It’s become almost commonplace to hear about mass shootings—they seem to happen all of the time, in a variety of settings ranging from schools to movie theaters to shopping malls. Friday morning, as I was getting a haircut, my barber mentioned that there had been a shooting in Connecticut, but he didn’t know any of the details and neither did I. I caught the end of a disc jockey’s remarks as I was driving, but still no details. And when I say that it’s become almost commonplace, it’s because I’m forced to admit that I didn’t give the matter much thought—just more bad news in a sea of it. Of course, this is a spectacular tragedy that doesn’t deserve to be shrugged off or ignored, but that’s what we’re coming to here in America. What makes this latest shooting so horrendous is the ages of the victims—children between five and ten years old, mostly.
To tell you the truth, the shooting in Connecticut is not what originally prompted me to write this column. As usual, I am guilty of sloth and the culprit lately has been YouTube rather than NetFlix. Over the last week or two, I’ve been sifting through thousands of videos pertaining to police shootings, police brutality, illegal DUI and “border” checkpoints, homeowners and armed citizens defending themselves, and “open carry” proponents. While a lot of it is entertaining to watch just on its own merits, I’ve been searching for a thread to tie it all together.
And I think that I may have found it.
While enduring the last of these videos—my head has been threatening to explode—I realized that there is a common theme to all of these things and that it’s a multi-layered issue, one which I have some very definite opinions on. I’m going to share some of these videos with you, analyze them, and encourage you to leave your comments.
The first of these videos comes from Secret Laboratory National Affairs correspondent Tom Bullington. (Visit Tom’s YouTube channel, Campaign in a Car, for his other videos.) It was posted to YouTube on Thursday night—before Friday morning’s shooting in Connecticut. In the video, Tom laments the amount of gun violence in America and basically comes to the conclusion that we’d all be better off if we could somehow do away with firearms for good. Watch:
Tom’s follow-up video, added on 12/18/2012:
One of the examples that Tom uses is a shooting that just occurred several days ago at a mall in Oregon. The news report describes people running and hiding, while one eyewitness called it a “massacre.” To me, this is an example of why having trained, armed citizens is a good thing. While police response was swift, the gunman still managed to kill two people and injure another before taking his own life. Had some of those shoppers been armed, they could have engaged the shooter rather than scurrying around like moving targets, diving under tables, and cowering helplessly in corners. The fact is, bad people do bad things and the police mainly are there to pick up the pieces. If you’re accosted on the street, or if a store or bank is robbed, you’re at the mercy of your attacker(s) unless you too are armed. The chances of a cop happening along at the exact moment you’re being attacked is astronomical and ridiculous to even consider. Police rarely prevent crimes—they solve them, after the fact. Here are a handful of videos of armed citizens successfully defending themselves:
Before moving on, I would like to point out that firearms are not the only tool available to those intent on laying waste to their fellow man. Someone wielding an axe, sword, large knife, or even a blunt object could walk into a school or shopping center and start killing people. Going toe to toe against someone with an axe, while you yourself are unarmed, will get you just as dead as you would be if your attacker was holding a rifle. Tackle him from behind? Sure, but you can do that if he has a gun. Still not a good idea. To show you that I’m not making stuff up and that this isn’t a hypothetical argument—and that attacks such as these aren’t limited to the United States—I would like to draw your attention to the following incidents, all of which could be described as “massacres” but did not involve guns:
A man running through the halls of El Socorro public school killed four children with a machete, as well as a woman outside the school when trying to escape. He was later arrested by police.
After stabbing his mother and sister to death and injuring two bystanders, 28-year-old Li Chihang entered Anne Anne Kindergarten and started stabbing people. Three children died and 40 other people were injured in the attack. Li was arrested after being shot by a police officer.
3 children were hacked to death and two others wounded in a nursery in Chiang Rai Province, when 43-year-old Suthat Wannasarn attacked them with a sword and a large stick. Wannasarn was later arrested by police after being shot in the abdomen.
