If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that I have this bug about any law enforcement agency that wants to trample on the Bill of Rights, especially the Second Amendment. When the cases are all somewhere else, it's something of an academic exercise. When it happens, close to home and to someone you know, it gets very personal.
You may recall my mentions of Old Friend's Older Brother. He's had my truck all day--he's a mechanic, and I trust him implicitly to maintain my vehicles in tip-top condition. When I went by this evening to pick it up, he told me this cautionary tale.
This morning, he took his Lady Friend's Daughter to school. It's opening day, so you can imagine the nightmare this entails. Confusion, traffic, etc. So of course, one of our local law enforcement agencies decides to set up a license check near the school.
This foreshadows coming events.
OFOB pulls up to the check, and hands Officer Friendly his license. Officer Friendly sees some papers laying on the front seat and asks what they are. OFOB shows him--they're printouts of some Curio and Relic offerings that he printed off a dealer's web site. The particular guns were Yugoslavian SKSs.
(For the uninitiated, this means that he had pictures of some guns that are a minimum of 50 years old in his vehicle. Pictures, printed on paper.)
Officer Friendly "invites" him to "pull your vehicle over there". OFOB, not being the stupid sort, rapidly figures out that Officer Friendly means to search his vehicle. His probable cause to initiate this search--apparently pictures of old guns.
At this point, OFOB keeps a pretty good reign on his temper. He asks why they want to search his truck. He's told to do as he's been ordered (Officer Friendly is now playing the "lawful order" card) or he will be detained until a search warrant can be obtained. With the particular agency that Officer Friendly works for, it's a well-known piece of local lore that if you make them get a warrant, you'll spend the remainder of the day putting your vehicle back together.
At this point, OFOB does something that I probably wouldn't have had the good sense to do. He gets out, tells Officer Friendly that he has nothing to hide, but that they will have to search his vehicle here--effectively blocking traffic at the checkpoint until they finish with him. Officer Friendly calls over another officer, and together they begin going through the vehicle. OFOB didn't tell me how long this process took. I hope it was a long time.
Eventually, not finding anything, he was told that having "military items" is what got him searched. He was then allowed to go on his way, with a lecture that "if you do things like this, you should expect to be suspected of being up to no good"
Pictures of 50+ year old guns are apparently now "military items". Having them means you're up to no good.
At this point, please remove small children from the room. I need to vent.
FUCKING JACK BOOTED THUGS!
Thanks. I feel slightly better now.
Yes, I said that and it's exactly what I mean. There is no way that anyone will ever convince me that this isn't an abuse of power by a moron with a badge. Barney Fife would have better sense.
I realize that all members of law enforcement aren't like this. But far too many are for me to ever be comfortable around them. My Sister-In-Law is a LEO, and you may bet your ass I'm very careful what I say around her. I'm going to be far more careful in the future. We own guns, we like guns, so we must be bad people.
For any LEO who reads this and is offended--GOOD! You ought to be. You ought to be offended that you work with fools who are actively creating citizens who distrust you because you wear a badge. You ought to be offended that you work with people who don't take their oath of office seriously. You ought to be offended that their actions make your job harder, each and every day. You ought to be offended that idiots like this may one day get you killed, because the citizen whose rights they just wiped their asses with has had enough and decides to strike back and damn the consequences--and you just happened to be in the way.
How many times have we read about the police asking citizens to help them with information about criminal activity? And how many times have we heard of people standing around, watching a crime and no one calls the police because "they don't want to get involved"? I know I've heard more than a few instances of such things.
But who wants to get involved with a group who thinks in terms of "Us vs. Them"--when you're always "Them"?
What ever happened to the police we saw on "Adam 12" and "Dragnet"? Were they just figments of a Hollywood script writer's imagination? I was raised to think the police--all the police--were the Good Guys. They were there to "Protect and Serve". They were the Thin Blue Line that stood between order and chaos.
I just can't subscribe to those beliefs any more. Mourn the Republic and hail the New Police State. Papers please.