Morning Links

Monday, November 30th, 2009
  • Four police officers in Washington State murdered in an apparent ambush. Suspect had long criminal history, now believed to be dead.
  • Photographer brings kids’ crayon drawings to life.
  • Study documents decades of rampant sexual abuse of children in Ireland’s Catholic church, complicity of church and government officials in covering it up.
  • Minnesota police dog escapes, accidentally euthanized.
  • 22-year-old mayoral candidate runs on awesomeness platform.
  • 50 fascinating Wikipedia articles. Browsing the first several, I learned that there’s an actual story behind Bart Simpson’s prank calls to Moe’s, and that for a few decades in the 1900s, the U.S. government had a plan to invade Canada.
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  • 85 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  primus | 

      OK, so let me get this straight; the police, reputed to be professional investigators, the ones we depend on to catch criminals etc. did not even have the sense to check the animal shelter? Color me unsurprised.

    2. #2 |  Dave Krueger | 

      And, why did the dog not have a collar with a tag? Or a chip (which costs about $45)? And, who is going to be fined for the obvious violation?

      As for the Humane Society, I’m sure the cops will understand that that they were just following “standard procedures”.

    3. #3 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

      The only thing surprising about the plan to invade canada is that our government didn’t do it.

    4. #4 |  z | 

      The guy who killed the cops had his sentenced commuted by Huckabee years ago. Is this Huckabee’s willie horton moment?

    5. #5 |  ktc2 | 

      #3

      No, it’s not surprising at all. Spend a month in Canada, especially in the winter.

    6. #6 |  David Chesler | 

      Building airbases is signifiicant. I thought the Pentagon had plans on file to invade or repel every conceivable country, as the result of exercises and homework assignments at West Point and Annapolis. (Plus at least 9 plans for extraterrestrial invasions.)

    7. #7 |  Jay | 

      #4: I doubt it will reflect as badly on Huckabee as it will on the whomever allowed him to post bond to get out a few days ago.

    8. #8 |  Mattocracy | 

      Wow. The color coded war plans really blew me away. I guess that whole non-interventionist idea of George Washington went out the window pretty quick.

    9. #9 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

      Child rapist? Ehhh commute ‘em.

      Smoking dope?

      CASTRATION! DOUBLE CASTRATION!

    10. #10 |  SamK | 

      Is it bad that my first thought about hearing four cops were gunned down is “I wonder what they did to deserve it” and my second is “Oh well, dead cops beat dead lawyers as a good start” and my third is “I feel sorry for the SOB that they’re going to gun down when they catch him”?….yeah, it’s bad. But it’s also what I’m thinking.

      I could write long lines about how I feel for their families etc, but I see a member of the police force as a member of an opposing military. I don’t know you personally but once you choose to put on that uniform I don’t get to think of you as human anymore, you’re the enemy.

    11. #11 |  Marty | 

      I’m not sure I really need the 50 fascinating wiki articles… I have work to do… damn- too late!

    12. #12 |  john | 

      #10 SamK

      i’m glad you posted that. i don’t feel so alone now in my thoughts about this incident.

    13. #13 |  SamK | 

      …the thing is, it really bothers me to think that way, but it’s not just stories, it’s personal experience that lends me to say it. At this point, I expect the shooter was a bad person, probably deserving of his share of bullets, but I also can’t help but wonder if “child rape” was made up because he pissed off a niece (it’s 2nd degree, doesn’t sound like there was violence [rape, legally, isn't violent]) and he punched a cop that called him a baby rapist. Play with cops often enough and it’s hard not to wonder if the “bad men” aren’t reacting appropriately to a situation. So, don’t know the guy, don’t know the cops, do know cops and bad people in general so my only conclusion is: at least the cops went down first.

    14. #14 |  LibCop | 

      The next time any of you wonder about why cops have the so-called “us vs them” bunker mentality, refer to SamK’s comments.

      It’s nothing more than prejudice and the natural human response to prejudice is to hunker down among people of your own kind…as in a Bunker.

    15. #15 |  PeeDub | 

      Yeah. The civilians started it!

    16. #16 |  LibCop | 

      “Yeah. The civilians started it!”

      Yes, the Civilians y’all elected who decided to make everything a “war” and who bent to the alcohol interests by banning things like plants that grow out of the ground…..

    17. #17 |  Marty | 

      I do think we need to look past the individual cops and at the bs policies created by administrators and politicians.

      I’m sorry for all the families involved.

    18. #18 |  Nando | 

      Re: the priests in Ireland, at least they’re running out of “child molesters” in Ireland: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3441821.ece

      As for the Wiki articles, the Bart call names are hilarious. Especially if you make a sentence out of them:

      “The fact that he likes Clint Torres and Connie Lingus shows us that he is no Marty Cone!”

    19. #19 |  SamK | 

      I’ve carried weapons for a living (army) and even played police force when we probably shouldn’t. They key factor *always* is whether you act like professionals or not. That I’ve met plenty of good cops does not distract from the fact that they cover bad cops asses. Bad cops with covered asses result in dead people. Without any hope of justice. That IS prejudice and it’s a correct response to have. It is also irresponsible to have that attitude when well trained and supervised police do their jobs professionally and remove the bad apples with criminal prosecution if necessary. I just haven’t seen it. I *have* seen cops beat the shit out of my friends when we were driving to wal-mart, starting with the cop saying “Hi Brian! Haven’t seen you in a while!” . I’ve also been arrested and spent the night handcuffed to a pipe because a rookie state cop needed practice with fingerprints when I was 17 (I had a tail light out…yes, that is the extent of what I was arrested for, and one of the cops that came in in the morning apologized to me for what had happened).

      It’s not war when your side has the guns and doesn’t want to call it war I suppose, but that doesn’t mean crying about how the people you oppress shouldn’t shoot back carries any water.

    20. #20 |  Highway | 

      And LibCop, who can stop the police from having an ‘us-vs-them’ mentality? The citizens? I think not. If that was the case, then why doesn’t all the fawning that the police get from people about how tough their job is, how much they are heroes, and how everyone reveres them make a difference in how some of them treat the public?

      No, the reason that the police have a bad reputation among people is because there are BAD PEOPLE who are police, and the police do damn little to get rid of them. They certainly don’t do anything that gives the public the confidence that they will find these bad people and stop them. That’s where ‘us-vs-them’ comes from on the public’s side, and it is solely up to the police to fix that.

    21. #21 |  Jeffer Mitchell | 

      So will the Animal Humane Society in Buffalo be prosecuted for killing a police officer?

    22. #22 |  Lucy | 

      The question of whether Mr Awesome’s campaign is a joke reminds me of Jello Biafra’s (such a leftist, but God help me I love him anyway) excellent answer to that question when he ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1978; Something along the lines of “my campaign is not any more or any less of a joke than the other candidate’s.”

    23. #23 |  Andrew | 

      Now if we could only get the rest of the police dogs in the country to escape and meet the magical sleepy needle.

    24. #24 |  jppatter | 

      I almost want to move to Minneapolis so I can vote for Joey Awesome.

    25. #25 |  Carl Drega | 

      “Lombard’s biggest idea is to make kids in school do mandatory volunteer work.”

      Not so awesome.

    26. #26 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #21 Jeffer Mitchell

      So will the Animal Humane Society in Buffalo be prosecuted for killing a police officer?

      Excellent question.

    27. #27 |  Cappy | 

      Um, ya know, I used to work animal control. Here was a typical phone call.

      Caller: Hi, I was wondering if you had my dog.

      Me: What breed is your dog?

      Caller: Dowhutnow?

      (Note – This was in North Carolina)

      Me: What kind of dog do you have.

      Caller: He’s black.

      Me: Probably best if you came down here and checked for yourself as we have a lot of black dogs and only you know your dog.

      But yeah, this so-called police dog should have been chipped as generally speaking, working dogs don’t carry rabies tags.

    28. #28 |  Cappy | 

      Dead police officers. Dead police dogs. Wow! It’s Monday!

    29. #29 |  Cynical in CA | 

      “Four police officers in Washington State murdered in an apparent ambush. Suspect had long criminal history, now believed to be dead.”

      Big + for Sam K.

      These cops were targeted for who they were and what they did.

      reap = sow

    30. #30 |  Nando | 

      #25 Carl Drega
      “Lombard’s biggest idea is to make kids in school do mandatory volunteer work.”

      Not so awesome.

      And not so Volunteer, either.

    31. #31 |  Cynical in CA | 

      Nando, I first encountered the interesting orwellian term “mandatory volunteer” in 2001 when my daughter began kindergarten at our local government indoctrination center. I was appalled, but now shrug it off with nary a thought. I wonder who is being indoctrinated?

      “Photographer brings kids’ crayon drawings to life.”

      Just my humble opinion, but this smacks of too much free time. Why is it not sufficient to let the imagination of children stand on its own? Why the need to make meta-art out of it? What’s next, taking elephant paintings and recreating those in real life? Give me an f’en break.

    32. #32 |  PW | 

      Seeing as we don’t have the suspect’s side of the story from the Washington cop shootings yet, I think we should withhold judgment and give him the benefit of the doubt.

      We don’t have all the facts yet, and those that we do know have been sensationalized a news media that is eager to pin this incident on him before he gets a chance to tell his side. And the media simply hates suspects, so they aren’t an impartial witness.

      Also for all we know, the suspect may have simply felt threatened by all the cops there when he made his routine stop for coffee. They were all armed, and it’s possible that one of them made a menacing gesture at him that put him in fear for his life.

      In fact, as someone who is well acquainted with the ins and outs of the U.S. prison system, it is probably accurate to say that the suspect had a very dangerous career that resulted in him putting his life on the line all the time, so he may have had a reason to be on edge if a cop made a menacing gesture to him.

      He was also probably overworked and underpaid.

      So before jumping to conclusions about this guy, let’s all wait for his side of the story and give him the benefit of the doubt until all the facts are out.

      And on a less sarcastic note, did anyone else notice from the news clips that the cops in Washington on the manhunt for this guy are decked out in military fatigues that are nearly identical to what the army wears over in Afghanistan?

    33. #33 |  BamBam | 

      And, why did the dog not have a collar with a tag? Or a chip (which costs about $45)? And, who is going to be fined for the obvious violation?

      Fined? They’d be so lucky. They killed a POLICE DOG, which is murder! The circumstances don’t matter, the Wall of Blue demands blood! It’s for the children!

    34. #34 |  Zargon | 

      Well, dead police officers doesn’t really help anything. The root of the problem is the perception of police as honorable, self-sacrificing heroes protecting their communities. So long as that perception stands, there will be no shortage of young people lining up for the job.

      Dead police officers helps reinforce that perception, rather than challenge it. Which isn’t to say they didn’t deserve it. Just that as usual, the system is the problem, and the people are the symptom.

    35. #35 |  Athena | 

      “I could write long lines about how I feel for their families etc, but I see a member of the police force as a member of an opposing military. I don’t know you personally but once you choose to put on that uniform I don’t get to think of you as human anymore, you’re the enemy.”

      Could you, though? Could you speak of these officers’ families with any compassion? I’m not convinced. After all, these are the families of *police officers*. “Inhuman”, right? Surely, their despicable families should be punished for willingly aligning themselves with such filth, no?

      I think a good number of us that frequent this blog display a justifiable level of distrust when it comes to the law enforcement community, but these, “They are the enemy. They are inhuman,” comments are just ridiculous. This is not logic speaking. This is not reason. This is extremism – something I am more fearful of than I am your average police officer.

