A friend gets a hard lesson about the “liberal” police state

I was quite tired yesterday when I read something interesting.  Having read it, I jotted down an idea for blogging about it.  That note says “loving the individual versus loving the system.”  I then went to bed.  Today, I’ve spent the last several hours trying to remember what I read and what my cryptic little note meant.

Quite obviously, of course, the note refers to the difference between true conservatives, who believe in individualism, and Leftists of every type who speak of the individual, but only as a prop to justify state power.  The problem is that I’ve said this multiple times before at this blog.  What was new and exciting to me was something that I read that more perfectly illustrated the difference between conservative and statist.  I suspect that whatever that interesting trigger was, it’s gone forever, which is too bad.

However, having that thought in my mind did come in handy today when I got a call from a friend.  Someone she knows got arrested on the charge of doing something very bad.  He and his family don’t have much money, so they cannot afford a good lawyer.  Instead, he will get a pro bono public defender pulled from a pool of available attorneys — which means it’s very hit and miss whether the attorney has the actual skills to represent him.  The multiple charges against him carry automatic and lengthy prison terms — in other words, mitigating circumstances are not allowed.  I don’t know whether this person did what the police say he did but I do know that, if he actually did do what was alleged, there are actually mitigating circumstances.

But here’s the deal:  Because of the mandatory sentencing, his pro bono lawyer has already told him to plea bargain.  A trial is just too risky, because the outcome is binary — you win or you go to jail forever — and the attorney isn’t good enough to raise a reasonable challenge to the state’s charges.  That means that, even if this guy is innocent or there are extenuating circumstances, the risk of having his day in court is so great that the system is forcing him to spend the next decade or more in prison.

This is profoundly undemocratic.  We are guaranteed under the constitution a right to a fair and speedy trial, but the system is designed so that people have no incentive to take advantage of that inherent right.  The problem isn’t even as simple as rich defendants versus poor defendants.  It’s the fact that prosecutors layer on as many charges as possible, regardless of their validity, simply to force a plea bargain.  Rich people can hold out longer, but ultimately prosecutorial overreach is a “get into jail very not free” card.

My friend, who is heartbroken, was fulminating about the “police state.”  I agree.  I don’t blame individual police officers or even individual prosecutors (many of whom I count as my friends in the legal world).  They are operating in a system that cedes them greater and greater power, and with power inevitably follows corruption.  This is especially true when there are no checks on that power.

I see this increased power flowing not from the conservatives, who are normally considered law and order types, but from the statists, who are control freaks.  An inevitable byproduct of a control-freak is increased enforcement.  That is, control is meaningless unless you have the brute force to effectuate it.

Put another way, conservatives expect people to behave well.  Rather than micro-managing that behavior, they would like our institutions to teach good behavior as a moral, not a police, imperative.  Think about it this way:  If you remove God from the equation, the Ten Commandments are still a perfect list of core moral behaviors that lead to societal cooperation:

Exodus 20:1-17

Then God said all these words: “I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.

Commandment 1
“You are to have no other gods before me.

Commandment 2
You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline. You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, ADONAI your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot.

Commandment 3
“You are not to use lightly the name of ADONAI your God, because ADONAI will not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly.

Commandment 4
“Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. You have six days to labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Shabbat for ADONAI your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work -not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the for eigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. For in six days, ADONAI made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why ADONAI blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.

Commandment 5
“Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which ADONAI your God is giving you.

Commandment 6
“Do not murder.

Commandment 7
“Do not commit adultery.

Commandment 8
“Do not steal.

Commandment 9
“Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.

Commandment 10
“Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

People who willingly abide by these rules are good citizens.  Conservatives do not believe that they are perfect, but that they will err on the side of decency and morality.  The problem, of course, is that without God as the  ultimate, albeit abstract enforcer (which is the case with statists who will not cede any micromanagement even to God), you’re left with nothing put police power to carry out your increasingly petty and overreaching decrees.

Since there are no big rules, there can only be thousands and tens of thousands of petty little rules.  And petty little rules need an awful lot of law enforcement.  And a lot of law enforcement means a vast concentration of power centered on policing.  It also means an overwhelmed prison system that incentivizes going to jail rather than presenting your case.

What was fascinating was that my friend, in the midst of her unhappiness, had an epiphany:  Sen.  Dianne Feinstein is one of the leading lights of state power.  It’s true.  The minatory, bossy, arrogant Feinstein is certain that she knows everything better than you.  She goes about armed or with guards, but she knows that you’re too stupid to be armed.  Or if you are allowed to be armed, she knows which gun you should use and how many bullets it will take for you to defend yourself.  She knows what you should be paid for your work, she knows how much of your income the government can spend better than you, and she knows that it’s up to her to control even the minutest details of your life.

My friend, though, hasn’t quite connected all the dots.  After fingering DiFi as the living embodiment of Big Government, my friend said, in a bewildered voice, “I don’t understand how she could have come out of San Francisco.”

