Troll around YouTube (or read the news, even casually) and you will readily come across examples of cops who don’t know the law – and enforce their own conception of it with impunity.
Two examples come to mind, one automotive – the other not.
Example one: Open Carry.
In states where this is legal, people are routinely hassled by cops for doing what is legal. A person will be out in public, with a sidearm legally holstered (or carried) in plain view. A cop car – often, several of them – will roll up and aggressively confront the open-carrying person. Usually, it is done in an order-barking manner, and not infrequently with clearly stated threats of summary roadside execution, as in this video:
Mind, the open-carrier has not done anything illegal. The law is clear. People may open carry – that is, they may openly carry a gun in public. Period. There is no qualification. It is the law. Yet this is no defense against “the law” – the goons with guns and special outfits, that is.
The common theme in these videos is a request by the person being given the Fallujah Treatment that the cop consult the statute book – i.e., that he familiarize himself with the law rather than make up law as he goes. The response is typically a blizzard of non sequiturs and threats. The cops will state that “someone” called in to “express alarm” about the sight of an armed person walking down the street. That this made them “nervous” or “concerned.”
The open-carrier will reply – correctly, insofar as the law is concerned – that a person isn’t subject to harassment by the law because of “someone’s” feelings. That there must be at least some suspicion, some specific probable cause, to suspect that an actual law was violated.
Merely walking down the street with a firearm in an area where it is legal to do so does not constitute probable cause for suspecting anything illegal is occurring, has occurred or might be about to occur. If it does, then any legal going-about-one’s business is insufficient to protect one from “the law” – from its enforcers.
It is Kafkaesque.
Why even bother with “the law” when it has become whatever any random cop decides it is?
The ugly truth is we’ve lost one of the basic bulwarks against despotism – the rule of law as opposed to the rule of whomever happens to wield authority. Innocence of wrongdoing under the law – or rather, the absence of any tangible reason for believing a given person is guilty of having violated the law – ought to be (and once was ) a shield of immunity against arbitrary authority. It no longer is in random checkpoint/stop-and-frisk and shoot-you-in-the-head America.
Example two: The slow-motion Clover.
In many states, there are laws on the books requiring slower-moving traffic to yield to faster-moving traffic. Have you ever seen a cop enforce this law?
Neither have I.
It is also illegal in several states to drive significantly slower than the posted speed limit – less than 40 in a 55, for instance. The driver who does so is legally obligated to pull over/off onto the shoulder in order to let the cars piled up behind him get by – and is legally subject to being ticketed merely for operating below the legally established minimum threshold.
Have you ever seen a cop pull over such a Clover? Even when there is a half-mile of cars stacked up behind him?
Of course not.
What I have seen – and you probably have, too – is a cop immediately running down the poor slob who had the temerity to pass the Clover and in doing so, went a little faster than the posted speed limit.
That law gets enforced.
I once had a cop lecture me – and a class full of penitents (we were all stuck in one of those all-day DMV “driver education” courses they make you take in lieu of having a moving violation for some trumped-up offense such as “speeding” appear on your record) that when we encounter a Clover doing 20 MPH below the speed limit, we ought to wait patiently behind said Clover. “After all, ” he explained. “We’ll all be old someday.”
What that has to do with the law? About as much as being assaulted at gunpoint by cops who cannot read the laws pertaining to open carry – or who simply have contempt for them.
Bad laws are bad news, but even worse is when there is no law. Which is what it amounts to when a GED dropout wearing the latest in American-style sturmabteilung haute couture can simply do as he pleases – without shame, much less sanction.
I figure, if they don’t obey the law – why should we respect it? There’s no point. We can’t win. They hold all the trumps. So, why bother?
When that realization spreads, things are going to get interesting.
Throw it in the Woods?
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
We encourage you to share and republish our reports, analyses, breaking news and videos (Click for details).
Contributed by Eric Peters of Eric Peters Autos.
Eric Peters is an automotive columnist and author who has written for the Detroit News and Free Press, Investors Business Daily, The American Spectator, National Review, The Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal. His books include Road Hogs (2011) and Automotive Atrocities (2004). His next book, “The Politics of Driving,” is scheduled for release in 2012. Visit his web site at Eric Peters Autos.