Senate Bill 522
“The names and training records of law-enforcement officers as defined in § 9.1-101 and fire marshals as defined in § 27-30 are considered personnel records and excluded from mandatory disclosure pursuant to § 2.2-3705.1.”
Malheur did not end with Oregon. People talk, and the ones you need to be concerned about, learned, adapted and began making phone calls. Ferguson and Baltimore were not the right optics, the offended parties would have collectively burnt down more property than they did and it would have endangered the voting bloc incumbent progressives had relied on for the better part of five decades. The DOJ would have demanded answers, the Obama administration would have opposed it, because the current ruling regime, like any oppressive government, is at the whim of the mob’s opinion. A lesson can be learned here somewhere about picking the right time, right place, but let’s not get carried away with the knowledge. Perhaps we should consider why those in power think we are the appropriate avenue to further their oppressive agenda and not Black Lives Matter?
A great many Americans do not trust their their government anymore, if national polls and the sniff test is any indication. Part and parcel of this feeling is the perception that law enforcement is conducted in an unfair way and grievances continue to go unanswered and unresolved. Rather than ameliorate the situation, those in power have doubled down on the stupid. In what only can be described as a move of sheer brilliance, the Virginia Senate has already passed a bill to keep police officer’s names confidential. To my knowledge there is no state or national precedent for this, at least here in the U.S. Clearly precedents exist in such democratic strongholds such as East Germany, pre-1945 Germany, post-Czar Russia, Democratic Republic of China, Iran, and virtually every African country since the 1950’s.
The issues are obvious. The potential for abuse becomes astronomically higher. It very nearly incentivizes lawless behavior from law enforcement. The vast majority of society is held together by our collective agreement of social norms and the threat of public ridicule, shunning and censure. In my city of ~80,000 the chances of being caught pushing down old women is decently slim. The reason I don’t is primarily because I believe it’s wrong, but even if I didn’t there is the threat of public ridicule and censure. Becoming an anonymous badge removes an important impetus for morality and legal behavior. The Milgram experiment makes this point abundantly clear. Make the individual anonymous, put them in a room with an authority figure, and watch the magic happen. I have no doubt this correlates closely with the various threats and cries for the identity of Levoy Finicum’s shooter in Oregon. Like all things, it will be done in the name of safety, ‘for the children’ and wives of law enforcement and take us yet one step closer to the gaping maw of tyranny. One wonders if simple insistence on lawful behavior by law enforcement would solve the problem more handily than attempting to model the police in Virginia after the Cheka.
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* This is not designed as a hit piece on law enforcement, but rather emphasizes the problems I believe is endemic among many departments today. I believe in the concept of lawful exercise of police powers, but believe like virtually all agencies of government the current version is badly mismanaged and twisted. Silence is complicity, inaction is a choice.