“Limited Value”

  • September 14, 2023

We often hear law enforcement – as police used to be called, before America became a police state – refer to us as “civilians,” a term formerly used exclusively by soldiers to refer to the noncombatant population of an enemy country under occupation.

It is not surprising that law enforcement considers American citizens to be “civilians,” given the blurring of the line that once separated the civilian police from soldiery. It also ought not to be surprising that some of these law enforcers regard us “civilians” as being of “limited value.”

That is how a Seattle law-enforcer – Daniel Auderer – valued the life of a 23-year-old woman who was killed back in January of this year when another law enforcer, Kevin Dave, struck her with his vehicle while driving just shy of 50 MPH above the posted speed limit in “hot pursuit” of someone who had “used too much cocaine” and was supposedly  “freaking out.”

But video of the supposed “freaking out” shows no such thing. And so no need for Dave to be driving just shy of 50 MPH above the 25 MPH speed limit (74 MPH) and blowing through intersections, such as the one where 23-year-old Northeastern University graduate student Jaahnavi Kandula’s life was ended by the front end of Dave’s vehicle. 

“I fucked up,” Dave is heard saying on video after he ran over Kandula, who was killed while attempting to cross the intersection on foot. She had no idea Dave’s car was going to end her life because she could not hear Dave’s car coming. Dave claimed he had his siren on. It was later determined he merely “chirped” it.

This was the last sound Kandula didn’t hear.

But Dave was not charged – because law enforcers can do with impunity what would get a “civilian” arrested on the spot. Such as driving just shy of 50 MPH over the posted speed limit in view of a law enforcer.

Do that – without a badge – and you will almost certainly be going to jail. Even if all you did was drive just shy of 50 MPH over the posted speed limit.

Even if you didn’t run anyone over.

You would be pulled out of your car at gunpoint, probably – and hurled to ground and cuffed roughly.

In some states, it is considered reckless driving – a serious misdemeanor just shy of a felony all-by-itself – merely to exceed whatever the posted speed limit is by more than 20 miles-per-hour. In Virginia, it is “reckless driving” to drive faster than 80 MPH anywhere – including on highways with a 70 MPH speed limit.

“Civilians” can be arrested on the spot and have their vehicle impounded. It is a Big Deal.

But when a law enforcer does 74 in a 25 – and kills a “civilian” – it is just collateral damage. And someone else foots the bill.

The city of Seattle – that is, the “civilian” taxpayers of the city of Seattle – should “just write a check” to Kandula’s family, Auderer says. For “eleven thousand dollars.” Enough to cover her funeral expenses. That is the “limited value” Auderer placed on the Kandula’s life. He can be heard on his own body cam video mocking her death.

“She was just 26 anyway.”

Actually, she was 23.

But never mind. She was a “civilian” and so what does it matter?

She was in the way.

According to Auderer, who reportedly has shown worse than mere contempt for “civilians” who happen to get in the way on a number of prior occasions, Dave’s driving 74 in a 25 without his siren blaring to warn people who might get in his way wasn’t “reckless,” because he was a “trained” driver. Try telling that to a law enforcer when he pulls you over for driving just shy of 50 MPH over the posted speed limit.

Or even ten.

For “civilians,” there is zero tolerance. No matter how “trained” you might be. No matter how “under control” your driving was.

There is never any justification for any of us ever driving any faster than whatever the speed limit happens to be. Or for not wearing a seatbelt. The law is the law. Unless, of course, you are a law enforcer. Then you are a law unto yourself. You are allowed to do the one thing “civilians” are never allowed to do. Tthat being to exercise judgment.

Including poor judgment.

We aren’t allowed to decide for ourselves whether it’s reasonable to drive even a little faster than whatever the speed limit is, even if the speed limit is set so absurdly low that everyone drives at least a little faster – because everyone knows it’s safe to do so.

We are not considered sensible enough to “run” a red light – even when it never turns green and it’s clear there’s no oncoming traffic. We must do exactly what the law says. And if we don’t, we can expect to have the law enforced upon us by such as Kevin Dave and Daniel Auderer, who regard us as “civilians” of “limited value.”

Meanwhile, when a law enforcer is killed by a “civilian” it is an occasion for a North Korean-style Dear Leader funeral, with parades of battle-dressed law enforcers and bagpipes for the “fallen.”

It shows us the relative value of things.

. . .

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