Throughout the course of human history, people have advanced technology and educated minds in ways that once would not have seemed impossible. From caves drawings to televisions and from the bow and arrow to the machine gun, humans have continually improved their standard of living over the years. Although we now have all sorts of things people could only dream of a thousand years ago, we still live like cavemen in many ways. One of these ways is our contempt refusal to tolerate severe injustice at many levels of society. Just like most problems, injustice starts at the top, and often starts with the people that are supposed to be preventing it.
Corrupt police officers and law agencies have been sifting through the sieve of true justice for years, and continue to do so today. From Hitler’s horrifying Gestapo police of the 1940’s to the more recent beating of Rodney King, police officers have abused their powers like a broken record. Police have engaged in unjustified shootings, severe beatings, fatal chokings, and unnecessarily rough treatment of citizens in rural and urban areas from New York to Los Angeles. Just as the founders of our great nation stood to face the British in the 18th century, and just as our forefathers fought to free us from the shackles of slavery, we must now fight to ensure that our democracy is not tainted by the practice of unjust or discriminatory law.
“Drunk Ohio Cop Found Passed Out (Drunk) In Burger King Drive-Thru.” This was a headline on CNN.com on February 21, 2005. This kind of story serves as an example that not all of our police officers are as moral as they claim to be. The most disturbing part of this story wasn’t that this police veteran was found intoxicated in his dispatch car, it’s that this man had the power of our law behind him for years before this happened. Many of the thousands of laws that help police officers do things like pull you over for no legitimate reason, or come into your house without probable cause, were constructed for just these purposes. This fact goes hand in hand with a quote from Tacitus, a famous Roman historian and philosopher, “the more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”
Police officers sometimes lack a crucial prerequisite for their job, common sense. Instead of getting drug dealers and other dangerous criminals off the streets, they are often seen in packs of three to five “investigating” events like fireworks in the dorms, or streakers. Underage drinking is another favorite for police officers. Packs of police officers love to flock to areas where potential underage drinkers are suspected of gathering. This is especially evident on college campuses, where it is inevitable that underage kids will drink. Is it really necessary for three officers to approach and arrest a kid who has had a few drinks and is walking home from a party? These kids are of no danger to anyone but themselves. It is our right as Americans and as human beings to make our own choices, and as long as we aren’t causing any trouble or endangering other people, we shouldn’t have to worry about being harassed by brainless “law enforcement” officials.
Although it may sound grim, I believe there is a brighter future for law enforcement. Looking at history shows us that the trend of injustice in the police department has slowly declined over time. There are thousands of competent and intelligent police officers throughout our country, and I hope that this majority will continue to grow.
Just as we must question our government in order to ensure that it flourishes, we must also question the law. Not only must we question it, we must learn it. We must learn about the rights that we possess, and we can’t be afraid to act on these rights when the time comes. Knowing our rights and properly using laws that we have made for ourselves are our duties and responsibilities as citizens of this country. So the next time you get pulled over without speeding or you are unjustly accused of something, make sure you know your rights, and most importantly stand up for them.