"Those who do not learn from history will be condemned to repeat it."
Today I had an interesting encounter with a couple of law enforcement officers. Although the encounter was extremely innocuous by most standards, it caused me to ponder some things. Briefly, I had gone to pick up my future "step-son" from a school related event. The place I dropped him off and was to subsequently pick him up, was directly in front of a University Lecture Hall. There was nothing remarkable about this facility. Indeed it possessed a small drive up area such that when one pulled up into it, their vehicle was off the street completely. I noticed the signs declaring it a "Fire Zone" and clearly outlining the $50.00 fine for anyone caught parking there.
When I arrived to make my pick-up, I noticed a marked IUPUI - Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis - police car sitting in this "fire zone." The officer in the vehicle was in conversation with another uniformed officer who was leaning in the passenger side window. I eased my vehicle in behind the officers car and sat there with my engine running waiting for my step-son to exit the building. The officers looked up when I pulled in behind them, then went back to their conversation. I must have sat there for approximately five minutes when the officer who was leaning into the passenger window of the marked police car, raised up, looked at me again and then approached my vehicle. I cracked my window and was politely informed I couldn't sit there and was instructed to move myself to the parking lot across the street.
There are some battles not worth fighting. I calmly complied. While I waited an additional five minutes for my step-son to appear, I noticed these two officers continued their conversation in the fire zone they'd told me I couldn't sit in. Waiting gives time for thought and I put those five minutes to good use. As I analyzed the situation it became clear, this was not official police business. Police have a fondness for turning on their flashing lights whenever they're conducting routine business. That this was a social conversation was further indicated by the fact the second officer never got into the vehicle. The officers ended their conversation and the officer in the marked vehicle pulled off just as my son appeared. Fortunately he saw me parked across the street and came on out.
As I sat there watching my son cross a two lane street to get to our vehicle, something about this situation begin to bother me almost at a subliminal level. My understanding of this situation is, the only vehicles that may be parked in a marked fire zone are marked fire department vehicles. A campus police vehicle doesn't come under this heading. The second thing that began to bother me was the definition of parking. Although the sign clearly said no parking, was I by definition parking by siting there with my engine running? I don't think so. The most important question though is whether or not the law applies to law enforcement officers who are not on official business.
Pondering this even momentarily became a disturbing proposition. Clearly, laws regarding speed limits don't apply to police officers. It's an interesting experience to be passed doing 65 mph in an area marked 50 mph by a speeding police vehicle without lights and sirens on. Not that I'd have felt all was right with the world had he pulled me over and given me a ticket for being 15 miles over the speed limit. The point is, we were both speeding, but he is charged with enforcing the very law we were both shattering! Had it been his monthly quota time, this same officer could very well have pulled me over, given me a ticket and a nauseating lecture on the importance of slowing down.
I'm sure we've all been to fast food restaurants and seen police officers go behind the counter, pick up a coffee pot and pour themselves a cup of coffee. I can recall getting slow service at a Denny's restaurant one evening because one of these officers was behind the bar, flirting with my waitress. I could clearly see my order sitting under the "hot light" waiting to be delivered to my table. What do you suppose would have happened if I had got up, walked behind the bar and retrieved my own order? That might be a bit extreme. What do you suppose would have happened if I had walked over to the coffee pot and brought it over to my table to pour myself a cup of coffee? In either event, I'm fairly certain the sky wouldn't have fallen, nevertheless, either of these acts would have created more than a little tension between myself and the establishment.
When officers do manage to get caught breaking the law in such an egregious manner, ignoring it becomes impossible, they still receive special treatment. They are taken into court through the back doors so as to avoid most of the media coverage that might happen to be there. And should they be charged with sodomy, by the time it finally gets to court, the charges have been reduced to "following too close." It's good to be a Cop!
Most restaurants only charge uniformed officers - some charge non-uniformed officers - half price for their meals. That dollar cup of coffee, is free for the police officer sitting in the booth next to you. Want to go to a movie? While you pay $6 - $7.50 per adult, the police officer only pays $2.00 a piece for himself and another adult. These are just the bargains I know about. People who wait tables are carefully scrutinized by the IRS regarding their "tip" income. Business travelers who get frequent flyer miles are now having to report these perks as income to the IRS. Police Officers however, over the course of a year, rack up more benefits in terms of perks, than most business travelers will ever get. There are numerous apartment complexes that will give a police officer a free apartment, just to have a police car parked in their apartment complex. Just having a police car can be financially beneficial to an officer. Since the tax payers provide and pay for that vehicle, shouldn't we be getting something back?
