Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I've got to admit that it feels like a kick in the gut to have people (in comments) think that I"m a part of the jackbooted thuggery. I'm loudly decried in graduate criminal justice classes on terrorism and criminal procedure as being a "damned liberal" for people's rights. I'll bear that badge. But to be told that I don't understand the Constitution or understand the spirit of the amendments to it?

Got to admit-- that's an insult that upsets me.

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At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 7:12:00 AM, Blogger Tam said...

Matt, I obviously don't think you're a jackbooted thug. If I did, I'd say "You jackbooted thug!", okay?

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 7:18:00 AM, Blogger farmgirl said...

After perusing the comments, I gotta say, some people are so wound up in their own worldview that they refuse to consider that maybe, just *maybe* a different one has a potentially valid point.

Not naming names, but some of them folks don't seem to want a discussion, they seem to just want everyone else to agree with them and shut up.

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 7:24:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

My point on that deal was only that the status quo hasn't changed, and that it actually fulfills the mandate of the 4th amendment.

I'm not advocating or defending-- just pointing out that it's already in place, and not violating the law or the Constitution.

The assumptions that I'm reading remind me of the people that say "Are you a cop? 'Cuz you have to tell me if you're a cop!"

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 7:28:00 AM, Blogger farmgirl said...


Yeah, you have to tell me if you're a cop! Even if you're in the middle of an undercover sting operation!

Please excuse the sarcasm.

I think that particular wrong assumption, however, comes from the requirement that officers announce themselves in various situations. (Or from all them HBO movies, either one.)

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 9:46:00 AM, Blogger Don Gwinn said...

Don't feel too bad. I'm part of the Communist Conspiracy to Dumb Down America's Children so they'll be obedient to their Indian overlords in the years to come, but I don't let that get me down.

Aw, come on, big guy, I'll buy you a beer. You'll sign for it when it gets there, right?

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 10:21:00 AM, Anonymous Jason said...

[i] Not naming names, but some of them folks don't seem to want a discussion, they seem to just want everyone else to agree with them and shut up.

Welcome to teh intarw3bz. I couldn't agree more. That was one of the most unpleasant set of arguments I've ever seen.

ANYTHING can be abused. Any power, any tool, any action. Maybe I think that a few searches and that aren't valid are worth the majority that are. Personally, I don't have anything to hide, so I don't care.


At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 10:22:00 AM, Anonymous Jason said...

Ugh. Pwned by html comments :P

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 10:41:00 AM, Blogger Don Gwinn said...

Really? Was it actually ugly? I honestly didn't think so. I understand why Matt might take it a little personally, but I didn't think there was much ugliness going on.

Did something get deleted, maybe?

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Tam said...

"Maybe I think that a few searches and that aren't valid are worth the majority that are. Personally, I don't have anything to hide, so I don't care."

Please, please, please tell me that that was said with tongue in cheek. PLEASE.

"Did something get deleted, maybe?"

No, nothing has been deleted.

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 12:09:00 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

Not in the slightest. Now, when I say "not valid", I mean in that there was an "I" that wasn't crossed, or a "T" that wasn't dotted. I'm not referring to a warrant that is obtained illegally.

This is life. We're humans. We're ultimately the strongest and the weakest animals on the planet. Alone, we are doomed. But more importantly than opposable thumbs, IMHO, is our ability to form a "society". By our very natures, none of us can possibly exist without the help of the rest of society, in some way or another. Or if we could, it would be a fairly short, meaningless existence.

Bearing that in mind, not everything is always going to be done right. Everyone is prone to failure at some time or another. We're going to break a few eggs making this big society quiche...

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 12:11:00 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

{edit to above}

Which, by the way, is why I'm posting here rather than where the original conflict took place. I know that my opinion (IMHO) would be... less than welcome there.

{not that its any more welcome here}

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 12:41:00 PM, Anonymous KCSteve said...

In some ways the 'sneak & peek' warrants are equivalent to the warrants served when the suspect just simply isn't there. The only real difference is the effort made to make sure the suspect is away and won't find out right away.

Isn't it more likely that someone who would abuse this type of warrant would be just as likely to 'have an informal look-around' with no warrant? That way there's no ticking time clock on when they must use the information - and no record.

In my experience there are three types of people in the Gov't.

1) Folks who genuinely want to serve. You see a lot of these in the front line positions of the Military and Law Enforcement segments.

2) People who wanted a job. Overall I'd say these are the bulk of .gov employees.

