Avoiding Sharks

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We are told – lectured – about the dangers of being an armed government worker (AGW). This is like the shark complaining about the danger posed by the scuba diver.

About 1,000 people are killed each year in this country by AGWs.

Almost 400 so far this year already.

Some of these departed under less-than-savory circumstances.

Contrast this body count with the 35 AGWs who’ve died – some from natural causes such as heart attack – in the “line of duty” (it’s just a job, actually; duty being some action one is morally obligated to perform, such as caring for ones children. Mulcting motorists for not wearing a seatbelt is a job – in the manner of a meter maid, except empowered with lethal enforcement powers)  so far this year.

At any rate, the stats are clear:

It is far more dangerous to deal with an AGW than to be an AGW – the ridiculous mewling about the “danger” faced by AGWs notwithstanding.

Therefore, the logical policy is to avoid dealing with them whenever possible – and to the extent feasible.

But how, exactly?

Chiefly, by not drawing their attention. Here’s how to do that:

Don’t obey the law  

If you drive exactly the speed limit, you’re calling unwanted attention to yourself. Especially at night. Especially if you are the only car on the road.

Attention often leads to interaction.

It is better to drive slightly faster than the speed limit.

This will strike the AGW as less “suspicious” than driving at – or below – the speed limit. Which almost no one does. Which is why the courts have ruled it is “suspicious” to drive at or below the PSL.

And “suspicion” has become the new probable cause – and thus a useful tool when the AGW can’t come up with any specific legal reason to Hut! Hut! Hut! you.

If the PSL is 35, then 37 is sound policy.

This is still technically “speeding,” of course and so technically illegal, but it is within the range of speedometer error and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to beat it in court, if it gets to that. Which it probably won’t – because it’s not likely you’ll be pulled over for 2-3 over.

Because that’s not “suspicious”  . . . even though it is illegal.

If you live in a state that forbids the use of radar detectors or other tools of “evasion” – be sure to use them. The very fact that most people don’t use them – because they do obey the law – gives you the advantage because AGWs assume you’re not using them.

Just be discreet – and stay alert.

Don’t drive a flashy – or ratty – car

Both kinds of cars attract unwanted attention from AGWs – and for the same fundamental reason.

They are target-rich . . . targets.

As a guy who test-drives a different new car every week, I can personally attest that AGWs will draw a bead on the flashy car, irrespective of how it’s being driven. They will pick it – and so, you – out of a pack of cars and follow for as long as it takes for you to do something ticket-worthy.

And if you’ve already done it you’re certain to be today’s fish in the barrel.

Same goes for the ratty car.

A dead inspection sticker or slightly askew license plate is much more likely to be noticed by an AGW if the car in question is mottled, duct-taped or otherwise noticeably downtrodden. He will also be much more likely to “smell marijuana” when he approaches the car. It will not help if you look like you might actually have marijuana.

Or if the car is cluttered with trash. You might be “hiding” something.

Okay if I take a quick look for my safety and yours?

If you have a flashy – or ratty – car, be sure all your papers (and stickers) are in order; try to run with the pack – never lead it. Or trail it. Watch safari shows and you’ll see which antelope usually ends up being eaten by the lions.

Do what the other antelopes do.

Obey unwritten laws

Lots of examples here. For one, windows tinted to within a shade of what’s not legal. Guaranteed to draw attention – and hassles – from AGWs, even if the tint is on the right side of legal. This is automotively analogous to walking down the street with an AR-15 in a state where open carry is legal. It doesn’t matter. If an AGW sees it, he’ll more than likely make an issue out of it.

Because AGWs are “the law” – no matter what the law actually is.

Don’t forget this.

Same goes for aftermarket exhaust systems. It might be 100 percent legal. But it’s still 100 percent likely you’ll draw the attention of “the law,” if it’s “too loud”… in the opinion of the AGW.

The best aftermarket systems these days are the ones which are normally as quiet as factory systems and get louder only when you floor it.

A car that makes a lot of noise all the time is just like chumming the waters  – and then going for a swim.

But what about the inevitable? 

