Guest Post by Brandon Smith
Like many people, I grew up watching numerous television shows and mainstream movies depicting a world in which the common police officer stood as a sentinel of civilized society against a seething underbelly of violence and chaos just beneath the surface of the world around us. Through public schooling, we were indoctrinated to fear the drug culture as a breeding ground of gangland destruction and to worship law enforcement officials as the only barrier between us and a cocaine-frosted wasteland. We were led to believe that every day police were holding back a tide of crime and terrorism. The so-called “thin blue line” was an indispensable part of a safe and prosperous nation.
To criticize or present opposition to the institution of state and federally funded law enforcement is often considered tantamount to treason – or, at the very least, it is considered unpatriotic. After all, we have all been told every moment of our lives that a world without police would immediately turn into a frothing, frenzied orgy of mass insanity and that average human beings cannot be trusted to take responsibility for the day-to-day security of their neighborhoods and towns. Official doctrine today demands a designated warrior class, separate from the rest of us, to handle the protection and care of weakling citizens.
Now, it is important to note that there are in fact many good people working in the field of law enforcement. This is not under debate and not relevant to the point I am about to make. The problem is not necessarily with all the individuals who make up law enforcement; the problem is with the existence and mandate of the institution itself. I personally do not “hate” cops per se (though some of them deserve to be hated). But I do hate corrupt government structures, and law enforcement has become the grasping arm of the elitist machine.
The downfall of any policing system arises when individuals are separated from the responsibility for their own security and society is delegated into classes of protectors, or sheepdogs, and sheep. As I have outlined in many articles, government itself has become an entity foreign to the interests of the American people. Through the false left/right paradigm, elitists have taken away the ability of the public to participate in civic duties and to preserve our principles rather than sacrifice them in the name of the “greater good.” City and state police are not subject to the tides of political elections, even if elections actually mattered. They are part of an unaccountable bureaucratic monstrosity that shifts only according to the whims of the establishment.
In the early days of America, the common citizenry through the formation of the militia WAS the warrior class. Every last able-bodied person was a sentinel and defender of the peace. The sheriff, the only elected and constitutional form of law enforcement, often had a posse, which was, again, made up of regular citizens. There was no exalted Praetorian Guard — only friends, family and neighbors. There was no need for a government dominated law enforcement structure back then, nor is there a need for one now.
The militia system was slowly eroded over decades and replaced with centralized law enforcement under the direct influence of the political elite. Currently, using the Department of Homeland Security and the integration of “fusion centers,” the police are now an army under direct federal control, equipped with military-grade technology through the 1033 program. When Barack Obama called for the creation of a “civilian national security force” just as powerful and well-funded as the military back in 2008, this is clearly what he was referring to. The results of police militarization are thoroughly negative.
In my recent article 'The Ferguson conundrum solved by community security,' I discussed the complete lack of LEO protection against looting and arson during the Ferguson, Missouri, riots, which led the Oath Keepers to provide security for innocent business owners, filling the void left behind. Law enforcement officials were apparently too busy harassing peaceful protesters and journalists to deal with the threat of a burning city, or too busy guarding government building and revealing where their true loyalties rest. I have heard arguments that the Ferguson police were not to blame for the failure because they were under orders from their superiors and under pressure from the federal government. While I would note that each individual officer has the right and the duty to refuse immoral orders, regardless of whether or not LEOs refused to protect businesses out of personal choice, or out of fear of losing their jobs, the fact remains that the public is often left to face criminality without the aid of police. And, because this is an undeniable reality, the public must take back responsibility for its security.
Whether one believes that the shooting of Michael Brown was justified or not, the police response after the fact only reinforced public expectations of corruption. Ferguson is only one example in a multitude of police abuses, and these abuses are not relegated to any one ethnicity. Leftists are not wrong when they point out the dangerous evolution of law enforcement into a government goon squad (the liberty movement was warning the world about it long before the left ever figured out what was going on). But in their half-sighted examinations, they make the mistake of believing police abuse is purely race-related. In reality, police abuse is universal — from Tamir Rice, the black 12-year-old in Cleveland shot dead by police less than two seconds after their arrival for having a toy gun in his pants, to the murder of Kelly Thomas, a white homeless man shot with a stun gun in the face and beaten in the street for 10 minutes straight until dead by California police for the crime of “not sitting still as ordered.”