A former psychiatric patient, armed with a club, beat four children to death in a quran school in Maradi, and also killed a woman who wanted to stop him. When trying to escape, the man was captured and severely beaten by an angry crowd.
Wolverhampton machete attack. Horrett Campbell, a 33-year-old man with paranoid schizophrenia, invaded a Teddy Bears’ Picnic being held at St Luke’s Primary School and slashed three young children and four adults with a machete. Lisa Potts, a 20-year-old nursery nurse, was awarded the George Medal for saving children’s lives despite suffering severe injuries.
A teacher stabbed two children to death and wounded 15 others.
A 31-year-old female teacher stabbed eight children and three teachers in the canteen of a primary school in Hajdúhadház.
Lin Peiqing stabbed 23 elementary school children during a morning flag-raising ceremony.
19-year-old Alexander Koryakov entered a kindergarten in Gulbene where he chopped three girls to death with a meat cleaver. He also killed a teacher and wounded a nurse, before trying to escape. After his arrest he told police that he wanted to become as famous as Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo. Koryakov was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 1999.
Steven Allen Abrams purposefully drove his car onto the playground of Southcoast Early Childhood Learning Center. He killed two children and injured four other children and an adult. Abrams later stated that he thought the deaths of the children would silence the voices that he thought the US government was beaming into his brain.
William Stankewicz entered North Hopewell Winterstown Elementary School and brutally slashed two teachers and a principal with a machete. He then subsequently wounded several children in a kindergarten classroom before being subdued by a faculty member.
Four students were stabbed in the neck by 33-year-old Jason Pritchard at Mountain View Elementary School.
Osaka school massacre. Armed with a kitchen knife, a 37-year-old former janitor Mamoru Takuma trespassed into Ikeda Elementary School attached to Osaka-Kyoiku University and stabbed school children and teachers. 8 children were killed and 15 wounded, among those were 13 children and two teachers.
10 children were injured at Neung Dong Church Elementary School in Seoul, when Hwang Bom-nae attacked them with kitchen knives. Hwang told police he heard the voice of Kim Il-Sung that commanded him to kill many people or he himself would be killed.
Shi Ruoqiu stabbed seven children at Shilong Elementary School with a kitchen knife before being arrested. One child died at the scene, while four more succumbed to their wounds in hospital.
24-year-old Xie Zhongcai stabbed four teachers and four children in a kindergarten in Beihai, after one of the teachers, with whom he had been in love, had arranged for him to be beaten up. Xie was finally overpowered by staff members and the father of one of the kindergarten children.
Sasebo slashing. An 11-year-old student, identified only as “Girl A”, killed a 12-year-old classmate, Satomi Mitarai, by slitting her throat at Okubo Elementary School.
A man armed with a knife and homemade explosives attacked 28 children at a kindergarten.
36-year-old Jia Qingyou, a bus driver, injured 25 children with a kitchen knife at No. 1 Experimental Primary School in Ying county. He was later sentenced to death and executed.
Liu Hongwen, a 28-year-old primary school teacher, killed four children with a knife in a grade one class at a school in Chenzhou and wounded nine other children and three teachers, before taking 65 students hostage. After negotiations with a county government official he surrendered to police. He was later found not guilty by reason of insanity due to schizophrenia.
12 students were stabbed by Liu Zhigang, a man suffering from schizophrenia, at the Central Primary School of Mingcheng Town, Panshi City. Liu was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
A 17-year-old boy stabbed two teachers and a school nutritionist with a kitchen knife at his former elementary school, killing one of the teachers.
23-year-old teacher Yu Hagino stabbed 12-year-old Sayano Horimoto to death at a cram school in Uji, following a verbal dispute. Yu was sentenced to 18 years in prison in March 2007.
