A Different Kind of Robbery

By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist

The police state is not only here — it is being welcomed with open arms.

Exhibit A: In Aurora, Colorado, police searching for suspected bank robbers locked down an entire intersection, dragooned 40 random motorists out of their cars at gunpoint, handcuffed them and “asked” for permission to search their vehicles. (See here for the ABC News story.)

Naturally, no one refused permission.

The action itself is startling: 40 people, guilty of nothing more than proximity, of being in the same general area where a suspected criminal might also be, are literally pulled from their vehicles, shackled and detained for more than two hours — even after it was obvious they were guilty of no crime at all.

Even more startling, however, than these over-the-top tactics is the fact that (apparently) every one of these 40 innocent people complied without a peep of protest. Not one said: “I’m sorry officer, but unless I’ve committed a crime I’d like to be free to go about my business.” Not one said, ” I do not consent to any searches.”

None put up a fuss when the cuffs came out.

One woman interviewed by ABC News clucked happily: “Yeah, we all got cuffed (laugh) until they figured out who did what.” No doubt this woman will not object when a gang of armed men kicks in her door, invades her home and holds her family at gunpoint until they figure out who did what. After all, there are criminals about. They could be anywhere. Which means, anything is justified.

In the words of one ABC News blogger, “Sounds like the police did their job – and did it exceptionally well!” And another: “I think the police did a great job in an unusual circumstance and protected the people of the city from a dangerous criminal. Those people should praise the police, not sue them!”

The Accosted apparently agree. So far, according to news reports, none of the 40 has so much as filed a complaint.

This is an incredible thing. A lurid testimony as to the current state of the American mind — cowed, in awe of “law enforcement” — and utterly indifferent to the inevitable consequences of countenancing such thuggery.

And thuggery is precisely the right word. Because thugs use violence to intimidate and get what they want. They do not care how they get what they want.

Just so they get what they want.

Aurora, Colorado Police Chief — and four star “general” — Dan Oates agrees, describing the trampling of 40 innocent people’s civil liberties in pursuit of his Greater Good as a reasonable exercise of what he called “investigative detention” for a “reasonable” period of time.

The question arises: If it is “reasonable” to pull scores of random people out of their cars, handcuff them at gunpoint, search their vehicles under extreme duress and then “detain” them for hours, what would constitute unreasonable?

Summary execution, perhaps?

In fact, they might as well have just shot everyone. It’s logical, according to the unreasonable reasoning of General Oates. After all, God will know his own. The guilty would have been dealt with — and as the saying goes, you can’t make am omelet without breaking a few eggs… .

Americans are becoming so accustomed to tyranny they hardly notice it anymore. The outrageous has become the routine. And the routine quickly becomes accepted as normal. A nation that has been taught to raise its arms — and spread its legs — as a routine part of air travel, which thinks it’s ok to subject anyone arrested for any reason at all (including jaywalking) to forcible strip searches and which accepts random, dragnet-style searches of anyone at anytime as “reasonable” is fated to accept things far worse in due course. It’s now only a question of time. The principle of unreasonable authority — limitless, unconstrained by any civilized rules of engagement — has been accepted by millions of Americans. And the consequences of that ought to be obvious.

Except, of course, they are not.

Most people don’t see what’s coming because they view things in a limited way. The cops in Aurora were only trying to get their man, they will tell you. Such tactics would never be used against innocent people. It never occurs to them that in fact such tactics have already been used against innocent people. 40 of them, in fact. Not one of the 40 Accosted had to rob a bank — or even jaywalk — to be treated just the same as if they had robbed a bank. Just as we are treated as presumptive drunks at “sobriety checkpoints” — and just as we are treated as presumptive terrorists by the TSA.

What, then, will prevent the Boys in Blue from treating anyone they wish to as a “criminal” — given that it is no longer necessary for them to even pretend that us anyones have done anything at all?

Innocence itself is no longer a defense.

A scary thing.

If anyone’s paying attention.



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26 Responses to “A Different Kind of Robbery”

  1. RT says:

    Believe me if I was one of those 40 I would have declined. Everytime someone tells me they were pulled over and searched I say why did they search you did you say OK. Of course they say yes. Then I proceed to tell them why it was dumb to say yes, even though in the end nothing happened besides Oh you lost a couple hours of your life.

