Thursday, December 11, 2014

When the Police Don't Trust the Law

Grand Juries, Trials and Police Mistrust
The venom flows both ways...

Much has been said about populations of citizens mistrusting their local police, but a little must be added about the police mistrusting their local courts and judges. At this point we reach the unavoidable issue of the mistrust these police officers have for judges and the courts where these occurrences will be at trial.

It's no more than the "next step" down this dark hallway to also conclude that some -- or apparently many -- have an equally abiding mistrust of the law itself.

Prosecutors apparently have a similar trust issue. It turns out that there is a material difference between the "sky's the limit," laissez-faire largess allowed behind the closed doors of a grand jury indictment hearing and the "fight for every inch" adversarial contest found in a court of jurisdiction at time of trial.

The comparison reveals a troubling lack of confidence prevailing among the officers who should, ultimately, be testifying in defense of their use of force. While not to be overly complicated, there still remains the fundamental idea that a police officer is an "officer of the court."

This leads to the further proposition that a police officer should be quite aware that his actions must comply with the level of conduct which will very predictably be demanded by a court at trial. Yet, we now see instance after instance of individual police officers quite intentionally determining that actions not compliant with prevailing law in such interactions are unquestionably required, justified and acceptable.

Exactly how did we get here?
If nothing seems real,
don't underestimate the propaganda.

MeanMesa's main answer to that question is that we have arrived at this state as a consequence of a chilling lack of competence. That harsh opinion extends beyond the police officers involved to include the prosecutors who have, subsequent to such incidents, been primarily intimidated by their official responsibility of persuading a Grand Jury but also, clearly, frightened by a number of other aspects, too.

These police officers, along with their corresponding prosecutors, have been fed the same steady diet by the right wing media since the days of the Moral Majority. [The oligarchs' long term plan to divide the country and cripple democracy began around the time of the Moral Majority. Read more here - WIKI] That "diet" has established a "subliminal construct" in their minds that is not supported by facts or real evidence.

The subliminal construct which has been so carefully implanted is that criminals are walking out of court because the justice system has failed. The facts, however, don't support this -- and the police officers and prosecutors, if for some reason they were to momentarily "descend" to a rational state, know this.

We are looking at a propaganda issue, at least at the consequences of a propaganda issue. For hours every day the wing nut pundits have repeated over and over that "criminals are going free" and that "extraordinary measures taken to protect society are justified." An enticing, rhetorical question is incessantly presented: "If the police aren't able to protect society, who will?"

The "long suffering" sexual motive is associated with it, too. "Only the brave, down trodden police are steadfastly holding the line against inevitable anarchy." For anyone still searching through the news feed for evidence of violent racism -- also a product of subliminal sexual competition, it can be thrown into the soup right here.

The result of all this is what MeanMesa refers to as a "thought product," something that, while it is not quite a formally created idea, can still serve to provide a sort of semi-automatic course of action. In the minds of these violent police officers such a dangerous mental state clearly lies in the nether regions between confusion and convenience. 

The police officers, all juiced up with the endless talking points offered by racist hate radio [media], find themselves trapped "in a contradiction with hopelessness as its single conclusion." It is this state of mind which ultimately finds it quite comfortable to substitute what is justified as "meting out punishment" to be a reasonable replacement for the traditional priority of police work which is "observing crimes, arresting suspects and producing convictions."

These men have guns. If they don't have the inner strength, common sense, training and education to use their power properly, they have to go. Even the question of "...if so, go where?" is discouraging. Not only should these police officers have never even gotten close to a badge in the first place, it's hard to think of any place in a lawful society where they might constructively fit once they are "purged from the force."

"Use their power properly?" This is not a breathless, overly emotional, "wide open" debate topic. See, in the real world, there really is a well defined, legally established idea of "using police power properly." Such laws determine how cases against criminal defendants -- and police officers -- turn out verdicts at trial.

A competent, adequately trained police office knows what the law says about "properly."  If this officer's primary goal is to ultimately produce convictions, these are the laws which guide the application of police power. If this primary goal is something other than this, we not only see the explanation for what is happening now, but we also see a police officer who should be checking out -- or, be checked out -- of the force -- permanently.

Dominionism -- Again
The police force as Old Testament patriarchs?

On a last note, we may still be perplexed by the self-destructive arrogance of these violent individuals when they seem to be so comfortable with the inherent contradictions of taking such illegal acts of force. There is no "innocent revelation" which can subsequently mitigate such an abandonment of conscience. In every case the perpetrator of the violence was fully aware that the actions being considered were in violation of not only statutory law, but also, a contradiction of what could be culturally be considered conscience.

So, having dismissed every defense based on "being unaware" of the contradictory nature of such behavior, what is left?

Conscience -- in the moment [image source]
The debris remaining to somehow exonerate these acts must center on what we normally presume to be the counsel of conscience. During the long moments while the Ferguson officer was repeatedly pumping rounds into his unarmed target -- regardless of the forensic details and questions -- what was he "hearing" from his conscience?

What justifying structure of values was formed in his mind which could, somehow, validate what he was doing? Even momentarily?

Morals and laws are retrospective. Conscience is immediate.

It's the difference between being "convicted" or "forgiven" for past acts, or being directed -- in the moment -- by the impulses derived from a functioning conscience. The dichotomy perfectly explains the immense difference between "morality" and "conscience."

What appeared to be a police cruiser and a retreating suspect becomes a modern image of Benjamin "remorsefully" plunging his dagger toward the heart of his son, Isaac -- absent the last minute divine intervention, of course. That prehistoric father's conscience was being contested against his opposing, mythological obedience.

Can we find a corollary in the impulses which continued to send the repeated instructions to this policeman's trigger finger?

Did this murderous policeman, at least for the moment, think he was "cleansing the sins" of a fallen world? Although it turns out that there were no consequences, he didn't know that at the time. Did Benjamin expect to "sleep soundly" once he left his son's murdered corpse on Mount Moriah and returned to his tent and sheep herds that night?

There is no way for us to know what the Ferguson policeman expected for the moments before his sleep that night. Did he anticipate that he would feel remorse or an inebriating comfort from the self-justification offered by some kind of imaginary religious ecstasy?

The questions and considerations arising from the "Bible-stuff" are, clearly, separated by a long distance from the psychology which "supported" the killing impulse, but a faint thread of the same justifying toxin remains. 

MeanMesa's compliments to the President.

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