Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Words Fail Me Dept.

     For how many years, how many decades, have we and our minor children been harangued that “the police are your friends” -- ?

     It was the baby’s fault that he was nearly burned to death in his own crib.

     Bou-Bou Phonesavanh was barely a year and a half old, just learning to walk, and unable to speak, but those limitations didn’t stop him from engaging in “deliberate, criminal conduct” that justified the 2:00 a.m. no-knock SWAT raid in which he was nearly killed.

     The act of sleeping in a room about to be breached by a SWAT team constituted “criminal” conduct on the part of the infant. At the very least, the infant was fully liable for the nearly fatal injuries inflicted on him when Habersham County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Long blindly heaved a flash-bang grenade – a “destructive device,” as described by the ATF, that when detonated burns at 2,000-3,500 degrees Fahrenheit – into the crib.

     Merely by being in that room, Bou-Bou had assumed the risk of coming under attack by a SWAT team. By impeding the trajectory of that grenade, rather than fleeing from his crib, Bou-Bou failed to “avoid the consequences” of that attack.

     In any case, Bou-Bou, along with his parents and his siblings, are fully and exclusively to blame for the injuries that nearly killed the child and left the family with more than one million dollars in medical bills. The SWAT team that invaded the home in Cornelia, Georgia on the basis of a bogus anonymous tip that a $50 drug transaction had occurred there is legally blameless.

     This is the defense presented by Haberham County Sheriff Joey Terrell and his comrades in their reply to a federal lawsuit filed last February on behalf of Bou-Bou Phonesavanh and his family.

     This sort of self-exculpating fantasy on the part of a gaggle of uniformed, armed civil servants whose nominal charter is to protect the rest of us from predation is the direct and immediate consequence of two things:

  • The War on Drugs;
  • The militarization of the police and the police mentality.

     ...and we let them get away with it.

     The outrages have been multiplying faster than I can report on them. Particularly egregious are the many instances of outright theft by law enforcers, under the guise of “civil asset forfeiture.” Here’s a recent case:

     It happened, [Joseph] Rivers said, to him on April 15 as he was traveling on Amtrak from Dearborn, Mich., near his hometown of Romulus, Mich., to Los Angeles to fulfill his dream of making a music video. Rivers, in an email, said he had saved his money for years, and his mother and other relatives scraped together the rest of the $16,000.

     Rivers said he carried his savings in cash because he has had problems in the past with taking out large sums of money from out-of-state banks.

     A DEA agent boarded the train at the Albuquerque Amtrak station and began asking various passengers, including Rivers, where they were going and why. When Rivers replied that he was headed to LA to make a music video, the agent asked to search his bags. Rivers complied.

     Rivers was the only passenger singled out for a search by DEA agents – and the only black person on his portion of the train, Pancer said.

     In one of the bags, the agent found the cash, still in the Michigan bank envelope.

     “I even allowed him to call my mother, a military veteran and (hospital) coordinator, to corroborate my story,” Rivers said. “Even with all of this, the officers decided to take my money because he stated that he believed that the money was involved in some type of narcotic activity.”

     Rivers was left penniless, his dream deferred.

     “These officers took everything that I had worked so hard to save and even money that was given to me by family that believed in me,” Rivers said in his email. “I told (the DEA agents) I had no money and no means to survive in Los Angeles if they took my money. They informed me that it was my responsibility to figure out how I was going to do that.”

     Apparently, there are municipalities that make a practice of this sort of seizure, using threats of jail and the separation of families to coerce their targets into complying. Combine that sort of “policing” with local police departments’ steady acquisition of military-grade weaponry and the scheduling of exercises such as “Jade Helm,” and perfectly law-abiding, patriotic Americans can’t help but wonder about the real motivations of our “protectors.”

     Given Supreme Court decisions that ruled that the police have “no duty to protect,” and others that have denied the law-abiding citizen the right to resist unlawful police orders and intrusions, I no longer wonder. Indeed, I ceased to wonder quite a while ago.

     The edifice is rotten to the core. It has pitted us against one another, especially those of us who work for government versus those who don’t, in a multitude of ways. It cannot be saved.

     However, it cannot be replaced until it has first been demolished. How that is to be achieved, given the overwhelming preponderance of force in the hands of the State, I cannot say. More, and more ominous, there is no guarantee that the replacement would improve on its predecessor. Moralities and mentalities have changed too greatly since our Founding Era for any prediction to be sanguine –and that’s to say nothing of the hostile and alien sub-populations America has acquired these past few decades.

     Of one thing we may be sure: a man acting “under color of law,” whether he wears a uniform, bears a weapon, both, or neither, is not there to serve you. Don’t talk to him. Don’t allow him into your home or onto your property. Don’t permit any member of your family to do differently. Whatever he might do to you, he must do under visibly coercive conditions, such that the outrage will be plain to every eye. Perhaps a sufficient amount of public furor will protect you, at least a posteriori.

     When you see or hear “protect and serve,” think of the “Internal Revenue Service.” Act accordingly.

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