De-militarize the Police Mindset

by Will

Liberty Minute August 15 2014

Shortly after the creation of the city’s Police Department in the mid-1800s, the New York Times expressed misgivings about the agency’s use of lethal force in dealing with criminal suspects.

“The pistols are not used in self-defense, but to stop the men who are running away,” observed an 1858 New York Times editorial. “[The guns] are considered substitutes for swift feet and long arms… [W]e doubt the propriety of employing them for such a purpose. A Policeman has no right to shoot a man for running away from him.”

In fact, the paper’s editorial board expressed doubts about “the policy of arming our Policemen with revolvers.”  This wasn’t because defensive force would never be necessary or justified, but because of the promiscuous use of lethal force by police in circumstances where it was neither.

Two years ago, Chief Ken James of the Emeryville, California Police Department candidly stated that police don’t use guns for defensive purposes, but rather “to intimidate and … show power [and to] face any opposition that we may come upon.”

This is the mindset of an occupying army. It is that mindset, not just the hardware, that makes weaponry dangerous, regardless of the identity of its owner.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

No Such Thing as "Necessary" Force if the Arrest is Unnecessary

by Will

Liberty Minute August 14 2014

“We’ve heard a lot in the last number of weeks about what … police officers shouldn’t do,” complained Patrick Lynch of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, New York’s largest police union. “No one’s telling us what … we should do, when [a person] says, `I’m not going. I’m not being placed under arrest.’”

“What is it we should do?” continued Lynch, his voice colored by theatrical incredulity. “Walk away?”

Well, why not? If the would-be arrestee isn’t involved in an actual crime — that is, an act of aggression against another person — a police officer shouldn’t consider an arrest to be necessary. The incident that inspired Lynch’s statement, the killing of Eric Garner, didn’t involve an actual crime. Garner, who had just broken up a fight, was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes.

Lynch insists that “The charge of resisting arrest … exists to encourage those being arrested to comply with the lawful orders of police officers so that those officers do not have to use necessary force to make that arrest.”

The problem is that an unnecessary arrest – like that of Eric Garner – is an abduction, not a public safety measure. And in that case, the supposedly necessary force led to an act of criminal homicide.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

An Economic Berlin Wall

by Will

Liberty Minute August 13 2014

For decades, left-leaning Americans have treated loyalty oaths as a symptom of McCarthyite authoritarianism. Leaving aside the fact that Senator McCarthy never endorsed the use of such measures, that critique is sound: Since governments draw their legitimacy from the consent of the governed, a government that requires a loyalty oath from its citizens is not worthy of that loyalty.

Now that an authoritarian leftist is in the Oval Office, the left has rediscovered the supposed virtues of loyalty oaths as a way of deterring what Mr. Obama calls “corporate deserters” from moving off-shore to avoid punitive taxation. Writing in The Daily Beast, Jonathan Alter calls for the creation of a corporate “non-desertion agreement.” He also suggests that Obama sign an executive order imposing a mandatory non-desertion oath on any company that has a federal contract.

Such an executive order might have the healthy effect of inspiring corporate leaders to renounce federal subsidies – something increasingly difficult to do as the federal government absorbs nearly all of the capital in the American economy. Or it might prompt many corporations to flee in search of a less authoritarian country. The only way it could be enforced would be to create the economic equivalent of the Berlin Wall.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

The Third Iraq War

by Will

Liberty Minute August 12 2014

The bombing campaign against the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State has inaugurated what will likely become the third Iraq war. The first was waged to compel Saddam Hussein’s regime to withdraw its troops from Kuwait, following an invasion that had the oblique approval of the first Bush administration. Recall that presidential envoy April Glaspie pointedly demurred when asked by Hussein about U.S. objections to a prospective Iraqi military move against Kuwait.

The second Iraq war resulted in the removal of Saddam, who had originally been installed in Baghdad with Washington’s aid and who received military and financial support during the 1980s. Saddam was replaced by a Shi’ite government that persecuted the country’s Sunni minority, precipitating a backlash that has facilitated the growth of the movement calling itself the Islamic State.

That movement coalesced out of radical elements of what is commonly called al-Qaeda. This includes factions that have received direct U.S. aid in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere. Now Barack Obama – acting, as usual, without congressional authorization – has ordered a bombing campaign in what he says may be a very long conflict.

Rather than heeding the Founding Fathers’ warnings against going abroad in search of monsters to destroy, our present rulers insist on building the monsters.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

Russia Shouldn't Be Our Enemy

by Will

Liberty Minute August 11 2014

Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia was the largest component of a regime committed to a global ideological crusade. By that time the USSR was economically bankrupt, and in many ways a ruined society.

During most of the 1990s, Russia attempted to reconstruct its civil society. Politically connected oligarchs fought among themselves, the secret police abetted the growth of organized crime, and Moscow fought two bloody wars against Islamic separatists in Chechnya. But there was no evidence that the Russian government continued to pursue the Soviet vision of global revolution. Instead, we saw a large and wounded country struggling to regain a sense of normalcy following seven decades of ideologically driven mass murder and unremitting tyranny.

Vladimir Putin is a product of the Soviet and Russian security apparatus, which means that he is neither moral nor trustworthy. There is just as little evidence that he seeks global domination, however. In the current Ukrainian crisis, Putin has been restrained – remember, this is a country on Russia’s doorstep with a large ethnic Russian population. Rather than imposing sanctions on Russia and goading it into an avoidable conflict, the U.S. should offer to act as a neutral mediator – and otherwise mind our own business.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

What It Takes to Remove a Tyrannical Police Chief

by Will

Liberty Minute August 8 2014


Victor Pierce claimed that the Lord had called him to be police chief of Barry Township, a Michigan village of about 3,700 people. When he obtained four armored vehicles from the Pentagon, Pierce said that this was necessary in order to protect the public against terrorism and school shootings. After he organized a 34-man “reserve” force to patrol the village’s crime-free streets, the chief insisted that this was part of his “visionary balance for the community.”


