Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fighting with the Police

Last week, the Indiana State's high court ruled that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes -- eliminating a common law right dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215. The Tea Party and several other folks are moving quickly to fight against the ruling stating that they believe their Fourth Amendment Rights have been gutted. I've seen this issue pop up in several online forums of late with angry voices and gnashing of teeth.

I'm weighing in on this because I have a different perspective than most.

Common Sense

That common law is extremely dated and doesn't take into account certain modern elements of law enforcement that did not exist back in the day. Resisting police action back then was a completely different matter than it is now. There may have been a chance of preventing an unlawful arrest back in 1215. Modern law enforcement agencies are trained to meet violence with greater force until they prevail.

The entire police department and adjoining LEO agencies will come to your house if necessary to take you down.

If the police unlawfully enter your home and you surrender, there is a chance you'll get roughed up. If you resist, you'll turn that chance into a certitude that includes being beaten, tazed or shot. I don't know about anyone else, but those things seriously harsh my mellow.

Civil Rights

Choosing when to resist the police in this fashion puts the burden of determining legality of such action squarely on you. If you're wrong and the search is deemed legal, you've just committed a felony. It's not worth going to prison over. It's basic economics, exercising one right at the cost of all your freedom is simply a bad plan.

I agree with the Indiana Supreme Court. People have numerous opportunities to defend themselves in both civil and criminal court. I've heard people say they don't trust the court system or the police and believe a person's 6th and 7th amendment rights are infringed before they step into the court. I'm a paranoid guy, but if I believed any of that I would be arranging to live elsewhere.

President Obama's predilection for detaining or ordering the deaths of US Citizens without the benefit of a trial are far more concerning to me. I hear Sweden is nice.

If you are going to fight the police, do it in a courtroom with a lawyer. Even if the system is broken, it's a far better outcome than fighting with the police in your living room. There is no point in having a right that you can neither defend or enforce when you've others at your disposal that make a lot more sense. Making changes to our Police Departments to make that right defensible would aid criminals far more than it would the common person.

Police Officers

Most of Law Enforcement are regular people with just enough true sheepdogs (natural born protectors) among them to keep things real. Like a garbage man, accountant or burger clerk, Police Officers just want to go home at the end of their shift. Regular people doing an extraordinarily difficult job.

Most folks when attacked, will do what they can to flee the situation or defend themselves without hurting their attacker. They just want out of those unpleasant circumstances as quickly as possible. Police Officers rely on their training to survive those situations and will fight harder and seek no retreat as a consequence.

Police Officers are trained to believe that there are innocent people behind them and that getting taken out gives a bad guy access to the weapons they carry on duty. Their fellow Officers and innocent members of the public are counting on them to make sure that doesn't happen. Sun Tzu figured out the subtleties of this in every word he wrote about armed conflict.

"Nothing is harder than armed struggle."

If you attack someone with weapons, even seemingly unarmed yourself, be prepared for that person to fight you to the death. Ever wonder why unarmed crowds who charge dangerously close to armed police or military personnel are fired upon? Often, I think it is the fear of losing control of their weapons.

This is the risk any government takes fielding armed personnel on the ground to control their own populations. Does this excuse firing on unarmed civilians? Sun Tzu didn't think so, and neither do I. He states many times that military forces should receive orders from a civilian authority and never be deployed against their own people. I don't consider peace officers a "deployment" in that capacity.

"Using order to deal with the disorderly, using calm to deal with the clamorous, is mastering the heart."

Final Words

Given Indiana's track record, it'll be interesting to see if the ruling stays in place. Yes, I understand that for many people this is about principles, but I'd like to see them put those principles into practice. In the end it won't change anything. When the police unlawfully enter a domicile, smart folks will get a lawyer and their day in court. Mouth-breathers will fight the police and acquire dire consequences.

This isn't about rights, it's about reality.


  1. Only those with something to hide should fear those whose duty it is to discover you.