Sunil Dutta Tells It Like It Is About American Policing

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175 Responses

  1. Mu says:

    I love it how the guy exchanged one job where you rank superior over the peons (cop) with another with the same rank structure (college professor) and the same build-in presumed authority.

  2. Kevin says:

    Next week on the Washington Post's op-ed page: a guest editorial by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi titled "I'm a Caliph. If you don't want to get hurt, submit to Sharia law", followed by "I'm a rapist. If you don't want to get hurt, don't struggle."

  3. Fatwa Arbuckle says:

    When an armed, badged union goon violates your rights, just snort the nice officer's taint, m'kay?

    Because the exact same system which allows him to screw with you in the first place – with nigh utter impunity and immunity – will retroactively un-violate your rights, heal your injuries and/or bring you back to life. Pinky swear.

  4. sorrykb says:

    I read the article. Then I read it again, thinking it had to be some sort of masterful trolling and I was just missing the subtle clues. Perhaps I still am.

    If not, I have one thing to say to LAPD officer and professor of homeland security Sunil Dutta (and I say this as a resident of the city of Los Angeles):

    You work for us, not the other way around.

    At least, that's how it's supposed to be.

    P.S. A few more articles like this, and I'm going to go full Clark

  5. ShelbyC says:

    Gotta love the Washingtonian headline: "Cop Writes Washington Post Op-Ed Defending Police Brutality"

  6. Al says:

    I wanted to comment on the article but it already had thousands of comments and I did not want to set up a profile on their site. But yes his reasoning is horrific. I wish I could upvote Kevin's "I'm a rapist. If you don't want to get hurt, don't struggle." comment. Just make it "how hard is it to just comply for a few minutes."

  7. RThomas says:

    Should I click my heels together and give you a nice hearty "Jawohl!" as well, Officer?

  8. Kevin says:

    @Al

    Just make it "how hard is it to just comply for a few minutes."

    Right? I mean you can always just sue me afterwards if you're still butthurt about it.

  9. philosopherva says:

    just some excerpts, you know, from that document —

    "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. . .
    a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world….

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
    For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

    Of course, there are no absolute parallels in history; context and setting are all important. None the less, reading the founding charter of our nation should at least confront us with questions which need to be answered, which should elicit from us more than a disinterested yawn.

  10. BLCKDGRD says:

    "This is either blissfully naive or breathtakingly dishonest."

    Death to the Either/Or! It's *all* too possible it could be both.

  11. Alicia McDonald says:

    So, when any of you are in the situation these officers are in, then you can talk. Why should they have to put up with some dumbass's mouth? If you aren't doing anything wrong, you shouldn't be concerned. It's always lowlife scum who bitch the loudest about being stopped. How do I know this? I worked in the court system for years and if you believed the defendant's, nobody was ever guilty of anything. HA!

  12. Grandy says:

    I see where the byline lists him as a professor of homeland security at Colorado Tech University.

  13. Votre says:

    Did this guy grow up here?
    Because his attitude is clueless to the point of bordering on unAmerican.

    Still, I guess we owe him for so publicly outing what seems to be driving police thinking in many places. I wonder how many impressionable badge toting minds took a course from this guy?

  14. ElSuerte says:

    "Note how Dutta unsubtly conflates genuinely dangerous things — like threatening to set off a gas bomb — with curses, "tantrums," and "outright challenges to my authority." This sleight-of-hand miscategorization "

    I think this is a pretty uncharitable interpretation of that paragraph. He was just using a vibrant anecdote to illustrate a non-violent incident. It would have been less interesting if had used a story about calming down obstreperous jerk. You probably should have quoted from the sixth paragraph too for context. I'm slightly on the libertarian side of the line on these issues, but I really don't understand the insistence on being a belligerent asshole to cops.

    "Would we accept "if you don't want to get shot, just do what the EPA regulator tells you"? Would we yield to "if you don't want your kid tased, do what the Deputy Superintendent of Education tells you"?"

    *Cough*
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/11/epa-facing-fire-armed-raid-alaska-mine/?page=all
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/post/education-department-swat-team-raids-california-home/2011/06/08/AGUxlKMH_blog.html

  15. Zem says:

    America built the castle this man lives in. Time to follow Clark and tear it down.

  16. Matthew Cline says:

    @Alicia McDonald :

    Why should they have to put up with some dumbass's mouth?

    Because a dumbass mouthing off isn't illegal?

  17. philosopherva says:

    @Alicia McDonald

    If you aren't doing anything wrong, you shouldn't be concerned

    .
    See https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/05/the_value_of_pr.html

    It's always lowlife scum who bitch the loudest about being stopped. How do I know this? I worked in the court system for years and if you believed the defendant's, nobody was ever guilty of anything. HA!

    According to the state, we are all guilty of something. It is simply what they choose to prosecute us for at any given time. Their choice.

  18. John says:

    I really enjoy reading Ken's columns on this site and I often learn a great deal. Like the author of the Op-Ed I was a local cop for many years before finding another job.

    A few observations:

    1. Yes, the professor comes across as a bit obtuse, but I think he makes a valid point. Being a police officer is a dangerous job whether he provides statistics on it or not. Police work can go from boring and mundane to extremely dangerous very quickly. Particularly, patrol officers do not know who they will encounter and assume the worst to prevent from getting hurt. It is much easier for an officer to start off with a heightened sense of safety and ease up as he has a better understanding of the situation than begin assuming the person he/she is dealing with has no desire to hurt anyone.
    2. Overtime officers develop an Us vs. Them mentality. This is just my observation, but going to call after call and dealing with difficult situations creates a distorted sense of reality in many officers. Few people call the police to talk about sports, local politics, or to offer words of encouragement. Police officers become involved in situations where citizens need help solving the problem and when people are often displaying their worst behavior. Many of the people have drug and/or mental problems. Overtime officers become callus and develop a distorted view of the world and the unusual segment of society they see becomes how they view most people.

    I'm not saying the shooting was justified or that reform would not benefit many police departments. I think there is a larger problem in that most communities have unrealistic expectations of their police department. I have seen many posts on why you should never talk to the police or assist the police in a criminal investigation. It is very difficult for the police to enforce the laws of society without the involvement of the community. The idea that it is only the responsibility of the police to maintain order is unrealistic and further alienates the police from the community.

  19. Scote says:

    "Note how Dutta unsubtly conflates genuinely dangerous things — like threatening to set off a gas bomb — with curses, "tantrums," and "outright challenges to my authority."

    Misleading compound statements and questions are how cops are trained to trick people into agreeing to give up their rights, such as "You don't mind if I search your bag, you are against terrorism, right?" His misleading essay is a classic example of how to justify the abuse of authority, and how people should lie down and take it.

    Not everything he says in his essay is terrible, but there is enough terrible to taint the rest.

  20. ShelbyC says:

    "Why should they have to put up with some dumbass's mouth?"

    Because putting up with dumbasses without beating them with sticks is part of being an adult?

  21. Dan from HR says:

    "So, when any of you are in the situation these officers are in, then you can talk."

    Except for that whole thing where they fully consent to being an officer and all of the risks it entails. I'm an aide in an autistic classroom and if a kid curses at me or tries to hit me, I don't beat the shit out of them with impunity because they dared challenge my authority.

    "Why should they have to put up with some dumbass's mouth?"

    Please tell me you realize how obtuse this statement is. Somebody said something mean to me so I'm going maim or kill them!

    "It's always lowlife scum who bitch the loudest about being stopped."

    Well I'm glad you're not in the court system anymore with an attitude like this. So the poor kid from Dayton who got abused by a cop because apparently having a speech impediment is a sign of disrespect has no right to complain about being stopped? Yeah, the developmentally disabled are total lowlife scum!

  22. John Pomeroy says:

    Yeah and innocent people who have done nothing wrong and therefore shouldn't be afraid to talk to the police will talk to the police FIRST and then go talk with someone from Ken's firm about representation. AFTER they've told the police everything.

  23. Matthew Cline says:

    @John Pomeroy:

    Yeah and innocent people who have done nothing wrong and therefore shouldn't be afraid to talk to the police will talk to the police FIRST and then go talk with someone from Ken's firm about representation. AFTER they've told the police everything.

    You obviously haven't red Ken's post's about shutting the hell up. (Or maybe my sarcasm detector is on the fritz)

  24. Matthew Cline says:

    @Ken:

    Could you set things up so that links to popehat.com don't trigger the spam filter?

  25. VPJ says:

    Suggested citation:

    Dutta, Sunil. 2014. I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me. Alternate title: WHY DO YOU MAKE ME ANGRY BABY? WHY DO YOU MAKE ME BEAT YOU?! Washington Post.

  26. PonyAdvocate says:

    @John

    I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure virtually every single person who is, or who has ever been, a law enforcement officer volunteered for the job, knowing beforehand what it entailed. This being the case, no LEO deserves special sympathy because the job includes difficult, distasteful, or even dangerous aspects: THAT'S WHAT YOU SIGNED UP FOR. An LEO who is, or who becomes, unable to discharge his or her responsibilities, which includes respecting the right of the public not to be subject to petty bullying or gratuitous violence at the whim of the LEO, is no longer qualified for the job, and should resign or be terminated forthwith.

  27. Trent says:

    Being a police officer is a dangerous job whether he provides statistics on it or not.

    Police officer is not even in the top 10 most dangerous, the only reason it's even in the top 20 is because they spend more time in a car that most professions. I bet if you take the traffic accidents out of the equation being a police officer is in fact one of the safest jobs in the US.

    I think there is a larger problem in that most communities have unrealistic expectations of their police department.

    I think the vast majority of Americans would be completely happy with their police departments if they treated people like human beings rather than chattel.

    I have seen many posts on why you should never talk to the police or assist the police in a criminal investigation. It is very difficult for the police to enforce the laws of society without the involvement of the community.

    What I've seen over the years, particularly as part of the rise of the war on drugs is that the police have abused their trust with the people. With that abuse people realized that if they didn't protect themselves from the police the police would do bad and evil things to them. In particular the blue wall of silence where every cop protects the bad cops has amplified citizen distrust, whether it's the friend or family member that was robbed by the cops or possibly even raped on spurious claims that they had drugs in their anus. The fact is every cop that protects a bad cop by not speaking out is a bad cop themselves. Because there is an total lack of cops reporting other officers bad behavior most people would be correct in assuming that the vast majority of police departments are full of bad cops, either the ones doing bad things or the ones not turning them in. Did you see fellow officers break the law and not report them?

  28. sinij says:

    I think linked article, for all its flaws, presents reasonable advice. Being aggressive around cops, especially ones that are detaining you, is hugely bad idea. Even if the cops are in process of torturing you, by physically resisting you can only make things worse. Wait until it is over, then get rich suing them for breaking the law. Or destroying their reputation in press. Or voting the bums who hired and supervise them out at the polls.

    a. Don't talk to police
    b. Don't resist police
    c. Hire a lawyer

  29. Ancel De Lambert says:

    #notallcops

  30. John says:

    @Ponyadvocate

    Would you describe those in the military the same way that they deserve no sympathy because it is a job he/she signed up for? Teachers? Red Cross volunteers? I wanted to positively contribute to society which is why I became a police officer. I was fortunate in that I had other options when I wanted to leave, but I have a great deal of respect for those that continue to serve as police officers. Many work in understaffed departments with poor pay and poor benefits answering dangerous calls with too few officers.

    I agree that officers who cannot respect the rights of the public should be allowed to be police officers. I agree the police should not be bullies or use force when it is not necessary. However, where I think we disagree is that it is much easier to say that than to achieve it. Understanding how much force is needed to affect an arrest while maintaining the safety of the police and the public is more difficult in practice than on paper (or the internet).

    Most police departments have programs to allow civilians to ride along with the police to see what occurs first hand. You might find that interesting. I have to admit that I grew up in a middle class family and I did not get in fights in school growing up. In some ways I knew what I signed-up for and in some ways I had a very rude awakening.

  31. Robert What? says:

    I'm old enough that I was raised during a time when the policeman was truly considered a "public servant" and proud of it. We were taught to consider them our friends and to look up to and respect them. I hate to say it, but I don't feel like that any more. The police seem to have lost all sense of judgement and proportion.

  32. sinij says:

    Unlike John, I never worked in law enforcement. Like John, I dealt with plenty of people. Your average person is entirely unreasonable, illogical, and impulsive. Pragmatically, you can't apply 'reasonable person' rules when dealing with such public, any given individual has to first demonstrate, by acting calmly, that they are not a schizophrenic in the middle of a psychotic breakdown.

    Use non-violent resistance. Be very clear that you don't consent. Be very clear that you want to leave. You have to respect police authority even if you think they do not deserve any authority or any respect. Why? Because that produces the best outcomes for you.

  33. John says:

    @Trent

    You are correct that if you look at studies on injuries there are jobs that are more dangerous. I think being a taxi cab driver ranks highly in many of those reports. That does not mean that being a cop is not dangerous. I'm not sure I need a study to show that responding to a call where a person is reported to be armed with a weapon or something similar is dangerous. Just one call of that nature or one call where someone on your shift gets hurt can severely impact your outlook and response to future calls. In every community there are lots of criminals, domestic problems, people who abuse drugs, and people whose grasp on reality it tenuous, and other members of the community who can pose a threat to other members of the community.

    I agree, the police should treat people like human being and respect their rights. You should expect the police to treat you with respect and they should be held accountable when they fall short.

    I worked on a drug squad for a while. I never raped anyone or even looked up anyone's anus. I was never fond of serving search warrants for many reasons, but often the people on the other side of the door were armed with guns, so we were as well. Many drug dealers in fact had elaborate security, dogs, high fences, and similar protection to give them the best advantage possible. It was never my favorite assignment, but I did do my part.

    I did not experience a "total lack of cops reporting other officer's bad behavior." While I worked there, several officers had internal affairs investigations that began from being reported by other officers. The ones I recall most vividly were for sex on duty rather than excessive force, but I do remember officers getting fired for excessive force while I was there. There was a strong sense of camaraderie, but we also had a high expectation of professionalism.

  34. And the proper answer to the swine is "if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground and kicked to death, don't threaten a free citizen outside the authority of the Law."

