Where Are The States Rights Supporters When It Comes To Sanctuary States?

Conservatives like to whine about “states rights” when it comes to abortion, drugs, and butt sex, but are curiously silent about “states rights” when it comes to California’s sanctuary laws. While the term “sanctuary state” can vary in meaning, it essentially refers to a state that refuses to assist the federal government and its armed agents in the enforcement of federal immigration law.

While this sounds radical, it’s actually not; it is in fact a well-settled constitutional principle that the federal government may not force state law enforcement agencies to do its bidding. In Printz v. United States, the federal government sought to enforce the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which required state law enforcement agencies to perform background checks of prospective handgun purchasers. Local sheriffs from Montana and Arizona challenged the law on the grounds it was unconstitutional to force, or “commandeer” state officers to execute federal law.

The Supreme Court ruled the Brady Act’s attempted commandeering of local law enforcement violated the 10th Amendment. The opinion, authored by none other than conservative darling Antonin Scalia, reasoned as follows:

Enactments of the early Congresses seem to contain no evidence of an assumption that the Federal Government may command the States’ executive power in the absence of a particularized constitutional authorization… The Government misplaces its reliance on portions of The Federalist suggesting that federal responsibilities could be imposed on state officers. None of these statements necessarily implies-what is the critical point here-that Congress could impose these responsibilities without the States’ consent. 

He continues on to explain the concept of dual sovereignty and the impact of a policy that would require state agencies to enforce federal law:

The Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the State and Federal Governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people. The Federal Government’s power would be augmented immeasurably and impermissibly if it were able to impress into its service-and at no cost to itself-the police officers of the 50 States.

So apparently states rights is a big fucking deal to conservatives in selective circumstances (because they hate women and gay people), yet it’s nothing but crickets when it comes to immigration. Suddenly, the 10th amendment, constitutionalism, and small government are a distant memory. So very shocking.

Not that we should cut the liberals any degree of slack. I’ve never heard of any mainstream liberal politician come out in support of completely open borders. Their calls for reform and compassion are still framed in the context of an unduly restrictive and violative immigration scheme, and thus are unrealistic and disingenuous. Essentially, they fully support ICE tearing families apart as well, just perhaps at a somewhat lower rate than conservatives (my, aren’t you the humanitarian then?!).

The Media’s Distortion of the English Language and its Role in Absolving Police of Heinous Crimes

The American concept of justice has fallen so far that police are no longer recognized as individuals having the volitional capacity to act with corresponding consequences; instead their crimes are treated as forces of nature or acts of god.

When ordinary people harm or kill others, it is typically viewed as what it is, regardless of whether the aggressor was acting in the course of employment. Doctors who recklessly injure patients are sued and suffer injured reputations. Taxi drivers and truckers are held to account if they drive carelessly and cause unjustified injuries. Employment aside, people who attack others without just cause are duly considered to be criminals. Most people in society are deemed negligent individuals and face appropriate recourse when they engage in heedless behavior that results in injuries to others.

Not so with the police. When police are careless, negligent, reckless, or even malicious – they are viewed as blameless, because in the United States, it has become impossible to blame the police. This makes perfect sense when you perceive that a great proportion of Americans essentially view the police as gods who can do no wrong. Just as it is not possible to cannot cast moral blame or “personal” responsibility upon nature or god, so has it become with American police.

Last week, Miami police stormed a house in a SWAT raid and injured two children, who were left bloodied and bruised. The family claims the police raided the wrong house. Police and the media claim that in the chaos of the raid, a child “ran into an officers weapons” [sic]. More here and here. Take note: the police did not create chaos by dangerously barging into the wrong house and injuring children. It was during “the chaos of the raid,” which magically appeared on its own, that a child injured himself, by running into weapons.

Last year, Miami Beach police tasered a teenager, Israel Hernandez-Llach, who died as a result. The news carefully avoided the indisputable fact that a cop killed the teenager for fleeing the scene of vandalism, and artfully suggested that the teenager died of “heart failure” from what authorities called the “energy device discharge.” Again – the cop did not shoot a taser at a teenager and kill him – it was the “energy device discharge” combined with “heart failure” that caused his untimely death.

