The Dangers of Politicized Policing

The Dangers of Politicized Policing

We are seeing the metastasizing of an extremely troublesome and worrying trend across the United States. Policing is being controlled by overtly political leaders. The protection law enforcement is supposed to offer equally, is increasingly being withheld from those outside the acceptable range of opinion. We saw this phenomenon multiple times during Trump rallies last year. Feral mobs of left-wing rioters were allowed to do whatever they wanted without police interference.

In some cases, it has become known that mayors and other political leaders with legal authority issued stand down orders or specific directives instructing the officers to not intervene. We all remember the mayhem at Berkeley. In other cases, such as this weekend in Charlottesville, the Unite the Right event attendees were seemingly funnelled through a gauntlet of Antifa rioters. This reminds me of the prison rape phenomenon. Some people in the US view prison rape as a part of the punishment. Prison rape is to them a useful tool to scare people away from undesired behavior. This action by the police seems on the surface at least to be in the same ballpark. “We don’t like your political views, so we will teach you a lesson”.

Tommy Robinson recalls in his recent book “Enemy of the State” how prison guards knowingly put him in life threatening situations. The guards put antagonistic people and groups in situations where violence and beatdowns are inevitable. This is another example of the government sanctioning and employing violence-by-proxy to achieve goals not sanctioned by law. We thus have two forms of politicized policing. The first is the selective protection granted to favored political groups and similarly withheld from those out of favor. The second is violence-by-proxy to punish and/or intimidate non-desirables.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if these trends continue the consequences will take the form of a Pandora’s box. The concept “Right Wing Protection Squads” has already been introduced in certain circles. It is dumb to venture out into a highly politically charged environment sans protection. People will take responsibility for their own defense. At Charlottesville there were many people legally open carrying long guns. A credible case can be made that they suppressed violence that would have taken place without them. Even though many powerful weapons were present, no claim has surfaced in the media of their employment or misuse. All the brawling took place away from these weapons. Expect squads of open carrying rightists at future events to become more and more common.

I would also not be particularly surprised if we saw an increase in vigilantism. If particularly nasty and violent people on the other side become known, expect retaliation. Those responsible for the pepper spraying of Baked Alaska, the individual that punched Richard Spencer and so on could be examples of targets. Political figures withdrawing the cloak of police protection from the right will create a vacuum to be filled. It is important to draw a distinction between cases where the regular police officers truly wanted to defend the non-aggressors, but were prevented by for instance the mayor, and cases where the police chiefs and sergeants themselves “decide to teach a lesson”. In some aspects I think the latter case is worse. In the first case you can to a certain extent understand that the “dickish Democrat in charge” would give such an order. But in the latter case if the police themselves become judge and jury, we face frightening times indeed.

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