Abrogating Responsibility (an ongoing series?)

This blog has only been around for about a week or so. But there’s already one post about cops and police overreach. There will be more.

I titled this post “Abrogating Responsibility (an ongoing series?)” because as a broad topic I could probably stretch this out overall several posts: charity, work ethic, willpower, etc. etc. etc. We’ll see if I get around to it all.

Today I want to begin by discussing responsibilities many people have partially “shoved off” onto law enforcement: protection and conflict resolution.

The former is epitomized in the saying “when seconds count the police are minutes away.” So obviously true, but then you look at the number of people who have to plan for that intervening time and realize that we have pushed off a lot of responsibility for our personal protection to other people. (Google provides a rough number of households with guns as somewhere between 40-50%. Even assuming that’s now, at 65% that’s still 1 out of every 3 people armed with a wiffle-ball bat should the worst happen.)

Consider an anecdote: there were some car break-ins around me and one home invasion. Nothing super serious in the grand scheme of things. (In fact total crime in my immediate area is some of the lowest in the region.) Nevertheless it came up at the annual subdivision meeting. The general response: get security cameras and ask for more police drive-bys. Not one person suggested an actual plan to defend themselves. (Quite ironically, in the home invasion they took only his stamp collection and his old rifles, suggesting someone with knowledge of the house’s contents.)

For my part, I swapped the slug barrel of the Mossberg for the shot barrel and moved it under my bed. (Yes, yes, slugs may be better, but the scope makes the slug barrel unwieldy for home defense.) I know that I’m responsible for my own safety ultimately and no number of police drive-bys can keep me 100% safe.

Consider conflict resolution. Now to be clear, I do not have a problem with the civil court system or government mediation of disputes and contract enforcement. This is one of the oldest purposes of government, and it still has importance to societal cohesion. Applying civil law in an adversarial court system is a fair idea. What I’m talking about is that argument that gets heated until someone decides “call the cops.” Bringing down the brute force of government on someone.

I personally have seen it too often. Neighbors feuding over some miniscule thing maybe a fence going up or a driveway being put in. And rather than doing what people have done throughout the centuries and talked, you get cops called in an attempt to get government force behind you.

Now yes, there are times cops should be called. Breaking out into fisticuffs is usually not a good thing. But cops should not be the first tool you reach for before even conversing with your neighbor (especially when your neighbor has shown you 0 ill will.)

You see a similar problem in many cases of families with a mentally ill member. We’ve broken the family and community response to mental illness to the point that many feel that have no option but to call the police, often to disastrous results. Trust me, I very much understand, more than I care to admit, especially on a blog. I do not blame the family for the destruction of the mechanisms that should respond in these situations.

Yes, we have a problem with police overreach, but we also need to consider everything we’ve willingly foisted upon police to give ourselves less responsibility.

9 comments to “Abrogating Responsibility (an ongoing series?)”
  1. “Yes, we have a problem with police overreach, but we also need to consider everything we’ve willingly foisted upon police to give ourselves less responsibility.”

    Lest we forget, police recruitment is now at an all time low thanks to Obama, Holder and Black Lives Matter. It’s hard to attract quality candidates when you know you might be stabbed in the back by those who are supposed to have it.

    On the whole, I respect and trust police and believe that most of the time they are decent and honorable people. I am not so naive as to not realize there are some sick and power-mad fools in uniform. But, all things considered, America is a safer place than almost anywhere else on the planet. The inner cities notwithstanding.

  2. You got it right, JJ. I’ve run into a few cops who could have left a better impression, but in general I’m all for them, especially considering the conditions imposed on them, the abuse they take, and courts that simply don’t give a damn about either the police themselves or crime victims.

    Do I wish they could all be recruiting-poster prefect? Hell, yes! I also wish they — and we — didn’t have to face the truly evil shit they confront on a daily basis.

  3. I don’t disagree of course.
    But it seems to me that at least a portion of the problems we have (see CBD’s earlier post) stem from the responsibly we have simply surrendered to police for no real good reason.
    One cannot simply foist responsibility for safety entirely to government without expecting to have a police state.

  4. Not wanting to start an argument with you, tsrblke, but here’s a News Flash: we already live in a “police state,” and it’s not local — or even state — cops who are in charge.

