Archive for December, 2008

Glorifying Rogue Law Enforcement

Published December 31st, 2008 by tcarpenter

I’ve noticed a trend in movies and television programs the past few years that is more than a little disturbing.  It is the glorification of police and other security personnel who “cut corners” when it comes to the Bill of Rights and other legal restraints on governmental power.  True, it is not entirely a new phenomenon, as the Dirty Harry movies of several decades ago attest.  But it has gotten much worse since the 9-11 terrorist attacks.  The model for the “who gives a damn what tactics are used as long as the hero gets the bad guys” attitude is Jack Bauer on the television show “24.”  Now, on program after program, one finds overt sympathy for characters who don’t abide by silly rules–like those requiring probable cause for searching a suspect’s home or auto, or those that prohibit threatening or beating a suspect.  Beyond those aspects, there is a proliferation of shows like “Flashpoint” and “Homeland Security USA” that portray, without the slightest adverse implication, the growing militarization of America’s police.  There was a time most Americans would have cringed at the sight of “police” in full military gear breaking down doors and acting as though they were invading an enemy country.  Both in the world of entertainment and in real life, that no longer seems to be the case.

We need to remember that legal restraints on the conduct of police and other goverment officials are not quaint, irrelevant standards from another era.  They are essential protections that separate brutal, repressive countries from free ones.  An entertainment industry that glorifies misconduct by those who are supposed to uphold the law are conditioning viewers to tamely accept such abuses in real life.

I’m Back

Published December 31st, 2008 by tcarpenter

Although you wouldn’t know it from the appearance of the blog, I have made a number of posts since October 21.  However, in recent weeks both the website and blog have been down on several occasions, and when EasyCGI, the trusty host of this site, finally was able to restore access in late December, it lost all of the posts since October 21.  Apparently, they have disappeared into cyberspace with no hope of recovery.  This episode suggests that corporate incompetence is not confined to the Detroit automakers, Wall Street investment firms, and the mortgage banking industry.