Tag: Violence

The Problems With Police & Their Unions

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Let it be clearly stated that this is not an anti-police essay. This is, however, a criticism of police and the problems arising from an overreaching government. Furthermore, the mere fact that I need to preface this work with these sentiments and the possible retaliation that may arise from writing this piece is a clear sign that our government is out of bounds.

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which is a labor union, began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1915. In 1918, it became the national union for law enforcement officers. FOP produced the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR or LEOBoR) which provides extra protection for officers who are being investigated or may have committed crimes while on duty. This was accepted federally, and various states have added their own versions of this bill to add further protections and processes. Each state and local department may have various organizations and unions they are a part of, and most of them are under the umbrella of The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), which is a coalition of the associations and unions across the US.

These unions, associations, state and local governments, as well as the federal government, are all protecting the police in order to carry out their laws. One significant issue with this is when there are unjust laws and unconstitutional laws being protected and enforced. Additionally, when officers commit crimes against people, these respective groups are protecting the officers no matter how heinous the crime. As dark and humorous as it is to point out, the fact is that police can often get away with an uncountable number crimes and the departments and unions will say something to the effect of, “We investigated ourselves, and found that we did nothing wrong.”

In many states, officers are forced to be dues-paying members to these unions. No matter the case, the unions have a stronghold over the police departments and have power in determining how the department functions through legal and social pressures. This is evident in the extreme benefits of being in a police union with additional legal resources and pay during time on suspension, etc. Social pressures of departments and unions are even more evident in cases of fellow officers whistleblowing.

The authority held by the police is granted by the people through the US Constitution via the 10th Amendment which gives each state the power to enforce their respective laws. It is on the Constitution that officers promise to protect and abide, yet continuously they infringe on it through civil asset forfeiture versus the 5th Amendment, the war on drugs versus the 9th Amendment and various others, search and seizures without warrant versus the 4th Amendment, infringing on various 1st Amendment rights, and various other 9th Amendment rights found in Natural Law which is what the Constitution was founded upon. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court continues to vote in favor of the police in their criminal acts against people, exasperating the problem of a growing cancer of a despot government.

Contentions with police officers are growing for good reason in the United States, but unlike what their unions say, there is not a war on police officers. As of 2016, according to the FBI, 63 officers were feloniously killed on duty in a nation with around 745,000 officers equaling around 0.0085% of the police population. Yet, the Blue Lives Matter organization has mobilized to get police officers into a protected class and to lobby for laws that will deem “crimes” against officers as hate crimes. Such laws as the Protect and Serve Act of 2018 has already passed the House and is currently going to Senate. The major issue here is that this is creating a stronger government against the people it is there to serve, as it is an overreach of government powers, and this is by definition becoming a despot government or “big government.” For Justice to stand, everyone must be equal under the law. No president, soldier, officer, or king should get any extra privileges under the law.

Obviously, as laws are continually added and changed, these so-called crimes become rather subjective, as in Positive Law Theory. This is the same when police harass and arrest people, then attempt to discredit their behavior by stating, “I’m just doing my job.” Not only does this go against the fundamental Natural Law Theory of the Constitution, but this also leads to serious consequences for the lives of those harmed by behaviors from such thinking as this puts everyone at risk due to arbitrary laws and people upholding such laws. Proponents for violence used by police will attempt to justify such actions as saying people should not resist arrest or that the law needs to be upheld no matter what. This is what is called the Nuremberg defense, or superior orders defense.

This ‘defense’ is named after the very same argument that was used by Nazi Germany when they changed their laws in order to follow them and make their actions “legal.” It is the same sort of bootlicking response used by those that supported the redcoats during the US Revolutionary War. It is the same argument used by Thomas Hobbes to support the removal of Liberty of individuals and grant Liberty only to a sovereign power. It is the same argument used by those that think ‘rights’ come from government and not God or Nature. It is the same argument used by Robert Filmer in which John Locke fundamentally, vehemently, and successfully argued against as seen in Locke’s Two Treatises of Government; it was Locke’s work that helped inspire the US Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. These arguments used by such groups as ‘Blue Lives Matter,’ ‘Protect the Thin Blue Line,’ etc. are fundamentally anti-American. They are against everything in which this country was founded on by their core philosophy.

