know on gear or weapons could be answered quickly. That changed right after Katrina happened. One of the mods on there ( an Alaskan PD of some sort ) thought that it was perfectly fine for LEO's to collect up the weapons to make their job easier... BS! I stopped going over there after that. LEO's roughing up a lady because they considered her nickel-plated S&W a threat to them WAS over the top and unexcusable!

LEO's have a hard job that I never wanted to do as a career and I appreciate them for putting on the uniform everyday and going out there and dealing with the various people of the area. That appreciation stops however when I see the " Us vs Them " mentallity show up, especially on shows like "COPS." Drunk driving/seatbelt checkpoints, no-knock warrants based on information from an informant that isn't checked, and other variations of the above aren't on my favorites lists. What's happening on the War on Drugs and the liberties we've lost isn't something that I enjoy thinking about.

I'm open to any solutions that could be done to fix the problems and still give the cop on the beat a decent chance to go home at the end of the shift...

Joe R.

Ulises from California said...

Lynwood was a nice city, once. Until the time when you & I were both in diapers (I'm old as dirt, too), there were Lynwood PD (California) officers who actually knew my name, where I'm from, who my Mom is, etc. They were free to keep an eye on me & my buddies & we respected them. Fast-forward to today: No more local PD, just a few Sherrif Deputies who barely know their partners, let alone me. Crime's bloomed, safety's gone, & I would really like to NOT visit my old neighborhood anymore for health reasons. How does one fix this?

I live elsewhere today, with my family & see the approach of barbarism. I can only get to know the neighbors & pester my new City Council to remember my neighborhood when allocating police patrols.

Anonymous said...

Crime increases, so police powers increase.

But wait. The latest FBI statistics show a decrease in violent crime since 1991. Wait, they also depict a drop in crimes against the person in states where obtaining a permit to carry a concealed firearm is a matter of "shall issue".

Imagine that for a second. Armed citizens as a mere deterrent to crime, let alone as a social and political force to stop crimes against themselves or those they might be near at the time of said offense.

So far, the Brady Bunch's cries and fears of "blood in the streets" have not come to fruition - unless it is the police doing the shooting, that is.

Imagine.

HollyB said...

I may be wrong her, but I think b&n and Brass are either the same person or their comments are so closely related as to make them seem the same.
And that is to whom I address my comment.
If you will take the time to go read MattG's blog on DWI/DUI, {there's a link on Tam's page} you may have a better understanding of where he's coming from with his attitude on that particular issue.
As for "cops" driving the impaired home...that ain't their JOB. Their job is Public Safety, not runnin' a taxi service. If someone is impaired they should call a friend, a taxi, or if they are lucky enough to live in a city with good public transpo, take a bus, but they should NOT get behind the wheel of a car if they've been partaking of too much of ANY substance, whether it's a legal substance or an illegal substance.
Personally I don't talk on my cell phone when I'm driving, b/c I think that's dangerous. I wish it was illegal, or at least cause for higher ins premiums UNLESS you use an ear bud or other hands-free device.
Is Us/Them mentality counter productive? Yes, it is. And most good cops, like MattG will tell you that, just like he did. But Prickly folks w/ attitude like some of the commenters here help engender that mentality.
Most of the time, in an encounter with the Police, if you are polite and don't have an attitude, neither will the Officer. Try it sometime.
I agree with Tam in that Departments across the country need to reassess their use of SWAT/TAC teams. They have a place, but I too feel they are often overused.
And if you don't like the "Pot" laws, VOTE, and keep voting and organize and write your congress critters relentlessly. If there are enough of you out there, you really can change things.
But until the law changes, don't blame the police for enforcing the law. That's their JOB!

straightarrow said...

Well I want to talk about DUI. As we all know alcohol is "involved" in 41% of all traffic fatalities.

That is from the latest stats I have seen on the subject which by now are two years out of date. I suspect though, since I just read that DWI arrests are at a record low, they will suffice for the point I make.

In the interest of ease of handling let's round 41% to 40%, a perfectly appropriate mathematical exercise. Ok, got it now?

Forty per cent of all traffic fatalities involve alcohol. Involve, is the operative word here. All that means is somebody was in the accident was drinking. Not necessarily the drivers, and not necessarily the driver that caused the accident. So we can assume that something less than 40% of the fatal accidents were caused by the drinking drivers.

Now, no matter how one looks at this that is terrible. That is a lot of death for no really good reason. No one can argue that it is a good thing.

However, let's do a little more math. Forty will divide into sixty (the percentage of fatal accidents in which alcohol was not involved) 1 and 1/2 times or at a rate of 150%. Ergo, sober drivers are killing people in traffic accidents at a rate of 150% or better (remember fault doesn't always realistically go to the drinking driver, even if he is blamed legally).

Since we have, as a society, become so draconian in our treatment of drinking drivers, should we not be even harsher with those that kill at a half again the rate of the drinker?

In other words, shouldn't we jail or execute anyone irresponsible enough to drive sober?

