Most everyone has witnessed cops speeeeeding – not on a call, just driving somewhere . Yet they can do it with impunity.
Case in point: A few months back, the wife and I were returning home from Northern Va., driving on I-81. The speed limit at the time was 65 MPH. A state cop ahead of us was toodling along at about 75. I followed him (discreetly, at a distance, in a pack of cars) for more than a half hour. This same cop undoubtedly issues big bucks tickets to Mere Ordinaries (Will Grigg’s excellent term) for doing exactly the same thing. They’re not cops, of course – which is why it’s not exactly the same thing.
And why they get ticketed.
I know some will defend the cops by saying they probably know it’s ridiculous, too – that is, speed limits/enforcement – but they’re just doing their job.
Well, that “Nuremburg defense” doesn’t fly with me. It didn’t use to fly with most Americans, either – until, that is, we became a nation of neo-Weimar cringers and badge-lickers who accept any affront by law enforcement if it’s done “for our safety.”
At one time, I considered applying to be a cop because I liked idea of being a peace officer – that is, going after bad guys. But the fact is most cops spend a lot of their time – possibly a majority of their time – pestering/harassing/fleecing decent people over BS “violations” that only a BTK-like sociopath would feel good about enforcing.
Not surprisingly, we’re hearing more about (and seeing more, thanks to portable video rigs) BTK-esque goons with badges and official state sanction visiting almost unbelievably disproportionate acts of physical brutality on Mere Ordinaries over even minor (and absolutely non-violent) challenges to their “authority.”
Here’s a an especially horrific recent example:
In Washington State, a thug cop named Matt Paul who had previously body-slammed and paralyzed for life an innocent man over a suspected minor offense later tried the same trick on a citizen who happened to be out walking one day when he witnessed this same cop berating some more Mere Ordinaries and dared to film the episode. When the Mere Ordinary with the video rig attempted to walk away, and inadvertently jaywalked in so doing, this thug cop plastered the Mere Ordinary’s face into the concrete, breaking his nose in the process. And his superiors continue to defend him – the thug cop, that is.
See here for more details:
Some will dismiss the case just mentioned as exceptional and aberrant – but the plain fact is that the sort of extreme physical violence deployed so casually – so eagerly – by such as Officer Matt Paul is now implicitly ready to explode anytime a Mere Ordinary runs up against a cop. For example, see what happens if you happen to be out driving one night and, noticing a “safety checkpoint” up ahead, decide you’d rather not spend 10 (or even 5) minutes being subjected to an arbitrary detainment and interrogation – and turn your car around (legally) and head the other way. You will very shortly feel like OJ in his white Bronco – except of course you didn’t just murder two people. If you decline to pull over, the situation will escalate. And even if you do pull over, it will escalate – not because you did anything that in a formerly free America could be characterized as illegal. But because you challenged the Authority of Law Enforcement. At the very least, you will be subjected to an even heavier-handed interrogation, probably including a physical pat down and search of your vehicle – for doing nothing more than turning your car around and attempting to avoid their “checkpoint.”
Then there is the notorious case of the motorcyclist – another Mere Ordinary – who had a gun drawn on him by a plainclothes cop … because the Mere Ordinary was speeeeeding. Here’s the video.
That was bad enough. But worse was yet to come after the Mere Ordinary posted the video above on YouTube. The Maryland State Police executed a major raid on the Mere Ordinary’s home, seizing his computers and other personal property because in Maryland, you see, it is illegal to film cops doing their (cough) duty – even though they can and do film the Mere Ordinaries they process every day, using said video as evidence against them.
All of this is bad business – for the cops as well as Mere Ordinaries. Because, ultimately, when Mere Ordinaries come to view cops with contempt, as potentially dangerous thugs to fear and avoid rather than peace officers – they’ve lost moral legitimacy and once that’s gone, the only thing keeping the populace from literally tearing them to pieces at the first opportunity is just exactly that: The first opportunity.
Someday, perhaps soon, that opportunity will come – just as it did in Egypt and before that, in places like Vichy Paris, after the Nazis fled and the Vichy goons found themselves no longer large and in charge.
It’s not going to be pretty. For us – or for them.
Reprinted with permission from EricPetersAutos.com.
May 20, 2011
Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.
Copyright © 2011 Eric Peters