When we were young, some of us, at least, were taught to trust certain people. It is not difficult for me to see why some ethnicities tell their children not to trust people of different ethnicities in this modern society; the idea of trust has been fading for some time, and there are groups that learned very hard lessons about trusting people. One factor responsible for a lot of the loss of trust has been public officials. While politicians have been forever seen as liars and shysters, with lawyers close behind, there have been breaches of public trust lately that have set a precedent in our republic. The legal problems are addressed in a new book by Barry Friedman, a New York University professor who specializes in constitutional law and policing.
To begin to demonstrate behavior of the government that is creating distrust, consider the seizure of civil assets before the suspect (a citizen) has been convicted of a crime. The flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures has been going on for some time and needs to stop. Many people are not aware that the authorities have been seizing cash from citizens for several decades now, and forcing them to go to courts to recover their money, and even when the courts insist that that authorities refund the money, the authorities keep some of it anyway. The drug war has made anyone who is carrying cash an automatic drug dealer, and the cash is seized. The new idea of “stop and seize” has taken hold, and any cash that authorities find is taken. When I stated that if the norm is to take ill-gotten gains, or even those suspected of being ill-gotten, then the authorities should seize the assets of market manipulators like Brian Hunter, some of the more naïve of the readers insisted that seizing assets was a violation of the U.S. Constitution. We’ve been ignoring the Constitution for a while now, seizing assets and violating the rights of citizens, and don’t you feel so much safer knowing that the government can seize your assets before they even charge you with a crime? We cannot trust the government to obey the restrictions mandated by our Constitution; a failure of trust.
The government doesn’t trust the citizens, and the citizens don’t trust the government anymore. The government isn’t offering much in the way of honesty lately, and the assault on the populace is becoming intolerable. Certain ethnicities have lost all faith in the police, and given the behavior of some police agencies, it is not difficult to see why. Of late, many unarmed civilians have been being shot by policemen. No matter what explanation the officials offer, the fact that it keeps happening is an indicator of a problem. I am not accusing anyone of prejudice or discrimination; I’m accusing them of reverting to lethal force when the situation is not warranted. I will not be swayed by arguments that those who protect us need to be on their guard and willing to protect themselves via lethal force at the drop of a hat. Citizens who don't carry guns or wear body armor are far more vulnerable than those who carry lethal force and wear body armor as a matter of protocol. Citizens who don't carry lethal weapons or wear body armor in "bad" sections of cities are the brave ones, and they die far more frequently than law enforcement. That's the fact of the matter.
More and more of the young men of the United States are incarcerated. Almost everyone uses the statistics that the U.S. has 4.4 % of the world population and 22% of the world’s prisoners. Either we like to lock people up, or we have a lot of criminals, or we have some rather strict laws and long sentences for offenders. This is not a suggestion that all of the police agencies give up their guns, nor is it a plea that we need to trust those who have betrayed our trust. We must identify the flaws in the system, the people who are propagating the violations of our rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and correct both. The first solution is by rewriting the statutes that guarantee our freedom, and number two, by removing, neutralizing, and if necessary, incarcerating those who have violated our rights, deliberately or by dereliction of duty and shirking of responsibility and obligation. From the review of Mr. Friedman’s book in The Wall Street Journal: “A whole architecture of legal and de facto immunity for law enforcement-cops who bend the truth on the witness stand, prosecutors who engage in serial misconduct, and departments that deny or dissemble about their methods- that began to be constructed in the 1960s in response to spiking crime rates has created an entrenched culture of obfuscation and abrogated oversight.”
While there may not be simple answers, allow me to suggest something. The de facto immunity of law enforcement officials needs to be rescinded, and public servants need to be held accountable for breaking the law and violating our constitutional rights. We need more transparency in the enforcement of law, and those who violate the rights of citizens need to be held responsible and subjected to the justice system that they have pretended to enforce. Let’s face it, when you know there will not be any consequences, anything goes. As a society, our record indicates that we are tough on crime, but that rigor must extend to those who violate the rights of citizens. If you must break the law or violate constitutional rights to enforce the law, you are nothing more than the criminals you are trying to protect us from. The legislatures need to step up, recognize the tactics that are in violation of our Constitution, and create legislation that addresses the illegal tactics. We, the people, in order to form a more perfect union, need to vote for representatives that recognize the violations of our constitutional rights and are willing to take the legislative measures necessary to protect us from the people whose job it is to protect us.