In nearly all of these cases of overt police force, even when video evidence clearly indicates wrongdoing, LEOs are acquitted by the system. The reason for this should be obvious: The establishment must keep the warrior class happy, content, and untouchable; otherwise, the they loses power. No corrupt system is going to punish its own unless utterly necessary to its survival, because if it did, it would then have to admit that it is not entirely trustworthy, causing the people to question whether its existence is more dangerous than the villains it is supposed to protect us from. Government generally only cares about perpetuating its own existence; it does not care about the safety of the populace. In this way, police become a kind of Mafia or cult with their own set of rules outside of the purview of the rest of society and immune to any form of justice.
What is truly disturbing are the lengths to which some Americans (and other law enforcement) will go to rationalize any and all actions taken by police, even if they result in the death of an innocent. The Stockholm Syndrome certainly seems to be at work as portions of the public continue to worship LEOs as saviors who can do no wrong. Mention the idea of getting rid of state police, and the LEO fan club cries out in terror like children separated from their parents at a crowded shopping mall. In the end, though, all children must eventually grow up and start taking care of themselves.
At bottom, police are not protectors of the public good, not even in a technical or legal sense. Law enforcement organizations have even argued in the Supreme Court that their job is NOT to prevent crime but to enforce the law after the fact, and they have won using this assertion. That is to say, a police officer is NOT legally required to protect a person from harm, only to institute state policy once a crime is committed.
What government law enforcement is admitting to in its argument is that it does not provide security, which is what we in the liberty movement have known all along. The only service police provide is to clean up the mess left over when the carnage of a crime has subsided. If law enforcement has any purpose at all, it is to keep the public in check and in line - to promote the farce that without government protection, chaos will rule.
The communist Cheka, a security organization founded by Vladimir Lenin at the beginning of the Bolshevik takeover of Russia, was notorious for random arrests and killings of civilians in the name of peace and security. Many communist Russians, true believers in the Bolshevist cause, refused to accept that the Cheka were capable of criminal abuse. They assumed that those killed must have been enemies of the state, just as the government proclaimed. And when they themselves were arrested for no apparent reason, they wrote letters from the gulags to Stalin, naively believing that he would save them from what must have been a bureaucratic error.
In fact, the Cheka had been given orders directly from the state to fill a quota of arrests in order to justify the constant propaganda the state produced warning of agents of “capitalist evil” around every corner. The Cheka, the secret police, were given warrior-class status and free reign to assert their authority over anyone, at any time, for any reason. America is only a short step away from a similar nightmare, and many in our nation suffer from the same naive faith in statism as the Russians did years ago.
The only way to avoid such a horror is to remove state-sanctioned law enforcement from the picture entirely. Is this "throwing the baby out with the bathwater"? No. Rather, it is saving the baby from a swirling virulent cesspool.
As we saw in grand scale in Ferguson, LEOs are essentially useless to the public. In response, members of the Ferguson community welcomed the Oath Keepers and their Community Preparedness Team strategy. In time, Oath Keepers CPT will train locals to provide their own protection without need for any outside aid. When locals provide their own security, when every citizen is a member of the warrior class, abuse is far less likely because the watchmen have no motivation to abuse themselves.
Arguments that this will lead to a culture of "warlords" invariably pop up when discussing the concept of community based security. Of course, when every member of a community is trained to defend themselves, abusive warlord do not last long, but then again, neither do abusive governments, which I suppose is the true reason why decentralized community security is treated with such disdain. This is yet another contrived attempt to insinuate that the American people cannot be trusted with their own defense, but the government can. It is built around the illusion that state police are somehow "impartial observers" and actors. This has simply never been so. State-controlled police have every motivation to protect state interests, and as long as they are given free license to do whatever they please without consequence, most of them will continue to do so. Impartiality is non-existent in the world of law enforcement.
Police misconduct has a cumulative effect on a culture. We do not forget all of the oversteps of the past; we merely file them away until we finally reach a breaking point. It is important for LEOs to understand that while they may have a relative immunity to legal reparations, they are not immune to the rage of the populace and will likely find their fragile warrior personas rather inadequate when that day arrives. For the true constitutional police out there, it is time to take sides, either with good American people or with the corrupt establishment. It is impossible to serve both. The illusion of the “thin blue line” is quickly fading. The only question now is: What is going to replace it? The establishment would have you believe there are only two options: total chaos or martial law. But there has always been a third alternative they seek to suppress: the return of community defense, the resurgence of localized responsibility and the victory of personal liberty over false security.
You can read more from Brandon Smith at Alt-Market, where this article first appeared.
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