Saturday, February 23, 2019


John McCain Was a Horrible Person and Horrible Senator and I’m Glad He’s Finally Dead.

Is this really supposed to be a thing: social pressure to “honor” — and never diminish — John McCain like he was some kind of hero? He wasn’t. He was a terrible man. He was a liar, a warmonger, a servant of the neoconservatives, who pushed for every bloody and disastrous policy he could get behind, from Iraq War I and the 1990s blockade and bombing campaign to the wars in the Balkans to Iraq War II and then its “surge,” Afghanistan and its “surge,” backing al Qaeda in their wars in Libya and Syria (remember it was his buddies in the Northern Storm Brigade who sold Steven Sotloff to ISIS), then the subsequent Iraq War III to drive ISIS back out of western Iraq again. He was bad on Iran, bad on Yemen, bad on Korea, bad on Russia, bad on everything. Now he’s finally not anymore.

There’s really no way to give justice in a short summary to the amount of damage McCain’s presence in the U.S. Senate has caused for the people of the world, especially in the era of this century’s terror wars. He was as important as Bill Kristol or Paul Wolfowitz in pushing us into Iraq War II and his constant pressure from the right has been an extremely important part of each and every one of the wars and the various escalations of them ever since then. With Lindsey Graham and a rotating cast of third “Amigos,” such as Joe Lieberman and Kelly Ayotte, McCain has always been Washington’s most reliably hawkish bloodmonger on every issue.

Remember that time when McCain claimed Iran was training al Qaeda in Iraq, when what he meant was that he personally had taken the lead in having U.S. forces get rid of Saddam for the Ayatollah and fight a five-year civil war on behalf of Iran’s friends in the Dawa Party and Badr Brigade the whole damn war long — against al Qaeda there as well — and had no idea what the hell he was talking about and Lieberman had to interrupt before he made it any worse?

Now he’s died of lethal brain cancer just like the depleted uranium babies of Fallujah and Ramadi. And we’re supposed to be more upset about his death than theirs.

By the way, McCain was only rich because his criminal drug addict-yet immune from prosecution wife was born into Arizona’s state alcohol cartel.

And don’t give me this shit about Vietnam. Just because McCain was captured by the NVA when he got shot down in an attempt to bomb them to death in an aggressive war doesn’t make him a hero.

From Tim Dickinson’s profile:

Sipping scotch and reflecting on the fire aboard the Forrestal, McCain sounded like the peaceniks he would pillory after his return from Hanoi. “Now that I’ve seen what the bombs and napalm did to the people on our ship,” he told Apple, “I’m not so sure that I want to drop any more of that stuff on North Vietnam.” Here, it seemed, was a frank-talking warrior, one willing to speak out against the military establishment in the name of truth.

But McCain’s misgivings about the righteousness of the fight quickly took a back seat to his ambitions. Within days, eager to get his combat career back on track, he put in for a transfer to the carrier USS Oriskany. Two months after the Forrestal fire — following a holiday on the French Riviera — McCain reported for duty in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Only after explicitly coming to terms with what a crime it is to kill humans with napalm did he get shot down while going back to do it again.

And would you be surprised to find out that McCain embellished the story of his captivity there for personal gain?

According to Dramesi, one of the few POWs who remained silent under years of torture, McCain tried to justify his behavior while they were still prisoners. “I had to tell them,” he insisted to Dramesi, “or I would have died in bed.”

Dramesi says he has no desire to dishonor McCain’s service, but he believes that celebrating the downed pilot’s behavior as heroic — “he wasn’t exceptional one way or the other” — has a corrosive effect on military discipline. “This business of my country before my life?” Dramesi says. “Well, he had that opportunity and failed miserably. If it really were country first, John McCain would probably be walking around without one or two arms or legs — or he’d be dead.”

Once the Vietnamese realized they had captured the man they called the “crown prince,” they had every motivation to keep McCain alive. His value as a propaganda tool and bargaining chip was far greater than any military intelligence he could provide, and McCain knew it. “It was hard not to see how pleased the Vietnamese were to have captured an admiral’s son,” he writes, “and I knew that my father’s identity was directly related to my survival.”

