Bryan Hyde’s Open Letter to Law Enforcement

SWAT team wallpaper (courtesy wallpaperswide.com)

By Bryan Hyde

Will Rogers once said: “A remark generally hurts in proportion to its truth.” I thought of that when a friend of mine who works closely with a local police agency recently told me that I’m not very popular with many of our boys in blue. They worry that I’m leading people to believe that we are headed for a police state. For the record, that’s exactly what I’m saying . . .

If my pointing out the approaching police state troubles you, it’s probably because you recognize the growing divide between the state and the people. The problem isn’t you or your ability to do your job. The problem is in how the state is using laws and law enforcement to consolidate its power over the people.

Having said that, I wish to make perfectly clear that we do not yet live in a full-blown police state. But there are several trends that make it obvious that we are moving in the direction of one.

We are losing the protection of natural rights that have protected us from abusive power since ancient times. We are searched without warrants, denied the right to defend ourselves, and forced to provide evidence against ourselves.

Our local police are becoming increasingly militarized as the state declares war against everything it wishes to control. Asset forfeiture laws allow authorities to confiscate property from the citizenry without a shred of evidence that a crime has been committed.

Right now the United States imprisons a greater percentage of its citizens than China, Russia, Rwanda, Iran, or Afghanistan. According to the FBI, law enforcement agencies throughout America arrest roughly 15 million people each year. Here’s the kicker, if the violent crime rate has been falling since 1993, why are jails and prisons so full?

The answer is because of an unchecked expansion of state power. Thanks to the growing tendency to solve every societal problem by passing new laws, the threat of government punishment has been greatly increased.

Police are sent forth to enforce countless laws that don’t involve one person causing harm to another but are simply offenses to the state and its rules. Even a relatively free state like Utah still enacts approximately 500 new laws each and every year.

We are choking to death on laws that make nearly every facet of our lives a police matter. The policymakers are the ones who perpetuate the notion that all problems must be solved by organized violence. The greater accountability is on their shoulders.

Still, you play a key role in this situation.

There is a question that I must ask you in all sincerity: Is there any law politicians could enact that you wouldn’t enforce?

If your answer is “no” then we have a serious problem. It goes far beyond the boilerplate responses of “if you don’t like a law, work to get it changed.” An individual acting under state authority who would enforce any and all edicts enacted by the political class risks becoming a tool for tyranny.

History’s greatest triumphs of despotism were done under the color of law. As blogger Eric Peters has pointed out, the men who rounded up Jews, or sent people to the gulag, or spied on the East German citizenry were not wild-eyed monsters.

They were often decent men, whose loyalty to the state and devotion to duty allowed them to enforce the laws no matter what their conscience might say. They allowed themselves to be seduced into adherence to authority rather than adherence to what is right.

In our time, law enforcement is becoming increasingly preoccupied with what is “legal” instead of what is right.

The sight of police in Watertown, Mass., yanking innocent people out of their homes at gunpoint was bad enough. As was the Aurora, Colo., officers pointing guns in the faces of children and handcuffing 40 innocent motorists while searching for a robbery suspect. In both instances, the actions of law enforcement were deemed legal.

Anyone who dismisses such overkill as isolated incidents is either being naïve or willfully blind. The state is becoming far too comfortable with the use of organized violence against innocent people.

What would you do to guard against this? Would you ever refuse to engage in such tactics? Or would you follow orders and offer the standard “officer safety” justifications of your superiors?

The idea of limited government and protection of personal rights is no more delusional or utopian than believing that legal is the same thing as right.

I have nothing against you personally. My own encounters with law enforcement have been as positive as they’ve been few. The people I know in law enforcement are good individuals. They take their oaths seriously and do their jobs with great dedication to the protection of individual rights.

Earlier this year, sheriffs in Utah and Colorado sent a letter to President Obama about gun control. They promised to uphold the Second Amendment rights of the citizens who elected them. They reminded the president, “We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.”

We need more lawmen like them who are willing to stand up to the state and say “no” when it exceeds its legitimate authority.

Respectfully,

Bryan Hyde

comments

  1. avatar FortWorthColtGuy says:

    We need to eliminate political appointed police chiefs and replace them with elected Sheriffs.

    1. avatar SnJohnson says:

      I just came here to comment that there is a SWAT guy armed with an HSLD MP5 and the guy behind him has a revolver.

      Someone pissed off the armorer.

      1. avatar FortWorthColtGuy says:

        LOL, I noticed that too! Going into a scene with a S&W Model 10 and your buddy next to you has an HK MP5. Something seems a little lopsided.

        1. avatar Shawn says:

          It is a scene from “The Assualt” based on the hijacking of Air France 8969.

        2. avatar Pete says:

          Supposedly the S&W M&P revolver was designed on swat request. 8 shots of .357 is nothing to sneeze at.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          Pete, the S&W M&P(military and police) was put into production long before the first swat teams. It was renamed the model 10 in the 50’s. 6 shots of .38 special goodness.