For those on the political Right- when a government makes a law saying your guns, for example, will be removed, it is these same types of police that will use force to pry your guns away. As you say, they are “just doing their job.” For the political Left- if you want to give up your guns to people willing to commit atrocities and the government is willing to blindly protect them in cases of even gross misconduct, that should put some question of reasonable concern in your mind.

In 2014, Eric Garner was assaulted by police for selling single cigarettes and consequently died due to a stranglehold. These chokes were already considered “illegal” by New York law for officers, yet the case was dismissed and the officer was pardoned. Adding to the frustration of this case, the officer lied about strangling Mr. Garner, and only because of a cell phone recording and an autopsy was it shown that the officer lied. A whistleblowing officer who also leaked the information contrary to the lie was forced to leave his job. Nevertheless, police unions and government came to the aid and defense of the officers responsible for Mr. Garner’s death. Their justification is that it is still “illegal” to sell individual cigarettes without a license and other taxes in NY. So much for tea and whiskey taxes.

Extra protection has been growing especially since 1967’s case ‘Pierson v. Ray,’ granting “qualified immunity” in cases brought against them. This is outside of the Constitution as it is providing extralegal protections for government employees and executive branch members. The court’s reasoning is that police need to do their jobs effectively in order to serve and protect the community as being on the frontlines of stopping and arresting criminals who break the law. Understandably, there needs to be a balance between the laws and the means of executing the laws. So, it is imperative to end unjust laws and to correct police officers’ responses to those who are breaking the Just laws. Equally, there needs to be a stronger ability to reprimand officers who are acting outside of the law, unreasonably, and unconstitutionally. When the government is providing itself extra protections, they are acting to protect their own interests and not the people or the Constitution in which they swore to protect and uphold.

Some extra protections for society have been made against police, such as body cameras on cops. However, the issue has been not only malfunctions and poor quality recordings but also in many areas police are allowed to turn them on and off at their discretion. There have been numerous cases where police officers have been seen planting drugs on a scene in order to get a charge against a civilian, but thankfully in a few cases, the camera recorded the officers planting the drugs. Nevertheless, there were no punishments against the officers other than paid suspensions. The government has no problem fighting an unjust war, i.e. the “war on drugs,” planting drugs on people and being recorded doing so, in order to extort money and property from people, completely destroying these citizens’ lives. They do all of this through the already atrocious protections granted to the police by states and the federal government, with added protections by their departments and unions. If a citizen were to do the same against an officer, the citizen would face serious consequences and lengthy prison time with added penalties because it was against an officer. Even if a citizen did such to another citizen, there would be consequences. Yet, when it comes to police against the citizen, little-to-nothing is done. The police culture perpetuates the problem by helping cover up crimes for one another such as waiving traffic tickets or even more serious crimes.

Police labor unions are only there to protect their jobs and not the community or taxpayers. In the place of government labor unions, who are being brought together in ‘union?’ Government employees should have no ‘right’ to a union, as they are there to serve the community in which they are employed, not to be ‘guaranteed’ a job and protected for committing egregious acts against that community. Not only do labor unions for government employees protect bad employees by not firing them when they are bad employees, but they also falsely inflate costs on the public who is funding them. This creates higher taxes and higher expenses for a community, state, or federal level government. This adds to inflation and to a larger government. These unions also use some of their funding to support political parties and candidates, where some in the union might not want their money going. Furthermore, if and when cases are brought against the police departments or states, it is taxpayers who are ultimately paying for the crimes and mistakes of officers, not the offers or the department itself. This is all the more reason to consider other options such as more private police, or insurance purchased by the individual public officers.