    It looks more and more like the cops MAY have something on their side IN THIS CASE. But the recent history of irrational assaults, obfuscation of the public, lying under oath, and general outlaw behavior by Law Enforcement means that they are not entitled to any benefit of any doubt. Sadly, they will probably get some, and so will keep acting like third world troops until their immunities are withdrawn … and/or the citizenry is fed up enough to start shooting on sight.

    It has happened before; the history of the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance springs to mind.

  35. JonasB says:

    If I am walking or driving down the street and a police officer asks me to stop, I will do so. I will politely answer his questions, and then go about my business when our encounter is at an end. For most people, I imagine this will be the extent they are involved with police during their life.

  36. Nullifidian says:

    @Alicia McDonald:

    Why should they have to put up with some dumbass's mouth?

    We're putting up with yours, aren't we? If we applied your rationalization for police brutality to us poor mundanes, then things would go very hard for you. For some reason, however, just because someone says something stupid to me, it isn't regarded as carte blanche for me to maim or kill them. It's almost like people who live in a civilized society are expected to be able to refrain from behavior like that.

  37. We can take the first step back to sanity by quantifying the cost-benefit rationale for militarized police. If the benefits don't justify the costs, we can lobby for change. http://alfidicapitalblog.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-cost-benefit-framework-for-police.html

  38. Nullifidian says:

    John, I appreciate the recollections of your tenure in the Big Rock Candy Mountain PD.

  39. Jonathan Mitchell says:

    I think it goes without saying that disingenuous authoritarian assholes like Sunil Dutta can't be reasoned with. If Americans ever get sick of this treatment, revolt and by some slim chance emerge victorious, then Dutta and every other cop like him should be tried for crimes against humanity and hanged in public. Period. Short of that very remote possibility, we're just spinning our wheels when we complain about police brutality and the erosion of civil liberties. We're way past the point of candlelight vigils and calls to our congressmen being anything but pathetic gestures.

  40. Will says:

    First he says

    Cops deploy their training and their intuition creatively, and I wielded every trick in my arsenal, including verbal judo, humor, warnings and ostentatious displays of the lethal (and nonlethal) hardware resting in my duty belt.

    then

    if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you.

    It sounds a lot like "We have lots of non lethal ways of dealing with things, but do as I say lest we shoot, tase, pepper-spray, strike with a baton or thrown you down to the ground".

    It boggles the mind that someone can see themselves as the good guys and yet resort to force on a whim.

  41. ShelbyC says:

    @John: "Yes, the professor comes across as a bit obtuse, but I think he makes a valid point. Being a police officer is a dangerous job "

    And if the article said that the way to avoid getting hurt was not to endanger cops, you might have a point. But that's not what the article says. This is what the article says: "if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge."

    The article is nothing short of a defense of police brutality as retaliation for mouthing off to cops. It is disgusting, and you should be ashamed of yourself for defending it.

  42. max says:

    Just a quick question, does M. Dutta's argument sound to anyone else like the 'reasoning' used by wife beaters to justify their actions?

  43. Anony Mouse says:

    Man. So much of this just sounds like Carol/Cheryl screaming "YOU'RE NOT MY SUPERVISOR!"

    We get it. You hate cops. You think they suck. They're horrible evil people who should just be fired because society is all sunshine and kittens without them.

    Can we go back to trolling spam marketers now?

  44. Allen says:

    To a certain extent he's right. Don't say a word. Then sue his ass, the city, the county, and the state. Then follow up at every juncture with public speech, Public vilification of government employees is not illegal yet. Yes I know the bounds, but there is Popehat.

  45. Taliesyn says:

    Honestly, the only point he's really making is that it is never in your best interest to escalate any encounter with a cop. If it's a valid stop (traffic, sidewalk, robbery investigation, murder investigation, whatever), all mouthing off and/or threatening the officer's safety does is make things worse, and possibly get your ass shot. If it's not a valid stop (driving while black, extortion, whatever), then escalating is a *TRULY* bad idea.

    The best thing to do in either case is to not make the situation worse while it's occurring, but rather to stay calm, keep your mouth *SHUT*, and if you think you have a case, see a lawer (or call a reporter) after the fact.

  46. Dan Weber says:

    I will agree with Dutta that death by police is rare, at least on a per-incident basis: each officer is involved in several to dozens of interactions per day, and across all those cops there is about 1 death per day. It's about the same odds as dying from a gun accident. It's very unlikely to happen. (NB: I am white so that might color my views unfairly.)

    This doesn't bring up the smaller aggressions when cops twist someone's arm or slam his face into the cement during arrest. (There's a lot more that can happen to you than just death.)

    I will also agree that being a longtime cop develops an Us-versus-Them attitude. The remedy is not to just accept this as the way things are. Maybe being a cop should be something everyone is randomly cycled through, like jury duty, which will build empathy both ways. (I'm also pondering a required term in the slaughterhouse for anyone who wants to eat meat. And I say that as a meat-eater.) This mindset has also caused me at times to argue myself into something I long opposed: supporting a draft, in order to make sure everyone pays for war. (Two big caveats: 1. It would need to apply to everyone, including women and college students. 2. The military leaders don't like the draft; volunteer soldiers are much better.) I realize those are all anti-libertarian suggestions, but they might result in more total freedom.

  47. GreenW says:

    Remember, "if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you."

    If the authority figure tells you to hand over your mobile phone, just do so – don't let awkward facts (like not possessing a mobile phone) get in the way. Yes – this happened to me, no I did not get shot, tased or pepper-sprayed, this was at an airport before 9/11, but it did raise tension and delay me to the point I almost missed my flight. What does Mr Dutta recommend I do if a similar scenario should recur?

    The more common scenario we see these days is officers giving conflicting order – don't move, and put your hands up. Leave the area in that specific direction where an officer will tell you to find any other exit but the only one you must use, etc.

    Often, compliance is not an option, even when we try. Just ask Wesley Lowery, as reported by the Washingon Post.:

    I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.

    “My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”

    That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.

  48. Michelle says:

    Not the least bit surprising. I live in a quiet, safe suburban neighborhood, the kind of place where kids still play outside. For a while we had a problem with local sheriff's deputies harassing the neighborhood kids, telling them not to play ball or ride bikes in the street, not to walk on the curb (where there's no sidewalk), and bringing kids home for playing at the park without an adult. When I told one deputy that I planned to complain to her supervisor, she said I was "threatening" her. Yeah, technically it's a threat, I guess, but those are scary words from a cop who just threatened to shoot my fenced-in dog.

  49. Resolute says:

    @Matthew Cline:

    @Alicia McDonald :Why should they have to put up with some dumbass's mouth?

    Because a dumbass mouthing off isn't illegal?

    That doesn't answer the question.

    Nobody should have to put up with idiotic invective. That is perhaps the one key point that Dutta gets right, even if his ultimate message is rather confused and self-serving. Now, it obviously makes a big difference (especially when I am in the States) that I am white, but I have found that treating cops with a level of respect has always earned at least an equal measure of respect in return. I don't do it because I fear their authority, but because it's what decent human beings do.

    From an outsider's (Canadian) perspective, I think that is ultimately what is being lost in America when it comes to police interactions in many cases. It doesn't seem to be human vs. human anymore, but "pig" vs. "crook". The fault for that lies with both sides, I think. However, because of their increased power/weaponry, it is incumbent on the police to show the far greater level of restraint. As you say, those dumbasses mouthing off aren't doing anything illegal and the other good point Dutta makes is that he does have tools other than guns and batons to deescalate most situations. Problem is, the American mentality of militarizing its police forces (and citizenry, for that matter) won't help. Militaries, by necessity, have to dehumanize their opponents. Where I am, we give our cops bicycles and stetsons, not APVs and enough weaponry to invade a small country. That makes a significant difference.

  50. GuestPoster says:

    I notice that the EPA was used as an example. Having dealt with them, funny thing about the EPA: they're not like they are in the Ghostbusters. Yeah, they have a lot of power. And yeah, you have to comply with their demands. But the way it works is, they walk in, and look for mistakes you have made. Some of these are absurd, but mostly these mistakes could actually significantly harm people. Depending upon the nature of the mistake, you might get as long as a week or a month to fix it! And if they do anything to you? They issue fines. Which you can fight, if you so choose. But there's no physical violence. They won't even push past you to access a room (unless they're screwing up fabulously).

    So it's not that we don't have to comply with other powerful organizations, really. It's that the penalty for not doing so is much safer, almost never results in death, and can almost always be successfully appealed later. And since each of those OTHER sources of authority is monitored by watchdogs and outside agencies, you even know that it's two different people doing something wrong and then deciding if something wrong was done.

    That being said – the moment I read 'Professor of Homeland Security', it was obvious that the article would not be lodged in the realm of reality. I can't imagine how you'd obtain that title if you lived in the same world as everybody else.

  51. piperTom says:

    sorrykb: "A few more articles like this, and I'm going to go full Clark…"

    The stories are out there, sorrykb. Ken can't write about them all, but because of the internet, more and more of these stories are being written. Copwatch is a good place to start.

    …and Welcome to the movement ;-)

  52. PonyAdvocate says:

    @John

    Would you describe those in the military the same way that they deserve no sympathy because it is a job he/she signed up for? Teachers? Red Cross volunteers?

    If someone who had signed up for the infantry complained to me about getting shot at, and having to shoot back, then yes, he'd have a tough time rustling up a lot of sympathy from me. I'd ask him, "You knew exchanging hostile gunfire with people goes along with this job, right?" Ditto for a teacher who complained to me about having to spend so much time surrounded by children, or a Red Cross volunteer complaining about having to do the things that Red Cross volunteers are expected to do. Ditto for a doctor who complained about all the sick people he deals with, or a butcher who complained about being around dead animals all the time.

    I have no need to ride along with cops to know they have a job that sometimes is difficult. Lots of other jobs also can be difficult. But there's a difference between these other jobs and police work: those who work in these other jobs cannot physically take out their frustrations on other people, up to and including killing them, with impunity; a cop can, and some cops do.

    I commend to your attention Radley Balko's excellent blog "The Way".

  53. Don says:

    I like how everyone missed the key to what he said, as far as I am concerned. The cops are trained that every in every instance, their safety is as risk if we don't do exactly as they say meekly with no argument.

    This is where the bully cop attitude comes from. They are trying to regain control of a situation where they think the person they are talking to has taken some of the control away from them. I have seen this bleed over into the personal lives of my friends who are cops or prison guards. Some of them eventually start treating every interaction in their life as if they were a cop on the street.

    Until we figure out how to train our police officers to keep themselves safe without treating everyone they meet as a potential threat, we will continue to have this problem.

  54. Burst says:

    I really wonder how we fix this situation. ClarkHat argues that literal vigiliante gangs would actually do a better job, but I seriously doubt that. The best real-world solution we seem to have is enforcing cop accountability through video cameras, and I would love to see that deployed on a wide scale.

  55. jb says:

    Re "Police Officers have a dangerous job":

    This is a really obnoxious chain of circular reasoning:

    "Cops have a dangerous job, let's respect them!"
    "Because we respect cops so much, let's let them cut corners to make their jobs less dangerous!"
    "Don't question whether the cop was in any danger at all, or out of line to cut those corners, don't you know we respect cops because their jobs are so dangerous?"

    And that's why being a cop is not actually that dangerous–you can get away with pretty much any conduct that prioritizes your personal safety over your job duties, because people are blinded by the nature of your job duties.

  56. Clark Crimcops says:

    We actually have a better idea how many people die at the hands of law enforcement, and least since these guys began actively tracking the numbers early last year https://www.facebook.com/KilledByPolice
    It has tracked the cases of 1444 people killed by law enforcement since May 1, 2013.
    At least 695 people have been killed by U.S. police since January 1, 2014.

  57. MAWM says:

    I've had many conversations about one thing or another with LEOs about I may or may not have doing legally.
    A simple nostrum got me through all but one incident "You can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride." (meaning you may be in the right citizen but I'm going to take you to the cop shop anyway just because you're acting like a d!ck)

  58. B says:

    @JonasB: If I am walking or driving down the street and a police officer asks me to stop, I will do so. I will politely answer his questions, and then go about my business when our encounter is at an end. For most people, I imagine this will be the extent they are involved with police during their life."

    If you're black, Latino, or, yes, if you live in a bad neighborhood, this will be a regular interaction. A very regular interaction. And one day you'll be a little slow or a little distracted, or maybe even the tiniest bit irked — or the cop will not like the way you look at him — and you'll be literally facing asphalt or concrete, a potentially crippling injury, an arrest, and even financial ruin.

    No, that doesn't happen to everyone. But if you're stopped — and presumed a perp — several times a year, the odds get uglier.

  59. Hoare says:

    #Ferguson loves you #OfficerGoFuckYourself

  60. SomeRandomBrit says:

    I was a cop in the UK for 11 years until my back was injured in a non-work accident and I had to find another line of work. Until I was promoted to sergeant I walked the streets of London eight hours a day without a gun. Yes, I did have a small staff (about 2 feet long) to defend myself, but most cops consider a point of honor never to use it – it's too small to be effective anyway. I've known officers who claimed to never have used their staff in their entire career.

    The article in the NY Times was a real eye opener for me. I have known UK cops with this attitude, but generally they don't remain employed very long. The officer who wrote the article clearly has an "us versus them" mentality. If you give a cop a gun and put him in a car where he feels he's isolated from the general population this will happen. The easy availability of guns in the USA doesn't help as he never knows when he's a target, but that no excuse for his attitude.

    When I was in basic training we were taught that the police can only do their job with the support of a substantial majority of the population. We were taught that a part of of our jobs was to maintain the positive view of the police by the community. Walk in clear view of everyone, be fair, be helpful, be aware of your actions – as a cop in a distinctive uniform on the street everyone is watching you. We were told that 80% of the population has a positive attitude to the police, and it was important to maintain that level of support. I doubt that would be possible with the attitude displayed by the officer who wrote the article. What's even more scary is that this officer says he is teaching others about law enforcement!

