You have probably seen crowds of people with their hands up – a protest meme over police trigger-happiness.
Apparently, it has been taken literally… by the other side.
As hallucinatory as this may sound, if you’re pulled over in the city of Topeka, Kansas for any reason – including non-criminal trivialities such as having an out-of-date inspection sticker, a dead brake light, or because you’re spotted unbuckled – the cops there will henceforth expect – scratch that, order – everyone in the vehicle to assume the “Perp Pose.”
This includes old people, kids. God help you if you have a rotator cuff injury and have difficulty putting your hands up above your head. And God help you twice if you make the mistake of reaching for your driver’s license or fumbling with your purse.
They call it “hand compliance” (see here), but it’s more than just your hands involved. You will be expected – legally required – to “freeze” and remain motionless until ordered otherwise.
Mind: Any failure to “freeze” will henceforth be taken as a legal threat to – you guessed it – officer safety.
And you know what (often and increasingly) comes next.
Expect this to spread.
Cancer tends to.
“We all want to go home to our families, and this makes it safer for us to approach vehicles to gain that compliance. It gives us a chance to survive these encounters,” explained one of them.
Is anyone struck dumb by the topsy-turvy irony of it?
Nationally, cops killed an estimated 1,029 people last year (see here and here), far more than in any European country, or indeed, all of Europe combined.
That’s more than in communist China – a country that also has four times the population.
No one knows the precise number of “officer-involved” killings in the U.S. because there is no single reporting standard at the national level, and because many of these are effectively swept under the rug.
But the long and short of it is that American cops are ventilating civilians in the low four figures annually, at least.
Statistically – and realistically – speaking, you are far more likely to find yourself dead at the hands of a cop than at the hands of an ululating “terrorist.”
Have any of you reading this ever been accosted by a “radical Muslim?” Almost all of us, on the other hand, have been menaced at least once by these armed-and-dangerous strangers known as police, who literally wield life-and-death authority over us. And seem to know it.
Meanwhile, how many cops would you guess have been killed by citizens?
About 114 (see here).
That’s about 10-to-1… in favor of the cops.
Which stands to reason, given they not only have guns but what amounts to a grant of sovereign immunity to use them at the flimsiest provocation. An officer need only bleat that he felt his safety was in jeopardy. Mark that. His safety need not actually have been in jeopardy.
Just that he felt a “threat,” which stands in stark contrast, of course, to the legal standard ordinary civilians are held to – which is extremely high.
In most states, one must prove that an imminent potentially lethal threat loomed – as in, someone actually capable of hurting you actually attacking you – before one may legally display one’s gun. Let alone fire the gun.
If you do fire it, there had better be mountains of unimpeachable evidence that you were in immediate mortal peril. And even then, the odds are extremely high you will be charged with various felonies, arrested and carted off to the clink – where you will stay until either someone posts a large sum to bail you out or an expensive lawyer (whom you will pay a large sum) gets you out.
Even if you’re exonerated – criminal charges dropped/disproved – you will almost certainly face a civil suit that will ruin you financially, whether you win or lose.
Your life will be turned upside down for months, years – perhaps forever.
This tends to make the ordinary citizen think twice before whipping out his pistol.
Which, of course, is good policy. People ought not to be itchy-triggered and resorting to lethal violence ought to be the absolute last resort.
Why then does this series of inducements not also apply to cops? Should they not be held to an even higher standard than ordinary civilians with regard to the use of deadly force? Punished more severely in the event they use deadly force without inarguable justification?
Instead, the reverse is true. The likelihood of a cop being charged criminally for shooting someone even in egregious circumstances is very low – and if a killer cop dodges that bullet (so to speak) he need only worry about the possibility of a civil suit which, if he loses, will sock the taxpayers of his county or state with the bill.
Not him, personally.
He will perhaps be assigned desk duty – or suspended with pay.
Part of the reason for the sorry state of affairs is that cops don’t have much to worry about in terms of consequences. They have “the law” on their side. Literally have a license to kill.
And yet, cops sweat about their “safety” like prison punks, despite their body armor, their military hardware, their legal advantages, and all the rest of it.
It ought to embarrass them.
But, more deeply: Why should their safety be the priority and that of ordinary citizens secondary (at best)? Does this question occur to anyone anymore?
I vaguely remember an old saying: To Serve and Protect. It implied the reverse of today’s dynamic. That our safety was the object of the exercise. That to be a cop meant putting oneself in harm’s way for the sake of the citizenry. To take risks, to put one’s life on the line if need be.
Whatever happened to that?
Is it not ironic? We’re pressured to regard these obsessed-with-their-safety/over-armed/over-reacting men-in-black as – of all things – “heroes.”
It’s as bizarre and an example of double-thinking as referring to people trapped at the DMV as “customers.” Only worse, because at least the DMV only wants your money.
These guys want your submission – immediately.
And very possibly, your life.
From Eric Peters at EPAutos: