Law, Legal Systems, And Law Enforcement: Part Four

One of the problems with Law, as a theory or institution is that it attempts to codify human behavior.  The way that it does this is to go from the general behavior, such as thou shalt not kill to the particular, but if you do there are several classes of killing, from murder one to involuntary manslaughter.  As I have said, law enforcement and legal systems is more about exception handling and every lawyer can come up with exceptions to the law so as to need a new rule.  Law tried to be black and white in its theory and application but unfortunately it ends up becoming a little bit pregnant.  Sort of like the old joke, how many lawyers does it take to split a hair?  As it is, we find that there are really two qualities to the law and legal systems that apply to law enforcement.  There are the rights we proclaim all citizens have, those under age are special cases, and there there are the duties all must perform.  And as you might expect, the performance category is significantly greater than the rights.  Thus law tries to induce correct behavior, but only to a point.  However, each year that point gets stretched a little farther than may be deemed good for society.  To me, hate speech and hate crime are not appropriate legal categories of crime.  Certainly if I plan a murder of an individual it is not because I love them or hold them in high regard.  And whether you stole my watch because you hate me or simply because you have little regard for me as a person makes little difference when i comes to my loss of a watch.  Whether that action was amoral or immoral makes little difference, theft is still theft and murder is still murder.  Trying to impute that immorality is the worse of the two motives is an act of lawyers splitting hairs.  One might well argue that if I vote for one candidate over another because I hate the latter then I have committed a hate crime.  I have voted out of pure hate.  Does that mean then that my vote should not count?  We would do well to consider the logical consequences of our good intentions.

Our legal system has a few flaws.  First, various groups wage a tug of war with laws, in general.  Some want stricter standards and interpretations, others want a more socialized applications of law, and some want as little as possible.  The religious want abortions banned and marriage applied to hetrosexuals only.  I don’t blame them, that is the religious course they follow and I would expect them to be true to their beliefs.  On the other hand I don’t agree with those who treat abortion as just another birth control method.  I figure that if you don’t like condoms, pills and all the other choices, then tie your tubes, both male and female.  As for marriage, I like the idea of legal contract.  If you are a church and want to value marriage as a sacred vow before the sight of god, I have no problem with that.  But I would still require a legal contract to make your marriage legal.  Same for same sex couples, no courthouse vow and ceremony for you, legal contract.  Keep government out of marriage and the bedroom.  When you wish to separate, we adjudicate the contract.  What ever was specified as personal property remains so unless you wished to change that contract.  Buy a house together, then go to the lawyer and have that contract changed.  Want to divorce?  Go back to the lawyer, divvy up the possessions not in the contract and have the lawyer void it.  Got problems with the contract and want to challenge it, take it to a judge.

But what about our police departments and law enforcement personnel.  Ah, that is one of our modern problems.  We have been militarizing our police, sheriffs, and other law enforcement personnel against the wishes of the Constitution.  The police are not suppose to be a military force by law, by constitutional law.  Ever since those in professional law enforcement started calling the public civilians so as to differentiate between police and the people, they have set upon the country a class of individuals who are supposedly different from the people.  If such is the case, then let us go to the logical conclusion and make all police, including those private forces contracted to act as police, a separate legal class, just those uniformed service people in the military service.  From now on, all police will no longer be permitted to join or have any unions, associations, or any other employment like groups.  Form now on, there will be periods of enlistment subject to approval for re-enlistment.  There will be a strict uniform code of justice that will supervise their every act.  They will be considered to be full time, twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year employment.  Hey, why not?  If they wanted to be treated as heroes and paramilitary then why not implement such a program.  There will be no plain clothes officers nor unmarked vehicles.  They will also be subject to court marshal before a court comprised of their commanders and fellow officers.  They will be presumed guilty until they prove otherwise.  And just like their counterparts in Europe, they will live in police compounds while they are in the service and then will remove themselves to the community at large.  As long as cops want that us versus civilians attitude, I say let’s make this happen and do it correctly.  Our Federal Justice Department can act as the Inspector General’s office and investigate all complaints.  You see, you are either a civilian or non civilian.

True, in many European countries they have a city or other geographically based police type force.  These people deal strictly with civil matters such as parking and sometimes vehicle operation infractions.  But the militarized police deal with the crime, the felonies of robbery and murder.  So yes, let our own non-civilian police deal strictly with criminal matters and leave the civil complaints to our civil police.  Our civil police won’t need to carry guns or handcuffs.  They won’t need that cop attitude of  have a badge to hide behind and a gun to shoot you.  Give a civil policeman a problem and he calls the non-civil cop to give you a hard time.  It sort of like good cop, bad cop, only it takes the heat off those who are pursuing civil matters.  And all calls will be video taped.  Failure to do so will result in immediate dismissal of the officer who takes the call.  Well, I can write a great deal more on this subject, but let me stop here.

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