3) People who are in it for the power. There aren't really all that many of these types (thankfully) but they are, of course, concentrated in positions of power. The ones that can't make it into the exalted circles take out their frustrations in various petty ways. These folks don't ask "Do you know who I am?", they make sure you know who they are.

The Libertarian Ideal is a government totally lacking the third type.

The Progressive Ideal seems to be a government totally consisting of them.

Me, I'd like to empower the Type 1's to remove the Type 3's as soon as they detect them and in a manner of the Type 1's choosing.

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 1:54:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Steve, you nicely summed up what I see in the government roster. I doubt that the Progressive model intentionally seeks out #3s; they like to think that they're agressively helpful, community-shaping #1's. [/rolleyes]

Folks, I don't mind in the least that people disagree with me on this or any other topic.

As a matter of fact, I'll tell you a secret: I'm not just real certain where I come down on whether I "like" these types of warrants, or not. I merely was pointing out the observations of their lack of newness, and the fact that they absolutely complied with the letter of the law, and I wonder what makes people think that the spirit of the law is violated?

I have to admit that I probably avail myself of too many opportunities to disperse false beliefs in how things are done. It's not a very attractive trait, and I may lose friends over it.

Tamara, you've never minced words-- I wouldn't expect you to do so, now. I took your comments at face value; nothing more. Likewise to Don. No worries.

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 2:05:00 PM, Blogger farmgirl said...

"That was one of the most unpleasant set of arguments I've ever seen."

I don't think it was so much unpleasant, as I caught a couple of notes in there that made me think of a kid plugging their ears and saying "lalala I can't hear you!"

Having different beliefs on anything is fine, its part of what makes us who we are, as a nation. If you're not able to consider someone else's viewpoint on things, perhaps you shouldn't enter into a discussion about them?

Just my thoughts.

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 2:25:00 PM, Blogger SpeakerTweaker said...

Personally, I'm thinking that it'd be nice if those of the law enforcement community (namely, the likes of MattG) would actually go ahead with the opportunity to disperse some false beliefs. Kinda like LawDog did with the whole "Urban Myths" thing.

Also, I'd like to throw in that (at least for me) it'd be an opportunity to learn that the good guys have to play by the rules, not agree with them.

Having known a few officers here and there, I think it's safe to say that every LEO has their limit; their point at which they turn in their badge in defiance of the enforcement of a specific law (an across-the-board gun ban, for instance). Short of that, most LEO's I know sometimes just have to "grin & bear it."

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 2:45:00 PM, Anonymous LabRat said...

I agree with Speakertweaker- ideally, I want to form my beliefs starting from a base of "what works" rather than what I'd like to believe would, and people who actually do stuff like law enforcement for a living generally have a much closer bead on "what works".

I stayed out of that discussion on the grounds that I didn't have enough time, or enough aspirin. I can get myself into enough of a state arguing with myself on that subject.

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 3:32:00 PM, Blogger Don Gwinn said...

You're a very eloquent thug.


At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 5:15:00 PM, Anonymous Snigs said...

It amazes me that usually the people hollering the loudest for, "our liberties to be respected" (in cases like this) are the first people to holler the loudest, "Why wasn't I protected?" when some criminal who was given every liberty in the book does something to them or their family.

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 5:27:00 PM, Anonymous Rabbit said...

You're forgetting the main purpose of the Innertubes. It's a place where you can meet and interact with people of different cultures, beliefs and ideas and insult them anonymously from a relatively safe distance.

I'm with you on it, Matt. If it passes the sniff test, doesn't conflict with the Constitution and the BoR and is applied equally to all, I'd be ok with it.

Better yet, don't do stuff that compromises your position where you'd be subject to a search in the first place.
Something tells me he's got a high electric bill and a receipt from a hydroponics shop on his coffeetable.


At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 5:48:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

I'm not casting aspersions on others. I'm seriously thinking of yanking my penultimate remark there, for lack of high road.

I'll say this: the Constitution was not formed for anarchy.

But then, like I was saying to Tamara on the phone a coupla hours ago-- I believe we all have different ideas of what "anarchy" is.

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 6:25:00 PM, Blogger 7.62x54r said...

quote - ANYTHING can be abused. Any power, any tool, any action. Maybe I think that a few searches and that aren't valid are worth the majority that are. Personally, I don't have anything to hide, so I don't care. - end quote

Which is exactly the reason that no man should have power over another. You may not have anything to hide now, but what if a different bunch gets in power and decides that whatever you're not hiding is illegal?

quote - I'll say this: the Constitution was not formed for anarchy. - end quote

Well certainly it wasn't. It was formed to constrain gov't, and it's failed. Since it's obvious by now that gov't cannot be constrained, then it's time to try something else, namely no gov't at all.