Whenever one takes a hard look at police officers, the FOP and it's minions trots out the much over used and extremely tired argument, "police officers are under a lot of stress." "They put their lives on the line daily for the safety of the community." "It's that thin blue line which protects us from chaos." Although that *sounds* good, in the bright light of close inspection, these self-evident truths begin to pale. In point of fact, more truck drivers are killed "in the line of duty" each year than law enforcement officers. If the trucks stopped rolling, the shelves in the grocery stores would become bare over night. How long could you live without food? Interestingly, we do not accord truck drivers with the same respect demanded of us from our police department. Talk about stress to an emergency room intern who may be on duty for 48 to 72 hours at a stretch.
Police officers are a privileged class in our society. The interesting thing is, the requirements for becoming a member of this privileged class are not nearly stringent enough. For most departments... merely a high school diploma or a GED are all that's required. No criminal history of course. The problem with this is, a child could have been a major juvenile delinquent. Upon reaching the age of 18 and pseudo-adulthood, that delinquent child's records become sealed. If that 18 year old doesn't get caught committing a crime prior to entering the police academy... well I'm sure you can see the problem.
Members of privileged classes almost universally adopt elitist mentalities. After all, they must be better than everybody else. If they weren't they'd have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Down through history the elitist members of the "privileged" classes have always abused their power and exploited those they considered beneath them. Why do you think the peasants were always revolting? In feudal times, Knights and the Lords of manors would often take the bride on her wedding night prior to the groom. Did I say "take?" What I should have said was "Rape!" Samurai could practice their swordsmanship on peasants with impunity. What made this possible was the extreme restriction on the peasants possessing weapons. Do you see any similarities with what's going on today?
As more and more restrictions are placed on the individuals right to take responsibility for his own protection and self defense, the egregious and felonious assaults against the civilian public have increased. Remember the "Good ol' Boys" picnic held in Tennessee several years ago? The dreaded militia, managed to get photographs and record some of the speeches made. What most people forget is, this little bonding experience in the woods was attended by all levels of law enforcement. FBI and DEA were there too. At this picnic a skit was performed wherein several officers dressed as klansmen gathered around another officer in "black-face" and sodomized him with their batons. This was of course, all in good natured fun and nothing was meant by it of course! I wonder if the officer's Abner Louima ran into in New York had attended that picnic?
Our country was founded on the principles of equality under the law. Unfortunately the concept of being under the law has been misconstrued to mean those charged with enforcing the law are the law, thus they are over and above everyone else. Notice this trend has been gradual although it's sped up considerably over the past few years. More and more police departments are funding themselves through the asset forfeiture act. In many cases criminal charges are either never filed or dropped. The property however, remains in the custody of law enforcement. The IRS piloted this program years ago with it's tax auctions. You can have your property seized by the IRS and auctioned off prior to your case being resolved in a court of law. Upon such time as your case is resolved, should you prevail, the IRS is only responsible for cutting you a check in the amount they sold your property for at auction. Consider, the prices your possessions sold for at auction were far less than those items were worth, sentimental value notwithstanding. The check cut to you by the IRS won't even approach covering the replacement value. Your legal recourse? NONE!
The question becomes, what is the difference between the practices of an occupying enemy army and current law enforcement at all levels? I suggest there is no difference! They are an armed paramilitary force. They are answerable to their own military tribunals with rules far different than those the average citizen lives by. If you pointed a firearm at an unarmed civilian, at the very least, you'd be guilty of criminal recklessness with a firearm. All you have to do is watch "COPs." In every episode without fail, you will see numerous instances of police officers pointing their weapons at unarmed civilians. Is this show designed to desensitize the public? I think it is. Exercise your freedom of speech to one of these officers and you will be brutalized, on camera no less! One can only imagine what would happen if the cameras weren't there.
The FBI can burn down a church with women and children in it, their reasons? "We were concerned about the welfare and safety of the children." To date, no criminal charges or prosecutions have been leveled at these murderous FBI agents. An FBI sniper can shoot an unarmed female holding an infant in the head. Although charges are now being filed, this agent is being represented by taxpayer money and the charges have been reduced from "Murder-1" to involuntary manslaughter. I suggest a sniper who with malice aforethought puts a target in his cross hairs and squeezes the trigger, did not do so involuntarily. The alarm clock has been going off for sometime now. It's time we woke up!
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