    From movies I've seen words like "To protect and serve" emblazoned on many American police cars. I had thought that these words applied to police attitude to the population but I can't help wondering if it is actually their attitude to themselves. The article describes a police force who considers themselves to be untouchable vigilantes with little sense of service to the community.

    Overall, I would not want an officer like this anywhere near me. He's a loose cannon and I would be wondering if he would take offense at a word, a gesture or a look, decide that I wasn't giving him the respect that he deserved and that he was going to turn on me. The general population should not fear the police – it's counterproductive to their mission to "protect and serve".

    This is not the sort of policing I was taught. Policing is a cooperative endeavor – you can't effective police a city without the support of most of the population. The attitude displayed be the officer (if mirrored across the entire force) will create a large class of people who will not assist the police, and the general population will eventually suffer because the police will become less effective in their primary task of preventing crime.

  61. Dan Weber says:

    I watch that video, and I see two things:

    1. I see an idiot cop pointing a rifle at various people.
    2. I see crowd of idiots trying to start a confrontation with the cop to prove a point.

    That video made me think that cop should be sent to the donut farm before he kills someone, but also reminded me that there are people out there who deliberately want to fuck with the police.

    We point out all the time, correctly, that a citizen isn't allowed to do things cops do. But if this were a citizen waving the gun around like an idiot, people wouldn't be following him with video cameras to see what happens.

  62. Jason says:

    My perspective on asshole cops changed when I did a ride-along with an officer. All day long the officer dealt with the dregs of society. Afterwards I realized why cops seem to be so cynical. It would not take long in that job to change your outlook on humanity. Everyday, cops deal with the worst society has to offer. No wonder they look at everyone as a suspect.

    About 150 officers are killed in the line of duty every year. It is a dangerous job and the natural inclination of anyone is, better you get hurt than me. Cops are going to protect themselves, even if it means you are temporarily inconvenienced.

    This does not justify police brutality. It is a recognition of what cops face. This is why we see the militarization of police forces. In an officer's view, better for them to use overwhelming tactics to protect their own safety than to be unprepared in a dangerous situation.

    It is a balance of officer safety vs. public rights. There is going to be a constant struggle between the two positions. Ferguson is the perfect example. One night the police are condemned for having too strong of a response. The very next night they are criticized for pulling back. There is no way for them to win.

  63. Erbo says:

    Sunil Dutta is nothing but a bully hiding behind a badge.

    Any police officer who feels his job is "too dangerous" always has one option: He can resign and go WORK for a living

  64. SomeRandomBrit says:

    One possible answer is to get all police to wear cameras in all interactions with the general population. The output from the cameras should be available to anyone with an actual interest – if you interact with an officer then you should have access to the video of your interaction. The period when when you can ask for the video would need to be limited to a reasonable time, perhaps a month or two. Close relatives and attorneys should also be able to ask for video in cases where a person is killed or injured.

    If the video has been lost or the camera malfunctioned then any dispute about the interaction is resolved in favor of the person disputing the police account of the interaction, unless the police have witnesses or evidence to back up their account.

  65. PonyAdvocate says:

    @Jason

    About 150 officers are killed in the line of duty every year.

    Only about one-third, more or less, of these deaths are homicides. Vehicular accidents account for roughly as many LEO deaths as homicides. See the tables at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. As Radley Balko recently pointed out, police work is now as safe an occupation as it's been in decades. Yet for the sake of their own safety, the police apparently use tools and tactics that inflict ever increasing violence and destruction on those they're sworn to protect.

  66. Trent says:

    Congratz Ken, your article just hit the front page of CNN.

  67. LJM says:

    About 150 officers are killed in the line of duty every year. It is a dangerous job and the natural inclination of anyone is, better you get hurt than me.

    In 2013, 111 cops died while on duty. Of those, 33 were the result of gunfire. So far in 2014, 67 cops have died, 27 by gunfire. A cop's job isn't even in the top ten, as far as dangerous jobs, go.

  68. Just a thought says:

    Popehat now front page news on CNN.

  69. xtmar says:

    Would we accept "if you don't want to get shot, just do what the EPA regulator tells you"?[…]

    You neglect to consider that most regulatory agencies have SWAT teams, and people more or less go along with it. For that matter, mouthing off to the Deputy Principal is no longer something that gets you suspended or detention, but opens you up to being arrested or tased. In many ways, I think your concluding paragraph has it exactly backwards. We've accepted the domination of the police over us, and the remaing arms of the state are moving to catch up. Eventually, asking to speak to a supervisor at the DMV for poor service will be met with similar displays of force and contempt.

  70. arizonadust says:

    Wow. What the heck is wrong with everyone? I'm a 47 year old white male. I've been a law-abiding citizen most of my life (who doesn't stir up a little trouble in their teens?)

    But, whether I'm doing something wrong or doing NOTHING AT ALL, when an officer OF THE LAW tells you to do something..you do it!

    This isn't abuse of power. This isn't Big Brother. This isn't Sharia law. (hyperbole much people?) These are trained, badged and armed officers of the law. They put themselves in harms way on a daily basis. How often do you nitwits get up in arms when a cop is shot and killed in the line of duty?

    Seriously. Even if I get pulled over for a ticket, I put my hands on the wheel, and don't do anything unless instructed to do so. And you know what? I'm done in 5 minutes and still alive to talk about it.

    Flame away!

  71. doesky says:

    First step in fixing idiot cops….nation wide mandate the use of Always-ON body cameras for every cop and multiple in-car cameras.

  72. Tim! says:

    @arizonadust: my troll detector is vibrating, but it's not buzzing, so I'll bite.

    When an officer NOMINALLY of the law tells you to do something which is ACTUALLY illegal, unsafe, or of which he has no authority to demand, you don't do it. You don't do it because when we fail to exercise our rights, we lose them. You don't do it because sworn officers ought to be held to a higher standard, not a lower one.

    Yes, police officers put themselves in harms way on a daily basis. So do forensic ecologists, garbage men, lumberjacks, and taxi drivers. It's part of the job. That doesn't give anyone an asshole pass.

  73. pablo says:

    I guess @arizondust some people had the nerve to not be born a white male. I dont know whats wrong with them either. They definately chose wrong.

  74. Jonathan says:

    Don't the police work for the citizenry? How do we want them to behave? Sunil is just describing the unfortunate situation the way it actually is. It is indemic within the cult of the police. I am always very polite to police because I don't want them to all of the sudden pull out their 9 mms and start pumping me full of lead, not because I respect them carte blanche. The big mistakes they make on video demonstrate that they overreact, shooting or putting people into choke holds, killing, kicking and beating people brutally when they are already on their faces, with their hands up or cuffed. It is not their job to inflict punishment. It is fairly evident that they use people as emotional punching bags upon which they unleash all their anger and frustrations when they are challenged. If they should be challenged then we should challenge them. They are just people, and we are just people who pay them (with our taxes) to protect us, not threaten us. We should not fear those who protect us. I yet feel we need protection from them. I feel a cop is more likely to hurt me than help me. Not to mention I can never find one when I need one. Maybe we should take their guns away from them (copy England) and just teach or train them in non-violent methods of persuasion. I might feel a little safer then.

  75. Angry Dad says:

    He has typical Indian mentality of a person in uniform is superior to regular citizen. That is exactly how third world country, including India, cops thinks and acts.

    He need to think like American if he wants continually teach in US.

  76. Angry Dad says:

    @Votre – NO, dude was born, raised, and finished college in India. He only start living in US when he was studying for master's degree. So his mentally is totally that of Indian people that "authority is superior than common people" attitude.

  77. stillnotking says:

    cops are legally prohibited from using excessive force

    if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground […] don’t call me names

    In other words, it's illegal for me to shoot you for calling me names, but I'll goddamn well do it anyway, because that's just how I roll. Deal with it, plebs.

  78. Passerby says:

    Just gotta say, for all the rage that cops are bullies, cretins, and thugs, John was certainly polite, articulate, and willing to discuss, and did not receive nearly that same treatment in return.

    I mean I'm with all of you on being against the militarization of police, hating their abuse of power, distrusting most cops, etc. etc.

    But when someone who's worked in the profession tries to open lines of communication and discuss certain issues I don't think "Fuck you, pig!" is exactly the most productive response. If you just want to vent your spleen and act like an angry teenager there's always Reddit. This is a site I come to partly to see a professional's take on the issues (a professional of law discussing the law), so when another professional tries to offer his viewpoint in a calm and non-insulting way, I can't say it's great to see a bunch of people flip him the bird and start talking about how they smell bacon.

    But, that's me. It's not my site and not up to me to scold you for your behavior. I will say that if you're trying to make the (extremely valid and highly important) point that the American public are thinking, free adults and should be treated as such, it's probably better not to act like a rebellious teenager when confronted with someone trying to have an adult-to-adult conversation.

    Lurker OUT!

  79. arizonadust says:

    I'm not trolling. I don't "troll". And as far as being "choosing" to be born white…don't be an ass. I'm simply saying that if people would show a badge the respect it deserves, they would not put themselves in this situation.

    Does having a badge give a cop the right to do anything he/she wants? Don't be ludicrous. There are bad cops. Just like there are bad doctors, garbage men and….heh, yeah I guess bad lumberjacks. And mostly we don't have to deal with bad behavior in lumberjacks as trees don't complain much.

    Look at this another way. There is a story out now about a father who is accused of shooting and killing the drunk driver who ran into and kills his 11 and 12 year old sons while they were all pushing their out of gas car. Did he do it? Who knows. That is not the point.

    The point is most of the public opinion about this was "So what?" "He got what he deserved."
    Did he really? No. What he did was heinous beyond belief. But, he was due his right to face the LEGAL process. Did he get that chance? No. The same as this "Brown" kid. Did he get a right to legal representation? No. He was executed on the spot. But, neither of those people would be dead if they has not voluntarily place themselves in that situation.

    Does that make it their fault? Not 100%. But, yes, they do share part of the blame. And does this mean that just because I don't do what a cop says that I deserve to be "justifiably" shot and killed? No. Not buy the longest stretch of the imagination.

    But, does that mean that Michael Brown had the right to approach the police after SEVERAL repeated attempts to get him to halt? He has none. Cops are trained to police and protect the citizenry. But, they they are trained to protect themselves first. Just like firefighters are. And soldiers. Hell, lifeguards even will let a victim drown if they feel they have to do so to preserve their own life.

    Am I saying these other professions have the same ability to take arms against their protectorates? NO. I saying there is training to prevent your own demise first, so that you may continue to protect those you have sworn to.

    And the simple fact of the matter is whether though fear, ignorance, mis-communication or shear stupidity, Michael Brown initiated an aggressive act AGAINST the police office. He was IN THE WRONG.

    Now, do I agree with (what seems to be) the standard police policy about using leathal force against a perceived attacker? No, actually I do not. I fully support the preferred first response of pepper spray or taser. Hell, at least just shoot the suspect in the leg. And Mr. Brown was a big boy. You cant' tell me that 24" thigh was not an easy target. Look at the number of police killings in this country against citizens without guns.

    Whether they are unarmed, or wielding a knife, axe, pogo-stick, whatever. I don't believe the first reaction should be lethal force in these situations. But, that is the policy. And that is the training.

    So, why don't we take a step back.

    1. Michael Brown was obviously a turd before he even spoke to the cops. He stole cigars and assaulted an man three times his age, half his height and probably 1/3 his body weight. Yeah, a real upstanding citizen, that one.
    2. Said scumbag act by Mr. Brown in NO is what instigated his conflict with the police and NEVER EVER should have resulted in his immediate execution.
    3. When cops tell you to do something that is not illegal or violating your rights (and asking someone to get on the ground to avoid conflict is neither) you do it. Why? Because they have guns. Idiots.
    4. Don't jump in here or other media discussions and shout Yeah! Yeah! Fk the police! Which is what you sheep are all doing. Take it up with your police commissioner, your local politician and your citizens advocacy groups. Change the policies. Don't blame the men who were doing as they were trained to do.
    5. Again, does this justify what happened. Well, maybe. Is it right? No. It's ugly.

    But, the man that owned the QT store (and doezens of other small shop owners) who had his place looted and burned to the ground….Did he deserve that? No. Are you sheep up in arms about that? No. You are too busy feeling smug and superior about a perceived injustice you have nothing to do with, were not involved with and have no intention on actually trying to solve. So f*k the police and f*k the man who lost his life savings cause some scum bag people felt "justified" looting his place and burning it down.

    See how that "justification" thing works? It's easy to do on both sides. The difference is they are not taking responsibility for their inappropriate actions. Either that or they are too ignorant to even notice. I'm not sure which is more pathetic.

  80. Mr.Fat says:

    It's not my site and not up to me to scold you for your behavior.

    but you did anyway.

  81. EnlightenmentLiberal says:

    Quoting John:

    I'm not sure I need a study to show that responding to a call where a person is reported to be armed with a weapon or something similar is dangerous.

    You should know that for most cops, this is quite rare.

    Example:
    http://www.nytimes.com/1998/01/11/weekinreview/ideas-trends-don-t-shoot-the-culture-of-cops-and-guns.html

    nearly 95 percent of New York City's 38,000 officers have never fired their weapons while fighting crime

    Quoting John:

    Just one call of that nature or one call where someone on your shift gets hurt can severely impact your outlook and response to future calls.

    Then you are not mentally equipped to be a cop. I'm glad you no longer are.

    You said "change your response". To me, that sounds like you are then going to go in with guns drawn in all future encounters.

    I had friends where SWAT assholes like you bust in to their house, guns drawn in full gear, with no knock and announce warning, yelling at people to get face down on the ground, all for a stupidly small purported drug offense. Cops like you make me sick. ~spits~

  82. stillnotking says:

    Another gem from the article:

    I know that some officers engage in unprofessional and arrogant behavior; sometimes they behave like criminals themselves.

    They behave like criminals, but, of course, they can't actually be criminals, because Cops and Robbers are mutually exclusive categories, as any child knows.

  83. Mr.Fat says:

    . I'm simply saying that if people would show a badge the respect it deserves, they would not put themselves in this situation.

    says the white guy. This only works when you have all most no contact with the police(see being white). Lets say that this cop has stopped you multiple time this week and its been like that since you could walk around your neighborhood and its like that for all your family its like that for all your friends. So yeah maybe you can understand why people can get a little pissed. .Please do not mention Soldiers in the same breath as police, we have nothing in common except they like to play dress up in our gear.