      I am a resident of Western Washington. I, like many in this community, am affected by what is the second (apparently) random attack on police in a month’s time. I have not always been treated fairly by police, but you won’t find me dehumanizing murder victims as a result.

    36. #36 |  BamBam | 

      Years ago the head of the Chandler, AZ K9 unit “forgot” his dog in his patrol vehicle in the hot AZ summer (which is 7+ months in the year). The dog died in the vehicle. The investigation found that he was at home during work hours. The result? Paid vacation. The HEAD of the freaking K9 unit “forgot” his dog in the vehicle. Think about that.

      http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/95043

    37. #37 |  BamBam | 

      If that was the case, then why doesn’t all the fawning that the police get from people about how tough their job is, how much they are heroes, and how everyone reveres them make a difference in how some of them treat the public?

      Why don’t we hear about abusive and murderous garbage men, fish catchers, loggers, etc? You know, the people whose job is far more dangerous than a cop, and therefore are even BIGGER heroes and deserving of a larger amount of fawning?

    38. #38 |  John Wilburn | 

      After all the stories I have (and continue to) read about cops tazering, macing, pepper-spraying, stomping, kicking, punching, bludgeoning, flash-grenading and shooting unarmed (and often innocent) citizens (including children, senior citizens, medical personnel, EMT personnel, clergymen, and etc.) as well as family pets, I find myself entirely unsympathetic about those 4 cops in Washington State, and comforted in the knowledge that citizens are starting to fight back…

      “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants…”

    39. #39 |  AJs | 

      I am sad for the officers families – especially for the children (9 total between the four officers). Losing a parent, whatever the cause – especially during the holidays – is not easy and a horrible tradgedy. Regardless of your thoughts about police, your enemies or anyone else you don’t like – what happened to these officers should not happen to anyone in the manner which it did.

      Having said that, I live in the area this happened, and on the KOMO News last night, something else happened that bothered me – the newsreporter in a very responsible and cautious tone referred to the suspect as a ‘person of interest’ however, he then grabbed a police laptop and zoomed in on it with the camera to show thier ‘exclusive’ on the story that at the top of the laptop screen the memo on it had in very large bright red lettering ****FOR POLICE USE ONLY**** that listed the suspects name, all known addresses, dob, SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, drivers Lic., personal features (height, weight, birthmarks, etc) FBI number (whatever the hell that is), known associates and the known details of the crime. There it was on our TV, every bit of personal information about the ‘person of interest’ – who has not been tried or convicted of the crime (or the ones he was out on bail on for that matter) on full display. I was sitting there with my wife shocked that in one breath the reporter would say, ‘person of interest’ then provide for the entire public all the mans personal information including his SSN.

      We wondered if the news station and the police officer who provided his police laptop for the viewing could be held liable…

    40. #40 |  Daniel Kolle | 

      Except, Mr. Wilburn, these individuals were not tyrants, and Mr. Clemmons is not a patriot, and neither are you. Your advocacy of unjustifiable homicide is far from patriotic.

    41. #41 |  claude | 

      “We wondered if the news station and the police officer who provided his police laptop for the viewing could be held liable…”

      Dunno about KOMO, but KING TV might be in some trouble.

      http://www.rbr.com/tv-cable/18874.html

    42. #42 |  claude | 

      “Four police officers in Washington State murdered in an apparent ambush.”

      Are we sure what happened here is the definition of an ambush?

    43. #43 |  claude | 

      “Yes, the Civilians y’all elected who decided to make everything a “war” and who bent to the alcohol interests by banning things like plants that grow out of the ground…..”

      Yes, but you are the people doing the dirty work for those people. “Just following orders” isnt really much of a defense, in case youre not familiar with world history.

    44. #44 |  Radley Balko | 

      John Wilburn:

      You’re over the line. I’m giving you one warning. That goes for others who post comments similar to his.

      I’m not going to tolerate people who endorse violence against police officers on this site.

      Moreover, you don’t know anything about these particular officers. There are good cops. I know several. If you’re going to push the idea that shooting anyone in a police uniform is justifiable homicide, you’re going to have to do it on a different website.

      The suspect in these murders has a long and violent history. Doesn’t speak well of you to endorse these murders.

    45. #45 |  Matt I. | 

      Cue the demands for more police armor, equipment, vehicles, nightvision, machine guns, and of course, lots of overtime.

      I just wish I could get two numbers. I want the number of citizens killed by police every year, and the number of police killed by citizens every year. I’m willing to bet it’s around several thousand vs. single digits.

      How’s that for an eye-opener. If there’s one thing I’m sad about, it’s the fact that the alleged shooter is black. Most good loyal Republicans will just see this in the context of the ‘Us vs. You Know Who’ mentality of the law and order crowd.

    46. #46 |  ktc2 | 

      These “good cops” you speak of are either a tiny, tiny minority who know that they will immediately be ousted for speaking the truth (which does not excuse their silence and lies by the way) or they are just purely illusory.

      When “good cops” do not report the abuses and crimes of the “bad cops” and in fact go so far as to lie and obfuscate for them, then are they really “good cops” at all?

      While not advocating thier murder, I’d say the answer is no.

    47. #47 |  MDGuy | 

      The suspect in these murders has a long and violent history. And yet we somehow still find room in our prisons for dope smokers and violators of petty, low-level regulation…

    48. #48 |  Chris K. | 

      Radley,
      I’ve been thinking of how to phrase this for a long time without sounding like a douche.

      I look at police officers and police duty thusly: The majority of the work done by police is “War on Drugs” related.

      From the simple robberies/ muggings to get money to purchase drugs, to the violent gangs that push them to the illegals that mule them over the border.

      I think you understand this, have documented this and believe as I believe that the WoD is misguided, unjust, and all in all ethically wrong. As do the members of LEAP.

