Letter Re: To Arms!

Mr Rawles,
I must contest the foolish statement made by Mr. Prentice in his essay, To Arms! Prentice’s labeling Unlawful LEO Activity as a credible threat to the life of civilians is borderline absurd.  Yes, there are bad cops in our police forces. That’s nothing new and those officers should be purged as soon as possible and serve time in jail if needed. Bad cops irritate good cops and ruin the good will honest officers struggle daily to build. But there are bad cops because police officers are not super human genetically enhanced automated machines. We are picked from your neighborhood, go to your colleges, and live next door to you. The average cop sees far more death, depravity, and tragedy that most soldiers will ever encounter over their 25 year career. The average cop could easily qualify for a medical retirement based on the traumatic stress that we endure daily. The majority of all your blog followers would love to have 2, 3, 4 local cops living on their block to provide a Neighborhood Watch on steroids. Yes, even good cops have bad days and sometimes lose control. So throw the bum out? If so your local PD would have no officers employed very quickly.

Prentice’s belief that the average preppers should consider the local cop as a deadly threat is foolish and dangerous. Foolish in that the overwhelming majority of officers willfully run to your emergency with out reservation. They willfully, dutifully, risk their lives to save yours for low pay, horrendous working conditions and far to often with career ending injuries or PTSD issues. Yes, the bad ones out there do tarnish the work and valor of the honest cop. But to equate these few bad officer to the total vast good cops and deputies is reckless. Prentice equates officers to muggers, home invaders, foreign invasion, kidnappers, active shooters and even wild animal attack. Really? This is no different than the Prepper that steals, kills, or hurt others for what ever reason. It gives the rest of us  preppers a bad reputation and subjects us to public ridicule.

Prentice’s comparing police officers with such significant criminal activity is dangerous, very dangerous. He espouse the idea of active resistance to law enforcement. The cop or deputy is tense to say the least as their lives are at risk every time they put their uniforms on. Active resistance to police action is a commonly accepted danger sign to the LEO community. It is taught in the academies and learned through survival nightly.  If a person disagrees with an officers arrest rational and actively resist the officer, it will not end well. Pull a gun on a cop and dang right the LEO will fight for their life to get home that night! The officer also has the right to self defense. It is far better to get the incident recorded or witnessed than contest the officer physically if you disagree with reasons for arrest or detention. Fight the issue in court and/ or make a complaint with the officer’s internal affairs division. If the officer is a bad officer they will be removed from the department. But to promote active resistance to police officers is dangerous.

Why this route? Very few citizens know what their rights are or what heir responsibilities are. To physically resist or fail to comply with a legal order given by an LEO simply because you disagree with the offices rational for the arrest or detention is dangerous.  Instead of treating your local officers as a threat to you I suggest a some what radical but effective alternative. Rarely do officers receive thanks or appreciation for risking their lives night after night for strangers. I suggest thanking officers every time you can. We officers need your approval, your appreciation. This is not posterior kissing to get out of a ticket but a genuine thanks. We need to know that our lives and efforts have not been wasted. That the scars we endure, both physically and mentally, were worth the pain. Far to often we only see the negative that society has to offer. Officers rarely receive thanks or appreciation from those we protect. Your thanks, or hello will do far more than just bring a smile to our faces. It is a healthy reminder of why we officers run to danger. We need the approval and appreciation from the good people of society. Yes, there are incidents where rouge officers fail themselves, their fellow officers, and society.  But only the very minute few actively violate their oaths of office and pose a threat to society. This is why Prentice is foolish and dangerous in stereotypical labeling LEOs as a significant threat to the average citizen.

Thank you, – Mark B.

JWR Replies: I agree that in the present day that local law enforcement is not a threat. Nor are most of our other neighbors. However, under the exigent circumstances of a major, widespread disaster some police might be co-opted into enforcing martial law, or might be co-opted into enforcing new unconstitutional laws, or they might even go rogue in order to feed their own families, but I think that would be a rarity.

It is difficult to predict how things might play out in a societal collapse. I agree that generally most local police officers and sheriffs deputies will be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. But it would be foolish to assume that at least a few who are in positions of authority won’t be tempted to overstep their bounds in the midst of chaos and a power vacuum created by an extended interruption the power grids, a lack of telecommunications and the loss of influence of–or perhaps even the very existence of–whole sectors of government and public services.