I haven’t seen this episode of Have Gun Will Travel since, well, never. It’s a bit of an eye-opener. Larry Tate, I mean, Marshall Tom Kerry is a perfect stereotype of a bad cop: vain, overbearing, self-righteous, drunk with power and privilege, insensible to the individual rights protected by the United State Constitution. Spoiler alert! Tom gets it in the end. Well, the chest. Paladin restores the balance of power with a double dose of lead. Unfortunately, Paladin doesn’t make the dame the new Marshall. Wouldn’t that have been a kick in the pants! Not that women wore pants in them days. Just as today’s SWAT cops wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything less than . . .

SWAT team (courtesy vice.com)

military garb, thigh-holsters and all (a Hollywood western invention, BTW).

A lot of people – myself included – focus on the SWAT teams’ military gear, full-auto rifles and needlessly monstrous MRAPs. And so we should. Truth be told, this should not be the public face of a modern police force. As friendly and honest and hard-working and virtuous as these police may be, thus equipped they are the epitome of unapproachability. ‘Scuse me officer, can you tell me how to get to the Watertown T stop?

Only it’s not “officer” is it? It’s officers, plural. What if Marshal Kerry had been surrounded by a team of pistol-packing deputies; men ready, willing and able to impose the bully’s will on the town? How would Paladin have dealt with that? For that matter, what if the town wasn’t chafing at Marshall Kerry’s bit? What if they supported him? Could a single man have reversed the course of that type of tyranny?

I’d sure like to think so. Hence the Western’s enduring, even eternal appeal. But it’s not a realistic scenario. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to take on the SWAT team above under any circumstances, ever. And if such a thing were necessary, if society devolved into a criminal/cop conspiracy that eliminated the rule of law . . . I still wouldn’t want to take on the armed kneepad squad.

Leastways, not alone.

I’d want to be part of a militia: an armed, organized group of like-minded, freedom-loving people opposing the jackboot of tyranny (“freedom” being a relative term by that point, I imagine). Then I’d have a chance. Of course, that’s nothing but a gun nut fantasy, right? Unless you live in Mexico, where local, state and federal police are in the narco-terrorists’ bottomless pocket, inflicting acts of unimaginable cruelty on the local populace.

The same locale where citizen-led, illegally armed autodefensas protect residents’ human rights. As you’d expect, these groups are playing defense. The Mexican government not so much. Aside from turning a blind eye to cartel graft, violence and retribution, the federales have arrested the autodefensas’ most prominent leader and created the Fuerza Rural (a trojan horse local police force).

God forbid America ever reaches the state of play down Mexico way. Yes, but– it could happen to you! Well, us. To avoid being labelled a right wing wingnut, I’m not going to lay out theories of how and when America could devolve into criminal chaos, or point to places where you might even say look! See? (*cough* Chicago *cough*). But I will say this: the police are not our enemy.

At least not yet. For most of us. Depending on where we live. And which cop we happen to encounter. And the situation in which we encounter them. Which brings me to my main point: our real enemy is not the police. It’s tyranny, wherever it rears its ugly head. It could be in our workplace, school, Panera, city council, police department, anywhere. It’s up to all of us, each of us, to resist tyranny.

There are cops who do so. Officers who enforce the rule of law in strict accordance with our constitutionally protected rights. Who know what American exceptionalism means: that the United States is a nation of individuals who stand up for individual rights against tyranny in all its forms. Armed. No matter what these police officers wear, they are the good cops.

Last thing: I admit to setting up a straw man argument at the beginning of this puddle-of-consciousness rant. Most cops are not SWAT. SWAT teams don’t [routinely] patrol neighborhoods. So most cops don’t look like they’re ready to recapture Fallujah. (Again.) They look like this:

PoliceOfficers4

There is, of course, one thing missing here: body cams. Know what I mean?

51 Responses to Random Thoughts About Good Cops

  1. Isn’t it a bit ironic that we ask for bodycams but complain about cams on cruisers scanning license plates? (serious question, not trolling)

        • I understand the need for accountability, but if I can’t trust an individual without a camera I most certainly can’t trust him with a gun. I’m not trying to poke at anyone or anything I just feel like a camera shouldn’t be the end all for police accountability.