  84. Warren Vita says:

    So he's a "professor" at Colorado Tech – that joke of a school's primary requirements for obtaining a degree are the ability to fog a mirror and write a check. And don't get me started on the ridiculousness of degree programs in "homeland security", which are cesspools of washed up cops imparting their wisdom to a bunch of wanna-be mall ninjas.

  85. Tim! says:

    @arizonadust

    I show the badge the respect it deserves when the officer wearing it does the same.

    We're not talking about Michael Brown. We're talking about Sunil Dutta's "don’t challenge a cop during a stop." and "if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you." We're pointing out that mistrust of the police is directly attributable to this posture, to overwhelming demonstrations of force, and to default attitudes of suspicion, instead of community involvement, visibility, and service.

    It's awesome that your interactions with the police have been pleasant and respectful. Most of my interactions have also been pleasant and respectful. But even as a white man, I have encountered bullish, accusative, self-righteous prick cops. Not to mention the thugs that threaten to "beat the Mexican piss" out of some poor suspect they've stomped onto the curb, or aim their assault rifle at crowds of peaceful protesters. And even pleasant and respectful officers misrepresent the law, telling people they are not allowed to make recordings of their public interactions.

    Police are granted extra power, thus they are saddled with extra responsibility to shrug off mouthy idiots and defuse volatile situations instead of exacerbating them.

  86. cb says:

    you sheep

    But you're not trolling, right?

  87. Ambidexter says:

    I am completely deaf. As a result, I don't enunciate well because it's very difficult to teach me to speak clearly.

    Some years ago I was walking in a park. A cop told me to do something (I have no idea what) but, being deaf and not facing him, I didn't know he was talking to me and I didn't obey him. The first thing I knew about the incident was being shoved face-first into a tree trunk. I tried to tell the cop that I was deaf. Long story short, I was arrested for "drunk and disorderly" and "resisting arrest" because I didn't obey the cop and my speech was slurred. It took several hours and a blood test before I was able to convince someone that I was deaf, not drunk. This despite me showing the card I have in my wallet saying I'm deaf. And no, I didn't receive any kind of apology,

    So please excuse me if I have a less than respectful attitude towards the polizei.

  88. Kratoklastes says:

    @John (August 19, 2014 at 5:04 p) being a pig is not 'dangerous' – it is less dangerous than being a building labourer, and roughly the same as being a garden supervisor (and is less than half as dangerous, once pig deaths in traffic accidents – a marker of incompetence – are excluded).

    That long-standing lie told by self-serving bullshít artists – that pigs "put their life on the line" – is being eviscerated by the awesome capacity of modern information dissemination to destroy bad information.

    The on-the-job death rate for the Doughnut-Munching classes, is 15 per 100,000; take out the traffic accidents and that drops to <8 per 100,000 (of the 105 pig deaths on the job in 2012, only 51 were caused by interpersonal violence – the rest were traffic accidents or 'slips and falls'). The relevant calculation is thus 15 × 51/105, or ~7.5 per 100k).

    To give some idea of how 'risky' a job with a "caused by persons" death rate of 7.5 per 100k is, let's line it up against some equally-risky "professions":

    Newspaper Publishers: 7.5
    Welding, Soldering and BrazingWorkers: 7.6

    That gives you some idea of your co-"heroes" who have the right to go around constantly shítting their pants that the next interaction might be fatal. If a brazer gets the idea that a guy next to them is in a 'hostile posture', he can't just light him up because 'officer safety'.

    Now to some genuinely dangerous occupations:

    Fishers and Fishing Related Workers: 120.8
    Logging Workers: 129.9

    In point of fact, it is riskier to be an adolescent male (taking all-cause death into account) than it is to be a pig. I don't see anyone claiming that adolescent males should have trhe untrammelled right to unload an entire mag at anyone who might pose a threat.

    (Source: "Fatal occupational injuries, total hours worked, and rates of fatal occupational injuries by selected worker characteristics, occupations, and industries, civilian workers, 2012", U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012).

  89. Kratoklastes says:

    Sunil Dutta's worldview is not indistinguishabvle from that other class of self-obsessed entitled scum – viz., rapists.

    After all, the woman just has to lie still "for a minute or so" until it's over… how hard can that be? Does she want bad things to happen?

  90. CJK Fossman says:

    Oh, Mr. @Arizonadust.

    Let's talk. You wrote

    I'm not trolling. I don't "troll".

    When you spray paint labels like "nitwit," "idiot," and "sheep" on everybody who disagrees with you, that's trolling. Concluding a post with "Flame away!" is trollish behavior. You're a troll.

    Does having a badge give a cop the right to do anything he/she wants? Don't be ludicrous.

    Interesting words, coming from someone who wrote, " when an officer OF THE LAW tells you to do something..you do it!" Or are you now backing away from that statement?

    approach the police after SEVERAL repeated attempts to get him to halt?

    Based on what evidence do you make that claim? How about a link to it?

    Michael Brown was obviously a turd before he even spoke to the cops. He stole cigars and assaulted an man

    I have seen the longer version of the video. From the video it's not obvious that he stole the cigars. It is obvious that the store clerk initiated the contact by grabbing Brown's shirt.

    Any statement made by a teenager under police interrogation without a parent or lawyer present is suspect at best.

    And about your fourth point: I'm certainly not going to take direction from you about what to write and where. I'm also not going to say "fuck the cops." But I am going to say this: proofread your drivel and try to be a little more concise.

  91. @Pony Advocate: "If someone who had signed up for the infantry complained to me about getting shot at, and having to shoot back, then yes, he'd have a tough time rustling up a lot of sympathy from me. I'd ask him, "You knew exchanging hostile gunfire with people goes along with this job, right?"

    I might be a bit more sympathetic there, depending on the individual's background, because I've been in combat. Our society glorifies war and military recruiters prey on young people who have no realistic concept of the likely psychological consequences of armed combat. So if a kid discovers too late that wars don't really create either men or heroes, if he has an epiphany that informs him that he is part of an invading oppressive force fighting patriots and killing innocent civilians, that it's time to run a reality check on his worldview, that sometimes morality matters more than a superior's orders, then I'm ready to listen. Which is but another way of arguing that there is no such thing as fully informed consent when enlisting in the military the first time, particularly the U.S. military, which in my carefully studied opinion has had no morally defensible mission in many decades. 'Tis not a noble calling; but some don't realize that before they sign on the dotted line.

  92. EnlightenmentLiberal says:

    which in my carefully studied opinion has had no morally defensible mission in many decades.

    Hey hey now! I strongly suspect I can find some minor military intervention that was clearly good. If I look hard enough, some obscure mission to stop genocide that no one ever heard of.

    For example, the recent mission of bombing IS / ISIS / ISIL whatever people to protect the Christians on that mountain, when ISIS was about to genocide the Christians. Does that count? (Were they Christians? Or just the wrong sect of Muslim?)

    But the big missions? I think I can agree that none of them were legitimate. When was the first gulf war? More than two decades ago.

  93. effinayright says:

    You know what really gets me about cops? As reported above, their death-in-the-line-of duty numbers are fairly trivial — yet when one of them dies violently, they will congregate at his funeral by the hundreds, from all over the country AS IF the crooks will take a few days off along with them!

    And, of course, there's usually a rowdy celebration following the service.
    8,000 of our soldiers died in Iraq and Afghanistan . Did hundreds in the armed services take a few days off to attend each of their funerals?

  94. Matthew Cline says:

    @Resolute:

    @Matthew Cline:

    Because a dumbass mouthing off isn't illegal?

    That doesn't answer the question.

    Nobody should have to put up with idiotic invective.

    In the context I was speaking of, by "put up with", I meant "a police officer shouldn't detain, arrest or use violence against the mouthing-off dumbass, or threaten to do any of those things". Other than those things, no, a police office shouldn't have to in general put up with idiotic invective.

    ——————————————————————————————————–

    @arizonadust:

    But, whether I'm doing something wrong or doing NOTHING AT ALL, when an officer OF THE LAW tells you to do something..you do it!

    So, if (for example) you'd video'd a police officer doing something, and the officer ordered you to delete what you'd recorded, you'd do so?

    ———————————————————————————————

    @Ambidexter:

    I am completely deaf. As a result, I don't enunciate well because it's very difficult to teach me to speak clearly.

    [story snipped]

    So please excuse me if I have a less than respectful attitude towards the polizei.

    I'm curious: when telling this story before, have you received any non-troll pro-police responses besides "not all cops are like that"?

  95. PonyAdvocate says:

    @Paul E. Merrell

    I might be a bit more sympathetic there …

    Point taken, sir. Thank you.

  96. Roscoe says:

    You know, Chris Rock made many of the same points as to how to avoid trouble when interacting with police. Somehow, he was much funnier than this Dutta guy.

  97. John says:

    @PonyAdvocate
    @EnightenmentLiberal
    @Kratoklastes

    I realize that the likelihood of me convincing any of the three of you that police work is dangerous is small, but I thought I would respond for others who might find this of interest.

    1. Logically – Those who are called to break of fights, respond to disturbances, arrest people who would prefer to prey on weaker individuals, and take offenders to jail against their will when the law is violated have a dangerous job. This does not mean that officers can respond in any way they wish. The response of the police should be proportional to the the threat they face. There are a lot of people who have mental and drug dependencies who are hard to deal with. I'd suggest purchasing a police scanner and listening to the calls in your community and see if you think responding to the calls you hear is dangerous (or you can probably get a list of a calls for service from your 911 center).

    2. My personal experience – You can talk about blogs your read, a report you read, a story your heard, or people you talk to, but I was a street cop. I responded to fight calls of 30 people alone with no back-up. I was scared and it was dangerous. I responded to calls of 100 people causing a disturbance with 6 other officers. I got in fights, I chased people, I was bitten, and even though I was never seriously injured, it was still dangerous. Officers on my shift were drug by cars, punched in the face, had to fight over their gun, etc. Again, it doesn't mean the police can respond however they want and the response should be proportional. Also, when the resistance stops, the police have to stop. From my experience, it is a dangerous job.

    3. The FBI Statistics – In 2012, there were 48 officers who were killed in the line of duty in felony situations. 44 of those were killed with a firearm. 52,901 Officers reported being assaulted causing injuries to 14,678 officers. I'm not sure how many newspaper publishers or welders were shot and killed with a firearm while on duty, but I'm guessing it is less than 48. The assault statistics shows that 10 percent of police officers in the United States report being assaulted in 2012. Considering there are many officers who work in administration, detectives, etc I'd say that likelihood of being assaulted as a street cop is a little higher.

    The danger of the job does affect the interaction cops have with the public. It doesn't justify any action the police take and I agree that video cameras would be a great thing (and many police departments are using them).

    @Ambidexter – I hate that you were treated that way. That is completely unacceptable.

    @EnlightenmentLiberal – I never fired my gun in the line of duty, but that doesn't mean the job was not dangerous. I think many of the community and elected leaders in the town I worked considered themselves intelligent and liberal. I got along rather well with them. As far as being mentally capable to be a cop, I actually did well. Even with your attitude and virtual spitting on me, if you called for assistance I would treat you with respect and do my best to provide assistance.

  98. PonyAdvocate says:

    @John

    I realize that the likelihood of me convincing any of the three of you that police work is dangerous is small

    I think few here deny that police work is occasionally dangerous; I certainly have not denied this. Police work, however, is not mortally dangerous continuously, from punch-in to punch-out. The points I (and some others, I think) are trying to make are these: The police and their apologists exaggerate how dangerous law enforcement is; the police and their apologists use this exaggerated notion of the danger to justify the use of heavy-handed tactics that are serious infringements of civil rights; the police and their apologists are largely or entirely unconcerned with these infringements, and how they antagonize those who suffer them, actually making police work more difficult and dangerous in the long run (see Ferguson, MO).

    @Ambidexter – I hate that you were treated that way. That is completely unacceptable.

    Unacceptable to you, to the victim, and to most of the rest of us, but, apparently, acceptable — just another day on the beat — to the PD and political command structure supervising the officer who committed this outrage, which brings me to a fourth point: The police far too often practice their heavy-handed policies, which cause such mayhem among the population of which they are the putative protectors, with an almost complete lack of accountability for the physical and mental and emotional damage they cause, up to and including the maiming and death of innocent civilians. As I and some others have suggested, if you cannot be a police officer and at the same time respect the civil rights of the population, you're in the wrong line of work.

  99. John says:

    @PonyAdvocate

    Thanks for the reply. I differ in your view that police work is occasionally dangerous. The possibility of danger was frequent – the reality of actually getting a a physical altercation was less so. Many situations could have been much worse with a small change here or there. There is a lot of gun violence in the US and there are a lot of people who are willing to do harm to the police. I think one big difference we have is that you think officers only occasionally face a legitimate risk of serious injury while my experience was that it was a daily occurrence.

    The use of force by the police must be reasonable. Cops should be held accountable for violating the rights of citizens. Every time I either drew my gun or had to put my hands on someone, I had to write a Use of Force report that justified my actions. Those reports were reviewed and I could be reprimanded if the use of force was not appropriate. Further, the department kept statistics on the number of use of force incidents for each officer. I had friends who had a hard time getting promoted because they were involved in too many use of force incidents – not that any use of force was not reasonable or justified. I never felt I was encouraged to use force, but the opposite. We were also required to carry digital tape recorders so our interactions could be reviewed. I never felt I could act with impunity and I was always aware that any action I took would be reviewed.

  100. EnlightenmentLiberal says:

    @John

    I realize that the likelihood of me convincing any of the three of you that police work is dangerous is small, but I thought I would respond for others who might find this of interest.

    It is dangerous. I respect good police officers. It's not super dangerous like some romanticists might make it out to be. I believe PonyAdvocate summed it up well above.

    However, you did just state that merely hearing that a fellow officer got injured by a suspect can fundamentally change your behavior as an officer, with a strong implication that you would be less good of a cop. That you also worked in the drug unit furthered my suspicion.