Jose Paulino Jr. was another victim of taser-happy police recently. Upon his death, police again deflected blame from themselves, and the media dutifully parroted the excuses. David Beohm, a Pennsylvania State Police Spokesman mused, “I don’t know if he went into cardiac arrest or what happened…was he under the influence of something?  What was going on with him that could create this condition?”

Allen Kephart was tasered to death over a petty traffic dispute. No criminal charges were filed against police, as Kephart’s death was attributed to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other pre-existing health conditions. (More here and here).

Several years ago, Eurie Stamps, a beloved grandfather of 12, was tragically shot by the Framingham, MA SWAT Team in a botched drug raid. Again, the statement from police at that time obfuscated any mention of individual action and personal responsibility, claiming Mr. Stamps was “fatally struck by a bullet, which was discharged from a SWAT officer’s rifle.” Who knew bullets could discharge on their own?

Similarly, when 7-year-old Aiyana Jones was shot and killed in another botched SWAT raid, it was certainly not the  case that the officer shot the child. Predictably, what happened was, “the officer’s weapon discharged one round, which….struck…Aiyana Stanley Jones in the neck/head area.” (More here). Of course. How obvious it should have been – people don’t kill people; guns send bullets flying on their own.

When it comes to reporting on most criminal activity, English grammar is pretty straightforward for the media:

Example A: The murderer[noun – a perpetrator] killed[verb – criminal activity] the child[noun – victim].
Example B: The criminal[noun – a perpetrator] tasered[verb – criminal activity] the victim[noun– victim].
Alternatively, another common usage is to use the passive voice, to emphasize that something horrific was done to the victim:
Example C: The grandfather[noun – victim] was shot[verb in passive voice – criminal activity] by the villain[noun – a perpetrator].

When it comes to police, the media exhibits a convenient and total disregard for traditional use of English. There are no direct actors, no humans to hold accountable, only inanimate objects. There are tales of bullets that discharge on their own, guns that fire for no reason, tasers that shoot themselves, and of course, multitudes of vague health conditions victims may have had which contributed to their own deaths.

This distortion of language should be transparent and abhorrent to anyone who is paying attention. Unfortunately, it seems that no one is.

If you repeat a lie enough times, people will begin to believe it. So it is with the American public. The media has repeated time and time again that police are never responsible, and never can be responsible, because they are not to be judged as individuals like the rest of us. They are of a higher order, and their actions are equivalent to forces of nature and acts of god. It’s been said enough times, and Americans now believe it.

Helicopter Parenting, Entitlement Culture, and the Police State

A few weeks ago, these signs started showing up everywhere in my neighborhood:

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This is in addition to the cones, flags, and other portable signs that appear frequently cautioning drivers of children about, whether there are actually children about or not. For the record, many a time, I have driven by signs and flags demanding “SLOW!” speeds when there was no child in sight. Roads are no longer recognized as primarily serving the purpose of automobile passage; they are now considered by modern, entitled suburbanites to be playgrounds catering to the whims of their children and their particular leisure needs, to supplement the many existing parks, playgrounds, and natural reserves nearby.

One can imagine the idiocy (and eyesore) if everyone took this approach with signs, but for different classes of people who needed special protection – “Drive Like Your Grandparents Live Here” – “Drive Like Your Blind Brother Lives Here” – “Drive Like Your Cats Live Here” – “Drive Like Your Father Who Suffers From Dementia Lives Here” – or ultimately, better yet, don’t drive at all, because that of course would be the surest way to prevent pedestrians from being injured.

The unsightly red plastic signs lining the blocks of the neighborhood were not enough. Within a couple of weeks, these started showing up:

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Undoubtedly, next, police officers will be stationed at every block to harass motorists who dare go over 10 miles an hour, in the event that some parent might fail to monitor their child, who might then run unexpectedly in the road, might get hit, and might get hurt. When suburbanites reach the level of insanity such that they believe motorists should bend over backwards for errant, unsupervised children, and essentially be forced to drive around speed counters, ugly signs, and cones, as if navigating obstacle courses were a natural matter of daily driving, there is something seriously wrong.

There is in fact no speeding problem in this neighborhood. To my knowledge, there has not been a single instance of a child being injured, much less killed, by a speeding vehicle. Yet, neighbors glare as drivers “speed” by at a mere 15 or 20 miles an hour, even when children are nowhere close to crossing the road, and are playing safely in their yards.

