Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Police Priorities Are Absurd… And Why!

Before you get upset, I support the men and women in Blue. They have a difficult job, sometimes there is no good possible outcome to a bad situation. The Police help keep communities safe. They diffuse dangerous situations. They die in the line of duty. They save lives. Bad ones give the good ones a terrible name by taking bribes, instigating conflict, brutality, unlawful seizure and theft of goods/money, and harming the people they are sworn to protect. I hate the bad ones. I love the good ones.

As long as there have been Police, there have been issues with corruption and misuse of power. Did you know that the position of Coroner was originally created by an English King to investigate deaths on his roads? He instituted the position to have the Office of the Coroner investigate deaths to make certain that the Sheriffs were not the ones killing and robbing his citizens as they traveled. The Coroner was not working for or with the Police. Think about that. This was hundreds of years ago.

Conflicts and protests bloom across the country due to Police Officers using lethal force against unarmed citizens. Illegal use of chokeholds, shooting children with toy guns, shooting. Money is being thrown at buying body cameras and cameras to mount in Police cars. I support this idea. It protects the Officer as well as the citizen. It could help to reduce misunderstandings in the aftermath of misjudged situations instigated by both sides. I read the local paper and it tells me how Modesto California is about to spend over $100 thousand dollars to mount a camera on a plane to look for drug deals. Locals here complain in the Opinion section of the paper that 'people should just trust the Cops and be nice, do whatever they ask'. They apparently have not read any national papers this year.

Earlier this year there was a HUGE article about Police corruption. Police officers stealing MILLIONS of dollars from citizens who were not charged or convicted of wrongdoing. They were caught misusing a search and seizure law, claiming they thought the money was being carried to purchase illegal substances. The people did not have drugs or drug paraphernalia-there was no cause to search and no reason to seize-EXCEPT THAT the people were carrying cash. Next time you get cash to travel with, to go Christmas shopping with or to do your purchases at an outdoor festival; consider that you could be pulled over and have your money seized! Consider that over THREE million dollars was taken from law abiding citizens this way. Many pursued legal action and learned that the officers NEVER filed the report. Straight up theft of monies seized. How many people did not pursue legal action? Departments are rewarded bonuses in their budgets if they seize money. The more they seize, the more the departments are rewarded-with no relation to drugs at all; just grabbing money using a drug law as an excuse. Remember why a monarch created Coroner? In our modern day, the Coroner and the CSI folks do great work; they are independent from the Police but they socialize and are friends. Can you really, truly say you are going to be non-biased when you are fraternize and you work together on cases? I hope the Opinionated local gets a taste of corruption when he's headed on a cruise with his family. Won't it be ironic when he is stopped for talking on his cellphone while driving, has several thousand dollars seized 'for drugs' that he wasn't going to buy? It sounds absurd, but it is happening. It is not the dealers getting stopped or having money seized, it is your neighbors-people who may never have done anything wilder than have a glass of wine in a restaurant.

It gets better. If you doubt me on this one I will refer you to the USA Today FRONT page article from the weekend edition, December 19-21, 2014. Violent criminals are not being extradited. Police departments have declined to pay for the extradition of over 79,000 violent criminals if they have passed state lines. They are NOT telling victims or their communities. It has been found out as the departments have to file about wanted criminals in an FBI database. They are asked about extradition and in 2014, many departments changed status on what added up to 79,000 plus cases across the country. The FBI cannot change that status. The FBI can't force them to extradite even if the crime committed was heinous. Rape, armed robbery, assault, and murder. Not jaywalking or check bouncing, not smoking a joint. Hard core criminals hopping a bus across the state line. If you have not grasped the absurdity of this yet let me make it clear:

John Doe puts a gun to person X head in California. John Doe drives to Washington. He gets caught by Police there, they find "No extradition" on his warrant. THEY RELEASE HIM. No jail, no court, nothing. John Doe shoots person Y in the head in Washington. Washington arrests him on this charge or John Doe dances into his front seat, puts on his seatbelt and boogies into Wyoming. No extradition, just a frustrated department at the receiving end that REALLY wants to put the asshole away but instead there are the words "NO EXTRADITION." You could change gun to the head to rape or assault. Same deal. Victims not being told. Communities not told, just a quiet change of status in an FBI computer. The FBI is not thrilled, but they have no jurisdiction. One department in Massachusetts changed status on about a dozen people wanted for committing sexual assaults. They claimed a missing victim, but USA Today found the victim still lived at the address on the report; so much for that weak excuse.

