You will often here talk about respect for the police. In the United States we enshrine the officers hired to protect us as the vigilant heroes of our community. The underappreciated guardians that watch us while we sleep. We make movies and television shows about them and tell our children that they are heroes.
Even the Police themselves seize upon this image. On NYPD Police cars you will often see the acronym CPR (Courtesy Professionalism and Respect) and on others across the nation you will see the common “to protect and to serve.”
The problem with this is that the Police are no longer worthy of the respect of the people. When I see an officer I no longer respect him, I fear him. I fear his power and I wonder if he’s going to arbitrarily decide to ruin my day, or even my life. He has the power, and one only need to look as far as google for a litany of human rights and abuses against human dignity perpetrated by the police.
That is not to say that all cops are bad but the problem, dear reader, is that we cannot know which cops are good or bad without experience, and that has become a risk. No longer part of the community, the police have elevated themselves to paramilitary knights and lords that oversee the serfs that were once the civilians in the community they are supposed to be serving. This is a terrible perversion of law enforcement culture in our country and has come on the heels of the American Drug War and the War on Terror.
The American People in a fit of ingenuity and desperation have turned to filming the police as a last line of defense against this oppression and are being met almost universally with violence and intimidation. Just recently, a civilian was filming the police as they made an arrest and he too ended up arrested for Obstruction of Justice even though it is clear from the video he was on private property, he obeyed the officer’s instructions immediately and was over 20 feet from the arrest. The officer entered on private property, said he was intimidating him and arrested him. This is but one in a litany of sins that the American people are forced to endure from those we expect to protect us.
This is an awful tragedy, because we no longer can feel safe, not from the criminals, but from the ones that we ask to protect us. When our guardians become tyrants, it is high time to examine our government and ourselves and loudly demand that these abuses end. This is not meant to be who we are as a country. Never once did our founding fathers intend that we must quake in fear of authority.
I leave you, dear reader, with a quote from a man that said it better than me…
“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.” ―Thomas Jefferson
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