As for some possibly good news in the right direction towards dismantling government labor unions, ‘Janus v American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees’ is to be looked at by the Supreme Court. This case is to make it optional to join government unions if approved, whereas currently states require people to join unions if their state has declared it mandatory. Any business relationship should be voluntary, in as much that one should not be forced to join a union in which they do not believe in, and they should not be forced to pay dues.

Overall, police are getting far too powerful and committing crimes against people by not only upholding unjust laws, but also by intentionally committing acts of violence, extortion, scandal, and lies against people. They are doing so with impunity and the backing of all levels of government and labor unions. The militarization of police is a serious issue noted by many scholars and critics. The police, as they are a government entity, do not need extra protections from citizens. There is no war against police, but the police are in fact acting in aggression towards the citizenry. The best steps to take now (in no particular order as this article would be even longer) are ending the war on drugs, erasing convictions related to nonviolent drug-related crimes, purging our legal system of unjust laws, holding police and other government officials accountable for serious crimes against others, ending government unions especially those of police unions, and retraining how to handle situations with civilians as to prevent harming the innocent. We need to be in pursuit of peace, not in pursuit of who to demonize and convict.


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Nikolas Cruz Pointed Gun at Family, Report Says

By Jason Patterson | United States

19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, suspected to be responsible for killing 17 students at Parkland Highschool, has also reportedly had other family incidents. These include pointing a gun at his brother and his mother.

The suspect’s younger brother, Zachary Cruz, spoke to the Miami Herald in an interview about his sibling.

Zachary, 18, told the outlet his brother once pointed a loaded gun at him. The incident came after a spat when their mother came home from food shopping. Zachary said he’d knocked a jar of Nutella from his brother’s hands after he saw Nikolas stick his fingers in it.

He claimed that his brother then ran up to his room and retrieved his gun, loaded it when he came down and then held it up to his older brother as their mother watched, according to the report.

“If you’re gonna shoot me, shoot me!” Zachary said he yelled at his brother.

” Thankfully ” The moment de-escalated quickly, with Nikolas putting the gun away and returning to watch TV, he told the Herald. But Zachary said the moment stuck with him and he “never messed with him again.”

He also recalled a time that he did the same to his mother, Nik got his AR-15 and put it to my mom’s head,” Zachary said. “He was yelling at her because she wouldn’t take him to a cabin”. It wasn’t clear if the weapon was loaded. The brother said their mother ran to her car and drove away.

“He was in the middle of the driveway, in the middle of the street with his AR-15,” Zachary told the Herald. “I had 911 ready to go on my phone. I guess he just came up and he put his gun away and I hung up.”

He also told the reporter that his brother suffered a depressive disorder and often self-harmed.


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America is Less Culturally Free than it Realizes

By Ryan Lau | United States

In American politics today, Republicans and Democrats dominate the national stage of conversation. More often than not, media and government crush dissenting ideas, and this is not surprising. In fact, it makes perfect sense that those in power would not cede that power to anyone else. However, it appears that in America, the issue with the two party duopoly runs much deeper than a simple government power. In fact, coercion and violence are both big parts of American culture. The alleged land of the free does not practice their principles, in the political realm or in its society.

A Coercive Start

As young as infancy or early childhood, many American children learn the principles of coercion. This comes through many of the traditionalist, “sit down and shut up” mindsets that both schools and parents practiced. Specifically, the old adage “Do as I say, not as I do” is highly detrimental to the American public. By nature, children will learn from figures of authority, and will imitate those figures in an attempt to learn from them. A psychological fact, this is not necessarily good or bad. Instead, it is entirely dependent on the lessons that they learn before they reach an age where they can think more for themselves. Yet, the lessons and examples have much to be desired.