Why are they doing this? Apparently, Extradition is expensive and the departments do not have the money to pay for them. Yet they have the money to spend at least $100,000 on a camera for a plane to look for drugs; not extradite violent known criminals but 'maybe' find some potential criminals-question are you actually going to charge them or are they going to get a 'no extradition' tag too once you might find them? Departments are spending a LOT of money buying surplus tanks, expensive riot gear and military guns and ammunition. I would think the first priority in Police Department budgets would and should be: capturing violent criminals, keeping them locked up once caught, investigating crimes. I would not think the priority would be to gear up like pseudo-military units with a hyper focus and skewed priority of the 'War against Drugs.'

Which if you haven't realized the absurdity of that let me simplify one more time.
There are cartels in South America and Mexico. The Cartels transport illegal drugs, they grow them, they terrorize people living in the South America and Mexico. They murder people and commit other horrible violent crimes against humanity in general. We as a public support and endorse the Cartels. You say "No we don't!" YES, we do. When we label any drug "ILLEGAL." We cease to monitor it, we do not test it, we do not tax it. WE create a market for it where the substance is sold at exorbitant prices without any quality control, without anyone supervising or monitoring its use for safety and prevention of abuse. The black market sells these drugs at higher than average price. People become criminals to produce the product because it pays higher than other crops or legal jobs. People become criminals transporting it across borders-because the risk pays highly. The more Police out to catch it, the more risk there is-the higher the price at market. More laws and lower tolerance raise the cost to bring it to sell thus everyone involved gets richer. The Cartels have more bullets to kill farmers with, more money to bribe corrupt government and police officials with. The Cartels control the majority of illegal drug sales and trafficking in the United States. Anyone buying a drug illegally, anyone paying taxes to increase Police actions in the drug war: they are both paying to endorse the Cartels and to help them make more money. STOP! We can destroy their power.

We can do it in a way that boosts our economy. We can do it in a way that refocuses Police budgets on enforcing the laws and catching the violent criminals. Remember the violent criminals as they laugh driving from state to state chaotically leaving a path of broken people behind them? Nothing to do with drugs. Rapists. Murderers. Are you so afraid some guy down the street might smoke a joint to fall asleep without nightmares from when he was in Vietnam? Wise up! Does that guy really have to be forced to take a pharmaceutical drug with toxic side effects on his body because you bought into the hype against cannabis?

That is another crock. Did you know that the DuPont family makes paper, back in the Great Depression they struggled to make money. Hemp was taking off, it was cheaper to use and made better quality paper. The DuPonts spent a fortune to manipulate law makers. They used their connections and money to fuel the "Reefer Madness" campaign. Hemp and cannabis were made illegal. Books were made out of paper. The DuPonts more than made their money back. All you got was crappy books and a country full of criminals, a Cartel you are paying to support. Well done. Way to research your choices people-people were so focused on the depression and bought into the media hype that they did not bother looking past the cannabis fear to see who was manipulating them, who was going to make the money off their choice. Don't believe me, consult Wikipedia- do a Google search. It is all at the tips of your fingers.

Legalizing drugs allows the government to regulate them, prescription process monitors their use and a legally available drug does not have much value on the black market. No one gets killed over a drug that can be legally obtained. Quality and dosage can be monitored in legal drugs. Dealing with a DWI is far less dangerous than dealing with someone with an illegal pound of any drug in their car. If the drug was not illegal, conflict would stop being a possibility. Lives saved, risk reduced and the less the risk the less money in production and transport. If it is not illegal the costs drop. The money dries up. The Cartels can't function without an income. They would turn on themselves. If there is no money to be made in them, people stop joining them out of desperation to make money or feel safe because they are a part of one. Legalizing doesn't mean everyone is going to run right out and turn into addicts. Legalizing means that drugs would be available with prescriptions and monitored by a physician; the potential for self harm or misuse is reduced.

We determine the priorities of our Police Departments. We approve whether they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on spy cameras. We vote for the laws they enforce. We encourage them or denounce them-but we are the ones who determine how they do their jobs. If we do not like who works for the different departments then it is up to us to pressure them to change how they hire and how they train officers. We are responsible for changing the laws to stop illegal seizure. We are the ones who make it absurd. They have the difficult job of enforcing our hypocritical choices. Fight the war on drugs and keep endorsing it while you support enforcement of law regardless of ethnicity or your sitting there thinking racist thoughts (It was one or the other). Could we get priorities straight and EXTRADITE violent criminals?