      2. avatar Karina says:

        This is actually a Manurhin MR 73, .357 Magnum revolver that is about as mythical in France as the Colt Python is in the USA – and for good reason.
        It is actually common to see them in the hands of the French GIGN alongside the MP5s.

        1. avatar Josey Wales says:

          Wow, I want to meet the Frenchwoman who knows THAT……. 😉

    2. avatar Tominator says:

      In my neck of the woods the Police Chiefs are controlled by the Sheriff of the county.

      One of the reasons we have so much incarceration is the passing of laws that only enhance the reputation of those that could care less about the populace but are only designed for publicity. Sex Offender laws for instance.

  2. avatar Joseph says:

    I started in municipal law enforcement in 1972,and I’m still at it and will continue for a few more years. I believe the police have become a lot more militarized. In some ways, having better firepower, such as rifles as opposed to shotguns, has been comforting. However, I do think things have gone a lot further than I would have anticipated.

    I will say this to unequivically answer the question. My oath was to uphold the Constitution. I have never and WILL NEVER obey an unconstitutional order or enforce an unconstitutional law. Am I picking and choosing? You bet your ass I am.

    1. avatar Bob4 says:

      You sir, have my respect. It takes a real man to risk everything (job, pension, etc.) to make a stand for what is right.

    2. avatar R.Z. says:

      A fellow oath keeper! Much respect to you good sir.

    3. avatar Chip in Florida says:

      Thank you sir.

      You probably don’t here that enough so I’ll say it again….

      Thank you.

    4. avatar CK in CA says:

      Thank you for being part of the solution.

      If you were running for office in my area, I’d back your campaign to the fullest.

    5. avatar Rob Morse says:

      Thank you. Joseph, your voice is important. Please speak up as you have done here. Ordinary citizens like me need to know there remain men like you in our police force. We see too many counter examples in the press.

  3. avatar The Last Marine out says:

    And how many times have police went to the wrong house in the middle of the night and shot someone, the war on drugs has failed BIG.. first let’s try day time attempts , make more drugs legal ,and over the counter (more to tax) and (I do not support any drug use ), same thing about the police taking cars etc.. (4A)wrongs…and stop putting so many in jail for the public to feed. Make paying for your crime is how time is served (bad guys pays you back for the damage etc.) , And killers get PUBLIC death , no if’s and’s or but’s ,same for kidnaping.

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      I have never understood the middle of the night raids. Just show up in the predawn hours, surround the place, lock down the adjacent streets and use a megaphone. It is a waiting game at that point.

      1. avatar DJ says:

        The standard excuse is that suspects in the cordoned residence will destroy evidence prior to entry.

        1. avatar SteveInCO says:

          That is a hazard of any law against “possession” of something deemed politically incorrect, and should serve as a big red flag that said laws might not be legitimate.

        2. avatar Cliff H says:

          I recall a scene in a movie (the name of which I do not recall) where they surrounded a drug house and called for their surrender. Prior to this they had entered the basement and diverted the sewer pipes into buckets. As the residents hastily flushed the evidence it was collected without incident. The perps, convinced they were now safe from prosecution, gave up without a fight.

  4. avatar Phydeaux says:

    “Here’s the kicker, if the violent crime rate has been falling since 1993, why are jails and prisons so full?”

    Because all the violent offenders are in prison. C’mon, this should be self evident. Keeping violent offenders in prison is not the problem. The problem is the large percentage of non-violent offenders guilty of victimless crimes, like drugs and prostitution. Gambling too.

    1. Yes, this is one of the few parts of this excellent article that I disagree with. Much of the U.S. “crime problem” is strictly demographics. We have a large population of people that have become acculturated to commiting crimes. They are not evenly spread across the spectrum of cultures in the United States, but are very concentrated. Locking up violent carreer criminals is one of the reasons crime rates have fallen, but it is not the only one. Here is an article I wrote on the demographics of murder in the United States v. Europe:

      http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/2013/01/european-murder-rates-compared-to.html

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        Very good points. I think if more states would enact a three strikes law violent crimes would drop even more.
        Yes, we would have to support these reprobates in the gray bar motel, but society, as a whole, would be a bit safer.

        1. avatar David_TheMan says:

          three strikes laws have not shown to stop crime.
          On top of that the rise of incarceration has mainly be attributed to non-violent or victimless crimes of drug use and possession, not actually violent crimes.

        2. avatar Jus Bill says:

          I would support a three strikes law if there was some judicial discretion applied. OP below noted that the majority of those locked up are doing time for nonviolent crimes. Three strikes makes no sense in those cases, IMO.

        3. avatar David_TheMan says:

          I see no area where 3strikes makes any sense.
          Try the person for the crime they committed, once punishment is served, ideally making the victim of said crime whole, then the person should have a clean slate so that they can be reintegrated into society.

      2. avatar A-Rod says:

        Freakonomics – Chapter 4: The role legalized abortion has played on reducing crime – is worth reading.

        1. avatar Patrick says:

          I would say it isn’t worth reading. Obviously I disagree with their conclusions.

