Living in a police state — Communist Czechoslovakia had nothing on modern Wisconsin

One of the scarier moments in my life occurred back in 1987, when I was traveling with my mother in still-Communist Prague.  We’d originally planned to stay there six days, but a three-day taste of Communism — the shabbiness, the sullen people, the dirty air, the vile food — was all we could stand.  We studied our map carefully, tried to make sense of the completely foreign street names, jumped in our car, and headed for Brno, on the road to Vienna.

Or at least, that was the plan.  What actually happened was that we got hopelessly lost on Prague’s confusing network of streets.  And once lost, we couldn’t reorient ourselves, ’cause we couldn’t make sense of those darn Czech street names.

Eventually, we realized that we were making a vast circle, over and over.  Mom finally had it.  “We’re going south,” she said, making a hard left onto a vast, empty street.  That was a mistake.  We ended up on a big plaza, deserted except for one small Lada parked on the far right side of the plaza.  This did not look right.

Things looked even less right when the Lada suddenly emitted a siren-like sound, blue lights flashed, and it accelerated towards us.  Mom pulled over.  The Lada pulled over behind us.  The doors opened and, out of this teeny car stepped two of the tallest, skinniest police officers I’ve ever seen.  Their combined age couldn’t have been much more than 40.  One came to the driver’s window, and one to the passenger’s.

Mom tried German.  Nothing.

Mom and I tried English.  Nothing.

Well, maybe something.  The police officer next to my Mom stuck out his hand, the one that wasn’t near his gun, and said “Passports.”

Gulp.

We gave him the passports.

And that was one of the most helpless feelings in my life.  There we were, in a Communist country, on a deserted street, sans passports, with two very young, armed Communist police officers staring down at us.

Mom and I did what we do best.  We fluttered.  We flapped our hands.  We practically clucked.  We were both small and blonde.  We radiated harmlessness.  And we kept saying, “Brno.  Brno.  Brno.”

The officers conferred with each other in rapid Czech.  They came to a decision.

Suddenly, we had our passports back.  The officers got into their little car and signaled that we should follow them.  And within about five minutes, they had us on the road to Brno, bless their hearts.  Mom and I were kvelling with delight.  We also realized how lucky we were, and how badly it could have turned out for us, violating some unknown law and finding ourselves in the hands of an unlimited police bureaucracy.

Maybe that’s why David Willoughby’s story resonated so strongly with me.  David is the U.S. Marine Vet who was arrested when he held up a protest sign in Wisconsin.  Here’s how David describes his experience:

My name is Dave Willoughby. I am the one in the video.

Without being told what I had done, I was handcuffed and escorted off premise. Placed in a squad car and taken to a police station. I asked if I should have my rights read to me and was told “You’re not being arrested.” My personal property was taken from me, I was fingerprinted, mug shot taken and locked in a dark jail cell (lights off) still handcuffed.

I sat in that jail cell, looking out of a meshed wire window, at a large American flag flying in the background. Where am I? How can this be happening? What did I do wrong? I prayed for strength.

When I swore the oath to protect and defend the Constitution, I never realized until recently, how vulnerable our precious freedoms actually are.

I did nothing wrong. There were literally hundreds of cameras at this event. I challenge all media to find one shred of evidence, which would support the actions of the Milwaukee PD officers.

Think about that: my Mom and I, in a Communist state, where we didn’t speak the language, fared better than an American veteran on American soil.  That he spoke the language made no difference:

As I was walking, I felt this arm grab me and I felt this fist and I turned around and it was a cop! He told me ‘You’re gonna get your ass kicked.’ All the while I was asking the police officer if he was going to uphold his oath to protect and defend the Constitution? He never answered me.” “The whole time I’m asking ‘What did I do wrong?’ No answer. They handcuffed me. They took me into a car. I asked ‘Am I being arrested?’ and they said ‘No, you’re not being arrested.’ But they handcuffed me, and put me in a dark jail cell, all the while not arresting me.”

Americans always feel “It can’t happen here.”  But it can.  It routinely happened to blacks in the Jim Crow South, and now it apparently happens to foes of public sector unions (unions that include police officers) in the American North/Midwest.  Even if this was anomalous, we must take it seriously.  If we don’t, it creates a precedent.

