Unethical Quote Of The Year: The Raleigh, North Carolina Police

“Protesting is a non-essential activity.”

Not in this country it isn’t.

During a rally to demand re-opening the North Carolina economy that drew more than 100 protesters to downtown Raleigh, some idiot in the police department tweeted that line in response to a query about why the protest violated the Governor’s orders related to the pandemic.

Particularly in these conditions, with civil rights being—we hope and assume—temporarily constrained in the interests of public health,—protests and demonstrations are essential, and I say this as one who finds most protests useless and counter-productive.

The state can prescribe reasonable conditions for a demonstration in an emergency, but banning them entirely is unconstitutional and offensive to our national values and essence.

When the government bans protests and demonstrations, then riots become essential.

41 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Year: The Raleigh, North Carolina Police

    • Opal,
      You raise an interesting point re police social media posts. Police agencies’ used to almost exclusively utilize experienced police officers as PIOs. When I retired in 2014, it was becoming more common for agencies to perform community outreach programs on social media and utilize their own websites to inform the public. This resulted in agencies hiring more tech savvy, social media savvy folks to handle these tasks. Often these people were millennials with little to no experience in policing, law, or much of anything outside their technical expertise and social media skills In many cases the Public Information function was virtually handed over to this new cadre, especially for routine matters. These are not the folks you see on the news with the chiefs and sheriffs, expounding about some major case or critical incident. Many times I read a media release from a police agency and think, “No actual cop wrote that crap!” I had initially hoped that the Raleigh situation might be so easily explained. Unfortunately, the Raleigh Police brass have doubled down on their decision, which has now become their standard response. Can’t blame this one on the new kids down the hall!

  1. I’ll be interested in seeing if the States are as aggressive with mosques during Ramadan as they were with churches at Easter. Anyone want to place a bet?

    • I imagine they will be, but the media will be less aggressive about publicizing mosques that are open and the imams who insist they stay open.

    • To a large extent, Islam, like Judaism, is a religion in which the mosque is not the most important part of the practice. So there may be no news here.
      Muslims pray 5 times a day, wherever they happen to be (they may carry a prayer rug so they don’t have to kneel in the ground). The biggest part of the Ramadan celebration is the family meal together after sunset each day when they break the fast (which could go the way of the virtual Seder). To the extent that some Muslims work in the service sector (more so than Catholics I know anyway) they may already be very sensitive to the risks of contact with new people or large groups.

      I am Catholic, and we are much more dependent on the physical church than either Islam or Judaism. My parish priest does drive by confessions, live streamed services, and is trying to figure out communion! But the church is CLOSED.

  2. In a follow-up statement, the Raleigh PD elaborated (in part):
    “‘In these unprecedented times and unusual circumstances, both the Governor and the County have declared a state of emergency,” the statement read in part. “Under these current and temporary declarations, protesting is not listed as an essential function.”
    ‘We simply want everyone to be safe during this very serious public health crisis,” the department added.”

    Well, okay then! I feel much better about it now!

      • So they doubled down on being stupid.

        According to Stafan Molyneux, whose video I posted for your review elsewhere, the virus is a virulent modification that results in high communicability and definite deadliness, especially for those who have weak immune systems or who get an abundant ‘viral load’.

        If so, it is dangerous and if isolation measures and other tactics are not observed, would spread far more rapidly.

        It is not therefore stupid the concept of quarantine and isolation. And it is not a civil rights issue or a free assembly issue. Without these strict efforts the damage could be increasing devastation. But yes, that strictness mimics illegal violation of rights. But I am not sure if it should be seen as the same (though it will be abused).

        I am in conflict how this should be seen. Yet aware too what total economic freeze will produce.

        It will be interesting, when it is more in the past, to see how it all turns out and how we assess it. It is not over, not by any means, and the ramifications are vast and only guessed at. And another ‘complication’ could be introduced. As this is a time of ‘the power of the unseen and the unpredicted.’

        • Aliza,
          The hallmark of an power hungry autocrat is to use science to justify the elimination of civil rights. Can we all say Eugenics. You do not seem to understand that the whole concept of petitioning the government for redress of grievances embodies the need to do so as a collective group and not on an individual basis. One million individual emails sent to the state house have less impact than 10,000 bodies on the state house steps.

          Keep in mind they are not selling quarantining so that you don’t infect someone they sell it to by saying that it prevents your neighbor, co-worker or friend from infecting you. So you willingly give up your rights to be protected from your neighbor. Well guess what, we are all those neighbors, co-workers and friends.