          It’s not that I’m trying to censor or oppress, but if I see someone recommend something that I think is faulty, I’ll naturally chime in with a non-recommendation. No offense.

        2. avatar A-Rod says:

          Patrick, It is within your right to not learn something new. no offense taken.

        3. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

          I think legalized abortion has had a positive effect on crime, only if you don’t count the abortions as crimes. Obviously it’s essentially unwanted kids that compose the bulk of the criminal population due to their parents not being prepared to raise them properly.

          However, just because there has been a positive effect from something doesn’t automatically make it right. I’m opposed to abortion because I believe the science involved indicates that fetuses are new humans. The correct (in my opinion) solution would be to encourage an inner city culture that ostracizes deadbeat dads who do not stick around to help raise their kids. To somehow undo the damage that has been done to the institution of family in certain segments of the population.

          I don’t worry too much about the conclusions, I try to pay more attention to the arguments. If the arguments are wrong I can pick them apart and exercise the grey matter. If they are right, I can cogitate on them and alter my stance accordingly or have better fodder for the next discussion.

      3. avatar Davis Thompson says:

        Great piece, Dean. Thanks for the excellent work you do.

    2. avatar Jus Bill says:

      True, they are being locked up. Also true, for less time due to overcrowding and cost to “warehouse” them. The declining reported crime rate may be a reflection of more incarcerations, but could also be due to an increase in the overall population and/or a reluctance to “get the police involved.”.

    3. avatar Stinkeye says:

      I think we have plenty of prison capacity for the violent offenders, especially given the declining rates of violent crime.

      The prisons and jails are full because we keep locking up non-violent offenders in the “war on drugs”. Locking someone up for five years because he has some dried leaves in his possession is patently ridiculous.

    4. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

      Phydeaux, in response to the question as to why jails & prisons are full, you wrote: “Because all the violent offenders are in prison. C’mon, this should be self evident. Keeping violent offenders in prison is not the problem. The problem is the large percentage of non-violent offenders guilty of victimless crimes, like drugs and prostitution. Gambling too.”

      Part of the problem is that we release violent offenders too quickly, which is done in large part because we keep stuffing the prisons with non-violent offenders. Over 3000 people are serving LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE for non-violent offenses, most of them drug offenses.

      In the same way that possessing a certain piece of metal (e.g. a 30-round rifle magazine) does no harm to anyone, neither does possessing or consuming a plant. Or selling consensual sex for money. Or gambling. Or other various non-violent consensual activities that the politicians have decided to prohibit.

      Bryan stated this in the article in response to the “why are the prisons full” question:

      “The answer is because of an unchecked expansion of state power. Thanks to the growing tendency to solve every societal problem by passing new laws, the threat of government punishment has been greatly increased.

      Police are sent forth to enforce countless laws that don’t involve one person causing harm to another but are simply offenses to the state and its rules. Even a relatively free state like Utah still enacts approximately 500 new laws each and every year.”

      This is absolutely correct. People are abusing drugs? Pass a law. Some people offend other people by selling sex? Pass a law. Some people offend other people by gambling? Pass a law.

      Supporting a law to prohibit an activity for which all parties consent means that a person is asking the government to use coercion and/or violence on his/her behalf against other people because those people have done something the person finds distasteful. It is the height of arrogance to believe that because someone “knows better” how another should live their own life, that someone (or someone’s proxy, a government) should be able to violently stop another person from participating in a peaceful activity.

      The war on drugs is one of too many “internal wars” fought by our government against its own people that must end.

  5. avatar styrgwillidar says:

    “Here’s the kicker, if the violent crime rate has been falling since 1993, why are jails and prisons so full?”

    Well, since a minority of the criminals are responsible for a preponderance of the crime, many states found that locking up criminals for longer terms (i.e. CA’s three-strikes laws) resulted in lower crime rates. CA is now in the process of finding out, when these folks are back on the streets they commit the crimes that would have been prevented had they remained incarcerated.

  6. avatar J.K. says:

    Until the conviction to do right is greater than the need for financial income/career progress, 99% of appointed and hired law enforcement will blindly follow orders.

    1. avatar Josey Wales says:

      As was mentioned briefly above, the history of how in Germany guys who started out as regular policemen found themselves on the Eastern front herding people into ditches is instructive. It didn’t happen overnight, it took a few years, but it happened nonetheless.

  7. avatar Thomas Paine says:

    I recommend the following excellent first person narrative books which i just finished and are excellent regarding police states and prisons in Russia and Nazi Germany

    Journey Into The Whirlwind : Eugenia Ginzburg : placed into Gulag system during a Stalin purge in 1937, on a baseless charge for political reasons, and she wrote the book as a memoir after she got out in the 1960’s.

    Day After Day : Odd Nansen : charged as a political enemy of Nazi Germany in Norway, and wrote a diary of his experiences in concentration camps in Norway and Germany.

