Cop: I’d Love to “Bang down Your Door and Come for Your Gun”

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke   3/12/14
How would you feel if a police officer you knew for 20 years told you that if an order was issued to confiscate your guns, he wouldn’t hesitate to “kick your door in”? This was the precisely the experience Connecticut resident, Navy veteran and former firefighter John Cinque had after commenting on his state’s 2013 violation of the Second Amendment.

The law in question criminalizes the sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds and also certain semi-automatic rifles, and mandates that all grandfathered weapons and magazines must be registered with the state. As for Cinque and the exchange with his “old friend” — Branford Police Officer Joseph Peterson — which occurred on Facebook, Mikael Thalen at Infowars.com writes:

“I’ve had contact with a police officer in my home town, I live in Branford, and his words straight out were, ‘I cannot wait to get the order to kick your door in,’” Cinque said.

…In multiple [Facebook] screenshots captured from the lengthy conversation, Peterson continually argued that law enforcement were not obligated to defy unconstitutional laws. Instead, Peterson stated that he would follow any order given, even if it meant confiscating firearms from close friends.

And to a poster named Cameron Smith, Peterson said, “I give my left n** to bang down your door and come for your gun.”

Of course, the conversation had become heated, causing Peterson to perhaps speak a bit more rashly than he would otherwise. And I’m well aware of the “good soldier” cop argument stating that theirs is not to wonder why, theirs is but to do or die (even if it kills constitutional rights). Hey, “I don’t make the laws,” says the dutiful constable, “I just enforce them.” But there’s a problem with this position. And this is why I want to give you, my friends in law enforcement, the reasoned, moral argument for “policeman nullification.”

Even good people can live lives of contradiction and entertain ideas that simply aren’t true. For instance, if you’re a cop, it’s easy to justify an action by saying that your job is only to enforce the law, especially since, on paper, this is certainly so. But the implication that you enforce every law, across the board, every time, without discretion is absolutely untrue and you, I and everyone else knows it. You don’t ticket everyone driving 31 in a 30 zone, and many times even more egregious law-breakers get off with a warning. Some laws aren’t applied at all, such as a parking law in my town an officer told me was on the books but that “we don’t enforce.” You use discretion all the time.

As for legislation such as Connecticut’s new gun restrictions, ask yourself this question, guys: If I caught my brother, sister, father, mother, son or daughter with some legally acquired but now illegal 30-round magazines in his car trunk, would I slap him in cuffs, haul him in and put him in the system? Let’s face it, you know the answer. And, well, the person you would haul in and arrest for this newly minted “crime” would be someone else’s brother, sister, father, mother, son or daughter. Of course, this argument could justify refusal to enforce most any law, since family will virtually always receive special treatment. So is there a sound rationale for refusing to enforce a law across the board?

Any sane person agrees that no one can simply follow orders blindly, that, at some point, a command itself can become criminal in the moral sense. For instance, would you enforce a law stating that all members of a certain racial or ethnic group were to be rounded up for extermination? Yes, this is an extreme example, and I don’t pretend that the new Second Amendment violations even approach such wickedness. The point, however, is that everyone draws a line — it’s just a question of where. And I’d certainly hope that you, my friends in law enforcement, would take a stand somewhere below genocide.

So what should inform how you draw your line today? Bear in mind that we have an increasingly lawless government and bureaucracy that make less and less pretense about upholding the law. Invaders from foreign nations violate our borders with relative impunity, as our federal executive branch agitates for amnesty and sues states that clamp down on illegal migrants. These are the same feds, by the way, who also sue states that enact voter ID laws, even as the White House last year touted a $53 million (your tax money) program to facilitate voter ID in Kenya.

In that executive branch we have a president who, after swearing to faithfully uphold the laws of the land, often rules by executive decree, ignoring laws he finds politically inconvenient. Most outrageously — after using manipulation and machinations to pass ObamaCare — Barack Obama has continually made unilateral decisions to delay provisions of it that could hurt his party’s electoral fortunes. So serious is his constitutional trespass that even liberal law professor Jonathan Turley warned that Obama was helping to create an “uber presidency” that posed a “danger” to our republic.

Not surprisingly, states and localities don’t have clean hands, either, with some having a history of refusing to enforce drug and immigration laws. Of course, federal drug laws aren’t constitutional in the first place, which brings me to my final point.

In a nation where man’s law is becoming lawless, how do you decide whether or not to obey/enforce a given law? We clearly can’t operate by whim, even though many laws today are made or enforced based on whim. Obviously, we should be informed by the Constitution, but a similar question then arises: can everyone just decide for himself what is constitutional? It’s that age-old dilemma.

