When a game warden wants to tag a deer, he makes sure to place the trap on an obvious trail that deer frequent. Deer tend to stick to natural funnels and tree or brush lines. Deer are naturally suspicious animals and tend to stick to areas they know and out of the open as much as possible. Hunters know this and place their traps along those known trails because they know that setting a trap out in the brush with delicious food may be too much work for the deer. It’s just easier to travel down the path of least resistance than trample around through weeds and overgrowth.
Dealing with government in all its forms is much like tagging deer. For example, take fighting speeding tickets. To most people, it’s just too hard to fight the system. The easy path is just to pay the fine, take an online class, and go about your business. If you get another ticket, repeat the cycle, pay more.
It’s no secret that municipal courts are rigged against the motorist or the common citizen. Not only do you have to fight them on their turf, but you go in there already at a disadvantage. Most likely, the officer that ticketed you has been in front of that judge more than once. That prosecutor is the same prosecutor that fights EVERY traffic ticket like a broken record. The officer, the prosecutor, and the judge are all paid from the same pot of city money. They’re nothing more than co-workers since municipal judges aren’t elected, but selected by politicians. And they all want your money. One would think that officers collecting fees that pay their own salaries would be a conflict of interest, but at the municipal court level.
Fighting a speeding ticket really isn’t that hard at all. You just have to realize and accept that you WILL most likely lose in the municipal court and be willing to take it to appeal. And you don’t need an attorney. The key is to submit specific motions that are pertinent, but that the judge will most likely deny to set up grounds for appeal. Municipal courts don’t really care much about the law because they aren’t there to insure justice. They are there to serve as a revenue stream for the city council. Taxes only go so far in running our bloated local governments and these bodies politic rely on money from unsuspecting fools willing to pay their fine “to get it over with.”
I was at the municipal court the other day submitting a few such motions. I was there maybe 20 minutes maximum. In that time, over a dozen people came in to pay speeding tickets. Not a single ticket was under $200. Think about that. In just 20 minutes, the city was able to raise over $4000 from unsuspecting sheeple just walking down the deer trail to the easy-to-find food trap.
The courts KNOW that most people won’t fight their traffic tickets. You can walk into a court all day long knowing with 100% confidence that you were NOT speeding, but it doesn’t matter. Without evidence, the court places more weight in the mere words of an officer than yours. Even though our laws dictate that the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were speeding, the mere testimony of an officer seals your fate if you don’t know how to fight it (but that’s not my point here).
The same thinking can be applied to dealing with law enforcement officers.
Since my arrest this past March, I’ve had the honor of meeting so many supporters that understand and appreciate my fight. Unfortunately, I’ve also had my share of people eager to criticize my actions that day on the side of the road.
“If you hadn’t been such a douchebag yelling at the cop you would have been on your way in a matter of minutes.”
“If you had just let the cop take your gun, you wouldn’t have gotten arrested.”
“When a cop tells you to do something, you do it.”
“You only carried your gun to bait the cops.”
“As a Master Sergeant, you should know to respect the authority of police officers.”
I got much of the same types of criticism after my false arrest at the capitol.
“You were only carrying a toy gun to bait the cops.”
“It was obvious you sought a confrontation with police.”
“You should have left when they told you to leave.”
“The cop’s job is to keep the people safe. When they tell you to do something, it’s for the good of the people.”
The truth is that standing up for yourself – defending your rights – is like those deer having to wonder into the bush to get food. It’s just too hard. By questioning authority, specifically abuse of authority, you open yourself up to the power of the government (and ignorant criticism). They have the power to take away your freedom, take away your treasure, and take away your time. It’s expensive standing up for yourself and I’m not just talking monetarily. It’s emotionally costly, spiritually costly, and even physically costly (though I probably shouldn’t complain about the 38 pounds I’ve lost since March from stress).
The reason why it’s so costly is because more of us don’t stand up. Do you really think that the abuses of authority we see all throughout our society would occur if more people stood up to the oppression? What if more people went to school board meetings and held their elected board members accountable for their votes? What if more people attended city council meetings that are largely unattended and held their council members accountable for their votes? And what if more people stepped in when they saw a police officer abusing his authority or being overly aggressive in the handling of a citizen?
We are taught from a young age (and more-so these days) that people with badges are to be respected. We are told they have tough jobs and may not make it home alive on any given day in spite of the fact that, according to the FBI, only .007% of law enforcement officers are killed in the line of duty each year – including getting run over or shot by their own weapon. These are the people that tell us the reason we need invasive patdowns to get on a plane is in response to a few planes that were hijacked twelve years ago. They say that they want to take away your guns because there are a few people who use them to kill or injure others. They tell you that you can’t carry a gun into a school because people shoot kids there.
It’s amazing, though, what they won’t tell you. According to the 2004 National Safety Council report, the National Center for Health Statistics, and 2009 mortality data from the Center for Disease Control, you’re 8 times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist. Police officers are three times more likely to commit murder than CHL holders (as I have been for several years until my recent false arrest). Domestic violence is 2-4 times more prevalent in law enforcement families than the general population. You’re 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted by a police officer than the general public.
These are just SOME of the statistics. Do some serious research on police criminal activity and you tell me if you feel safe when confronted by a police officer. Yet, in spite of the fact that you put your life on the line moreso when confronting a police officer than a member of the general public, we’re supposed to bend over backwards making THEM feel safer and doing whatever THEY tell US to do?! Because of a psychotic shooter at a movie theater, I’m supposed to allow law enforcement to disarm me? If I’m questioned, I’m supposed to assume that the officer has MY best interests in mind when it’s been proven over and over and over again that officers lie – so much so that the courts even had to explain that it’s okay for them to do so!
Stop walking down the path of least resistance and start actually offering peaceful resistance. We, the people, control and run our government; not the other way around. We have too many laws that exempt the most dangerous people in our society (law enforcement officers) from most laws that restrict what you and I can do simply because the people don’t speak up. Or simply by virtue of wearing a pretty badge. We, the people don’t stand up to these authoritarian figures enough and then we complain about it when it gets out of control. I’m not saying you have to be disrespectful to every cop you encounter, I’m just saying that it’s about time we stopped cowering every time one approaches us. Standing up for your rights is not disrespect. They only have the power we give them under the law. It’s important that we be educated on the law so we can recognize when the law is not being followed by the very people responsible for enforcing it.
If you see a cop car parked in a fire lane, take a picture and call the police. If you see a police officer speeding down the road without his lights on, film it and call the police. If you see a police officer being overly aggressive with a citizen (that may or MAY NOT be guilty of anything), film it and call the police. If you see a cop car in a handicapped spot, take a photo and call the police. Any time a police officer speaks to you – regardless of the reason – film it! It may be the only thing that keeps you safe or helps you fight bogus charges. Believe me, I know! Be kind as long as kindness is extended to you, but film it.
Every time you call the cops, get off that beaten path and go file a formal complaint. Make sure you attach the photos and video you took. Hold them accountable. If you don’t think they’re being held accountable, take it to the City Council. If they ignore you, initiate a recall election. If anything, it will wake up them to the reality that they are not Gods, lording over you. They answer to you. Yes, it’s a lot of work. It’s a pain in the ass. There are so many other things you could be doing (like reading this stupid blog post) rather than tracking down corruption and abuse of power. But, if you don’t do it, you’re no better than that deer that just wants an easy meal…seconds before getting shot by the hunter.
Almost 20 years ago, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Unlike most of our elected representatives who took a similar oath, it actually meant something to me. I took it seriously.