Posted Sep 01, 2013 10:00 am CDT
What a gold mine of information is provided in “50 Simple Ways You Can Market Your Practice,” July. Some marketing experts package just half of these key points and sell it on as marketing consultancy strategies. Thanks for sharing, and in such simple language.
This article is full of great suggestions, but No. 23 is one I can’t agree with and don’t intend to follow. It’s extremely impolite to ask a stranger or casual acquaintance flat out: “What do you do?” Certainly, if you want to know whether that person is employed and valuable to you as part of your network, that’s one way to cut to the chase, but I’m of the opinion that “networking” is never an excuse for rudeness, even inside an elevator.
Kudos for including Radley Balko’s “Rise of the Warrior Cop” in your July issue.
While some of the author’s conclusions almost certainly are debatable, the statistics he cites and trends in law enforcement tactics that he documents make the piece important and newsworthy.
Michael J. Thompson
I have been saying these same things for almost 25 years. This is one of the best articles on this topic I have ever read (partly because there are truly precious few articles on this topic that aren’t polemics or irrational screeds).
As far as the feature’s ending idea that perhaps the tide is turning as far as public attitudes and perception/awareness: God, I truly hope so.
A few years ago in Houston, an off-duty, drunk police officer in his personal car decided to pull over a woman for some traffic issue. Based on his weaving, etc., the woman did not assume he was a police officer. After an extended chase, she called 911 and was told no on-duty police officer was pursuing her. She eventually pulled over and drew the gun for which she had a permit. The off-duty officer also drew his gun. She was killed and the officer was fired. He became a tow truck driver. The 911 tape was horrifying. Now the Houston Police Department thinks it is a good idea to place patrol officers in “stealth cars,” or police cars marked only by reflective tape that can be seen only from certain angles. It appears that the safety of frightened citizens is less important than speeding tickets.
The problem is precisely that the police ought to be a militia, but aren’t.
One of the distinguishing features of a militia is that it’s armed only with those weapons that are readily available to ordinary private citizens. A police force armed with weapons that exceed this limit isn’t a militia, but rather a much more dangerous sort of paramilitary force. Such paramilitary forces may be called militias, but that’s the result of either ignorance or an ulterior motive for bashing actual militias and/or gun rights.
That’s the point of the Second Amendment’s militia clause—security and law enforcement were to be provided by groups that were well-armed (and so able to do their job), but not better armed than “the people,” and so still qualifying as militias, rather than as “troops, or ships of war” that the Constitution supposedly prohibits the states from having without special congressional permission. Unfortunately, modern police aren’t a militia but rather are those constitutionally prohibited troops. It would be a great improvement if the police were a militia—limited to those weapons that ordinary private citizens can buy and carry.
Erol K. Bayburt
A small group of psychopaths—humans without conscience—has taken over the world. The legal system applies only to the weak and powerless. The “Justice Department” publicly stated it would not charge HSBC Bank criminally because of its vast wealth and size, despite catching the bank red-handed laundering billions of dollars for al-Qaida and the drug cartels.
But steal a loaf of bread with a felony history and spend your life in prison. America has descended into perpetual war, a dying stage in a dying society. America represents the brutal battle of the rich against the poor, fighting all its wars against the poorest people in the world, such as Afghanistan with a per capita annual income of $500.
The same commentators who advocate fewer police and police actions probably do not like what private citizen George Zimmerman did as the captain of his neighborhood watch program. You cannot have it both ways. We either have police to deal with crime, or citizens will handle crime themselves. The choice between those alternatives seems to be a no-brainer to me.
The huge, real-world probabilities are if the police are pounding on your door, they have a good reason to do so. Are mistakes made? Of course, by both perps and police. Most so-called raids by SWAT teams are for reasons that completely justify heavily armed and overwhelming force. Despite the paranoia and fear-mongering by some commentators, you cannot order up a SWAT raid on anyone just by calling 911. It does not work that way in the real world, and if you think or claim it does, you simply do not know what you are talking about.
Barry V. Frederick
Regarding “The Siege on State Courts,” July: While judicial elections are comparatively rare worldwide, Bolivians amended their constitution in 2009 to mandate the popular election of all of the judges of the Bolivian Supreme Court, the Bolivian Agricultural Court, the Bolivian Judicial Council and the Bolivian Constitutional Tribunal. Though subnational judges are directly elected in the U.S., Switzerland, Japan and France, Bolivia is the only country in the world to elect judges to courts with national-level jurisdiction.
Apropos of your article’s discussion of interbranch relations in the U.S. states, we note that the Bolivians (like Americans) adopted judicial elections in an attempt to increase judicial independence, dismantling the legislature’s control of judicial appointments and bolstering public confidence in the elected judges. Moreover, the Bolivian constitution imposes strict restrictions on judicial campaigning, prohibiting independent campaign expenditures, public endorsements or party affiliation. Instead, the national electoral agency led a nationwide information campaign to encourage the meritocratic evaluation of judicial candidates, providing Bolivian voters with a standardized voter information guide.
Examples of the voter information guides are available on the website of the Judicial Elections Data Initiative, a clearinghouse of information pertaining to the direct election of judges housed by the Washington University School of Law. Additional information on the adoption and implementation of judicial elections in Bolivia, including how that process compared to the adoption of judicial elections in the American states, is available in our January article in Judicature magazine.
Amanda Driscoll and Michael J. Nelson