For the record, there is no problem with children playing in the streets. The problem is the idea that children have no obligation to watch for cars as cars do for children, and the attitude that children should be free to roam in whatever dangerous situations they wish, while motorists who should rightly have access to streets are viewed as unilaterally responsible for their safety. This kind of approach may be a grave annoyance to drivers, but it can be deadly for children.

There was a time when parents believed the safety of their children was almost exclusively their responsibility, and that of their children (depending on their age). Now, for whatever reason, people feel they have the right to foist the responsibility for the safety of their children on complete strangers, whom they expect to be inconvenienced, or shamed, for doing nothing more than making use of roads to drive to their homes.

These attitudes are not only irritating for those inconvenienced; it seems self-evident that such coddling would not be conducive to raising independent, self-sufficient, or responsible children. Even worse, people of this philosophy refuse to limit their ill-conceived child-rearing coddling to their own lives, and insist that everyone participate, or meet strong-armed enforcement.

Thus, it is not surprising that the United States is increasingly a police state, in which peoples’ lives are ever the more regulated and controlled, all in the name of “safety.” Parents are not infrequently subject to violent punishment for deviation from stringent laws prescribing “security” and “order.” If you want to be a nanny-state sanctioned helicopter parent whose children will be forever be dependent and incompetent, you are free to do so and will find that society encourages your methods. However, if you would like your children to exercise some independence or self-reliance, or alternatively, you for other reasons fall short of the stringent dictates of the state’s child-rearing policies, you should surely fear for your fate.

Recently, Debra Harrell of North Augusta, South Carolina was jailed after she left her nine-year-old daughter at a park for several hours. Ms. Harrell is an employee of McDonald’s. For most of the summer, her daughter played on a laptop at McDonald’s while her mother worked (making use of free wi-fi offered by the fast food chain). When the laptop was unfortunately stolen from their home, her daughter asked to play at the park while her mother worked instead. Ms. Harrell provided her daughter with a cell phone, and allowed her to play at a park. On the third day of this short-lived arrangement, adults who had seen her daughter alone at the park called the police. Ms. Harrell was arrested (more here).

Not so long ago, another father from Pennsylvania, Govindaraj Narayanasamy, similarly faced legal consequences when he was charged with child endangerment for leaving his 6 and 9-year-old children at a local park while he went to Walmart and LA Fitness. He returned between 90-120 minutes later, but a woman had noticed the children by themselves and called the police (more here).

Of course, not all parents who are punished by the state are glowing examples of responsible parenthood. In June of this year, Eileen DiNino, a Pennsylvania mother of seven, died in jail while serving a two-day sentence for her children’s truancy from school. She had incurred substantial fines for her children’s absences from school, and served the sentence as a result. Her children may have had a wayward mother before, but now they have no mother at all (more here). Such stories are not uncommon. Another mother in California, Lorraine Cuevas, was sentenced to 180 days in jail for similar violations in 2012.

In another instance in 2012, a mother from Arkansas was charged with a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a minor, after she made her child walk 4.5 miles to school as punishment.

In another egregious incident in 2012, William Reddie of northern Michigan found himself in trouble with the police and Child Protective Services over an allegation that the scent of marijuana was detected at his home. Police alerted CPS, and Mr. Reddie became agitated when CPS attempted to take his son (more here). This escalated into police shooting and killing Mr. Reddie. It should be apparent to sensible people that a father who smokes marijuana is better than a dead father, and a mother who tolerates truancies is better than a dead mother; but sensible people can be few and far between these days.

No matter how minor of the offense of the parent, the general public seems comfortable with police intervention, jail, and violence as the “solution.” Ironically, when police abusebeat, taser, throw flashbang grenades at babies, and/or kill children, they are viewed as heroes, and in those circumstances, the blame still falls on parents who were not in compliance with state regulations and various nonsensical draconian measures.

Everywhere in the U.S., people are embracing the idea that children have no obligation to learn how to navigate dangers, and that the responsibility for their safety falls not solely on their parents, but on total strangers, and that anyone not in compliance with nanny-state parenting styles should have to answer to the police, through violent mechanisms of arrest and/or criminal charges.

This seems particularly absurd in the United States, where violent crime has been on the decline for five years; total crime has been on the decline since 1990, and violence experienced by children has also declined.