I have the highest regard for police officers.  They’re doing a sometimes dangerous job and an often frustrating one.  Every interaction I’ve ever had with a police officer has seen the officer being professional, polite and, usually, quite pleasant.  Nevertheless, police officers have a lot of power and, for some, power corrupts.  The way to keep that thin blue line entirely honest is to let the police know that, even though we respect them and their service, we’re also watching them, as citizens of a free state can and should do.

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Comments

  1. says

     
    If it happened the way he describes, those officers should be dishonorably discharged from the service — and I mean no benefits, just like our military guys. 
     
    “To encourage the others…..”

  2. Beth says

    The pressure from someone in the crowd shouting “Lock him up!” sure seemed to be what escalated the police officers actions.  I respect the incredibly difficult job of our law-enforcement, especially today when there is such a disdain for authority in any form, from all sides.  But these police officers seemed to act out of fear of the mob than out of order of law. 
     

  3. says

    “You’re not being arrested.”
    Of course, that claim by the cop was false.  The minute they detained him — especially once he was cuffed and stuffed into that squad car — they had, in fact, arrested him.  Seems to me there need to be some serious civil rights charges brought here.

  4. says

    Plenty of people have no idea what is going around in this nation. They still talk crack about some idiotic notion that they can sit on the fence and vote Republican and Democrat when it suits them, and the storm will simply pass them on. That’s not how it works. Not any more.

  5. says

    Whenever people write things like this http://www.bookwormroom.com/2009/07/26/giving-police-respect/

    without mentioning the power of unions in controlling police actions, they’re essentially giving cover to the Police unions and have allowed the police unions to operate unfettered for so long. With predictable consequences. How many decades did the Left take to infiltrate and take over first wave feminism? Ask that about SWAT teams and the police.

    So far they have operated “under the radar” of American eyes due to Republican desires to cover for the police.  Just like the Constitution “covers” the actions of BIll Ayers, as Ayers tries to blow up the defenders of the US Constitution.

     You people were riding a suicide pack long before this problem ever came to Americans like him.

  6. jj says

    When I was young, because it was fairly recent a frequent topic of conversation was Nazi Germany.  One of the primary constituents of most such discussions was bafflement.  How could the Germans – the most educated, the most cultured, the most industrious – the most this, the best that, the swellest whatever – how could this people, of all the mutts in Europe, have done this?  It was a discussion that always devolved to a basic: how could anybody do that?
     
    Which, looking back, makes me wonder if I was surrounded by adults (other than my father) – because as I grew up I “got it” pretty quick.  You don’t understand the attitude it took to be in the Gestapo?  Make a careful study of IRS enforcers (that’s what they are, “enforcers.”)  They might not kill you – but by the time you’re done with them you’ll wish they had.  It would be easier.  Same precise assholes as the ones in Germany.  Far too many cops, far too many sheriff’s deputies, far too many FBI and ATF bullet-heads: far too many dimwits with a taste of authority turn out to be total assholes – and molecule for molecule, atom for atom, tissue for tissue, they’re identical with the ones in the Gestapo and the SS in 30′s and 40′s Germany.  Identical.  If the Gestapo and the SS had to recruit from the population of this country today, in order to accomplish precisely the jobs they were trying to accomplish back then – it wouldn’t be a problem for them.  They’d find plenty, more than enough to swell the ranks.  (Of course in 21st century America they’d probably be dumber than they were in 1930′s Germany – but the mindset would be the same.)

  7. says

     
    jj: Did you forget the TSA….?  We just flew Sacto to Portland, and I’m again reminded of the mindless stupidity that is intrusive and useless at the same time.  These people would be GREAT candidates for the Gestapo.

  8. Danny Lemieux says

    “How could the Germans – the most educated, the most cultured, the most industrious – the most this, the best that, the swellest whatever – how could this people, of all the mutts in Europe, have done this?  It was a discussion that always devolved to a basic: how could anybody do that?”

    Because one of my earliest memories is seeing the rubble of bombed-out sections of Europe and because my family was so deeply affected by the war, I have always been interested in this question. My jaded conclusion is that we would see the same split in population in the U.S. that we saw in Europe during the German occupation: 25% of the population would oppose totalitarianism on principle, 25% of the population would collaborate and 50% of the population would just try to survive and stay out of it. The other conclusion to which I have come is that those that proclaim most loudly how they oppose fascism and support human rights are probably those that would most easily fall under the sway of modern Nazis. And, they would do it under the guise of the “greater moral good”.