    1. Another excellent book in this line is “Coming out of the Ice” by Victor Herman.

      http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Out-Ice-Unexpected-Life/dp/0915031027

      It is a great complementary work to the Gulag Archepelago by Alexander Solzineten

  8. avatar Cubby123 says:

    Very Good and accurate.He is describing California to a tee! Kamala Harris and the rest of her Gestapo have completely got out of hand to the point of SS troops invading your house cause you forgot to pickup your prescription and the Calif DOJ now has the rule of Calif Law to violate your 4th Amendment rights and invade your home and confiscate your firearms then put you on a prohibited persons list.
    Gee where else was that done? Oh that’s right NAZI Germany!

  9. avatar Thomas Paine says:

    Cash rules everything around me.

    Follow the money.

  10. avatar John Boch says:

    I quit reading at:

    “Here’s the kicker, if the violent crime rate has been falling since 1993, why are jails and prisons so full?”

    Hey Bryan, I don’t know you, but if you can’t make the connection between locking up bad people and safer streets, then I question all of your hypotheses.

    I’ll leave you with your own introduction: Will Rogers once said: “A remark generally hurts in proportion to its truth.”
    John

    1. avatar Mike says:

      OP needs to google “Butterfield Effect”

    2. avatar Totenglocke says:

      Here’s the problem Johnny boy, if you bothered to look up the stats, you’d see that the overwhelming majority of people locked up in the US are for NON-VIOLENT crimes. Opps, I guess you should think before you speak, huh?

  11. avatar Swarf says:

    Strongly agree.

    The point about (most) cops as individuals being good people in an increasingly scary machine is especially important.

    1. avatar Totenglocke says:

      Sorry, I don’t buy it. A good person doesn’t go along with evil things just because they are told to.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        They do if the need to stay out of jail supersedes their sense of justice.

        1. avatar SteveInCO says:

          Or off the unemployment line. It’s damned hard to change jobs now.

        2. avatar Diamondback says:

          Once we start killing them for their usurpations, they won’t need a job.

          Until the people start doing that, nothing is going to change.

      2. avatar DJ says:

        Human history is full of instances where large groups of people have gone along with horrific programs. Naziism, the Khmer Rouge, purges in China and the USSR, the current government of North Korea.

        Given the example of history, that argument seems simplistic.

      3. avatar Ryan says:

        They do when the respect from their colleagues, their benefits, and their pension is in the balance…

        1. avatar Totenglocke says:

          If money will get you to do horrible things, then you are not a “good person”.

      4. avatar Paladin says:

        Numerous psychological experiments have shown that they will.

        take this one for example:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

        1. avatar Totenglocke says:

          Numbers psychological experiments apparently have a flawed idea of what a “good person” is. Just because they are “average” does not make them “good”. Anyone who thinks that the majority of people are “good” is in horrible denial of reality.

        2. avatar DJ says:

          Let me put it another way, TG. Whatever percentage of “good people” there are in North Korea, they can’t do a darn thing about the oppressive government. Threaten most people’s life or family, and they fold.

          If it was as easy as “men of principle can just stand up to this nonsense” there wouldn’t BE any authoritarianism in the world.

          If it was that easy, I’m sure the people of NK (who are literally starving) would just throw off the yoke of oppression. But they don’t. And it’s not because your average North Korean is dumber or eviler than you or I. Similarly, your average German circa 1935 wasn’t eviler or dumber either.

          Once the state has removed your ability to organize to resist, and has taken away the means to resist – they own you.

  12. avatar Duke of Sharon says:

    “Even a relatively free state like Utah still enacts approximately 500 new laws each and every year.”

    Ponder how logical, yet unheard of, the following would be:

    A State’s legislature convenes, only to conclude “Gee, we’ve been at this law making gig for 200 years now, and ya know what? Looks like we’ve got a law for everything. I guess, . . . uh. . . I guess we’re done.”

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      I think there should be more of “After careful consideration, this law governing driving pigs down Main Street could be repealed” and less of “We need a further limitation on driving pigs down Main Street, even though nobody’s done so for 75 years. We need to DO SOMETHING!”

      1. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

        I would love to see an experimental state constitutional amendment in a more reasonable state that states that on odd number years the state legislature may only repeal old laws, still must convene, and on even numbered years may either repeal old laws or pass new legislation.

  13. avatar Thomas Paine says:

    and here’s what a federal judge Pauley just ruled in New York saying that NSA phone surveillance is LEGAL, (ACLU vs. Tapper?)

    “The right to be free from searches and seizures is fundamental, but not absolute………….The choice between liberty and security is a false one, as nothing is more apt to imperil civil liberties than the success of a terrorist attack on American soil………….For all these reasons, the NSA’s bulk telephony metadata collection program is lawful. Accordingly, the Government’s motion to dismiss the complaint is granted and the ACLU’s motion for a preliminary injunction is denied. ”

    A spokeswoman for the NSA deferred comment on the case to the Justice Department, which said it was “pleased” with the decision.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      A spokeswoman for the NSA deferred comment on the case until after the victory party and wholesale arrests were completed.