      A new recruit or a currently serving officer who sees the situation on a daily basis and has any ounce of intellectual honest has to come to the same conclusion.

      So how does someone continue to do that job enforcing unjust laws trampling on people’s liberty daily?

      I see three options.
      One, They don’t see it (stupid)
      Two, They don’t care. (evil)
      Three, They get it and want love the power (more evil)

      If these 4 officers were of the first category I am truly sorry that this happened to them, as they are really causalities of the WoD just as much as the junkie that overdoses.

      If however they were members of the later two categories (which I think is likely given all four’s length of service), then they are still causalities of the WoD but I don’t feel sorry for them at all.

    49. #49 |  Mattocracy | 

      Sometimes we see so much bad shit being committed by a certain group that we become prejudice without realizing it. After a while, a cop sees every member of a certain group of people as criminals. Or a soldier sees every civilian in Vietnam or Iraq as the enemy. All white southerners are racist. All Californians are liberal nanny staters. Libertarians all read dry, boring literature.

      We all sink to the bottom of prejudice barrel every once in a while. Group idenitity is dangerous for this very reason. We’re not groups (Cops, Muslims, Southerners, etc), we’re individuals. We aren’t all bad. We just need to get the hell over ourselves sometimes. Me included.

    50. #50 |  Matt I. | 

      Excuse me Radley, but I don’t think John Wilburn is out of line, I think you are.

      I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to tell someone how they should or shouldn’t feel about something, what they should condemn or condone.

      The only line I draw is at the actual advocacy of specific violent acts, and as far as I can tell John did not do that. He merely stated that he felt unsympathetic towards the 4 police officers. And no matter what I or you think he is entitled to feel however he wants about them.

    51. #51 |  ktc2 | 

      Mattocracy,

      Most of your examples are of demographic groups that are not a matter of choice (race, region of birth, etc.) People freely CHOOSE to be cops. They then CHOOSE to continue to do the job when they see the corruption. They then CHOOSE to cover for the corrupt as opposed to taking a stand.

      This is just as people choose to be members of the KKK or murderous street gangs, should we be so swift to say to judge all those as individuals or do their choices tell us about them already?

    52. #52 |  Aresen | 

      I am appalled by the number of commenters here who have cheered the deaths of the four officers.

      First, they are human beings. When we start labelling all those who belong to a group we dislike as ‘inhuman’, we take a long step towards becoming inhuman ourselves.

      Second, the reports indicate that this was an ambush – two of the officers were shot in the back without warning. This wasn’t self-defense, it was murder. The suspect appears to have been a person with a long history of violence against others.

      Finally, this website does document numerous abuses by police officers. There are something like half a million police officers in the US. If even one percent of them were as thuggish as the few that are documented here, there would be vastly more incidents than those Radley reports on.

      Give your head a shake and get some perspective. I’ve seen comments from many here about their bad encounters with police officers. My experience has been the opposite. Maybe if you tried a little politeness – even when the officer is rude to you – your encounters might be a little friendlier.

    53. #53 |  claude | 

      “there would be vastly more incidents than those Radley reports on.”

      There are vastly more incidents than Radley or anyone reports on.

    54. #54 |  Chris K. | 

      @52 Aresen:
      Don’t misinterpret apathy for cheering.

      Understand that many here see cops as the front line of an oppressive state regime.

      If you were in Nazi occupied France would you weep for dead SS soldiers?

    55. #55 |  ktc2 | 

      Chris K.,

      LOL. Oh no, you Godwined the thread!

      I was trying so hard not to do exactly that.

      Maybe instead of SS members you should have said Al Qaeda members. Should we judge them as individuals and maybe some really are good guys?

    56. #56 |  Michaelk42 | 

      “The suspect in these murders has a long and violent history.”

      I’m waiting to see what the history of the officers was.

    57. #57 |  John Wilburn | 

      Radley, I sincerely apologize for the impression my comment has made on you, but I think that your interpretation of my lack of sympathy as an endorsement to murder is also, “over the line.”

      There’s a saying – “Everything starts small.” Throughout the course of my life, I have observed the incremental increase of governmental, prosecutorial and police corruption in this country. As you say, there are good cops – I know several, myself.

      The fundamental truth, however, is that good cops will and do defend, or at least turn a blind eye, to the actions of the bad cops – this has the regrettable effect (or impression, at least) that they are all bad. This impression undermines their effectiveness as professional police officers

      The impression that an increasing number of citizens have of the police is not by accident, or over-active imagination. In fact, persons such as yourself have been instrumental in enlightening the public, which is as it should be – the actual purpose of “freedom of the press” is being implemented…

      No Radley, I don’t endorse unprovoked attacks on police. I do believe, however, that the police are 1) disposed to resort to violence as a first choice, 2) used to having it all their way, 3) not inclined to listen to reason, especially when reason will require them to return to “protect and serve” mode, and 4) since violence is their first choice, they will only respond, in a favorable way, to greater violence applied against them.

      You seem, also, to miss the point of Mr. Jefferson’s quote, regarding the tree of liberty…

    58. #58 |  SamK | 

      Athena, you get a thumbs up from me…excellent discussion post.

      That said, yes I still remember how to feel compassion and yes I could write about this as a horror of losing a family member. I’ve eaten lunch with Serbian military and Mossad and they all seem like universally normal people underneath it all. They also believed that shooting the children of your enemies was totally appropriate…I’ve comforted the wife of a friend that died in my hands and I’ve spent time with widows of members of the opposing side (most of this in Bosnia, I’m not terribly well traveled outside of that). This is the terrible thing about war: Everyone is human. It hurts the ones who die, the ones who survive, the ones doing the killing and the families left behind. It even hurts the families who have to deal with fear wondering if they’ll see their loved ones ever again, even when they do.

