UPDATE 2: The call campaign was sucessful! Governor Tom Wolf vetoed this bill!
UPDATE: Pennsylvania's Governor, Tom Wolf, is tallying the number of calls received in which citizens request him to veto this bill. Call him & voice your concerns ASAP: (717) 787-2500
HARRISBURG- The PA State House and Senate voted in bipartisan fashion to pass House Bill 1538. This bill bans the release of police officers’ names whom are involved in any shootings or physical altercations that lead to significant harm of citizens for a minimum of 30 days- longer if the investigations go beyond that time frame.
This move demonstrates the indifference to public sentiment that exists at the top echelons of state government. A government designed ostensibly to be OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people (I can talk about THAT myth at another time).
At a time when many people- not just the Black Lives Matter movement- are expressing frustrations with out of touch & unaccountable local police forces, the politicians in Harrisburg decided that even LESS accountability and even LESS transparency is what you, ‘the citizen’ needs.
The government, which has the power to tax, fine, and demand licensing fees from you almost without limit, has once again demonstrated that, at the end of the day its interests supersede your own. They had two choices here: 1. protect the interests of the people who are being patrolled with armed judges, or 2. protect the armed judges. They chose to protect the armed judges, because the armed judges are there to execute the power and protect the interest of the state- not the people they are allegedly intended to serve.
This assault on our liberties passed with republicans voting for it in unanimity and the majority of democrats voting for it, but the state-run media outlets are giving cover to the party of choice, the democrats, referring to the vote as being “mostly along partisan lines.”
The media knows full well that this legislation will not be popular, least of all among democrat supporters (who imagine the two parties really are significantly different from one another). And so they carry forward with a cover: protect the democrats from the backlash to come from their own supporters.
One must wonder: how many democrats who voted against this legislation would have changed their votes if they had to? What kind of deals were made to decide which democrats got to vote no and which ones had to vote yes?
In addition to leaving out the reality of the vote, the media has also left out the fact that the charge to anyone who releases the officer’s name is a 2nd degree misdemeanor, which carries penalties up to 2 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. That’s quite an intimidating charge to be leveled against someone who lets the community know the name of the person involved in killing or injuring a member of their community.
Finally, the media decided to not highlight the person who introduced this legislation, State Representative Martina A White. She recently won a special election in Philadelphia County back in March 2015. She did so with strong support from the police unions- even giving her speech in a Police Fraternal Lodge.
Just take a step to pause and take that in. The police, the ones ‘entrusted’ to carry guns and make life and death decisions that could DIRECTLY affect you, are able to influence the very government that backs up their power against you (should you come in conflict with them). Does this seem like a conflict of interest to you? It shouldn't because the police are little more than the enforcers of a coercive enterprise, the 'legit mob' called the state government.
Their power as a Union, able to draw in millions of dollars from their members with which to offer de facto graft, political contributions, is FAR greater than what you have when you go to the voting booth. With that power, they were able to send a bought and paid for representative to Harrisburg to propose, lobby for, and get passed legislation that further protects them from accountability. Accountability from a community in which they are entrusted to police with the use of lethal force- should that cop deem such force appropriate.
I have a saying that I often use, which is this: there is no Rule of Law, there is only Rule of Power. It is uncertain going forward whether or not legal challenges to this assault on liberty will be successful. It will depend largely on the power behind the judges who will ultimately adjudicate the matter.
What is more certain is this: the response communities have to the outcome of this legislation. The first time a cop is involved in one of these incidents in your community will have far more of an effect in reversing this assault on liberty than any vote. Or than any court case in the foreseeable future.
What does that look like? I’m not sure. It could be in the form of civil disobedience- someone who has the name, releases it, then when they attempt to enforce the legislation, the community shows up to prevent the powers that be from taking custody of the person.
However it manifests itself, the true test of liberty in this land will be the degree to which you will sit complacently and accept yet another advance against liberty and FOR tyranny.
Is this the land of the free & home of the brave, or the land of the tyrants & the home of the afraid? Once again, we will have a sad opportunity to find out what kind of land this is, and what kind of people populate it, as the full ramifications of this legislation ripple throughout the land. I for one am NOT holding my breath for the brave to show up.
You can read more details about this legislation at Lehigh Volunteer.
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