But during the course of his medical treatment, McCain followed through on his offer of military information. Only two weeks after his capture, the North Vietnamese press issued a report — picked up by The New York Times — in which McCain was quoted as saying that the war was “moving to the advantage of North Vietnam and the United States appears to be isolated.” He also provided the name of his ship, the number of raids he had flown, his squadron number and the target of his final raid.


In the company of his fellow POWs, and later in isolation, McCain slowly and miserably recovered from his wounds. In June 1968, after three months in solitary, he was offered what he calls early release. In the official McCain narrative, this was the ultimate test of mettle. He could have come home, but keeping faith with his fellow POWs, he chose to remain imprisoned in Hanoi.

What McCain glosses over is that accepting early release would have required him to make disloyal statements that would have violated the military’s Code of Conduct. If he had done so, he could have risked court-martial and an ignominious end to his military career. “Many of us were given this offer,” according to Butler, McCain’s classmate who was also taken prisoner. “It meant speaking out against your country and lying about your treatment to the press. You had to ‘admit’ that the U.S. was criminal and that our treatment was ‘lenient and humane.’ So I, like numerous others, refused the offer.”

“He makes it sound like it was a great thing to have accomplished,” says Dramesi. “A great act of discipline or strength. That simply was not the case.”

In fairness, it is difficult to judge McCain’s experience as a POW; throughout most of his incarceration he was the only witness to his mistreatment. Parts of his memoir recounting his days in Hanoi read like a bad Ian Fleming novel, with his Vietnamese captors cast as nefarious Bond villains. On the Fourth of July 1968, when he rejected the offer of early release, an officer nicknamed “Cat” got so mad, according to McCain, that he snapped a pen he was holding, splattering ink across the room.

“They taught you too well, Mac Kane,” Cat snarled, kicking over a chair. “They taught you too well.”

The brutal interrogations that followed produced results. In August 1968, over the course of four days, McCain was tortured into signing a confession that he was a “black criminal” and an “air pirate.”

“John allows the media to make him out to be the hero POW, which he knows is absolutely not true, to further his political goals,” says Butler. “John was just one of about 600 guys. He was nothing unusual. He was just another POW.”

McCain has also allowed the media to believe that his torture lasted for the entire time he was in Hanoi. At the Republican convention, Fred Thompson said of McCain’s torture, “For five and a half years this went on.” In fact, McCain’s torture ended after two years, when the death of Ho Chi Minh in September 1969 caused the Vietnamese to change the way they treated POWs. “They decided it would be better to treat us better and keep us alive so they could trade us in for real estate,” Butler recalls.

Now we have humanity minus McCain. And the future is a little brighter.

Marijuana Prohibition Derangement Ruins Young Lives

Gavin Devic of Springfield, Missouri wasn’t shunted through the school-to-prison pipeline, but the local drug prohibition soviet will probably succeed in derailing the disciplined, accomplished young man’s academic and athletic goals. Just as some people claim that it is possible to experience a “contact high” through exposure to marijuana smoke, adherents of the prohibition cult believe that it is possible for people to experience “contact culpability” in similar circumstances.

Devic has maintained a GPA very close to 4.0 while working two part-time jobs and compiling an enviable record of 75 wins in wrestling, an achievement that had earned him multiple scholarship offers. On December 2, faced with the unfamiliar prospect of some free time, Devic allowed himself the indulgence of a short nap that was interrupted when a friend showed up to invite him to go to a dance at Parkview High. As Devic got into his friend’s car it became clear that the other young man had been consuming the Satanic Communist Demon Weed Marijuana.

Since Gavin had not partaken of the substance that makes incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions lose bladder control, he assumed that he wouldn’t get into trouble. Like too many other people he underestimated the sadistic resourcefulness of those who act on behalf of the evil fiction called the “State.”

Shortly after he arrived at the dance, Gavin was pulled aside by one of the “resource officers” who prowl the school’s hallways in search of young lives to ruin. In compliance with his training and professional expectations, the officer lied to Gavin by claiming that he displayed all of the indicia of marijuana use, including the fact that his “eyes were low” — something that could be explained by the student’s half-Asian ancestry.