      America isn’t at war with itself, and those four dead police were mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters to someone that at this very moment is wracked with searing pain that disables every part of their self, unable to do anything but cry until someone administers a drug that puts them to sleep.
      It’s what happens when people die horribly, sometimes when they die peacefully, and it’s the very reason I say what I say in my previous posts. I am afraid; afraid that I would recognize the motives of the man that killed the police (though I disagree with his actions), but also afraid that I would still recognize the motives of those he killed (though I disagree with their actions [yes, I can infer that from their job]), and afraid that I don’t know the solution to bring it together.

      What I’m saying is that it is evil to give one man the right and power to destroy another…and that the power we give the police may have been used to crush this man and he may have responded appropriately. However unlikely that may be, there simply is no effective legal answer to the poor manner in which police comport themselves, even the good ones. I don’t have the power to make it so, but I still remember the dream that was America enough to wish for that effective legal answer when I close my eyes.

      Ye gods I’m rambling, read at your own risk.

    59. #59 |  J sub D | 

      Holy crap! Four men are gunned down by a sociopath while doing fucking paperwork. Fathers, brothers, sons and husbands they were. Lets all cheer that because some totally different asshole cop treated you or yours badly. Or you read about it.

      Those who feel no sympathy for the victims should hang their heads in shame.

      I’ve posted enough anti LEO diatribes here and elsewhere to establish I’m no cop fellator but I would never cheer or take satisfaction in someone’s death who I know not a goddam thing about.

    60. #60 |  Mattocracy | 

      I’m guilty of cop prejudice too. I’ve made the comment that law enforcement is like the KKK. If you’re a nice guy who respects the rights of others, then they don’t let you in.

      But what if someone shot the head of LEAP? They’re cops who obviosly don’t like the rights abuses that come with the WoD. Does that guy deserve it just cause he’s a cop? That organization kind of changed my belief that all cops are bad.

      Another Example. In DeKalb County Georgia, (2000 or so) we had the crooked sitting sheriff shoot the incoming, reform minded sheriff who was looking to clean up corruption. He was an old fashioned, by the book, Joe Friday kind of officer who didn’t deserve to get blown away.

      Anyway, we aren’t any better than what we make them out to be if we keep saying that they are all sub-human and souless. That “THOSE people with badges are all the same” is sorta what they do to us. I just don’t think stooping to that level helps things anymore.

    61. #61 |  Chris K. | 

      Mattocracy, et al.

      To quote one of Radley’s favorite characters from one of Radley’s favorite shows The Wire,
      Omar Little: “Its all in the game, yo.”

    62. #62 |  BamBam | 

      Give your head a shake and get some perspective. I’ve seen comments from many here about their bad encounters with police officers. My experience has been the opposite. Maybe if you tried a little politeness – even when the officer is rude to you – your encounters might be a little friendlier.

      Your statement is very telling … people shouldn’t shut up and submit to cops, cowering to their “authority” either because they are spellbound by their “heroism” or fearful of being killed by them. No cop has the moral right to dump on someone, especially when being spoken to in a fair sense. However, every cop has the right via The State to dump on you regardless of your behavior.

    63. #63 |  AJs | 

      Thumbs up J sub D – especially for the family!

      I am not police apologist by any stretch, but the manner in which these four people were killed was wrong. I am all for and support Radley and others pointing out the injustice and abuse of power – including the apathetic cop who does nothing about his fellow corrupt officers – but to not show sympathy for your fellow man when such a crime is committed in the way that it was is shameful – and to not show sympathy at the very least for the children who lost their parent? If you take the time to look at the known facts so far, they were literally sitting at thier laptops, doing paperwork talking about beginning the day when this man walked in, showed guns to one of the clerks who fled then opened fire from behind on the unsuspecting officers.

      I hope they catch the maniac who did this and prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.

    64. #64 |  PW | 

      #46 raises a good point – how do you define a “good cop” or a “bad cop.”

      Is a bad cop:

      1. a cop who commits major instances of criminal corruption on the job (i.e. raping women on a traffic stop, stealing drugs out of the evidence locker, stealing department funds, tampering with a crime scene, major instances of police brutality)?

      2. a cop who commits lesser instances of criminal corruption on the job (i.e. committing a DUI, minor instances of police brutality)

      3. a cop who commits instances of administrative corruption on the job that are difficult/impossible to prosecute on a criminal level (i.e. lying on police reports for traffic tickets, pulling people over on false pretexts to commit illegal searches)

      I’ll go ahead and guesstimate that somewhere around 30-40% of cops meet one of these three “bad cop” definitions. But what if we continue expanding the definition…

      4. a cop who covers up for major corruption by a colleague (i.e. ignores evidence of false statements, evidence tampering, or other illegal behavior by other cops).

      5. a cop who abuses the perquisites of his job for personal reasons (i.e. taking the squad car out for non-police business, using his lights and sirens to run red lights and speed for non-emergency reasons such as avoiding rush hour traffic)

      6. a cop who covers up for minor corruption by a colleague (i.e. cops who decline to ticket other officers out of “professional courtesy.”)

      If you include 4, 5, and 6 – and I think they should be included as they are directly indicative of unprofessional behavior – then the number of “bad cops” out there is probably somewhere in 90%+ range.

      Hence the problem with policing in this country.

    65. #65 |  PW | 

      I hope they catch the suspect.

      I also hope that he is afforded a fair and open trial under the law as is his right, even if he is guilty (and he appears to be so).

      I also hope that the families of those killed will find solace in the capture and prosecution of the person who did this.

      And I find it extremely ironic that all the cops and cop worshipers out there respond to any and every instance of officer malfeasance with cliched lines about how “we don’t know all the facts yet,” how there must be “more to this story” or how the guilty cop “hasn’t told his side yet,” how he’s “innocent until proven guilty” and how the media has unfairly convicted him in the court of hype and popular opinion…yet with this suspect where one of their own is the victim, his guilt is a forgone conclusion.