The answer is that unless we are connected to that unchanging law — the highest law — and have uncorrupted judgment and a well-formed moral compass, all is for naught.

And considering these factors, what can we say about the Connecticut anti-Second Amendment law? You likely know it will do nothing to reduce crime and at best was crafted with criminal disregard for rights and facts and at worst was made just to score political points. And do you really want to mindlessly enforce laws — like a Terminator obeying programming — born of lawless legislators’ caprice?

Were I a Connecticut policeman, it would be a cold day in the halls of government before I’d ever enforce the new gun-control laws. If the IRS can get away with an “oops” for targeting conservative groups, so can citizens targeted by an unjust law.

As to this, I’ll leave you with the words of St. Augustine: “An unjust law is no law at all.”


Update from Selwyn Duke:

The Cameron Smith quoted in my article wrote to me and reported the following (edited for punctuation):

Just wanted to thank you for the very fair article on the Police officer in CT. While yes, the conversation got very heated, once he [Officer Joseph Peterson] was seen as a cop, he should have stepped WAY back. A lot of news articles are putting my quote in of me saying he would put Jews in Ghettos as the reason he went off. He actually went off well before that. I literally asked him if a law was passed to put Jews in the Ghettos, would you?  He literally said, “Now you are being silly…but if it’s the law, I enforce it; I don’t make them.”

To me THAT was the quote of the story that everyone is missing.

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14 Responses to Cop: I’d Love to “Bang down Your Door and Come for Your Gun”

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Life in the Obamanation leaves me increasingly sympathetic to anarchism, even as I remain aware of its impracticality. (Milton Friedman once wished them luck because that ‘s the direction we should be heading, though his and my destination would be far short of theirs.) A case can be made that the police have to follow orders just as the Germans arresting Jews did. But if Peterson said he hoped to have such an order and execute it (apt phrasing) on a long-time friend, then he wins the Gestapo award (a pair of jackboots, of course) for liberal barbarism.

    In the 1950s, Stanley Milgram ran experiments on whether people would actually inflict pain if someone in a lab coat told them to do so (on people who supposedly had consented to the pain), thereby earning a place in Wilson Long’s Mad Scientist Hall of Fame. To be sure, that wasn’t the same thing as proving that people would be willing to serve as jackbooted thugs just because someone ordered them to do so. But as Daniel Goldhagen argued in Hitler’s Willing Executioners, there are many who are quite willing (and even eager) to do so. And all too many of them are acquiring the power to act out their wicked fantasies.

    It’s just another example of WHY I reviewed A Planet for Texans early on here, since that deals with a government system designed to prevent such abuses by allowing private action to punish them. Increasingly I think Piper and McGuire were right, and that the principle should extend far beyond just politicians. The likes of Peterson (and Lois Lerner) would be equally suitable targets.

  2. Rosalys says:

    I thought that the Nuremberg trials put to rest the, “Just following orders, Sir!”, defense for the commission of a crime.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Another great article by Selwyn. It seems to me the money quote is:

    The answer is that unless we are connected to that unchanging law — the highest law — and have uncorrupted judgment and a well-formed moral compass, all is for naught.

    A phenomenon I’ve noted in bits and pieces is how law enforcement officers are becoming automatons…if not outright hostile to the citizenry. This is what I tried to express to Andy McCarthy (the most sensible fellow over at National Review) regarding the NSA spying. Not only is the idea of limited government, unalienable rights, the Bill of Rights, and checks-and-balances important in the best of times, but they are all the more needed when the rank-and-file of government functionaries are increasingly either Leftists or moral idiots (the former always producing the latter, of course).

    It’s difficult to know from afar what this one officer has (if anything) against guns. He may be an anti-gun nut for all we know. But what we can know is that he is a moral idiot or a moral coward. He is hiding behind “the law” as a way to avoid making moral choices.

    I take it for granted, as probably most of you do, that the Left (and the secular culture in general) is making moral idiots of people. And we’re all morally incompetent to one degree or another. Just as I’m a mathematical idiot compared to, say, Richard Feynman, I’m a moral idiot compared to Jesus who — whatever else he may be — was/is a moral genius.

    But you can’t become morally competent by marching in the victim-of-the-week parade, wearing the right color of ribbon, watching Oprah, watching MSNBC, reading the New York Times, or (god forbid), watching Jon Stewart. That, frankly, is one of the prime ways you become a moral idiot.

    But much of this moral idiocy is simply the natural and predictable outcome of socialism which raises the state above all other spheres of life. All is to be subordinated to her all-knowing gaze. (My god, I’m starting to sound like Glenn. LOL).