As search of the friend’s car turned up a small quantity of the prohibited plant and related accessories. Under questioning, and doubtless seeking to mitigate his own punishment, the friend initially said that the pot and paraphernalia were jointly owned (as it were) by the two of them. This was an obviously self-serving claim on his part, but it was sufficient to “prove” Gavin’s guilt in the eyes of people predisposed to punish, rather than investigate.

The perfidious friend later recanted his story and provided a statement exculpating Gavin. At his own expense, Gavin obtained a drug test proving that there was no THC in his system. An incident report filed by the school resource officers grudgingly admitted that “nothing illegal or prohibited” was found on Devic’s person. All of this mattered not to the local prohibitionist priesthood, which cannot look upon pot use with even the least degree of allowance, and will sternly punish even the appearance of “evil.”

Gavin was suspended from school for ten days, barred from athletic competition for a month, and lost his A+ scholarship eligibility, which would have covered the first two years of in-state tuition at numerous colleges. The “citizenship” component of that scholarship was ruined by the suspension.

“I am losing all the options I was setting up for myself,” Gavin laments. This is entirely in harmony with the purpose of the state-run school system, which is to indoctrinate inmates in the idea that their lives belong to the state, not to themselves — and that those lives can be ruined, in an instant, at the whim of those who presume to rule the rest of us.

I'm Getting Fed Up With Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson seems like a good guy, he’s a smart guy, he’s doing good work, he’s fightin’ the left’s dangerous political moves in Canada, but I’m starting to not be able to stand him.
What has me real triggered is a recent show he did with Joe Rogan.  This show is just one in a series of appearances by Peterson, but it’s one which might be the straw on my camel’s back.  Here’s my problem with Peterson: he’s exactly the sort of mind that would come up with and steadfastly support the New Deal, and the New Deal is exactly why we have the problems we do in “North American” culture.  Yet, Peterson is oblivious for a couple of important reasons.  These reasons can clarify to libertarians the scale and nature of the obstacles facing our worldview.

William Norman Grigg: Rest in Peace

Will Grigg died today. Of a heart attack. He was 54 years old.

Will was my hero. I don’t know what else to say.

(Originally posted on April 12.)

To help support Will’s large family, you can donate to his family fund.

Syria: From ‘no boots on the ground’ to (not so secret) forward operating bases

It’s a familiar pattern by now. From “we’re staying out” to “just some logistical aid to rebels” to “okay, some mere light arms to fight the evil dictator” to “well, a few anti-tank missiles wouldn’t hurt” to “we gotta bomb the new super-bad terror group that emerged!” to “ah but no boots on the ground!” to “alright kinetic strikes as a deterrent” to “but special forces aren’t really boots on the ground per se, right?” And on and on it goes.

As of this week the public is getting a rare glimpse of more US boots on the ground in southern Syria. Not just boots, but a US Special Forces Forward Operating Base, along with evidence of US operational control of a sovereign country’s border crossing.

Caleb Weiss reports the following for Long War Journal:

Photos released by a news outlet affiliated to a Free Syrian Army-branded group show that US special forces have been conducting joint patrols in southern Syria near the Al Tanf crossing. The position of these troops has been the catalyst for US airstrikes against Iranian-backed groups in the area in recent weeks.
Hammurabi’s Justice News, a news outlet affiliated with Maghaweir al Thowra (MaT), has released several photos and videos in recent weeks showing US special forces conducting joint patrols with the group. In addition, several photos show fighters from MaT and American troops guarding the Al Tanf border crossing with Iraq. Special forces from other allied countries are likely featured in some photos, as British and Norwegian special forces are also in the area.
According to the commander of MaT, around 150 US special forces are stationed with the group near Tanf. The commander also said that five other countries have troops stationed with MaT, including two Arab states. MaT is the current incarnation of the New Syrian Army, formed with US support in 2015.

View the full set of photos and accompanying video footage at Long War Journal.

More importantly, upon reviewing the new photos every American needs to recall the history of politicians promising us “no boots on the ground” in Syria.

US covert train and equip programs in Syria (whether Pentagon or CIA) began under the Obama administration, but have more or less continued with some alteration under Trump, especially in southern Syria.