      Fixed it for him.

  14. avatar Salwolff says:

    No knock warrants concern me.Innocent people getting killed when police enter homes in a violent manner. People say they are after criminals,but many times they enter wrong homes,or the warrant was granted under false information.

    Criminals yell they are police during home invasions.When seconds count do you have time to validate? What about police who shoot you when you do nothing??? They come in ready to kill.

    It will just get worse as the police state worsens.

    1. avatar tommyr says:

      If someone breaks down my door/window and enters I don’t care what they yell or who they are. They’re going to die. Period.

    2. avatar Swarf says:

      It’s going to get a lot worse. And it’s going to get a lot bloodier.

      This is the scenario that keeps me up at night; given that my next door neighbors are kind of sketchy, I just hope I’m not one of the guys gunned down because he tried to protect his family from what he thought was a home invasion that turned out to be a no-knock SWAT raid that was one house off.

    3. avatar Josey Wales says:

      If you respond to loud shouting that you can’t hear clearly and banging on the door by arming yourself to resist a home invasion, it does not matter whether if it’s gang bangers or the police. If it’s the police and they come in and you have a gun in your hands, they will shoot you and claim it was justified because you were a threat. This is EXACTLY what happened with an honorable discharged US Marine in Arizona last year. He held his fire upon seeing it was the police, (his AR15 was still on safe) they did not, firing over 70 rounds at him. One guy rushed up from the rear and was popping rounds over his buddies head’s just to get in on it.

      Here’s reality, if the police break in and you have a gun in your hands, either you shoot them or they shoot you. Your choice is likely going to be between being killed by agents of the state or successfully defending yourself, surviving (if you are lucky) and spending time in prison for it, because the state does not like being resisted.

      That said, there are cases where people have effectively repelled a police forced entry with gunfire, wounded police officers, and later surrendered. In the case I am thinking of, the police had made all kinds of allegations in a warrant application that were not substantiated and the charges went from 3 counts of attempted murder of a police officer to something a lot less. The guy still did time for it though, because he took a plea bargain. 2 years IIRC, the problem with that being that he’s now a convicted felon and can’t legally own guns ever again.

      I recommend a .30 caliber semiautomatic magazine fed rifle as a home defense weapon, something that will sail through soft body armor.

      Tyranny. It’s what’s for breakfast.

  15. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “An individual acting under state authority who would enforce any and all edicts enacted by the political class risks becoming a tool for tyranny.”

    This is a very fundamental question for anyone in law enforcement. Does the Constitution mean anything to you any more? Are you willing to have your children and grandchildren live under a police state? Do you really want the American people to view you as part of an army of occupation?

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      I remember in the 60s and 70s having the same conversation about a “just war” and being an “ethical Constitutional soldier” in the wake of Kent State and some of the jungle hijinks.

    2. avatar FortWorthColtGuy says:

      There is a great video game which explores this. It is call “Half Life 2”. It is set in a dystopian alternate future where an alien force has conquered in the Earth. In their quest to dominate the human species, they enlist the help of humans who are either sympathetic to their cause or want the “special” privileges given to the “civil protection force”, that keep the citizens in line.

      Ever notice that many of these draconian gun laws always have carve-outs for people in political office or are LEO’s? Why should they care about the Constitutionality of laws when none of laws apply to them?

      They can shoot your pets on a call, but if you hurt their dogs when they are biting you and your natural instinct as a living being is to fight back, you go to prison.

      1. avatar Taylor Tx says:

        Freeman!

    3. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

      The oath should change from the language of “uphold the constitution” to something more like “refuse to enforce laws that unduly expand the powers of the state and violate an individuals constitutional rights.”

  16. avatar anonymous says:

    “The only moral and rational answer is this: If something will be wrong for you to do without a badge, then you shouldn’t do it with one, either. The idea that uniforms and legislation can give you special rights is both false and horribly dangerous. Nearly every large scale injustice in history was committed by people who wrongly imagined that their position of authority made it OK for them to do things that other people had no right to do.”

    Josie the Outlaw
    “Message To Police” ( 6:15 – 6:40 )

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      She has several good videos, hopefully TTAG will feature some of them in the future.

    2. avatar Greg in Allston says:

      Josie’s video was weapons grade outstanding. It cut right to the core. There will indeed come a time, perhaps sooner rather than later, when we will all have to decide which side we are on. Choose wisely my friends, the soul that you save may well be your own.

  17. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “The state is becoming far too comfortable with the use of organized violence against innocent people.”

    That is because the ruling class of the state virtually never face any personal consequences for directing organized violence against innocent people. If the ruling class of the state started to face personal consequences — and losing an election does not fall in that category — they would once again become uncomfortable using organized violence against innocent people.

  18. avatar 505markf says:

    On any given day, I am more worried about police over-reaction (which is epidemic where I live, even to the point of the DOJ coming in to investigate the local PD) than I am about terrorism. And I’m a 57 year old white guy, with a responsible job, own my home, have a family, and am pretty much anyone’s idea of a pretty typical, middle-American citizen. I’m no conspiracy theorist, break no laws knowingly (well, I do tend to drive 5-10 mph over the limit, oh my!), and live what many would consider a pretty dull life (though it works for me).

