Last year, a Canadian writer, after visiting the U.S., returned home and was stopped by the U.S. border guards. They demanded that he step out of his car, which he did. When he chose to ask “why?” he was being ordered around, he was pepper sprayed, hit, cuffed, and arrested. The officers claimed in their statements that the writer, Peter Watts, resisted and tried to choke an officer. They eventually released Mr. Watts on the Canadian side in freezing weather without his coat.
Well, his U.S. trial recently concluded. And during the trial it was shown the officers written testimony contradicted their oral testimony, they contradict each other, and witness testimony confirmed that Mr. Watts did not resist and never laid a hand on an officer.
So all is good and justice prevailed and the charges dropped, right?
This is Amerika; think again.
Mr. Watts was convicted of a felony and faces two years in federal prison in the U.S. … because he questioned the officer.
Even a juror after the trial has stated that the officers mishandled the situation and “committed offences” against Watts. But they determined that based on the letter of the law, questioning an officer constituted felony obstruction.
This isn’t about safety, it isn’t about security, it isn’t about the rule of law.
It’s about obedience.
Authoritarianism is a disease of the mind. It criminalizes the act of asking “why?” It is the obedience-sickness that turns good people into perpetrators and victims of atrocities great and small.
Sure, we think, in order to keep us safe and secure, some cops may go overboard now and then. It’s just bad apples. But these bad apples are sprouting up in many, many places performing various acts of brutality and abuse of power, and getting away with it. (See link on that page of “Classically Liberals” collection of documented police abuse.) What’s worse, though, is it doesn’t stop at the apples–here is a case in which a jury of peers, who have the ability to enact jury nullification in contrary to the letter of the law applied to the defendant, (and according to at least one juror, this would have been a good situation to use that right of the jury), but instead decided to uphold and support state abuse against someone who simply questioned authority.
When “peers” support the state in its abuses even when they recognize its illegitimacy, the whole barrel has become rotten.