    Being drummed into the heads of kids as young as Kindergarten now is the idea that moral legitimacy belongs to the state (well, a Leftist or “Progressive” state, anyway). This is part of what makes us moral idiots, for much goes into the content of the “moral” law of the state other than morality itself.

    This statist brand of morality is infused with politics. And that is a horrible thing to base morality on for what then is said to be “moral” is simply the latest dictates from those in power. And such dictates can change on a dime (as they often do), thus if statist-based morality is fleeting and subject to revision based upon little more than political expediency, can this untimeless beast ever be considered moral?

    Even discounting all this, if you think socialist politicians — taking into account past and present experience — are on the level of saints and thus able to dispense moral truths, then you are a fool — as many people indeed are, having been prepared on their journey to being full-fledged and full-time moral idiots by having bought into the rampant anti-Christian bigotry.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Not just police. Those in authority are increasingly authoritarian, as can be seen in the epidemic of “zero tolerance” abuses in schools. In F. Paul Wilson’s revolutionary novel An Enemy of the State, an economics professor changes the name of his course one semester to “Our Enemy the State” (which only lasts for part of a single class before the Authorities cancel it, though at least he doesn’t end up in their equivalent of a gulag). I increasingly see that course title as an accurate reflection of reality.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I can’t remember the name of the book, but there is one that exists that goes into detail about why we have this explosion of “no tolerance” baloney. The general idea is that people are falling back on an infinite fine-tuned “rule for everything.” And this is so, in part, because it saves them from having to use judgment. And behind this idea is — tuh dah! — Cultural Marxism once again which says that you can’t trust people of one color (race, or economic class) to make judgments about people who are in other classes or groups.

        Note that this idea is completely consistent with the new stated policy (or threat) by the Obama administration. One of their Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not have more black kids disciplined than white kids” — no matter the actual number of kids of whatever color who are acting out. The Marxist just can’t escape his own prejudices. In fact, his ideology thrives on those prejudices.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Modern liberalism is collectivist, placing the group above the individual. This leaves no room for individual thought or judgment, which might contradict the group.

          During the 2004 primary campaign, Rush Limbaugh mentioned an article from Slate or Salon which wondered why Democrats were stampeding for John Fresno Kerry (the empties suit in the race). The article pointed out one of those experiments from the 50s in which humans were tested deceptively, in this case by rating the longest of a series of lines on a wall. In reality everyone was in on it but one person; the others all insisted that a line that clearly wasn’t the longest really was, and in many cases the actual test subject would go along with the group rather than insist on his own judgment. I figured such people were natural liberals.

    • Rosalys says:

      “It’s difficult to know from afar what this one officer has (if anything) against guns.”

      I disagree. It’s not difficult at all. Guns are a great equalizer. The cops are very human, just like the rest of us, and they don’t want to be shot. They don’t like even odds.

      My Dad had a phrase he used when dealing with people acting under color of law – “They have made the violation of my rights a condition of your employment.” No government has the right to do this. And no one has the right to take a job under those conditions.

      Growing up we used to watch Billy Graham every time he had one of his crusades televised. I remember one night the message had to do with the oft repeated cliche, “A man’s gotta live!” Billy’s answer to that was “No he doesn’t!”

      • Timothy Lane says:

        The attitude of police toward guns apparently varies. In major cities on the Left Coast and the northeast, they tend to favor gun control of all sorts. In the real America, they tend to oppose most forms (though they don’t object to bans on “cop-killer” bullets). Note how many Colorado sheriffs have said they would refuse to enforce Hickenlooper’s incremental gun prohibition. (Note that police chiefs are appointed by mayors, who in most big cities will be Democrats in love with gun control.)

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Rosalys, I don’t discount the possibility that being in the profession of law enforcement, and having daily contact with scumbags, that a police officer could certainly develop a dislike for the 2nd Amendment.

        But as Timothy pointed out, surely you have different attitudes, depending perhaps upon what region of the country you are from. So, as I said, it’s difficult to know from afar. This officer might hate guns with a passion because he has had to face so many being in the wrong hands in his daily job, or because he was a kind of anti-gun nut of the Left. Or, he could have been pro-2nd Amendment (after all, he surely carries a gun on his job) and simply was the kind of mindless drone that many Rambo wannabes are in the police force who get a little bit too addicted to authority for their (and our) own good.

        My own view is that he is at least a drone-like moral coward hiding behind the “because it’s the law” idea. My hunch is that he is also a man of the Left. There just seemed to be that kind of simmering bad attitude that is so common from that side of the aisle.