        • +1000 on body cams and police accountability.

          Having cameras on officers is about providing documentation of a government’s exercise of power.

          That is COMPLETELY different than the government monitoring citizens without probable cause.

      • Scanning a plate is a search, but one that is the epitome of nonintrusive, and hardly unreasonable, especially considering the state owns the plate and the associated database and the public street you’re driving on. That said, it’s probably a waste of resources to go around randomly scanning plates, but that’s a policy decision of effective policing, not a constitutional question of Fourth Amendment protection.

    • Mr.T, I do not see that as ironic: officers wearing body cameras creates, one hopes, a record of police interactions with people. It may act as a governor to police excesses and lead people to be more trusting of officers. The second seems to be a shotgun approach to finding transgressors, and while this might be a good thing in some people’s eyes, I find it very troubling. What if the scanner makes a mistake and I am thought by police to be a violent criminal? I have a feeling that my day/week/year/ could be ruined. I do not want some cop pulling me over because he or she thinks I am a danger. That, to me, is the difference.

  2. No, cops are not “the enemy,” but Officer Friendly has been dead for a long, long time. His position was filled by a former MP with a massive inferiority complex, minimal ties to the community he polices and an armful of anadrol.

    • Most of the veterans-turned-cops I see are better than those with no military experience, at least in urban areas. Probably because at least they’ve stepped out of the city bubble for awhile.

        • Accur81, you are not the guy with the badge that I’m worried about. If you were that kind of guy, you wouldn’t be part of this community — and a damn good-natured one at that. In all honesty, if more cops were like you and Hayes, there wouldn’t be many controversies. So don’t take my criticism of cops generally to mean that I’m accusing you of anything.

    • There is no such thing as a former MP, at least not a combat MP. That’s why I chose not to be a civilian cop when I got out. Baghdad rules don’t belong on the street in Illinois.

  3. The nation divides again. This time among cops. Some are for truth, justice and the American way (Supercops) others follow the example of our nation’s leaders and are for themselves.

  4. I’ve been thinking about this for multiple days.
    No matter what weapons the cops use, no matter what vehicles, no matter what armor, it’s their actions that matter. Their face value, or presentability.
    What does an army roaming the streets look like? How do they respond to bystanders?
    I don’t have problems with backup rifles in the cop car. I don’t have problems with body armor. When the actions of the police indicate that they intend to fight a war rather than protect and serve the public, I see a problem. Most cops aren’t full time swat. A lot (dare I say most?) probably never do a swat raid with a no knock warrant. That doesn’t mean the few that do don’t matter though.

    • And I see the town’s population was somewhere around 11,000something, I’m sure they get a lot of use out of this team.

    • The guy on the right had his shirt ironed too many times with the collar stays still in. Looks unprofessional.

      • I hate the term “fashion police” because cops have none! Insider secret: the collar stays are sewn in and the pocket flaps have fake buttons and velcro. I swear my uniforms are made by Osh-Kosh!

  5. Hmmph. I’ve been to Niles many times (I have friends that live there), and I’ve never seen the two in the middle of the picture. The other two, I’ve seen working traffic. I’m thinking the worst thing they have to deal with in the Niles/Buchanan area would be over-enthusiastic Notre Dame fans after a home win in South Bend. . .and the occasional meth cooker or two.

  6. Seems to me the shooter in PA did a fine job flying solo. The Staties are scratching their arses.

    Random shooter 2 – Police 0

      • That’s funny!

        The comment is on RF’s riff about lone actors being an enduring theme in Westerns and how taking on “the law” would better be done as a group. Events in PA weaken that argument.

        Not exactly sure how one could take that as pro Bloomberg?

        • You’re statement looks as tho you’re rooting for the cop killer. Makes we POTG look bad. Hence the question about your ties to kapo bloomberg.

    • “Game” is not over. I’d bet on the PA state police catching this person. This is in my neck of the woods and the resources they have deployed are remarkable.

