See government also experiences power creep. every generation of lawmakers or presidents wants to surpass the previous generations. It's not necessarily malicious. This happens at all levels of the government. Reason.com recently had a post detailing a list of events and occurrences of police mischief where citizens died due to police misconduct or zealotry and that was only in the past few years. In most of these cases there is a marked lack of responsibility and the perpetrators are rarely, if ever, punished. If you want a more visual example there's this map from the Cato Institute detailing botched swat raids. The Cato Institute also released this map of police misconduct and that's just from 2009 and 2010 incidences. I'm sure you or someone you know has their own story.
While my encounters with police aren't as rapey or murder prone, and i'm not some sort of legal or ethical saint, I have still faced questionable ethics and law enforcement. I have been pulled over and yelled at by an officer who followed me for over 2 miles with his lights off hoping he'd get a DUI bust out of it. I have been pulled over for traveling in the left hand lane of the mass pike. One of the funnier incidents was when I received a written warning that my inspection sticker was going to expire in a month. The most powerful incident was the summons I got for minor with transportation when I was a designated driver, that one drove me towards my libertarian outlook. But my favorite abuse of power is this ticket that my signiicant other Robyn received over the summer.
Looks like any other ticket but there are a few fun discrepancies. First it says that we were traveling 72 in a 40 on interstate 93, the problem... There is no 40 mile an hour zone. The lowest speed limit is 45mph which wasn't even where we were stopped. why on earth would an officer lie about such things? Well the difference between 72 in a 40 and 72 in a 45 is about 185$. see your charged 5$ per mph over the speed limit and that goes up to 10$ per mph for speeds greater than 30 mph. There are a few other details in the ticket that irk me and show either massive incompetence or a lack of sobriety on the officers part.
But why shouldn't an officer lie. I mean their paid not to, but their also paid to serve and protect not shoot your dog on your property without a warrant. All an officer has to do is say he didn't do something and fellow cops, DA's, the courts, and unions will stand in the way to protect them regardless of the charges or evidence. prosecution is just starting to occur due to the widespread use of cellphone cameras, thank god for technology.
Which brings us to Christopher Dorner. He alleged that a partner of his kicked a mentally disabled man, a charge which the man and the mans father corroborate. He was then fired when the offending officer was cleared. I dont pretend to know what really happened that day. I do know on the appeal of his termination a judge declared that there was evidence that he wasn't lying, I also know the case is being reviewed again, and that the LAPD is notoriously corrupt and abusive.
Without a trial Dorner met his end when the police decided to light his cabin on fire using gasoline. They of course deny trying to light the cabin on fire but there is a video so take that as you will. I don't condone his acts of violence but we need to be consciously aware that the LAPD decided without a trial or a jury to execute a man for his crimes. Is that really a power we want a notoriously corrupt group to have?
What about the shots fired into a civilian pickup that simply looked like Dorners' shouldn't we at least punish them for that.
|Pictured: Police Prudence|
The drone strikes against Anwar a-alwaki and his son raise the exact same questions for president Obama. In this case we have the execution of an american and his son without trial and jury, that's bad, that's incredibly bad, in fact the history of the modern legal system and governance is based entirely around the prevention of such unilateral power. Being judge jury and executioner isn't the only legal liberty Obama has taken, there's indefinite detention, the undeclared wars, bypassing congress for appointments and many many other civil liberties and legal violations that the executive branch has taken. Are these really the powers we want the government to have over us? Even if Anwar al-alwaki committed terrorist acts, which there is no evidence he did, doesn't he still deserve a trial? Isn't that in the constitution
It used to be that there was ample opposition to such power grabs and brutality. The antiwar movement, democrats and liberal media criticized the abuses of executive power. That was until their man got elected of course. Obama is defended by these has been critics of Bush. The government is ripe with hypocrisy. Apparently injustices are only unjust when its not your man pulling the trigger. This acceptance or silence in the face of federal power seizures is why we experience power creep.
In the gun control debate there were some choice bits from gun control advocates. Anything from how the second amendment protects muskets to how its about sport shooting. The reality, and the somewhat discomforting fact is the founding fathers were well aware of power creep. The bill of rights is what is supposed to stand in its way, assuming a strict interpretation. That's why there is some very frank and clear language in there such as congress shall make no law abridging, or, shall not be infringed. It's not that speech should generally not be abridged, or that gun rights are okay to infringe on just a little bit as long as hunting isn't impaired. Everyone has the right to a trial by jury of their peers, that doesn't just disappear if you've been bad.
Free speech and the right to bear arms are the first and second amendments because we need to be able to freely stand up to the government, and if, for whatever reason, the government doesn't listen we can make it. Even if Dorner was crazy, I haven't seen anything proving he wasn't, how would you act if the legal system was so corrupt that it protected murderers, rapists and sadists, then threw you out for reporting them. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why we have the second amendment and why it SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.