At the bottom of yesterday’s post on a trigger-happy Texas cop, MotoJB and Rydak expressed their revulsion at our anti-police bias. As is our policy, I deleted the anti-TTAG flames and created this post for a no-holds barred discussion of our editorial stance re: law enforcement officers. I’ll kick things off with an admission: TTAG publishes a lot of stories highlighting police incompetence, arrogance, lack of accountability and general thugitude. These articles invariably unleash a stream of anti-cop comments. Does that make America’s most popular firearms blog anti-cop? At the risk of alienating a significant number of law enforcement officers who participate here . . .
Yes. Yes we are.
That’s the short answer. As you may expect, the longer answer kinda walks it back a bit. Only not really.
I founded TTAG to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns. While I’ve never rejected an article or killed a comment because of its editorial content (save racist remarks), there’s no question that I’ve heavily biased this “exploration” towards pro-Second Amendment material.
As Brits say, it’s a fair cop (pun intended). Truth be told TTAG’s anti-cop bias reflects this Jew boy’s deep suspicion of the police community’s commitment to individual liberty in general and the Second Amendment in specific.
Yes, there is that.
My father was a Holocaust survivor. The Romanians murdered my grandparents. Also, I grew up in Rhode Island. At the time, the mob ran the state. Including the police. Who beat-up my brother and spat on my jacket (and laughed) when I was on my first date.
By osmosis, instruction and direct experience, I came to believe that the police are the all-too-willing instruments of the state. As you might imagine, I’m no great fan of the state. I share our founding fathers’ belief that the government is the greatest threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
So when I read about a cop who believes he’s above the law; an officer whose inability to master the tools of his trade (or his own nature) leads to the loss of innocent life; a high-flying law commander dripping with contempt for the right to keep and bear arms; I want to shout “Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!”
And so I do.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the difference between a “good” cop and a “bad” cop. I appreciate the ratio between these two camps. I know that cops have saved or created millions of lives. I am aware that plenty of police support our right to keep and bear arms. I get the whole “thin blue line” thing.
But lionizing cops works against us. It elevates police to a position of power that makes me distinctly uncomfortable. As it does any lover of freedom. By the same token, singling cops out for criticism when they deserve it keeps them honest. At least in theory.
In practice, when cops trample on our liberty, or show systemic stupidity, or lobby or work against our firearms freedom, or simply fuck-up, I feel a deep urge to scream bloody murder. No surprise, then, that this website’s editorial mix reflects that perspective.
Is it really such a bad thing to highlight these instances when there’s so much at stake? Should I temper these editorial outbursts with pro-cop firearms-related stories? Is TTAG under an obligation to be fair and balanced in our cop coverage? You tell me. I promise I will listen, discuss it with our writers and adapt accordingly. If needs be.