Fear the police (important advice on the streets of his new America)

Let’s do something different. Instead of discussing the evolution of the-America-that-once-was into a New America, let’s have some practical advice about how to live in it. For example, what should you do when questioned by the police? You have identified yourself, and now the questions begin…  {From the archive of 2013.}

Clombo, played by Peter Falk
Real police are not like Lt. Colombo.

Contents

  1. Don’t talk without an attorney present.
  2. Fear police interrogations
  3. We’ve vulnerable because we’re all criminals.
  4. Fear the security services.
  5. A warning from our past.
  6. For More Information.
  7. Hollywood teaches us to love the security services.

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When questioned by the police,
respond as police do when questioned by the police.

(1)  Don’t talk without an attorney present

The evolution of the-America-that-once-was into New America has changed almost every aspect of our society. But one aspect more than most. “Law enforcement” agencies have become the security services; less responsive to the public, serving shadowy masters, larger and better funded, more focused on political concerns than crime, far better armed, and more willing (even eager) to use force.

For some good advice about dealing with police, see this presentation by James Duane (professor at Regent Law School and former defense attorney). Most importantly, he explains why you should never agree to be interviewed by the police in a criminal matter without your attorney present.

 

(2) Fear police interrogations

One of the few things police procedural shows on TV get right: people do confess during interrogations. It’s another reason not to talk to police without an attorney. People’s confidence that their superior will and intelligence will defeat non-violent questioning by police often falls before the advantages of police: the power of training, experience, and techniques.

Especially the techniques. It seems unlikely but the Reid interrogation methods produce confessions. They also produce a high rate of false confessions. For more about the Reid method, see this report from Cornell, and this by the Innocence Project with evidence from the streets.

Another reason to fear police interrogations: they will decide your guilt using subtle body language. Countless police magazines and training courses teach these methods (e.g., here). Unfortunately, a massive body of research shows that none of these work reliably. To learn why see this mild but exhaustive article in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. Often police will decide your guilt — stop the investigation and focus on nailing you — based on a coin toss.

Never talk until you have an attorney, the best you can afford. If you must depend on public defenders, I recommend prayer (explanation here; see the Innocence Project for horror stories). For more advice see Tips for preventing conflicts with the police.

(3)  We’re vulnerable because we’re all criminalsCRS Rules Graph

If the police dig enough they have good odds of finding that you are a criminal, violating the countless laws and regulations — Federal, State, and local — that govern our lives. Many of these have draconian penalties (we love politicians who run as “tough on crime”). Here’s a look at the rate of new law and regulations from the Federal government: “Counting Regulations: An Overview of Rulemaking, Types of Federal Regulations, and Pages in the Federal Register” by Maeve P. Carey of the Congressional Research Service, 1 May 2013. Excerpt…

“… the number of final rules published each year is generally in the range of 2,500 – 4,500 … The Federal Register provides documentation of the government’s regulatory and other actions, and some scholars, commentators, and public officials have used the total number of Federal Register pages each year as a measure for the total amount of regulatory activity.”

See these articles for more information about the million-regulation New America…

  1. Rough justice in America” in The Economist, 22 July 2010 — “Too many laws, too many prisoners. Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little”.
  2. One nation, under too many laws” by Philip K. Howard in the Washington Post, 12 December 2010.
  3. Way Too Many Criminal Laws, Lawyers Tell Congress” at the blog of the Legal Times, 14 June 2013.

In the Federalist Papers #62 James Madison warned us about a government that has too many laws. Now his fears have come true.

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.

“Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”

SWAT
Community policing in New America.

(4)  Fear the security services: well-armed & eager to use violence

It’s no longer inner city minorities that need fear violence from the security police.  During the past two decades they have become much better armed, and much more willing to use violence. These 3 books document this ugly trend in America.

  1. Radley Balko’s Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America (2006).
  2. John T. Whitehead’s A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State (2013).
  3. Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces (2014).

(5)  A warning from the past.

A common rebuttal to warnings about social trends is that “it is are not new”. This is a daft reply, but an effective means to minimize the cognitive dissonance from acknowledging unpleasant truths.

Almost nothing is new in history. New America is a growth (a cancerous growth) of traits deeply rooted in American history. Such as our law enforcement agencies’ long history of defending us from minor threats, from imaginary threats — and especially from reformers. Such as these dangers: union organizers, civil rights activists, peace movements, satanic cults, communists (in the 1960s half of the Party were FBI), fake child abuse discovered through recovered memories, and now government-manufactured terrorist threats.

Modern methods don’t use force. They work much better.

Knock on any door (1949)
From Knock On Any Door (1949). Available at Amazon.

(6)  For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about police, about police brutality, about shootings by police, and especially these:

  1. How to Fund an American Police State (aka Weaponizing the Body Politic) — Militarizing the police.
  2. Why America has militarized its police and crushes protests.
  3. Police grow more powerful; the Republic slides another step into darkness. Can cellphone cameras save us?
  4. News good & bad about the fantastic growth of America’s security services.
  5. We get a new police for our New America, but prefer not to see.

(7)  Hollywood teaches us to love the security services

These are great entertainment (especially NCIS Los Angeles). Too bad they are fairy tales.

SWAT
Available at Amazon.
NCIS-LA
Available at Amazon.

3 thoughts on “Fear the police (important advice on the streets of his new America)

  1. I’m a retired law enforcement officer, and I have one clarification to make. You only need an attorney if you have actually been arrested. If you are just being questioned, ask if your are under arrest. If the answer is no, STFU and ask to leave. If the answer is yes, STFU and ask for a lawyer. Either way, Rule #1 is STFU.

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