A little over a year ago, the US State Department gave one of the most bizarre and propagandistic Orwellian pressers in recent history concerning the nature of US troop presence in Syria. It is worth revisiting.

Perhaps now the argument would be… when is a special forces base not a “base”? Or, can you have a Forward Operating Base (FOB) with no “boots”?

Syria Cheat Sheet: Why the US wants to bomb the Syrian Army

Image result for us syria flagIf you’re not yet a Twitter follower of Elijah Magnier @EjmAlrai I suggest you start following him and pay attention to his work right away. He’s one of the few truly “on the ground” war correspondents who regularly treks all over Syria and the region, and has been doing so for decades.

While most of his reporting is in Arabic for Alrai Media based in Kuwait, he does a lot of geopolitical analysis in English via his blog.

The recent White House claim that Syria is preparing a chemical attack against civilians, “including innocent children” (which is remarkably specific!), is beyond bizarre. The administration seems to be using intelligence (though it’s doubtful there’s real intel involved at all) as a kind of public crystal ball to give itself carte blanche authority and justification to attack the Syrian government.

But what’s behind it all? Elijah Magnier has compiled a cheat sheet of sorts based on a fuller blog entry which can be found here. Magnier considers the following essential and obvious questions:

Why would Assad use chemical weapons?

Why the bizarre US accusation that Assad is prepping chemical weapons to massacre his civilian population?

Chinese Billionaire Says He Knows Where America’s Jobs Went, and It’s Not China

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media.


Davos —Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba — the Chinese company surpassed Wal-Mart as the world’s largest retailer in 2016 — said the United States has no one but itself to blame for its economic woes, and that much of the problem is rooted in wasteful spending on warfare.

CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin had asked Ma about his thoughts on the American economy and how it relates to China. Incoming President Donald Trump’s stance has consistently been anti-China — the former reality TV star has long accused the Asian superpower of siphoning U.S. jobs — and he and the trade team he’s putting together appear eager and willing to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.

“It’s not that other countries steal jobs from you guys. It’s your strategy. Distribute the money and things in a proper way,” Ma said, adding, “You’re supposed to spend money on your own people.”

On the issue of military spending, Ma claimed the U.S. has wasted over $14 trillion on warfare over the past three decades — money that, again,  could’ve been invested in domestic infrastructure and programs for the American populace.

On Wednesday, as Anti-Media reported, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a historic speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos in which he praised globalism and made a case for China as the world’s new economic leader.

Speaking of globalization, Ma called it a “perfect” strategy, and pointed out that U.S. corporations have profited substantially from the system:

“The American multinational companies made millions and millions of dollars from globalization. The past 30 years, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, they’ve made tens of millions — the profits they’ve made are much more than the four Chinese banks put together…But where did the money go?”

In welcoming China’s president to the stage at Davos on Wednesday, WEF founder and chairman Klaus Schwab stated, “In a world marked by great uncertainty and volatility the world is looking to China.”

Alibaba’s Jack Ma, in speaking to CNBC, seemed to echo this sentiment — that’s it’s China and the system of economic globalization that will blaze the path into the future:

“The world needs new leadership, but the new leadership is about working together. As a business person, I want the world to share the prosperity together.”

#TrumpIgnoreHawks #AmericaFirstCabinet

President-elect Trump has a serious problem.

There are a very small number of people in this country — libertarians, paleoconservatives, very skeptical realists — who believe in any kind of “America First” foreign policy and could actually conceivably get a job in the national government where they could try to implement one.capture1

If Trump is really interested in rolling back the empire and limiting foreign intervention he would be considering these men for positions in his government.