      I’m not doubting his guilt as it seems to be clear. I’m just noticing the absurd double standards that cops apply to their own, and the equally absurd equivocation they employ to excuse horrific acts of criminality when the perpetrator is one of their own, even if the evidence is overwhelming.

    66. #66 |  Oatwhore | 

      A bit of advice.

      NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER call animal control or the police to come pick up a dog or cat. You are handing the animal a death sentence.

      If, on the very slim chance the animal is dangerous, you might want to call them, but otherwise, deal with a normal dog or cat yourself.

      Don’t be lazy and think the cops or animal control will somehow find the owner or find it a new home. They will simply kill it.

    67. #67 |  Aresen | 

      BamBam

      Bullshit.

      I did not say “cower to them”, I said try being polite. This is not a specific rule for dealing with cops, it is a general rule for all situations that will, if applied with cops, probably have a better result.

      When your car is hit by another, do you go all “road rage” or do you get out your insurance and ask to see the other driver’s insurance?

      If a cop pulls you over, do you say “What do you want, fuckwad?” or do you start out with a “Hello. I don’t understand.”?

      Being snotty is a way to escalate any situation, not just ones with cops. Being polite, OTOH, tends to de-escalate situations. This has been shown again and again in interpersonal studies. Hence my advice.

    68. #68 |  SamK | 

      I was real polite when I was arrested that time at 17 for the broken tail light, was also rather surprised to be arrested. The discussions here aren’t about the relatively pleasant interactions with police where they’re doing their job with a minimum of discussion and you’re eating a ticket. They’re for the all too prevalent cases where it doesn’t matter how nice you are, you’re going to get abused, victimized, injured, insulted, and otherwise screwed with because they can.

      Aresan’s right, most of the time being nice helps and can repair a bad situation. The unspoken suggestion that you won’t get damaged by cops if you’re nice to them (if you didn’t mean it that way you really need to say so in this discussion) is obviously something I disagree with.

    69. #69 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #38 John Wilburn

      … I find myself entirely unsympathetic about those 4 cops in Washington State, and comforted in the knowledge that citizens are starting to fight back…

      I’m not ready to paint that shooter as a citizen rising up against oppression.

      And I don’t think the citizens aren’t fighting back. If they were fighting back, they wouldn’t keep reelecting the same assholes who refuse to rein the cops in.

    70. #70 |  Nick | 

      I’m would’ve included…

      Operation Northwoods
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods

      and

      Georgia Guidestones
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Guidestones

      …in the top 100 wiki articles.

      @PW #64 – I think you approach the 90% mark at #4. #5 & #6 would put you in the 95% range.

    71. #71 |  PW | 

      The success of getting off easy by being “nice” to cops is entirely dependent upon their mood and their mood alone.

      A few years back I was stopped for allegedly “speeding” on residential street by a motorcycle cop who was running a radar gun.

      It was one of those cases where there was no question I had been wrongly stopped, either due to the cop’s inability to operate his radar correctly or something more malicious. The street had a steep slope. I was in a large truck going in the up hill direction and coming from a complete stop at a stop sign not 500 feet back at the bottom of the hill. There was another car, which I’m certain is the one he pinged, going in the downhill direction at a much higher speed.

      Regardless, his bike was parked and he was gunning the cars on foot. That also meant the other car was long gone right as I was passing him so all he had to do was step out into the street and wave me down.

      I rolled down the window and was polite and friendly as I could be. I was careful not to admit anything one way or another, but soft spoken and friendly. It didn’t get me anything though. He was intent on writing a ticket for revenue and that was that – even if it meant he was giving it to the wrong car, and I honestly believe that he knew he was.

      Anyone who tells you that they’ve never gotten a ticket simply because they are nice and respectful to the cop is lying.

      The best way to deal with a traffic stop is to be calm and say as little as possible. Name, driver’s license, and registration – that’s it. Don’t try to strike up a conversation. Don’t go into long details about where you were going or what you do. Don’t answer anything more than necessary, and relegate yourself to nothing more than a polite “yes” or “no.” If the cop is in a good mood he will let you off as long as you are not a complete ass. If he’s in a bad mood he will ticket you no matter what you do. But responding to him and trying to play nice will only get you talking more, and that’s what he wants because talking is (1) an admission of guilt that he can put on his report for the ticket should you decide to challenge it in court later, and (2) a pretext for probable cause to search your vehicle if he thinks he can find something.

    72. #72 |  Big Texan | 

      The whole situation with the cops getting gunned down, it reminds me of the ending to “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” The British doctor was standing there looking at the dead British and Japanese soldiers and the destroyed train, saying ‘madness’ over and over. Complete and utter madness. I can’t help but think how this will be used by the ‘law and order’ crowd talking about how being a cop is so dangerous and so on. Madness. How it will be used to justify the ‘us vs them’ mentality. Madness. Freedom dies a little more.

    73. #73 |  BamBam | 

      Maybe if you tried a little politeness – even when the officer is rude to you

      #67, your statement was quoted, and that is what I commented on. If one is polite, even when someone is rude to you, you can either continue being polite hoping the unreasonable person will “calm down” and de-escalate things, or you can rise up to the person because of their unacceptable behavior. I never said fly off the handle at someone, and never implied this. You are pulling this out of thin air for some odd reason. If a cop is rude to you, despite your being polite, then I say you should NOT cower at their authority and should throw it back at them. However, The State says it’s acceptable for cops to behave this way, as evidenced by everything we read on this blog and others. More is expected of a cop’s interaction/communication skills than say, oh, the grocery store clerk or the bank teller. Why? Because they have The State behind their power to detain/arrest/kidnap/kill you, they know it, and they routinely abuse it.

