When even middle-aged, wealthy, white city types are victimised by the government’s authoritarianism [*] in street policing and ‘counter-terrorism’, it’s pretty clear there’s a problem.
The article’s writer was stopped in his car, arrested, treated like crap and then charged for carrying a lockable penknife in his briefcase. The policemen involved used outrageously poor judgement in rounding up anyone who infringed their rules irrespective of the threat posed; then they exceeded all acceptable limits in the way they pursued the case. The end result is that an innocent man is being tried for an at-best nominal crime that posed no threat to anyone.
This is completely outrageous and unacceptable. The only thing that makes it slightly less shocking than otherwise is that it’s exactly the same thing that’s been happening to ethnic minorities and other ‘suspect’ groups in the UK for at least the last 30 years. Tactics that mainstream society largely ignored because they only hurt the niggers and the Paddies (and after all, those muggers and IRA men did terribly bad things) have now come back to bite us.
I hope this will drive conservatives and liberals alike into rejecting authoritarian policing, even if the result is that our chances of being the victims of serious crime rise from infinitessimal to still-infinitessimal-but-slightly-higher (and there’s no convincing evidence that even that would be the case).
However, I fear I might be being optimistic. At least until *every* family in the UK knows someone innocent who’s been screwed over by these insane rules [**].
(article via Peter Briffa)
[*] Registration-only; Bug Me Not can provide one.
[**] This seems to be one of the *very* few positive aspects of the drug war, at least in the UK. Almost everyone my age knows someone who’s been unjustly victimised for drug possession. As a result, the social stigma associated with a criminal conviction has vastly diminished in the context of drug cases.