Seattle Writer/libertarian/Cop (Ret.)

Trying to be objective as I can, I am attempting to wrap my mind around the Supreme Court rulings today regarding Hobby Lobby and public unions. I’m not addressing the actual substance of the rulings with which, you will not be surprised to hear, I agree. The difficulty I’m having is in how four United States Supreme Court justices could rule in a way, that, had they gotten their ways, would have clearly abridged the freedom of religion.

A person, on the political far left, may not care that it is a violation, but that doesn’t negate the fact an opposite ruling would have infringed on a fundamental right. I understand that some issues may be intensely political, and each side having its sincerely held beliefs. Still, how can learned SCOTUS justices argue that the owner(s) of closely held companies freedom of religion does not extend to a business they own? This is not a matter of having chosen a place to work as an employee; this is someone who created a private business entity. What other convictions and virtues should be left outside as a business owner walks into the company he or she has built?

The fundamental rights issue extends to the other decision today, which essentially ruled that a public union cannot exact involuntary union dues from family caretakers of their own physically/mentally challenged relatives. The fact that four Supreme Court justices thought it was perfectly fine for a public union to steal money from a mom taking care of her own child boggles the mind.

The fact that these four justices apparently also believe that public unions may collect union dues from any non-union member is abhorrent in a free country. Many believe that the very existence of public unions, in and of themselves, is corrupt. Even FDR, a saint in the pantheon of progressivism, felt public unions were anathema to the U.S. economic system.

Another fundamental and no less mind-boggling element of this discussion is how Supreme Court justices can swear oaths to uphold the U.S. Constitution when they clearly and repeatedly demonstrate that they do not respect the Constitution as it exists and have no intention of upholding it. Rather than upholding, or even simply interpreting the U.S. Constitution, they act to alter it toward their personal political beliefs.

Perhaps they cross their fingers behind their backs while swearing their oaths, all the while thinking, … uphold the Constitution (as I believe it should exist) against all enemies…

Although I have no illusions that anything will come of this, I’ll cry out from the wilderness once again, if for nothing else, that some call for context and fairness in Seattle media exist in some form exist on the record. I’m talking about yet another report from a local news media regarding the fraudulent DOJ consent decree foisted upon Seattle’s police department.

To briefly review. The DOJ came to Seattle to find use-of-force and bias misconduct on the part of Seattle’s police officers, and what do you know, they found it. In fact, they found a lot of it—enough to implement a consent decree. After an investigation where the DOJ—to this day—refuses to release its methodology, they asserted that, they found the SPD violated suspect’s constitutional rights a statistically absurd twenty percent of the time.

Seattle University criminal justice professor, Matthew J. Hickman, a former DOJ statistician, conducted his own research based upon much more data than the DOJ used. Hickman found the DOJ findings to be in such error that he advised Seattle to call the DOJ’s bluff and demand an apology. The implementation of the consent decree was based upon the above-descried corrupt findings.

Now, let’s get to the point at hand. This morning, I was listening to the John Carlson Show on KVI Radio. During an ABC news broadcast announcing the swearing in of Seattle’s new police chief, Kathleen O’Keefe, the reporter referred to the chief facing the challenge of heading a police department under a DOJ consent decree for, excessive force and bias policing issues.

Once again, the public is left with the impression that the consent decree was arrived at through a process of integrity when it was anything but. No caveat or context was provided to indicate the extreme bias with which the DOJ instituted the consent decree against the men and women of the Seattle Police Department.

Sometimes when controversies arise circumstances pit good people on one side of an issue against good people on the other. Such is current situation involving Seattle police officers, some of whom have banded together to sue the Department of Justice and city entities over the new, and severely flawed, police use of force policy. But, what happens when good people decide to do bad things to those other good people?

Regarding the federal lawsuit recently filed by over 125 Seattle police officers, a few facts must be understood. Many people wonder why so much of the support for the suit came from the North Precinct compared with the other precincts. One simple reason is that the lawsuit organizers began informing officers, logically, where they are currently assigned: the North Precinct. It is logical to assume that the suit would have attracted similar support from the other precincts.

Next, the organizers attempted to expand awareness by informing officers from other precincts about the lawsuit. However, SPD commanders and the Guild worked to prevent the information about the lawsuit from getting out to police officers. The SPD is not the largest police force in America, but with five precincts and three watches for some 1300 sworn officers, information does not automatically broadcast across the department. This is true especially when city and guild leaders make a concerted effort to prevent that information from being disseminated.

Regardless of whether one supports or opposes legal action to address the dangerous new use of force policy, those who are supporting the lawsuit have nothing more than officer safety as a primary motivator. Admittedly, many officers do harbor resentment for the DOJ and for good reasons, after all, who would feel kindly toward someone who slandered his or her professional conduct? However, officer and public safety are the preeminent motivations.

The embarrassing thing about the guild’s (as directed by its president) behavior is in its apparent lack of trust in its membership to have all of the information about issues that affect them in order to make intelligent and responsible decisions. Unfortunately, the guild, instead of intelligent and responsible decisions, may be more interested in making political decisions.

Here is a firsthand example of an organized effort to prevent officers from learning about the lawsuit: Prior to my recent retirement, I wrote a farewell article for The Guardian. In the original article, as submitted, I’d written, “I urge everyone to support the efforts to fight the DOJ injustice by supporting the civil rights lawsuit. Any officer who takes the time to read the complaint will easily see the necessity, logic and even life-saving aspects of this courageous effort. Please sign the petition in support of this legitimate grievance on behalf of all of Seattle’s cops. It’s too bad our commanders aren’t publicly championing this for us. A damned shame, actually.” This passage was censored before publication and the article appeared without it. The Guardian is mailed out to every member of the police guild.

The reason this censorship is more significant than it might seem is, Police Guild President Ron Smith, a very good man, which makes this all the more astonishing, after having censored this call for officer support in the union newspaper, spoke publicly about a “lack of support” for the lawsuit.

After telling KIRO TV that the officers are, “wasting their time,” Smith said, “most officers refused (emphasis mine) to sign the suit. ‘The Seattle Police Officers Guild is made up of about 1,250 members. One hundred and twenty six, that’s less than 10 percent, took this action. That’s 90% who didn’t.”

I don’t think any further embellishment is necessary to emphasize the disingenuousness of this statement meant to disparage fellow officers, all of whom, a guild president is elected and sworn to represent. Smith could have addressed the opposition without using such a smarmy political technique.The sad truth is, the lack of support was the result of some officers simply not knowing about the suit and other officers feeling intimidated into not signing it.

After actively preventing officers from even knowing about the lawsuit, to imply that ignorance of the lawsuit is akin to refusing to sign it, is blatantly dishonest and shows disrespect for what is supposed to be an open and transparent process, which should allow intelligent police officers to make up their own minds on issues that affect their safety.

When good people are in disagreement on an issue, it is imperative that respect for both sides be maintained and that each gives the other the benefit of the doubt. However, in no case should a police guild ever hold their members in such contempt.

Once again, although I hesitate to post other opinions, because there are too many good pieces out there, another one I read recently rose above the others.

I encourage you to go to the West Seattle Herald for an illuminating piece providing a perspective all Seattleites should hear. Link: Article

Was just down in beautiful, earthy and ever-so-tie-dyed Oregon for a few days. A sign in a coffee shop read, “Re-Green the Earth.” It was a reminder that Earth Day, April 22, was approaching, and now, here it is. It pricked my memories of how I, a right-leaning libertarian, used to appreciate Earth Day. I liked the idea of recycling, living close to the Earth, utilizing items to their fullest potential, and making my own environmentalist decisions based on my assessment of the information out there—voluntarily!

Today, when I hear someone mention, Earth Day, I gag. Well, not literally but at least figuratively. One issue pops into my mind: Paper or plastic? There are environmentalist arguments on both sides of this issue. However, in some jurisdictions one side or the other has managed to use the force of government to impose their political will on others, regardless of the actual benefits or harm done to the environment, not to mention the economy—just as long as their point of view is mandated, they are happy. Well, until they come up with their next environmental crisis.