          I don’t give two hoots about some scientist’s video. For all I know the scientist has TDS and wants to prolong the agony. If you wait until a vaccine exists then you may find the world is no longer worth saving. We still have no vaccine for many contagions but we go on with life. Are you prepared for the riots when people are forced from their homes they can no longer afford or the violence that erupts when people cannot get food. There is a far more communicable disease than Covid 19; it is called that is panic. At present, none of the illustrious scientists can explain why California has a disproportionately LOW number of Covid 19 deaths. The only reasonable one is that the virus spread very early there and a herd immunity developed. It is also possible that the climate may play a role because Vitamin D has been shown to break down the viral shell. When scientists no longer get paid their conclusions and solutions will change

          Here is a fact: When states feel the need to abridge individual liberties they must do so in the least intrusive manner. By that measure the states should quarantine only those with weak or compromised systems first before demanding all persons stay at home. The state’s assumption is that everyone is a probable asymptomatic carrier and therefore all must be quarantined. We did not quarantine everyone during HIV or H1N1 and we thought at the time both were devastating and highly contagious.

          • One million individual emails sent to the state house have less impact than 10,000 bodies on the state house steps.

            Dead bodies I take it you mean? 🙂

            I suggest that in this ultra-weird situation, brought to us by inscrutable ‘necessity’ or simply some material mindless motion with no ulterior purpose, all of our categories are disrupted. I suppose you think that I am contradicting your points about authoritarianism? What *they* will do with this event? No.

            I am only trying to *see clearly* which is not, as I think you recognize, no so easy. Though I have gone from one pole to another I now believe that this is an especially virulent and communicable virus-strain that if not arrested will spread exponentially. It has that character and possibility. I propose this as a ‘fact’. I refer not to a ‘scientist’ — Stefan M. is an Aristotelian more than anything else and uses his ordered reason in admirable ways in my opinion (and is hated and vilified for being clear and direct) — but to a man who has done some research and believes that this virus was, indeed, engineered. And somehow it escaped. That is what HE says, not what I present as truth (I have no way of knowing, none).

            So, when I listened to his talk it sobered me from my desired perspective and hope: that this is not as dangerous an affair as it has been made to seem. It demands extreme measures, like them or not! This is not my choice mind you, it is a *logical conclusion*.

            I don’t give two hoots about some scientist’s video. For all I know the scientist has TDS and wants to prolong the agony.

            How strangely ‘culturally illiterate’ you are! Stefan Molyneux is one of the ‘truly dangerous characters’ identified by the SPLC whose talks on YouTube influence people to think differently about all kinds of different things. He is one of the figures they hold up as they begin their *scrubbing* efforts to get rid of contrary ideas and ideation that challenges the status quo. If you understood how far away from TDS he is you’d see how utterly ironical is what you say here.

            All that I said, and this appears to me to be true, is that this virus is uniquely dangerous and is highly communicable. That right there indicates that it will confound categories.

            All that you say in all your posts on this topic I fully understand and I do not disagree. What I am unsure about is the real nature of the danger. Today, and till the 26th, all of Colombia is shut down. And they have no good reason to do this, and there is nothing that will be achieved by this, except to tremendously weaken an already fragile economy. Yet this decision was made.

            And I suspect that there may very well be solid reasons to do so. Because: the virus is uniquely dangerous and highly communicable. These are facts that stand independently of how they make me feel.

            And this, friend, is all I know.

          • HIV was originally known as GRID, Gay Related Immunity Syndrome. The word spread early that unless you were gay or an intravenous drug user, or you came into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who was, you were in the clear. Since most folks were neither of those things and most folks don’t touch bodily fluids often, no one worried too much, although there were plenty of anti-gay jokes and sneering comments about how Broadway and the fashion industry would be devastated. H1N1 was nowhere near as big, and the final number of deaths here total were about one-fifth the total we have already had from this pandemic. Plus, Obama was in office for H1N1, so the media wasn’t going to fan the flames against him. Actually, they just promoted a tweet a kid put out asking for Obama to give a nationwide streamed commencement address to all those seniors who won’t get a commencement this year.

            That said, I do think a lot of the states have overreacted, and a lot are keeping this full clampdown in place for far too long. New York is something of an exception, because of the huge concentration of cases, the unique density of NYC, and the very real danger of overwhelming the healthcare system. However, even that seems to have come up at far less than it did. I don’t think the USS Mercy ever reached anything like full capacity. I also question the recent collusion between the Democratic governors (MD governor Larry Hogan and MA governor Charlie Baker were excluded) in the northeast to design a regional plan for reopening. I think it smacks of a coordinated agreement to slow-walk the economic recovery, maybe to stretch out the recession to benefit their party this fall. Phil Murphy has another year to go before he comes up for reelection, and he may not run again due to his health. Tom Wolf is term-limited anyway, he’s going to be gone in 2022 no matter what. The others are all pretty safe, you rarely get GOP governors in CT or RI, and I think Cuomo only stops being governor of NY one of four ways: he dies in office, he decides it’s time to retire (he’ll be 64 at the end of his current term so he’s definitely good for one more term, possibly two, three isn’t outside the realm of possibility, four is probably stretching it) the next Democratic president offers him a Cabinet post that he likes, or he runs for president and wins. I don’t think we’re quite at the point where it’s a new confederacy (the current San Francisco DA came perilously close with his threats to start locking up ICE agents and closing down their office), but I do think it’s a huge middle finger to the president, and a statement that “Listen, asshole, we’ll handle our things our way, your role in this is to just supply us with whatever we ask for. We hate you, and we’re going to do our level best to see you not only out of office but warming a jail cell, but you have no choice but to do as we ask, or we’ll just say you have blood on your hands.”