    I think that says a lot about how bad things are getting.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      Are you in Seattle? We’ve had a DOJ investigation going on here.

      Conclusion: The cops are being unjustifiably violent assholes.

      Solution: Fuck all aside from the standard Harshly Worded Letter. “More training” promised, blah blah blah.

      When the police in left-leaning Seattle are too militarized and rage-roided out for anyone’s good, you know there is a nation wide problem.

      And actually, that term “militarized” does a disservice to the military.

      It’s accurate in the sense that the police are getting waaaay more HSLD gear and tanks and shit than they should have, but the military (for the most part, don’t jump down my ass for the exceptions to the rules) has specific rules of engagement and a firm chain of command.

      My “good people” statement above still stands (in fact we have seen a few of them right here in this thread), but damn if it doesn’t feel like the cops these days are another gang of violent thugs with the force of the law behind them

      1. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

        Damn. Seattle suburbs was on the short list of places to flee to from CA.

        1. avatar IdahoPete says:

          Look for a small town in a small-population county. The sheriff and police (if any) in those areas recognize that the “civilian population” is their neighbors, not some anonymous mass of subjects.

      2. avatar Josey Wales says:

        The Seattle Police Department has SILENCERS for the M4 carbines they issue to regular street officers. If I could post pictures here I would prove it to you. Email for pic if you like

        They need them, but you can’t be trusted with one. Go figure.

  19. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    The first step in reversing the militarization problem is to lay off 75% of our police. There are obviously far too many of them and they have way too much money to spend on all sorts of tacti-bling. They spend hours and hours every week in such mundane activities as hiding behind billboards with their RADAR guns, so you can’t really blame them for itching to see some action. But idle hands are the devil’s workshop (or something like that), so action they will find whether it is warranted or not. They will find an excuse to affix bayonets and climb into the MRAP. However if there were far fewer LEOs the ratio of cops with itchy booger hooks to unincarcerated dangerous criminals would be more balanced. No longer would they need to harass the citizenry, there’d be really dangerous people out there to flash-bang.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Even better, keep nagging your Congresscritters to stem the torrent of cash and war-toyz from the Feds to the local Mayberry PD. Expose the ridiculous efforts of the local Chief to invent a necessity for a Block Grant of DoD gift. Protest the oafs patrolling in an MRAP on local TV and in the local papers. Enough of the silliness – WE are paying the tab fo it.

  20. avatar Oddux says:

    Something every Utahn, including Bryan Hyde, should read. http://libertasutah.org/drop/assetforfeiture.pdf

    Back in 2000 Utahns voted for an initiative that passed with a 67% majority which added additional protections against the use of Asset Forfeiture in policing. It required a conviction before any goods were forfeited, prevented officers from forcing suspects to sign away their property rights, and prevented forfeited property from being sold during appeal. The Utah legislature this year completely stripped that law of all those protections, and already police are pressuring people who have not been convicted of anything to sign away their property to be sold by the state to fund police.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Could those practices be prosecuted under the RICO statute? Ralph?

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I don’t see how an act of state would be covered by RICO.

  21. avatar Mike says:

    This rant is SOOOO far fetched!!! You believe too much of what you see on TV. I’m an LEO, I used to follow this website religiously for gun news. But I got tired of hearing your blown out of proportion BS. You seem to truly know NOTHING about law enforcement and I encourage you to do a ride along with a local department.

    Oh and the crime rate hasn’t fallen. The death rate because of crime has….. only because of medical technology.

    Stop being ignorant people, educate yourselves.

    1. avatar Totenglocke says:

      “Oh and the crime rate hasn’t fallen. The death rate because of crime has….. only because of medical technology.”

      That is a flat out lie, Mikey (of course, as a criminal, you’re used to lying to justify your abhorrent actions). ALL crime in the US has dropped by roughly 50% since 1991. Go to the FBI’s database and check on it yourself.

      Both of my brothers are criminals (or as you call them, LEO’s) and I used to work for a major metropolitan police department (civilian contractor with IT). Saying that the majority of cops out there are sociopaths who enjoy committing violence against random people is an understatement. Hell, I had dozens of times (each with different officers) where I’d come in to work on someone’s computer and they’d show me a security camera video of someone being murdered and LAUGH – because your type find the murder of innocent people to be funny. Do not tell me that I know nothing about the police after working with them every day for several years.

    2. avatar David_TheMan says:

      Not far fetched at all. Like a lot of LEOs you probably have started to believe that you are the line between chaos and order and the rest of the bunk that is peddled by cops. Like a lot of cops you probably feel your safety and that alone is your highest priority outside of enforcing the law, except when it involves you and members of the criminal justice government racket that is.