An Assault of Adolescence

Moving into adolescence, free thought begins to become more prevalent. However, free thought, just like coercive thought, is not necessarily good or bad. Rather, it depends on the messages that it brings. In these critical years to a child’s development, they often associate with increasing levels of coercion and violence. Now, this is not to say that every teen will develop violent tendencies. However, it turns out that such violence and coercion spread like a plague.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released statistics about the epidemic of teen violence. In their study, they looked at data involving both threats and action, and the stats were horrifying. For instance, one in every twelve teens made a threat to use a weapon against another each year. Thirty percent of all teens were either bullied, or were a bully. Though many schools have taken action in recent years against this coercive culture, it is not enough.

In fact, the prevalence of these acts may, if anything, be increasing as social media use also rises. Recently, the American Journal of Public Health conducted a study about the causes of teen violence. It showed that adolescents are far more likely to commit a violent act or crime if one or more close friends had done so. Specifically, they were 183% more likely to have hurt someone badly enough that they needed medical attention, and 140% more likely to have pulled a weapon on another. This is not a culture of true freedom, as freedom requires that each individual has a  negative right to liberty. By using violence in such staggering numbers, American teen culture shows it has little in common with freedom at all.

Violence: An American Way of Life

Unfortunately, it appears that these violent tendencies simply do not go away with age. Killing in America occurs 87 times every day. The violent crime rate in Washington DC exceeds 1% of people annually. Battlefields in Afghanistan often see lower casualty rates than a typical day in Chicago. It simply baffles me how people can call America the land of the free, how they can worship the alleged culture of freedom. In reality, a culture of freedom is one that protects the rights of its citizens.

Consequently, it must recognize the importance of life, liberty, and property. Yet, American culture does none of these. Clearly, life and liberty are irrelevant to many Americans. But the extent of the violation of rights goes far beyond this, and applies to every voting, law-abiding, taxpaying American. By supporting politicians who start wars and impose unjust taxes upon citizens, Americans are, in their own way, supporting violence. By following laws which require them to pay services to a government which will do the same, they are supporting violence. Yet, they often brush this off with a casual excuse about society and its traditional function.

Thus, cops, criminals, and almost everyone in between are guilty of such violence. In doing so, they contribute to the culture, furthering its grip on this country. Surely, the “land of the free” truly has a long way to go in order to live up to its name.

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Drug Prohibition is Not the Government’s Responsibility

By Andrew Lepore | United States

Drug prohibition is the attempt to do the impossible through the mechanism of violence. Drug prohibition is The attempt to quell the vices passions of man do the iron fist of the state. The Tyranny of the drug war has Ruined millions of lives, torn apart families, destroyed communities, built the largest prison population in human history, and in the process, cost taxpayers billions.

Despite its inefficiencies and impossibilities, those factors are not the underlying problem of drug prohibition. As it’s supporters will say “Are just going to legalize violent crime because it’s impossible to fully stop?”

No, the main problem with the drug war is the total immorality of it. A great hypocrisy of the state is that what would be done by individuals or by the private sector that would be seen as immoral when done by the government or the public sector is seen as not only justified but fully moral. Drug prohibition is a prime example of this phenomenon. Given some critical thought, anybody can see that the war on drugs is unapologetically immoral.

The entire war on drugs is based on the assumption that we do not own our bodies, and we are not directly responsible for the consequences of our actions. The very nature of the drug war assumes that we need some politician or bureaucrat to write a law telling us what we can and can’t put in our bodies.

If you ask any person on the street if they own themselves, and the consequences of their actions, 99% will say yes. So why is it that most people support drug prohibition? Why is it that people will like acknowledge self ownership and direct responsibility for self action, yet believe that there should be a strong centralized government around to throw people in a cage that make risky decisions?

Another pure moral hypocrisy of drug prohibition is the underlying mechanism of enforcement. If you ask any individual on the street if initiating violence is a moral means to achieve in end, most people will say of course not. Yet again most people support drug prohibition which uses this underlying mechanism, the initiation of violence.