    How many search warrants did you serve where you went in, with no knock and announce, with a full SWAT team in full gear, guns pointed at people, ordering everyone to lie on the ground, over just a petty drug offense and no specific cause to expect armed resistance? If the answer is more than 0, I stand by my previous characterization.

    If you did not engage in such behavior, and you do not condone such behavior, then I was in error, and I retract my complaints. I realize I might have assumed too much, and so an apology might be in order. However, even then, I would issue a new complaint, that you really need to work on your communication skills.

  101. Kagato says:

    @Resolute:

    @Matthew Cline:
    @Alicia McDonald:
    Why should they have to put up with some dumbass's mouth?

    Because a dumbass mouthing off isn't illegal?

    That doesn't answer the question.
    Nobody should have to put up with idiotic invective.

    People shouldn't be subjected to idiotic invective.
    However, people that are subjected to it do, in fact, have to put up with it (under most circumstances).
    Because a dumbass mouthing off isn’t illegal.

  102. d says:

    The issue is where the lens of social change is currently pointed. In law, it's on the police officers instead of on the law makers. In education, it's on the teachers and not principals and parents. In politics, it's on the executive branch and not the legislative.
    This is like blaming war on the privates and those in the trenches instead of our leaders.

  103. Dan Weber says:

    Some people start at "we should expect more from cops than we do from ordinary people in their ability to compartmentalize violence" and somehow end up at "cops should be robots that logically evaluate that roofers have a more dangerous job and therefore just get over it or quit."

    First, I suspect this is an impossible standard. If cops develop an us-vs-them mentality, the response from the public should not be to tell them to quit; it should be to help change the way cops operate. The Balko article opened my mind when it pointed out the way that cops expect violence from a protest can cause the protest to turn violent. He has good evidence, but it's also easy for me to say from my air-conditioned office. There's something harder for me to say but it's the next step in the chain: the way the public, including me, reacts to cops can negatively change the behavior of cops.

    Second, there is fundamentally a difference in the human mind between a death by accident and death by the actions of another. You can argue that it's illogical. You may or may not be right, but it lends very easily to the caricature of the nerd sitting on the Internet telling other people in situations he's never been in how those others ought to feel based on an analysis on the nerd's spreadsheet. (The subpopulations that don't feel this way tend to be those with different mental profiles, like ASD. It would be an interesting experiment to draw a police force from this number, but this can get a lack of empathy from the cops to the people they trust. Empathy is key: the cops need to feel it for the populace. If a woman calls a cop because she's afraid of her ex-husband, he shouldn't mechanically tell her she has a greater risk of dying in the bathtub than being killed by a spouse.)

    A lack of control is fundamental in how people face risk. People may face an X chance of dying as a result of some suspect's actions as a cop, and a 10X chance of dying as a roofer, but most people will feel safer as the roofer because they feel in control: as long as they keep their shoes in good repair and don't work in the rain and use safety equipment, they can feel more at ease.

    I suspect simply telling cops "deal with it or quit" is setting an impossible standard and displaying the same lack of empathy to the police that we, rightly, criticize the police for not having to their people they are supposed to be protecting.

    Libertarians often criticize liberals for thinking that any government problem is simply a matter of the wrong people being elected. No, libertarians point out, anyone put into that position will display the same behavior, and we need to reform the system. (See The Federalist #51 on "if men were angels") So I ask the people here who lean libertarian to apply that same logic to cops: it's not simply a matter of getting better cops. Again, read the Balko article: the cops changing procedures can substantially change outcomes, despite being the same cops.

    If cops have the wrong mindset, we need to reform the system, not (just) reform the cops.

  104. CJK Fossman says:

    @Dan Weber

    Could not agree more.

    I believe also that changing the system should include more and better training for cops along with a better support system for dealing with the trauma, sense of danger and so forth.

  105. im says:

    First of all, this guy (Sunil Dutta) is not a professor at Colorado Tech. Univ. He used to be, but not since Feb. 2014.

    Second, citizens have the right to ask why they are stopped by a police – it is our constitutional right (in case they didn’t tell you in your training). Also, we all have the right to say what we want and if you don’t like what we say, it doesn’t mean you can shoot us.

    Anyways, the issue is with color. If a black man says and acts negatively, police thinks they have the right to shoot (may be they are scared of black men…) but if a white man say/do the same negative things, he doesn’t get shot – that is the issue we are facing in this country.

  106. PonyAdvocate says:

    @John
    It has occurred to me that we have been talking past one another, and, as is so often the case, it may be due to a language misunderstanding.

    You have been emphasizing how dangerous police work is, and I and some others have been pointing out that this is not the case; I think the statistics support our case more than they support yours. But I think (and please correct me if I'm wrong), when you have talked about the "danger" of police work, what you really are getting at (and you allude to this in your most recent post) is that police work can be really, really scary; and this I willingly grant. Not every situation an officer deals with actually is dangerous, but the potential is very frequently there. It's very rare that an officer is gunned down at a traffic stop, but the possibility is always in the back of the officer's mind. Contrariwise, teachers or movie theater ushers don't routinely expect their workplaces to get shot up. That does happen, as we've learned to our sorrow, but it's probably not something they're constantly thinking about.

    I think it takes a person of exceptional mental strength to deal with this kind of stress and not become unacceptably hardened; from your account of your time as a police officer, it sounds as if you have this kind of strength, and that you worked in a good department. I ask you to understand that you and your former department might be an exception, not the rule. And I ask you also to understand that almost always, the random citizen with whom you interact, even if you don't adopt a domineering front, is more afraid of you than you are of him: after all, he most likely doesn't have a gun, and he knows that you do, and can call up a lot of other guys with guns to come help you. And I ask you also to try to understand that there are lots of people, especially members of ethnic minorities, whose interactions with law enforcement have, through no fault of theirs, been very frequent and very bad. Far too many cops, it seems, are drawn to the work because they enjoy the mayhem and the ability to bully others who can't fight back. Without that badge and gun, someone like this has two problems: he might run into someone who can kick his ass, and he might find himself colliding with the criminal justice system, and not in a good way. When he has that badge and gun, though, both those problems go away.

  107. PonyAdvocate says:

    @John
    It has occurred to me that we have been talking past one another, and, as is so often the case, it may be due to a language misunderstanding.

    You have been emphasizing how dangerous police work is, and I and some others have been pointing out that this is not the case; I think the statistics support our case more than they support yours. But I think (and please correct me if I'm wrong), when you have talked about the "danger" of police work, what you really are getting at (and you allude to this in your most recent post) is that police work can be really, really scary; and this I willingly grant. Not every situation an officer deals with actually is dangerous, but the potential is very frequently there. It's very rare that an officer is gunned down at a traffic stop, but the possibility is always in the back of the officer's mind. Contrariwise, teachers or movie theater ushers don't routinely expect their workplaces to get shot up. That does happen, as we've learned to our sorrow, but it's probably not something they're constantly thinking about.

    I think it takes a person of exceptional mental strength to deal with this kind of stress and not become unacceptably hardened; from your account of your time as a police officer, it sounds as if you have this kind of strength, and that you worked in a good department. I ask you to understand that you and your former department might be an exception, not the rule. And I ask you also to understand that almost always, the random citizen with whom you interact, even if you don't adopt a domineering front, is more afraid of you than you are of him: after all, he most likely doesn't have a gun, and he knows that you do, and can call up a lot of other guys with guns to come help you. And I ask you also to try to understand that there are lots of people, especially members of ethnic minorities, whose interactions with law enforcement have, through no fault of theirs, been very frequent and very bad. Far too many cops, it seems, are drawn to the work because they enjoy the mayhem and the ability to bully others who can't fight back. Without that badge and gun, someone like this has two problems: he might run into someone who can kick his ass, and he might find himself colliding with the criminal justice system, and not in a good way. When he has that badge and gun, though, both those problems go away.

  108. John says:

    @PonyAdvocate
    Well written and I generally agree. Thanks for the complimentary words. I would happily buy you a cup of coffee or a beer.

  109. Nullifidian says:

    John:

    The possibility of danger was frequent – the reality of actually getting a a physical altercation was less so. Many situations could have been much worse with a small change here or there.

    I love this. This is so precious that I want to have it stitched in needlepoint and hang it in my bathroom. He admits that physical altercations were few and far between, but justifies hyping up the danger because "many situations could have been much worse". Cops are entitled to special deference because of danger in the subjunctive mood.

    My parents and I were once the victims of a robbery where they kicked in the door and—the robbers not being particularly efficient, selective, or intelligent—grabbed my cheap clock radio and then dropped it in preference to two Betamax players, well after it was already a defunct format. This happened when we were all out, naturally. But just think what might have happened if we were at home and they were armed! Indeed, at any moment, I might have a small army of murderers and rapists and batterers pouring through my door. With so many potential threats around, it's amazing that any one of us is alive to tell the tale.

  110. CJK Fossman says:

    @Nullifid

    It's not nice to pile on.

  111. Nullifidian says:

    @CJK Fossman,

    He shouldn't feel obligated to respond to me if he doesn't want to. I highlighted it because nobody else picked that particular part of his post out for scrutiny. And I did want to express my utterly sincere appreciation of this statement because I think it's absolutely hilarious.

  112. pjcamp says:

    When Rialto, California started requiring police to wear body cameras, use of force declined by 60% and citizen complaints declined by 88%. That certainly suggests a lot of something was going on before the camera requirement.

    All law enforcement, including FBI, ATF, etc, not just cops, should be required by law to wear body cameras that can record an entire shift and cannot be switched off by the officer (because of this: http://jonathanturley.org/2014/08/19/new-orleans-police-officer-turns-off-body-camera-minutes-before-shooting-suspect-in-forehead/).

    That alone, however, will not solve the problem of police malfeasance. Law enforcement is the only part of society empowered to investigate itself for misdeeds. That's why charging officers with a crime is as rare as unicorns. That power should be taken away from them and given to independent agencies.

  113. EnlightenmentLiberal says:

    I'm still waiting for John to answer how many warrants he served on personal dwellings, with no knock and announce, breaking in with guns pointed at people with no threat determination, yelling at people to get on the ground, on just a petty drug charge and with no specific indication to expect armed resistance.

    I'm also waiting on John to try and justify this or not.

  114. Castaigne says:

    In General: Does no one on this board really understand the whole concept of boss/employee, more formally known as master/servant?

    I don't disagree with the concept that police in America or being militarized – fault of the whole Zero Tolerance/Three Strikes thing started by conservatism in the late 1980s – but I have an issue with saying that police should not have this or that authority. If you don't have authority – and the force to back it up – then you can be ignored with impunity and without consequence. Which means I can ignore the laws you want to enforce with impunity and without consequence, because you can't back them up.

    Which leads us to anarchy: My Whim Is The Supreme Law. Whatever I can get away with or whatever force I need to enact my whim is perfectly valid, because your little laws (and rights, and privileges) have no teeth. And you're forced into the same mode in order to stop me, if you are so inclined to do so.

    What is the Clark/Anarchist solution to this problem? Because I don't trust "the public" to do what's right or be orderly. I've dealt with "the public"; I wouldn't trust the 90% of them unless they were straitjacketed and locked in a rubber room.

    Side question: What the heck is it with the dissonance on "respect"? If you respect something/one, it's because you fear something/one. Without fear, there is no respect. So if you respect "good cops", how do you not fear them? That just makes no logical sense.

  115. Castaigne says:

    @Mu: I love it how the guy exchanged one job where you rank superior over the peons (cop) with another with the same rank structure (college professor) and the same build-in presumed authority.

    That is the one part I don't see as a disconnect.
    You're a student? The college professor is The Bawss.
    You're a child? Your parent is The Bawss.
    You're an employee? Your supervisor/boss is The Bawss.
    And one always does what The Bawss says, unless one wishes to be failed, spanked, or fired.

    All authority is equivalent to me; the only thing that changes are the titles. But I live and work in hierarchies, so there you go.

    —–

    @sorrykb: You work for us, not the other way around.

    The only problem I have with this statement, is what it implies. Ok, the cops work for the public, they are civil servants.
    Well, by logic, that makes me the Civil Master. And the servant does what the master commands.

    So if a cop comes walking by, I should be able to say, "You, Civil Servant, get me a martini." and the cop should bob his head and say "Yes, sir, right away, sir." and nip off to get it. Just like a servant you would order in your own home. Or an employee that's under you at work.

    If they work for us, then they should be completely obedient to us, without question or without hesitation. The subordinate obeys, the superior commands.

    —–

    @Jason: Afterwards I realized why cops seem to be so cynical. It would not take long in that job to change your outlook on humanity.

    I have no idea why ANYONE who has ever had contact with the public in any meaningful way is anything but "cynical", which I consider idealistic. it just baffles me to see idealism. It's just terribly unrealistic.

  116. pk says:

    @John, you state:

    I think one big difference we have is that you think officers only occasionally face a legitimate risk of serious injury while my experience was that it was a daily occurrence.

    But you've exposed a logical fallacy in your own argument here in an attempt to undermine the unambiguous statistics demonstrating that in reality, being a police officer is simply not as dangerous as most LEOs would have the public believe, and certainly not dangerous enough to justify the type of heavy-handed tactics that are actually employed against the citizenry on a daily basis by officers.

    It simply doesn't matter how "frequently" officers face a "legitimate risk of serious injury" if that risk doesn't actually materialize into serious injuries. If it did materialize, it would be reflected in the statistics. Otherwise, it's just being used as a false justification for unnecessary use of force and other behavior that violates people's rights.

  117. Johann says:

    Here's a good piece that is also a partial response to Dutton's op-ed, that talks at some length about de-escalation and the need for more training in alternatives to common forms of force.

    http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/column-54-control-freaks

  118. Tim! says:

    @Castaigne:

    Without fear, there is no respect.

    Wat.

    For me, fear is more likely to lead to contempt than it is to respect. I fear and respect bears. I fear and have contempt for terrorists, dictators, and thuggish cops. I certainly don't respect terrorists, dictators, or thugs.

    It's much more likely that I respect someone that I admire than someone I fear. I respect Bob Ross, Jim Henson, Lawrence Lessig, Bruce Schneier, Sid Meier, Mel Brooks, Buzz Aldrin. I certainly don't fear them.

