Monday, August 12, 2013

Opposing the Fraternal Order of Police

I have been an "activist" for years, but for the most part, I have been of a someone different stock than those we think of when we hear that term. I am a narrow activist working pretty much exclusively with people labeled "registered sex offenders." I rarely use that term these days-- I will say former offender, registered citizen, or even registrant. I have not been the "sign waving type," though I have joined a protest or two. I am an activists on many different levels. 

Today, I took on a very powerful organization, single-handedly addressing them in the most basic manner possible-- I took on the Fraternal Order of Police just be holding a sign.

I did not know that the FOP was holding a big conference in my city of residence (Cincinnati) until Saturday evening as I was watching the news. I had little time to prepare for this. I do concern myself with issues like police misconduct, felony disenfranchisement laws, and other legislation that affects individual who have served time. Apparently the FOP is very busy in the political realm as of late. Below are some things the FOP has listed on the NATIONAL SITE, that they oppose or support. I took out the ones I have no problem with (related to health care and the like):

OPPOSE (I'd like to note when I compiled the list, I collected info from the past few sessions, not just the current session. You can see the different lists HEREHERE, HERE, and HERE)

  1. H.R. 2711 (Jenkins, R-KS), the "Citizen Empowerment Act," would establish procedures allowing individuals to record any in-person or telephonic interactions with any employee of an executive agency;
  2. S. 1038 (Cardin, D-MD), the "End Racial Profiling Act," which would define "racial profiling" as any consideration of race, national origin or ethnic origin to initiate a traffic stop or vehicle search absent an eyewitness description and requires the collection of race and other data by State and local law enforcement during routine investigatory activities;
  3. Legislation or amendments that would have the effect of weakening P.L. 106-185, the "Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000";
  4. Legislation which would create or fund "civilian review boards" of law enforcement at any level of government;
  5. H.R. 59 (Jackson-Lee, D-TX), the "Ex-Offender Voting Rights Act," would allow convicted felons to vote in Federal elections if these felons are denied the ability to vote by the State in which they reside;
  6. S. 650 (Feingold, D-WI), the "Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act," would abolish the death penalty option for all Federal crimes which currently carry that penalty;
  7. H.R. 2168 (Chaffetz, R-UT), the "Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act," which would significantly increase the requirements that must be met by law enforcement before they could request geolocation information on potential victims or suspects;
  8. H.R. 3618 (Conyers, D-MI), the "End Racial Profiling Act," which would define "racial profiling" as any consideration of race, national origin or ethnic origin to initiate a traffic stop or vehicle search absent an eyewitness description and requires the collection of race and other data by State and local law enforcement during routine investigatory activities;
  9. H.R. 1628 (Nunes, R-CA), the "Public Employee Pension Transparency Act," which would undermine public employee pension systems by requiring them to disclose incomplete data on their assets and liabilities; 
SUPPORT (see HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE)
    1. H.J.Res. 8 (Emerson, R-MO), would amend the Constitution to give Congress the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States;
    2. S.J.Res. 2 (Vitter, R-LA), would amend the Constitution to give Congress the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States;
    3. Legislation which would protect the personal information of law enforcement officers and their families from public access; 
    4. H.R. 4466 (Latta, R-OH), legislation amending the Hatch Act to allow local and State law enforcement officers to be candidates for the office of Sheriff and permit Sheriffs to engage in political activity; 
    5. H.R. 2711 (Jenkins, R-KS), the "Citizen Empowerment Act," would establish procedures allowing individuals to record any in-person or telephonic interactions with any employee of an executive agency; 
    6. H.R. 1800 (Sensenbrenner, R-WI), the "FISA Sunsets Reauthorization Act," which would reauthorize two expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and make a third one permanent;
    7. H.R. 6063 (Smith, R-TX), the "Child Protection Act," enhances the ability of law enforcement to combat child pornography by increasing the penalties of possessing child pornography and reauthorizing the Internet Crimes Against Children task forces;
    Now don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily hate all cops. There are Mutts and Jeffs in every group out there. However, the FOP lobbies for laws that disenfranchise felons who have completed their sentences or other laws to increase surveillance of citizens while shielding themselves from citizen accountability. That is the part of the FOP that angers me. 

    Because few question the FOP, many were shocked to see me standing outside holding a sign opposing them. Long story short, most responses could be lumped into a few categories:

    1. The Insults: Many responses were as follows-- Fuck you, go to hell, you're a pedophile (by one cop)/ kook (by someone who worked for the convention center)/ idiot, get a job you smelly hippie, your sign sucks, etc. Many of these were given in the form of drive-by comments--those who made the insults did so with their backs turned to me as they were walking away. Your tax dollars at work.
    2. The Condensation: I can't tell you how many times today I heard variations of "I will still protect you if someone attacks you while you are out here," or "America: Love it or leave it" or about how I am a "coward" because I don't blindly support our pigs. 
    3. The Show: I have had my pictures taken with so many cops today while holding my sign, I could almost be an honorary member of the FOP. But I'd rather not-- the smell of bacon may not wash off anytime soon.
    4. The listeners: I have to admit, a decent number of FOP members were cordial, even human. Some looked at my signs with honest curiosity and, despite disagreeing, were people I could have a decent conversation with. 
    5. The apologists: Those who wanted nothing more than to "prove me wrong" or "trip me up." I haven't received this many loaded questions, "what ifs," appeals to emotions, "do you have kids?" and "walk in my shoes" arguments, not to mention those who never give time to answer a question before proclaiming I am wrong and walk off like they won the Super Bowl. 
    There were a few interesting interactions, but the ones that made the largest negative impressions were those who were telling me they support stuff like the death penalty with a gleam in their eyes, especially when discussing sex offenders. I wonder if the statements would have changed if they knew their words were directed at me. It was not any less disturbing to hear that many actually believe having a ten year old kid on the sex offender registry is just fine. Or my favorite, the schmuck who told me "the rights of the popular will always trump the rights of the few." Of course, we have a Constitution that says otherwise.

    It is amazing how many people can't separate individual issues from the group as a whole. By addressing the problems within the group, the group ameliorates. But it is hard to hear opposition. To be honest, I hate being criticized by anyone. However, while I am angered at first, I do take the time, after cooling off, to look at the criticism. Sometimes, I do adjust accordingly, sometimes I simply take things under advisement. I hope a few do the same. 

    I would not say I had a positive experience overall. To be fair, however, there were many who were decent to me-- a couple even brought me a bottled water, which was a nice gesture. Still, I was Daniel in the lion's den. With some, I wish God had shut their mouths like he did for Daniel.

    Sometimes we have to take a stand, even if we are all alone. 

    1 comment:

    1. I commend your courage in making this public statement!

      ReplyDelete