Abuse of Power

The arrogant southern sheriff who holds himself and his men above the law is an old cliche’. Maybe it’s time to update the stereotype.

(Background: Here, Here and Here)

UPDATE: In the comments, Mitch points out that cops are known to break speed limits. I should point out that the officers in this case were not merely speeding but were driving in ways that endangered other motorists. They were also abusive to local police who, in response to numerous complaints, stopped them and asked them to slow down. One thing that stands out in the first discussion that I linked to, in which many of the participants are police, is how some police officers expect other police to tolerate their reckless or illegal behavior on grounds of “professional courtesy.” That even a few officers believe this — and I am sure that it’s much more than a few in many police agencies — IMO is evidence of systematic flaws in training, supervision and values. It is to these officers’ credit that they were returning from post-Katrina duty in New Orleans, which must have been no picnic. But lots of other people, including police officers from other States, also worked in New Orleans after the hurricane, didn’t drive like maniacs on their way back North, and didn’t treat the laws and citizens of jurisdictions other than their own with contempt.

Looting in Louisiana

According to WWL TV in New Orleans, the hurricane has brought out looters.
“With much of the city emptied by Hurricane Katrina, some opportunists took advantage of the situation by looting stores. At a Walgreen’s drug store in the French Quarter, people were running out with grocery baskets and coolers full of soft drinks, chips and diapers.

When police finally showed up, a young boy stood in the door screaming, “86! 86!” — the radio code for police — and the crowd scattered. “

An August 11 2005 USA Today article noted the passage of an anti-price gouging law and stiffened penalties for looting.
“Civil action can be taken against price-gougers, including fines and restitution. Criminal penalties range up to six months in jail and $500 in fines for each violation.
Also, looting during states of emergency starts carrying heavier penalties on Monday: a three-year minimum prison sentence and up to 15 years. Backers of that bill said fear of being looted was a hindrance to getting storm-threatened residents to evacuate.”

One man watching the looters said.”To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it’s an opportunity to get back at society.”

It is a surely measure of the character of a people what their thoughts turn to in a disaster. That ‘looting’ was foremost on their minds is reprehensible, to be sure. But it speaks volumes for the type of people they are, none of it good.

Get back at society?
I fervently hope this is an isolated incident.

A Small Irritation

Exactly why was my tax money spent funding a junket suggested by the spouse (a government employee)? Transparency and some objectivity might, indeed, see “Karl Rove, Whistleblower.” I suspect that many in Washington do not see it that way not just because of political leanings or blood-in-the-water triumphalism, but because such arrangements are so common (& interwoven) in the media, the bureaucracy, and politics.

Playing the Sympathy Card

Last year I was approached by a woman at work. She was looking to take the training course needed to apply for a CCW license, but she was out of money. She knew that I ran a charity where I would offer the training for free to victims of violent crime, and she was sure that I would help.

She told me that she was embroiled in a very nasty divorce. Her husband was abusive, violent, out of control. She had eventually taken one beating too much, so she had packed up her kids and moved in to a house she was renting. Sure, the courts had issued a restraining order, but anyone in the self defense trade will tell you that those donít do much if the perp gets a belly full of beer and decides that they donít care if they go to jail. Arming yourself against trouble is the only way to stop it sometimes. Her oldest daughter was old enough to be legally considered an adult, so she wanted the training for both of them.

Alarm bells were going off in my mind as she sang me her song of woe. Iíve been doing this for a long time, and Iíve helped hundreds of people who were in trouble. The problem was that she just wasnít hitting the right notes.

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