Thursday, November 15, 2012

Free? Hardly

Freedom involves being able to decide for oneself what's important, without outside interference.  Viewed in that light, it's increasingly clear we are anything by "free" these days:
Daniel Jensen wasn't running from the law, he was trying to protect his home from burning up. Yet, Pinellas Park Police tasered him in the process. Jensen and his attorney say it's an excessive use of force...

The 42-year-old father of two recalls his wife waking him around 6 in the evening, saying there's a big fire at his neighbor's house.
"I could hear it, I could feel it," he explained.
He ran outside and grabbed a fire extinguisher. He sprayed it until it was empty.
"I was calling for my daughter and getting no response. I came out, grabbed the hose and sprayed her room until I heard she was out. I was always taught to help when you can; help is what I tried to do," said Jensen.
He continued to recount the events. He said he then took the garden hose and started watering down his fence and the back corner of his rooftop, trying to prevent the fire from spreading to his property. But with each attempt, Daniel said Pinellas Park Police kept pulling him back... even though firefighters were not in sight.
"They kept telling me, 'Let it go, that's what insurance is for.' That's not acceptable to me," said Jensen.
Captain Sanfield Forseth with the Pinellas Park Police Department said officers could have charged him with obstruction for not listening to an officer's orders.
"I wasn't doing that. What I was doing was what any home owner would do to protect a family and home," said Jensen.
Captain Forseth said the department will not be charging him.  ((how magnanimous...  -- Jemison))
When Jensen saw the fire jump on to his back roof, he again grabbed the hose. That's when he said -- unknown to him -- a police officer pulled out a taser and fired it at his back.

You don't have to agree with Jensen's choice to stand and fight the fire threatening his home.  Everyone reacts differently in such circumstances.  But that's the point.  What right does any police officer have to prevent a man from defending his property, whether it's against a thief or flames?  There is no indication Jensen was obstructing authorities -- the story notes there were no firefighters present.  If his actions did not affect others, and involved only his own calculation to risk his safety to protect his property, the police had no justification for using force on him!

Today's police culture is far more concerned with citizen 'compliance' than it is with "protect and serve."  The entreaties of "let it go, that's what insurance is for" is mere justification.  We all know insurance cannot replace the artifacts of one's life -- photos, heirlooms, assorted memorabilia.  Is it really acceptable to us that we can be forced to watch that all burn, simply because firefighters arrive more slowly than taser-happy badge wearers?

People think they're free in this country because they can take road trips whenever they like, and choose between 48 different brands of toothpaste.  The powers that be are more than happy to foster that illusion, provided you don't assert your independence in the things that really matter...


KSH said...

I think your email account has been hacked. I received an odd note that led to a documented scam site.

Jemison Thorsby said...

It was. I think we have it fixed now. First time that had happened to us. You and a few others send us a heads up via alternate means... thanks! Sorry for any trouble.

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