The Anti-Cop Trend That Isn’t

Monday, January 31st, 2011

My column this week takes a skeptical look at claims that anti-police rhetoric is fueling a violent war on cops.

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35 Responses to “The Anti-Cop Trend That Isn’t”

  1. #1 |  guest | 

    Local paper already printed this garbage for us:

  2. #2 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Heaven forbid that they should actually listen to the anti-police rhetoric and change how they do things so as to not keep pissing people off (and I mean something besides trying to prevent video of their misconduct from getting out).

  3. #3 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Since most of the acts of Jan 20-25 were committed by murderers and suspected murderers, you could make a credible case that murderers and suspected murderers are reading anti-police rhetoric and becoming more violent. No, wait, no you couldn’t. Page hits at was waaaay down in January.

    What fuels the “broader lack of respect for authority” police leaders are lamenting? Egyptians and Tunisians can give you some answers. Personally, I hope that in 100 years we have zero respect for authority. Cartman be damned.

    How will cops react to “a pereption…there’s a war on cops going on”? Probably more authoritarian-style violence on their part. Yeah, that’ll fix things.

  4. #4 |  Dave | 

    I have said for a long time that one of the problems is that police wildly overestimate the dangers of their job, often to the point of paranoia.
    They don’t even make the top 20 most dangerous jobs most years.
    Farmers, truck drivers, loggers, tree trimmers, convenience store clerks and roofers are some of the most dangerous jobs, but they are never referred to as “hero’s”.

  5. #5 |  freebob | 

    This letter to the editor “The killing of cops must stop” was in my paper this morning.

    Apparently Glenn Beck is warning his viewers of a War on Cops.

  6. #6 |  EH | 

    I like the sidebar ad my page here right now: “FBI IN DIRE NEED. EARN 65k A YEAR.” Aside from the apparent fact that FBI people make about as much as an average desktop IT support person, I’d be curious to know what is driving this advertising (or recruiting) program. Is that how the FBI always advertises (even if they’ve hired this out or is a recruiter ad)?

  7. #7 |  greg | 

    I have absolutely no data to back this up (perhaps someone here does). But in any given interaction between a LEO and a citizen, I suspect it is far more dangerous to be the citizen.

  8. #8 |  PW | 

    Along with the MYTH of police work being an inordinately “dangerous job,” there’s the added complication that cops are FAR more likely to kill others than be killed by others. The stats are very incomplete (due in no small part to police departments intentionally obscuring them), but a 2003-2005 study found over 1,100 “arrest related homicides” in police custody, versus only 159 cops who were shot on the job for the same people.

    Some of those civilians may have deserved it, but as readers of this blog & others know, many do not. That is also why civilians should GO OUT OF THEIR WAY to avoid any unnecessary interaction with cops. You are INHERENTLY at far more risk than they are because they have a gun and a free license to use it at all times.

    – Never go out of your way to talk to police.
    – Don’t call 911 for anything other than an absolute last resort.
    – If you see police in public, walk away while you’re still at a distance to avoid any interaction with them. Cross the street, change directions, take another route, catch another elevator. Minimize your contact above all else.
    – If they try to interact with you and it can’t be avoided, try to keep it simple, quick, and minimal. They ALWAYS have the upper hand by force of law. If you don’t agree with what they say, don’t argue with them because they aren’t there to argue. They’re there to coerce. If they order you to do something, do it so long as it doesn’t violate your rights in a non-trivial way but, more importantly, do it with the mindset of ending the interaction and leaving their vicinity as soon as you possibly can.
    – If they do detain you, SHUT UP. Exercise your right to silence and request an attorney.

  9. #9 |  Pablo | 

    #6 EH–I also like how he’s wearing a military costume and ski mask and carrying an assault rifle. Why does an honest man need to hide his face?

  10. #10 |  SJE | 

    More cops die in traffic accidents or from common diseases like heart attacks than are killed by bad guys. So, before limiting our first amendment rights, put down the donut, stop taking steroids, and drive slower.

  11. #11 |  Bad Medicine | 

    #10 – You can’t tell someone to eat healthier and avoid risky behavior. That’s silly talk. That would lead to a nanny sta… aw nuts…

  12. #12 |  PW | 

    “Why does an honest man need to hide his face?”

    If you ask them they say camouflage at night. But that’s about like the Klansman who says his pointy hat is to keep his head warm.

    In reality both only serve to conceal the assailant’s identity and convey fear in his victim.

  13. #13 |  Aresen | 

    While there is no “War on Cops”, pretending that there is does suit the stratist agenda.

  14. #14 |  Dante | 

    Of course, there is no mention of the cops’ war on citizens, featuring no-knock raids at the wrong house, shooting of little girls and dogs, arresting people who legally film the police, and the oh-so-smug attitude of the blue wall of silence.