Shiguan kindergarten attack. Armed with two knives and petrol 19-year-old Bai Ningyang entered a classroom on the second floor of a kindergarten in Shiguan, a village near Gongyi. He forced the 21 children and the teacher to the back of the room, sprayed the floor with gasoline, and, before setting it on fire, let one child go, because he knew their parents. Bai then locked the door and escaped. 12 of the children died and four others and the teacher were wounded. Bai was arrested the next day and sentenced to death in December 2007.
35-year-old farmer Yang Xinlong hacked his aunt to death, set her house on fire and injured another person after an argument before entering Luoying Primary School where he stabbed a child to death in a third grade classroom and took 18 others hostage for several hours. When Yang refused to let the children go he was shot and arrested by police.
A nine-year-old boy was killed when Su Qianxiao, a 42-year-old villager from Chiling, stabbed four children with a kitchen knife at Chiling Primary School. He was caught by locals before he could commit suicide by jumping off the school’s roof.
28-year-old Kuang Xi, an allegedly mentally disturbed man, hurled five girls and one boy out of a window on the third floor of Hongqiao Primary School, killing a nine-year-old girl. He was subdued by four men, before he could throw out a seventh child.
Kim De Gelder entered a kindergarten in Belgium and started stabbing people. Two babies and a 54-year-old woman were stabbed to death and twelve other people were injured in the attack. De Gelder also stabbed a 73-year-old woman to death in her apartment days earlier.
40-year-old Xu Ximei, an allegedly mentally disabled woman, stabbed two boys, aged 4 and 6, to death with a kitchen knife and injured another three children, as well as the 76-year-old grandmother of one of her victims at the primary school of Mazhan village in Guangdong province. She was later found lying in a classroom and arrested.
Nanping school stabbings. Eight children were hacked to death with a machete and five others were injured outside an elementary school in Nanping. The assailant, identified as 41-year-old Zheng Minsheng, was restrained by school security guards and then arrested by police.
An assailant armed with a meat cleaver attacked students and bystanders outside an elementary school, killing a schoolboy and an elderly woman and wounding three other children and two adults before being arrested by police. The assailant, identified as 40-year-old Yang Jiaqin, was reported to be mentally ill.
Chen Kangbing stabbed and injured 16 students and one teacher at Leicheng First Primary School in Leizhou before being restrained by teachers and arrested by police.
Xu Yuyuan stabbed 29 children, two teachers and a security guard at the Zhongxin Kindergarten inTaixing. It was reported that five of the injured children were in critical condition.
Wang Yonglai, a 45-year-old farmer, used a motorcycle to break through a gate at Shangzhuang Primary School in Weifang and then assaulted several children with a hammer, wounding five of them. A teacher also injured her foot, while trying to stop Wang, who ended his attack by grabbing two children and pouring gasoline over himself. Teachers managed to pull the children to safety, before Wang committed suicide by setting himself on fire.
An assailant killed seven children and two adults and wounded 11 other children at the Shengshui Temple Kindergarten in Hanzhong when he attacked them with a cleaver. The assailant, identified as 48-year-old Wu Huanming, fled from the school and committed suicide when he returned to his house.
A knife-wielding man attacked children and staff at a kindergarten in Zibo. Three children were killed and three other children and four teachers were injured in the attack. It was reported that two of the injured teachers were in critical condition. The assailant, identified as 26-year-old Fang Jiantang, was arrested by police after the attack.
A 12-year-old girl, a teacher, and a 64-year-old man were stabbed to death by ex-convict Felin Mateo at Talisayan Elementary School in Talisayan village. He also wounded four other children and two teachers, some of them seriously, before he could be subdued by irate villagers, who then killed him with his own knife.
A 30-year-old woman slashed eight children with a box cutter at a child-care center in Shanghai, leaving one of the wounded in serious condition. The attacker, a day care worker at the kindergarten, who was said to have suffered from psychiatric problems, was arrested.
Gilford Shapo, teacher at Mmasehlong Primary School in Ga-Mmasehlong village, was hacked to death with a machete in front of his class by his brother Happy. The attacker was arrested by police.