    If they work for us, then they should be completely obedient to us, without question or without hesitation.

    Wat.

    This is America, dude. Differing opinions are encouraged. Subservience is feudalism, we grew out of that 500 years ago. Subservience is slavery, we grew out of that 150 years ago. Anyway, maybe we're still growing out of subservience, but it is certainly not the ideal nor the reality I experience. My boss asks me to do something; if it seems reasonable and high priority I do it; otherwise we have a discussion about why it's a bad idea or why something else takes precedence.

    The cops are civil servants, but that doesn't make them everyone's butler. Their domain of servitude is limited to preserving the peace. Similarly, I don't get to demand that my direct reports get me a martini: my authority over them is limited to the domain of software development. My chef (if I had one) ought to laugh and refuse if I demand that she scrub the toilet. Scrubbing the toilet is the job of the maid (if I had one).

    I feel pity for your limited black & white worldview. I hope you can find some enlightenment. Maybe read some Ken Wilbur.

  119. Castaigne says:

    @Tim!:

    It's much more likely that I respect someone that I admire than someone I fear.

    I admire people too. I definitely do not respect people that I admire. I think you probably have a different idea of respect than I do.

    This is America, dude. Differing opinions are encouraged.

    Absolutely. You may have all the differing opinions one is pleased to have. But I don't express them to my employer, because my opinions at work are whatever my employer wants me to have. And they'll remain that way if I expect to get a paycheck. When you work for somebody, when you are under somebody in a hierarchy, you get to have your own opinion when it's allowed. Or you get kicked/banned from the hierarchy.

    Otherwise, you'd have military soldier being able to flip off generals and mouth off whenever they get an order. Same with corporate employees and their bosses. That doesn't happen; there's a reason for that.

    My boss asks me to do something; if it seems reasonable and high priority I do it; otherwise we have a discussion about why it's a bad idea or why something else takes precedence.

    And that hasn't become a "career-limiting decision", as the lingo goes? I'm surprised. I never question the person who I'm working for. If I do, I stop working for them. As I told my present employer "You're the brains, I'm the hands." A cog in the machine. And as I tell the engineers under me, "You're not here to have ideas. You're here to engineer what we want you to engineer." A place for every person, and every person in their place.

    Similarly, I don't get to demand that my direct reports get me a martini: my authority over them is limited to the domain of software development.

    Uh, why not? You're the boss. Change the job description and deliver it the changes to them in the appropriate format. Presto! Martini acquired.

    My chef (if I had one) ought to laugh and refuse if I demand that she scrub the toilet. Scrubbing the toilet is the job of the maid (if I had one).

    See the job description change method. Remember, you're paying them – if they don't want to do what you want them to do, they can go work somewhere else if they don't like it. You're The Bawss. Here, a funny version of the reality: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NisCkxU544c)

    I feel pity for your limited black & white worldview.

    You call it black and white. I point out that I always know EXACTLY where I stand with others and what my duties in the hierarchy are. I never have to question and I'm never confused. So, certainty is not desirable to you?

  120. Kratoklastes says:

    @John – you say 48, I say 51 (maybe the other 3 were not killed with firearms) – so our statistics agree, roughly.

    How many pigs are there in the US?

    Roughly 765,000 (that's only "sworn officers" – total employment in law enforcement is 1.1 million, but some of those are civilian desk jobs).

    That figure is from 2008; numbers grew 6% from 2004-2008 and there is no reason to believe that they've fallen since, given the political obsession with security theatre. But let's go with it, to be conservative.

    That 765k does NOT include the armed-thug wings of FBI, DEA, ATF, ICE, CBP, DHS, TSA, NSA, and the rest of the acronym-spaghetti that furnishes lucrative, risk-free sinecures for people not smart enough to get into college but too smart to join the military.

    So 48/765000 is the average steroid-augmented Doughnut-Inhaler's chance of dying by gunfire on the job: I'll do the calculation for you – it's 0.0062745%.

    If you wanted an actuarially-fair insurance premium to cover that risk of death, and the sum insured was $1m: sixty-two bucks a year, and change. So, not really that risky to anybody whose business depends on actuarial analysis of risk.

    Your anecdotes are not relevant. Anecdotes make for bad analysis and worse policy.

    And your anecdotes are specifically less relevant than each of those for the 500-odd people killed BY police in the average year (a number which is artificially low, since the pigs routinely under-report officer shootings).

    What ought to worry folks is that the number of "cop guns down civilian" deaths "at a distance" has almost doubled recently: in 2011, 33 (7%) of the pigs' victims were killed with rifles, which sorta undermines the "he was comin' right at me!" defence.

  121. Tim! says:

    @Castaigne:

    I think you probably have a different idea of respect than I do.

    Sound like it. I hate quoting the dictionary but I feel I must in this case:
    respect verb 1. admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

    The closest I can get to your fear-based definition is:
    4. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment

    Even then I read this as having more to do with kindness and empathy than fear.

    A cog in the machine.

    I'm glad I don't work where you work. It sounds horrible. Do you find the world described in 1984 to be a compelling utopic vision?

    So, certainty is not desirable to you?

    Sure it is. But much (MUCH) less desirable than flexibility, creativity, innovation, fun. Take a look at that list of people I admire.

  122. CJK Fossman says:

    @Castaigne

    No respect without fear?

    That statement says a lot about the way your mind is working today. I hope you have better days sometimes.

    @Null, apparently you missed PonyAdvocate's thoughtful comment.

    @EnlightenedLiberal: nobody cares.

  123. Nullifidian says:

    No, CJK Fossman, I didn't.

  124. OrderoftheQuaff says:

    Did Castaigne (12:50 P.M.) really equate the police/citizen relationship to master/servant, with the citizens as the servants? I always thought it was the other way around. OMG there are some craven bootlickers in this thread, how did they find Popehat?

  125. V says:

    Thanks for that link, Johann.

  126. Just Wondering says:

    You don't seem to like the police at all. You act like you're the arbiter of the Constitution lately.

    I never see you say anything nice about what police do in the real world. You paint a picture that they are to be feared instead of where you go to when you need help. Congratulations, you're now up there with the #DayofRage idiots.

    Let me just say this, Mr. White. There's a lot more lawyer jokes out there that aren't flattering to what you do than there are police jokes. There's a good reason for that. But I wouldn't run around advising people to not trust lawyers the way you run around telling them not to trust the police.

    On Politics: Get off your high horse because you're not a Republican, so stop trying to mesh with the conservative crowd. The crowd you currently hang with is disgustingly anarchist and quite thuggery themselves.

    I don't know what you are, honestly. But you're not likable anymore. Sorry you lost me and it's probably due to you do too much internet. Take a vacation or just register Democrat. They seem to be entertained for finding a place where the police can be called "pigs".

  127. Matthew Cline says:

    @OrderoftheQuaff :

    Did Castaigne (12:50 P.M.) really equate the police/citizen relationship to master/servant, with the citizens as the servants? I always thought it was the other way around.

    While he's criticizing the idea that the police are servants of the citizenry, I don't think he's claiming the opposite. I think he's saying that if you want an analogy for the relationship between police and citizens, it should be something other than master/servant.

  128. rmd says:

    There's a lot more lawyer jokes out there that aren't flattering to what you do than there are police jokes. There's a good reason for that.

    Yeah, because the worst a lawyer can do if he doesn't like your joke is to sue you.

  129. sorrykb says:

    Just Wondering wrote:

    The crowd you currently hang with is disgustingly anarchist and quite thuggery themselves.

    Hi, Just Wondering! I'm sorrykb, and I'm a liberal. Try to relax; we get all kinds here.

    By the way, "thuggery" is a noun. The adjective you're looking for is "thuggish". (The crowd Ken hangs with can also be annoyingly pedantic.)

  130. TerryTowels says:

    @Tim! You've met an engineer! All those jokes about them are true. I worked in a consultancy who had a contract with an engineering firm. It was canceled because everyone refused to work with the engineers in the firm.

  131. Tim! says:

    @TerryTowels: I suppose that contrary to my official title I consider myself a software craftsman.

  132. It needs balance says:

    @rmb

    Yeah, because the worst a lawyer can do if he doesn't like your joke is to sue you.

    You're assuming the officer shot the man because he didn't like him? That's being disingenuous.

    I think the article could have been more balanced and that's probably why Ken is taking criticism, but he should accept that as part of public writing and address it himself, instead of getting the public to address dissenters for him after ridiculing the criticizer. I think he'd get more favorable opinions if he bought a thicker, responsible skin instead of shopping for a new cardigan. Honestly, it sounds like he's just laughing at people who disagree with him and that's not being an adult.

    I did take a look at the balance and I do see respectable types in his line-up of fans. However, there is some truth to him attracting the anarchist types. A balanced article would have included, that types who put pictures like this one in their profiles, are indeed, not mentally stable or even legally correct.

    https://twitter.com/_chaosmosis where the profile bears disorderly conduct at the extreme. I'll tell you what, if that happened in my neighborhood, on my property, I'm going to shoot. You can write all the articles you want later stating I'm in the wrong because he wasn't armed with a gun, but when I see CNN hosting pictures of this same area with protesters carrying ISIS signs like a badge, with the guy next to him carrying a sign that calls for justice, I'm at a loss for words why this part wasn't balanced into the excuses made by lawyers, who are supposed to be officers themselves, of the courts.

    I understand that it's difficult to disagree with someone you've respected on many other matters, but in this case, I don't respect this article because it's not being balanced or respectful of the many law enforcement personnel out there who die serving the people and put their lives on the line each and every day when they go to work. It doesn't point out the attraction a situation like this has for the mentally unstable hooligans who if given the chance, would burn the entire country to the ground. Where is the mention of ISIS signs? I didn't see that mentioned here at all either, but it happened. I never saw a beheading that required the use of a firearm either.

    I also saw some of those people who organized #stoprush campaigns cheering. What happened there and still is, isn't legal either. Trying to take the man off the air and ruin his trademark and business, just because they don't like what he says, is being a thug. I suppose these dictators need a following too, but I'd take care to not have them latching onto me, that's for sure.

    On a lighter note, I did enjoy many of Ken's other pieces. Inviting strangers to read about his warm family shows a different side and quite welcoming. I appreciate him for that. I just don't agree that I'd relate to that familial setting had, for instance, when I stepped out of line growing up, there wasn't a father-figure there for me to crack the whip when I deserved it. My dad was that type of man and I'm a better man today because of it.

    Spare the rod, spoil the child. These hoodlums act like spoiled brats. Of course, they don't deserve to be shot dead, but that's only if, in a court of proper jurisdiction, innocence prevails. In that case, justice should be served against the shooter, but not on a blog or social media, sorry. Presumption of innocence is for all, not just the ones who got shot at, but also for the ones who shoot the police.

    This desire I see out there right now to gang up on any authority is a step forward in burning the Constitution, which is the anarchist goal. Just remember that if that happens, there won't be any need for lawyers.

    I t

  133. EnglightenmentLiberal says:

    @CJK Fossman

    @EnlightenedLiberal: nobody cares.

    To the contrary, I think lots of people care. Apparently just not you. Lots of other people in this thread care about how police serve search warrants, in full body gear, guns pointed at people, no knock and announce, with no cause to expect armed resistance. It's very much part of the overall problem of extreme overuse of force by police.

    @It needs balance
    Let me respond to just one piece of bullcrap in your post.

    Of course, they don't deserve to be shot dead, but that's only if, in a court of proper jurisdiction, innocence prevails.

    Courts find defendants guilty or not-guilty. It's not "guilty or innocent". You got that ass backwards. It is not the job of a criminal court to determine innocence. It's innocent until proven guilty. The proper phrasing would be "not guilty prevails". You have your burden of proof completely out of whack, which shows in your choice of words.

  134. Anglave says:

    @Castaigne

    I'm honestly not sure whether to take you at face value. Can you seriously believe what you're saying, or are you attempting some variant of a modest proposal?

    In General: Does no one on this board really understand the whole concept of boss/employee, more formally known as master/servant?

    There are important distinctions between "boss" and "master" I currently have a boss. As a free citizen and adult member of the human race, I have no "master".
    .
    My boss's authority over me is constrained in many ways. It's limited to the arena of my professional employment. It's further limited by a bunch of laws, safety regulations, and HR rules. Furthermore, his capacity to "punish" me is limited to filing complaint or potentially terminating my employment. If he gives me a command and I refuse and he strikes me for my audacity and insolence, that's criminal (even if the command was legitimate – though you don't even seem to recognize the concept of an illegitimate command). He expressly does not have the authority to strike me, detain me against my will, violate any of my bodily cavities, etc.

    Would a "master", in your view, have that authority? If he handed me a fork and instructed me to jam it into an outlet, and when I refused he knocked me to the floor and kicked me repeatedly in the head, would that be acceptable behavior covered by the conditions of the master/servant relationship you've defined?
    .
    I've been on both sides of the Employer / Employee equation. As a small business owner (only about 100 employees), I always encouraged my employees to question me or my foremen if our instructions seemed unclear or contradictory, to raise a question instantly if they felt I asked them to do something unsafe, and to speak up if they saw a better way of getting the job done.
    Sure, it's important that my employees do the work I'm paying them for, but the work is done in the most efficient and safest manner when the flow if information and responsibility goes both ways. If I tell an employee to do something dumb or unsafe, I want them to feel confident in questioning my instructions. Perhaps they've misunderstood me, or perhaps their inexperience leads to incorrect conclusions, but just possibly they've found an easier or safer way; I'd be a fool to ignore that.
    .
    As an employee (software craftsman is a good label, thanks Tim!), I frequently receive instructions that are contradictory or unclear. I do some database development and maintenance, and my boss doesn't really understand databases. He frequently gives instructions that, if followed without question, would have disastrous results. It's one of my responsibilities as an employee to question the instructions I receive, to suggest alternatives, and to generally try to produce the best outcome I can.
    I fear the products developed under your boss/employee = master/slave regime.

    I have an issue with saying that police should not have this or that authority. If you don't have authority – and the force to back it up – then you can be ignored with impunity and without consequence. Which means I can ignore the laws you want to enforce with impunity and without consequence, because you can't back them up.