I’m not shy.  I told my friend that SF is the perfect DiFi breeding ground.  Take away San Francisco’s endless tolerance for public nudity and gay sex, and you reveal a City government with pure tyrannical instincts.  The Board of Stupidvisors micromanages the city in every way possible and has since the Leftist takeover in the 1960s.  Here are just a few examples, which appear in posts I’ve written over the years:

San Francisco: America’s homegrown anarchic totalitarianism

San Francisco mulls expanding gay rights program at expense of academic programs *UPDATED*

The politics of City budgets in liberal cities *UPDATED*

Socialist governments just LOVE to control food

We’ll spend your money no matter what

American taxpayers officially on the hook for a 1.7 mile tunnel in SF

Life for the law-abiding in San Francisco

You get what you pay for with city government

Only in SF is JROTC a “controversial” program

Dealing with government bureaucracies

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad, nude world — if you live in San Francisco

The streets of San Francisco (or, this is Nancy Pelosi’s city)

San Francisco’s pro-tenant laws and ethos drive up the cost of renting

Life in an increasingly fascist city — what San Francisco’s plastic bag ban means

Pro-Life versus Get-A-Life

This definitely wasn’t the post I intended to write, but it will have to do.

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  • bap

    If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments, they shall be governed by the ten thousand commandments. — G.K. Chesterton

  • lee

    I have always had a problem with “zero tolerance.” I understand the IDEA is to avoid slippery slopes, but the REALITY Portia is completely kicked to the curb: No “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven, upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: it blesseth him that gives, and him that takes…” I have alwyas felt that the ENTIRE speech should be part of an oath that judges and trial lawyers, and prosecuters should take.
    Back in the old days, before zero tolerance, parents took responsibility for the children, and people took responsibilty for their actions. My husband, towards the end of his senior year of high school, decided it would be hysterically funny to put a rooster in the local cop’s cop car. (Think Mayberry.) Today, he would be arrested, and wind up in jail, minimally. Thirty five years ago, the cop told his dad, and his dad took care of it: He had an option– the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines. Or jail. My husband chose the Air Force. 
    Some basically GOOD people do STUPID stuff. “Zero tolerance” turns them into criminals. But not just criminals–so much s***t gets thrown at them that THE BOOK would’ve been preferable. Prosecutors reputations ride on convictions, not justice. There are some good prosecuters out there, but some are just about the numbers. And some of the good ones have their hands tied by “zero tolerance.” Mandatory sentancing may SOUND like a great way to be “tough on crime.” But what about people who are just… foolish? Someone from my home town, basically a good guy, was recently arrested. His gonna go away and probably die in prison. He was atupid, and deserves some time. But he was set up by a snitch, and is getting portrayed as Walter White.
    I do think one of our biggest 

  • lee

    problem is that people hae drifted so far from the Bible. Thanks, for tne Ten Commandments!

  • MacG

    If you take God out of the ten commandment you are left with the last four which do not mention God.  Without God in the equation the last four are just words without impending accountability to the Supreme impartial authority.
    That is the rub. No accountability.  The right to a speedy trial is a great idea for the individual unless you need more time to prepare…The helpful byproduct if the trials are speedy is that there is swift accountability.  Try training your dog to not mess in the living room three hours after the bomb has dropped.  This is why the death penalty is a joke now as it has no real teeth.  Swift punishment may catch a few innocents but it makes for much more alert citizens when it comes to even getting close to getting into trouble. Bad company corrupts good morals and you will be branded by those who do not know you by the looks of those you hang with.

  • http://www.celiahayes.com Sgt. Mom

    An illustration of this was provided to me by a story in the UK Daily Mail – of a teen who committed suicide. His crime? (and I will freely accept that there may be much, much more to the story, but still… streaking? My brother was involved in a streaking incident – not as a streaker, but as someone driving the getaway car, and thank g*d this is only a family legend, and people were much more laid back about this in the early 1970s.)  This kid streaked as a prank, and got expelled and put on the sex-offender list. (Story here – been covered by others than the Daily Mail.)
    I find this story particularly horrifying. The kid was … well, doing a prank, and one that I laughed my s** off when I saw it done in the 1970s, as did everyone else who happened to see one. (Someone naked, running through a public space? Like, did you see anything you didn’t already know about?)  And NOW the forces of law’n’order felt obliged to land on him like a couple of tons of bricks?
    This is bad. This is verging on child abuse, or at least, teenager abuse – coming after a whole season of stories about bullying, both the free-lance and the government-sponsored kind. I have told my daughter that if and when she has children, not to send them to public schools. I’ll home-school the little sprogs myself. 

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Oh, my gosh, Sgt. Mom!  That was the story that triggered my little note to myself about loving the individual versus loving the state.  A police state has no compassion and no humor, and to put a child on a sex offender’s list for streaking is so appalling I have no words.  The school, the police, and the lawmakers all have blood on their hands.

    And what I was thinking with that story was that it’s not about “Left” or “Right,” or “Liberal” or “Conservative.”  That is truly about love for mankind, versus complete subservience to a conscienceless state. 

    Well, you said it all better than I ever could have, so thank you.