Most of these attacks occurred in countries where citizens have no access to guns, yet demented individuals still found a way to perpetuate mass killings. In fact, the majority of these incidents occur outside of the United States and do not involve firearms. Also, I think that it’s worth noting that school attacks are not a new phenomenon—the first recorded incident occurred in 1764. So if Tom and like-minded hysterics have their way and all guns are banned, are we any safer? The answer is no, and saying otherwise is belied by facts. And what of the proposed bans on “assault” weapons and high-capacity magazines? Utterly pointless, since any gun—whether it be a pistol, revolver, rifle, etc.—can be reloaded within a second or two. Even a double-barreled shotgun, which holds two shells and is traditionally used for hunting, can be reloaded over and over again—and I should point out that not only is it much easier to hit your target with a shotgun, but the result is far more grisly. A person shot with a .223 “assault” rifle has a fairly good chance of surviving, while someone hit with buckshot has virtually none.
And so forth. Moving on:
Another example that Tom uses to denounce guns is accidental shootings, which are entirely preventable. One of the first things we learn about gun safety is that you never point a gun at anything you’re not willing to shoot, you keep your finger outside of the trigger guard and off of the trigger until you’re ready to fire, and that you treat every firearm as if it were loaded, whether or not it is. Also, guns should be stored unloaded; a gun lock should be used if you have children or even untrained adults living in your home or visiting your home. An unloaded, locked gun cannot be picked up and discharged while “playing”; on the other hand, it can be unlocked and loaded within a second or two if an emergency arises. There is such a thing as safe handling of firearms—police officers, soldiers, and regular citizens do it every day. I, along with the majority of my family and friends, routinely carry a weapon. Before leaving the house, I unlock and load my firearm—and since I’m familiar with the mechanics of my pistol, and follow the above-mentioned safety rules, I don’t shoot myself in the foot. Upon returning home, I unload, lock, and store my weapon. My other guns are kept in a locked case. If you ask someone who is knowledgeable about firearms, they will tell you that there is no such thing as an accidental discharge—only unwanted ones, which are caused by a combination of ignorance and negligence. Speaking of which, Tom cites an example of a man who heard noise outside of his house; unbeknownst to him, his granddaughter had gone outside and he proceeded to shoot her. This is a case of negligence, since the man should not have been engaging a potential attacker outside of his home; instead, it is more reasonable to lock your doors, call the police, and remain prepared to defend yourself should that person break in before officers arrive. More importantly, firing at an unidentified target is the very height of stupidity, carelessness, and negligence. There’s that word again.
Tom does say that the best thing to do is lock your doors and call the police—which is true—but he serves this up as an alternative to having a gun. In Tom’s mind, the police are only seconds away and nowhere in the scenario does the intruder gain access before they arrive. This is a foolish notion, since houses and apartments are not built like bunkers—the locks on our windows and doors are designed mainly to deflect passive thieves, whereas someone who is determined to get in—someone violent, such as a home invader, rapist, murderer, etc.—can do so not in a matter of minutes, but in seconds. To illustrate my point, here are several videos of people who follow Tom’s advice about locking themselves in and calling police … and you know what? They’re forced to shoot and kill the intruder before officers arrive. Once again, we see that police are not necessarily the saviors who we make them out to be.
Growing up, my father had firearms in our home. They were locked up and unloaded. The revolver that he kept for defense was hidden and the ammunition was stored separately. Most importantly, my father taught his children gun safety at an early age—then he taught us how to safely handle and shoot handguns and rifles, beginning with BB guns. They were valuable lessons that I carried with me into adulthood—the knowledge that firearms are tools, like any other, and that there is a right and a wrong way to use them. Handling and using firearms is the best way to demystify them and do away with any irrational fears that you might have. Pistols are not like snakes—they won’t bite you and they don’t go off by themselves.