What’s my problem? It’s the fact that the left: liberals, progressives, collectivists, statists, whatever they and others are calling them these days, has turned environmentalism—not to mention every other -ism they support—into a quasi-religion. It is not enough to teach by example or to attempt to convince one to one’s side through education and persuasion. No. Now, one must agree that government force is necessary to impose a left-wing political philosophy disguised as conservationism by cramming it down people’s throats whether they agree or not with a certain political philosophy, not a settled scientific consensus. Galileo suffered from a similar quasi-scientific/religious consensus four centuries ago in the form of an intolerant church. Today, an intolerant political perspective is doing it.

Libertarian that I am, I instinctively buck at such a notion. When an idea has to be forced on people by government, that is probably not an idea worth a damn. I am no more authorized to force an idea on you than you are on me. We are sovereign over our own lives, are we not? Perhaps, if we all lived by a simple code expressed best in the title to Freedom Works President Matt Kibbe’s new book, Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto, we’d all be better off.

When a group or an individual espouses a philosophy of mandate over one of educate, one must look with suspicion on the message and the messenger. What is the true agenda?

Perhaps, instead of worrying about the jack-booted greenies and their government allies, I should simply adopt a new tradition that someone I know has adopted. In fact, this is a rather liberal friend who adheres to most of the liberal conventions, lest she be excluded—or perhaps, as the Mozilla executive found recently, excommunicated, socially castrated and ostracized. However, risking these consequences, on Earth Day each year she dedicates the day to eradicating noxious weeds, assassinating them with a healthy dose of Round Up. Perhaps even better: some entrepreneur could come up with a, Round Up, to kill progressive ideas.

How to Destroy a Police Department.

by

Steve Pomper

(Preface)

Sadly, I must preface this blog/article in order to convey some background. Unfortunately, the Seattle Times is the only major newspaper covering the Seattle area, and apparently the gatekeepers aren’t particularly interested in presenting all sides of an issue. However, they don’t seem to mind pretending they are interested.

I wrote an op-ed addressing the damaging effects of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree on the Seattle Police Department and commenting on the fact that the Seattle news media continuously fail to put the consent decree in its proper context in its news reports. Rather than reporting that the DOJ consent decree was controversial due to the dubious way in which the DOJ conducted its “investigation,” most Seattle media only report the fact the SPD is under a consent decree due to a “pattern and practice of” officer brutality and misconduct, as if that is a universally agreed upon fact, which it most definitely is not.

On February 11, 2014, prior to my retirement from the SPD, I submitted the first version of the following article to the Seattle Times as a Guest Op-Ed hoping it would be published while I was still on the job. What followed was 36 days of running through a Seattle Time’s gauntlet they had apparently set up for me. My wife cancelled our Times subscription back in ‘99 due to the consistently inaccurate reporting during WTO. She told me I was wasting my time if I thought the Seattle Times would print a Seattle street cop’s perspective on the current state of the police department under a federal consent decree and city social justice regime.

In declining the article after such a delay, the Seattle Times provided a perfect example of a leftist bias, which prevents it from providing balanced perspectives to its readers.

Below is the timeline of the publishing obstacle course Sharon Chan of the Seattle Times had me run, as I simply attempted to bring to light what I and many of my brother and sister officers have experienced:

Feb. 11- Article submitted to the Seattle Times.

Feb. 12- Times request to cut article to 650-word limit.

Feb. 15- Sent revision cut by 50%.

Feb 20- Times request I footnote/cite article due to “High Stakes” subject.

Feb 21- Sent revision w/ footnotes and citations.

Mar. 3- Follow Up: Asked if Times received revision.

Mar. 3- Times reply: Will get back to you by end of day Mar. 4.

Mar. 4- Times request I accept their edits and they will publish within 4 weeks.

Mar.10- Sent, yet another, revision to Times.

Mar.14- Times informed me they are doing additional edits.

Mar. 15- I sent reply acknowledgement.

Mar. 18- Times suddenly declines due to three minor issues/ one-min. of edit time to correct.

Total time from submission to decline: 36 days, during which time I had retired from the SPD.

It is clear that the Seattle Times strung me along long enough to make me believe its interest in publishing the op-ed was genuine. In fact, what follows are some of the quotes I received from Editor Sharon Chan during the process. Actually, she seemed quite nice. However, she failed to give me the courtesy of replying to my final email questioning this dubious process.

Feb 12- “I think the submission has potential but we can only seriously consider submissions that meet our word length of 500 to 650 words. If you would like to trim and resubmit, we would be happy to take another look.”

Feb. 20- “I’m interested in your perspective. Because this is a high stakes topic, we would need sources for each of the facts/quotes…”

Mar. 13- “We would like to publish your op-ed and work through some

editing changes with you. We would be planning to publish this at some

point in the next four weeks, assuming we reach agreement on edits.”

Mar. 18- “I wish we could have shared your perspective with our readers

because I believe it would have added a needed perspective to the dialogue.

Sorry it didn’t work out. Sharon Chan.”

In the final email Ms. Chan included three items of concern:

#1. In one place I had mistakenly written NPR instead of PBS.

#2. I had placed quotation marks around a paraphrase of a quote that had not changed the essence of the quote one iota.

#3. I put quotes around three words intended to denote sarcasm, which I intended to convey

in this: Opinion-Editorial.

After hours of edits, footnotes and citations, the Seattle Times would like us

to believe they declined to publish this, “needed perspective to the

dialogue,” for a few final edits that took me less than a minute to correct.

How to Destroy a Police Department.

by

Steve Pomper

(This is a full version akin to the article originally submitted to the Seattle Times)

How do you take one of the most well-respected and emulated police departments in America and, almost overnight, turn it into an enfeebled version of its former self? One way is by having Seattle’s political leaders impose a social justice regime, which contaminates laws and policies, by subjecting police officers to political indoctrination, and, finally, by allowing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to impose a federal fiction.

Having recently retired after more than twenty-one years of service to the City of Seattle, and years earlier than I expected, I feel confident giving a street cop’s view of today’s Seattle Police Department (SPD) under a social justice regime and DOJ consent decree.

Since no one seems to be picking up the mantle publicly for Seattle’s cops, it seems we must speak for ourselves, if not collectively, then individually. I do not claim to speak for all of my brothers and sisters. However, as a street cop for over twenty-one years in one of America’s most notoriously liberal cities, I feel confident in speaking from my perspective about the Seattle Police Department (SPD). “As I say at every new-hire orientation session ‘you do not give up one single constitutional right when you pin on your badge.” Sgt. Rich O’Neill, Seattle Police Officers Guild President (The Guardian, June, 2013).

Social justice indoctrination begins benignly, first, by infusing a city government’s lexicon with inane leftist jargon and political correctness, which then leads to political indoctrination. Elliott Bronstein, of Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights, issued a memo last year, nudging city employees to refrain from using such horrendously racist and bigoted words as, “brown bag” and “citizen.” This leftist lunacy was reported as far away as the United Kingdom, thus elevating Seattle from a national laughing stock, to that of, at the very least, the English-speaking world.

Seeking to bolster this dubious distinction, at Seattle’s Hempfest 2013, city officials directed police officers to hand out bags of Doritos, labeled with instructions on how to comply with the new marijuana law, to the pothead throng illegally smoking marijuana in public. During a speech to the orange-fingered masses, Seattle’s City Attorney Peter Holmes cheered legalized pot. Perhaps Mr. Holmes should also have cops dole out bags of beer nuts to sidewalk drunks.

Even if I might agree with Mr. Holmes about certain drug policies, there is a matter of propriety. It was with obvious affection that Holmes shouted, “We did it!” to the cloud enveloped gathering. However, his speech to the Hempfest crowd also revealed his hostility toward police. Holmes has dubiously prosecuted several officers who were subsequently acquitted, but he is reluctant to prosecute Downtown street crime. Last year Holmes refused to prosecute twenty-eight chronic street criminals personally requested by Acting Police Chief Jim Pugel.