    (BTW, you realize that, if he’d been just as naked, but waiving a protest sign saying “Israel is a Nazi state” or “America is an Imperial Monster,” he would have been let off scott-free.)

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    This is almost “The” reason cops don’t want you filming them now.
    If you like the illusion of safety in the Obama police state, don’t read that website. Also, this was true before Obama and it’ll be true after, so don’t think it will end in 3 years.
    For those that wonder what it is that connects all these organizations together, think unions and money. The money is laundered through Leftist alliance safe and front houses. The unions distribute, collect, and redistribute the funding and directives.
    You will not easily find out Why they got a policy like Zero Tolerance and why they are enforcing it the way they are. But all you have to do to find out whether it is evil or not is to follow the unions.

  • http://www.celiahayes.com Sgt. Mom

    Good golly, Book –  I guess that great minds think alike.
    I was in college when the initial streaking fad hit. I recall very clearly – it was seen as a harmless prank; there was even a local police station reported (can’t recall if it was in LA or not) which was streaked … and the officers involved were laughing too hard to do anything about it. G*d, where did our sense of humor — and our sense of reality go?
    This is just sad, on so many levels. 

  • lee

    While not as horrible a story as the young man streaking, I did hear on the radio here about a kid hetting sent to jail for a few years for doing what my husband did thirty five years ago. They threw everything they could think of at the kid–for a PRANK. Admittedly, a stupid prank that caused damage to publically owned property. But my husband’s dada, oh so many years ago, also made his son pay for fixing the car. 
    The sex offender’s list has gotten out of control. Eighteen year old high school seniors are getting their lives destrpyed for having freshmen girlfriends. We sexualized kids, now we throw in prison for years and mark them forever for doing what society encouraged them to do. Hell, here if all a guy is doing is publically urinating, he gets on the sexual offender’s list! What’s the point? Good gosh–I think back to weekends at college (I went to a party school), and how often I saw guys taking a whiz outside. It was disgusting on many levels, but to get branded permanenly as a sexual offender? And all that comes with that?
    So a kid gets caught streaking, gets arrested, and is convicted of being a “sexual offender.” What about all the CRAP at colleges, with porn classes, and naked yoga, and nude week, and sex in the ldcture hall? And all this kid did was streak?
    “And earthly power doh then show like  God’s, where mercy seasons justice. ” And maybe if a little common sense did, too.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    One potential reason they are putting them on the list is to present to the public the proof that the police and Democrats are “fighting crime”. Even as the Democrat rapist Hollywood directors, stars, and aristocrats are protected and shielded by their union thugs and union police enforcers.
    In order to replace the number of sex offenders, like Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton who aren’t allowed to be put on the list permanently, they need “goats”. And it just so happens that teenagers make good “goats” given their lack of political power, wealth, or wisdom against evil.
    <B>What about all the CRAP at colleges, with porn classes, and naked yoga, and nude week, and sex in the ldcture hall?</b>
    Those are licensed sex workers. If you are licensed as a Leftist member, you are good. If you’re an independent operator or a Republican, they will destroy you. It’s how a mafia holds monopolies.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Just in case people didn’t realize it, you are dealing with evil here. Not politics. Not some organization of community moms, dads, and kiddies playing pick up games at the park. This is evil. Adjust your expectations when you see evil, so you don’t get surprised by how evil evil is.
    You may not understand “why” it is evil, but once you start thinking it is evil, the reason becomes apparent soon enough.

  • Jose

    I have known 2 registered sex offenders.  Both were excessively abused by the system, and their lives were ruined.
    A young man was in the process of separating from his wife, and hard feelings were definitely involved.  He came home one night after having too much to drink and left the bathroom door open while taking a whiz.  His wife charged him with exposing himself to their children, and the system took over from there.  He had to move in with his parents and couldn’t even visit his own kids until the system went through the standardized process to allow him to see them under supervision.  His job was housing maintenance which became very difficult, as he simply had to leave, if children were in the area.  The only reason he was able to stay employed was that he was working for his parents. 
    The other man I knew was a teacher, who asked a poorly behaved young woman to stay after class.  She later accused him of molesting her and although there was no proof, the state took over and treated him as a sex offender anyway.  For years he was unable to attend church or family gatherings, and needless to say, his working life had ended.  The case officers involved recognized that he was not a predator and although they were largely constrained, they did their best to fast track him through the system.
    Zero tolerance policies are simply a way of relieving decision makers of responsibility, and the requirement to think about what they do.  They let the intellectually lazy off the hook at the expense of everyone else.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    It’s not so much that the system can be “fixed” as the police and government having that power over your life is in itself the problem.
    Instead of two people dealing with their problems using their own resources and negotiation, one person escalates it to the state and you get shut down. How’s that fair? Your problem wasn’t with the state, it was with a single human.
    Until people suffer, nothing will change. Until justice is slammed down on evil, no matter where it resides, nothing will change. Change the law, change the police, change the politicians every day at midnight. Nothing will change until justice is applied to ALL of America: top and bottom.

  • lee

    David Mamet’s “Oleanna.” Scare any one into never being alone with a student. Ever. Again.

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