There are real reasons to worry. But just in case these hashtags finally ever go viral, and/or the winds of public opinion on this issue start to really be felt by his incoming administration, here is a national security cabinet any Republican non-interventionist should be able to get behind:

Chas Freeman, Andrew Bacevich or Ted Galen Carpenter – Secretary of State

Col. Andrew J. Bacevich or Col. Douglas MacGregor – Secretary of Defense

Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis – Deputy Secretary of Defense

Chuck Pena or Robert A. Pape – Deputy Secretary of Defense for Policy

Paul Pillar or Doug Bandow – National Security Adviser

Doug Bandow, Trevor Thrall or Christopher Coyne – Deputy National Security Adviser

Paul Pillar or Chas Freeman – Director of National Intelligence

Paul Pillar or Ted Galen Carpenter – Central Intelligence Agency Director

Chas Freeman or Thomas Fingar – National Intelligence Council Director

Christopher Preble or Ivan Eland – Ambassador to the United Nations

David Stockman or David Henderson – Secretary of Treasury

Robert E. Kelly – Secretary of Energy

Bruce Fein – Attorney General

Judge Napolitano – White House Council

Staffers: Daniel Larison, Kelley B. Vlahos, Matt Purple, Bonnie Kristian, Abigail Hall-Blanco.

War weakens America. The people are tired of it. These men and women could cover Trump’s right flank in a “only Nixon can go to China”-way as he implements a policy of retrenchment — if he and his top advisers are so inclined.

See also, Dear Senator Sessions.

Suspended From Twitter

I’ve been suspended from Twitter for calling @KatzOnEarth a “boo hoo little bitch,” for tattletaling on Peter Van Buren and getting him suspended. Dan McAdams has also been suspended for RTing me. 

Well, Twitter can …. my ….. I’ve been trying to think of a way to quit that horrible website for a while now. If anyone needs me, I’ll be here and at

Murder in Service of the Drug War: The Passion of Levonia Riggins

Levonia Riggins

To police:

It is not okay to shoot and kill someone to enforce marijuana prohibition. It does not matter that you are a cop. Your badge does not shield you from fundamental principles of morality. Law enforcement officers must understand this and stop killing people unjustly.

Levonia Riggins was ingloriously shot in his own home, suffering an undeserved gruesome early death. His family are now traumatized and grief stricken in a manner that you would never wish on anyone. They will never have true happiness for the rest of their lives. The deputies involved, especially Deputy Caleb Johnson who made the conscious decision to pull the trigger and end Levonia’s life, will never sleep soundly again.

The Tampa Bay Times dutifully printed an all too common boilerplate news report of the incident:

“A Hillsborough sheriff’s deputy fatally shot an unarmed man Tuesday morning as a SWAT team raided a Clair -Mel area home looking for illegal narcotics, the Sheriff’s Office reported. The raid yielded a small amount of marijuana, the agency said. “Levonia Riggins, 22, had been the subject of a monthlong drug investigation, sheriff’s Maj. Chad Chronister said at a news conference.

“When investigators arrived at the house at 1432 Longwood Loop with a search warrant about 8 a.m., everyone inside came out except for Riggins, the major said. Others who left the house told deputies Riggins was inside, most likely in the rear, sheriff’s spokeswoman Debbie Carter said in a news release. That’s when Deputy Caleb Johnson, 32, a seven-year veteran of the agency, entered the house with fellow SWAT members.

“‘After making numerous commands for Riggins to exit the residence, Deputy Johnson visually located Riggins in a bedroom, at which time Johnson perceived Riggins as an immediate threat and fired one shot, striking Riggins,’ Carter reported. “Riggins was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he died.”

According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office undercover deputies allegedly bought marijuana (undoubtedly very small amounts) from Levonia twice in the prior month. That along with a year old report about a gun at the home was enough to trigger the deployment of Hillsborough’s SWAT team to “execute” a search warrant of the home shared by Levonia and his family on the early morning of August 30th — a search warrant for a plant which they falsely label a “narcotic” for additional fear effect. This bears repeating:  it was a search warrant, not even an arrest warrant. The SWAT team used a loudspeaker to order the residents out of the home. Three adults and a child came out of the house. Levonia did not. Not based on any particular safety concern but a fear Levonia may be flushing his weed down the toilet, SWAT members escalated the situation by bashing in Levonia’s bedroom window. There they find him still in his bed, under his sheets. Not defiantly waiting to ambush them with an assault rifle, but merely waking up.  Any mildly experienced policeman should expect this, even after their loudspeaker announcement.  Reacting like you expect anyone who is woken up by his window being smashed and staring down the barrel of a weapon pointed at you by an angry gunman yelling something like:


Levonia gets out of bed and is promptly fatally shot by Deputy Johnson. Ostensibly because Levonia moved his hands towards his own waist.

