A Shiny Badge Does Not Grant Extra Rights

20130727_173123When 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.

13 Comments on “A Shiny Badge Does Not Grant Extra Rights

  1. I still believe in that oath, even though I’ve been out of the military for 20(!) years.

  2. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is great blog.

  3. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate,Important distinction there, Rajiv, between demands and requests.

  4. King Richard The Lion Hearted went to fight the crusades. Whilst he was away, the evil sheriff of Nottingham usurped his kingdom.

  5. Never trust a civilian–no matter what uniform it’s wearing. Civilians are devils. Money and ambition is all they consider. I will simply give the benefit-of-the-doubt to this fine soldier. God bless the armed forces of the United States. You only have 2 friends in this life, your mommies and those in or who have served in military uniform. No one else gives a rat’s rear-end about you–no matter the propaganda. Civilians–especially civilian employers–utterly and fantastically despise veterans for their sense of honor. Civilians will do or have you do anything to make them money, and they will fire you in a heartbeat. They could care less about you, your family or their own country. Cops are the greatest haters of veterans. For the veteran is a direct insult to them-as nearly every police officer is a corrupt, bullying tyrant. The uniformed serviceman is in fact sworn to defend the country against bullying tyrants that kill children’s pets for fun and laugh.

    God bless you sergeant. You have this stupid marine’s total and full support. I support every single one of you. Modern law enforcement has turned the sacrifice of every veteran into a pathetic joke. America is now a totalitarian police state–fully.

    Your sacrfices were for naught.

  6. Good article CJ. Almost everyday one can read about a police incident that shouldn’t have happened. Thank God for video cameras to bear witness of these events. A friend sent me a link I want to share, the man’s name is Bill Whittle. For me, he is a fresh, polished voice telling me in detail about the things I am interested in. He has lots of items on Youtube. This one talks about Texas compared to California, you will enjoy it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CDFxeB7Y-s

  7. Wow. Powerful stuff- reaffirms what I’ve been thinking. I’ve noticed people saying the same thing about checkpoints- just answer the questions, pull over into secondary, let them search you and your vehicle… why make a fuss? But if we don’t show some kind of resistance, what’s next? People need to flex their rights to instill a healthy fear in those who would abuse their positions of power. A loss for one of us is a loss for all of us. A success for one is a success for all. This should not be hard to understand. I applaud you for your courage and dedication, Mr. Grisham. Thank you for all you’ve done to wake people up and fight the tyranny.

  8. I partially agree with what your saying being on the disadvantage from the beginning. Now from a law enforcement aspect, how about you don’t speed? If you do, take the penalty as I would and have. Seems here your acting just like a liberal. Like the rules don’t apply to you.

    • What is speeding? Speeding is a victimless “crime” designed solely to generate income for the state. And who said I was speeding? If I committed a crime I’m sure I’ll be able to confront the injured party, right? From a law enforcement standpoint, how about you do more to preserve the peace and less revenue raising. That makes you nothing but a bell ringer for the state preying on people that have somewhere to be. Why are LEOs able to speed when not on a call and the common citizen is not? These are the real questions. But, you definitely fit the mold of what this post was about. “Just drive slower and you won’t be baiting the police.”

      • I have seen police give citizens ‘breathalyzer’ tests with crap they purchased at Walgreens. As IF that stuff is calibrated in ANY way. They all need to meet minimum standards and 4 years in the military, three of which was in the military police, does not a good cop make. The Uniform Code of Military Justice is NOT compatible with law enforcement.

    • So if we don’t pay the city council money to help fund your paycheck, we’re automatically a Liberal? LOL

      Texas has a Preemption Clause Jeff. That means even if we are speeding, it’s NOT AGAINST THE LAW unless there were extenuating circumstances in which our speeding would have caused an undue hazard to you, ourselves or other motorists.

      As a peace officer, you would think you would know enough about the law to KNOW that by now.

    • lib this, lib that. that is a great comeback. we all know them damn libs aint no damn good. so then, why am i making fun of your “lib” comment? you figure it out!

  9. Good Read CJ. Thanks for your candor on this hot topic. Today Mom and I witnessed a Highway patrolman actually risking his life to ensure the safety of the public. On I-15 with heavy traffic, an HP car pulled up along side me. We could see an 18-wheeler shedding one of those huge tread re-caps. Hit one of those at highway speed and who know what’ll happen. The cop hit the lights, sped up ahead and pulled over where the rubber was laying on the road, I could see after I caught up and passed him that he was removing the huge chunks of tread from the highway. There is NO WAY in hell I would do something like that, but he was in fact just doing his job. 5 minutes later we pull into Orem Wal-mart and what do I see? A cop car parked in the fire lane when wal-mart has specially marked stalls adjacent to handicapped for City of Orem police officers. I almost felt like I should go park in one of those and wait for the cop to come out and piss with him, but didn’t wanna waste my time. So you see, you can get the good and not 5 min later run into those who abuse their special powers.

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