            The fact of the matter is that with the courts closed except for emergent matters like commitments and bail hearings, and the police given carte blanche to arrest anyone who violates these restrictions, we’re all pretty much powerless until the governors decide it’s time to ease them a little, subject to reinstating them if there is a further outbreak. In the meantime, deal with shaggy hair, all meals at home, everything you need by mail, no parties, and no public events. This is the new normal.

        • It is not therefore stupid the concept of quarantine and isolation. And it is not a civil rights issue or a free assembly issue. Without these strict efforts the damage could be increasing devastation. But yes, that strictness mimics illegal violation of rights. But I am not sure if it should be seen as the same (though it will be abused).

          The above reflects a serious misunderstanding of the concept of “inalienable rights.” The ethics principle at work is absolutism, and while that does not completely rule out utilitarian calculations, it does make logic like “If we don’t take a away your rights, it might be devastating” unacceptable in the US. That was a bold and revolutionary decision by the founders, and is a guarantee against a government deciding that a dictatorship is in the interests of the greater good. You can disagree with the wisdom of that, but it is the core ideology of the nation, and has worked so far as it was designed to. “mimics illegal violation of rights” is nonsense: if a violation of Constitutional rights is not judicially sanctioned first, it is illegal..

    • Add Michigan to the NC list. Virginia passed all their gun control legislation now that their citizens are blocked from protesting. Haven’t Indiana, Kentucky, Mississppi, and other states told churches people can’t be in their parking lots? Michigan’s governor can’t seem to stop herself from smiling when she talks about all the restrictions she is putting on people. She tries to stop herself because she knows she is on camera, she just can’t.

      • What? WHAT??? You mean that leftist gun control wish-list that was finally beaten down ??? Those sneaky, devious FUCKERS !! Well, I hope the People of that state get good and pissed, and send them a message that they won’t forget a second time!

  3. So this is from a story in the Raleigh News & Observer from Tuesday evening:

    In a statement Tuesday night, the Raleigh Police Department stood by its tweet as well as officers’ obligation to enforce the stay-at-home order during “these unprecedented times and unusual circumstances.” They said there’s no exemption spelled out in state and Wake County stay-at-home orders for protesting like there is for other “essential” activities.”

    There is evidently a Facebook group called OpenNC that currently has 28,000 members. They plan to protest in Raleigh every Tuesday — I imagine a response in some ways to the “Moral Mondays” protests that were held for many months against the Republican legislature here (not to mention what I refer to as the long-running series the News & Observer ran entitled ‘We hate the legislature!’).

  4. I saw that in the Mississippi church case, when the officer protested that this violated his religious rights, the officer told him “Your rights have been suspended”.

    I’m sorry. I really think these officer should lose their US citizenship over this. If you really think you have the right to suspend people’s Constitutional rights and you actually arrest, fine, or report people for mandatory ‘quarantine’ for such things, you don’t get to be an American citizen anymore. I know there is now law that imposes such a punishment, but I wonder if these little dictators would act differently if there were. There should be some kind of punishment for government officials who violate people’s Constitutional rights.

  5. Here’s the thing, how do you respond to the question: “How many people are you going to kill or put at risk for your rights?” That’s how my dad, who’s 77, put it.

    • “When it comes to a choice between fighting back or allowing these sick control freaks to enslave everyone; all of them”.

  6. Voltaire got to put it nobly when he (allegedly, at least) said “I Do not agree with what you do but will defend to your death the right to do it.”

    Some days it seems like everyone is so invested in being petty that I’ve found myself thinking a darker inverse: “what you’re doing is legal but you’re doing it in a way that makes you an asshole.”

  7. “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    A bunch of wise people agreed with this.

  8. Jack and fellow posters,

    Jack’s earlier mentions of Mr. Kant bring this to mind:

    Imagine if nurses in North Carolina protest the lack of medical supplies, or senior home caregivers protest to to unsanitary conditions or lack of support from state agencies or private businesses.

    Or priests, pastors, imams, and rabbis marching for harmony and common sense and compassion during these trying times.

    Will the Raleigh police arrest them?

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