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The Santa Ramona Chronicles

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Those Who Would Trade Freedom for Safety Deserve Neither

I've always believed in the system. That comes from the way I was raised. I was always taught that America is the best country on Earth because it was the first country to recognize the importance of individual rights and freedoms.

I was drawn to the law because I've always had the greatest respect for our system. I never thought it was perfect, no system could be, but I doubted anyone could do better. Because of this, I was perhaps blinded to any criticisms of our system.

When my reality check came, it was both harsh and brutal. It was just another morning when I was headed across the plaza to the courthouse in order to do my job as District Attorney. On the way there I spotted my cousin, Roisin and her son, Leo talking to an officer I'd never seen before. Both of them looked frightened and confused.

To be honest, I didn't think this man was an actual officer. He looked more like a street thug in an officer's uniform and since not one, but two people I care about have been attacked by people impersonating officers, both right in front of City Hall, I was very much on guard when it came to this man.

The situation was confusing, but from what I could ascertain, this man wanted to go home with my cousins in order to see Leo's passport (he's from Italy). I pointed out that this was a Sanctuary city and that my cousin could not be compelled to show his identification if he didn't want to. The officer dismissed me, was rude and then shoved me for no reason. That further confirmed this wasn't a man I wanted near my family.

My cousin Leo ran home and retrieved his passport. I still didn't want this stranger having any information on my family as I was certain he was impersonating an officer (actually he was a cadet). I stood between the officer and my cousin and told him not to show his ID. Advice I would have given any client I was representing in that sort of situation. And for this, I was arrested. I was cuffed and kicked to me knees. Then I was left to kneel on the concrete, in my suit, in front of City Hall. The very building I worked in and stated day after day that police corruption simply wasn't possible. I trusted the system.

Even after this happened to me, I still trusted the system. I trusted that the Sheriff would handle this grave misuse of police authority and reprimand the cadet.

I was wrong.

Instead, she sided with the cadet. Saying that I should have identified myself as the District Attorney as if it would have been acceptable to treat anyone this way. She admitted there were problems with his training, but didn't see any reason to correct those problems. That was the moment I lost my faith and decided to resign as District Attorney. I could not defend a system I no longer believed in.

That might have been the end of it. But the next time I ran into the Sheriff she told me something I could not believe. She approached a woman, a former officer herself, and told her that she couldn't be armed in a bar. I pointed out that she herself had a weapon on her thigh. She explained that while citizens were not allowed to carry within 300 meters of a place that served alcohol or marijuana, officers were required to carry at all times.

In Santa Ramona, if you're at Wolfe's enjoying hot wings, you cannot be trusted with a weapon. The officer in the picture above passed out in his uniform with a beer can in his hand must remain armed. Because just like that cadet, the uniform and the badge makes him your superior. He doesn't play by the same rules you do. How anyone can be okay with that is beyond me.

I can't be sure, but when I filed for a gun permit, I don't remember the part about not being able to be near a place that served alcohol while armed and it seems like that would have stuck out to me as that makes it almost impossible to carry. If you plan on stopping by a restaurant or bar, even if you don't plan on drinking. And if it wasn't there, that means it was slipped in when no one was looking.

With the city council being dissolved, our ability to have a say in our own lives is becoming smaller and smaller by the minute. Crime is becoming more and more rampant with both the governor and outgoing mayor attacked in the last few weeks. And at the same time our ability to protect ourselves is being stolen from us in secret.

We have an election coming up and I have to ask the candidates, what do they plan on doing about this? How do they plan to ensure our safety from the very organizations sworn to protect us?

And one last point. Sheriff is an elected position. Sarina Ramirez was appointed when the former sheriff resigned which means she started mid-term. When is the next election, I haven't heard about it. Have you? Sheriff's terms are usually the same length as a mayor's term, so the election should have happened already.

If we ever are allowed to vote for the next Sheriff, I'd want Azariah Brentt in the role. The Undersheriff has already shown he can handle the job when the Sheriff's condition leaves her unable to work. And under his leadership the department ran more smoothly and crime was down. When are we going to stop choosing people for what boxes the check and start choosing them based on their ability to get the job done?