And then there is Seattle’s, Race and Social Justice Initiative’s (RSJI), whose slimy tentacles have slithered into every crack and crevice of city government. Police manuals, notices and directives are contaminated with social justice terms. City departments must now be social justice-compliant. Also, thanks to Peter Holmes, Seattle, unbelievably, is enforcing the law according to social justice rather than equal justice standards.

By definition, social justice treats people differently depending upon their group “victimization credentials.” By contrast, equal justice seeks to treat individuals equally as espoused in America’s founding documents and subsequent amendments.

Driving While License Suspended 3rd Degree (DWLS3) is a traffic crime, which generally results when a driver fails to pay a previous citation. Normally, officers issue citations to the violator during the traffic stop. With this law, officers must instead forward the citation to the city attorney’s office, so they can determine who gets cited and who does not according to social justice criteria. Assistant City Attorney Darby Ducomb said in a 2010 interview with Publicola.net that, “…city attorneys would decide which cases merited punishment.” Mr. Holmes, twice during a video interview with Publicola.net, stated that the DWLS3 policy is based in social justice because a high percentage of those cited happen to be minorities. When I questioned this policy in a series of articles in the police guild newspaper, the department investigated me for seven months. I was found to have done nothing wrong, but this had a chilling affect on officers’ free speech rights.

To reinforce the social justice message, Seattle now sends its cops to political indoctrination disguised as law enforcement training. The indoctrination includes a PBS produced video series: “Race: The Power of an Illusion,” which provides some valid scientific and historical information, but then instructors conflate this with invalid contemporary conclusions. The seminar perpetuates a view that white privilege and minority oppression are the preeminent rule in contemporary American society. This is a political perspective, not law enforcement training. If the situation was reversed and, for example, a conservative government mandated employees attend firearms safety classes, Seattle’s political left would never tolerate it.

On another battlefront, the DOJ descended on Seattle to further blemish this once stellar police department. The DOJ allegedly found that Seattle police officers’ uses-of-force violated suspects’ constitutional rights an absurd 20% of the time. Incredibly, the DOJ refuses to divulge the mystical methodology it used to arrive at such a ludicrous figure.

Enter Seattle University criminal justice professor and former DOJ statistician Matthew J. Hickman Ph.D. who debunked the DOJ report. In more thorough investigations, Professor Hickman arrived at a more lucid number of 3.5% of cases that might include violations. In a courageous, Special to the Times: Department of Justice owes the Seattle Police Department an apology (Seattle Times, Feb. 8th, 2012), Hickman advised the SPD to, “call DOJ’s bluff, and settle for nothing less than a formal apology.” Despite this timely and credible defense of the SPD, Seattle city leaders ignored his advice. This insulting and costly federal consent decree gives the DOJ unprecedented access and illegitimate influence over Seattle’s understaffed, overstressed and overburdened cops.

In an interview conducted by the Seattle Police Guild’s, The Guardian, editor, Officer Chet Decker, Merrick Bobb, the federal monitor, who’s had his own share of controversy since coming to Seattle, offered this chillingly Orwellian statement: “Whatever the correct figure might be, it is not relevant to our task today. The feud is over, and past disagreements must not impede current progress. What I know for sure is that the settlement agreement embodies best practice in policing and that it is to the SPD’s and Seattle’s benefit that it be implemented regardless of what led up to it” (The Guardian, August, 2013). Regardless of what led up to it? For SPD officers, this is akin to having been falsely charged with a crime, exonerated, and then told you still have to serve a prison sentence.

Currently, Seattle’s so-called, mainstream, as well as fringe (not that one can easily discern the difference these days), media continue to refer to the consent decree as if there were no controversy regarding its fabrication and implementation. Consider this title from an NPR news story by, Martin Kaste, “Faith In Seattle Police ‘shaken’ By DOJ Investigation.” I read through several stories and watched and listened to others on TV and radio news broadcasts concerning the consent decree, while writing this article. Most reporters fail to put the consent decree in context. The fact this consent decree was controversial with regard to the DOJ’s dubious conclusions and its failure to release the methodology it used is no longer mentioned. The only mention is of a consent decree instituted due to a, “pattern and practice,” of police misconduct and physical abuse. How can this not lead to Seattle’s citizens falsely concluding that their honorable police force is staffed by physically abusive and morally corrupt thugs?