At some point, dealing with an AGW will be unavoidable. We live in a police state, after all. One can hardly swing a dead cat by the tail without splattering an AGW with it. Even if you never do anything “suspicious,” you may have to prove you’ve done nothing illegal  – as at a “safety” checkpoint.

The thing to do here is balance the importance of protecting your legal rights – and your dignity – without triggering the AGW’s authoritarian impulses.

So, roll down your window, provide your papers – but don’t answer his leading questions. All AGW questions are designed to lead you to giving an answer that will serve his purposes, not yours. “I’d rather not answer any questions” is all you should say – because you’re not required to say anything more.

But say it in an even-toned, businesslike manner.

Do not agree to do or allow anything you are not legally obliged to do or allow – such as consent to a search of your car or person. If the AGW insists, be clear – be vocal – that you haven’t consented. This may become important later, if the search leads to a charge. Probable cause is still technically a legal requirement prior to a nonconsensual search. If the search is done without probable cause – and without consent – any charges that ensue could be thrown out.

In general, the model to follow when you can’t avoid dealing with an AGW is the Ben Kenobi model from the original Star Wars movie.

The difference between the movie and our reality being the Imperial Stormtroopers were more reasonable than today’s AGWs.

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. I always drive a bit above the speed limit and on some highways where everybody else is doing so. Most Michigan roads are 55MPH except I-75 and U.S. 131 in sections. I-94 is totally insane from Detroit to ChiTown.
    I keep up with traffic unless they’re going way over, by at least 10……that’s where the AGWs tend to draw the line.
    In reality some of U.S. 31 north of Traverse City is so bad even 55 is too fast…. will rattle yer kidneys and liver to the point of outright failure.
    On another note, my older brother whose father in law was U.S. Border Patrol, was driving through ChiTown one day at 55 MPH( back when the national speed limit ) all the while the rest of the traffic was obviously going much faster. A local AGW pulled up along side and motioned him to speed it up.
    Up here in Northern Michigan there are too many miles and too few AGWs, along with more than our share of two tracks…if you wanna go booze croozin. Some you don’t wanna go down …….unless you wanna hear some banjo playin’. Really.
    The Antrim County Sheriffs dept. has had its share of scandals. They are pretty much low key.

  2. Eric,I don’t understand how you continue to use the term AGW or armed government worker. The proper term should be AGE or armed government employee.

    • Hi Jerry,

      AGW is more euphonious, for one – important in literary and political work. For two, it conveys a kind of staid, bureaucratic pedantic quality, which I think is equally important.

      We want it to stick.

    • Hi Jerry,

      They do work…, just not for us. Their job is to fleece, harass and intimidate us on behalf the elite class. They are armed and work to advance government interests. I think AGW is perfect.


        • Morning Eric,

          Another reason I like the term AGW is that it applies to all people working on behalf of government interests who are armed. This includes all branches of the military, the DEA, animal control officers, etc… The focus on police is due to the fact that “we” are likely more to interact with them, than other AGW types.


          • Jeremy, my reason for referring to them as armed govt. predators is because that’s the perfect description. Seizure of cash in the entire US has become so bad some states and even the feds are considering laws to stop it or cut it way back.

            Why else would the wife and I get raided Aug. 1st, 2016 on a bogus “rumor”? They even admitted it was a rumor and had no warrant. That didn’t stop them from coming.

            And they were definitely going back to a “honeyhole”, just like any predator would do that have been successful in any spot. It was our 3rd round with no charges filed.

            Seriously, doesn’t that sound like a predator? The helicopter alone consumed over $2,000/hr. of fuel and pilots and other expenses. Then when the ground troops arrived, that was another 5 vehicles and a dog that was trained for drugs, explosives and no telling what else. All that dog could smell was our dog and I was on pins and needles waiting for the SHTF when our dog came through the window. Oh, they’d have killed him but I’d have killed somebody, hopefully all of them….with one of their guns.
            We’ve had a member of the family, Buck, the 12 year old pit killed by them and the taste is always right on the tip of my tongue. Time hasn’t done a damned thing to mitigate that memory.

            So when I refer to them as predators, I’m speaking from experience. If what they did was following the color of law, nothing would have ever happened to us. So there’s no point in even mentioning something as “peace officers”, a term no longer used nor “law enforcement officers” since they don’t follow the law.

            • Hey Eight,

              I’m not saying they’re not predators, after all, predation is a job requirement. I just prefer the term AGW because it is very accurate and, in my opinion, more likely to result in a dialogue with someone not already in the libertarian/anarchist camp. I also agree with Eric, AGW just sounds better to me than AGP or AGE.

              Still, all of us can use any term we prefer except PO (peace officer) or PS (public servant) as those are clearly not accurate descriptions.


  3. What’s the correct reply to “Do you know why I stopped you?”
    They ALWAYS ask me that, in addition to an occasional “What’s your hurry, Mustang Sally?” Gag!
    I always have a snarky reply on the tip of my tongue, something like, “Well, I’m gonna take a leap here and assume you stopped me because you suspect me of some sort of traffic violation? Um, duh!” or how about “If I guess correctly, do I get to leave?”
    Instead, I just politely say “no.”

    • The answer I always give is “I don’t answer questions” followed up by “I do not consent to a search.” What they are trying to do is elicit admissions and confessions from you. (Cops are trained to elicit them from what appears to civilians to be just polite conversation.) My policy is, don’t tell them anything, make them work for it.


    • Saying “No” is the shortest and sweetest way. The cops are trying to get your ‘confession’ on tape, as they might raise a stink about you recording them, but they ARE recording you! You want to “come to Jesus”, why, go right ahead, confession may be good for your soul, but it likely will hurt your pocketbook! Besides, it’s truthful and concise. How the hell would you know why the officer pulled you over unless you’re telepathic? I’ve mentioned that to a porker that pulled me over, also offered that mine own powers are useless on persons with less than an 85 I.Q., so I’d be out of luck to read his mind. Obviously that didn’t go over well. So does, “No, don’t YOU?”.

      While you’re perfectly able to say “I don’t answer questions at any time”, doing so right away will just egg them on. All you have to provide if pulled over is your Driver’s License, Vehicle registration, and “proof” of insurance or other financial responsibility. If you’re not driving the vehicle, or not in a vehicle at all, you don’t have to furnish ANY I.D., save to a TSA agent when entering or going about the ‘secure’ zone of an Airport. If you refuse, they cannot arrest you, they can only refuse entry or escort you out of the Airport. All you owe a cop when “ID” demanded is to VERBALLY state your legal name, and, if asked, your DOB and city and state of residence. No state, even those with “Stop and ID” statutes, can legally demand, “your papers, please…” at least NOT YET.

      • Doug, now you’ve given me more snarky replies I’ll have to hold in. Oops. 🙂
        Yes, I think no is probably the best answer in the longrun. Be polite, but say as little as possible.
        A lot of times, I just pretend like I’m dumb. It’s easy to pull off for women. Cops seem to think we’re all dumb anyway. It works. I get a fatherly lecture and a warning. I just smile and nod, even though my inner anarchist Xena the Warrior Princess is screaming it’s time for battle.

    • Yeah Amy, I get it. Been in jail(s). Kiss ass now to stay out. Just the ride, cuffed, is more than my back and shoulders can stand.

    • AF,

      Yes, yes, yeas, A THOUSAND TIMES YES! I’ve seen that video like 3-4 times over the years. Thanks to your reminder, I think I shall view it again. There’s lots of GOOD INFO in there…

    • Hi Libertyx,

      It’s funny,isn’t it, that most people don’t see the problem with the profit motive being a key element of law enforcing? AGWs have a financial incentive to enforce the law. And people wonder why they enforce it so eagerly...

      • We are being denied the unalienable right to travel unimpeded:

        Justice William Douglas, Kent v. Dulles (1958):…
        ‘The right to travel is a part of the “liberty” of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. …’

        • Especially when you factor in all the DUI, immigration, and other checkpoints. Also, don’t forget the Real ID, Uncle’s fatwas for cars, etc.

      • People don’t object to the profit motive because they see the tickets as taxes other people will pay so they don’t have to. Most people don’t get selected for enforcement. They figure it will always be those bad people over there. When they do get selected and ticketed they whine and complain. Sometimes it becomes a human interest news story.

        You know the type, the standard clover who violates the vehicle code as a matter of course but drives some sort of appliance and never in prime enforcement hours. He will do so right in front of cops and the cops will do nothing. Speeding, not signaling, forces other motorists to take evasive action, just poor driving all around. He hasn’t been pulled over in 20 years. That’s who has no problem with the profit motive.

        Had one today. When he’s in front of me he crawled. But to get ahead of me he cut off a box truck. Had one yesterday. I move to the left lane so he can merge, so what does he do? He cuts me off to do a double over merge to slowly pass the person he merged on to the road with. Then he hits the brakes while straddling the lane line as he moves back to the right. Probably because I was too close to him. Neither will ever get pulled over or ticketed.

    • Floriduh has some of the most corrupt police departments in the country. I remember reading somewhere, where the Broward and Palm Beach County Sheriffs dept was so bloody corrupt: drugs, money laundering for the cartels, the works.
      And of course there’s the high school shooting where four of Broward County’s heroes hid behind their car during the shooting.
      Nice work if you can get it.
      P/S You don’t need to be literate or even average IQ, the lower the better.

      • It seems that “officer safety” trumps “courage under fire” almost all of the time, but especially with “school resource officers” and police officers in general. It seems that for almost every police officer, making it to a cushy retirement is the ultimate goal, the protection of the public be damned. Add to that, observe the many unjustified shootings by police that get “covered up” by police-friendly prosecutors and grand juries.
        All one has to do is look at the (in)action of the police officers during the last number of mass school shootings, where these “trained professionals” SAT ON THEIR HANDS while the carnage was going on.
        You can bet that us military veterans in such a case would be drawn TOWARD the sound of gunfire. If I had my way, I would arm teachers who wish to be armed, and would hire military veterans as school support personnel such as janitors and maintenance personnel. Janitorial and maintenance personnel have the run of the school buildings and would make an effective “reactionary force”. Us veterans would be much more effective than police, (who are only concerned about their own “safety”), as us veterans are trained to go towards the sound of gunfire and “solve the problem”.
        Today’s human nature dictates that the person with all of the “training” (especially) law enforcement DOES cower in fear, while a 90 lb. armed teacher would reluctantly, but successfully take out the shooter. Being forced into a situation also forces one to act.
        There are many examples of persons, who one would normally think, would not be capable of acting in an extremely high-stress situation, but DO come out on top-stopping the threat, and saving lives.
        Sad to say, today’s police practices dictate that the cop’s life is MORE IMPORTANT than that of those he has sworn to protect despite the cops having statutory protections that do not apply to us ordinary civilians.
        All one has to do is look at Medal of Honor recipients, who are almost always mild-mannered, initially reluctant to act, but DO act, and perform feats who most would think are normally beyond their capacity and capabilities TRUE bravery in the heat of battle. The same applies to those civilians who act during school shootings.
        Human nature has a habit of propelling (actually forcing) the normal, average person into a true hero and life saver, while showing the true (cowardly behavior) nature of those we assign to protect us. A good example of our protectors cowering in fear is the deputies who FAILED TO ACT despite having all of the equipment necessary and the preferential laws on their side (that protect them from lawsuits and liability).
        TRUE heroes ACT, while our so-called protectors (failed to) REACT.

  4. Absolutely right about the rat or flash car. I drive a beater. Driving to work late at night, I got pulled over on I-10 regularly. After the 7th time I laid into the officer and he leveled with me. “This is a targeted area and your VW Jetta is a popular vehicle in Mexico.” This had been years ago, but I still take the backroads to avoid this particular area. The officer’s were always very courteous, but it was still a hassle for me.

    Another area where I got pulled over twice, I noticed they’d always ride up next to me before pulling me over. After the second time I started rolling down my tinted window so that I could use my white privilege – It worked lol. I’ve used that trick 3 times since.

  5. As has been mentioned previously you’re probably safer between routine working hours. You blend in better etc. Around 10pm or so youre probably a bit more of a target. Especially for suburban cops.

  6. Eric,

    That’s good advice especially about the type of car you drive. A Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, or similar vehicle painted in a non-descript color (like a silver or gold metallic) is best. I used to have a black & yellow Mini, and boy, did that draw out the sharks (er, AGWs)! I got rid of it for that reason. I could do the same thing in my old Nissan Altima and never get a second look.

    In addition to driving a vehicle that blends in, one wants to drive a vehicle that’s APPROPRIATE for one’s age and/or station in life. For example, even though a Toyota Camry is a good car for guys our age, a young person driving one would arouse suspicion. Why is a youngster driving something his parents or grandparents would drive? Why isn’t said young person driving a Honda Civic or something? Barry Cooper talks about this in his video about avoiding traffic busts. You can see that video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-mU77Pie44

    As for searches, Cooper says to let the cops take a look. He says that if you consent, the AGWs will not be suspicious; they’ll take a quick look and be done with you. His reasoning is that, when he was a cop, EVERY REFUSAL had something to hide, and thus aroused suspicion. While I understand where he’s coming from, I’d be inclined to refuse out of principle. I’ve never had a cop ask me for a search, but knowing what I know now, my inclination would be to refuse the search.

    Even if you refuse a search of your car, the cops can call a K9 out and get into your vehicle anyway. Mr. Cooper used to train drug dogs, so he knows all about the AGW’s tricks. He shows in his video how easy it is to get a dog to give a false alert. Once they alert on your vehicle, then the cops have probable cause to search. You’d be surprised how EASY it is to get a K9 to false alert on your car.

    As for speed, I had one cop tell me years ago that he’d give people 10 mph; anything over that, and he’d light you up. If you’re in a 35, driving 37 is ok; even doing 40-42 would be fine too, since that’s within the 10 mph buffer. I’ll drive 3-5 mph over the limit, sometimes a little more if that’s what normal local traffic does. If you’re in high speed traffic (like on a freeway or expressway), then simply move at the speed of traffic. Find a big pack and settle in somewhere in the middle.

    I have a radar detector too. It’s an Whistler unit my brother gave me. I want a Valentine, but I don’t have the coin for one right now…

    • I wonder if Mr. Cooper isn’t really some “shill” that gets the clueless to CONSENT to a warrantless search of their vehicle.

      General rule: IF the cop ASKS, it means (s)he doesn’t have “Probable Cause” to initiate a search. If he does, he’d be ordering you out of your car, likely putting the cuffs on you for “officer s-a-a-a-f-t-e-e-e”, setting your butt down on the hard curb, and while you’re being humiliated and getting an unplanned and likely unwanted sun tan, or “shower” from the rain, commence ransacking your ride. Any attorney worth his “salt”, as the late Justice Robert H. Jackson,whom was also the Chief Prosecutor for the Allies at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, put it, will advise his clients to make no statements to the police nor to consent to any searches. Indeed, “consent” is the most common method by which cops avoid getting a search warrant, even if done by intimidation (usually by getting their considerable bulk in your ‘space’ and using threatening body language), outright LYING, or just blatant disregard for your rights..hence why many cops are PISSED about cell phone cameras! And never mind that a “good” cop will ensure that SOME “contraband” will be “found”, and your attorney will have a hell of a time getting it tossed for evidence since you “consented”. Which is also why you record, Record, RECORD all encounters with law enforcement! You don’t want any issue of consent re: search to rely on your word versus the cops, b/c his testimony is “evidence”. And if the cop attempts to bully you by saying “”well, I’ll just get a warrant”, CALL HIS BLUFF! Let him attempt to get the warrant, he can only hold you for a LIMITED time in the attempt to do so, or to get the “drug dog”. Nevada specifically limits the time you can be held for an investigation to SIXTY MINUTES. so again, start recording, with the date-time stamp!

      As for the “drug dog”, that’s an utter load of shit. Yes, dogs do have an acute sense of smell, well above the capabilities of humans, and they can differentiate discrete items in a mixture, such as kidney beans in a pot of chili if so TRAINED. However, their sensitivity is often greatly exaggerated, and Scooby-Doo notwithstanding, they can’t COMMUNICATE why they “alert”, whether they genuinely have detected what they’re trained to find (like cocaine powder), or simply are bored or hungry and want the doggie biscuit that the handler usually offers for “alerting”…ever heard of Pavlov’s Dogs? Finally, not only has the inadvertent “cuing” of an animal been well-demonstrated as in the story of Clever Hans, the Horse, but there is much field experience that most dogs are simply trained to respond to “alert” upon subtle “cuing” from their handlers, which, again, they do in anticipation of a ‘reward’. The entire idea is that the “Drug Dog” is “Probable Cause on a leash”, and once the dog “alerts”, then the cops don’t need to get a warrant, they can start having at your ride.

      Never give away ANY of your rights when encountering the police, no matter how friendly and courteous, nor should you fear pissing them off for asserting them. That so many do is evidence enough that America has become a de facto Police State.

      • I don’t think Cooper was saying to give up your rights willy-nilly; I think he was offering a suggestion to get the AGWs out of your hair ASAP. You also have to remember that he’s a former cop; he spent a good portion of his life as a cop; and that his comments are colored by his experiences. He relates in the video that, by refusing, you will raise suspicion. Why? Because when he was a cop, people refusing searches ALWAYS had something to hide.

        I don’t think Cooper is a shill, because he gives you the lowdown on various AGW tricks. A popular one is to write up the ticket, hand it back to the citizen, and THEN politely request a search. Cooper points out that, as a result of various court decisions, when the cop hands the ticket and your stuff back, you can LEGALLY LEAVE at that point. Most folks don’t know that though! Once you have the ticket in hand, you can just up and leave. The vast majority of people don’t know this, so they consent to the search not knowing they can leave once they have the ticket in hand. Watch the video, and you’ll see.

        Mr. Cooper so angered those in gov’t that he had to leave the country. That’s right; he no longer lives here. The last I knew, he was living in Mexico. Why is the gov’t pissed off at him? In large part because he gave away their tricks in his video. Ergo, I don’t think he’s a shill.

  7. Nice write Eric,,, I’d like to point out that refusing to answer the AGW’s questions and/or refusing to allow a search have been used successfully as probable cause…. ie: you must have something to hide. Mostly today they are looking for cash, precious metals, jewelry to confiscate,,, drugs if they find any, but, drugs don’t pay off as well, or as easy as older Mom and Pops running around with a thousand or two. Many oldsters still don’t like credit cards. It’s another ploy to get people to stop using cash. As a warning,,, In Florida, out of State tags, and you are the slow antelope no matter how you act.

    If being pulled over I get my wallet and registration out on the dashboard so I do not have to lower my hands out of their sight. They are really gun shy today. If you’re armed you need your 2nd amendment Mother May I handy as the cops monitor in his car is flashing “Danger Will Robinson”.

    • Ken,

      What I do with today’s trigger happy cops is this: I tell them what I’m going to do, then do it. I tell them that my license is in my wallet; that my wallet is in my back pocket; and that I’m going to reach for it. I then tell him that my insurance and registration are in the glove box, and that I’m going to reach for it.

      When I was on my motorcycle, I’d tell the cop that my wallet was in my riding suit or my jacket, and that I was going to reach for it. I then told him that the insurance and registration were under the seat, and that I’d have to dismount to get them out.

      Anyway, as long as you give them a heads-up and don’t do anything sudden, in my experience, that’s been ok.

    • I don’t know what hick jurisdiction you live in, Ken, but be assured that in NO State in this (dis)Union can refusal to answer question (5th Amendment) or consent to a warrantless search (4th Amendment) be construed as probable cause to search and/or arrest! Yes, the cops, if they want to investigate and/or get you to say or do something that will support a bust, will be mad, but you can’t placate these kind, only stand your ground! However, it’s why you record, Record, RECORD the encounter, always! You need video evidence in case the cop simply disregards your rights and searches anyway, which does happen…A LOT! The idea is that if the cop does proceed in that fashion, and either finds something (best that you not knowingly have any contraband) or simply PLANTS it, then if you have video that you didn’t consent, it will be much easier for your attorney to get the case thrown out of court.

      And yes, cops are simply looking for cash or fungible items like jewels to seize, it’s called “policing for profit”. Once we had the highway patrol, to, in part, protect the law abiding travelers from highway robbers…now, they ARE the highway robbers!


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