Besides knowing how to handle firearms, one must be knowledgeable in the law when it comes to their use. Most states issue carry permits to those who want them, and one must complete a state-mandated course which not only involves showing proficiency, but also includes classroom studies to ensure that permit holders know when they can and can’t defend themselves with deadly force. It’s worth noting that these same laws apply to both law enforcement officers and civilians. In Minnesota, the statute reads:
609.065 JUSTIFIABLE TAKING OF LIFE. The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor’s place of abode.
This is the same law that is applied to police officers who kill someone in the line of duty—and it isn’t limited to firearms. If you kill someone with a baseball bat, you must do so within the parameters of this statute or you will be charged with a crime.
And we would be wise to remember that there are already a number of gun control measures in place, including a ban on firearms at schools, which hardly has deterred school shootings. Click here to read the laundry list of persons not allowed to have guns here in Minnesota.
Tom makes a point of saying that he doesn’t make much of a distinction—if any—between semi-automatic weapons and fully automatic weapons. While there is a definite difference between the two—one means pulling the trigger for each bullet fired and having the gun automatically chamber the next round, while the other simply allows you to hold the trigger down for a continuous barrage—in practical terms, Tom is right: There is no difference. And what’s funny, is that he makes a perfect argument for the pro-gun crowd without even knowing it. He says, “I just don’t think people in general—the general public—really needs to be armed.” In the same breath, he continues: “I think if you’re a hunter, sure—go out, hunt some deer, great … you know … that’s not the problem.”
Well … hunters are members of the general public—and by definition, they’re armed, which Tom is apparently okay with. I believe that the point Tom is trying to make, is that if a person owns a shotgun or deer rifle and goes hunting with it, that’s acceptable … never mind the fact that hunters routinely use “assault-style weapons” for hunting, and that a 12-gauge shotgun or deer rifle is far more deadly and powerful than a .223 “assault-style” pea shooter, as I have already mentioned. Basically, what Tom is saying is that people should be able to own firearms to hunt with … but those who don’t hunt, should not. I’m not sure how one would go about regulating this—or even what the point would be, since crazies like Chai Soua Vang enjoy hunting as much as the next guy—but I’ll go out on a limb and say that this is one of the most illogical and asinine statements that I’ve ever heard.
Finally, Tom scoffs at the Second Amendment, which he insinuates has outlived its usefulness, what with the Revolutionary War being over two-hundred years in the past … but what he fails to consider is that the United States never would have come to be had the colonists not been armed. Furthermore, if today’s citizens, the majority of them cowardly spineless sheep, had been alive in the eighteenth century and faced with the tyranny of King George III, the Revolution would never have even been conceived of, let alone fought and won. And that, ultimately, is why we have the Second Amendment, which we’ll explore in a moment.
While I’m progressive in my politics, I do not blindly follow one party or politician. Being able to form one’s own opinions on a variety of issues, based on logic and facts, is evidence of intelligence and the ability to think critically. Just about every day, I sign petitions that are submitted to me by “liberal” groups. After Friday’s shooting, I was inundated with hysterical pleas from empty-headed peaceniks to call on President Obama for absolute gun control; I was also urged to pray and attend candlelight vigils for the deceased, which are fine gestures, but ultimately those things accomplish nothing. One of the petitions that I received said this:
On December 14, 2012, a gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and opened fire, killing what is currently being reported as a minimum of 27 people, 20 of whom were children. Completely innocent unarmed victims.
Columbine. Red Lake, Minnesota. Essex, Vermont. Lancaster, Ohio. Virginia Tech. To name a few.
How many more innocents must die at the hands of an antiquated and oft-misinterpreted amendment? Enough.
It’s time to stop the violence. That’s why I created a petition on SignOn.org to Congress and President Obama, which says:
Our Second Amendment rights are long overdue a reevaluation. How many more senseless and entirely PREVENTABLE shootings have to occur before we do something about gun control?
