The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Is “Law & Order” to blame for pedestrians walking by corpse of dead good Samaritan?

Posted by iusbvision on April 26, 2010

Are shows like “Law & Order” combined with highly publicized instances of police/prosecutorial misconduct partially to blame for the behavior we witness in this video; pedestrians walking by corpse of dead good Samaritan?

Whenever someone sees a video like this we always ask ourselves what could be in the minds of the people involved? They see something has happened, and it looks like they wish they would help, but they don’t. Why?

I have some thoughts about what narrative may be in these people’s minds. The TV show Law & Order has been on the air for about 20 seasons with 10 seasons of its spin off show “Special Victims Unit”. I find myself watching these shows when nothing better is on and I noticed a pattern of behavior among the police and prosecutors in the show and it goes like this:

1. SVU arrests suspect A, who SVU is certain is guilty. He is grilled and mistreated by police and is given no presumption of innocence whatsoever until whoops, they accidentally uncovered a piece of evidence that gets suspect A off the hook.

2. SVU arrests suspect B, who SVU is certain is guilty, the prosecutor says find me XX amount of evidence and I can get you a nice conviction, so the cops set out to prove suspect B guilty. Oh whoops, they ran across a piece of evidence that clears suspect B.

3. SVU arrests suspect C, who SVU is certain is guilty, they really grill him this time, call him names and rough him up a little in the interrogation. Why keep investigating? After all SVU knows suspect C is guilty and they are professionals and who are you to question them? The prosecutor gets ready to go for trial and then… you guessed it, whoops suspect C’s lawyer, when tangling with the prosecutor, comes up with the magic piece of evidence that either gets suspect C off so no one gets nailed or implicates suspect D, who SVU never thought could have been guilty and suspect D is prosecuted and found guilty.

4. Suspect A, B and C’s lives are damaged, if not ruined, they are often smeared in the press as criminals, they are often out lawyer fees and does SVU compensate them? Nope SVU still thinks you’re a scumbag so you don’t even get an apology, in fact don’t give them an excuse to bust you again. 

After a couple of decades of that top rated narrative can you blame anyone for not wanting to get involved?

Don’t get me wrong; ultimately people are responsible for their own actions, but can anyone deny that this narrative of inner city police exists in the minds of millions of Americans?

Real life can make this worse. How many of us have run into the cop who behaves as if he has some magical superiority and he is your master? I have run into a few just like that. Most cops are ok but there are too many like the former out there and when cases of abuse happen it is in the news in a big way. We have catalogued such cases of abuse right here:

Video: Police Beat Innocent Man, Manufacture False Charges.

Phoenix Police Raid Homes of Blogger & Officer who Spoke Out.

VIDEO: Police Shoot Handcuffed Man on the Ground

Ending the Biggest Lie Against Palin – Called Troopergate: Hey Ladies How Would You Deal With a Violent, Reckless, Out of Control Rogue Cop Who Threatened Your Family’s Life and Stalks Your Relatives – All While His Fellow Cops are Covering for Him.

Sometimes the ones who are given the most public trust and responsibility are the ones who most brazenly violate it…

In each one of these cases multiple police lied, manufactured testimony and/or failed in their duty to uphold not just the law, but basic common decency. I am by no means anti-police, but the facts are the facts that there are too many cases of mass police misconduct.

And of course it is not just police misconduct, it is prosecutorial misconduct:

A case study in prosecutor abuse.

More Traffic Camera Fraud from LAPD.

Idiot Indiana prosecutor goes after old woman for buying two cold medicines.

Senator Stevens May Walk: Prosecutorial and FBI Misconduct Could Get Stevens Conviction Overturned

The Duke rape case, the Ted Stevens trial, the Randy Weaver trial, Tom Delay persecution, Kay Baily Hutchinson persecution, Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby and the list goes on. All cases of gross prosecutorial misconduct where elements of the government conspired to manufacture evidence, hide exculpatory evidence, tamper with witnesses etc. 

The case of Martha Stewart perhaps has the biggest impact on regular people. Martha Stewart was charged with the crime of lying to the FBI by proclaiming her innocence about a crime the FBI never even attempted to charge her with.  In essence they said that by proclaiming her innocence which is everyone’s right, she was guilty of lying about a crime, but they never attempted to charge her with that crime, much less prove that a crime actually occurred.  

So if the FBI comes knocking on your door and they ask you questions, they can send you to jail for lying to them err telling them something they do not want to hear such as proclaiming your innocence. What if you are just a witness and not a suspect? That doesn’t matter. What if they ask you questions and you answer as best you can but you were just mistaken, or it was so long ago your memory wasn’t perfect, or what if the FBI has their narrative wrong and your recollection is correct; in any case you can end up in jail. So why would anyone talk to the FBI ever? Under such crazy legal circumstances many smart lawyers would advise you to say nothing. 

Like I said, I am not anti-police and I would hope that people would cooperate with the police, but in the minds of a great many people as we have seen in the video, doing the right thing can lead to trouble or make you a prime suspect when there is no one else to convict. Those people did not know there was a camera there. I am sure several of the people in the video stopped and thought about doing the right thing, only to have a narrative like the ones I described above run through their head. What if one of the pedestrians had a criminal record? What would doing the right thing potentially cost him? These feelings people have may be wrong, they may be immoral, but in some circumstances, to them their fears are justified.

More and more people fear the government and recent polls reflect that harsh reality.

[Editor’s Note: In spite of all my caveats about my thoughts in this article I am well aware that some people will use this piece to demonize me as “anti-government” or such nonsense. So in case I was too subtle when I said it in the article let me be as clear as clear can be; I would hope that people would cooperate with the police and be a good Samaritan. This article is a thought exercise that has some very real world impact to help us to possibly understand why the people in that video behaved as they did. Perhaps such a frank thought exercise will cause some in the government to have a dialogue on the relationship with the citizenry, who is according to our form of government, the boss.]

One Response to “Is “Law & Order” to blame for pedestrians walking by corpse of dead good Samaritan?”

  1. Paul Geer said

    First off, any cop who is capable of pulling you over just for a seat belt violation, is capable of doing anything. Just kidding.

    I remember during the sixties a similar problem which lead an advertised message by police agencies with the by stander saying; “I don’t want to get involved”. The idea was to get a person so ashamed of themselves that they would “Get involved”. Then I remember the phrase, again from police agencies; “Take your keys, Don’t let a good boy go bad”,pretty much blaming the citizen for car theft, and of course my favorite; “You could learn a lot from a dummy” during the early seat belt campaigns. There are more but the point is all of these adds demean the public, if though you are too stupid to come in from out of the rain. Police behavior towards the public, to me anyway, reflect that very same arrogant attitude.

    Later, when guns became an issue,it wasn’t unknown, in the public mind, Police did not want you to use a gun to warn off an assailant breaking into your home. You were not to do anything until they got there. I remember the police threatening to lock up anyone defending themselves in or on there own property. It took time to get over that one but, law suits were flying.

    I guess what I’m trying to say here is over the years the attitude of law enforcement has been some what anti-citizen and down right confusing at times just what the law is. Over the years with law breakers running the country in Congress and in the white House, especially now, I think causes a lack of respect and fear in the law. Now today with law suits filed for just about anything, I’m surprised anyone would help anybody get up from tripping over there own feet.

    But you did bring up one interesting point and that is; our boss the government. If you have worked for a boss that every time you took the initiative to do a job, he criticizes you for doing it. After a while employees are standing around waiting for orders with the boss complaining; why is every one standing around with work to be done? i think after being jerked around by the anti-citizen government, maybe some of us are at a point of lackadaisical attitude you see in the now defunct Soviet Union.

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