- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Two Baltimore detectives serving as part of the Gun Trace Task Force were just convicted on robbery and racketeering charges.

Shocking? The Washington Post thinks so, blaring a headline that outright characterized the trial and charges just that way.

But it’s not.

It’s only shocking to think of police committing crimes if you think of them as something other than human — as something so intertwined with a nature of altruism that their moral compasses are unceasingly pointed to, well, Morality.

Truth is, police aren’t just human, but also members of the government. This is the same government that gives us the likes of a power-hungry Barack Obama and Eric Holder, an Al Sharpton and Anthony Weiner, a Chuck Schumer and Adam Schiff. Or, for the happenstance leftist who might have stumbled to read this: It’s the same government that breeds the likes of a John “Keating Five” McCain, or a David “D.C. Madam” Vitter, a Mark “Hiking the Appalachians” Sanford.

The point? Republican, Democrat, fact is: Government is corruptible and very often, corrupt.

Or, put another way, government is not the solution — government is the problem. Ring a bell?

Police are simply part of that system. So, too, are teachers, by the way. And most librarians, too. The list is long.

But here’s the thing. Logically, we may be aware that all these other agencies and departments out there are in fact branches of government. But emotionally? We don’t group these government workers in the same category as, say, politicians on Capitol Hill. We treat them just a little bit above the law. We grant them a benefit of doubt not given to others in blatantly political jobs. We don’t subject them to the same amount of scrutiny and skepticism.

We see some as perhaps more benign in nature; more service-to-humanity types than self-serving; above and beyond reproach, even.

So from that, comes this attitude, aptly summer in The Washington Post headline: “Baltimore detectives convicted in shocking corruption trial.”

Detectives Daniel Hersl, 48, and Marcus Taylor, 31, were found guilty of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and robbery after prosecutors proved they used their badges as a shield to steal money from local residents. Basically, they told these residents the money was needed to further their policing work.

“Their business model was that the people that they were robbing had no recourse,” said acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Schenning, after the verdict, the Baltimore Sun reported. “Who were they going to go to?”

Outrageous, yes? Angering, too. Not to mention what a sad, sad plight for the victims, and perhaps even sadder, longer-term ding to the cause of justice.

That’s how we should respond. Forget the shock. Roll in the righteous anger.

Doing so doesn’t make it that all police are bad, or that even the majority are bad. It simply removes a bit of the blinders that shock suggests exist.

Think of it this way: If soldiers can rape, if teachers can prey on students, if congressmen can steal, if presidents can have sex with interns and lie — as these entities of government have all been shown to have done — surely detectives can conspire and rob. Get over it. It happens. Worse happens.

Fact is, we’re all human, prone to sin. And being an agent of government, no matter which agency, no matter what department, does not make one immune from sin.

Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.


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