I’ve been having a running argument in my forums with a guy over gun rights. He thinks all guns should be taken away from people, and I think that everyone needs to be their own police officers.
Today, courtesy of the SPD, my own stance was hardened.
As I was filming a “War on Women Rally” (more on that later), I heard a commotion coming from the far northwestern corner of Westlake Park, so I headed in that direction to investigate.
When I got to a spot about 20 feet away from the corner, I noticed a younger guy screaming at an older guy, but about what, I was not sure.
As I listened a bit longer, I realized that the younger guy was angry at the older guy, because the older guy had taken his picture. Apparently the older guy was trying to get some peripheral crowd shots, the younger guy had objected, and a confrontation ensued.
Of course, as we all know (or should know), if you are on public property, anyone can photograph you for any reason. You may not like it, and you may not agree with it, but that is the law. As such, there is really nothing that you can do about it. At least not legally. Just ask Sean Penn.
The kid wasn’t concerned about the law, though. He was going on about “rights” this and “rights” that, but unfortunately, the right not to be photographed on public property does not exist, while the right to photograph people on public property … does.
Since the kid was part of a much larger group of kids, I was a bit concerned about the old guy’s safety. Fortunately, at least I thought so at the time, three Seattle Police Department officers were on hand to protect the man. After all, that’s what they’re there for, to protect the lawful exercise of ones rights, right?
As the rhetoric was heating up, one of the officers turned to the photographer, said something to the effect of “you’re on your own”, then all three officers abandoned the photographer.
I am not kidding.
“You morons!”, yelled the photographer as they walked away, and for good reason. The cops were, unequivocally, morons. They allowed a crowd of kids to intimidate them into abandoning a man who was doing nothing other than exercising his rights.
Frankly, I think “morons” was kind. Had harm befallen this man, he could have sued the hell out of the SPD, at which point he would have … lost. That’s right, lost. In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the police do not have a legal duty to protect the public. That’s right, no legal duty to protect the public. Read it and weep.
And so, they don’t. They don’t protect the public. At least not if they don’t feel like it.
After the “officers”, and I use that term lightly, retreated back to their squad car to stand around and giggle, the photographer followed them to plead his case. “You’re going to stand there and let them threaten me? I have every right to film here!” he protested.
Shortly after the cops arrived back at their cars with the photographer in tow, one member of the angry mob (ironically, holding a camera) walked over to them, and once again, began threatening the photographer.
“I don’t give a fuck about these guys! Fuck these guys!”, he yelled while pointing at the officers, “I’m from these streets homeboy!”
Ouch. If the cops had an ounce of self-respect at this point, they sure weren’t letting on to it. No, instead, the entire time this was going on, the cops sat against the patrol car, arms folded, intentionally looking away as if to say “go away peasants, we don’t care what happens to you”.
“What is your problem?!”, screamed the photographer to the officers, but it was no use. His pleas were falling on deaf ears. The SPD officers were completely and utterly indifferent.
To protect and serve, right fellas?
I tried to stay close enough to the old guy to at least break up an altercation if one started. After all, the cops weren’t going to do it. Had I needed to, though, I’m pretty sure the officers would have arrested me for one reason or another.
Fortunately, it didn’t come to that. After being rebuffed by the SPD once again, the photographer just left.
The mob had won. They had intimidated a man from exercising his constitutional rights, and they had done so right in front of three cops who stood around and … laughed.
And so it is, once again, with a heavy heart that I reaffirm my opinion that the SPD is one of the worst police forces in the country. Hands down.
It sickens me that my tax dollars pay the salaries of these men. Men who turned away a citizen who was lawfully exercising his rights, while being openly intimidated. It absolutely sickens me. Folks, this is why Seattleites, despite their liberal leanings, don’t want to pay any more taxes. Look at what we’re getting with the money we already pay. We don’t want to throw good money after bad.
The police department that we have now is an absolute travesty, and at some point, the citizens are simply going to have to declare “no more.”
Which brings me back to my initial point.
For some time, I’ve been thinking about applying for a concealed carry permit. I am not a gun nut, in fact, I’ve never owned a gun.
As time goes on, however, and especially with the Supreme Court’s “no protection duty” ruling, I’ve come to realize a very, very painful fact.
In this day and age, 2012, the police exist solely for one purpose, and that purpose is to protect the state from the people. To make sure the peasants don’t get too uppity. This is why cops can generally get away with shooting unarmed people. The state is reticent to prosecute the folks that protect its interests from the unwashed masses.
What if that photographer had been Mike McGinn? Or Bill Gates? Or someone else with just a little more power. Would the cops have turned away?
Of course not. Sunglasses guy would be sitting in a jail cell as we speak for “threatening a public official”, “disorderly conduct”, or one of a number of other charges.
When two peasants are going at it, however, no one really cares. Especially not the police. Protecting the peasants is not their job, and if one peasant happens to assault another peasant … well … just don’t do it where the cops can see you, and chances are, you’ll be just fine. Hell, if you’re near these three cops, you might not even have to be discreet.
The fact of the matter is that regular folks, folks like you and me … we’re on our own when it comes to personal protection. Nobody really cares about what happens to us. If we get beat up, and we call the cops, maybe they’ll come and maybe they won’t, but we’re certainly not going to be a priority.
Squirt some water on an elected official, however, or worse … another cop … and you better know a good bail bondsman because you WILL catch an assault charge.
As Seattleites, this is where we are, and like it or not, our safety, your safety, and the safety of your families, is solely up to you.
If you depend on someone else to protect you, especially the SPD, then you just may be sorely disappointed.
Update: The photographer/videographer just posted his own video on YouTube, and it’s somewhat interesting.
Apparently, the kids didn’t want to be filmed because they are “drug dealers” (the kid’s words), and later in his video, the man is assaulted in front of a cop, who refuses to do anything.
The cop’s rationale in not arresting the assailant was that the assailant “only” struck the victim’s camera, but if anyone wants to test that theory by “only” kicking over a police officer’s bicycle, I’d be stunned if that same standard applies.
I will concede that the videographer is a bit “over the top”, but when it’s you vs. a bunch of other people, including the cops, and they are ganging up on you, you can almost understand it.
Remember, the government exists to protect the weakest and least popular of people, as the most popular generally need no protection.
Last, but certainly not least, what is up with white people from Washington State using the word “dawg”?
I mean, we’re supposed to buy this persona? We’re supposed to believe that you just got back from pulling a drive-by with Snoop? Really? Come on, guys, knock it off. If you had an inkling of how silly you sound, you’d drop the straight-outta-Compton routine. Spare us all the eye-rolling, and solve the identity crisis before you leave home. The mean streets of Bothell just aren’t that bad.
And where were all the civil-rights-protecting women during all of this?
Oh yeah, that’s right, it was a lowly guy getting violated.
Anyway, check it out: