Cloud Cuckoo Land

I am constantly amazed at the stupid crap people manage to come up with when they get all indignant about some event. There is a tendency to see one event as symptomatic of a larger trend. Whatever the trend may be, people inevitably call for government action. So some jackass agitates for a law, policy, or regulation to solve a “problem” that wasn’t really that big a deal in the first place. This is how we get many of our most pernicious laws. It is always harder to undo government action than it is to NOT do it in the first place.

The news item that raised my ire this morning about the issue is a story about a policy change from the LAPD. Some cop went to town on a citizen with a “heavy metal flashlight”. I read that as “cop laid the smackdown with Maglite™”. So now the LAPD needs a policy on when it is acceptable to use a flashlight as a weapon. Are you people for real? An ACLU representative is quoted with some nonsense about how now they’ll have training on how to use them. Does the ACLU in LA have nothing better to do? The cops need a policy on appropriate flashlight usage? You have to be kidding me.

What really makes this absurd to me is that most cops carry around something like this. 2 feet of inch and a half unbreakable polycarbonate goodness, that's the ticket. Hmm. Let me think about this for a minute. Is there a substantive difference between being hit with a flashlight and being hit with a riot baton? The flashlight is heavier, but the baton has a longer moment arm. Decisions, decisions. I’m gonna call it a draw. Either one will split your skull like an overripe melon if the guy using it is determined enough. Judging from the fact the cop hit the guy 11 freakin’ times, I’d say he was determined enough.

Now I admit, I’m not intimately familiar with the case. However, I’m gonna make a wild guess here. Beating the crap out of the citizen with the flashlight probably wasn’t justified by the circumstances. If that’s the case, you discipline the cop for brutality. The implement is a secondary issue to the actual violence, isn’t it? If the cop was justified in pounding the guy, again, it doesn’t matter what he used. What’s he supposed to do after he catches the suspect? Drop the flashlight and then pull out the baton? Yeah, that’ll happen. Next stupid idea, please.

Of course, the cop could have made this whole discussion moot by shooting the man dead. However, I’m thinking that’s a sub-optimal outcome from everybody’s perspective.


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