As a citizen and constituent of this great country, I am asking that you take a firm stand and make a positive change by restricting access to guns and saving lives.
I don’t have a gun. I don’t want a gun. I don’t need a gun. But somehow the guns always wind up in the hands of people crazy enough to use them irresponsibly and dangerously. THIS HAS TO BE STOPPED.
Will I sign? No. Never in hell.
And really, defending ourselves against violent criminals is not what the Second Amendment is about—it’s an added benefit, to be sure, but it is not the reason that it exists. The fact is, that amendment is there to ensure that the people of this nation can defend ourselves against our own government, should it ever become necessary. Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Douglass, and many others made that point unmistakably clear—and to say that the Second Amendment is “antiquated” or “misinterpreted” is the height of folly. The purpose behind the Second Amendment is a matter of record and there is no way to misinterpret it, unless one is being purposely obtuse. And what is that purpose? Deterring tyrannical government, repelling invasion, suppressing insurrection, facilitating a natural right of self-defense, participating in law enforcement, and enabling the people to organize a militia system.
And while I’m on the subject, I’d also like to point out that “the right to bear arms” is not limited to pistols and rifles—it as an all-encompassing phrase that does not stop at automatic weapons; in fact, it was George Washington who said that the people should always be more heavily armed than “any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”
James Madison had similar sentiments; he said this: “Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.”
I’m befuddled, then, that in Minnesota it is illegal for average citizens to own automatic weapons. The police, soldiers, and correctional officers can have them, yet we are kept at a disadvantage by law. Our forefathers were clear in that whatever the government has, we should have more of.
What I find amusing, perplexing, and aggravating, is that it is the same people calling for gun control and outright bans who are simultaneously whining about the erosion of our First- and Fourth-Amendment rights, police brutality, injustice at the hands of the ruling class, and our out-of-control war machine, the purpose of which is to seize anything of value, wherever it is in the world, and blow up anyone who tries to make us uncomfortable. The Occupy Wall Street crowd protests on a massive, global scale—and when they’re feloniously assaulted and arrested without cause, their solution is to post YouTube videos and start underground newspapers. And when they’re not busy munching on granola bars and fashioning their own clothing out of hemp, they’re begging the government—demanding, really—that the one inalienable right that they have to protect all of their other liberties be stripped from them. Every right that we have as Americans is utterly useless unless we also have the right to forcibly defend them—and for that, the Second Amendment was ratified.
But perhaps I’m painting the OWS folks with too broad of a brush. After all, someone at Occupy Phoenix was handing out copies of the article that I’m about to mention, which of course loaned some credibility, however flimsy and misinformed, to the notion that these peace-loving little hippies are actually bloodthirsty terroristic ghouls.
Right. And now we find ourselves contemplating the uncomfortable—downright controversial—question: “When Should You Shoot A Cop[?]” That is the purposely shocking title of an article penned by Larken Rose and published on CopBlock.org on June 28, 2011. Because of its title, the essay quickly went viral. Those who read it, comprehended it, and watched the follow-up videos, called it a brilliant bit of journalism and heralded Rose; those who couldn’t get past the title denounced him as a lunatic, a terrorist, or worse.
The message is clear: Throughout history, tyrants and dictators—Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, and Chairman Mao are all good examples—have used the law, and therefore “cops,” to commit atrocities and crimes against humanity. What is a “cop”? For the purpose of this article—and Rose’s—a cop is a local, state, or federal law enforcement officer/agent, which includes soldiers. And to be clear, neither Rose nor myself are advocating killing police officers who are engaged in enforcing constitutionally/morally just laws. An example of this would be a bank robber or rapist or murderer killing a cop—no one wants that, if you exclude criminals. No, the point is that the question, “When should you shoot a cop?” should not elicit the response, “Never!” To put this into perspective, the men who fought the Revolutionary War—the founders of this country, the United States of America—were shooting cops … and they were justified in doing so.
