The Problem with the Police

EditorialBy L. Neil Smith

 _L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise_

It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one when I say that have no sympathy for the crypiggies who’ve begun blubbering, since the mess at Ferguson, about how dangerous their “profession” is and how some kind of special steps have to be taken now to protect them. I haven’t actually heard any demands for more victim disarmament (gun control) but they do want sales of body armor to civilians to be banned.

Before we go any further with this, kindly allow me to observe that nobody put a gun to them heads and told them “Be a cop!” And being a police officer isn’t really all that dangerous — check the statistics, yourself. Being a fireman is more dangerous. Being a miner is more dangerous. Being a deep-sea salvage diver is hell of a lot more dangerous. Nor are these particularly dangerous times. When I was a young reserve officer in the wild and wooly early 1970s, more cops were injured or killed in California alone than in the entire nation now. That fact sparked many changes in policy, including choice of weapons, from revolver to semiautomatic, the design of holsters, and the angle at which the car should be parked during a routine traffic stop.

All that was in the 60s, and, for a while. the police did acquire a more human face. But then, something went wrong. Several things went really wrong, and it left us stuck in the mess we’re in today.

To begin with there were police unions and lawyers who rode along with them like pilot fish. RICO allowed them to loot the countryside freely. There is nothing in a free society that we could have done, or can, directly, about this. But it has come to mean that no officer will ever have to face the music for whatever criminal act he my have committed, unless he has political enemies somewhere inside the structure.

Aftermath of Michael Brown shooting, Ferguson, St. Louis, America - 12 Aug 2014

Second, there were matters of accoutrement. Mace and revolver speed-loaders were the big news of my time, rapidly followed by CS gas and semiautomatic pistols, mostly Glocks in .40 caliber, while four-shot pump shotguns evolved into eight-shooters on the dashboard. Wooden nightsticks became nylon PR-24s and a engendered a whole new martial art. Finally there was Kevlar body armor, and the Taser. Ammunition changed, as well. The Blue Knight’s equipment age was nearly complete. All the while, the courts were depriving ordinary citizens of more and more rights and protections until the attacks on 9/11 swept what was left from the board. The police could now go anywhere, do anything — including locking people up on suspicion — without punishment for it.

At the same time, the police have gone insane, smashing in, beating up, and murdering innocent individuals, including little old ladies, without even having to apologies about it. I’d cite some examples, but they happen every day and you can find them for yourself. You can’t blame people for hating the police, they have good reason. I’ve deliberately avoided learning much about Ferguson — what little information I have would indicate that the cop behaved properly — but you can’t blame the public, The police have brought this on themselves.

If they hadn’t, I wouldn’t be mildly worried about writing this.  I wouldn’t be expecting a flood of hate mail and death threats all next week.

Can the situation be fixed? It could be but no one in authority will let it be. All victimless crime laws must be repealed and those imprisoned for them released. All presently-serving cops must be laid off and replaced by individuals who are not tainted by violence and corruption.

They must go back to six-shot revolvers and four-shot shotguns. No rifles of any description, no SWAT teams. No masks, and badge numbers must be displayed prominently on their uniforms. Most important of all, no more Kevlar armor — they must take the same risks that most  of us do. Civilians are attacked many times as often as the cops. They also “Get their man” — shoot the actual culprit — several times as often.

I knew a guy once, a police officer of long standing, who was running for Sheriff. It was his view, he said, and his department agreed, that people should see to their own defense. It was the Sheriff’s job to come by afterward to make sure the right person got shot.

I voted for him.

Which reminds me: I would abolish _all_ police departments, and actively prohibit them reforming, turning every responsibility over to the Sheriff. Too many layers separate me from the cops: his superiors, the city council, the mayor and the city manager. Not all are subject to recall. One man — the Sheriff — stands between his deputies and me.

All of the military equipment police departments have acquired must be sold at auction. Official oaths must be administered in public (and on TV), with emphasis on the Bill of Rights. Courses on the Bill of Rights must be administered to all would-be police officers.

None of this offends me as a police officer. Nor would I be offended if I had to be one again. Clearly it needs doing and right away. If you want to know more, I very strongly urge you to read the chapter in my award-winning book, _Down with Power_ entitled “The Police”.

Or listen to Brian Wilson’s brilliant audio version. 

I spend a great deal of time listening to talk radio. One thing that sets me apart from most of those guys presently defending the police is that I was a policeman. They are, and remain, merely copsuckers.

Remember that word and use it in good health.


L. Neil Smith

L. Neil Smith


“Any official, appointed or elected, at any level of government, who attempts, through legislative act or other means, to nullify,evade, or avoid the provisions of the first ten amendments to this Constitution, or of the Thirteenth Amendment, shall be summarily removed from office, and, upon conviction, deprived of all pay and benefits including pension, and sentenced to imprisonment for life.”

L. Neil Smith is very well known within the Science Fiction field with many published books to his credit. He gave CJ permission to post this op-ed

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