Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Comparison of Our Law Enforcement Officers To Nazis...

...is something that all too often can often be found on forums on the Internet. As a matter of fact, I recently visited a firearms forum in which the actions of police here in the USA were compared as being similar to Nazis. In the particular instance being discussed, a man was out doing yard work while legally wearing a handgun in a holster. The handgun was worn in plain view (which was quite legal where he lived). One of his neighbors called then police to report him. The police responded, detained the man wearing the gun, and after a somewhat extended period of detention decided to arrest him for disturbing the peace, or so the story is told. In the forum discussion about this event, our police (the officers in question, and law enforcement in general in the USA) were compared to Nazis in an unfavorable light for our police. I replied twice to said forum and in both posts I made sure to point out that I thought it ludicrous for people in general to say that law enforcement officers in the USA are similar to the Nazis. (Oh did I forget to mention, the man is now suing the police. Can you imagine someone arrested in WWII suing the Nazis over said arrest?)

Why do I think that our law enforcement, here in the USA, are not like the Nazis. I guess it can be best explained by my second post at said forum, and I have reprinted my response below:

"Some of you folks really seem to have little to no real comprehension of what Nazism was all about, or about Nazis themselves. You continue to twist the facts to make it look as if the police in the USA are strikingly similar to them. Do they use informants, yes but so have all police departments throughout history - so maybe you got it backwards - maybe the Nazis were using a technique used by legitimate authorities for their own twisted ends. As for the Nazis using words like "papers please" you have been watching too many WWII propaganda movies. They did not ask for papers please in the course of making arrests, they carted people off while the people dirtied themselves out of fear. Papers Please - you really believe that about Nazis, yeah maybe when they dealt with a delegate from another government or from the International Red Cross, or when they were being ruthlessly sarcastic, but you have got to be kidding that you think the Nazis routinely used such courtesies. No the police in this country for the great majority are nothing at all like Nazis, but you can believe what you want. Or you can try to find out what it was really like. Why not get together with a survivor of Nazi Germany, or better yet with several of them, and discuss Nazis with them. Your eyes will be opened. Being of partial German descent, living in a German neighborhood up through my twenties and often coming in contact with Germans who were in Germany during WWII, living in NY and frequently coming in contact with Holocaust survivors, and being a person somewhat interested in history, my curiosity was always seeking to be satisfied about this subject. Over the years, I have met with, and discussed Nazis and life in Nazi Germany with several survivors of the Holocaust. I have also had in depth discussions with members of the German military from WWII. In addition I have had many discussions with German citizens who lived in Germany during WWII and encountered Nazis on a daily basis in their lives; and that includes with some people who still live in Germany. I also have discussed Nazis with people who were from Poland and Russia and who encountered Nazi oppression in WWII. Our police forces are not like Nazis, and those to whom I have conversed on such maters would likely laugh at you for thinking so, or maybe they would just shed a tear that you could even think such a thing of our police for whom they have respect.

I am truly amazed that anyone would think so if they really knew anything about what life was like under the tyranny of Nazi Germany. By the way, if you would truly like to get a real glimpse into what it was like, and if you cannot find any survivors who lived through it with whom to discuss it, there is an excellent and very short book called Night by Elie Wiesel. It is well worth the few dollars to purchase it, or a trip to the library to borrow it, and is well worth the few hours to read it.

Before I close on this one, please allow me to make a final observation. I am over a half century old. In all of the years that I can remember, I have never once heard anyone who was actually brutalized by Nazis, or who was persecuted in any way under Nazi rule, complain that the police in the USA are anything at all like Nazis unless that person was an absolute ultra leftist of the card carrying commie type – and then they called everyone who did not agree with them Nazis. Yeah maybe there are a few out there who would make, or have made, such remarks who were regular Johns and Janes but they are a rarity. Then again there are or were tens if not hundreds of thousands who escaped or survived Nazi persecution and came to the USA after during and after WWII. Yet, for some reason, they do not call our police Nazis or say that they are similar; and isn’t it they who would know! It is very funny to me though how it is the American citizen, living in relative comfort and able to enjoy his rights and liberties to a great extent, who is the one to call our police Nazis or to compare our police to the Nazis in a negative light. Think about that, and think about why it is that way, and then ponder the fact that you are at liberty to do so without being rounded up, placed into a cattle car, forced to labor in subhuman conditions, experimented upon by what amounted to mad scientists, and left for dead or killed in a horrible manner such as by gassing with Zyclon-B, and then having the gold from your fillings collected to enrich the Third Reich (or maybe to just be stuffed into the commandants pockets). Our police like Nazis, even on their worst days the comparison is ludicrous. Why not really try my suggestion to get a better understanding of life under the Nazis before you even think such things about the police in the United States on the whole."


Yes I will agree that it seems all to often that law enforcement in the USA oversteps the bounds of its authority, or that police officers make all to many arrests based upon bad probable cause (which equals no probable cause), or that law enforcement comes after people they should not (but remember they are guided by the legislative and judicial branches of our governments (local, state and federal) on much of this, as well as being directed by the executive branches). Yet we usually have some sort of redress. We can have our day in court, and if found innocent we can cause the officers or departments and agencies to have their day in court when we sue them. Just imagine having tried that in Nazi Germany. We can bad mouth them too, and we can call them Nazis and therefore by implication call our government a Nazi Regime. We can get as bent out of shape as we want and keep the name calling going for a month of Sundays if we want. We can call cops pigs, we can give federal agents the finger, we can tell LEOs we hate them, and that we are going to write to our Congressmen about them. All the while they usually eat the shit some of you throw in their faces. Imagine what a real Nazi, say an SS officer would have done in response to you calling him a pig and giving him the finger. He would not have stood there taking it from you, you can bet your life on it.

Now, while crude, rude, obnoxious treatment of law enforcement officers in the USA today is no excuse for them to shirk their duties or to overstep the boundaries of law - should they do so - well the truth be told they usually pay for wrongdoings they may commit. Guess who comes to arrest them - other LEOs - other guys you refer to, or compare to, Nazis! Do law enforcement officers screw up - sure they do. Do some violate your rights while trying to enforce the law - sure they do. Do some violate the law themselves - yes indeed - way too many. Do some commit atrocious criminal acts - yes indeed. Does that make them Nazis across our nation on the whole? You have to be of another reality, a twisted and sick one, and a misinformed one (about what is a Nazi) to believe that such is the case. Do we need to be on the watch for Nazism rearing its ugly head. Yes we do. In fact we are being vigilant all the time for that and for other forms of tyranny.

You see, here in the US of A, law enforcement is ruled by something called the law, and law enforcement officers are subject to the law as are you and I. Try to remember we are the ones who voted in the legislators who write and vote on the laws, and we are the ones who elected the executives who sign the bills into law, and we are the ones who elected the executive who appointed judges (or maybe we even voted for the judges) who rule on the law and those laws are applied to our law enforcement officers as well as to ourselves. Are their some exceptions where the law is somewhat different as it applies to an LEO than it does to a non-LEO, most certainly there are some, but not many. The bottom line is that law enforcement officers in this nation are part of our government, our legally elected and appointed government that we put in place. In no way, on the whole, do our federal, state and local law enforcement officers come even close to the Nazis in similarity of purpose, in execution of duties, or in their treatment of the citizenry. Any of you who think otherwise have an awful lot of learning to do on the subjects of Nazis, Nazi Germany, their victims, and the survivors of that tyranny most despicable.

All the best,
Glenn B

1 comment:

rightwingprof said...

Ah yes, the Radley Balko contingent. Good article, Mr. Bartley. It's my reality check for the day article.