    This is a patently ridiculous assertion. If the police don't have ultimate authority, including license to execute anyone they choose with impunity and without review, then no one has any reason to obey the law? Nonsense.
    .
    Hugely relevant is that the police have authority within certain bounds. The police are not "masters" of the citizens, nor are individual citizens "masters" of the police. The police are granted certain authorities by law; the authority to arrest, to question, etc. under clearly defined circumstances in the performance of their mandate to maintain the peace and enforce the law.
    .
    An officer does have the authority to pull me over and ask me some questions. He does not have the authority to drag me out of my car, douse me in gasoline, and set me aflame because he didn't like my tone of voice. So clearly his authority is limited. But you seem to be arguing that limited authority is no authority.
    .
    The core reason I may respond to police with fear rather than respect is that what is legally correct won't stop me from getting beaten, violated, or killed if I object to an officer's authority. The police know it, and they make sure we know it. They can and do violate the rights of citizens and almost always get away with it, but if we object it's going to go hard for us.
    This state of affairs is deeply objectionable, and I suspect it's why many people have no love for the police.
    .
    "Do what you're told without question or you'll get beaten or killed." isn't morally right, it isn't legal, and it certainly shouldn't be! But it's all too often the case.

    Side question: What the heck is it with the dissonance on "respect"? If you respect something/one, it's because you fear something/one. Without fear, there is no respect. So if you respect "good cops", how do you not fear them? That just makes no logical sense.

    I flatly and wholeheartedly disagree. Fear and Respect are not equal, they're completely different axes.
    .
    If I fear someone (or the institution they represent), I may treat them with (apparent) respect, because to evidence my disrespect would be antagonistic. My pragmatic self realizes that the outcome is likely to be much better for me if I show respect. Bullies like it when you acknowledge their power and validate their sense of superiority.
    .
    But I don't genuinely respect anyone out of fear.
    .
    If you've never felt respect for another person because of their courage, perseverance, adherence to principles, dedication, sacrifice, or humanity – without fearing them – then I genuinely pity your impoverished experience of the world.

  135. sorrykb says:

    It Needs Balance wrote:

    I think the article could have been more balanced and that's probably why Ken is taking criticism

    The "balance" you speak of is between unquestioning subservience to authority, on the one hand, and freedom, on the other. I see no need to strike a balance there.

    …but he should accept that as part of public writing and address it himself, instead of getting the public to address dissenters for him after ridiculing the criticizer.

    Ken, I haven't yet received my payment for defending you this week. I assume the check's in the mail?

    I do see respectable types in his line-up of fans. However, there is some truth to him attracting the anarchist types. A balanced article would have included, that types who put pictures like this one in their profiles, are indeed, not mentally stable or even legally correct.

    My avatar may look respectable, but I assure you that cat is a dangerous, unstable, and legally incorrect subversive. It's probably not even American.

  136. Beth G. says:

    Nowhere was it ever written that the police are our masters and we are their servants. Talk about feudal law. Please go back to Great Britain and take a pill if you don't like it here. Some of you act like the sky is falling and Hitler has been resurrected. Of course, you're probably the first ones to dial 9-1-1 when a strange car is driving down your street, too. Hypocrites.

    My son's life was saved by a police officer. How dare you ball them all up as beholden to YOU, their MASTER, on some internet BLOG that doles out the sentencing for all officers in one fell swoop. That's what this is about anyway, control and who has it. It's evident YOU want that type of untrained authority.

    Get it through your thick heads. If you write like anarchists, you probably are. There's the door. Buy a ticket to Africa if you don't like it here. It would be better for you, since terrorists roam freely on the streets of France and they aren't afraid of light-skinned, lawyers and their puppy dogs who took a few courses in creative writing. The thought of the groupies here defending me or my property is nauseatingly out of the question.

  137. Beth G. says:

    He does not have the authority to drag me out of my car, douse me in gasoline, and set me aflame because he didn't like my tone of voice.

    Since this never happened, you should probably stay off the sauce before getting behind a keyboard. You sound ridiculous.

  138. Beth G. says:

    @sorrykb You don't get points for snark. Snark is what gets police agitated. If you came to my door with a dresser mirror, camera phone and hidden microphone, I'd call you out for what you are, a provocative smart-ass. Then I'd call the dog who would eat your cat. My only snark would be laughing as you ran high-tailed off my property screaming like a child.

  139. rmd says:

    Yeah, because the worst a lawyer can do if he doesn't like your joke is to sue you.

    You're assuming the officer shot the man because he didn't like him? That's being disingenuous.

    I was assuming nothing of the kind. It was a bit of snark in response to Mr./Ms. Wondering's rather pointless point about lawyer jokes v. cop jokes and had nothing to do with any particular cop shooting any particular joker. Nonetheless, from reading Dutta's article, do you it think likely that he would enjoy a joke at his own expense?

  140. Beth G. says:

    Well I do have a Master and it's GOD. When the bullies took that out of every damned facet of the "human race", you sneakily exalted yourselves to that position. Now it's just a matter of you trying to write up some commandments better than what you had to start with and you're failing hard.

    If you loved your neighbor as yourself, treating everyone with the same respect and diligence you expect, you wouldn't have a run-in with the law.

    If you didn't commit adultery, stayed in your marriages and took care of your children, lost the free-sex attitudes, you wouldn't have them growing up to be the burdens on society that they've become. It's your fault. Now you're just looking for excuses to blame the containment operators hired to clean up what you screwed up. This must be the in-denial crowd that just waits for someone somewhere to screw up so they lay blame on all authority in one pail of whitewash.

    When you can say you have met the threshold of just 10 little Commandments written by the Master, then you have room to talk. If you think America is going to bow to your solution of chaos, please start a cult and call it for what it is.

  141. CJK Fossman says:

    @Enlightened Liberal

    Sorry, I should have explained more fully.

    What I meant was nobody cares about your personal desire to badger John. Maybe doing so would make you feel better somehow, but that's all it would do.

    @Beth G
    Matthew 7:1-3
    Romans 12:19

  142. sorrykb says:

    Well, Beth G., your love for your neighbor sure did evaporate quickly.

  143. Beth G. says:

    @CJK Fossman

    Actually my point regarding the 10 Commandments was that if everyone policed themselves morally, they wouldn't have to worry about the police. If parents did a better job raising their children with a disciplined hand, the police would have to discipline a lot fewer. The fault lies within. This is usually where no one wants to look first, but it is where they should. Everyone wants to place false blame to feel better about where they screwed up. In the end, we all die alone and are accountable to a Master greater than anything this "human race" has tried to replace. The Bible also says to take care, lest you die in a state of sin by some fault or accident. When that day comes, it won't matter who put you there.

    Just like the failed community policing that liberals favor over zero tolerance, we just watched a community turn upon itself using the death by cop as an excuse. So much for the neighborhood watch there. It didn't exist but now it's the fault of authority who showed up to protect lives and property. In the end, the protesters got their wish. I hope they enjoy their ill-gotten goods because when they run out, they will be looking for the next excuse to loot more. After all, they got away with it in Ferguson. They also got away with rolling the 10 Commandments out of public places. Gee, I wonder why that happened? It's because these sinners don't want to be to told what to do at all, by anyone, especially GOD.

    I read @Popehat's Twitter and he stated that he doesn't trust the police. I think he has a jaded view and by writing this and pointing every alleged mistake he finds, solidifies his bias. He's entitled to his opinion, but he strikes me as having a biased agenda that is helping to fuel the anarchy levels out there. I much preferred @AllenWest's tempered-with-logic piece on the matter. Allen West is also very much against a Police State and is a decorated veteran and former Congressman. https://twitter.com/AllenWest/status/499205977875681281

    Mr. West speaks to what I'm feeling. Shut it down and look within yourselves.

    Good night.

  144. Beth G. says:

    @sorrykb

    Well, Beth G., your love for your neighbor sure did evaporate quickly.

    I am required to love my neighbor. What I'm not required to do is love what they do.

    You'd do well to police yourself first a bit, too. All I've seen you do is criticize others for their thoughts and spelling.

  145. @ EnlightenmentLiberal: "I strongly suspect I can find some minor military intervention that was clearly good. If I look hard enough, some obscure mission to stop genocide that no one ever heard of."

    I'll plead guilty to being imprecise in my choice of wording. I should have qualified "mission" as "mission writ large" or some such. The U.S. Department of Defense has had little to do with actual defense of the U.S. for a very long time. Instead, it's been an instrument of foreign policy projecting power (or violent coercion) on foreign nations in aid of maintaining or expanding the American Empire.

    On the Yazidi, their religion is unique (Wikipedia). While I acknowledge their rescue by U.S. bombing and missiles as a seemingly good act (assuming it's been accurately reported), there is every reason to suspect that the rescue mission was undertaken for propaganda purposes, to sugar coat the first reintroduction of U.S. bombing and missile strikes in Iraq before expanding the mission's scope to attack Syria. Certainly, identification of Air Force targets was an admitted part of the U.S. military's mission when Obama first ordered our military back into Iraq to evaluate whether the Iraqi military was capable of defending against ISIL, long before the Yazidi arrived in dire straits. The bombing and missile strikes were quickly expanded to other conventional military targets after the Yazidi rescue missions, for example, in aid of retaking the Mosul Dam, ostensibly to protect the downstream U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The Obama Administration's trial balloon on extending the U.S. military strikes against ISIL from Iraq into Syria was launched yesterday (NY Times).

    I don't recall ever hearing of a U.S. military anti-genocide mission that withstood closer study, despite in-depth study of the history of U.S. military mission abroad. But I'm willing to give credit in the few instances where it is due. For example, I view U.S. military supervision of post-World War II reconstruction of Japan and West Germany mainly on the good side of our military's ledger. But in the main, I see its mission as spreading mayhem, murder, and destruction outside our own borders, most often on the flimsiest of "humanitarian" pretexts.

  146. sorrykb says:

    Beth G. wrote (on August 22, 2014 at 8:25 pm):

    I am required to love my neighbor.

    Beth G. wrote (on August 22, 2014 at 5:07 pm):

    Then I'd call the dog who would eat your cat. My only snark would be laughing as you ran high-tailed off my property screaming like a child.

    So… Much… Love…

  147. Ryan says:

    If only the person who committed these crimes were a police officer.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strip_search_phone_call_scam

    Then it would be acceptable.

  148. Clippy says:

    @Beth G.

    It looks like some preconceived prejudices may be affecting your reading comprehension or your faculty for logical thought. Would you like help?

    Nowhere was it ever written that the police are our masters and we are their servants. Talk about feudal law. Please go back to Great Britain and take a pill if you don't like it here.

    It's not clear who you're responding to here. Castaigne used those words, but it seems like you and he generally agree on the topic of police authority. Who are you suggesting should "go back to Great Britain and take a pill"?
    style note
    That's a pretty aggressive way to open your post. Suggesting that those who disagree with you should be medicated and leave your country comes across as disrespectful.

    Some of you act like the sky is falling and Hitler has been resurrected. Of course, you're probably the first ones to dial 9-1-1 when a strange car is driving down your street, too. Hypocrites.

    style note
    This is definitely a negative way to open. Belittling those who disagree with you, generalizing the behavior of a few to the whole, and engaging in wild accusation and name calling are not a great way to initiate a meaningful conversation.

    warning
    Breaking Godwin's Law in your opening paragraph furthers the impression that you're not seeking a reasonable discussion. Do you wish to switch to the flame or troll style guide?

    How dare you ball them all up as beholden to YOU, their MASTER, on some internet BLOG that doles out the sentencing for all officers in one fell swoop. That's what this is about anyway, control and who has it. It's evident YOU want that type of untrained authority.

    It's unclear who are you responding to here. Would you like to include a quote or rationally address a position rather than simply vomiting invective?
    word choice
    Did you mean "undeserved authority" or "unrestrained authority"? Perhaps "absolute authority" would be clearer.
    style
    It looks like you yelled "BLOG".

    Get it through your thick heads. If you write like anarchists, you probably are.

    It looks like you're addressing absolutely everyone who reads your comment. Would you like to read about antecedents?

    There's the door. Buy a ticket to Africa if you don't like it here.

    It looks like you're screaming insults at the internet and suggesting that everyone who disagrees with you should leave your country. Would you like to take a moment and reconsider the thesis of your post?

  149. Anglave says:

    Beth G wrote:

    Anglave wrote:

    He does not have the authority to drag me out of my car, douse me in gasoline, and set me aflame because he didn't like my tone of voice.

    Since this never happened, you should probably stay off the sauce before getting behind a keyboard. You sound ridiculous.

    Thanks Beth, for your well-reasoned rebuttal and your kind advice.
    .
    You may note that I never claimed such an event actually happened. Surprisingly, not only wasn't I burned to death at the side of the road, I also never even remotely implied that I had been.
    .
    It should be crystal clear from the context that it's an (intentionally hyperbolic) hypothetical example of the type of authority police do not and should not have. My intent was to clarify for Castaigne that police authority clearly is limited, by providing an example of behavior that would obviously exceed their authority.
    To aid you in reaching this conclusion, you might try reading the very next sentences I wrote, following the part you quoted, "So clearly his authority is limited. But you seem to be arguing that limited authority is no authority."
    .
    Your ability to read this as some kind of anecdote that you think I'm claiming is… impressive.

  150. Anglave says:

    @Beth G.

    My son's life was saved by a police officer.

    I'm glad for him, and for you. I never meant to imply that all cops are bad cops.
    .
    I equally wouldn't accept that a specific officer's good deed means all cops are saints. Obviously, as with any profession, there's a range of ability and professionalism. It's quite apparent however that police officers in general are less likely to face serious negative consequences for inappropriate, illegal, or unconstitutional action. I hardly think that's debatable, do you?
    .
    All I'm saying is that an officer should be held to at least the same standard as any other citizen. Possibly, as agents of the State, they should be held to a higher standard, but that's a debate for another day.
    .
    There are clearly defined limits to the scope and domain of an officer's authority. If an officer exceeds that authority, especially when such excess violates the rights of a citizen, I believe the officer should be held accountable. I don't hate "the police" as an entity, but it seems wrong to me that an institution established "To serve and protect" should trample upon the rights of the people with impunity. Whether an officer saved your son or not.
    .
    I'm not advocating for anarchy. I am saying that wearing a badge doesn't give you a free pass to violate my rights. (Strangely, Castaigne seems to believe those positions are equivalent).
    .