Anarchy is simply the absence of gov't. Any more or less is semantics.

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 10:42:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Put the genie back in the bottle?

I'd love to give up the majority of the intrusions extant.

Put 'em all up, and you end up with:
No hunting seasons. (No more deer, bear, cougar, dove, duck...)

No prisons.

No roads.

No courts. (We just gonna take care of it ourselves?)

No military. (Ditto, above.)

No advocates, when you move to town X, know no one, and the neighbors throw excrement on your house.

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 10:48:00 PM, Blogger Ambulance Driver said...

Dude, you are about one of the most principled and considerate people I know - proof positive that people with hearts AND brains wear the badge.

Who cares that some projecting peckerwood says otherwise?

At Wednesday, August 15, 2007 11:13:00 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

Because people with hearts and brains are the most likely to take some generic non-considerate comment to heart, and try and better themselves from it, regardless of right or wrong?

At Thursday, August 16, 2007 3:44:00 AM, Anonymous OK Katrina said...

As I read the comments on Tam's site and your's, the thing that kept ringing inside my head was "Guns don't kill people, People do". Guns: powerful weapons; can be obtained legally and illegally. Misused--they are dangerous, destructive and kill. Used properly--they offer protection, leverage, safety and even food. I feel like much the same can be said for the warrant...well, maybe not the food part. A bit simplistic, to be sure, but hopefully you get my point...Warrants: powerful weapons, can be obtained legally and illegal. If used responsibly, it's not the warrant itself that is unconstitutional(I trust you on this.) but it has that potential if misused.

Is the our legal system perfect? Not even close. Does it work? More often than not, we don't get to hear about the day-to-day goings on. We sure do hear about the big screw ups, though. As we should, but it's a shame that when the system works like it should and it does everyday, it is not shouted from the mountain tops. It seems that, again, much the same can be said about our political/governmental's not perfect, but it works more often than not.

As for no government, not for me. I'm grateful for our government, for it's laws and boundaries, and that it at least tries to offer up a system of checks and balances. Seriously, you have to place your trust in somebody or something if you plan to live and operate within the populace.

Now, I don't know you, I get a glimpse at who you are through your blog and through the other bloggers that you throw in with like AD, BabsRN and LawDog. Best I can tell, quality people all. So, the way I see it, as long as we still have people like you, as AD put it, " of the most principled and considerate people I know - proof positive that people with hearts AND brains wear the badge.", still on the job, I'm okay. God Bless America!

Don't let the idjets get you down.

At Thursday, August 16, 2007 11:57:00 AM, Blogger 7.62x54r said...

Hunting. In what way is gov't necessary for us to hunt? Man has been hunting for thousands of years without the blessings of gov't. Any argument about "hunting to extinction" is a non-starter. While it has happened in the past, in most cases it was recent and under the cover of gov't. For the most part hunters do more to protect wildlife than any tree hugger ever thought of.

Prisons. Is that really a blessing of gov't? What's the percentage of non-violent offenders who committed victimless crimes in US prisons now? While there are certainly people that do not belong in society, I don't agree that it requires a gov't prison to protect me from them. In fact, many prisons are run by corporations anyway.

Roads. Who builds all those streets through new subdivisions? It's certainly not the gov't. Ever heard of the Chesapeake Bay bridge/tunnel? What about toll roads? I'm sure you can find plenty on private roads if you care to look.

Courts. Ever heard of arbitration? Why couldn't we "take care of it ourselves?" Dispute resolution is a growing business because of the very fact that the gov't courts are inefficient and can't handle cases in a timely manner.

Military. This could be argued until the cows come home and then some. I'll just say that this country's war of independence was one by citizen's militias against a gov't army. The advantages of fighting for hearth and home against an enemy with long supply lines hasn't changed in over 200 years. The majority of the wars in our history have begun because we had a standing army which naturally needs something to justify it's existence. Without a military, what would a hostile power attack? Sure, major cities could be bombed to slag heaps, but what would the point be? As crazy as some politicians are, I don't think any would be stupid enough to bother.

Excrement slingers. Now this is interesting. Do you think that the only reason people don't throw excrement on houses is fear of gov't? I certainly don't feel an urge to throw excrement and would like to believe that most of my neighbors don't either. It's doubtful that those who act on an urge to throw excrement consider the consequences anyway. Even so, I've no doubt the consequences will be little more than a nice report of the incident with a case number suitable for framing, or wiping up excrement. If in fact mankind is so depraved that absence of gov't would lead to mass excrement throwing, then what would keep the very people who most enjoyed throwing excrement from gravitating to positions of power in gov't so that they can throw excrement at will with no fear of consequences?