Deputies search the home for several hours and find no gun and 2 grams of marijuana.

I’ll go ahead and agree to the stipulation that everything the Hillsborough SWAT team did that morning up to the shooting of Levonia was legal. Marijuana is illegal even if for totally unjustifiable reasons. They were acting on facts known to them. They got a search warrant from a judge. That search warrant is an actual order commanding them to execute the search. They surrounded Levonia’s house armed to the teeth like Delta Force and smashed their way in (speed, surprise, violence of action.) That is standard procedure. Not withstanding it is well known using militarized special forces tactics for little more than anything other than a hostage/active shooter is unnecessary and actually increases the chance for violent confrontation and harm for all involved. Levonia didn’t comply fast enough so they had to eliminate the threat.  All done following Sheriff’s Office policy and procedure, Florida state law, U.S. federal law, and the Constitution of the United States of America as dutifully interpreted by The Supreme Court.  Just because no gun and only enough weed for one joint were found in the home doesn’t mean Levonia had the right not to be killed. The continuing investigation, conducted by the very organization that murdered him, will likely conclude Levonia was up to some kind of no good. Even if it doesn’t, the deputies were still acting in good faith.

Interestingly, the Sheriffs Office isn’t even bothering to claim the deputy “thought he saw a gun,” or that the deputy’s own gun “went off” accidentally. Voulusa county deputies murdered Derek Cruice under exact same circumstances last year and got away with it, so why not?

Case closed.

So how can the deputy’s actions be legal yet still be murder? To focus on the few moments around the shooting or the “legality” of the raid blinds you to a larger fundamental issue.
The deputies failed to question the most important aspect of their actions before they even began.

When is it morally acceptable to use force against another man? It is never morally acceptable to initiate violence. Force can only be used as a response to violence (self-defense of yourself or others.) We all inherently know this from a very early age but unfortunately spend our lives unlearning it especially when it comes to “government” exceptions.

Conducting violent marijuana raids on an individual’s home is immoral. Hillsborough county deputies were the ones that initiated violence when they decided to bash Levonia’s window, enter his home while he was sleeping, take any of his possessions that interested them and shoot him dead because he gave the merest perception that he may resist. Levonia Riggins had not initiated violence against anyone. Possessing or participating in the voluntary exchange of goods (even if you think it is a generally harmful mood altering substance) is not a violent act.

If Hillsborough deputies were serving an arrest warrant on Levonia for say murder or armed robbery they would be justified in their presence at his home and use of force to arrest him. Even then, the actual shooting is unjustified.

To defend the deputies by saying they did not shoot until after Levonia resisted and threatened them is incorrect.  Imagine an armed robber shoots and kills a jewelry shop owner and then claims self-defense because the store owner looked like he was going for his own gun. Police are on the same moral ground when conducting marijuana raids.

But marijuana is bad you say. If someone brings marijuana into your home or business against your will, you are welcome to drive them out with a whip. Getting cops to whip people on their own property for adult, consensual marijuana use or trade make you the criminal. Police involvement concerning harms associated with marijuana should be minimal at best and are already covered by other, just laws. I’m not asking you to support marijuana use, I’m asking you to end your support for violent prohibition enforcement.

You may believe government agents, unlike a common robber, had a lawful right to be in Levonia’s home and seize his belongings. Lawful right does not give you moral right. Morality trumps statutory law every time. Slavery, Japanese interment, forced segregation were just as immoral when they were legal. Do you really think out of the millennia of man’s existence that you just happen to live in an era where EVERY government law is moral? Keep in mind we have 99,999 laws on the books in America and the world’s highest rate of incarceration by total number and population percentage.

Even the deputies recognize another “drug dealer” or any other citizen, would not have the moral right to steal Levonia’s weed and shoot him if he resisted. If the deputy on his own time, neighbors, strangers from across town, myself, a minister, even a hundred pious ministers don’t have the moral right to violently invade someone’s home with the intent to rob or steal marijuana how did the police get it? Police claim that special right was given to them by “we the people.” But here’s the problem, people didn’t have that right in the first place so how are they able to confer it on the police. Answer: they can’t. Sir Robert Peele listed this as one of the 9 fundamental principles of policing.