      Also total crime rate in the US is close to historical lows, that includes property and violent crimes recorded, check the FBI UCR

      http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/1tabledatadecoverviewpdf/table_1_crime_in_the_united_states_by_volume_and_rate_per_100000_inhabitants_1993-2012.xls

      Time is coming when the actions of the LEOs in this country will no longer be tolerated.

    3. avatar Jus Bill says:

      “I’m an LEO, I used to follow this website religiously for gun news.”
      That means you left and came back just to troll. Get lost.

      1. avatar Gyufygy says:

        Disagreeing isn’t trolling. Disagreeing to get a reaction and for the lulz is trolling.

  22. avatar Gw says:

    Position, Perspective, References…and of course, Opinion.
    For consideration:

    Conscience is definable is part as, ‘a quality present in most people providing the potential to serve the individual in some circumstances as a restraint upon certain actions, and in other circumstances as a calling to act’.

    Morality is definable in part as, ‘a simple code of individual thought and conduct’.

    The word ‘Rights’ is definable in part as, ‘the natural status of each person’.

    The simple code of Moral conduct merely requires that each person conduct oneself in a manner as to not intentionally violate the ‘Rights’ of another person or persons.

    While under written law, any person, act or thing may be declared ‘illegal’ or ‘unlawful’, the basis of an actual criminal act involves the intentional violation of another person’s ‘Rights’.

    The General Rule for ‘Use of Force’ is only that amount of Force necessary to cause the perpetrator(s)of a ‘Rights’-violating act to cease and desist.

  23. avatar Hannibal says:

    Nothing new or particularly interesting here.

    The “wars” on terrorism and drugs, in that order, do the most to diminish Americans’ rights (though the first more subtly). If you want to start doing something useful, start shutting those down. It’s never good to be in a war you can’t win, anyway.

    1. avatar David_TheMan says:

      I would disagree with you on the war on terrorism doing the most to steal freedoms, war on drugs and war on organized crime killed US civil liberties to a greater extent than the war on terrorism. You could say the war on terrorism simply expanded on the programs already in place.

  24. avatar Bob Fairlane says:

    Sounded great till you got to the part ass-kissing for jews in Germany.

  25. avatar AznMike says:

    In case anyone is wondering about the picture, it’s a poster for the movie “The Assault”, it’s a French film about the GIGN operation during the 1994 hijacking. The revolver is the Manurhin MR-73.
    http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Assault,_The_%28L%27Assaut%29

  26. avatar Shawn F. says:

    In regards to this post/rant/opinion, I have to agree on some things, and disagree on others. While I agree that police are overstepping their bounds in some ways and becoming more brutal in that effect, the interaction of some people exasperate the situation. I have always thought that police officers do a thankless job. They are despised for wearing the uniform, enforcing the laws that idiot politicians pass, and for things that are misconstrued by some, and blown out of proportion by others. I reviewed every link in this post, and saw some where the police overstepped BIG time: the traffic stops that turned into cavity searches, the illegal searches in MA, and the illegal seizure of the $200K from the couple traveling across Utah. However, the video of the yahoo and the cops who accused him of ‘smoking’ could have been de-escalated by politeness. Was the officer right? According to the yahoo, no. He claims he was not smoking. I cannot say yes or no to the fact: however, he escalated the whole shebang by being a jerk. Politeness may not always be easy, but it may go a long way in the long run. If the yahoo decided to fight the citation by using his video, being polite while the police were jerks would go a long, long way to proving his point. To me, he caused more problems than it was worth.

    I also agree that if the police take the attitude of ‘I just enforce the laws; I don’t have to believe them, or agree with them’, then they did not learn the lessons from WW2 and the Nuremberg trials. ‘I was just following orders’ doesn’t fly.

    Overall, I believe in being polite until the situation calls for not being polite. Just because someone is a jerk doesn’t mean you have to be.

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      Your not wrong, but there are plenty of videos on YouTube or LiveLeak where even being polite did not matter.

    2. avatar Donny77 says:

      “I have always thought that police officers do a thankless job”

      I work in IT. How often do I hear complaints when things go down, and how often do I hear compliments when everything is working fine? When is the last time you thanked and complimented a fast food worker for their work, or the quality of their food? How about the wait staff at a restaurant? Ever ask to talk to the chef to thank him for the meal? How many times is a factory worker tanked for the job they do. Do you thank the checkout person at the grocery store? Who doesn’t work a thankless job?

  27. avatar Pascal says:

    What does a good cop and bad cop have in common? Both of them have the color of the law behind them to stand by them whatever they do. See the Police ND @ bagel King in Bridgeport, CT as an example

  28. avatar rammerjammer says:

    Of course LEO don’t like being told that they are pawns for the establishment. What they fail to realize is that they are already becoming jack booted thugs and that they will be the ones who WILL follow orders and begin disarming their fellow countrymen.

  29. avatar natermer says:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36950.htm

    The problem we have isn’t civil disobedience, but civil obedience.

