Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A fictional war

An unfortunate recent uptick of police officers being injured or killed on the job has occurred in the last few days, and now some in law enforcement who should definitely know better are apparently attempting to further their own political agendas by cynically using these incidents (as well as the recent Tucson shooting) to try and convince the public that there's some kind of coordinated attack on police officers happening:

"A spate of shooting attacks on law enforcement officers has authorities concerned about a war on cops."

These disingenuous advocates are attempting to make this argument even though the two highest profile incidents marking this very tragic toll involved cops trying to serve high-risk arrest warrants on known dangerous felony suspects.  Not exactly the "random hunting of people who wear a badge" scenario that's being put forth as fact:

'"It's not a fluke,' said Richard Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations", describing the fluke.

"'The bad guys are not afraid of cops,' Roberts said. 'They’re rarely rational. You get that combination, when you ID yourself as a cop, it does not scare them away; it makes it more dangerous for you.'"

Based on the above statement, it appears that Roberts believes that rational, law-abiding people by default are supposed to be afraid of cops, and the fact that the bad guys aren't humbled by their arrival is what makes them so dangerous.  Incorrect.  We are perfectly rational and law-abiding, yet we don't fear cops.  Are we somehow a threat to them?  Of course not.

Violent criminals are contemptuous of all laws and mores, including those against assault, rape and murder.  That's what makes them so dangerous to everyone, not just police officers.  The rate of crimes committed against cops, although admittedly much too high, is insignificant when compared against the rate of crimes committed against other law-abiding citizens.  Why, then, should the police rate some kind of special treatment just because of a random spike in tragedies suffered by them?

Mr. Roberts is a former Maryland police officer, which to us obviously explains his "us against them" mindset, his insistence on having the general public fear cops instead of respecting them and his probable upcoming argument about the necessity of further curbs on the lawful owning and carrying of firearms by the law-abiding public.

One commenter to the article provided a compelling example of this very kind of straw-man argument being similarly used in the past to justify unilaterally taking away freedoms from those who weren't in any way responsible for the incidents that precipitated those opportunistic actions.  We felt it important enough to reprint here:

"When Hitler, upset at being forced to accept a position in a coalition government, decided that he needed to do something drastic to get the control he wanted, the Communists conveniently burned the Reichstag. Within a week, all freedoms were subject to government control and Hitler was now "Der Fuhrer". As a certain White House adviser observed, it's a crime to waste a good crisis.

Jump ahead 77 years and a US Representative gets shot by a guy so crazy that he spent the two hours before the shooting taking pics of himself posing with his gun while wearing nothing but a red G-string, and the first thing the government and media do is try to restrict the 1st Amendment, citing "political rhetoric" as the cause of the shooting. When that backfired, they predictably turned on the 2nd Amendment, as tho' the gun caused the crime. So, naturally, we should expect expanded media coverage of any gun related crime and isolated shootings suddenly become a concerted "war on the police". What can I say? We don't have a Reichstag to burn, so that's what will have to do, I suppose."

Well stated.


Anonymous said...

In the quoted text, the author says that the government and media attacked the first amendment. Bull. All that I heard was a call to calm the overly heated rhetoric. There was no legal action, no bill introduced, no application of government power. There was just a call to calm down, and criticism of those who were strident with violent images in their speech. It was a clear use of the first amendment, which belongs to everyone, not just those who like to yell.

It appears that you and he think it a waste to invent a crisis.

Anonymous said...

That should be "not to invent a crisis".