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Friday, July 04, 2008

From Rebels to Sheep

On this July 4th I observe with shame this news from my town, Conway, Arkansas, as reported in the Democrat Gazette this morning:
A con artist posing as an undercover drug cop struck twice in Conway within the past week, stealing hundreds of dollars from unsuspecting victims.

Conway Police Department Lt. Danny Moody said the man flashed a fake badge and told his victims to turn over their money. The cash was involved in a previous drug deal, he said, and may be contaminated with “drug residue.” The supposed cop said he needed to take the money so that a police drug dog could inspect it.

The victims handed over their money, Moody said, and the scam artist drove away.

Moody said the fake cop took
a “substantial” amount from five victims at the Economy Inn on Saturday and at America’s Best Value Inn and Suites on Monday. He would say only that it was more than $200. The victims were from South Carolina and Texas.

Moody said the department has a suspect. The department believes the man ran the same scam in Arkadelphia and Benton previously.
Need one comment?

Cross-posted at Liberty & Power.


Anonymous said...

"Need one comment?"

Judging by the dearth of activity here, apparently not. But I'll hazard a comment just the same.

Sheldon, today the police in the United State can ruin a person's life or take it away completely at a whim with no accountability. This is the system that most people alive today in the U.S. have been raised under. It is unsurprising in the extreme that individuals confronted with a badge and a demand would comply unconditionally. It is the least-cost (and most sensible, IMO) solution to an immediate, confusing and dangerous situation.

The rebels of whom you write lived over 200 years ago, were raised under completely different circumstances, were fighting a much less pervasive and evenly-matched opponent than modern U.S. "law" enforcement, thugs who carry tasers, handguns and sport body armor and even armored vehicles and are prepared to use said weaponry at the slightest provocation. It is a fallacy that Americans today should be anything like the Americans of the Revolution. How could they?

You know I respect your work Sheldon, but this is a real cheap shot at poor folks in a lose-lose situation. There are stories every day (see Radley Balko, et. al.) of individuals being brought up on charges of defending themselves against police from no-knock raids, other cases where individuals in their own homes are robbed by criminals posing as "cops," such that now one is completely damned either way. Utter chaos, putting civilian and police thug alike in danger.

If your intention was to highlight this impossible state of affairs, then bravo. If it was to belittle poor saps caught between a rock and a hard place and choosing to give up their property for their lives, then I don't know what to say. Please set me straight.

Sheldon Richman said...

Jimi G: I don't believe everyone today would submit. People I know, not necessarily libertarians, would have simply walked away briskly.

Anonymous said...

Those people walking away briskly would be taking an immense gamble.

What if the conman actually was a cop doing just what he said?

Probably better to confront the badge-flasher and ask questions until the guy realized he was wasting his time and putting his scam at risk. Then, if he turned out to actually be a cop, you'd only be brought up for obstruction of justice or whatever made-up charges like that, rather than resisting arrest, etc.

A cop can ruin your life much more easily and permanently than any conman could.

That's quite a gamble to take, walking away from someone flashing a badge.

I don't see how any course of action by a victim in this chaotic situation could be deemed rational, with the possible exception of taking steps to preserve life.

That being said, at least now I understand your post to be a lament of the "booboisie." Oh for the good old days when every American was a rugged individual!