On 12-03-20 I wrote Reimagining Reality, which was an article about what defunding and abolishing the police really means. Because this reality is so little known and appreciated, this excerpt was of particular importance:
Most importantly, we must never make any law we are not willing to kill to enforce, for that is the final civilizational choice in law enforcement. If we are unwilling to back up our choice of laws with the force necessary to secure them, including deadly force when necessary, we find ourselves facing cries to defund, abolish and reimagine the police.
Regular Reader Doug has this to say on that issue:
‘Most importantly, we must never make any law we are not willing to kill to enforce, for that is the final civilizational choice in law enforcement.’
Um.. jaywalking comes to mind here. Maybe being pulled over for a traffic violation. A parking ticket?
But let’s set that aside for the moment. You are saying the police exist to enforce the laws even if it kills someone… hopefully not a cop? I thought there was something about ‘to serve and protect’.. ‘enforce’ wasn’t even part of that.
Seems to me it’s human to kill.. but hardly civilized. Perhaps there needs to be some moral re-alignment.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Where’s my ‘moral re-alignment’ when I want a cop to save my ass. Cops are simply a variation of a hired gun but with permission?
I’m certainly not picking on cops. I think they have an impossible job. What irks me is that you are presenting cops as some ‘If you want protection then that’s the way it is.’ mindset.
I always appreciate Doug’s commentary, and in this particular instance, he’s demonstrated how easy it is to make assumptions about the knowledge and understanding of others. I always taught new teachers never to underestimate their student’s intelligence, but never overestimate their information. My relatively simple statement about the nature of law seemed unremarkable to me, because it’s a reality I had to confront long, long ago. As unsettling as the very idea might be to some, it is the reality with which we all live as part of the social contract.
A contemporary example comes from Texas, where state Rep. Terry Meza, D-Irving, is trying to alter the Castle Doctrine. That’s an increasingly common law that commonly does this: it removes any requirement that a homeowner must retreat from criminal attack on their own property and in their own home, and establishes the presumption that when a criminal has broken into one’s home, they are there for evil purposes, so force used against them is presumed to be lawful. Most also don’t allow a criminal or their survivors to sue citizens they provoked into using force against them. In other words, prosecutors are not obligated to protect the ability of criminals to freely commit crimes, but the rights of citizens to be free from crime. The castle Doctrine in Texas is far more complex than that. Go here to read it. It does not give people carte blanche to shoot anyone on their property, but the law does generally give the protection of the law to honest, law-abiding citizens, not criminals. This is a common attitude about such things in Texas, which of course, D/S/Cs desperately want to change. This is apparently what concerns Meza:
It does not repeal the Castle Doctrine, and it does not restrict homeowners from using firearms in self-defense as applicable to current Texas stand your ground laws,’ Meza wrote in a Nov. 19 tweet. ‘What my bill would do if passed, would require a homeowner to exhaust the potential of safely retreating into their habitation before using deadly force in defense of themselves or their property.’
Meza said that her bill is necessary because current law ‘emboldens people to take justice into their own hands.’
Here’s the essence of Meza’s lack of understanding of the reality of the social contract:
I don’t believe that stealing someone’s lawn ornament should be an offense punishable by death,’ Meza wrote in the tweet.