  4. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    Fine article by Selwyn. It and the current evolving crisis in Connecticut deserve an entire article in elaboration, but I’ll try to keep it shorter for now.

    First, on the attitude of the police: I believe that at the moment, most law-enforcement officers are basically good people who would draw the line somewhere rather than “just follow orders” blindly – perhaps they would not draw it at the right place, but they would draw it at, say, at rounding up the obviously-innocent to be imprisoned without trial. That leaves us with a problem, namely, if we are witnessing incipient tyranny – and I believe we are – then there exists the possibility of tragic confrontation between a citizen who will not give up his freedom and a well-intentioned LEO (law-enforcement officer) who believes that it is truly his duty to arrest a man on a felony charge for possessing a 30-round magazine (and the sheer viciousness of the anti-gun zealots in CT for insisting that these “violations” be charged as felonies is highly significant).

    A more subtle problem is this: just as our descent from freedom into tyranny is, as it must be in a free nation, slow and gradual, so too is the concomitant corruption of the police and military (not for nothing has Obama replaced so many General Officers). As an example, we may suppose that some CT officers who would today enforce the registration law would not enforce a confiscation law, should one be passed (and of course the only reason for gun registration is to enable future confiscation). But say several years go by, and he becomes used to honest citizens being imprisoned as felons for the “crimes” of non-registration – so that by the time a Confiscation Act is passed, he has become inured to the idea of arresting persons who cannot be considered criminals in any reasonable sense of the word. The passage of time will either cause existing LEO’s to become corrupted or will cause the better ones to resign and be replaced by those less-scrupulous.

    The same is true of the U.S. Army: if half the States were to rebel and nullify Obamacare right now, Obama would be helpless to do anything about it because not only would the majority in the country not tolerate his calling in the army to attack those States, the Army itself would not obey such an order coming from a man whom most of them must inwardly despise. But let the Federal Government grow in power for a few more decades, and the point might be reached where the unthinkable occurs, and U.S. troops actually fire upon U.S. citizens who are only rebelling in a last-ditch effort to maintain at least a few of their rights.

    I have a suggestion for a useful rule to guide law-enforcement and help them recognize where their duty lies, that is, that helps them know when it’s time to stop “just following orders,” but I’ll present it another day.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Your concerns for the future represent the Overton window in operation. I will note that the military “leadership” is already corrupting the military in terms of “diversity” and of their hostility (at the behest of the disgusting creep Mikey Weinstein) to Christianity openly expressed. If the Fascist Messiah is replaced by another radical leftist (i.e., just about any Democrat), or a weakling (what I call a Yellow-Bellied Republican or YBR) who fails to reverse the trend, we may see a military more willing to include Muslims (whose religious practices they will never challenge as they do Christian ones) than Christians — even for a possible war against Muslims.

      • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

        Thanks for detailing how the military is actively being corrupted under Obama. No doubt purging as many Christians as possible from the ranks is being done so that the resulting troops are less bound by moral scruples than the Christian ones.

    • Rosalys says:

      The time to stop “just following orders” is when those orders are unConstitutional, unlawful or immoral. To be able to do that one must have a properly tuned, Biblically based sense of right and wrong. Too bad that there is too much doing what is right in one’s own eyes as in the days of the Judges, as in “Well, that may be true for you but it’s not true for me!” Silly me, here I was thinking all this time that truth, by definition, is true!

      “They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?” (Patrick Henry, from his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech)

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a related article that basically says that the police are becoming too militarized, that there is an incentive (because of Draconian seizure laws) to go after profitable (to the police departments) drug cases instead of rape cases, and that police departments themselves have become gung-ho.

    Cops or Soliders?

    My own view is that, although most drugs ought to remain illegal, it’s clearly a police-state tactic to seize all assets of a person because of a drug-related crime.

    And I think police and their departments are becoming militarized, which is a bad thing in its own right. But like a gun, aspects of that militarization can have purpose and that purpose does not disappear because some make ill use of the tool. A SWAT unit has its usefulness in certain, very limited, situations. But when armored vehicles are acquired by police departments and the rational is their use for pumpkin festivals, something is rotten in Denmark.

    We must remember that as America degenerates into an amoral abyss, the police who populate the various law enforcement agencies are drawn from that pool. That is certainly another example of the wisdom of the Founders who said only a moral and religious people could maintain liberty.

    That’s not to deny that there are still good police officers out there. But what we will see more and more (as with the willful misuse of authority in the IRS and NSA) is that as the people become “Progressive” (that is, corrupted by Leftism), all of the agencies and departments of government will reflect an increase of bad judgment, ill judgment, and sometimes just plain barbarism.

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