  2. lonnie pfeifer says:

    I am continually baffled by the lethargic attitude of the average American. Land of the free, home of the brave? Not in this day and age. The local news starts at least one story a week with the catch phrase "keeping you safe" and then goes on to lovingly tell how yet another right is being taken away, or another bs law is being rammed down our throats. That is bad enough and yet the comment sections of articles, or Facebook postings of same, are what really tend to piss me off. If a person doesn't smoke, banning smoking is just A-OK, to hell with property owner's rights. Study after study shows that anti-texting bans not only do not reduce accidents, but often increase them, but hey, texting is banned so that MUST be good!
    Cities with the most restrictive gun laws have the worst crime rates, go figure.

  3. Brother John says:

    Exactly so, yet again.

    In a time when our paranoia of drug users and sellers drives us to allow SWAT teams to wind themselves up on adrenaline, kick down doors, terrorize the inhabitants, shoot the dogs, ransack the place, and leave in an effort to find these hideous substances **and make no restitution when it's done yet again in the wrong place**, phrases like "land of the free" have no meaning at all.

    But, we are getting the government we deserved. It's fine if the good officer searches my car; I have nothing to hide. It's fine if I get pulled over for this or that, because I certainly don't want *the other guy* doing such things. I don't mind terribly having to register a firearm purchase with the government, since we certainly don't want the *wrong* kind of people to have any weapons.

    Haven't you had enough yet? Any safety and security you think you have on the road is limited by *your* skill, and so limiting your own freedom achieves nothing. But, instead, you voted to make it worse. Now, there are congresscritters who will admit to your face that there are no limits on their power. If there are no limits to their power, then you have freedom of every kind – to eat what you want, to vote as you wish, to drive the car you want – only as long as it remains too much work for them to take the rest from you.

    Have you had enough?

  4. Celeste Cunningham says:

    Is this America, or one of those " other countries" we read about?

  5. CB says:

    Very sad! The state conditioned the people slowly, one small step to
    tyranny at a time. The frogs are still in the pot and it is now

    We are getting the government that THEY deserve!

  6. paracord22 says:

    Well said.

  7. metoo says:

    I know exactly where they did this, good thing I wasn't there…….they would be facing a ACLU lawsuit.

    • Joe says:

      Can't sue without documentation… LOL, when they start routinely stone-walling people and arresting photographers and reporters, that's when we really should worry. In a city where the police are willing to do this though, it's usually also common to harass complainers.

  8. […] saw Twitter updates about this, but I assumed it was an Onion story that someone didn’t recognize as being from a parody […]

  9. GD says:

    Just like Nazi Germany's Gestapo Better to execute 1000 innocent people than to allow one guilty person to go free. Pretty soon the cops will just execute everyone they stop for a traffic violation.

  10. W.P.Daily says:

    One of the founding fathers (I believe it was Franklin) was quoted as saying "A nation that will sacrifice liberty for security, deserves neither".

  11. Mic says:

    Speak louder.

    The clarity, cogency, and simplicity of your position will cut through most blatant arguments against it.

    Welcome to leadership. Have you seen what we do to our leaders?

  12. aas says:

    where's the cited resources, date of this occurrence, so at least i can fact check it? i live near there and have heard of no such thing. sounds plausible, but horrible reporting.

  13. Angry Voter says:

    Everyone involved should be stripped of their citizenship and sold to a North Korean labor camp where they can fit in.

  14. Winston Smith says:

    Freedom is Slavery. We are all under the warm, watchful, protective eye of Big Brother.

  15. Big Al says:

    Nobody ever gets permission to search me or my effects.
    Be like Eric and me.

  16. SomeTexan says:

    I ran a cop out of my house that was in it without permission on my rural acres last week.

    Property is heavily posted that if you come in without permission or trespass you'll be carried out when you leave. He came in anyway on a misguided "welfare check" from a demented relation.

    We ran down the list, as to him having none of the below:
    Probable Cause
    Fingerprints or any reason to believe I was engaged in any crime

    After we sorted that out, I was rid of him in short order.

    Being better armed than the cop has it's advantages when he's solo and violating your rights and a buddy is over so you have witnesses. I didn't let him do what he wanted, as he had no cause, and he didn't get to do what he was sent to do. I wasn't charged and he said "Whoever called this one was a dumb ass, I'm not even going to write a report. Waste of my time and yours."

    Exercise your rights or lose them, the choice is yours.
    I choose to exercise them.

    • Joe says:

      Until you become another Waco or Ruby Ridge incident. People tolerate it or are afraid to try to stop a powerful minority, so it is technically quite possible that he'd come back with 50 of his friends and then try to claim you had an illegal weapon or some other trumped-up pretext. This is a case where the community's relationship with the police prevented that. If he was a Fed, he'd bring in the freaking FBI or something.