  7. As usual I’ll blather on a bit about this and ask what percentage of our time is spent interacting with police. I submit less than 1/10 of a percent. And in that time, I’ve never had a positive experience with any one of them who crossed my path. Not once has an officer said hi to me in a coffee shop. I’m a big guy, clean-shaven, no visible tat’s and both male & female size me up adjusting their personal space for a tactical advantage, god forbid if I was black, I’d would have died years ago, you know reaching for my phone.

    Most tickets I’ve received were for the stated offense, but always there was enough room for officer to offer a break, instead…roving tax collector checked the most revenue block and sent me on my way. The last encounter we concluded our exchange (did agree with my actions and was not cited) but then officer asked for my license (in camper) to run me for warrants, and asked before retrieval, “if he had anything to worry about?”.

    Even in community meetings the circle talk is painful and I almost lost it when he stated citizens petition for traffic relief in school neighborhoods would be subject to parking tickets, should signs be installed. Fine example of mindless bureaucratic policing that serves themselves and protects their pensions.

    The best encounter was a Police sergeant observing me riding my bike slowly rolling through an intersection (early morning and absolutely no traffic). The guy U turned, lights on and pulled me over and spent 10 minutes lecturing me, finally letting me go stating I should wear a helmet as well, you know as an example for children.

    The concern is as crime arc’s its downward arrow, police will have to justify their existence and law abiding citizens are the perfect opportunity to harass, tax, and nose into your business.

    That is all.

    • Well mk10108; my experience has been completely different, and this is in New Mexico. I didn’t get stopped very often, but I have for some rolling stops at stops signs, speeding, broken tail lights or an expired registration. I was driving, especially when I was younger, beat up pick up trucks I would fix myself. I’m a big guy, I work out a lot, I was usually bigger than most cops stopping me. Yet everyone of them had been professional, courteous and most of the time would give a verbal warning rather than a ticket.

      Then I started OC’ing seven years ago, and the cops continued to be courteous, polite and when I would walk by a cop(s) I would simply nod at the cop(s) they would nod back and we would go on our way.

      Either your cops in your area are particularly bullyish or you it just might be you. Do you come across with an attitude or are you just polite and courteous when you interact with them?

      • I’m neutral, and just get through the process. Driving 30-50K miles a year I encounter one every 2-3 years. Here’s one I can share. A friend (early Saturday morning) pulled up to a stop light and came to a full stop for a right turn. Waited for green because the road is on a curve (50 mph) and doesn’t want to get rear ended. The light changed and proceeded right. Motorcycle cop did a U-turn and pulled him over. License & registration, insurance, warrant check, vehicle inspection, wearing camo (going hunting), informed officer shotgun was locked in tool bin (back of the truck), checked hunting license…30 minutes….finally allowed to proceed. When asked why he was pulled over. Get ready for this…he waited for green for a right turn, which to the officer was an indication he was drunk. This is the crap we put up with, in name of public safety one can be detained for no reason.

  8. I was southbound on 880 today on my way home from work. On the northbound side I observed a tractor trailer with an m60 tank riding it’s lowboy.

    Very first thought thru my mind? A picture of this thing will show up on TTAG with an anguished rant about militarized police.

    Or maybe alex jones will get a picture and use it as proof that FEMA’s about to kick off a genocide.

  9. I have a fast car and I drive fast well. OK? So I get speeding tickets (fewer since I installed my Valentine) and I’ve gotten a speeding stop every year and a ticket about 1out of 3. That gives me 50 years of annual contact with cops. There is NO DOUBT but that the police side of the encounters has gotten much worse since 2000. Now the young officers act like they are terrified of a 10mph over traffic stop. They communicate that fear to their customer and it comes across , in my case (I pass a NICS check in 2 seconds), as disrespect of the customer. The last stop, I thought the officer running the revenue machine for the village was going to pee on himself. Standing where you can’t be see is a poor way to conduct a conversation. He HAD to approach me to get the license and registration. With his hand on his gun? He’d already run the plates, probably run the owner, me, and had 60 seconds of talking and he couldn’t relax? My biggest concern was whether he was going to shoot me. He was radiating “I fear you, I hate you” vibes so much that I had gone to condition red. It was the scariest experience I’ve had in civilian life. Scared men with guns are as bad as a grenade with the spoon popped.

