I’ve mostly stopped reading the comments at Pith, for my mental health, but I am still reading the comments in this post, because I am stunned by this idea that telling people who unwillingly encounter the police that they shouldn’t speak to the police without a lawyer or let the police search their car without a warrant is somehow shameful.

I certainly don’t believe the police are your enemy. But my god, they are not your friends. They have a very difficult job to do for which we should all be grateful and treat police officers with politeness when we deal with them. But politeness does not mean setting aside your rights just to make their jobs easier.

I don’t know. I just find this really weird. Sometimes, I suspect that the vast majority of people in this country have no idea what the Constitution says and, if they did, would not like it.

But this is exactly why I am fine with you having an arsenal if you want one. And, while I am uncomfortable with guns and I hope you take proper safety precautions, I welcome you walking around with an M-16 on your shoulder. It’s not because I’m all “Gun rights! Woo hoo!’ I don’t come from a gun-loving home and, like I said, I’m uncomfortable with them. But because it’s obvious that it’s necessary to insist on an expansive an interpretation of the Bill of Rights as possible, because otherwise the government will WITH THE SUPPORT OF MOST PEOPLE reduce those rights down to the point that they mean nothing.

Don’t talk to cops who have you in cuffs without a lawyer. Don’t let them search your car without a warrant. Buy a gun or twelve and learn how to use them. We’re trying to have a free country here.

6 thoughts on “Shameful?

  1. I’m the daughter and granddaughter of police officers, but I tell clients not to talk to the police without a criminal defense attorney present all the damn time. Cops deal with criminals, criminals tend to lie to protect themselves, so cops therefore expect you, a suspected criminal, to lie and will assume that whatever you say in your defense is, in fact, a lie. Any thought you have that, “If I could just explain things, everything will be all right”, is incredibly misguided and will probably end up with you talking yourself into trouble.

  2. As near as I can figure from a few different sorts of conversations I’ve had in and outside my classrooms, it seems that many people do not believe in the basic principle of our legal system that one is innocent until proven guilty. They think that committing a crime obviates the need, the very right, to any Constitutional or procedural protections. It’s almost as if committing a crime actually makes one less than human.

  3. I love on the cop shows when the police–our heroes–say “come on and just give us ((your patient list, your dna sample, your other legally protected information)) or we’ll have to go get a warrant.”

    And then the people just cave like “oh! Wouldn’t want to put you out, officer!” and roll over. I’m forever yelling “at least get your damn paperwork in order before trampling through people’s lives” at the television.

    It’s a Privilege way of thinking, that belief that the police are 100% on your side, would never cut corners, etc. I don’t think all police are bad or anything, but I do think that a large part of their job–finding and cataloguing information to be used in the prosecution of a person or persons for a criminal act–directly contradicts our expectations of privacy and pursuit of happiness. And just as I would find shortcuts in photoshop or learn ways to goose the copier when it was on the verge of breakdown, I think police will sometimes go for the easy way at work. It’s human nature.

  4. And that’s a dangerous mix–an all-too-human police force and a civilian population that believes that anyone who has a run-in with the police deserves whatever happens to them.

  5. Really, all the cop shows on TV are ridiculously propagandistic. Not only does no one EVER asks for an attorney, but we’re constantly being told to feel sorry for cops who want to break the rules, those horrible rules, to bring in the obviously guilty suspect. When they do break the rules, there are seldom consequences (or if there are, the released criminal immediately murders someone). I can’t watch them anymore, they raise my blood pressure too much.

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