Combat veterans have noticed the blatant disregard for human life that has been adopted by the nation’s law enforcement agencies. This is a form of corruption. Disregarding the protections guaranteed to us in the Bill of Rights is a crime. When law enforcement leaders not only allow but condone criminal behavior in their organizations both residents and officers are in greater danger. Worse, residents are left with providing for their own defense against the police.
DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier is on a tear. So, let it be known: In the Land of The District of Colombia, your life will be terminated the moment you are deemed a threat. Don’t worry about your “rights” – you have the right to be dead.
Stories of cops doing things soldiers are forbidden to do have become sadly common. In Iraq, we were instructed to spare animals as much as possible; police officers routinely gun down family pets. We were told to be as respectful as possible toward the occupants of the houses we searched and only employed “dynamic entry” when we were likely to face violent resistance; as Radley Balko has documented, dynamic entry and abuse of the inhabitants of searched homes have become routine for American police, even during investigations of nonviolent, victimless crimes. Soldiers manning our checkpoints were trained to use a range of nonlethal options before resorting to lethal force; as we saw on Capitol Hill yesterday,American police officers react first with deadly force.
Police militarization is a hot topic lately, especially in libertarian circles, but American police are beyond anything contemplated by the American military. While abuses certainly occurred in Iraq and elsewhere, our procedures as soldiers in a war zone were designed to avoid violence and protect the lives of the Iraqis, and we understood that that meant accepting some risk ourselves as soldiers. American police today appear unwilling to accept any risk whatsoever and seem willing tokill anyone and anything that could possibly be seen as a threat; according to the chief of the D.C. police, Cathy Lanier, these police officers“did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
While Lanier’s statement may be true in terms of police policy, we cannot accept those policies. Deadly force cannot be the first and last choice for dealing with any potential threat, and police officers must be trained to strive always to protect the lives of citizens, especially of suspects. Policing is a dangerous job, but as someone who has held another dangerous job, I must say that our American police need to understand and accept the risks they take when they accept the badge and understand that they are there to protect others before themselves.
- Police Chief: There is No “Right to Life” in the D.C. (libertyfirewall.com)