So, I’m having a disagreement with a friend over the right for people like one-percenters to be treated with the same rights as any other American. Because I have some knowledge about the Bandits, they came up a lot, but the truth is, my opinions about this stretch to include any group of people who have exercised their right to join a group of like-minded people. His opinion is that because the Bandidos are labelled by law enforcement as an organized criminal organization, as well as a “gang”, they should not be afforded the courtesy of being treated with the same rights and privileges as the rest of the citizens of the US are granted. They shouldn’t be considered innocent until proven guilty; they shouldn’t expect that they not be harassed by law enforcement whenever they venture out in public; they shouldn’t expect there to be things like search warrants when their doors get kicked down, or traffic violations stated when they are pulled over by the police. You can read the conversation here:
The reason I bother addressing this disagreement at all is because it thoroughly wraps in a nice package exactly the danger of being naive about the world you live in. It is easy to say that anyone reputed to be criminals should forfeit their rights as Americans. After all, this guy has no interest in joining a motorcycle club. He believes wholeheartedly that the FBI doesn’t ever lie; he believes that law enforcement has the right to cut corners when it comes to groups of people he himself finds beneath the rest of us. This guy is no different than any of the rest of us. I don’t care for PETA much, but I would hardily oppose their rights being stomped on by law enforcement.
The problem with making excuses for people in authority over us when they trample the rights all Americans are granted by virtue of being born in this country is that some day, it might be the group you’re in that gets jerked around. One-percenters have cultivated their bad boy reputations, and that’s partly on them. But as long as they are Americans, and as long as it is not illegal to belong to groups that are made up of people with common beliefs, interests, and affinities, our justice system and all of its agents must do their jobs without stomping on our basic civil liberties. The police made some bad decisions awhile back. They decided it was okay to lie. They decided the ends justify the means, and now, several of the diverse groups I hang around with don’t trust them.
Be careful, America. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. I don’t believe that all police officers are our enemies, but I sure don’t think they are all my friends either.