    Well I do have a Master and it's GOD.

    Great! I'm glad you've found a moral framework to provide structure in your life.
    .
    Just please don't believe it makes you better than me.

    When the bullies took that out of every damned facet of the "human race", you sneakily exalted yourselves to that position. Now it's just a matter of you trying to write up some commandments better than what you had to start with and you're failing hard.

    Who what? This… I can't even.

    If you loved your neighbor as yourself, treating everyone with the same respect and diligence you expect, you wouldn't have a run-in with the law.

    I try to, I honestly do. Mostly I expect to be treated with respect when I behave respectably. I try hard to give the same courtesy to everyone I interact with. I act with compassion and patience and tolerance every day.
    .
    I have had a run-in with the law. An incident where my rights unquestionably were violated (plain-clothes officers followed me and then entered my home without my permission and despite my objection, without identifying themselves at all and without a warrant). I was arrested, handcuffed, processed, and tossed into a cell. Before I let them handcuff me I demanded again that they identify themselves; I asked for their names and badge numbers. I was told "We already identified ourselves and if you don't remember that it's your problem not ours." I persisted, asking for their badge numbers, and was told "You can get all that when we get you downtown. Now turn around and put your hands behind your back or I'm adding 'resisting arrest.'"
    .
    I had committed no crime. Once I retained a lawyer and made it apparent that I intended to fight, all charges were immediately dropped (because they were transparently ridiculous.) I'd done nothing wrong, I'd done nothing to trouble these officers, I'd spoken respectfully, and asked only that they respect my rights. Luckily, the only cost to me was about a month's income to retain the lawyer and for court costs, thankfully no one was beaten or killed.
    .
    A minor anecdote really, but the fact is that I was behaving just as you suggest – and yet I had a (quite negative) run-in with the law. My own experience disproves your assertion. "If you were doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear." is a false statist platitude.

    If you didn't commit adultery, stayed in your marriages and took care of your children, lost the free-sex attitudes, you wouldn't have them growing up to be the burdens on society that they've become. It's your fault. Now you're just looking for excuses to blame the containment operators hired to clean up what you screwed up. This must be the in-denial crowd that just waits for someone somewhere to screw up so they lay blame on all authority in one pail of whitewash.

    I've never committed adultery, and I've got no children. Yet you accuse me of applying a "pail of whitewash"? Who IS this mysterious "you" you're so upset with?

    When you can say you have met the threshold of just 10 little Commandments written by the Master, then you have room to talk.

    Your commandments, not mine. Your master, not mine.
    But I note you're not doing so well with them yourself.

    If you think America is going to bow to your solution of chaos, please start a cult and call it for what it is.

    Whose "solution of chaos"? Certainly not mine.
    Unless, like Castaigne, you're suggesting that to limit the authority of our law enforcement officers or question whether their actions are just, is tantamount to Anarchy?

  151. Beth G. says:

    @Anglave you can twist my words and put question marks on all your assumptions, but that won't drag me into sparring with you further. You just don't like what I've said and are trying to quash it by imposing your interpretation onto it. There's a big difference in what I write and your twisted assumptions trying to tear it down by lying about what I've written. I'll take that as striking a nerve of truth.

    I've seen this rodeo before. Those that want to burn the Bible but love using snippets of it to throw in a person's face. They expect full commitment in "turning the other cheek", so they can whip the Bible readers into intimidation, but haven't got a clue what that actually means, nor have they contemplated Romans where it's stated plainly that one is commanded to protect themselves and their families when confronted with violence. Nowhere does it say to stand there and not protect yourself. The difference is in not trying to provoke the confrontation because that's when trouble escalates.

    Try actually reading the whole book and realize there is no GOD who makes the declaration that one cannot defend their person. In fact, it's required that you do to the extent that if the attacker dies during that defense, it's his own fault and the defender is not guilty of "murder" in the eyes of GOD. GOD wrote that first, not the Constitution or the laws of the states and federal codes. Gee, I wonder where they got such moral justice inclinations?

    No, I'm not required to love the actions of another. I'm required to love them as beings created by GOD, just like myself, and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve. That commandment sums up the difference between being a deliberate agitator or not. If a deliberate agitator chooses an action to inflict harm on myself or my family, I'm certainly not required to turn the other cheek, I'm commanded to do the opposite. Turning the other cheek means to not get involved in agitating further by acting in kind with words that will lead to a full-scaled fight. Turning the other cheek means walking away BEFORE it gets to that point. But if you choose to pursue me and be the agitator, come to my door and provoke a confrontation, don't try to use my Bible to contain what comes next. It will be the dog eating your cat and I will laugh watching you high-tail it off my property, screaming like a child.

    No police required.

  152. Beth G. says:

    @Clippy Too bad if you don't like it or understand me. That's your problem, not mine. No amount of imposing your interpretation makes what I said your interpretation either. You just seem to me to be the type who TRIES too hard to whip dissenters of your opinion into mania-addled mental cases. Then again, I"m not the mental case in the streets setting buildings ablaze and looting, carrying signs that "ISIS IS HERE". I'm quite sure I'm among those who don't need a pill, thanks.

  153. sorrykb says:

    @Clippy: Usually, I hate Clippy. But in this case… well done.
    @Beth G.: It doesn't appear that anyone has to try. I fear your problems are beyond any of us. Good day.

  154. V says:

    I recently read something about the historical context of turning the other cheek. I don't know if it's true, but I thought it was interesting:

    Someone might strike someone of a lower class (servant, slave) with the back of the hand to assert authority and/or dominance. The right hand, for the left was for "unclean purposes".
    So if the other turned the other cheek, the striker would have to forego striking with the righthanded backhand. But if they punched or slapped with an open hand it would mean treating them as a equal (and possibly required to release the servant/slave).

  155. David says:

    @Alicia McDonald

    If you aren't doing anything wrong, you shouldn't be concerned.

    Just FYI, this is the United States, not East Germany.

  156. Anglave says:

    @Beth G.

    I really struggled with whether to respond to you or not. This is the point where the graceful thing to do is let you slink away with what dignity you can retain.
    .
    However, you called me a liar, and though I recognize that it's bad form, I'll rise to your bait.
    .
    paragraph one

    you can twist my words and put question marks on all your assumptions, but that won't drag me into sparring with you further.

    Probably wise.

    You just don't like what I've said and are trying to quash it by imposing your interpretation onto it.

    You have yet to express a coherent position, or make logically related statements supporting a position on this issue. In the sense that all you're saying is insults and claims to moral superiority, you're correct that I don't care for it. Please do, however, feel free to refute my interpretation.

    There's a big difference in what I write and your twisted assumptions trying to tear it down by lying about what I've written.

    You accuse me of twisting your words. I've carefully used many direct and unaltered quotes while responding to you, both here and in earlier posts. If I've made a factual or contextual error, please do correct me. If you'd like to rebut my comments or clarify my understanding, feel free. If you again completely fail to address any of my points, but instead elect to continue your stream of insults, I will rely on this site's readers to draw their own conclusions.
    .
    You called me a liar. I defy you to support that accusation.

    I'll take that as striking a nerve of truth.

    Beth, you're free to take it any way you like, but your conclusion that your baseless attacks and complete absence of factually supported argument have "struck a nerve of truth" is logically unrelated to any of the words surrounding it.
    .
    paragraph two

    I've seen this rodeo before.

    Oh good, I feel some generalizations coming on. Do you "know my type" Beth?

    Those that want to burn the Bible but love using snippets of it to throw in a person's face. They expect full commitment in "turning the other cheek", so they can whip the Bible readers into intimidation, but haven't got a clue what that actually means, nor have they contemplated Romans where it's stated plainly that one is commanded to protect themselves and their families when confronted with violence.

    Ah yes, there it is. I disagree with you, so I must be a "Bible burner". I bet creatures like us get up to all kinds of terrible things unless we're strictly supervised by heavily armed policemen.
    .
    I've read your book. I've never burned one, nor wanted to. I'm a functional, productive adult member of my community. I'm compassionate and giving and patient, and I suspect you'd find my behavior shockingly moral, even according to your own code. Please don't judge yourself superior to me because I don't believe in your invisible friend.
    Regarding the "throwing" of "snippets": you assert that the Bible is your moral guide, and you've made sure we're aware of it by mentioning it multiple times in this very comment thread (I suspect because in your mind it confirms your superiority), I don't think it would be unreasonable to point out where you're failing to abide by it.
    I've offered you no violence, and I don't believe I've ever tried to "whip the Bible readers into intimidation" — assuming I even understand what you mean. How can I argue with you, Beth, if you won't make a connected series of statements intended to establish a definite proposition?

    Nowhere does it say to stand there and not protect yourself. The difference is in not trying to provoke the confrontation because that's when trouble escalates.

    And you've done a wonderful job of not provoking a confrontation here, by coming to a blog's comment section, posting opinions contrary to the author's, and then backing up your opinion with a stream of insults and moral judgments about how the heathen anarchists with no respect for authority (and anyone else who disagrees with you) should leave your country!
    .
    paragraph three

    Try actually reading the whole book and realize there is no GOD who makes the declaration that one cannot defend their person. In fact, it's required that you do to the extent that if the attacker dies during that defense, it's his own fault and the defender is not guilty of "murder" in the eyes of GOD. GOD wrote that first, not the Constitution or the laws of the states and federal codes. Gee, I wonder where they got such moral justice inclinations?

    I honestly don't see how any of this is related to the topic of discussion… to the extent that a topic is actually under discussion here at all. Self Defense is a valid legal (and most would agree moral) justification for killing under certain circumstances. In your opinion "GOD wrote that first." So what?
    .
    paragraph four
    I'm confused by all of paragraph four. Is it a threat, or a rambling paranoid delusion, or a disjointed declaration of a moral code, or what? How is it in any way relevant in this context?

    No, I'm not required to love the actions of another. I'm required to love them as beings created by GOD, just like myself, and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.

    Great job so far!

    That commandment sums up the difference between being a deliberate agitator or not.

    Oh! Because you LOVE me, calling me a liar and a bible burner and an anarchist and an adulterer isn't "deliberate agitation". But (and this is just a guess), pointing out your logical fallacies and lack of any factual support IS "deliberate agitation". I get it now!
    You know what's good for America and what's not, and since I disagree with you I'm not good. I'm guessing you'll ask me to leave; will it be Great Britain or Africa or somewhere new this time?

    If a deliberate agitator chooses an action to inflict harm on myself or my family, I'm certainly not required to turn the other cheek, I'm commanded to do the opposite. Turning the other cheek means to not get involved in agitating further by acting in kind with words that will lead to a full-scaled fight.

    Again, outstanding job you're doing at that.

    Turning the other cheek means walking away BEFORE it gets to that point. But if you choose to pursue me and be the agitator, come to my door and provoke a confrontation, don't try to use my Bible to contain what comes next.

    Right, because commandments such as "Thou shalt not kill" and "Love thy neighbor as thy self" don't count during a confrontation.
    Does pointing out the inconsistency in your moral code / bluster count as "throwing snippets in your face", or does it fall more under "whipping the Bible readers into intimidation"?

    It will be the dog eating your cat and I will laugh watching you high-tail it off my property, screaming like a child.

    I don't have a cat.

  157. barry says:

    @BethG. I can understand how not resenting being oppressed could lead to a kind of "peace", or at least compliance, but that is not my god.
    Some snippets worth burning..

    1 Peter 2:18. Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.

    That seems what Sunil Dutta is saying, but not about "the dignity and respect they deserve" as you claim. Did you add your own snippet about 'deserving'?

    An even more disturbing view from the god in Exodus, the same book as the 10 commandments:

    Exodus 21:20-21. If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished.
    If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property.

    I have seen no evidence that Commandment #1 makes anyone a better person. I don't think that's the point of it.

  158. Just a thought says:

    If you respect something/one, it's because you fear something/one. Without fear, there is no respect.

    It's been several days since I read this here, and I'm still amazed that anyone of any intelligence can even think this. You've argued the point since, so let me try an example to show how wrong you are:

    If I were Jewish and living in Hitler's Germany, would I be scared shitless of the Nazis and their SS? Hell yes! Would I have any respect for them? Hell NO!

    Would I respect someone who put their life on the line to smuggle my [Jewish, obviously] kids out of Germany to save them? My goodness, yes! Would I fear them? Of course not!

    Now can you see that fear does not equal respect? Fear is in fact almost the opposite of respect.

  159. sorrykb says:

    @Anglave: Thank you for your thoughtful posts and for demonstrating remarkable patience. Oh, and Beth G.'s incoherent and hysterical threat was directed at me. I do have a cat.

  160. sorrykb says:

    Further @Anglave: Upon reflection, your having or not having a cat is immaterial. It would appear at this point that she believes us all to be adulterous, bible-burning, cat-loving, snarky anarchists.

    Or perhaps the cat is a metaphor.

  161. CJK Fossman says:

    nor have they contemplated Romans where it's stated plainly that one is commanded to protect themselves and their families when confronted with violence.

    Care to provide a reference for that? Chapter and verse?

  162. EnlightenmentLiberal says:

    @CJK Fossman

    Sorry, I should have explained more fully.

    What I meant was nobody cares about your personal desire to badger John. Maybe doing so would make you feel better somehow, but that's all it would do.

    Maybe what I did was uncalled for. I was hoping to force John to reconsider his actions and realize the error of his ways.

    Alternatively, he could have defended no knock and announce, full swat gear, gun pointed at everyone, style of serving search warrants for petty drug offenses. In that case, we could have had a discussion about it.

    Meh.

  163. Adam says:

    @John

    Being a police officer is a dangerous job whether he provides statistics on it or not.

    He couldn't provide statistics because statistics show it's not that dangerous to be a cop. Fishermen have a more dangerous job. The "danger" of the job is just one more lie the police use to justify their continued brutalization of the people.

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