    Police Officers:

    When the President tells you it’s ok, the Supreme Court tells you it’s ok, the Federal and State Congresmen say it’s ok, and the Governer tells you it’s ok, and the media tells you it’s all constitutional… to enforce the corrupt laws and obey the orders to deny people’s rights are you going to allow yourself to become criminals in order to protect those rights?

    Are you going to break the law in order to help others keep their freedoms?

    Because, fundamentally, the problem we face in the USA is not the corrupt politicians or the crooked corporations that conspire with them…

    … it’s the fact that you obey them.

    THAT is the source of the problem in the USA with ever bigger and bigger government. It’s not that the government exists, but the fact that people obey the government. This belief in the system is what allowed them to get so large, so powerful, and so corrupt.

    1. avatar Totenglocke says:

      This, a thousand times over. Politicians lose all of their power if the police / military refuse to obey them.

  30. avatar Ralph says:

    Frankly, I do not accept the premise that police militarization is being driven by anyone but the cops. Too many of them think that they’re half-assed assault troops out to teach the hoi polloi a lesson. They love their toys, especially the ones that the military uses, and want more. They love authority and want more. They love power and want more. And they do not understand the difference between respect and fear.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      Well said, Ralph.

  31. avatar D.Wagner says:

    I agree unfortunately with Hyde on the subject of the militarization of police in the USA.

    Additionally, a big change to our legal environment is the removal of the legal concept of “Mens Rea” – in simple terms: the accused must have had “guilty” intent when the actual crime was committed for criminal liability to attach.

    Unfortunately most federal and many state laws – especially those dealing with confiscation of property, have removed Mens Rea or criminal intent from the legal process. Therefore people are being arrested, convicted and having their property confiscated even though they had no intention of committing a crime or much less knew that they were even breaking the law.

    We are not a free people anymore, and the LEO community is unfortunately a contributing factor in that loss of freedom.

  32. avatar William Burke says:

    Stay tuned, friends, sometime soon, my blog, THE TRUTH ABOUT THE POLICE STATE, will be up and running. All are welcome, even assholes.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      You can count on me.

    2. avatar Greg in Allston says:

      WB, I welcome your endeavors. For what it’s worth, if anyone out there isn’t already reading David Codrea’s work at The War on Guns, you really need to change that and check him out. His “Only One’s” articles cut to the quick.

  33. avatar Greg in Allston says:

    In any physical or social system, the larger said system is, the more controls will need to be placed upon it to keep it running “smoothly”. How one defines “smoothly” depends on one’s perspective and one’s position within said system.

    It appears to me that our society here in the USA, and in the world at large, is reaching a major and historic inflection point. How it will be all sorted out when that page turns is anyone’s guess at this point. Being that I am an optimist in reasonably full possession of the facts, and with an eye towards historical precedent, I don’t see us reaching some semblance of long term stability and prosperity without a major upheaval and great sorrow and bloodshed. We haven’t hit rock bottom yet, not even close, but what I do see is that the slope is getting steeper and the decent is accelerating. I pray that I’m wrong but I suspect that I’m not. Heaven help us.

    Happy New Year, y’all.

  34. avatar Dustin says:

    You’re unpopular with Law Enforcement because you’re anti-law enforcement. You see the worst in every case, make no allowances for real world interactions and situations and have a near sovereign-citizen attitude.

    You’re a junk journalist with zero ability to shift your paradigm.

    1. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

      What’s wrong with the “sovereign citizen” attitude? The citizens are the legal sovereigns in the United States, it is from the citizens that the government was first granted the authority it initially possessed.

  35. avatar Pogue says:

    Slightly off topic, but I remember seeing a movie when I was a kid on t.v. It was made maybe in the late 70’s or early 80’s. It was about a squad of cops (in NY, maybe) that hit the wrong house on a drug raid. They had gone to an address that ended in ave instead of street or something like that. Anyways, they wound up killing most of the family. The dad, who survived was a Navy vet and went out for revenge. Does anyone know the title of the movie?

  36. avatar Rick says:

    essentially good article but the beginning premise is bunk.

    If I go up to a gay couple and make a sh*tty remark that questions their fidelity, hygiene, spirituality or legality, (unless they’re jaded old school) they will be hurt, offended, angry and my ignorant commentary is nowhere near the truth nor is their reaction any indicator.

    But also remember in this decades-long assault on “pigs” that cops are people. they hate paperwork, they do the best they can for themselves and their family and their coworkers. Just like us social service dweebs, or the guys on the assembly line.

    When sh*tty legislation comes down, remember the officer didn’t write it. He probably voted against it if anyone in the state was allowed a vote at all. In fact, treat an officer with respect beyond what they treat you and you’ll get through fine.

    In fact, think of it like judo- an officer comes on with “authoritah!” and if there’s no resistance, and add some assistance and he/she will probably trip right over their own roll. 🙂

    Save the internet lawyer crap (see that soo much from neighborhood kids getting busted for their weed and unlicensed motorscooters) for the judge, where there are more witnesses and a chance to attack the bad law at it’s source.

  37. avatar Diamondback says:

    LE IS the STANDING ARMY the founders feared for us.

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