Quid custodit ipsos custodes
"Who shall guard the guardians?"
First, please read http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jul03/158933.asp and http://www.gmtoday.com/news/local_stories/2004/September_04/09232004_02.asp .
One paragraph from the second article runs as follows;
"Earlier investigations revealed that Klobukowski had no training in the use of the Survivair Quick2000 Escape Hood Respirator, which is designed to filter potentially contaminated air in the event of a nuclear, chemical or a biological attack. He put the hood over Sheridan’s head after the 20-year-old, according to police reports, became belligerent after being taken into custody."
The first question one may ask, what on earth is this mask supposed to do as a restraining device? Second, what was this dip of an officer thinking when he used this mask? If you don't know how to use a gun, find out how before you do something really bad, like killing someone. The same with driving a car, or cutting with a tablesaw. The officer, I think, must have known that the mask somehow inhibits or restrains by restricting the airflow. After all, it's a mask, and Klobukowski used it as a restraining device.
Personally, either Klobukowski is shockingly, unbelievably, stupifyingly 'cannot breathe and walk at the same time', 'just plain dumb' stupid beyond our wildest dreams,
An internet commentor writes this;
"If I advanced the idea that, oh, let's say, Enron, should conduct their own investigation, I would be considered retarded. Why then do police do their own internal investigations? It's a situation with an obvious propensity for corruption--and corrupt it is. Without the risk of real punishment for abuse of authority, the police have become almost unimpeachable. "
My thanks to contrarianistic for this note, as it sums up what I've been thinking. If the officer who killed this kid, and the one above him who did the drunken hit and run, go unpunished, what does this tell us about our 'guardians'? What does this say about us who do not insist on defrocking those who are obviously too stupid or too criminal to wield the authority of the State? May I remind the blogosphere that Lon Horiuchi, the murderer of Vickie Weaver, is still drawing a hefty Federal paycheck? Are we in control of the policemen, or, are they in charge of us? Why do the defenders of such incometence and vility always say, 'well, look at it from the policeman's perspective, and you will understand'. It seems the reverse is never true to these defenders: look at it not from the point of view of the State but from the citizens? Who is in charge in a Republic? The State or the Citizen?
We all have 'bad cop' stories, and there is often more than one side to them. I think Rodney King was a criminal and got himself in trouble. I also think the cops may have gone too far. I oft think the cops go way, way too far. And we trust them to police themselves? Ever notice they always get off? Two months of paid vacation is not punishment, it's a reward. And Lon Horiuchi was never even wrist-slapped for his repeated perjury, murder and attempted murder.
We Christians talk of accountability. Accountability is a good thing.
Martin Luther wrote that Christians do not need policemen, as we are willing to shoulder responsibility ourselves, and serve and protect others. He did write also that the police need Christians, as the Ten Commandments are more necessary for those in authority than others. Constabularies need Christian ethics. Or they are no constabularies, but public mafias.
Which brings me to a question that I need answered. St. Paul wrote, famously, that evildoers must fear the civil government, and that the civil authority does not bear the sword in vain. What about when good men must fear the civil government, for it propegates and protects evildoers? What about when the civil authority does bear the sword in vain, not to protect order but to protect itself? When it serves not the law, not society, but it's own, greedy, power-hungry self?
My one quibble with all that Luther wrote was that I think he placed too much faith in the civil authority. I don't think he understood that the guardians need to be guarded.