Saturday, November 11, 2006

what Korean police could learn from US police

[Warning: if you're politically correct, stop reading now.]

In America, it's rarely wise to sass back at a police officer. Why? Because of something called rule of law, an idea that permeates American society, and even influences the actions of criminals: when you break the law, there are consequences. In the US, we've got millions of lawbreakers, but most of them are sneaky about it and do their best to escape the consequences, because they know that the hammer will fall if they're caught. In Korea, lawbreakers feel little pressure to be sneaky; breaking the law is fairly routine, and you can always argue your way out of a problem (unless you're a foreigner, of course).

In America, people break the law and they run from the police. If they resist arrest, as one drug dealer memorably attempted a couple months ago, they can expect to be tackled and perhaps even punched and elbowed in the face several times. Our police don't fuck around. They don't want to hear your bullshit arguments. All they want is for you to come along quietly, and if you're incapable of even that minimum of civility, then I have no sympathy for your pathetic ass. Suspects' rights? Call me politically incorrect, but Dirty Harry hit the nail on the head when he said, of one suspect, "What about the rights of the woman he killed?" Even if you're only a thief and not a murderer, you're still violating the public trust and infringing on your fellow citizens' rights. And if you're innocent, as you loudly claim, do you truly think it helps your case to struggle?

In Korea, when you break the law, you stand up to the police, rage at them, haggle and wheedle with them, and you can take your damn time doing this. I think Korean police need to watch this video and learn a thing or two. OK, yeah, I'm joking. But only a bit.

For more on what happens when citizens stop respecting the law, see this article by Theodore Dalrymple regarding the correlation between violence and disrespect for the law in New Zealand.

NB: The guy in the YouTube video is saying, rather loudly, "I can't breathe!" That obviously means he can breathe. He says "I can't breathe" several times, which requires several breaths. I'm sorry, but if I were one of the arresting officers, I'd think he was bullshitting. While I think the officers may have used excessive force, I also think they had to do something to complete their immediate task, which was, in this case, to get the guy in cuffs. Perhaps if they had been better trained in how to perform certain locks and holds, they could have immobilized the guy without having to pummel his face.

NB: Just a reminder:

Police said Cardenas [the guy being arrested in the video] had been wanted on charges of receiving stolen property. In an arrest report obtained by The Associated Press, the officers said they tried to arrest Cardenas after spotting him on the sidewalk, but Cardenas ran.

The officers caught up to him, tripped him and swarmed over him to apply handcuffs, the report said. In their report, they admitted hitting him repeatedly in the face, saying that he was resisting and that they feared he might grab one of their guns.


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