    74. #74 |  BamBam | 

      ut responding to him and trying to play nice will only get you talking more, and that’s what he wants because talking is (1) an admission of guilt that he can put on his report for the ticket should you decide to challenge it in court later, and (2) a pretext for probable cause to search your vehicle if he thinks he can find something.

      Or as you state, they will knowingly ticket the wrong person, just so long as someone is ticketed, to generate revenue. This is the same as falsifying information, so regardless of your level of chatter, they can and will make up whatever story they want, knowing full well that The State will believe them because of the hunk of metal pinned to their chest and your lack of being blessed by The State as one of its enforcers.

    75. #75 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      The only thing surprising about the plan to invade canada is that our government didn’t do it.

      If I remember correctly, we did invade Canada four times in the ninteenth century. Canada is apparently hard to invade.

    76. #76 |  SamK | 

      http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/12/01/washington.suspect.shot/index.html

      Note:
      “Monday night, investigators had rounded up several of Clemmons’ relatives and friends to keep them from helping him elude police.”

      No indication as to whether these were relatives guilty of interfering. The fact that they weren’t arrested for obstructions suggests that those tips were called in to anonymous tip lines and that the relative’s involvement was a guess by police.

      Observing relatives of a wanted man: Good police work
      Detaining relatives guilty of nothing: Bad police work
      (keep in mind that there *might* be evidence of obstruction warranting the detention)

      Smacks of the sort of thing that would set me off, personally…but that’s a dead horse that’s been beat in this thread plenty.

    77. #77 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      Even if the 4 dead police had just returned from a night of killing and shooting civilians, their death at the hands of a deranged gunman is not justice and can only be a tragedy.

      I’ll save my cheering for true justice, though it is difficult to identify sometimes.

      I’ll also hold that 4 dead cops is the same as any 4 dead people. We will, unfortunately, see that the State doesn’t hold this view. Just part of the problem.

    78. #78 |  SamK | 

      y’know Boyd….I’m a big fan of agreeing to disagree, but the hypothetical situation you’re describing is about as far from tragedy as I can imagine, unless you meant the first part where they spent all night killing civilians…

    79. #79 |  JOR | 

      @ #32,

      PW, there is not enough karma in the universe for one to acknowledge the awesomeness of that comment.

    80. #80 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

      “The suspect in these murders has a long and violent history. Doesn’t speak well of you to endorse these murders.”

      Well said, Radley. I haven’t been on The Agitator in awhile, and it is largely because of this kind of hatred. It’s not your fault, but just the same, I will be steering clear of the comments section in the future. It is just getting to be absurd. I haven’t seen people strain so hard to justify their irrational hatred since the last KKK documentary I watched on History Channel.

      I appreciate your attempt to reign in the sociopaths that have, unfortunately, found a home on your blog, Radly. Keep up the good work, and don’t let these cretins define your work. Even the greats attract their share of deviant fans.

    81. #81 |  JOR | 

      “The suspect in these murders has a long and violent history.”

      Y’all know that whether that’s true or not is beside the point, right? Right?

      I mean, if a cop just so happens to do something good (like, say, catch a robber, or rescue a hostage), surely the fact that he has in the past, say, tased a 10-year-old girl, or body slammed some distraught drunk woman, or roughed up some black kid for not respecting authoritah, or fucked people over in shakedowns or calculated intimidation thinly veiled as traffic stops, or blown away a defenseless and beloved puppy here and there, or field-executed a pastor for the heinous crime of being a compassionate Good Samaritan – surely that doesn’t affect whether this particular act of his was good.

      Of course. And, surely the same standard applies to freelance crooks and thugs, right?

      Right?

    82. #82 |  John Wilburn | 

      Mr. O’Hooligan (if that’s really your name – which I doubt) – I’m curious – where do you get off, using terms such as “irrational hatred,” “KKK documentary,” “sociopaths,” “cretins,” and “deviant fans?”

      Did someone tinkle in your Maypo? Or is it that you suffer from a juvenile inclination for name-calling?

      Obviously, you missed the point of my comment, which caused Mr. Balko, also, to overreact. (Perhaps I touched a nerve…) There was certainly nothing in my comment to justify terms such as “sociopath,” “cretin” or “deviant.”

      (Maybe you simply suffer from a proclivity for using terms that you clearly don’t understand…)

      The point of my comment, really, was that the police in this country have brought certain responses on themselves through frequent and unnecessarily violent interactions with the public, and have only themselves to blame for the public having “had enough.”

      This particular act of murder was committed by a person who is said to have been a violent criminal; in the future, that may not always be the case…

      A revolution is brewing in this country – people are getting tired of being lied to, robbed, falsely accused, convicted and incarcerated, physically abused and murdered, by politicians, judges, prosecutors, and police – all of whom seem to be immune from the very laws that they enact, administrate, adjudicate and enforce.

      Wake up, Mr. O’Hooligan – blind faith and obeisance is indicative of sheep…

      (Incidentally – “reign” means “royal authority” – the word you’re looking for, which means “to control or direct” is “rein.”)

    83. #83 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

      ‘Wake up, Mr. O’Hooligan – blind faith and obeisance is indicative of sheep…”

      No, you wake up, Mr. Wilburn.

      I have been a regular reader and occasional commenter on The Agitator for sometime now. Those familiar with my posts would also know that I am against the drug war, and in favor of drastic reforms of– and indeed a re-invention of– the American system of law enforcement. I am hardly a sheep, so that overused slur frequently employed by self-styled radicals does not apply to me. Nor do other favorites like “badge licker” (which is the radical libertarian equivalent of “Nigger Lover,” in my opinion).

