I’ve spoken with hundreds of police employees. With the possible exception of cannabis, no other area of tasked enforcement has elicited more candid conversations than that of firearm ownership. Multiple police employees have told me that should certain firearm-related legislation ever come to pass — such as one that mandates confiscation — they would not obey the directive. Yet, is that seemingly absolutist stance expressed by these police employees, and no doubt held by countless others, what we’ve seen?
Self-described firearms enthusiasts, Second Amendment proponents, former military personnel, advocates of self-ownership, people with “Molon Labe” stickers on their trucks, and others cite the “right to keep and bear arms” as absolute, yet that “right” has at most functioned only as a suggestion. And that is not surprising. After all — without getting too off-topic — if one believes that their rights stem from the words penned by strangers and defined by strangers they will never question the claimed status of those strangers as “authorities.” And thus, despite their grumbling, they will defer to those strangers. And that, historically, leaves some more vulnerable and reinforces a two-class system, which is not sustainable.
Could anyone argue that through the years, we’ve not seen increasingly restrictive legalese that proclaims new hindrances or outright prohibitions around the possession of certain tools by certain individuals? Nevermind that said individuals have not aggressed upon another or their property. After the Jim Crow era a plethora of new crafted firearms-related legalese proclaimed that police employees had the “legal right” to target, harass, intimidate, and sometimes kill those who were not in accord. While that initially meant anyone who happened to be born with more melanin, fast-forward to today, and we find the enforcement levied at anyone — so long as they’re not a fellow police employee.
What might be the ramifications of this situation? Well, as John Ross expounds in the fictional tome Unintended Consequences, push back. As folks see through the arbitrary legalese and double-standards they’ll refuse to grant authority status to strangers simply because it’s claimed. And they’ll recognize that a right exists only if it can be exercised.
Ideally, we can step back from this divisive situation. Indeed, Ross’ stated purpose in writing Unintended Consequences was to help steer this issue from the brink to one more commonsensical. As he wrote in the book’s forward:
A friend in law enforcement told me that because of this book’s content, I should not let it be published under my own name. Violent events happen in this story, and our country’s current situation is such that these events could indeed come to pass. My friend’s fear was that this book might precipitate such violence. He told me to expect to have drugs planted in my car during routine traffic stops, or have other similar miseries befall me and my family.
He advised that if I did have this work published, I should use a pseudonym, employ an intermediary for all publisher contact, and in general prevent myself from being linked to the finished work, to avoid reprisals.
I didn’t do that, not only because of free speech considerations, but because I disagree with my friend’s hypothesis. I believe that if the instigators glimpse what may lie ahead, they will alter their behavior before wholesale violence becomes unavoidable. It is my hope that this book will reduce the likelihood of armed conflict in this country…
In a similar vein — content that is fictional but outlines a scenario that could occur should corrective action not be taken — is the mini-documentary One Man’s Terrorist by David Kirk West, which was influenced by his experiences while in Iraq.
Will we see police employees refuse to enforce current legalese that targets peaceful folks? I suppose that depends on where their allegiance lies — with the dictates made by a stranger or with their own conscience. Hopefully the decision reached by each police employee will sit well with them and those in their community, as that’s the best way to ensure the that the sometimes violent scenarios outlined in Unintended Consequences remain a work of fiction.
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