Or are we all now going to be angry that someone has pointed out the fallacy of our emotional responses that have actually made the problems worse. For instance any drunk worth his salt, knows he is better off to try to drive home, than to sleep it off in the car. Or have we forgotten the Actual Physical Control laws? The public drunk laws if he trys to walk home instead of drive? And of course the "implied consent laws" which are known in court as a legal fiction, but awarded full respect as though it were a contract. Everywhere else we call such a lie.

I don't personally care how sober you are if you kill one of mine. Or how drunk. Time to grow up.

All this crap is just so we can emotionally convince ourselves of our moral superiority. That is why what we do no longer matters and we use all these subterfuges to explain it or condemn it.

Anonymous said...

Working to revise law? Reform the police? Oh please. And don't try and make me watch while you piss into the wind. Its embarrassing.

We are far past that event horizon. Our system has grown so complex that the only actions which have traction are activities to make it MORE complex. (MADD, IRS, Traffic cams, et, et) Its not going to get simpler. There is no payoff for any politician or bureaucrat or Gov employee or advocacy group to do otherwise. Even the Republicans gave up on small government, it cost them an election and do you see THEM "reforming"?
Nope, you only hear crickets.
Most of human history is NOT remarkable for its individual rights and liberties. American Thought may be a moment that has come and gone. We were lucky to get to see even a bit of it.

Twycross said...

straightarrow: I would point out that your fatality probabilities are only correct if the number of drunk drivers is the same as the number of sober drivers.

straightarrow said...

Twycross in all the years I have used this argument, you are the first to see the flaw in it. However, I would point out that the authorities say for everyone they catch two or more get away. So the numbers may be similar. Bear in mind there are a Hell of a lot of DUI arrests.

My real point is that you can penalize behavior, but only in a non-free society can you penalize
potential behavior or potential harm.

Twycross, I don't know about you, but I have a penis. Now, that seems a nonsequitir, but it isn't. I would be really upset if I was arrested because I might commit a rape. All the potential is there, but until harm is done, a free society must allow as how I most probably won't. Then hammer Hell out of me if I do.

If you have one, why should you not be arrested passing a schoolyard. Who can tell when potential will become fact? No one. So, why not? If we can punish potential behavior in one case, why not the other?

Because we are cowards, unwilling to chance life and its risks as long as we can believe that the restrictions we are for apply to "those other people". Changes though, when you see how it can be used against you.

Do you have a cell phone? You could be using it to sell dope on the move. The potential is there.

Or how about we talk about legitimate sex between consenting adults where no laws of any kind are broken. I think you will agree that more people have died in the last 25 years from AIDS and other STD's than all the crime (not counting gov't crimes and genocide and war) and traffic accidents in history. Why should we not license that? Why should we not have random genital inspections? Why should you or I or anyone not be charged with attempted murder, just in case we have passed on something that may not have manifested itself yet in us.

I know this all sounds ridiculous, but try to think what the country was like half a century ago. What we have now seemed even more ridiculous than what I have posted. Because what I have posted is just a projection of current practices unless we change our attitudes about liberty. I will trade the security of slavery for the risk of freedom, but them I am a smallest minority.

Todd said...

Nice, Tam. The "War on Drugs" is damaging this country much more than the drugs themselves ever will.

Matt G said...

http://maypeacebewithyou.blogspot.com/2006/12/dwi_10.html

It's true. I do write about DWI/DUI. I think there are too many people dying or being hurt, who could very easily not be, if the drivers made the choice to act responsibly. That's not the Nanny Government employee talking-- that's the Protect & Serve guy, and the Daddy talking. I live in this community, too.

Anonymous, I don't make a dime off of a DWI. What I get is more paperwork, an incredibly higher chance of having to go to court (criminal & civil, mind you), and more time in the company of a drunk. Trust me-- it's WAY easier to give them a ride home. It's WAY easier to call someone to come get them. Have I done it? Sure. On occasion.

Why?

Well, usually, it was because the guy was on the grey edge, and while I felt that he was technically over the limit, I didn't feel taht I could swear out a PC Affidavit that he was clearly out of the control of his facilties. But yeah, if I'd pulled out an Intoxylizer 5000 and a registered operator on the side of the road, or drawn his blood, it would have shown him over.

In such instances, I still don't drive them home, even when it's 2 blocks away. I whip out the cell phone, and make them call someone. They get to do what they should have done before they began driving. They call for a ride and a sober driver to take their car home.

It's embarrassing, and I've had more than one guy tell me that he'd rather go to jail. When they start to consider that they're going to have to call someone ANYWAY to help them make bail, they usually go ahead and make the call.

Vicious? Well, damn. I guess that I'm not making any friends today. But let me tell you-- I'm NOT letting a questionable person behind the wheel again. "Again?" you ask? Yes. I did it once as a rookie cop whose Lt hated DWI arrests (because, quite frankly, he was a drunk himself), and I followed them home. By the time we got there, it was evident to me that I had made potentially the biggest mistake of my career; they were on their way UP, you see, and were all over the road by the time we got there. I had thought that I was being Andy Taylor, but in fact I was something far less wise.