  17. James Gragg says:

    That is truly disgusting! What a bunch of WORTHLESS SHEEP! MLK said, "We will forget the terrible things our enemies said about us, but we will remember the silence of our friends that stood by and did nothing." Or something to that effect.

  18. Cade Willerger says:

    I am personally horrified at these tactics that are being used on innocent people…Bush and co . are laughing down their sleeves with smug looks towards how well the thought of this terrorist Osoma Binladin was all they needed to hold a country hostage .The MIC is what the TPTB gave full reign to snuffing out our rights…will we ever get them back…..

  19. Jessica Albright says:

    Gee Eric, what's the big deal?? The police have a JOB to do, and it is sometimes difficult, and often life-threatening to them. What they did was a minor inconvenience, a small price to pay for safety.

    You blow this all out of proportion, calling it a "police state". Clearly YOU are the one who believes this, but not many others. After all, as was pointed out, "…none of the 40 has so much as filed a complaint."

    You come across as nothing more than a selfish paranoid whiner. You whine about the things that other people consider part of common sense; you are paranoid about a "police state"; you are SELFISH because you feel that YOUR "rights" are SO SO SO important that nothing else should ever even slightly infringe upon them, even if said infringement is only in your own dim view.

    • Brother John says:

      Well, then, what WOULD constitute an action unjustifiable to you? Would you be OK with being stopped and searched pointlessly?

      Most traffic cops are glorified revenue agents. True, they're doing a dangerous job, since there isn't any way to know what they're up against from one situation to the next.

      But wouldn't unnecessary danger be removed if things that aren't crimes (speeding, minor [most] drug violations) weren't so aggressively pursued?

      The 40 filed no complaints, not because they thought it over and figured the cops were just doing their job …rather, it was because they feared reprisal later on.

      *Never* trust a police officer when he thinks you've done something wrong, because he's being paid to work against your best interests at that point, and can use deadly force to achieve his aims.

    • GeorgeC says:

      No, the police don't have a job to do.
      They have no specific legal obligation to protect anyone: be that a real person, or a fiction person-ala corporations.
      The primary cause of death is vehicle related. They don't know how to drive, and neither does the general populous. So it is ironic that they would be the ones to uphold traffic laws.

      We ARE in a police state. and there are many who can accurately be described as 'sheeple'. (they reasons for being that are many, and are easily found out elsewhere)
      Take a look. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIcOfu6Udec

    • Sheila in Aurora says:

      I know that Auora public employees are often abused, illegally fined and harassed when they don't follow unethical directives from their superiors. I'm not sure if the union helps officers unfairly treated for not following unethical rules but I KNOW that the HR and the city attorney will harass the holy tar out of career service employees and their famillies.

      I do not blame the officers in any way, knowing what I know about the goings on in this city. I blame the superiors for giving bad orders and the city attorney for misrepresenting the letter of the law.

      Any abuse of the citizens will, unfortuntely, put our officers in harms way as citizens will vote to cut funding for the police department if they view them as corrupt. This is bad for our police officers. It unfairly casts them in a bad light. The problem is the leadership and the corrupt system in a town espousing the belief that 'home rule status' allows them to violate the constitution. It does not.

      We need new leadership in Aurora.

  20. Jo Roark says:

    I would never give cops permission to search my car or my person without a warrant, there are laws and they aren't above them.

  21. Sheila in Aurora says:

    All I could think to myself was, this event could have been much, much worse.

    We had a man with two semi-automatic pistols in his car. His was the ninteenth car searched, he could have easily shot at our officers in unprotected areas and the innocent civilians.

    Our city could have been mourning the deaths of innocent children, innocent men, innocent women, and police officers following bad orders.

    City officials are saying that no one is complaining. They say that this was perfectly legal. They say everything is okay yet they refuse to answer open records requests claiming that the Feds won't let them.

    I'm not sure that I blame Aurora officials for this one…..something bigger is going on.

    Constitutional issues aside, the cops created more problems than they solved. Every car they stopped added one more variable to the investigation. Every person on the sidewalk, every person they searched could have potentially been the crook.

    How do we know that the gps signal wasn't planted by someone at the scene? or maybe by an Aurora employee? We don't….This whole set up is just too darn weird.

    I'm pretty darn sure this guy is going to beat the charge because by mussing up the investigation, the police have given a potential jury much more to question.

    Sad all around….