Rather than continue, which would only result in me parroting most of what Rose has already said, I submit to you these two videos. Watch them:
So do I have a fundamental problem with the police or authority? Absolutely not. Civilized society requires laws—and like liberties, laws are useless unless there is a means of enforcing them. The problem is when morally unjust laws—illegal laws, as defined by the Constitution, to put it another way—are enacted and therefore enforced by “cops.”
Police officers have a hard job—ask any of them and most will tell you that it’s thankless, while some will even equate it to being a garbage man. Cops see people at their worst; they deal with tragedy on a daily basis; many of them lose their families and turn to drugs or alcohol because of it. They put their lives on the line every time they go to work—and sometimes, they sacrifice their lives and don’t ever come home. Cops don’t have anyone else to call; they can’t run and hide and retreat. Cops make split-second decisions that may haunt them for the rest of their lives, long after those decisions have been picked apart by lawyers, judges, their superiors, and the media, not to mention the general public. Sometimes cops make mistakes—when they do, they might say goodbye to their careers or even end up behind bars. Most cops are good people—people with wives and husbands and kids—who took the job for all of the right reasons … yet there are others who abuse their power. There are opportunists, criminals, and sadists who also wear the badge. And while these “bad apples” are a minority, almost all cops will follow orders and enforce laws, even when they know that what they are doing is illegal and contrary to the United States Constitution.
And just what am I talking about? A good example would be “border” checkpoints—the ones executed by the U.S. Border Patrol 50 – 100 miles inside of the United States, where every passing car is stopped, its occupants questioned, and in some cases made to show identification and submit to searches without cause. The same can be said of DUI roadblocks. Such measures, while “legal,” are in fact illegal and in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment. A motorist can be stopped if he or she commits an infraction—speeding, for example—at which time it is perfectly reasonable to ask for identification. A summons might be issued. If the officer sees that the motorist appears to be impaired or there is some other clear indication of a crime, that motorist might be detained and a search of their person and vehicle will be performed incident to arrest. All perfectly legal and reasonable. However, to stop every motorist, without cause, and question them and demand to see their “papers” is a tactic not unfamiliar to Nazi Germany. Police officers have no right to question, detain, search, or identify citizens who have not committed a crime.
Over the last couple of years, we have seen peaceful, law-abiding protesters—those Occupy Wall Street yahoos who I mentioned earlier—beaten senseless and arrested without cause. The First Amendment reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Yet we see, time after time, police warning non-violent protesters that they are engaged in an illegal gathering or unlawful assembly—and that if they don’t disperse, they will be arrested, often for vague charges such as disorderly conduct, inciting to riot, blocking the sidewalk, etc. When it comes to OWS, we’ve seen the police use tear gas, rubber bullets, concussion grenades, and other crowd control devices. “Unlawful assembly” is a meaningless fucking term and the requirement of getting a permit to protest is so stupid that it’s not even worth talking about. It’s also worth noting that many members of the press—those working for established, respected newspapers and television stations—have been arrested, assaulted, interfered with, and had equipment destroyed and/or confiscated by police while covering OWS protests.
And of course there is the U.S.A. Patriot Act, a piece of legislation so corrupt and diametrically opposed to the United States Constitution that it stands, and forever will, as a towering monument to the best-disguised bit of tyranny ever hoisted on the American public. If you have time, I urge you to read the fucking thing. It’s a .pdf file, so you can download it for later.
Here are a few videos to illustrate what I’m talking about, just a handful of many thousands:
Penn & Teller agree:
And so, in conclusion, we should remember that Thomas Jefferson said, “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” Also, and perhaps even more telling, is that which Plato said: “This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”
John T. Schmitz is the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory; he is the founder of Maple Hills Press and has also freelanced as a writer and photographer, contributing to various local and international publications. Mr. Schmitz lives in Minnesota with his wife, Megan, and their two children; he is the author of five books.
Email Mr. Schmitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.