What follows is NOT "legal advice" within the meaning of any Laws the Pols may have written on the subject. The reason it's not legal advice is that I'm not a lawyer; that is, I have no license from any government body to practice law, nor do I want one. So if you want "legal advice", go find it from someone who is licensed by the government. What he or she will tell you may be the best advice you can get, within the limits the government licenses him to give it.
Of course, if the truth of the matter is different from what the government wants you to know, then you may not hear it from someone whose livelihood is at the mercy of the license-granters. That's a risk you have to run.
Alternatively, you might stick with me. What you'll read here is (again) NOT legal advice, even though it may happen to be true, but then again, it's free. It's unusual for government-licensed lawyers to give advice away for free, whether it's good advice or bad. So it's hard to beat my price-performance.
Now that I have that vitally important preamble out of the way, my NOT Legal Advice (hereinafter "NLA") is, if ever you are apprehended by a government agent in or out of uniform, threefold: (1) Be Quiet (2) Stay Silent and (3) Shut Up! Guilty or innocent, and who can tell in these days when it can take millions of dollars' worth of convoluted trial time to find out, just follow those three rules absolutely, and you'll be a heap better off than you'd otherwise be. Remember though, that is absolutely NOT legal advice. It's NLA.
I once lived in a State where they had passed a "law" purporting to prohibit receivers of 10- and 22-gigahertz radio waves, ie Government Spy Detectors. Some hawk-eyed cop thought he saw one on my dashboard, and flagged me down.
There was nothing there by the time he got to my side, and when he demanded that I produce it, I asked him whether that was a request (which I could refuse) or an order (which I could not.) He said it was an order, upon which I brought the Detector from under the seat; but since that was the only evidence he had and since he had compelled me to be a witness against myself, so violating my Fifth Amendment right, he knew he'd just shot himself in the foot.
So he grandly announced he would let me go this time with a warning, and I told him he could suit himself, which quite spoiled his day, and went on my way without further molestation.
This NLA comes, mind you, with no guarantees. They have made legal practice so complex that no plain and honest citizen can easily find his way around. Being Quiet may not always work. But it does always work better than spilling one's guts; it helps even up the odds, at least.
Another example: recently I saw part of that dreadful program, "COPS", and watched in horror as an innocent motor biker was hauled away in handcuffs.
He had been flagged down for some reason I didn't see, and the polite young officer fancied he smelled pot. He asked "Sir, have you been smoking marijuana today?" - hoping, no doubt, for the reply, "No! - not since yesterday evening!" Well, our gentle and bearded biker wasn't quite that foolish; while he didn't refuse to speak at all, at least he said "No", period.
Then the polite cop said "May I have your permission to search you?" He was meticulous in that, because he knew that without a search warrant any evidence he found would be inadmissible, as above... and that he was on camera.
He asked it repeatedly, and unfortunately his victim, perhaps unaware of my NLA Rules #2 and #3, at length gave way and said, "Okay."
Shortly afterwards a few joints of a substance less intoxicating than a hip- flask of bourbon was discovered on his person, and the biker was led off camera in cuffs, one more to add to the taxpayers' million guests; one more life blighted, one more case of lost liberty, in this Land of the Formerly Free.
And the sickest part was that the network broadcasting this hoped the viewer would identify with the cop, not the biker! And perhaps most viewers did!
Cops Who Think
One of the most treasured items in my V-tape library is a documentary called "Fuehrer: Seduction of a Nation" - it's one of the best summaries of the rise and fall of the Third Reich that I know, enough to warm the heart of any Jewish intellectual. One of its focal points is a former member of the Hitler Youth.
He recalls how enthralled he was to belong, how patriotic he felt as he later joined the army and served the Fuehrer on the Eastern Front. And he later tells of his fathomless horror when he realized what they had all done. Not as a pretense but with soul-shaking earnestness he tells of his utterly profound remorse that he had "just followed orders", without thinking for himself. Unfortunately, most who join police forces today do it because they love to exercise authority over their fellow human beings; they delight in their smart uniforms, their flashing lights, the way they can so easily make grown men twice their age and with three times their abilities cringe and show respect. That's exactly what that German had so loved about the Hitler Youth.
Don't misunderstand: if and when the police really "protect and serve", by detecting and apprehending real criminals with real victims - or by helping accident victims - they deserve all our support and appreciation.
But I hope that any police person reading this will think for himself, and follow orders selectively. Pursue those who victimize, of course. But when it comes to "criminals" without victims, do the right thing: turn a blind eye.
|© Copyright Jim Davies 1999|
Jim Davies lives in New Hampshire,
and enjoys contemplating which way is up.
The above is Edition # 79
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