    The federal government, under the rule of Historic First Choom Boy, set itself up as the sole and final arbiter of all laws, and when it finds one it doesn’t like, it ignores it or creates a new law out of thin air.

    Local cops on the beat do not instill the kind of fear in me that I experience every time I see what new diktat the thugs of D.C. have up their filthy sleeves.

    Reform, as always, comes from the top down, and we can’t even begin to address the issues of local policing before the slimeballs in the White House and Congress are removed — permanently — from power.

  5. You’re free to start an argument with me if you’d like.
    I welcome it!
    Also, I’m not saying this exists solely at the local level hence “ongoing series?”
    Much of responsibility we’ve abrogated for other things we’ve done at the national level.
    That and state budgets.
    But that’s another story. “Ongoing Series.)
    I wrote about one thing that bugged me. A rant, set of, by having police on my driveway (or what was left it this morning).*
    I actually tend to think that Obama’s lawlessness is temporary.
    That is to say at some point (unclear how long) we’ll either have someone who respects the laws and/or actually writes the laws Obama has merely dictated. (I’d prefer the former over the latter, but eh, whatever.)

    *In this case it worked out better though because if my neighbor came out the way the contractors describe, the police being there likely kept him from doing something stupid. Civility is what we have lost. Had he come to me, I’d have apologized for the accidently 20 minute early start. (But he is about twice my size, and apparently quite hot headed.)

  6. When you get right down to it, we’re not so much disagreeing as looking at different pictures.

    In my town, people call the police when they find a defunct pigeon in the road or a dead seal on the beach (as reported in the local paper’s police notes), as well as for loud parties, illegally parked cars and fallen tree limbs. In general, whatever the issue, it is gone by the time — minutes, or less — the police arrive.

    When I lived in Los Angeles, which has a rep. for badass cops, I had no interaction with the LAPD at all, except when they came to shut down illegal 4th of July fireworks in my neighborhood. In that case, they didn’t intend to do anything but make sure everything was more-or-less under control, until the City Councilperson ordered them the “Shut it down!”

    So my experience with cops under any circumstances is very much from the sidelines. I’ve been tempted to call them once or twice, but ultimately didn’t.

    I suspect if I called upon them to slap cuffs on my Representative, who is going Full Choom Gang in D.C., they might not do it. Not facing much local crime makes one far more sensitive to the shit that rolls downhill from D.C.!

  7. The paragraph about neighbors first response to a minor dispute is calling the police. My neighbor didn’t call the police, but she did call code enforcement and never spoke to me. We were having a low cinder block wall installed along the property line in our backyard, with a french drain to pick up water draining from the hill behind us. There is open space behind us. The workers, unbenknowst to me (I was gone while they were doing this) had driven their pickup along the drainage ditch behind the homes to drop off materials rather than carry it from the street to the back. When I got home, they informed me that a woman with a video camera had been back there recording the proceedings. They pointed out which house she had come from. I walked over there, and knocked on the door. I asked her if she were the one with the camera, she said yes. I asked her what the issue was, and she said she was “concerned about the impact on the open space” there might be from the pickup driving back there. Um. Impact? It’s all disturbed anyway. The city plows up the thing every year for fire control. There are almost no native plan species left. What impact could a couple of trips with a pickup do? She said she’d called code enforcement but they hadn’t called her back. I asked her why she didn’t talk to me if she had concerns. Because she didn’t know me. That’s it. She didn’t know me. So she calls the authorities. I was dumbfounded. Code enforcement never came by, the wall got finished, and that was that. But please – she didn’t know me, so she calls the authorities over a very minor matter. That’s where we are.

  8. Code enforcement is a bitch here.
    I accidently called them on a different neighbor once. I was in a fight (with the city) about having a dying tree taken down. I called to get permission since it was in the easement (also to see if they’d cover the cost since they planted it.)
    I was unaware my neighbor was doing some work (well I was kinda aware, but didn’t think of it.)
    They sent out the people to inspect my tree, who saw my neighbor’s driveway being torn up and sent out code enforcement who found out he had no permit and stopped work.
    I apologized to him for it but he was nonplussed figuring it may not have actually been me (several houses were having work done in the vicinity, the inspector could have been heading to any of them and seen the work.)

    But back to the point, yeah people constantly try to get the government power to back them up in disputes. Don’t like your neighbor, call the police!
    As I am libertarian-ish in some respects you might as well point a gun at my head.

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