Op-Ed by Justin King
August 7, 2015
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(TFC) Washington, DC – Recently, the discussion of people being more hostile to law enforcement has arisen. The overriding question for those in the law enforcement community is: why? Why have people become more hostile and more willing to use violence against law enforcement? It’s a question that has a clear answer, but sometimes when a person is inside of a system, they fail to see what is happening outside of that system. Law enforcement officers exist inside an insulated culture. They don’t typically have the opportunity to openly discuss why a trend is occurring with the average citizen. No, the people who show up to the citizen’s meet and greet are not average citizens.
Due to my job, I move through a lot of militant circles. Whether its chatting with black nationalists in a bookstore or drinking beer on a farm that is flying a Confederate flag, I am lucky enough to hear viewpoints that get left out of the media’s narrative. The one thing officers are correct about is the fact that the number of people who are becoming comfortable with the idea of using violence against them is increasing. It isn’t just the guys that wear combat boots as part of their daily ensemble anymore. It’s the young girl working at the bookstore and the gray-haired man that owns the gas station down the road from the farm. The question still remains: why?
It isn’t a single reason, it’s a combination of reasons. Some originate from law enforcement’s new culture, some aren’t really law enforcement’s fault. Each reason in the list below begins with a quote. The quotes are unattributed because in some jurisdictions the statement might be a crime.
If I fight, at least I have a chance. The number of people who were unarmed and complying that are harassed, searched, and have their rights violated on a daily basis is increasing. The videos are available on YouTube. The number of unarmed people that are gunned down by cops in uniform is also increasing. People have begun to associate these two. When you ask to search a car for no reason, expect resistance. When you demand compliance with illegal orders, expect to die. People, especially people of color, have come to the conclusion that if they are asked to step from the vehicle without an explanation, they are about to be assaulted or killed. There is no reason not to fight. Cops that behave like violent thugs, die like violent thugs.
Cop shoots my dog? As soon as I get out, I’m killing his kids. The increasing number of cops that pose for tough guy photos in SWAT gear for their Facebook page, who then turn into scared schoolgirls the second they see a dog has caused a backlash. Animal abusers are hated more than just about any other demographic except for pedophiles. Cops kill dogs without cause every day. People are tired of it. The interesting thing about this reason is that most people don’t plan on seeking revenge on the officer, they plan on seeking revenge on an innocent member of the officer’s family. Many officers have taken the stance that anyone in the house of a suspect is simply collateral damage. What happens when that standard is applied to your family?
Every time I see a Thin Blue Line bumper sticker, I know the person inside the car deserves to die. The Thin Blue Line behaves like any other street gang. People are beginning to see that. I was told a story about a guy who stopped to help a teenager change her tire, saw the sticker on her car, and then drove off without helping her. “She can call one of her daddy’s friends,” he said. A gang mentality is inclusive of those people in the gang, but breeds hatred in those outside of it.
I didn’t fight in Iraq to come home and see cops treating people worse than Saddam treated the Iraqis. Veterans in particular have a very serious concern with police militarization. When you dress and act like a third world goon squad, expect to be treated like one. If you execute no-knock warrants, ride around in an MRAP, cover your face with a mask, and systematically violate the rights of the people you are supposed to protect, you are a traitor. Nobody cares when traitors die.
They don’t care about what they do to people, why should I care when one of them bleeds out on the street? Officers tend to rationalize their activities with the phrases “it’s the law,” or “I’m just doing my job.” Many of the laws officers enforce are plainly immoral. If an officer is willing to arrest a priest for feeding the homeless, he will follow any order he’s given. If you’re willing to threaten someone with death for feeding the poor, you’re scum. It doesn’t matter what the law says. If a law is immoral, you have an ethical responsibility to not enforce it. If you care more about your job than your fellow man, you aren’t a hero. You’re a hired thug. Don’t expect people to care when somebody threats you like a thug. If an officer is killed enforcing a victimless crime or an immoral law, don’t expect parades for that officer. Expect laughter.
I killed for my rights in Afghanistan, I’ll kill for them here. Officers that believe they can violate people’s rights without consequence are running into more and more violence as they encounter veterans who don’t care what a judge ruled and what case law exists when it comes to identifying themselves for no reason, being searched, or any of the other countless violations officers engage in daily. The laws that have infringed on people’s rights are just words on piece of paper. They will not stop the person whose rights you are violating from putting you into a flag draped coffin. The rights are inalienable. You can’t take them away, the Congress can’t take them away. When you swore your oath, you swore to uphold the Constitution. I would suggest you take a look at the Ninth Amendment.
Nobody cries when the Sheriff of Nottingham dies. Law enforcement stopped being about “protecting and serving” years ago. Now it is about enforcing the law. Those laws are written by the wealthy and powerful to protect the wealthy and powerful. They target the poor with fines. Officers should think about their average day. How much of their time is spent solving murders, rapes, and robberies? How much of their time is spent writing speeding tickets, working on drug cases, harassing the homeless, busting prostitutes, working on behalf of a large corporation, or enforcing tax related laws (loose cigarettes)? An officer’s main job today is raising money for the state by pointing a gun at people. If you work in a profession that extorts people, expect to be treated like a extortionist. People pay only until the point where it becomes unbearable. Then they fight back.
When I [was a drug mule], I knew I’d start shooting the second a cop showed up. If a person is facing 20 to life for a nonviolent drug crime, they have nothing to lose by trying to shoot their way out. The Fraternal Order of Police lobbied for these idiotic laws. Now you’re dying because of them. It should be very clear how much legislators value your life when the penalties for possessing a plant are higher than for killing you.
It’s not like we’ll convict them in court. I say hold trial in the streets. For years, the Thin Blue Line has protected officers from criminal prosecution. The code of silence surrounding officer misconduct grew to such an extreme that the average American now believes that every officer is at least partially responsible for the sorry state of law enforcement. If people know they have no hope of justice in a courtroom, they’ll seek justice in other ways.
If you want the people to stop seeing you as traitors, you have to change you policies and behavior. When officers wonder why it seems like they’ve become hated all of sudden, it isn’t in their heads. They are hated. They are seen as the enemy. They’ve simply followed orders for so long that they don’t realize how disconnected they are from the people that they are supposed to be protecting. If officers want to see a change in the public perception, propaganda won’t do it. The American people can see through the propaganda. Lately cops have been pushing the statistic that 134 officers “were killed” last year. The American people can hop on Google and quickly find out that the statistic is a lie. Yes, 134 officers died while on duty last year, but they weren’t “killed.” 10 died as a result of illness. 19 died from heart attacks. 31 died in automobile accidents that were not pursuit related. How many were actually shot and killed? 49 (and a couple of those were instances where one cop shot another by accident). Bad propaganda is worse than no propaganda because it exposes the propagandist as a liar. Being a cop isn’t really that dangerous. Stop pushing the idea that it is.
This article (9 Reasons Why People Kill Cops) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Justin King and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email firstname.lastname@example.org.