Lincoln, MRAP and Peter Pan–It’s a jungle out there

As I have said before, I see connections that most people don’t see. That is particularly true when the Haldol begins to wear off.

Lincoln is a college town. If you care about such things, I have just insulted you. Lincoln is a University town, and a Big Ten one at that. And that brings me to the ACLU of Nebraska, Lincoln, Peter Pan and the jungle out there.

Headed up by Amy Miller, a lawyer that I like more than most, the ACLU of Nebraska is concerned about MRAPs. In today’s paper (The Lincoln Journal Star, frequently referred to as the Lincoln Urinal) is an article about our town’s MRAP and the danger Amy and ACLU Nebraska think that it poses to flower loving people everywhere.

If you don’t know about MRAPs, here’s a photo of Lincoln’s pride and joy:


Photo credit:

Photo credit:

In my opinion, Amy and the ACLU of Nebraska seriously underestimate the need for Lincoln to have its very own MRAP. After all, another article in the paper today carried this terrifying headline, Police scramble to Peter Pan Park.

I could be wrong now. But I don’t think so.

It’s a jungle out there.




11 responses

  1. Judge:
    All kidding aside, this relatively recent phenomenon of militarizing the police departments of America is somewhat troubling (and I say this as something other than a raving liberal). As to this issue, I am reminded of the Bob Dylan quote “But they got a lot of forks ‘n’ knives. And they gotta cut somethin’.” Just my two cents.

  2. Different times. When I was in college in Small Town, IA, my girl friend and I were in a nearby state park lying on the grass, looking at the stars (really), when a local cop approached. He asked what we were doing, we answered, and he said, “Well, you’re not drunk or on pot. Park’s closed, and you don’t belong here. Go home.”

    My girl was mortified; she’d never had any encounter with the police, not even for a traffic stop. I, on the other hand….

    Still different times, same girl, same college a few days later: we were walking (!) back from a date along a set of railroad tracks (because it had been rainy, and the track bed was elevated, so it was less wet) when railroad security approached. Once again, we were in violation, once again, that was explained, once again we were politely invited to leave. Once again, my girl was mortified.

    Today, however, we have zero tolerance, and things are ever so much better. For somebody. Somewhere.

    Oh, and in that small town, a man armed in public in that park or on the tracks would have caused no more alarm in a cop than for the latter to put his hand on the butt of his pistol. And that MRAP, privately owned, would have been a hell of a ride scooping the loop.

    Eric Hines

  3. It is insensitive and bigoted to make disparaging remarks about Halidol wearing off. You are being cruel about people who have a medical condition, mental illness. Would you be snarky about diabetes or hypertension? At least be smart enough to spell it right: Haldol. It is a hideous drug and in no way, shape or form a laughing matter or a circumstance to jocularly allude to. Also, you throw the word ‘crazy’ around a lot, in your rules, etc. Same thing applies. You need not be afraid or avoid people with mental illness, hostile or aggressive people, maybe, so label appropriately without disparaging people with an illness.

  4. Amy’s right. For that matter, so is Radley Balko. One town of 3,000 used their MRAP (and 24 officers) to serve and collect a judgment from a 75-year-old man. You know, about 240 years ago, those responsible for maintaining the public peace at the time did the same thing. Only they wore red coats instead of army camouflage.

    I was inside that mindset for over 20 years, and it wasn’t until I got out and started socializing with regular folks that I realized how over the top we have gone in policing our citizens. SWAT used to only be called out for violent incidents, like the Hollywood Shootout, the SLA shootout, etc. But we started using them more and more often. Dallas raided a VFW for a poker game. New Haven did a SWAT raid of a bar to check for underage drinking. Orange County, Florida raided barber shops to check for barber licenses. The opinion of the court in the last is worth quoting (even though it was vacated, pending a rehearing en banc):

    “We first held nineteen years ago that conducting a run-of-the-mill administrative inspection as though it is a criminal raid, when no indication exists that safety will be threatened by the inspection, violates clearly established Fourth Amendment rights. See Swint v. City of Wadley, 51 F.3d 988 (11th Cir.1995). We reaffirmed that principle in 2007 when we held that other deputies of the very same Orange County Sheriff’s Office who participated in a similar warrantless criminal raid under the guise of executing an administrative inspection were not entitled to qualified immunity. See Bruce v. Beary, 498 F.3d 1232 (11th Cir.2007). Today, we repeat that same message once again. We hope that the third time will be the charm.”

    Berry v. Leslie, 767 F.3d 1144, 1147 (11th Cir. 2014) opinion vacated on reh’g en banc sub nom. Berry v. Orange Cnty., No. 13-14092, 2014 WL 6467281 (11th Cir. Nov. 19, 2014).

    I’m sorry judge, but this is over the top. We need to stop arming, equipping, and training our police like soldiers, unless we want soldiers to control the populace.

  5. ECLS,

    If I gave you the impression that I am in favor of MRAPs and such for smallish police departments, I was unclear. I can understand why those vehicles might be useful in New York, but I doubt that Lincoln needs one. But you have to admit, they are freaking neat machines.

    All the best.


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