“PRINCIPLE 7: Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”

Your badge does not give you extra rights. In fact, if professionalism and honor means anything to you, men and women who swear to serve and protect should hold themselves to a much higher standard of conduct when using physical force against others (especially lethal force) than a very basic standard of morality and decency.

Martin Luther King Jr. articulates the difference between just and unjust laws:

“I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’ Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.”

King is only addressing the following of unjust laws. Actually enforcing an unjust law is much worse.

It is the individual police officer’s actions against his fellow man that actually brings the harm of unjust laws into physical manifestation. A government statute is only ink and paper. Individuals damage their own spirituality and moral fiber when they harm others unjustly. This is an inescapable fact inherent to our humanity. A tin badge, uniform, politician’s decrees, good intentions will not shield you from the consequences of violating morality. “Just following orders” or “It’s the law” is no excuse.

Just as he pulled that trigger and sent a bullet fatally piercing though Levonia’s flesh, Deputy Johnson dealt a mortal wound to his very own spirituality that only true repentance, undeserved forgiveness and God can heal.

Should he be charged and convicted? Of murder or manslaughter? Either would be appropriate. I truly hesitate to subject anyone to our legal system hoping to get justice. If he is charged, it will be for the wrong reasons. 1. Only because he didn’t see a gun on Levonia, not because he shouldn’t have been conducting the raid in the first place. 2. To cover for the Sheriff’s Office leadership. They will sacrifice him to the public to protect themselves. Every deputy in the raid and every member of the SO in the chain of command up to Sheriff David Gee are culpable. They will use the excuse: Yes we sent you on an impossible mission to enforce an unjust law, gave you terrible training and issued ignorant procedures that guarantee this type of outcome. But you pulled the trigger. 3. A perverse self-justification of a corrupt legal system led by a prosecutor blowing with the wind of public outcry. See… the system worked. Not withstanding that Levonia is still dead. And our militarized, fear-based, drug crazed Law Enforcement system will march on only with almost imperceptibly less vicious rules of engagement.

What would it accomplish to throw Deputy Johnson in prison even if he deserved it? He genuinely thought what he was doing was “good” and righteous consistent with the horribly wrong but popular conventions in America today. Restoration and rehabilitation is what is demanded here. Prison will produce neither. I would love for deputy Johnson and others to understand the unjust harm they caused and ask for genuine forgiveness, perform penance and restitution to the family. Go, and sin no more. Let me be the first to beg for mercy on his behalf. I have less sympathy for the Hillsborough Sheriff leadership, government prosecutors, judges and politicians that gave those orders to kill. Let them taste their own “justice.”

I am certain the deputies would receive infinitely more undeserved forgiveness and compassion from Levonia’s family than any Florida prosecutor would show a poor, black, nameless young man if the roles were reversed.

All of this is difficult for me to put into print. No cop, including myself, is any different than Deputy Johnson. It could have easily been me killing someone in a similar manner. I am a former police officer. I participated in several raids like this one and arrested scores of people on drug charges. Like most cops including the men in this incident, I always wanted to act with integrity, help others and “do the right thing,” I understand now by blindly following orders enforcing morally unjust “laws,” I unwittingly committed legal yet immoral acts of aggression against others in the performance of my duties.  Even when no one is killed or injured, the mere act of seizing a person’s marijuana, cash, locking them in cages or forcing them to pay a fine is the same as theft, kidnapping and extortion.  All of which are immoral acts.

Even if you don’t care about some drug dealing “thug” At least care about the men that are unwittingly destroying themselves morally and spiritually on your behalf.

Furthermore, this “Drug War” for practical purposes doesn’t even work, does not prevent crime or keep kids away from it, makes communities and police less safe, was racist in its inception, destroys liberty and ensures a police state.

Fellow cops, stand down, stand up, and speak out.  How can you fear speaking out when a man is killed unjustly and a “good cop” just like you trying to “do the right thing” has his life destroyed as well.

End your participation in the enforcement of unjust marijuana laws, drug warrant SWAT raids, civil asset forfeiture and aggressive enforcement of other non-crimes.

Before YOU become a killer.

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Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan