Saturday, January 12, 2008
A Proliferation of Taser Killings
Marshall Dillon pointed his Peacemaker at the cowboy without cocking the hammer. "Hand over your gun," he ordered.
"Sure, Marshall." The cowboy carefully took his pistol out of its holster and handed it, handle first to the lawman. "What did I do?"
"Found a dead man out on your ranch. Know anything about it?"
Now, Gunsmoke was hardly a historical duplication of the actual Dodge City of the 1880's, but it does point out the difference between the interface between the citizenry and the law in a more rational time.
"Get down on the floor and lie face down! Spread 'em!"
The man looked up from his sofa at the splintering of his front door, to see over a dozen fully armored men, armed with assault rifles pointed at him, storming into his home.
The man, reflexively, stood up. "What's this.....?"
One of the intruders shoots him with a taser. The man, who suffers with chronic episodes of heart arrhythmia, reacts badly to the voltage. His ailing heart gives up, and he dies.
Turns out, the maltrained SWAT Nazis had been given this address as a tip by a drug addict looking for a reduced sentence. The dead victim, who occasionally smoked some marijuana to ease his back pain, was dismissed as guilty even though he had no police record at all. He couldn't get his doctor to prescribe effective pain control because of federal scrutiny of physicians who specialize in these areas.
These are both dramatizations, but events similar to the second, or variations thereof, are happening every day. What with the unConstitutional asset forfeiture laws, it becomes profitable for police agencies to shoot first and never have to ask questions. The officers involved in these atrocities are almost always found to be acting properly, and are sometimes given promotions.
For those of us old enough to wistfully recall the days of Officer Mike, the beat cop, walking or driving through the neighborhood, knowing the names of many of the businessmen and residents, and always ready to help any way he (reasonably) can, from checking out the broken window you discovered when you returned from work to returning a child, who wandered out of his known neighborhood--not to child protective services, but home to his parents.
Police agencies have become paramilitary groups, far separated from the residents of their patrol areas. They usually don't live near their patrol areas. They don't talk to the residents or businessmen except when called, and then only to take a report and move on. In fact, there's a very real sense among police (acknowledged amongst themselves, that the citizenry are the enemy. Or they're "little people." They keep the peace by forcing the citizens they encounter to lie face down on the pavement and.....
Most of this us under the approving guidance of the breathing death's head, Michael Chertoff, and his recent predecessors. He'd do WWII Germany's top Gestapo men proud, and he hasn't yet approached his stride.
Well, Americans shouldn't have to prostrate themselves before authority. Not only is it demeaning, not only does it demolish one's right as a man to be considered innocent until proven guilty, but it ruins one's clothing.
Now the President, in accordance with his seeming desire to create a Fourth Reich, is dramatically increasing the ways to "keep track" of what Americans do and where we go. The President wants a universal ID card. He wants to be able to (and is many cases already does) check everyone's "papers, please?" at airports, train stations, and to keep track of people on surveillance cameras strategically placed just about everywhere.
One has to show ID and state one's purpose at entry to many public buildings. One has to show ID prior to just about any financial transaction (to be duly recorded in IRS records). Soon, there'll be ID checkpoints at random locations.
The President, and several of his recent predecessors, have created a plethora of special, sometimes secret federal police agencies, unConstitutional, one and all.
All of the above abrogations of Americans' rights to privacy, freedom of association and freedom of movement could be abolished, leaving Americans safer simply by reaffirming our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and to defend our own lives, families and property.
I wonder what might be the purpose of all this? If we all make a guess, I believe many of us will come to the same conclusion.
They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!