      But there is another side to Helmut O’ Hooligan (and of course that is not my real name). I also may be working in law enforcement at some point (currently I work in a related field), so I am both an insider and an outsider when it comes to policing. Many Agitator readers apparently have had no regular contact with police officers, and that leads them to make some hasty generalizations about those serving in the field.

      When I made the “KKK” reference, I was pointing out in a very direct way that I believe the scapegoating of random police officers (or acting as though officers are a monolithic group) on this site bears a very close resemblance to the scapegoating of racial/religous groups that the KKK (or The New Black Panther Party, or Al Quaeda, etc.). It was not a remark that I pulled out of my ass, it was an honest observation that has come from reading this site for over a year.

      As for the terms I used, remember I was referring to other commenters too. You may disagree with my use of those terms, but I do know what they mean (I was a criminal justice major, and am familiar with the social sciences and psychology). That is just they way I feel about the assasination-promoting trash I saw. In my book, if you lend any kind of support to shooting people who were just having their morning coffee, you are supporting terrorist action, and you are a piece of shit. If you in any way side with a killer that is not only a long time criminal, but possibly psychotic, you are pretty much crazy too.

      Oh, and incidentally John, it’s “obedience,” not “obeisance.”

    84. #84 |  John Wilburn | 

      No, Mr. O’Hooligan, the word is obeisance – “a movement of the body made in token of submission” – in other words, getting down on ones knees…

      As I suspected, you’re a typical college-educated, self-proclaimed “expert” on the ills of planet Earth (an “ex” is a has-been, and a “spurt” is a drip under pressure…), who believes that any issue can be settled by debating it in the dorm…

      Put another way, you sound like someone who wants to turn this into an intellectual exercise, and thinks that, “reason will out.” This strikes me as the same misguided (albeit well-meaning) point of view that mental health workers suffer from – any problem can be resolved by talking it out. I would term this the “ovine approach,” hence my use of the term, “sheep.”

      Let’s begin at the beginning of your feeble attempt at erudition…

      “I am against the drug war, and in favor of drastic reforms of– and indeed a re-invention of– the American system of law enforcement.”

      No doubt, you’re going to re-invent the system of law-enforcement, by talking them to death – or writing a best-seller – “The World (of Law Enforcement) according to Helmut.”

      “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

      Why would they cede the power they currently enjoy (“qualified” immunity, not subject, in a practical sense, to the law, etc.) without a fight, or because it’s, “the right thing to do?” The police have numerous justifications for their methods, which override (in their view) any suggestions of a saner approach…

      Again, the point of my original comment (obviously, I stated it badly) was that the police, by engaging in unnecessarily violent interactions with the public, over an extended period of time, have brought these types of responses (violence), from the public, on themselves.

      The police have essentially gone from “Protect and Serve” to “Persecute and Subjugate.”

      This is not a hypothetical situation in an alternate universe – you and I both read about this on a daily basis…

      Stating that I am, “entirely unsympathetic” is in no way an endorsement or supportive of the murder (“assassination-promotion”) of police officers, nor does it qualify me for the term “self-styled radical,” nor any of the other terms that you have bandied about – claiming that you understand these terms simply gives you less justification to engage in puerile name-calling…

      If there is to be any change in the policies and procedures that police departments around the country have all come to utilize (violence, abuse and oftentimes murder, as a first choice), it will only (I believe) be accomplished in one of two ways; 1) the public takes away their funding (which is unlikely), or 2) the public responds with greater violence (which is very likely).

      (As an aside – the individual that murdered those 4 police officers was himself, subsequently murdered, or at least a convincing argument to that effect can be made. (Murder BY police is no less reprehensible than murder OF police…).

      According to news reports, he didn’t stop walking and extend his hands as soon as he was ordered to do so, so he was shot “several times.” At that point in time, he was not pointing a weapon at anyone, and since the weapon that he used to commit the murder had already been recovered, the officer that shot him had no reason to believe he was armed and had no justification for shooting him, other than as an act of vigilante vengeance, which doesn’t qualify as justification.

      As any other criminal suspect (and he was indeed and in fact a criminal who needed to be locked up, and, if found guilty, subsequently executed), he was entitled to his day in court. Believe it or not, a police officer cannot shoot someone because, “I think he MAY have had a weapon.” Police are obligated to adhere to the law, regardless of what criminals do, even to the extent of risking their lives.)

      “I also may be working in law enforcement at some point (currently I work in a related field), so I am both an insider and an outsider when it comes to policing.”

      The only “related field” that I can think of, where your status would “improve” by “MAY be working in law enforcement” would be if you are currently a prison or security guard – neither of which would qualify you as an “insider” to the world of policing. If this is the case, then REAL cops view you with disdain…

      “Many Agitator readers apparently have had no regular contact with police officers, and that leads them to make some hasty generalizations about those serving in the field.”

      “HASTY generalizations?” You’re kidding, right? RIGHT?

      “When I made the “KKK” reference, I was pointing out in a very direct way that I believe the scapegoating of random police officers (or acting as though officers are a monolithic group)”

      Your reference to the KKK is an extremely inapt analogy – the KKK have no particular problem with police – it’s non-whites and non-Christians that they have a problem with…

      “Scapegoating?” “AS THOUGH officers are a monolithic group?” You’re kidding, right? RIGHT?

      To think that you actually have the unmitigated temerity to suggest that someone else is crazy…

      In the interest of not belaboring this further, I’ll wrap this up by saying that I stand by my original assertion that you need to wake up…

      And, best wishes in your career in law-enforcement…

    85. #85 |  QuietWatcher | 

      To John Wilburn:
      I’ll keep it short and sweet…you sir are full of shit and don’t know what the hell you’re talking about when it comes to the specific situation in Lakewood WA. May I suggest you actually have facts next time before you let your mouth overload your ass. I for one don’t want to live in a world completely without cops, you know what that’s called right? I’ll clue you in…..anarchy!

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