The good men and women of the SPD are under siege from the political left. Last summer, Merrick Bobb indicated he was not happy with a “lack of cooperation” from some within the SPD command staff. In an apparent reaction to this criticism, then Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel demoted one of the rank and file’s favorite chiefs, Assistant Chief Nick Metz, to Captain. The speculation among many officers was that A/Chief Metz was demoted as a direct result of his advocacy on behalf of Seattle’s embattled police officers. Interim Chief Harry Bailey, a good man, corrected this disrespect and re-promoted Metz to Assistant Chief.

What will the SPD look like after its sinew has been turned to flab? One fear is, “De-policing,” a phenomenon where cops avoid pro-active patrol. The good people of Seattle should understand this: “De-policing” is not about police apathy toward their jobs. It is about a federal and city government’s antipathy toward police. Today, it seems our own department is filing more complaints against officers than are the public. Criminals are being turned into victims while police officers are being treated like criminals.

Seattleites should be aware of this insidious, ideological disease infecting its police department. It is said that a community gets the law enforcement it deserves. Seattle has recently elected a new mayor, Ed Murray, whom I’ve met, and who is a nice man. However, he is still a very liberal politician who has not acknowledged the corruption behind this bogus, and expensive, consent decree. Whether or not Seattleites deserve the law enforcement they are getting, I’ll let them be the judge. After all, it is they who will suffer the consequences of their votes. And I suppose, now, I should prepare for my visit from the IRS.

If you ask people what is the greatest power a police officer has at his disposal most would probably answer, his gun, or the ability to use force up to and including lethal. After all the power to use physical force against another person is a significant one indeed. However, in the majority of instances when an officer must use force, especially lethal force, it’s a circumstance in which any person would be able to take the same actions. Officers use force for two primary reasons: to protect themselves or to protect others. We all enjoy this right.

These powers, though significant and necessary, become almost incidental to the true power of the police officer in a free country such as the United States of America. That true power is the authority to take away a free person’s liberty. Even if only for a short time, such as during a traffic stop or when detained for something minor like littering, the power to stop a person in the midst of conducting his daily work or leisure, is an awesome power indeed.

Think about it. If you’re walking down the street and some person told you to stop, you’d probably gesture creatively indicating what he could do with that command. But as a society we give a limited number of people the authority to detain and arrest people for investigation of an infraction, misdemeanor crime, or felony crime. When the police detain people to investigate a crime we tend to give the officer more of a benefit of the doubt. But when it comes to simple infractions, civil violations that don’t rise to the level of a crime, such as jaywalking or speeding, the power to deprive a person of their liberty takes on a higher significance. I always took this authority seriously and would have considered it an abuse of power if I had wielded it frivolously.

It is for this reason I oppose the proliferation of socialist-tinged laws, which are those laws that are designed to protect Peter from Peter, rather than, correctly, Peter from Paul. For example, do I think wearing a seatbelt is a good idea? No. I think wearing a seatbelt is a great idea. I use mine all the time and I encourage my family to use them because it is a great idea. I also encourage them to wear rain gear in inclement weather and to take their vitamins every day. These are also great ideas, but should the law enforce these great ideas? Of course not.

A law that gives me the authority to stop you when you’re not engaged in an activity that harms another is a bad law. If you’re driving down the street and a police officer sees you driving your car without a seat belt, harming no one, and putting no one at risk other than, potentially, yourself, he or she can stop you, deprive you of your liberty, and sanction you with a monetary penalty. Put simply, I think that’s just plain wrong.

I rarely refer to other columns or writers. There are just too many good ones, and I wouldn’t want to slight by omission if this became a habit (although, I do reserve the right to change this policy). However, after reading Daniel Henninger’s Wall Street Journal article this morning, I just had to pass it along to folks. Henninger has been a favorite of mine for some time now. In this column, the way he lists Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions over the recent past and then compares Obama’s responses with former President Jimmy Carter’s actions during his presidency, is poignant indeed. The Russian and Chinese dangers are too serious to attempt a Chamberlain-styled diplomacy. But, I’ll let Daniel convey this message. Read Article.