  9. Mike Devx says

    Beth said: But these police officers seemed to act out of fear of the mob than out of order of law. 

    Beth, if I read the story correctly, these officers took the man to the jail and put him in a cell.  How does “fear of the mob” cause them to do THAT?  Perhaps they could have driven him away a few blocks, then let him go free, saying, “We’re really sorry about that, but it was about to get VERY scary there.  We thought it best to get you out of there without inciting a riot.”

    And they would still have been in the wrong, terribly so.  But they jailed him.

    We can say with certainty that some police officers ARE now a part of the Democrat campaign of intimidation.  It’s only going to get worse.
     

  10. jj says

    One of the things cops have to decide – and they better get to deciding it quick, because it’s well overdue and a whole lot of people are striking me as increasingly fed up with them – is where their first allegiance lies: to public service and safety, or to the union?  It’s a question to which we really deserve, and have a right to, an answer.

  11. Beth says

    Mike–good point.  I didn’t consider that.  Has anyone heard what Willoughby will do? 
    It is certainly a spark of hope with the Walker win.

  12. says

    And if he does win, what then? You just get pay more taxes to the mayor, the police unions, who then forward the cash to to him. Has the Left suffered anything as a result? Hell no.

     People aren’t going to win anything in this war until they figure out the importance of strategy, not just tactics.

    Until people figure out the LEft’s game plan and neutralize, they aren’t going to achieve any “final victory”. Their victory will look like a scorched America post Apocalyptic landscape. 

    The Left has two primary stratagems when it comes to the police. First, the sweet stick, from the public union sugar daddies. The allegiance is not to your publicly appointed bureaucrat or publicly elected politician, but to the sugar daddy union bosses. Key difference one must be mindful of. This alliance or relationship (like that between the abused woman and her pimp) is one of co-dependency. The police officers depend on the unions for job security, cash, salaries, promotions, and protection from… protection from whom? Well, 3 factions: you, the common citizen, criminals, and common citizens that want the police unions to reform. Those are the prototypical 3 enemies the police unions divest 90% or more of their funding to fighting and destroying. However, there’s a catch. Blacks and criminals are one of the favored factions of the Leftist alliance, and since police unions are part of the Leftist alliance, they can’t crack down too much on blacks or gangs. So they divert police training and funding towards other things, like political contributions and ways to lock up you, the law abiding citizen, via regulations, gun control, and “gun confiscations” like in New Orleans during Katrina. It works for them. For you… well, I wouldn’t want to be you.

    The second stratagem is the artificial manufacturing of enemies to scare police officers into circling the wagons into a Us vs Them mentality. The most convenient enemy is right wing militias and criminal gang bangers. Those two cover almost all of the potential US police union members. The wannabe stormtroopers that raid houses via SWAT actions and kill people because they read their no knock warrant address wrong. And the wannabe peace keepers that joined the police to do some good. Paid suspensions and immunity from lawsuits, transfering the debt to the city and the unions, covers for the gestapo wannabes. The danger from gangs and other criminals, covers the rest of the idealistic brigade or former idealistic brigade. The sugar from the police’s sugar daddy isn’t as sweet or dominating if every police officer didn’t know that their lives depended on that sugar.

    The police don’t owe you or even any politician any loyalty. They, like Caesar’s legion, owes their primary loyalty to those that pay them. Democrats.

    And what’s particularly funny is that you often get police officers from rural areas or other non-inner cities rushing to the defense of craptastic behavior on the part of SWAT teams and inner city police. These police officers are circling the wagons because “they never knew someone who was as corrupt and murderous as police union cops”. Yeah well, that shows what they know about Law Enforcement. They’ll be on the internet, talking like they know what’s up, saying “let’s not jump to any conclusions”. Here’s a clue. The “personal experience” of some outsider basing his views upon the personal experience of how cops work 24/7, means NOTHING to the Leftist Alliance and their strategy of total control over the police and military forces of this nation. It means absolutely nothing. Don’t even pretend to think someone that’s working the streets of some town or suburb, has any idea what is required to put down the police union corruption. They don’t even know it exists. And the same goes for the majority of Americans. When totalitarianism comes, they’ll be sitting around yapping like the post WWII Germans saying “I never knew a Nazi”. Yeah, sure.

     

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