After two of the reserve officers took part in the beating of a local businessman on May 10, Pierce shrugged and said that the victim had “resisted” and that the courts should handle the matter. Amid mounting complaints from citizens who had been harassed, detained, and searched without cause, Pierce and his dwindling band of defenders maintained that the innocent have nothing to fear from additional scrutiny.


After the state cancelled the department’s liability insurance, and more than one thousand residents signed petitions demanding that Pierce be terminated, the town council dragged its feet. Finally, amid surging local outrage and accumulating adverse media coverage, Pierce announced his resignation on August 7.


It took a prodigious effort to dislodge one tyrannical police chief from a tiny town. What does this say about police accountability?


Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

The NYPD Retaliates Against a Vigilant Citizen

by Will

In a development as predictable as the next sunrise, police in New York City have arrested 22-year-old Ramsey Orta, who used his cell phone to document the police killing of Eric Garner. Orta’s mother says that the NYPD has been shadowing her son since the video of the July 17 incident went public, sending officers to stake out the family’s home and shine spotlights at their windows.

Undercover plainclothes officers claim that they saw Orta slip a handgun into the waistband of a girlfriend outside a hotel in what the department describes as a “drug-prone” neighborhood in Staten Island. Orta has a previous conviction that forbids him to own a weapon.

Assuming that he was actually caught with a stolen gun – rather than being framed by the cops with what they call a “throw-down gun” – Orta would appear to be a repeat offender. The same is true, however, of NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who assaulted Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold, leading to what the medical examiner has concluded was a death by homicide.  Pantaleo had several previous complaints for excessive force prior to his lethal assault on Garner, who was killed by the cops shortly after breaking up a fight.

Orta wasn’t arrested because he is a criminal, but rather for offending the tribal sensitivities of the NYPD.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Internationalizing the Military

by Will

Liberty Minute August 6 2014

We’re often told that if not for the military exploits of the “Greatest Generation” during World War II, we would be taking orders from German military officers. Yet this is precisely what will happen to U.S. military personnel assigned to duty in Europe.

The Army Times reports that Brig. General Markus Laubenthal, who had commanded Germany’s 12th Panzer Brigade, has been promoted to serve as chief of staff for the U.S. Army Europe, the first time that position has been held by a non-American officer. Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell describes this appointment as “a bold and major step forward in [US Army Europe’s] commitment to operating in a multinational environment with our German allies.”

Actually, this appointment – which was approved by President Obama – is probably intended to palliate German outrage over revelations that the National Security Agency has conducted electronic surveillance of German citizens and officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Twenty years ago, US Army Specialist Michael New refused to wear a United Nations insignia on his uniform and serve under the command of a foreign general during a UN mission in Macedonia.  He underwent a court martial in order to warn his colleagues about the internationalization of the US military. The appointment of General Laubenthal validates Specialist New’s warning.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

When Cops and Prosecutors Become Civil Libertarians

by Will

Liberty Minute August 5 2014

As a federal prosecutor and legal scholar, Utah resident Paul Cassell distinguished himself as a critic of the Supreme Court’s Miranda ruling, and the “exclusionary rule” it articulated. That ruling protected a suspect’s rights against self-incrimination by requiring the suppression of compelled or dishonestly obtained confessions.

Cassell insists that the famous Miranda Warning is harmful because it supposedly handcuffs police, resulting in what he calls “lost confessions.” He also believes that innocent people have no reason to fear police interrogation. Cassell is so zealous to repeal the Miranda ruling that he pursued an unsuccessful appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.

He recently joined the defense team of Utah resident Shaun Cowley, who admits that he fatally shot Danielle Willard in November 2012. Cassell insists that evidence obtained through Cowley’s voluntary statements to investigators must be suppressed – because when Cowley killed Willard he was a police officer, and therefore cannot be criminally prosecuted on the basis of evidence obtained through his department’s internal investigation. This is known as the “Garrity” rule, and the privilege it extends applies only to police officers and other government employees.

It is fascinating to see how quickly prosecutors and police union officials become civil libertarians when a police officer is charged with a crime.  

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

A Sniper's Misfire Hurts his Family

by Will

Liberty Minute August 1 2014

As a military sniper, the late Chris Kyle earned notoriety by killing people from the shadows, striking at them from a distance and then disappearing.  In his memoir, American Sniper, Kyle attempted the literary version of that tactic on Jesse Ventura – and now his family is suffering the fallout from his misfire.

In his memoir Kyle claimed to have confronted Ventura, a former Navy frogman and critic of U.S. foreign policy, in a bar following a Navy SEAL funeral. Supposedly furious over disparaging comments Ventura made about the deceased and his friends, Kyle slugged the much older man and then ran away before the police arrived.

That story was never corroborated, and now a jury in Minnesota has found that it was a conscious, malicious falsehood that damaged Ventura’s reputation. The jury awarded Ventura $1.8 million in damages, which will be paid by Kyle’s estate out of profits from his best-selling book.

It’s bad enough to tell the world that you sucker-punched a senior citizen then ran away – but lying about doing so is a mystifying bit of bullying braggadocio. Given that Kyle traded on his association with the Navy SEALs, his behavior makes one wonder why the SEALs didn’t file their own defamation suit against him.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

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