If one ever wonders where President Obama stands on a particular issue, or topic, in general, in his heart, one need only look to whom he nominates for important government positions and to his comments regarding the issues surrounding these nominations.

The Senate today showed a rare sanity while under Harry Reid’s thumb, today when several Democrats broke rank and voted to block Debo Adegbile’s nomination to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Shame on all of the senators who voted for this ill-considered nomination.

The controversy surrounding Mr. Adegbile comes from his having represented convicted cop-killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and having kept him from the noose, electric chair, or lethal injection he most certainly warranted. A jury found Abu-Jamal guilty of, as several witnesses to the crime testified, running up on Officer Daniel Faulkner while the officer was conducting a “routinetraffic stop and shooting the officer in the back. After the officer shot back and then fell to the ground, grievously wounded, Abu-Jamal walked over and shot the helpless twenty-five year old officer again, in the chest and face.

President Obama, in a written statement, wrote, “The fact that his nomination was defeated solely based on his legal representation of a defendant runs contrary to a fundamental principle of our system of justiceand those who voted against his nomination denied the American people an outstanding public servant.”

This is not a matter of “solelyrepresenting an accused defendant, to which everyone has a right. Even John Adams defended the British Soldiers accused of murder after what came to be known as, “The Boston Massacre.” Adegbile’s defense bled over to advocacy when decades after Abu-Jamal had been duly convicted and sentenced, he elected to assist this murderer further, including getting his death sentence overturned.

What strikes me most, as a police officer, is the President’s comments following Addgbile’s defeat. As with his comments following the incident involving Harvard Professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates that the Cambridge Police, “acted stupidly,” Mr. Obama tells us much about his core beliefs.

Similarly, following Adegbile’s defeat, and ignoring the massive opposition by law enforcement across America, from the officer or deputy on the street all the way up to the nation’s police chiefs and sheriffs, law enforcement organizations, and police unions, Mr. Obama called the vote a, “travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant.”

We all make choice in life for which we may one day have to account. Adegbile chose to defend, not a defendant whose innocence is rightly presumed, but an already convicted cop-killer whose guilt a jury had pronounced and whose sentence a state Supreme Court had upheld before it was overturned. That, in and of itself, was another shameful–I’ll use the President’s wordstravesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant. His name was Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

I’ve been thinking about political definitions lately. It seems so many people prefer to stuff people they don’t even know into neat little description boxes. This seems to be most true with ideological people on either side of the aisle who tend to dehumanize their opponents. When I went through my free speech kerfuffle with Seattle a few years back, although those who know me, know me to be kind, compassionate, and open-minded, many on the political left blasted me as a knuckle-dragging, jack-booted and racist thug. These were comments from people who do not know me. They hear words coming from someone with which they disagree and then paint the speaker/writer with their ignorant bile.

There are many categories into which people fit, but the non-ideological do not fit neatly. The lines are blurred; the boundaries overlap. For example, there are those who are predominately liberal but who oppose abortion. There are conservatives who are pro-choice. Striking closer to home, libertarians also have these distinctions. With regard to the abortion issue, some libertarians support a pro-choice position with an emphasis on the woman. Other libertarians choose to emphasize a pro-life perspective and focus on the unborn child. The latter view seems to be enhanced by scientific advances in perinatology and related medical science, which have occurred since Roe v. Wade, more than forty years ago.


But I digress. I think it is radio talk show host, Larry Elder, who uses the phrase: republitarian, combining republican with libertarian to describe his liberty-minded blended audience of Republicans and libertarians. This conception would place republican over libertarian. Perhaps, liberpublican?

It is important that people define themselves politically, rather than conform to match a specific political ideology. If you’re involved with a group of people who too narrowly define their political perspective, saying, “You’re not a liberal, conservative, or libertarian unless you believe…” then find another group. Suspect anyone who tells you that you are not libertarian because you are pro-life, or for that matter, pro-choice. Define your own political perspective and retain your sacred independence of thought.

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