A sovereign individual using the substance of his or her choice, regardless of its Unfavorability, is not hurting anybody else. Now of course if that person goes out and Hurts another individual or steals another individual’s property, that person has now initiated force and has become a different story. But the action of simply using a substance is a peaceable action, and attempting to forcefully stop that by enforcement of the law is an initiation of violence and morally unacceptable.

Imagine if such action was engaged upon in the private sector. Imagine if some individual or company went around and started arresting people and throwing them in cages for eating at McDonald’s. Better yet, these people were saying it is for the benefit of the people they are arresting because McDonald’s is extremely unhealthy.

What if they started arresting McDonald’s employees for distributing unhealthy food and locking them in human cages for decades on end and claiming it was for the betterment of society. Would this be morally acceptable? Only if carried out by the state Because it’s okay for only it’s employees to use violence I guess.

People must stop believing that use of force when carried out by the state is absolutely any different than when carried out by private individuals or groups. The drug war is just one area, be it a large one, that this problem plagues the opinions of the population.

Advocacy For Any Law is Advocacy For Violence

By Andrew Lepore | United States

You may have heard the term you don’t talk about politics at dinner. But why has political discourse become so hateful and volatile? Well, the answer lies in the system we have inherited.

Our system of constitutional republicanism is one of involuntary participation and involuntary funding. The debate will always consist of who is being coerced, who is in power, and who is required to fund it all.

Participation in our system is not like a voluntary organization or corporation, which has to convince you to voluntarily give up your money in exchange for a good or service that is provided by the corporation. If you don’t value the benefits as much as the cost, you aren’t required to give them your money or use their services. If they began providing shitty services at higher costs, you can no longer give them your business if you so choose.

Under our system, Politicians do not have to convince the populace that their programs are worthwhile; if you don’t like it well too bad. You don’t choose how much money you give, you don’t choose where your money goes, and you definitely don’t have the option to opt out.

People will say, “but wait, you have the right to vote and you have the right to have your voice heard!” People are so conditioned that they believe that is sufficient to expropriate you and your property. Using that as justification for the state taking your money is comparable to somebody saying “oh well it’s not theft if the burglar allowed you to argue your case why it is immoral for him to be taking your money.”

This idea of coercion and involuntarism applies to every person, every law, and every tax. When somebody is calling for the rich to be taxed, they are calling for the state involuntarily rob those who are more successful of the fruits of their labor because that’s what they want. If the “rich” refuse men with guns will come to punish them.

When somebody is calling for drugs to be banned, they are not only calling for sovereign individuals to be locked in a cage for consuming a substance which the state does not approve of, but they are calling for everyone else to be required to fund this prohibition.

When somebody is calling for assault weapons to be banned, they are calling for the state to forcefully prevent sovereign individuals from acquiring whatever means they wish to achieve the end goal of self-preservation. If they refuse to cooperate and are found to be in possession of an inanimate object which the state disapproves of, they will be punished by men with guns.

Now you can probably see why the talk of politics at dinner can get someone’s blood boiling. When you talk about politics, unless you are a libertarian, you are arguing who should be coerced, who should be robbed, and who should be thrown in jail. If this was debated in any other scope besides through the force of politics and government, it would be conspiracy to commit a crime. In what other sectors of our lives are we allowed to Decide who gets robbed and who gets coerced without it being seen as an egregious moral enormity?

As long as the mechanism of politics is thinking you know what’s best for the lives of others, and seeking to enforce your ideal with violence, the discussion will be rife with hatred and partisanship. The argument is who will be coerced and who will receive the benefits. It is who will be controlled and who will have the power.

In conclusion, this moral dilemma and injustice can only be resolved with a libertarian ideal of free, voluntary, and noncoercive society. When we talk about the betterment of society, it does not have to be through the immoral paradigm of force through government. When we talk about the betterment of society, it should be through the paradigm of peace, cooperation, and voluntarism.


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