To Serve And Protect … Or Harass and Collect?

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What good are cops, really?

I mean to the average, non-violent citizen just trying to go about his business?

For him, cops are a nuisance – and increasingly, a threat. They don’t protect his property; indeed, they spend their days trying to take it away via enforcement of various and ever-increasing laws ranging from the minor (“speeding” fines) to the major (asset seizure for possessing or imbibing some substance the State has arbitrarily decreed to be “illegal”). Or maybe they’re out enforcing “free speech zones” and/or giving wood shampoos to the Mundanes (that’s Will Grigg’s wonderful term – full credit given here).  

Libertarian writers such as Grigg, among others, have noted that most of us – very tellingly – do not feel “safe” when a cop rolls up behind us. Or when we see one in general. In fact we feel nervous and stressed – because we know instinctively that the cop is most emphatically not our “protector.” We gird our loins, grit our teeth. We hope the cop will “give us a break” – that is, decline to fully enforce the ukase he believes we’ve just transgressed. We become servile, mewling “yes sir, no sir” to some buzz-cut 24-year-old community college graduate (a few have managed to achieve the full four-year degree in “criminal justice” or some such from Turnpike Tech), hating the sound of ourselves as we grovel but knowing that we must grovel, else risk our “protector’s” largely unaccountable wrath. 

Speaking of which:

Physical protection from criminal thugs is arguably the only moral service a cop can provide. But the truth is they don’t provide even this most elemental of services. Indeed, the Supremes have explicitly laid this out; i.e., cops have no duty to protect specific individuals from harm. Just “society.” That means you are on your own where it matters most; the one area where most of us would agree having some back-up would be nice to have.

Only, we don’t have it. And more, should not expect it. 

There’s a great saying: I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

Another: When seconds count, a cop is just minutes away.

In our very rural county, it would probably take a cop at least 10-15 minutes (assuming he was fairly close by to start with) to respond to a 911 call. By the time he got here, it’d likely be over. Cops investigate crime, you see – as distinct from protecting you from crime. It is an important distinction. And the lesson to be taken from it is this:

If some SOB breaks into your home, it is up to you to provide the .45 (or double 00) enema to said SOB.

Ditto when you are out on the streets. If you are accosted, the only person responsible for your physical safety – for your life – is you.

(If, that is, “the law” even permits this. In several areas – Chicago and DC, for example – the only personages permitted to possess weapons are the cops and – de facto – the criminals. Use a weapon in self-defense in a “gun free” area and you have become the criminal; the transgressor of “the law.”) 

So, what use are cops?

They spend their days  catching “speeders,” fighting a “drug war” moral people are conscientiously opposed to and otherwise bothering (and sometimes, much worse) people who aren’t harming anyone except possibly themselves (which in an ostensibly free society ought to be as respected a right as the right to free exercise of religion).

The analogy here is the military. It is called national defense but in reality it is national offense. The last time the United States unquestionably fought a war of defense was back in 1812. The Troops – and the Cops (who are very often The Troops recycled) are there for largely offensive purposes, both abroad and back here in the Homeland. 

Enormous resources – our resources – are thrown down the proverbial rathole subsidizing these activities, which are sanctified by the term, “law enforcement” – which is usually sufficient to shut up any potential critics, who must certainly be Hippies or communists or who at the very least hate Ahhhhmeerrrrikuh.  (Where at least you know you’re free… etc.) 

But the truth is most of the laws being enforced have very little do with keeping us from harming one another – or catching those who do.

Cops are on patrol for seatbelt scofflaws; lurking behind billboards to nab ne’er do wells who travel faster than a sign says they may. Even cold-cocking jaywalkers (yes, this has actually happened).  

Or Tazering moms in minivans who dare to talk back. 

Meanwhile, child rapists on home release are not being monitored (see the Jaycee Dugard case; it’s an example of the rule rather than the exception), old widows living alone are not being protected (except by themselves) and if you’re out walking the street at night, you best be prepared to defend yourself. Because the cops are just doing their job – and their job has very little do with protecting you from physical violence.

But they’ll be sure to investigate whatever happens to you after it’s all over with. Plenty of overtime pay, there.

Throw it in the Woods?