So Meza would have Texans flee into their homes if under criminal attack. Imagine the rationality of this if one lives on a farm or ranch and has to travel for acres or miles. Ultimately, this kind of thinking gives criminals the right to commit crimes and face no peril in the commission. A close reading of the actual law makes it clear no one has a right to shoot people who are merely committing theft and present no threat of violence. Meza obviously cannot point to a single example to support her desires. This is, for her, a social argument all too common these days. Hey, all the crook wanted was to steal whatever it was they were stealing. They grab it, they’re gone, no muss, no fuss. Why should they have to risk injury or arrest just because they’re stealing other people’s property? That’s not social justice! It’s systemic racism! Texas Governor Greg Abbott is not impressed:
I don’t wish to go too far afield of the underlying issue. Fundamental to our social contract are the rights to life, liberty and property. If the government we establish is unwilling to, or cannot, secure those rights, what good is it? Accordingly, we establish laws to protect those rights, including property. Generally, the law does not allow deadly force to be used to prevent the mere theft of property, though there is always an argument to be made that when one breaks the social contract by breaking the law, they risk bad consequences, including death. If they end up dead, it matters little to them that the citizen that killed them might be prosecuted later. If they don’t want to assume the risks, don’t do the crimes. And there are many cases of people using deadly force to protect mere property facing severe legal consequences, like this one. The homeowner involved was eventually convicted and is serving decades in jail. The point is simple, even Castle Doctrine laws and Stand Your Ground laws do not give anyone legal protection for shooting when they did not have lawful grounds to shoot. D/S/Cs would have us believe otherwise. Go here for an examination of those grounds.
The essential point is we give the executive branch the authority to enforce all laws. That authority is delegated to the police. Our legislative branches may or may not be willing to provide all the funding necessary to ensure people hired to be police are the best candidates possible, or that they have the best possible equipment and training. Actually, the default is virtually always to less than the best in personnel, equipment and training, sometimes far less than the best. Astonishingly, the police almost always get it right.
Americans expect their elected representatives to do everything possible to provide police services, to establish and maintain a level of public safety such that they do not have to believe there is a substantial probability they will be assaulted, raped, injured or even killed whenever they dare to leave their homes or property and walk abroad in public. Soros-funded prosecutors in D/S/C controlled cities are now turning that expectation on its head, but that’s an issue for another article.
One might think it just and reasonable criminals engaging in armed robbery, murder, kidnapping and other inherently violent crimes face the threat of imminent death. One might even believe if they die in the commission of such crimes, they deserve it and society is thereby improved by their removal from the gene pool. Oddly, many on the Left don’t think rapists should face the same dangers, their reasoning being something like: they only want sex, don’t resist, let them have it and they’ll go away. One generally finds rape victims and those that love them not sharing that enlightened reasoning.
If we wish to have police forces—we all know about D/S/C ruled cities that don’t—they must have the authorization to use force, up to and including deadly force. So yes, the police may end up killing someone over a traffic violation. But if they do, and if they acted lawfully, they used deadly force because all of the elements necessary for the use of deadly force were present, not because someone ran a red light, which was merely the probable cause predicate for the police to stop them. It was only when they drew a weapon and threatened the police with imminent seriously bodily injury or death that the police were authorized to use deadly force. However, if there were no laws against running red lights, that person would never have been killed by the police. Do we therefore eliminate all traffic laws because of the possibility someone stopped for violating one may provoke the police into shooting them?
The same applies when a criminal steals a $5.00 pink flamingo from someone’s yard. The crime would generally be petty theft, a misdemeanor. Conviction for that crime would never involve the death penalty, but only a small fine, occasionally restitution, and maybe a short jail sentence in a county jail if the criminal has a previous record of convictions. However, if confronted by the homeowner in the commission of that crime, the criminal pulls a knife and menaces the homeowner, the elements for the use of deadly force may be present, and they may be shot and killed. One may whine the criminal died for stealing a plastic flamingo, and no one should face the death penalty for misdemeanor theft, but that’s not really what happened, was it? Do we make theft legal to avoid the possibility a thief may be lawfully injured or killed?
If we are to have a system of justice, if we are to have a social contract that provides an acceptable level of peace and personal safety, we should never write any law we are not willing to have our representatives—the police—kill to enforce. The essential principle ever remains. Those that squeamishly object to it must leave out the legal details in order to generate the outrage necessary to warp the social contract to their advantage.
Violence is fast, nasty, bloody, brutal and sometimes, final. That’s the reality of human nature, which is unchanging. That’s why we write laws and hire police, as George Orwell wrote:
People sleep peaceably in their bed at night only because rough men [and these days, women] stand ready to do violence on their behalf.