Let’s pretend for a moment that the cops are telling the truth and that Darren Johnson, 43, owner of a barber shop, a Harley Davidson, and – according to police – some cocaine, ran not only a stop sign but a red light as well on his motorcycle. The officers who pulled him over also claim that he “became increasingly agitated and aggressive and struck one of them a week ago Monday in San Bernardino, California. Something in Mr. Johnson’s alleged infraction or reaction apparently suspended the rules of fair play, simple decency, and the Constitution, because the two cops ganged up against him. One held him on the ground while the other beat him with a baton “18 to 19 times.”
I saw two stories recently that had diametrically opposed messages.
The first was pro-life in the broadest sense of the word, a breakthrough against cancer via a new tumor-targeted genetic medicine, Rexin-G, that produced clinical remissions in late-stage cases of three chemotherapy-resistant, otherwise intractable cancers — prostate cancer, metastatic osteosarcoma, and pancreas cancer.
It was once an American credo that bad laws are made to be broken. But with the Republic’s long slide past democracy into a police state, reverence for “the law,” good or bad, now reigns. We might chalk that up to the draconian penalties awaiting violators: eight years in prison for lying to the FBI despite the agency’s own inability to tell the truth; hundreds of dollars in fines for exceeding speed limits; execution for disembarking from an airline flight without permission. Such severe punishment will dissuade all but the bravest or craziest from flouting the rules.
At the National Education Association’s convention, held last July in San Diego, retiring general counsel of the organization, Bob Chanin, in his swan-song speech to the union’s faithful, asked the rhetorical question, “Why are these conservative and right-wing b*****ds picking on the NEA and its affiliates?”