The Missing Lesson From Norway: Never Trust a Man in Uniform (William Norman Grigg) Roughly a decade ago, Al Pacino starred in a movie entitled S1m0ne, a cyber-era updating of the Pygmalion myth in which a film director creates an uncannily realistic digital actress. Despite the fact that "Simone" was a computer-rendered composite fantasy, the lustrous blonde enchantress becomes a global pop culture sensation – a profitable illusion sustained through increasingly desperate acts of misdirection on the part of the director.
It’s tempting to think that accused Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik is a S1m0ne-style digital fantasy drawn to specifications provided by Morris Dees’ so-called Southern Poverty Law Center. Breivik used social networking sites to create a cyber-persona seemingly made to order for left-leaning "watchdog" groups. Available photographs depict the blonde, stereotypically Nordic Breivik as if he were a dress-up doll, his face oddly unmarked and expressionless as he poses in a variety of guises – including Freemasonic garb and a scuba outfit.
In similar fashion, his recorded ideological pronouncements – the quotes attributed to him in the aftermath of the killing spree in Oslo and Utoya, and his bloated "manifesto" – could be the work of someone determined to embody every detail of the familiar caricature of the right-wing "hate criminal."
"It was a slaughter of young children," one witness said following the massacre. They were sheep who had fallen prey to a wolf wearing what the victims had been taught to perceive as the attire of a "sheepdog."
The uncomfortable but irrepressible fact is that every state-licensed "sheepdog" is a potential murderer, and should be treated as such. We have this on the unimpeachable authority of "Jack Dunphy," an active-duty officer in the employ of the Los Angeles Police Department.
In every encounter between a police officer and a "civilian," Dunphy writes, the officer is "concerned with protecting his mortal hide from having holes placed in it where God did not intend. And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own." What this means is that a Mundane who displays anything other than abject servility is perceived as a threat to "officer safety" – and, by Dunphy’s calculation, a suitable subject for immediate termination.
As is demonstrated by the actions of Patrolman Daniel Harless of the Canton, Ohio Police Department, that assessment is not hyperbole. In a June 8 traffic stop that was captured on video, Harless repeatedly threatened to murder the driver, William E. Bartlett, for carrying a concealed handgun for which he had obtained the appropriate license. At the time, Bartlett was attempting to comply with the state ordinance by notifying Harless that he was carrying a weapon, and displaying his concealed carry license. Bartlett was composed and deferential; Harless’s behavior was that of a borderline psychotic eagerly seeking an excuse to kill somebody.
"As soon as I felt your gun I should have took [sic] two steps back, pulled my Glock 40 and just put 10 bullets in your ass and let you drop," snarled Harless. "And I wouldn’t have lost any sleep." Thus did Harless slay the diligently propagated fiction that police officers are burdened with a bone-deep dread of pulling their firearms.
After threatening to "put lumps on" a witness to the incident, Harless told Bartlett, "I’m so close to caving in your f*****g head…. You’re just a stupid human being…. F*****g talking to me with a f*****g gun. You want me to pull mine and stick it to your head?" He later threatened to stop Bartlett every time he saw him, towing – that is, stealing – his car and taking him to jail.
After the video was made public by the civil liberties group Ohioans for Concealed Carry, Harless was put on paid vacation.
"Obviously, whatever transpired on that video was an isolated incident," sniffed Bill Adams, commissar of the local police union. The "whatever" Adams blithely dismissed was aggravated assault with a deadly weapon: Rather than continuing to receive a paycheck for sitting at home swilling beer and consuming internet porn, Harless should be in jail awaiting trial. Furthermore, this incident was an "isolated" one only as that term applies to those individuals and that particular location; it is anything but atypical of the behavior of the State’s thuggish enforcer caste.
Harless merely threatened to pull his gun and stick it to William Bartlett’s head. According to the eyewitness testimony of his former partner, Officer Sergio Vergillo, that’s what Phoenix Police Officer Richard Chrisman did to 29-year-old Danny Rodriguez just seconds before he gunned down the family’s dog and murdered the unarmed man.
Chrisman and Vergillo had responded to a call from Rodriguez’s mother, who was upset with her son’s behavior. Rodriguez demanded that Chrisman present a warrant. Drawing on the same lexicon of public service used by Patrolman Harless, Chrisman shoved a gun against Rodriguez’s temple and sneered, "I don’t need no warrant, mother****r." Within minutes, Chrisman had shot the dog, which – according to his partner – exhibited no threatening behavior. This left Rodriguez understandably upset.
"Hey, why did you shoot my dog?" Rodriguez bellowed at the intruder. Five seconds later, he was dead – thereby validating Officer "Jack Dunphy"’s warning that summary execution is considered condign punishment for any Mundane who annoys a member of the Exalted Brotherhood of Coercion by asserting his rights.
Chrisman, who had previously been captured on video planting drug paraphernalia on a homeless woman, was fired and charged with second-degree murder. Significantly, the local police union, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA), held a barbecue at its headquarters to raise money on behalf of Chrisman. Following Chrisman’s arrest, PLEA commissar Mark Spencer, commissioned a fishing expedition in Vergillo’s background in the hope of impeaching his credibility as a witness. Even after the net came up empty, Spencer publicly denigrated the character of Officer Vergillo, who had violated the most important canon of police conduct by telling the truth about a fellow officer’s criminal conduct – in this case, aggravated murder.
In New Orleans, the trial continues of five police officers accused of murdering two people, and grievously injuring four others at the Danziger Bridge in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The victims were unarmed refugees seeking to flee to higher ground. The police officers responsible for this atrocity concocted a cover story – complete with planted weapons and fabricated "witnesses" – in which the victims supposedly opened fire on the police and were killed in self-defense. One of the victims, a 40-year-old disabled man named Ronald Madison, received a shotgun blast to the back of his head, and then was shot at least three more times while he was face-down on the ground. Lance Madison, an eyewitness to the murder of his brother by the police, was arrested and charged with "attempted murder of police officers" – a charge that was eventually dismissed.
While the murders at Danziger Bridge differed in scale from the bloodletting in Norway, it was also a fatal ambush in which the perpetrators were attired in a costume signifying "authority" -- and they behaved with the same pathological ruthlessness displayed by the perpetrator of massacre on Utoya.
Whenever an innocent person is confronted by an armed stranger in what appears to be a government-issued costume, one danger is that he is an imposter. An even more dangerous possibility is that he isn’t.
William Norman Grigg [send him mail] publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program.