Wow. I never thought I’d write a post that…as of right now…has been viewed over 22,000 times. Still, I will admit that it was meant to be a little shocking, and that I expected to get some flak for it.
But based on some of the comments I’ve received, there are some out there who have missed the core lesson I intended to communicate. I have gotten several comments saying that I should seek forgiveness, that I should be in prison, or that I should have arrested the officers who participated in the raid I described. Allow me to clear some things up.
As far as seeking forgiveness…how do you know I haven’t? Just because I didn’t ask it of you doesn’t mean I didn’t ask.
And as far as me being jailed for my crime, I suppose you could contact a prosecutor and file a criminal complaint. I do wonder, however, if you’ve done as much for the members of the New Orleans Police Department who committed much more grievous acts following Hurricane Katrina. Or at least posted some scathing comments to their blog?
And even in my prime, I've never been badass enough to arrest an entire SWAT team and Assistant Chief single-handedly. Still, I am glad that there are so many morally pure, courageous, and mistake-free internet commenters out there. It gives me hope and a standard to strive for.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, maybe we can get serious for a moment and drop the outrage, and circle back to the lessons of my original post.
First, for those on the pro-gun side who believe that police are pure, constitution-loving servants who would simply refuse to enforce red flag confiscation orders, my original post ought to reveal the uncomfortable truth. Most police departments will serve these orders if red flag laws are enacted. They already have. Sure, there are some elected sheriffs who will do their own thing and ignore them, but most municipal police departments are not full of Frank Serpicos. They are led by political appointees who will give the order, and staffed by officers who will, for the most part, carry them out. Forgive me my cynicism, but I feel like I’ve earned it.
Better to defeat these proposals before they become law, than to trust the enforcers to do the right thing. They are human beings with families and lives, and with human weaknesses and failings. Want to support the police? Don’t put them in the position of having to choose between being able to feed their families and going to take guns from some (alleged) nut job.
Secondly, for those who favor these laws, this is a cautionary tale. If you really trust that red flag laws will not be abused, if you really believe that baseless accusations will not be turned against the innocent, that the force of law will not be leveled at those who have done nothing…then you need to go back and read this again.
I get it that some of you are angry at me. You are focused on the incident, rather than the lesson it teaches. But I offered this anecdote as an object lesson in the dangers of giving a legal green light to red flag laws. I’m not proud of it, but it happened, and I’m thankful no one was hurt. It is fortunate that the incident was resolved relatively quickly and the man in question was freed and his property restored. It could have been much worse. But the raid I described in the original post was nothing compared to what red flag laws will bring. Remember that, if you remember nothing else.
But if you’d rather come at me personally, go right ahead. I can take it.