2014-12-07 – The Tea Party has a point about the risks of big government. But somehow I’m a little less worried about the Affordable Care Act than I am about THE COPS.
Before I go on, I want to say that I have huge respect for most cops, it’s the same as with teachers. The folks on the front line are mostly doing a difficult job with little thanks. But they’re in corrupt systems. Some fight the corruption, but some join it. For every Andy Griffith, there’s a Bull Connor. (If you were around in 1963, you know what I mean.)
In the last few weeks we’ve been inundated with stories about cops getting away with murder. And the stories—from Ferguson, from Cleveland, from New York—are the tip of the iceberg. It is a plague on the African-American community and it is a plague on us all. Police departments are required under federal law to report when members of their forces kill civilians, but they don’t. Folks who try to compile statistics on these killings estimate that this occurs over 400 times a year in this country. And no one is ever charged. One African-American told the father of a white man who lost his son this way, “If they can shoot a white boy like a dog, imagine what we’ve been going through.”
Cops are cleared when they shoot unarmed civilians. But if you are ever arrested for a crime you haven’t done, your chances of getting cleared, like these cops are cleared, is next to zero. The vast majority of cases never go to a trial before a jury. You just have to work out a deal with a bureaucratic prosecutor. And the deal almost always is a guilty plea. Innocent people have little choice but to plead guilty.
The fifth amendment to the Constitution says that we should not be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Clearly, citizens are being deprived of life and liberty. What about property?
Well property is in jeopardy from the cops as well. It seems that civil forfeiture laws allow police to seize property for pretty much any reason—and there is little legal recourse if it happens to you. If you are ever stopped by the cops and they ask you if you are carrying any large amount of money, you are being cased for a legal robbery. They will take the money and you are just out of luck. And the proceeds of these civil forfeitures go directly to the police departments who seize the cash.
It’s a little disturbing.
It’s a lot disturbing.
Somehow, I am more afraid that the government might kill me or throw me in jail or steal my property than I am afraid that it might force me to buy health insurance.
The folks who are most against big government, who have been beating the drum to reduce taxes, talk about “starving the beast.”
Apparently the beast doesn’t like to starve. So now, instead of fairly collecting taxes, we have seizure laws and penalties. Don’t think that these things happen to other people. In Chicago we pay outrageous parking fees. Cameras catch us if we mistime a red light by a mere second or two. And if you don’t comply, a cop can seize your money or kill you with impunity.
The beast has turned into a predator.
But not all of them..