  15. #15 |  freebob | 

    That’s some good info. Someone should keep track of those numbers, how many citizens killed to police killed in the line of duty.
    A cop’s job is to protect and serve. Being a cop is a dangerous job, I would think anyone who signed up for it would do so thinking one day they may have lose their life in order to protect other’s. However, time and again we see deadly force used with little hesitation, followed by a chorus of ‘god bless them for risking their lives’ in the press. If a cop’s job is to protect and serve, but we’re willing to accept them killing civilians (innocent and guilty not posing a threat) in order to save their own lives, then what the fuck.

    Would you rather see ten innocent people shot in order to save the life of one cop; or would you rather see one cop shot in order to save the lives of ten innocent people?
    The answer should be obvious but I think most of the population would get it wrong.

  16. #16 |  luvzbob | 

    If the police want respect its simple: stop protecting bad cops:

  17. #17 |  Mike T | 

    As Vox Day pointed out, the police have been simultaneously ratcheting up the violence for years AND reducing their legal liability for abusing authority. What do they expect to be the consequence of that? Criminals think “well, I might as well surrender because if I go quietly, I know the system will protect me if he gets violent?”

  18. #18 |  claude | 

    “If the police want respect its simple: stop protecting bad cops”

    There r a few other things they might want to stop doing as well. In my area, the deputy in charge of the teen explorer program is charged with 22 sexual assault felonies and some other charges for giving the teens some booze. He gave teen girls booze (hes admitted that part) and then proceeded to have his way with them. I wonder what the kids learned about law enforcement from that charming fellow?

  19. #19 |  Charlie O | 

    ‘The same article summarized the opinions of other police leaders who think the shootings “reflected a broader lack of respect for authority.”‘

    Howzabout the broad lack of respect by the aforementioned “authority” towards the public in general? I do believe there is a lack of respect towards LEOs, but it is of their own doing. My complete lack of respect and utter contempt of “authority” stems from my own interactions with them and the multitude of information that abounds showing their contempt of the citizenry and the abuse thereof.

  20. #20 |  Highway | 

    Oh, suuuuure, Dave Kreuger. Blame the cops first. Don’t you understand that we hate them for their freedoms?

  21. #21 |  André | 

    But without hysteria, how will we convince citizens they need new and more restrictive laws for their own protection?

  22. #22 |  EH | 

    Dante@14: Parse carefully the following sentence:

    Richard Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations, told recently there is a perception among law enforcement in the field that there was a “war on cops.”

    The police union is being about as plain about it as they can be, the perception of the war is “among law enforcement in the field.” As we’ve seen elsewhere, police officers these days are exhorted in training to think of themselves as warriors, so this is just a public statement that it will be common for law enforcement in the field to treat the public as if there was a war between the two. “Hey, we told you our guys were thinking this way.”

  23. #23 |  EH | 

    Corrections officers are “the warrior elite:”
    Scroll to “Diamond Training:”

    It goes on.

  24. #24 |  PW | 

    Re. the quote from the cop union flunky:

    In all honesty, I have absolutely zero “respect for the authority” that the police claim and could not possibly hold their general behavior or function in greater contempt and disgust.

    I do not wish them any harm in the performance of their job and consider it a tragedy when one loses his life, as with any murder. But I also bring myself to hold police in any special regard when they are wronged, and given the proliferation of other wrongs against other people including wrongs perpetrated by the police, I find precious little time or energy to bestow my expressions of sympathy upon cops relative to innocent others who have been wronged. Call it apathetic indifference.

    Respect must be earned, and absolutely nothing about cops or much of anything that that they do is “respectable” to me. I also truly and honestly yearn for a day when we return to a police-less society (or at least one in which the policing function is severely circumscribed and indirect as little more than agents of a very passive and distant court system, not unlike what existed in many western societies before the 19th century), though I also know that this is unlikely to ever happen. So the next best strategy is to simply avoid interacting with cops as much as is practicable or possible.

  25. #25 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    #15: “Would you rather see ten innocent people shot in order to save the life of one cop; or would you rather see one cop shot in order to save the lives of ten innocent people?
    The answer should be obvious but I think most of the population would get it wrong.”

    That is the problem in a nutshell.

  26. #26 |  Aresen | 

    @ freebob | January 31st, 2011 at 3:01 pm &
    Judas Peckerwood | January 31st, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Ideally, no one should get shot.

    TBS, one of the presumed duties of a cop when he puts on a badge is to be “the one out in front” who “takes the bullet” to protect the rest of the people. That is presumably what they are paid for.

    They are NOT paid to “be the symbol of AUTHORITY”.

    Excuse me. “AUTHORITAH”.

  27. #27 |  Whim | 

    Radley has crafted an excellent Reason Magazine article. There is a real gem, such as his citation that the number of police on-the-job deaths has declined by 50% in the past 20 years, at the same time as the number of police has actually doubled, to 850,000.