    • This is about where I’m stuck: it seems like cops used to be braver than they are now. I’m not terribly old, and I don’t want to idyllize the past, but shooting people’s dogs? No-knock warrants where a simple patrol officer knocking on the door would do? MRAPs? What mines do they need resistance to? Is there an IED problem in this country that I’m not aware of?

      What ever happened to “one riot, one ranger”? Those were men’s men, and brave. These guys now?

      My mother says that feminists have spent decades preventing boys from acting like boys and now we all wonder why men don’t act like men.

  10. What in the world are the SWAT guys wearing? Looks like some of (ballistic?) face guard and neck guard. Kinda getting a Storm Trooper vibe or the ODST guys.

  11. I don’t bother commenting on roberts articles anymore, and this will likely be the last time. The problem with him and people like him is that they don’t know what they are talking about, just like the anti gunner who suggests using mace and tasers against a gun wielding maniac or my favorite “shoot him in the leg” folks. Just like the anti gunner who says we don’t “need assault rifles”. robert, just like them, has no idea what hes talking about because he has no experience in LE. Most of his articles are filled with rhetoric, generalizations and hyperbole. You don’t know what goes on at night, the 700 square mile Texas county I patrol with only 2 other deputies at night only has a population of 48000 on the books, probably closer to 60k. in the two years I have worked I have been in 8 high speed pursuits and 1 gunfight. No one outside of the sheriff’s office or court system knows. None of them know that I broke my back in 4 places or that the two small holes in the bottom of my crown vic bumper were .40 cal bullet holes. None of them know about the degeneracy and meth and abuse and assaults and crime because it happens at night and they don’t see it because of people like me. Im not complaining, I wouldn’t do anything else and I love my job. But I cant stand people like RF sitting behind a computer screen and generalizing and acting like they know what their talking about when they don’t know sht. If that guy had killed me, it wouldn’t be in the news no one would ever hear about it and the world would go on. But if he had been a different race or if he had died after the SRT team shot him, you can bet your as it would be on national TV, and robert would be running his mouth about what corrupt SOBs we all are.

    • “I don’t bother commenting on roberts articles anymore,”

      K, apparently you don’t READ Robert’s articles very closely either… like when he said:

      “Which brings me to my main point: our real enemy is not the police. It’s tyranny, wherever it rears its ugly head. It could be in our workplace, school, Panera, city council, police department, anywhere. It’s up to all of us, each of us, to resist tyranny.

      There are cops who do so. Officers who enforce the rule of law in strict accordance with our constitutionally protected rights. Who know what American exceptionalism means: that the United States is a nation of individuals who stand up for individual rights against tyranny in all its forms. Armed. No matter what these police officers wear, they are the good cops.”

      • I haven’t met any such cops in several decades in this country.

        You’re living in some kind of dreamland.

        LE has become the STANDING ARMY the founders feared for the people.

        PERIOD!

    • So what you seem to be saying, k, is that it sucks where you work, you hate most of your job, and “I reject your reality and substitute my own.”

      Fine. Feel free to drop by and “not complain” some more any time.

      Oh, and by the way, you’re STILL not going to get a parade and a statue in your honor for showing up at work every day. Deal with it.

  12. I’ve met MANY good cops. Perhaps it is how I meet them that is different. Yeah, I’ve gotten a few traffic tickets, maybe 4 in 40 years of driving. And I deserved every one of them and didn’t try to bargain or beg my way out of them. Mostly though, my interaction with law enforcement is after I’ve called 911 to report an accident I’ve witnessed, or a family member becoming ill, or a robbery. In NJ and PA, the police respond to ALL 911 calls, whether it is a fire, an ambulance call, or other kind of emergency. In those instances, I was treated professionally and politely. For those that feel all cops are angry predators, my suggestion is the next time you are walking down the street and see a patrolman on the sidewalk, smile at him/her and say “Good morning, nice to see you in the neighborhood.”A friendly attitude goes both ways.

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