For the average citizen, ignorance of the law does not excuse him from punishment. Consider that taken together federal, state, and local laws number in the tens of thousands, and change, constantly. Without focused effort, however, most Americans commit 3 felonies a day, as Mr. Harvey Silverglate of Boston writes in his book. When looked at critically, this system seems to exist not to protect or better lives but to extort cash from or transfer into prison-slavery people who get caught breaking said myriad laws. (Please note: according to the U.S. Constitution, slavery is still legal in America, but only as a form of punishment, i.e. prison.) For the citizen working as a police officer, however, ignorance of the law - ignorance even of the fundamental tenets of the Constitution - is met not with reprimand but reward. Following Heien v. North Carolina, citizens working in the police forces can violate the rights and freedoms of their fellow citizens, first performing warrantless searches then claiming ignorance of the Constitution’s 4th amendment protections against same. What sort of nation allows a heavily armed police force - a standing army beholden to neither established law nor the opinions of mankind - to operate free of the constraints of the very document upon which it was founded? What sort of country sends the armed agents it has chosen to enforce its laws out into the street without first making sure they understand the contents of the very document they at some point swore to protect and uphold? When a terrorist attacks, the various churches of the religion he claims adherence to come forward and denounce his violent ways. Where, however, are the voices of the various police departments around America coming forward to denounce extrajudicial executions committed by their brothers in blue? Are police unions in large numbers urging their members to stop escalating roadside encounters and stating publicly that they do not condone violent acts against unarmed civilians regardless of creed, hue, or race? The police unions are not, and great numbers of police officers are not, because citizens who work as police officers exist not to protect the rest of us but to distrust, fine, follow, track, stalk, and - if startled - shoot those of us who do not work as police officers. Now, more than perhaps ever before, the age-old concerns about watchers (and who watches them) lick hot at the forefront of the mind.
Video recordings abound of police officers shooting unarmed or legally armed average civilians out of at best fearful aggression and at worst hateful convenience. When investigated, most of the shootings are deemed justified - by an attorney general or equivalent legal party who works frequently with the trigger-happy police officer and his colleagues, who must depend on the man’s good favor to efficiently perform his daily duties, and who is thus inclined to find the man’s behavior in accordance with whatever police-specific or special laws that he and his ilk conspire to uphold and protect. (The American people have given police officers leave to break the law - to lie, cheat, and steal - in order to secure a criminal conviction. Ought we be surprised that they’ve decided to include in their list of permitted crimes that of shooting first and asking the questions later?) The lawless savagery of absolute Despotism that occurs when those supposed to keep the peace are given leave to break it - at will and without fear of punishment - runs counter to the letter of our nation’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence. (In reality, It offers the People no protections, however, as in the opinion of the U.S. federal government the Declaration has no legal weight or legislative significance.) Among the causes that compelled the Founding Persons to declare their separation from the British empire was as follows - For Quartering large bodies of troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States(.) When reading the Declaration immediately after you finish this piece, I challenge you to substitute ‘the King of Great Britain’ with ‘the U.S. federal government.’ How similar to the conditions we face today were those which drove the Founding Persons to call bullshit and ouster their plutocratic overlords? (In a widely-circulated official Pentagon training manual, the Founding Persons - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, &c. are referred to as criminal extremists one rung below outright terrorists who would today be barred from military service). Are the conditions we currently face but another example of sic semper tyrannis, proof that a political force of sufficient size and longevity will naturally evolve into the very oppressive and dastardly power it once sought to overthrow - even a political force conceived for and supposedly dedicated to the purpose of bringing betterment and liberty to a large mass of people?
Unless we average citizens do something very soon, the million tentacles of the teenage police-state throbbing in our midst will seek out and suffocate what few freedoms we have left. Since 2001 C.E., civilians working as police officers have killed more unarmed and innocent civilians than the terrorists did on 11 September, albeit one or two and not hundreds or thousands at a time. How does one root out a beast as firmly latched to the fear-teat of modern America as a police force that slays our youth and hounds the defenseless whilst demanding knee-jerk and blind obedience to its every whim and fancy? A beast whose appetite for blood and gore never lingers, whose cruel heart pumps blood black and blue? Not quickly, efficiently, or thoroughly. To start, however, please know your rights, and record every interaction with the police. Beyond that, though, put on some lipstick and rouge, because we the People are pretty much fucked.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
blog updated Fridays, usually
I bicycle, write, surf, and the rest.