11 March 2009

Shooting From The Hip -- Editorial - My Harshest Ever

Frederick Bealefeld's Police State/Baltimore's Chinese Democracy 2009

by A.F. James MacArthur, Managing Editor
11 March 2009 - 0600 hrs
(REVISED -- be part of the process, email suggestions or corrections)
At 17, A.F. James MacArthur enlisted in the U.S. Marines. A qualified expert rifleman able to drop human sized targets 1000 yards out!

NOTE: Ordinarily I would never preface any of my pieces with a disclaimer.

While we all acknowledge that Baltimore is a messed up place with an out of control crime rate. Well, maybe not all of us, many still seem to be in deep denial. A large part of the burden to turn this place around, falls on the police department. Whether or not Baltimore can ever be turned around remains debatable. When over 200 murders in a year is a 40 year low, and a cause to celebrate, folks, we really have a problem. A big stinking, nasty, rotting fish left out on the docks in the midday sun problem. The crisis faced on our streets, the Battle Of Baltimore, should be given the priority given to a foreign war by Washington.

All else is futile until we get this crime problem fully under control. The population will continue to shrink (see my announcement), tourist numbers will remain flat, or even possibly decline, and public confidence has already taken a leap off a cliff. Again I say, this is a war, and fighting it has got to be our top priority with appropriate resources available to support the fight. With this being said, the resources and those who use them must be under the control and over site of the public, as represented by City Council.

Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld appears to be a capable field general. Moral on the force appear to be up, and strides have been made in reducing crime in certain areas. But at what cost? Public confidence in the Baltimore Police is low, and getting lower. As a 30 year police veteran, Bealefeld naturally wants to out his cops first. But this has to be balanced with the interest of the public. WE CANNOT HAVE SECRET POLICE. NOT NAMING OFFICERS WHO SHOOT, IS ANOTHER STEP TOWARDS SECRET POLICE, CAN ANYONE SAY GESTAPO?

The decision to stop releasing names of officers who shoot must be reversed now! It is wrong, it is illegal, and is a misguided attempt to protect officers. Let me let you in on a little secret. Police work is dangerous work. That's why they're allowed to carry guns 24/7 and the rest of us sheep are on our own in fending off the wolves. Never mind the rights granted us by the Constitution of The United States. This is Baltimore, a city/island unto itself. The Constitution was thrown out here a long time ago. Don't believe me, just ask the over 700,000 people arrested in the eight years Martin O'Malley was mayor. The same people who mostly saw their cases dropped, charges thrown out, with lack of evidence and no probable cause (more on this matter later). The results, except under Norris' brief reign, O'Malleys tenure saw crime rapidly escalate with the streets becoming a dangerous killing fields, where blood flowed like rain water.


When Deputy Commissioner Deborah Owens clumsily fumbled and stumbled over her notes in attempting to answer some rather basic questions at the hearing, I was truly embarrassed for her. Jack Young was visibly ticked off. And by ever right, he should be. Young cried out the Commissioner was supposed to be here and the courtesy of a simple phone call would have been nice. Who's running the show anyhow?

So Bealefeld get's to kick out council members from meetings (remember Comstat?), Sheryl Goldstein and others from the Mayors office get to secretly dictate and push and pull the strings, then Anthony Gugliemi, the PR man, gets to develop departmental policy (see video). Just like in the hearing at City Hall, I'm confused. Instead of gaining insight, and learning some answers, I'm left not only with more questions, but certainly more disgust.


Public safety is a concern to all. We must strive hard in achieving it. But at what cost? An us versus them mentality, the kind psychologists tell us most cops develop after only a few year on the force, this is often among the root cause of many instances of civil rights violations, police misconduct, and abuse of power. This may be necessary for self preservation on the streets, but it does not make for good policy making.


Not releasing the names of officers who kill while on duty is bad business. I don't care if the FBI or other do it. This is the Baltimore Police Department. They do not have the reputation of the FBI. Let's keep it real folks! If this is not done, then we must all step out of the way, and let the stormtroopers goose step in their jackboots, ever closer towards a totalitarian police state. Remember, Nazification did not happen over night.

So as my friends in China continue to celebrate (this is true), telling me of all the increases in government transparency and growing civil rights. I sit back and weep. For in the home of the formerly brave and the used to be free, our rights are shrinking and the sun is setting on what used to be, is supposed to be, a government of the people, for the people, and by the people. Yeah right, give me a better fairy tale to tell my children.


What ever their true motivations were in bring up yesterday's hearing, which was supposed to be about police overtime reduction and increasing homicides, Council President Rawlings-Blake, and Public Safety Committee Chairman, Jack Young deserve a few kudos. Harsh questions must continue to be asked. We cannot just simply take the first answers given. Imagine if the detectives interrogated this way.

When Bealefeld testified before City Council, he said there were 23 threats to officers last year, and this was used as justification for the secret police policy, you guys bought it. Now, thanks to Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun, we learn that this was a bunch of bull. Not one of the the threats was related to a cop shooting someone. Even worse, one threat was from one cop to another. Let me tell you, you never gonna stop fratricide. Wait a second? Did I say that? Think it hasn't happened here already? Ha!

By the way, now that we see there really was no justification or actual threats uttered, and this policy has been ushered in under false pretenses. Let me ask you this; the egg on your face, is it scrambled or fried?

While the announcement of the closing of The Baltimore Spectator was made on Monday, perhaps it was not clarified, indeed a closure is coming, but Monday WAS NOT the last day. Sorry for any confusion, and thanks for all the support, letters, phone calls and words of encouragement.

Stay tuned for more, there's a lot I still have to get off my chest before my work here is done.


Police Threats Not Related To Shootings -- Justin Fenton Tosses Eggs In Bealefelds Face

Sun Editorial Denouncing Secret Police In Baltimore



Our Growing Video Collection


To all those who willfully, deliberately and routinely violate the civil rights of law abiding American Citizens; Yes, you're powerful. Sure, you're everywhere. But this is still America, and the Constitution of the United States Of America still reigns supreme as the law of the land. The Baltimore Spectator will vigorously and aggressively defend against any and all attempts at spying and suppression. Let it be known to all that we are already aware of the regular monitoring and shadowing attempts. There is nothing to hide, but cross the line and there will be hell to pay.

In the end, efforts to impinge upon the freedoms of the people will ultimately fail. Some of us may get taken out in the ongoing battle for true and lasting freedom, but as I've said many times before, and will say till the day I die or get taken out by you goons, THERE ARE MORE OF US, THAN THERE ARE OF YOU.

A.F. James MacArthur -- American patriot & lover of liberty.

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