    Basically, the police through increased militarization like no-knock late night raids, and aggressive arrest tactics, like Tasering non-combative suspects, have shifted virtually all the risk of an encounter with the police over to the citizenry.

    The police have also convinced themselves that it is of primary importance that they go home unhurt at the end of their shift, regardless of the mayhem, deaths, physical harm and psychological damage that they have inflicted on the victims of police violence.

    And they actual wonder why an ever increasing number of people no longer believe the police are “heroes”??

  28. #28 |  witless chum | 

    EH @ 22
    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. No doubt that “perception” exists among police officers and to some extent may just go with the territory. Maybe, Salon writer, we could quote someone discussing reality, rather than the perceptions of people! Or would that be too much like journalism?

    One error in the article, the gunman in the Detroit police precinct, Lamar D. Moore, was not an accused murderer, but an accused kidnapper and rapist of a 13-year-old girl. His brother was recently convicted of murder, though.

    Mike T @ 17:

    As Vox Day pointed out, the police have been simultaneously ratcheting up the violence for years AND reducing their legal liability for abusing authority. What do they expect to be the consequence of that? Criminals think “well, I might as well surrender because if I go quietly, I know the system will protect me if he gets violent?

    I want to doubt this is true, that police violence has increased, rather than gone down due to strictures placed on cops by the Warren Court.

  29. #29 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “None of this is meant to denigrate the heroism of police officers who confront and apprehend dangerous people, and we certainly should honor and remember those who are injured or killed while doing so. But seizing on an anomalous series of terrible shootings as evidence of a nonexistent anti-police trend skews the debate on issues such as aggressive police tactics, police militarization, the use of Tasers, searches and pat-downs, and police transparency and accountability. Officer safety is important, but it should not come at the expense of the safety and civil liberties of the people they are sworn to protect.”

    Here here! Well done, Radley. I highly doubt that the thugs and losers that are generally responsible for the intentional killing of LEO’s actually sit down and read this so-called “anti-police rhetoric” (you know, like the blog we are all reading right now). I doubt they read much at all, to be honest.

    Police agencies need to stop this pissing and moaning now. The change needs to start in the academy setting with a more balanced, realistic view of on the job dangers. As Radley stated, vehicle accidents top the list, so defensive driving and enhanced EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course) training may be called for. Stress and shift work are also killers, so health and fitness need to be stressed. After that, then they can focus on the threat of violence.

  30. #30 |  TC | 

    We all know that it’s Bush’s fault and that Sara Plain woman feeds the hate!


  31. #31 |  Aresen | 

    #30 | TC | January 31st, 2011 at 6:53 pm
    We all know that it’s Bush’s fault and that Sara Plain woman feeds the hate!


    Wrong. It’s the libertarians’ fault.

  32. #32 |  primus | 

    Respect is earned. Cops haven’t earned it. Cops already get too much respect due to cop tv shows, media felatio and politicians’ fawning. When I think of cops, I throw up in my mouth, just a little. Never, never never call the cops unless you want things to get a lot worse.

  33. #33 |  J.S. | 

    Thats glibertarians Aresen! I blame them, the gliterati vampires, the saucer people, the reverse vampires and the stonecutters.

    The war on cops meme seems to have died pretty quickly among the media thankfully. I was saddened but not surprised that many on the right promoted that line of baloney. They’re going crazy looking for that one cop shooter at the Oregon coast. So plenty of badge lickers defending the police blindly because a few got shot or killed.

    Ultimately the whole deal is nothing but a way to instill fear in the citizenry and promote more money for the cops and their unions in a bad economy that sees many departments getting funding cuts.

  34. #34 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    I think the war on cops meme will backfire in the long run. People are cool with lots of collateral damage in Iraq (so long as we never have to see pics or vids of it), but I don’t think they are cool with it here.

    Besides America has stopped being proud of its military soldiers because they are brave, and started being proud of them because they kick ass 100 different ways. That is a mindset that is tough to maintain when you are forced to examine it, and cops-as-soldiers will subtly force that issue with American idiots.

  35. #35 |  shane v. | 

    Well, if cops actually policed themselves and threw bad cops in jail rather than protect them and keep them in uniform, then there wouldn’t be such harsh online rhetoric that speaks the truth.

    If cops want to play nicey-nice, then get rid of the thin blue line that protects bad cops, as well as the “justice system” that rarely seems to prosecute or send criminal cops to jail, but rewards them with paid vacations.

    These cops crying fowl because of harsh online statements are nothing but a bunch of entitled whiny bitches who’s days of doing whatever they want are over.

    We should all be thankful for cameras and YouTube and the multitudes of people fighting police corruption.

    If you’re cop and you can’t handle this, then pursue an education beyond a high school diploma.