Perry Pushes Back


RickPAC_Wanted-TshirtRick Perry is selling t-shirts with his mug shot on the front to raise money for Rickpac (his superpac). The DUI DA’s picture is on the back. This is exactly the kind of pushback Republicans need to be engaging in.

I don’t know that I’ll wind up supporting Perry if he runs for the Republican nomination in 2016, but this kind of pushback against the bogus indictment for doing his job is a good sign.

Crispus Attucks


Crispus Attucks was the first casualty of the Boston Massacre in 1770. A group of redcoats fired on an unruly crowd who had thrown snowballs and trash at them and who were advancing with clubs. Attucks, who had a stick in his hands, took two rounds in the chest. While John Adams, the Boston lawyer who became President, was able to convince a local jury that the soldiers should not be convicted of murder, the bad PR from soldiers gunning down citizens moved the colonies closer to revolution.

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Crispus Attucks was mixed race, black and native american, and 244 years later, we have an unruly crowd facing a bunch of paramilitary cops and whole lot of bad PR.

When Sir Robert Peel created the first modern police force in London (1829), he made a point of dressing the officers so that they would not look like soldiers. He viewed the police as members of the public who were being paid to provide full-time attention to “prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force.” American experience with using the Army as civilian police led to the passage of the Posse Comitatus Act.

I’ve been a soldier. My brother has been a cop. My training on how to respond to a violent situation is significantly different from his. It’s not equipment that makes the difference. It’s training and mindset.

tank-manIt may be that some civilian police need vehicles such as MRAPs, a bomb-disposal squad or a department tasked with response to a potential terrorist target. But the image of armored vehicles in the street echoes of totalitarianism. It may be that some surplus military gear can be legitimately repurposed for civilian law enforcement. But it should not be passed out like candy to Delta Force wannabes who lack the training, experience, or real world need for it. As one police chief once remarked: “C’est pire qu’un crime, c’est une faute. It’s worse than a crime; it’s a blunder.”

 

Foolishness in Travis County, Texas


Rosemary Lehmberg, the District Attorney of Travis County, Texas, was busted for DWI. As a result, she did jail time and temporarily lost her license to practice law. She refused to resign her office, and now, a special prosecutor has indicted Governor Rick Perry for exercising his veto power over a part of the state’s funding for the DA’s office.

This case is so bizarre that even John Chiat and Think Progress are embarrassed by it, but much of the leadership of the Texas Democrat Party is gone all in, hoping to make a dent in the Republican Party’s control of state’s government.

Patterico has the best legal analysis I’ve read so far of the patently bogus indictment. Read the whole thing.

Warrior Cops


One of the things that I noticed around the Montgomery County courthouses is how heavily equipped the local cops were. Given the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, more and more people are noticing the militarization of policing in America.

Don’t get me wrong. I think police officers should have access to whatever they legitimately need to do their jobs, but I’m uncomfortable in places where the beat cops are better equipped than the average soldier or Marine on a day-to-day basis.

After all, unless they get drafted or enlist, the members of police forces are civilians.

UPDATE—Most soldiers here in America don’t wear a full set of combat gear most of the time.