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  1. Thank you for sharing these points. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans just want to keep their heads in the proverbial sand and live in a blue-sky world with a false sense of security, that the police are out there protecting them. I am former military and have many acquaintances who are cops. In my experience it does take a certain type of person to want to become a cop. Yes, there are the very rare few who genuinely become cops to actually help people. The vast majority of them become cops because they enjoy having control and authority over other people. I find it to be an internal weakness and flaw, much along the lines of why sereal killers harm animals as children. They very much like to laugh, joke and brag about beating people up, harassing and intimidating people and the things they get away with, that non-police would not. They fully admit to writing tickets on an arbitrary basis and generally do not like to do any more work (taking calls, writing tickets, doing investigations, etc) than the very minimum necessary as required by their job requiremens or supervisors. The reason they typically state for not wanting to do these things is because it just caises them to have to do more paperwork. Wow, God forbid you help anyone and it costs you a little time to do paperwork, on paid time no less. They have a distain for the general public, as somehow being less worthy or less entitled. These cops I know are not isolated either. Many of them work for different agencies or commands. So it’s not a case of one group of bad apples. It is the attitued that is pervasive throughout law enforcement that is tought, expected and tolerated. Tolerated by too many citizens that allows it to continue.

    • I agree completely, but will go one step further. I think most (not all) cops possess a form of mental retardation and it’s sought after by the government. I’ve met a few cops, went to university with a fella that became a state trooper, and know guy trying to be a cop. Not even mentioning my past/present run-ins.

    • The “bad apples” give the remaining 5% a poor reputation. . .

      “It is the attitude that is pervasive throughout law enforcement…”
      You got that right.

  2. As to law, what people aren’t told is that “due process” was never intended to refer to the constitution. It was actually protection from constitutional encroachment. In Federalist 45, Madison points out that all affairs in the normal process of things regarding life, liberty, or property, was reserved to the states. This reservation, we see in the 5th amendment, was reserved under due process of law, which was defined by Justice Joseph Story as “due indictment according to common law” as it came from England. “Indictment” takes two forms: grand jury and indictment by information. The second form was not highly regarded in England, and was detested by the colonists, as England used it in what is known as “Admiralty Court”. Today’s traffic court is indictment by information, so technically, if you got to traffic court, you are not standing trial. You are being indcted, but since you don’t know that, it is combined with trial, and you unwittingly play along with their scam.

  3. A long time ago the police were referred to as “Peace Officers” and their job was to ensure “life, liberty and the security of property”. Now the police are referred to as “Law enforcement officers” whose job is to enforce Talmudic Law.

    • Yes. I remember. You can see it in “Andy Griffith” – and that world did exist, once. I’m old enough to remember a world where you could argue with a cop; challenge a cop (not physically – just question what he was doing) and not have to worry about getting Tazered or shot or even arrested. Cops were not the malevolent “law enforcers” they are becoming today.

      • I had that happen 30 years ago (in December).

        Cop asks for my ID – as I’m pulling out my wallet to comply, I ask, innocuously, “Why do you need to see my ID?” (I was just sitting there minding my own business)
        “I don’t need a reason to see your damned ID!” was the response.

        “Come now, you gotta have a reason,” I replied.

        The response to that was, “Oh, a smart-ass, huh?” Being grabbed, yanked to my feet, and jabbed in the ribs (repeatedly) with a nightstick followed immediately.

        Next thing I know, there’s 5 of those scumbags swarming me.

  4. Great article. If you’ll remember, in the mid 90’s, the designation of “Police Officers”, was changed to “Law Enforcement Officers”.
    No more “Protect and Serve”. Cops don’t work for the people anymore, they work for the government.
    Keep putting the word out…


  5. Cops have become revenue-grubbers. Half the time they are the menace on the road, creating dangerous obstacles by “pulling people over” in the middle of busy roads.

    As for investigating crime, yes there are dedicated detectives, but if you are raped? Good luck getting that rape kit even looked at. The backlog of untested rape kits is becoming a national issue.
    Why, when it could solve cases or prove innocence?

    • No question. There have been several investigative reports that reveal some localities derive a major portion of their operating “revenue” from traffic fines. And the most egregious example of all, of course, is the profit-sharing deal between a private contractor and a municipality that sets up photo radar and red light cameras. Pure cash machine. It’s wrong, but its also dangerous – to civil order – because it (rightly) generates enmity toward cops because people feel they’re little better than armed tax collectors, which is to a great extent exactly what they are.

  6. Ah, Clover…. when, where did I ever write that “…everyone else the hell off the road. It is just for you”?

    What I did write is that Clovers should move over – but won’t. The problem I have with you is not that you prefer to drive the speed limit (or slower). It’s that you think no one else should be driving any faster (because it’s the law!) and, therefore, you refuse to yield to let “speeders” get by.

    This is the core nugget of Cloverism.

  7. If you want me to comment on the Cloverism article it is pretty much like this article. If something is not true then you make it up. If you do not like someone then make things up about them. I did like it when they were talking about your hangups on things. I did not go back and look but you probably deleted their posts since they were true. I liked where you said to get everyone else the hell off the road. It is just for you. You keep going back to the constitution. It should be said that back then when it was written they walked and road horses. You would not allow that in your perfect world. If someone did not drive your speed they do not belong on any road.