Sometimes, to be a bear, we have to be a grizzley.

As for drugs, I'm kind of a redneck liberal. If you're not actively messing up someone elses schtick, I'm not very interested. Most of the personal weed that I've ever found ended up poured out into the nearest bar ditch-- it's amazing that there's not hemp growing there now.

But if you're smoking weed and driving, you get busted.

I recall one 8 month pregnant woman that was shocked that she still had a useable amount left in her pipe and bag-- she thought that she had smoked the whole lid the night before. I'm afraid that I nicked her for the weed, as I didn't really have a means to get her for what she had done to the completely viable fetus/future child.

I guess that I'm not much of a cop. I train for the gravest extreme, meaning I practice shooting, and I carry so much intermediate weaponry on me that even my 40" duty belt is getting too crowded. But I've only hit ONE person in 6 years in law enforcement, and he had just slugged me in the head. I gave him one quick jab to the ribs, and that was it.

I've never Tasered, batoned, or pepper-sprayed anyone. I don't wear fingerless leather gloves (ever). I keep a good 870 shotgun in the rack and am about to field an M4 patrol rifle, but don't plan to use them.

I've never kicked in a door.

I've never been on scene during a No-Knock warrant service. (Believe it or not-- they're kind of rare.)

I've written a lot of PC's for warrants, but never sought a phone tap, even though in the small agencies I've worked for, we work our own cases.


I'm not Andy Taylor, probably, but he and Matt Dillon come a lot higher on my list of heros then, say, The Rock or Steven Seagal, or whoever is the flavor-of-the-month arsekicker.

I don't personally think that the way to handle has changed a great deal since Mayberry, but I do admit that we consider different aspects. Back in Andy's time, the Sheriff would tell ol' Ed off down the road to lay of the sauce and quit beatin' on his wife so, and then would drive off with no one in custody. If you could find your car and your keys, you were good enough to drive. And of course black folk weren't allowed around the streets of Mayberry at night-- they had to be out of the city limits by sundown. Ah, the good old days, huh?

I'm not knocking them-- I'm just saying that there's more to it all than meets the eye, and that there's a few of us who work middlin' hard at keeping the peace, peacefully.

Back to our regularly-scheduled Blog. (Sorry for the hijack!)

--Matt G

Noah D said...

Tam -- did you see the photograph of the cop standing over the little kid taking a leak in the bathroom?

I'm not sure what anyone else sees there, but I see a man, possibly a parent, helping a little boy do something necessary in what's got to be a terrifying situation.

That's not police thuggery or 'third-world despotism', that's a moment of human kindness.

If you check the follow-up on Balko's site, you'll find that's what the photographer thought, too.

Billy Beck said...

"That's not police thuggery or 'third-world despotism', that's a moment of human kindness."

Bullshit. When you deal with a kid like that, you put down your weapon and take off your mask and helmet to impress him as a human.

No sale.

Tam said...

Point to Mr. Beck.

Billy Beck said...

"A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child."

That person didn't qualify.

Matt G said...

I simply saw it as an officer on an unknown raid watching to make sure that nothing got flushed. Sadly, some parents or guardians do have their kids hold the stash and tell them to flush it if the fuzz arrive.

Whether this is good or bad, is up to the citizen taxpayer. For whatever reason, this nation put up a War On Drugs in the 1980s, and our two parties both raced each other to create bigger and bigger penalties for mere possession. (Don't want to look like your soft on crime...)

So we've got real-live felonies for possessing the analogue of a substance made from Sudafed, that is cheaper and easier to make than aspirin, and which appeals to working class folk who work 2 jobs and want to have the pep.

Are the techniques often bad? Are the attitudes over the top? Probably. But put an on-going felony out there and tell the cops to enforce the law, and eventually, some cops are going to get a bit gung ho.

Billy Beck said...

"But put an on-going felony out there and tell the cops to enforce the law, and eventually, some cops are going to get a bit gung ho."

(Yawn) More Nuremberg Defense. "They're only doing their jobs."

Look: does there ever come a point when what's right is more important than the law? Does that ever happen in your ethics and politics?

Matt G said...

Billy Beck said: (Yawn) More Nuremberg Defense. "They're only doing their jobs."

Look: does there ever come a point when what's right is more important than the law? Does that ever happen in your ethics and politics?



Gosh, I don't know-- what's right? Is it what you say?

Is it what I say?

Is it what the majority of society says?

Shouldn't you be on safe ground to just follow the law?

But what if the law is wrong?

What if the law oompelling the officer to act is wrong, but you had the means to assist in changing it and did nothing? You have the means, but no mandate. He has the mandate, but no means.


Why does this feel like an excercise from the freshman year of ethics in philosophy at U.T. Austin?

Mr. Hobbes? Paging Mr. Hobbes?

Billy Beck said...

"Mr. Hobbes? Paging Mr. Hobbes?"

That figures, entirely.