Conclusion. It's taken me several years of study to arrive at my current position and I certainly don't think that I am going to convince anyone to see the light in a few blog comments. I do appreciate the opportunity to respond though and hope that maybe someone will take the time to consider these thoughts with an open mind.

At Thursday, August 16, 2007 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Hunting was just an example of one of the areas I can think of where people left to their own devices really do seem to screw it up, but when there's a social contract, it works pretty well. Deer populations in many areas of the country at the turn of the century (er, 1900, I should say) were almost extinct. Virginia even did a restoration program, which worked because of established season and hunting regs.

Social contracts are damned useful. I really would rather the local tannery or metal shop not pour their slag into my water supply. I would like to establish what the rules of the road are, and have a way to enforce them. I would like to keep supersonic jets from breaking mach just over my rooftop. I would really like to have a mechanism to investigate and catch murderers. (How's that do-it-yourself NCIC working out for you?)

I also want professionals to enforce the social contracts. Occasionally, I have to go tell a Citizen that he's broken the rules of our society to the extent that I have to temporarily relieve him of his liberty. I'd better damned well recognize my obligation to follow that social contract myself when I go about doing that. If I screw up, I don't have that job anymore.

I really don't want the drunk down the street who decides that *I* (or my wife. Or my daughter) have wronged him to come try to hold me accountable for it. First, he'll be wrong. Second, what if he were right, and I just best him in the inevitable confrontation? What then?

At Thursday, August 16, 2007 2:11:00 PM, Blogger 7.62x54r said...

People will do the right thing in most cases whether there is someone to enforce it or not. People that do the wrong thing will do it whether there is someone to prevent or punish them or not. All the things you mention happen every day in spite of gov't. Why saddle society with something that is such a drain on resources, not to mention freedom, that in the long run doesn't really do anything to change the outcome?

At Thursday, August 16, 2007 2:15:00 PM, Blogger 7.62x54r said...

BTW, I'd guess that the deer depopulation in VA was on gov't land. Had you considered that if all land was privately held then the landowners might have a vested interest in responsible wildlife management and there wouldn't be a need for the gov't to interfere to correct the problem it created in the first place?

When property is owned by the state then no-one has a vested interest in properly caring for the property. There's a name for it, communism, which I think we all agree hasn't worked out too well elsewhere.

At Friday, August 17, 2007 1:36:00 AM, Blogger Gay_Cynic said...

And thus we have served up the difference between the *L*ibertarian, the idealist, and the *l*ibertarian, the min-archist.

The first would by his or her idealism subject us to a variation of "Biggest/Fastest/Meanest scariest dog on the block wins" as surely as any liberal or conservative idealist (they would just insist that the government and/or the church pay and control the big bad dog).

The second, recognizing that through obliviousness, self-interest, addiction, or just old-fashioned mean-ness a few wrong-headed persons can screw things up for a disproportionate number of folks beyond any reasonable degree of acceptability if an absolutely minimal set of constraints aren't in place.

The second sees at the same time the fruit of the poisonous tree - that by creating or tolerating government, one sows the seeds for the death of freedom - and seeks to keep a balance, keeping the critter as small and harmless as possible while still keeping the barbarians from coming over the walls.

Rationality is more work than idealism, but I like rational folks better, myself.

Matt, y'all seem pretty darned rational to me as do the majority of your commenters. :)

At Friday, August 17, 2007 6:16:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

7.62, I've seen what happens on exclusively privately-owned land-- that's all we have out here in TX, pretty much.

You get a guy who really is motivated and wants to preserve the ecosystem on his property, and his property may well stand a chance, if the neighbors don't poach it (gvt interference), don't dump upstream (gvt interference), don't block his access (gvt interference)....

We in Texas had a terrible dirth of deer until the 1920s, when seasons were introduced and enforced. Now we have more deer than when the first settlers came to TX.

Before enforcement, mines routinely dumped into rivers. (gvmt interference)

Before enforcement, men routinely beat their wives without any fear of repercussions (gvmt interference). (That one I know a LOT about-- having seen the fear in a man's eye when I show up at a domestic dispute in which he just cuffed his wife; he knows he's going to jail, and she knows she can have time to get her stuff together and leave if she wants to-- that smack to her face just bought her 72 hours and an E.P.O.)

Before government interference, people routinely could physically, sexually, and emotionally abuse their children without worry of repercussions. You know how the child abuse laws came into place? They were an afterthought to animal cruelty laws. Now I personally have no problem is you want to destroy your own property-- go put a bullet through your pet/draft animal/show animal's head, if you desire; it's your property and I won't interfere. But if you tie your dog up in the 100 sun for a week without access to food or water, in a tick-infested yard, that's a specific brand of cruelty, and I personally would like to see us put a stop to it. Well, funny thing-- there's a lot of people that don't do that because of fear of repercussions. There's a lot of people that call me because they know that there are repercussions.

I, as a third party, can step in, take the onus off the neighbor who otherwise gets along with the guy, and the actor can hate the guy in the blue uniform rather than his neighbor that brought him a hot dish when his wife was sick. That third party thing allows me to settle disputes peacefully that otherwise would turn into feuds.

Are there cops that are badge heavy? You bet. Are there governments that are oppressive? Dear GAWD, yes! I'm still pissed about Kelo v. New London, and you might be surprised to learn that I'm furious about how the SCOTUS ruled on Raich.

But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Example: your mention of public lands. Go up to the Olympic Pennensula, sometime, up in Washington. There's a rainforest up there. Some of the most amazing trees I've ever seen in my life are preserved in Olympic National Park. There's a herd of the largest elk in the world there, preserved from the brink of extinction by Teddy Roosevelt, who had the last 30 or so gathered up there, in a park that he created, saving the last of the monster old trees from logging. Left in private hands, those Roosevelt elk and that forest would be gone. I'm not saying all or even most or even a large portion of the land needs to be public. But pieces like that are worth creating a cooperative agreement to protect. Well heck, that sounds like a low-level government, doesn't it?

You drive around the Peninsula, and you see these lush forests, and then, suddenly, you see raped land, devoid of trees, runoff and erosion making the land useless. The line between good forest and raped land is clearly drawn; you've just passed into Indian land. Those poor bastards weren't being stewards at all. They logged it, didn't replant, and their land is worthless. Then you move on-- forest company land. Well, the trees are pretty and such, but there's zero biodiversity. Then you move on to a richer, more forward-thinking tribe's land-- the land looks a lot better. Some of those tribes get big money guiding outsiders on hunts on their land, and they can do it because they've made a tribal (re: GOVERNMENT) law that they will conserve their resources.

There's a lot of ways to skin a cat. We both agree that the best way is not to consider the citizen the cat.

At Friday, August 17, 2007 6:52:00 AM, Blogger 7.62x54r said...

Response to gay_cynic.

The world is not perfect and no system of organizing society will create a utopia. Bad things happen now under gov't. Bad things would happen with no gov't. To what degree is certainly up for debate. Most seem to think it would be worse, personally I don't see how it could be. Why suffer the waste and inefficiency of gov't, not to mention limiting everyone's freedom (not just the "bad actors"), for a net gain of zero?

At Friday, August 17, 2007 7:04:00 AM, Blogger 7.62x54r said...

Response to matt g.

You give examples of things that gov't is intended to prevent and specific ones that you personally respond to. They all have one thing in common, the still occur under gov't. I've said it before, but some people are going to be anti-social regardless, I just don't believe that absence of gov't will turn us all into to heathen misfits overnight.

If people feel that environmental preservation is important, as you apparently do, then they would find a way without gov't. Just imagine the amount of money that could be donated by environmentalists to fund land purchases for preservation if 50% of their income was not skimmed off the top by gov't! Certainly it would require organized associations to coordinate these types of efforts, similar to the tribal "gov't" you mention. I think you misunderstand my position in this area. I have no problem with people joining together in VOLUNTARY associations to further their agenda and goals. My problem is when I am forced to participate and have my property confiscated under duress to fund other's goals. No matter how noble and laudable something is, if it is funded by theft (which all gov't projects are) then it is morally wrong.

At Friday, August 17, 2007 8:49:00 PM, Anonymous Michael said...

I think that some people who blog suffer from large egos. Egos that are perhaps fed by a small group of fellow acquaintances/bloggers that make up a small symbiotic mutual admiration society. Some bloggers whose writings I really enjoy would be much more enjoyable if they weren't so caught up in themselves.

When you add reader comment capability to every blog entry, it just makes it worse.

At Saturday, August 18, 2007 7:02:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Michael, you have to have some ego to blog. You're publishing your thoughts for the world to read.

Then, too, the medium encourages small egos to do things that are typically up to no only the area of larger egos: commenting flatly, without equivocation.

I won't deny that my ego is of a healthy size. Then, too, I also encourage thoughtful criticism. I might disagree, but I might not. And if I do disagree, I usually won't take offense to the mere fact that someone had the audacity to disagree.


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