|L. Neil Smith's|
The Libertarian Enterprise
Number 49, June 30, 1999
"A libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right,
under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human
being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation. Those who act
consistently with this principle are libertarians, whether they
realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are
not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim."
Alan Wendt, Internet Service Provider
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by John Taylor
On May 16th of this year, Vin Suprynowicz wrote a column entitled "A
DIFFERENT SET OF LAWS FOR OUR KILLER COPS". The article apparently
generated a large quantity of negative responses -- as one might
expect -- from cops. One such letter, with Vin's response, is
reproduced as the last of our LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (see below --
fairness compels me to point out that there were some positive law
enforcement responses as well).
When I left the service, I left for a reason, just as I enlisted for
a reason. A few years later, I worked for the Public Safety
department in a medium-sized city in the South. I left there for a
reason also. Those reasons had to do with this very subject.
Cops are susceptible to human emotions, as are you and I. The
temptations on the job are great. There are innumerable chances to
use and abuse the power of the office, usually with less risk than
would be experienced by the average citizen under similar
circumstances. To be blunt, the negative consequences of misbehavior
are nil in many cases, perhaps most. Let me give you s few examples.
Police have access to information which, while not extraordinarily
private, is not as accessible to you and me. The temptation to
"gather data" on a good-looking woman (or man) is easily gratified,
and the risks of censure are non-existent. Officers "working traffic"
can and do stop and question citizens to whom they are physically
attracted; this is not a bad technique, and its success rate is
better than average -- even without the threat of a ticket.
"Gratuities" are almost impossible to avoid. The inoxicating perfume
of "fraternization" is always in the air.
So are all cops corrupt? No ... not unless you're a Puritan. Is law
enforcement a rarified atmosphere in which the sense of right and
wrong is easily distorted? You bet your Miranda it is! We should not
be surprised, therefore, when we hear stories of police officers
"crossing the line" ... stories that are exceeded in their
distastefulness only by the ease with which such occurrences are
"swept under the rug" in many cases. In fact, just the number
of instances, minor and major, of which you never hear
anything would astonish you.
Even the cops who are trying to do the right thing fall prey to the
siren song. It's way too easy to accept the "us against them" mindset
that goes along with wearing the uniform. The fact is, oftentimes the
citizenry is outright hostile to you, and distrustful under the best
circumstances. Who's to say which "distrust mentality" came first?
Solution? Clear. Abolish the police. Likelihood? Non-existent.
We are no longer a nation of hardy, self-reliant individuals. We
collectively believe we need government, its parenting, and
yes, its discipline. As long as we so believe, we'll have the police.
As long as we trust them, they'll abuse our trust. Just like
politicians. Ignore ... disrespect ... feed ... tolerate ... rely on
either group at your own peril.
They're Just "Closing the Last Loopholes", See
by Vin Suprynowicz
History, Latin, and America
by Jonathan Taylor
Letters to the Editor
by Our Readers
Candidate for the Millennium
by Ed Lewis
Death of a Small City
by Michael W. Gallagher
Back to The Libertarian Enterprise 1999 Issues.