The fact that Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was not armed when police opened fire on him is yet another disturbing revelation in how that case has been handled.
For some perspective here, let’s think about a few other modern countries. In Britain, police don’t even carry guns. Or what about Germany? A country that has, historically, not been averse to violence or authoritarianism. Like just about any modern nation, Germany also has plenty of violent crime on their streets as well. But as you watch the following clip, keep an interesting little fact in mind. In 2011, across the entire country of Germany, police only fired a total of 85 bullets.
While some might argue that police don’t have to be as aggressive in places like England, because of severe restrictions on gun ownership, keep in mind, again, that the suspect here was not armed. Also keep in mind that in places like Switzerland, crime is extremely low even when compared to other European nations, yet they have the third highest per-capita gun ownership in the world.
While some have argued that what we saw happen out in Boston was not proof that we live in a police-state, because it “doesn’t happen every day” those people are making several critical flaws in their thinking.
First, when we see police going door to door storming houses without warrants and ripping people from their homes, it really doesn’t make any difference at all how often it happens. It never should have happened at all. That fact that it has happened once, means that it can happen again at any time. We have crossed that line now, into an era where the Constitution is no longer the law of the land, but rather an arbitrary guideline which can be violated for whatever reason the government chooses. This is the very thing our forefathers warned us about, and precisely what the Constitution was put in place to prevent.
“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.” -Samuel Adams
Over the course of this one terror event alone, we have seen police completely toss aside the 4th Amendment with a warrantless search and seizure of the homes of an entire community in the name of “public safety.” Yet police had no regard for public safety, or justice and due process for that matter, when they tried to kill an unarmed teenager. If he is in fact guilty of any involvement at all, he may have had information critical to public safety, such as the locations of undetonated bombs, details of a larger plot, names of unidentified accomplices planning further attacks, and so forth.
To those of us with an understanding of the Constitution, of history, and a deep appreciation for liberty it is outright sickening that the public discourse is focused on when and where the abridgements of liberty should be allowed, rather than holding the police accountable for these depraved violations. Held accountable in the same manner perhaps, and to the same standard that our Founding Fathers held against British tyrants. All the King’s men, those agents of tyranny, were shot and driven into the sea. Every American soldier who has ever fought and shed blood in the name of the United States since then, has done so to ensure that we would never again see tyranny in these lands. They fought and died to protect, to guarantee that we, the people would never again be subject to the very crimes being perpetrated against the people today by our own government.
But what we saw in Boston is not isolated incident either. Which brings us to our second flaw in the reasoning of those who might say that this event was unprecedented, and therefore somehow excusable. Those who might say “it doesn’t happen every day” are either open apologists for tyranny, or plainly ignorant of the ongoing abuses of public trust by authorities in this country.
Folks in poor inner-city communities will tell you that this sort of thing can happen whenever a cop is killed. That police will swarm in, put a neighborhood on lock-down, and go door-to-door searching homes without a warrant. These sorts of details never make it to the mainstream media though, mostly because no one really cares what happens to poor people and no one really believes what they have to say. It’s only shocking today because such action happened in a quiet suburb. News of a cop being killed doesn’t garner the same intense national media coverage as a terrorist bombing either.
It doesn’t just take a cop getting killed though, for the police to practice 4th Amendment violations. This video shows that it is not only a daily occurrence on the streets of New York (and almost certainly most US cities) but that these violations are policy.
Also see: Police State of Mind
America has even gone so far to establish an entire agency specifically dedicated to violating the 4th Amendment. The TSA are mostly known for their oppressive airport security measures, but have also been deployed at bus stations, on trains, and we should expect to see their influence grow in the coming years.
From this information we see that violating the Constitution is everyday business for authorities, but that still doesn’t quite evoke the same Orwellian imagery as we saw with armored vehicles, paramilitary troops swarming over Watertown, MA. But again, this too is actually an everyday occurence, even if it is not concentrated in a single neighborhood.
In that link you will see that the police have been drastically militarized in the past few decades. In Maryland alone, military-grade force was deployed 4.5 time per day in 2009. The majority of these instances where state-sanctioned paramilitary violence was brought to bear, non-violent citizens were the target, many of them simply accused of misdemeanor offenses.
Here are just a few more examples among the thousands of cases, where SWAT raids went disastrously wrong:
The only way to prevent these tragedies, the only way to preserve liberty and justice, is to hold the police accountable when things go wrong, intentionally or not. The agents of law-enforcement must be held accountable when they stray from the law, to a higher standard even than a common citizen would be, not to the lesser standard practiced today. Indeed as we have just seen, the police are even given medals for shooting at innocent families instead of being held accountable. Yet if you were to make similar mistake, it is a near certainty that you would be shown no leniency by any court.
Take the case of Tracy Ingle for example. This man was shot five times by police, in the middle of the night, in his own bed, after they raided his home with a no-knock warrant. Not realizing that the intruders were police, he made the tragic mistake of pointing a non-functioning firearm at them in an attempt to scare off what he thought were robbers. He was lucky to survive, and yet he has been sent to prison for 18 years, for simply pointing a broken gun at police.
In this case, police refused to identify themselves while pounding at the wrong door, but when an innocent man answered with a legally owned gun in his hand, he was shot dead in front of his girlfriend.
The public is told time and time again that these terrible events are “isolated” incidents, even regrettable tragedies, but that overall the police are still there to protect and serve the community.
We are also promised that if we happen to be intentionally victimized by one of these “bad apples” who “sometimes” make it into the police ranks, that the law will stand behind us, and that abuse of the public trust will not be tolerated. Yet the reality is quite the opposite of what the propaganda leads the majority of blissfully unaware Americans to believe.
Most Americans believe that it they could never be the victim of police violence. That so long as they don’t do anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about.
And again, they have misplaced faith that justice would be served if they did happen to be victimized by a bad cop. So let’s take a look at that notion now. What happens if you try to file a complaint against a police officer?
What happens if we try to take allegations of police corruption to our elected representatives?
What happens when we try to use freedom of speech, freedom of the press to bring the news of police abuse directly to the people?
Freedom of Press Now a Felony In America
Finally, if by some long-shot chance a police officer is finally made to be held accountable in a court of law, can we expect real accountability for betrayal of public trust and openly criminal acts?
In this case, a police officer faced a 35-count indictment alleging that he used cocaine, protected drug dealers, revealed details of undercover operations, and even threatened to murder a suspect being held in the department’s jail in order to protect his cocaine suppliers. During the investigation the officer was suspended, but then reinstated to work another 4 months before he finally resigned, a move which guaranteed his full pension.
In this case, a State Police Captain admitted in open court that he began sexually molesting his step-daughter. When she was just six years old. As part of a plea arrangement, he did not have to admit relations with two other daughters. Even with that agreement he faced 20 years in prison, but the judge suspended the sentence and ordered 2 years of supervised probation.
Child Molester Cop Gets No Prison Time
And finally, we can leave off here with an ironic, yet all too realistic example of the nature of police in America today.
“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience” -Albert Camus