Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Don't You Trust the Police?

Regular readers will remember I love Red Eye, which airs weekly on Fox News at 3:00 AM, so it's been with extreme disappointment that I've had to watch the Arizona immigration law become a recurring topic for the usually humorous and insightful show. Red Eye's host, Greg Gutfeld could probably best be described as libertarian on economic and social issues, but he tends to come down more traditionally conservative when it comes to foreign policy, the military, and law enforcement. Hey, not everyone can be Penn and Teller. But as I mentioned before, immigration is a topic that just tweaks me the wrong way and the thrust of the discussion on Red Eye has been so dismissive of the concerns with the new Arizona law that I can't help but feel a bit shut out. Even the guests have been remarkably uniform in their lock-step support of Arizona, although interestingly enough, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitono, who has been highly critical of the law, has not been a guest recently (even though he's been on many times in the past).

On one point, the supporters of the Arizona law have been absolutely right: The bill itself forbids racial profiling. And taken strictly for what's written on the page, there's nothing all that concerning about a law that only purports to enforce existing federal law. But the problem with the Arizona law, as I've mentioned time and time again, is not what the law actually says, but how it is to be implemented, something the text of the law is remarkably short on. In questioning those of us who would criticize the law, Greg posed the question, "don't you trust the police?" which again, is exactly the wrong sort of question you need to be asking. This goes right back to the questions regarding the use of SWAT-teams and military-style tactics in serving warrants. It's not about questioning the judgments of individual police officers but about questioning a particular policy and in this case, the effects of that policy.

It's easy to say the Arizona law is perfectly acceptable given what little the law actually says. What's more difficult is to determine how the law will actually work, which, to my knowledge, no supporter has bothered to do.


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