  8. Nice one Eric. Cops are just thugs out to hurt people. NO one ever does anything to them to provoke them. They just start beating up people. Everyone they arrest is innocent it is just the cops that want to hurt and beat up the innocent.

    • He’s baaaaccck!

      No, my dear ol’ Clover – that’s not it at all. Let me parse it for you (again): Some cops are brutal thugs; a fact. You seem to believe that’s impossible; that a cop – because he’s a cop – must be a Good Guy. Just like a law – any law – must be a Good Law. Unfortunately, that’s not how the word works. And even more unfortunately, our country is increasingly beset by very bad laws indeed – enforced by bad cops, who are attracted to the work.

      PS: Did you see the many fans who wrote in to support you after I posted my latest dissection of Cloveritis?

    • Sometimes, yes, that’s exactly what they do. I have posted several videos of such actions and there are hundreds, if not thousands, available on YouTube. I didn’t stage these; they’re real occurrences. Do all cops do this? A majority? No – and probably not. But many (too many) do. They also expect cringing compliance with their every order; again, not always or even most of the time. But far too many times. The evidence of this is, again, abundant. Tapes don’t lie. Yes, some of these people committed some offense; but that doesn;t justify the extreme over-reaction we see in some of these cases. Example, Tazering a mom pulled over for a seat belt violation because she dared to argue with the cop. Or the plainclothes cop who drew his pistol on a biker over “speeding.” Or – much worse – the cop who shot the biker (and paralyzed him for life) over a minor traffic violation. Etc.

      The difference between us is that you revere authority while I distrust it implicitly because human nature is flawed and giving power to anyone is a strong inducement to abuse that power.

    • Excellent example. I can understand the initially aggressive posture of the cop, since he couldn’t know what he was dealing with… at first. But once it was clear that he was dealing with a woman who – very clearly – wasn’t being aggressive and most definitely wasn’t any physical threat – he should have dialed it back. A lot. Pointing his pistol at her was out of hand excessive; so also plastering her to the road… over a speeding violation. What an asshole. The guy looks to be a good 6ft-plus and 210 or more… and he “throws down” with a clearly flabby woman half his size and probably a fourth of his strength. You have to be thug to do that.

        • At least it’s a fair fight! If it’s cop on one of us, and we fight back, or even try to ward off his blows, it’s “assaulting an officer.”

      • An Identical suspect Killed a police officer here in my city a few yrs back. An inocous noncompliant fat black female produced a pistol from her ass crack and shot the officer at an upward angle under her kevlar vest
        The response to this video is clearly anti white bigotry/white guilt. A white man that led a cop on an eight mile chase at speeds over 80 mph wouldn’t recieve any sympathy.

        • I’m the last to “Rodney KIng” any issue… just to preface. That said, I can’t abide cops who beat down clearly submissive, obviously physically inferior opponents over minor traffic violations. Or who Tazer them for “talking back” or just asking questions – something you used to be able to do without fear of being assaulted by a cop.

          Now, in this case, if the driver had threatened the cop (let alone actually attacked) as King did, then – go to town. Wood shampoo ’em. Tazer ’em. Whatever it takes to subdue them. I’m on the cops’ side all the way then. Rodney King was chimping out and deserved what he got – asked for what he got.

          But when the person is just a minor traffic violator (in this case, “speeding” – a bullshit charge – is all that was alleged, right?) and completely passive, then, sorry, it’s not a question of white guilt. It’s Asshole Outrage. The cop was out of control. Would you want to be pulled over by that guy on a dark road with no one around to see?

    • Complain complain complain but you offer no alternative solutions. Let’s say we get rid of the police. Then what? They are a deterrent to crime albeit not the best. But wihtout them it will be even worse. And who will pursue and arrest criminals? Again, they don’t catch everyone but they do catch some.

      So what is the alternative?

      • The solution is to get rid of the unjust laws (for example, the laws relating to the “war on drugs,” seat belt laws; endless penny ante traffic laws, etc.) then we’ll have just law enforcement!

        So, to an extent, I sympathize with the cops; it’s not their fault the laws are what they are. But, that said, it takes a certain type of person who wants to spend his days busting people for violating BS traffic laws, or (much worse) kicking in their doors and sending them to pound me in the ass prison because they had a bag of weed.

        To those who excuse it all by saying, “they are just doing their job.” Ok. So said Adolf Eichmann and his pals. Yes, the Nazis’ deeds were worse, but the principle is exactly the same. And we hanged the Nazis for “just following orders.”

      • Then what?

        Then, we supply our own defense, our own protection.

        If cops were such a great “deterrent,” crime should be just about eliminated by now – what with the paramilitary outfitting & training of “Peace Officers” and all. . .

        Let me guess – you’re either chronically frightened or terminally clueless.


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