Nervous Cops Make Me Nervous

I got pulled over today for having studded tires.  No big deal there.  I’ve been meaning to change them out, but it seems I always had something else to occupy my attention.  Besides; it wasn’t but a few weeks ago I needed them up in the mountains.  We had snow right here in mid May too.

Strangely, the cop asks me if I have any guns in the vehicle.  This has never happened to me before in Idaho, and only once in Washington, in all my nearly 40 years of driving, even though I usually have a bandolier of .30-30 ammo hanging on the headrest for all the world to see.

“Well, yeah.  Certainly.”

“Where are they.”

“Let’s see.  I have to think about this.  There’s an AR in the back seat, a 9 mm pistol in the back seat, and one on my hip.  For which I have a permit” I added.  (I’d forgotten about the Mark II auto pistol in its soft case on the front seat)  That’s about the minimum.  I usually have more guns with me, because sometimes I like to go shooting after work.

“Oh,  alright” he says.  Now, I would have been glad to show him the permit, but he didn’t ask.  He just walked back to his cruiser.  I figured he didn’t much care and would rather proceed checking my record and writing up the ticket.  Wrong!  Fail!

He was back there forEVER.  I’ve never had a stop take half this long.  Eventually a second cruiser shows up, and the second cop gets out and has a LONG conversation with the first one.  I’m really beginning to wonder what they could possibly be discussing.  Who do they think I am?  What do they think I’ve done?  WFT?  I have no record, my driving record is pristine.  Man, studs in June must be one hell of a big deal!

By now I can feel the adrenaline coming on, ’cause both cops are approaching my pickup, one on either side, cautiously, like they are afraid I’m going to start shooting any second, or like they’re getting ready to make an arrest of an “armed suspect”.  I’m half expecting to see a SWAT van tear around the corner at this point, they way they’re acting.

Understand that this whole time I was nothing but peaches and cream, putting forth my most polite and straight-forward mannerism, and keeping my hands on the wheel or in full view every second.

Turns out they “had a hard time finding [my] carry permit” in my home town in Washington.  Several years ago, the rules were changed such that you now must apply for your permit, and any renewals, in your home town police dept., and apparently they had a hard time getting hold of my local guys, or my local guys had a hard time keeping their records straight.  I don’t know which, but several of these fellows need a little talkin’ to.

For one thing, if I were a real threat, would I have declared the pistol on my hip?  I think not.  Yet these guys never did relax.  Not even after everything was cleared up.  They were polite and all, but wow– very nervous, and it seemed the more I tried to be all polite and accommodating and chatty, the more nervous they got.  The first guy is the only one I spoke with, and he acted plenty nice and all.  No complaint there.

For another thing; really, if you are so risk averse that you have to call for backup because I have guns just like most people around here, maybe you should be in another line of work.  I know it’s tough, but that requires a certain personality and the understanding that sometimes shit happens and that you’re willing to accept the risks.  We all do that for example every time we get behind the wheel.  Lots of people we know have been is serious vehicle accidents, but we’re not at DefCon One all the time, like these two cops were today.  For another; my family name is something of a local institution here in Moscow.  We’ve had a downtown business here, right next door to the cop shop, since 1990, and in this town since 1978.  Our ads have been on the radio here every day.  For years.  My name is the name of the business.  This is a small town.  If you’re afraid of me you must be afraid of your own shadow.  Besides, if you REALLY believe in the second amendment, you wouldn’t be worried about whether I have a permit to exercise my rights, except as a formality or an afterthought.

Now I know more what it must be like to be caught “driving while black”.  “Driving while armed” can be much the same, even in Idaho it seems.

Now I don’t want to hear from anyone about how tough the cop job is, or about how many cops get into dangerous situations as fast as lightening.  I know.  Sorry.  You know that when you apply.  There are those who can handle it, those who probably shouldn’t be there, and others who just need a little talkin’ to once in a while, to keep them on track.  These two were just a bit off track, and it Does.  Not.  Help.  Anything.

That being said; I was pulled over by ID State Police a few months ago, for not signaling a lane change, and he was cool as a cucumber.  No ticket.  Just wanted to talk about it and check the equipment.  Huge contrast.


17 thoughts on “Nervous Cops Make Me Nervous

  1. Where these guys Moscow or county? Young ones I bet. Still, not a good story. I would not be happy to be asked if I had guns, you had a good answer though: “Well, yeah. Certainly.” If they were Latah county, I would contact the sheriff. If they don’t get liberty, then they should move back to commieland.

  2. Five years ago, or thereabouts, I was leaving the public range and pulled out onto the main road. My 4runner’s 4-cylinder acceleration is a bit anemic and the traffic I’d pulled out in front of had to slow down, foot off the gas slow down, not locked up brakes slow down. A member of the local constabulary was going the other way, and when he turned his cruiser around, I knew why, and pulled over to wait. He approached, we discussed the matter and I acknowledged he was correct, that if I’d waited half a minute, everyone would have been just as happy and going along their merry way. At then end, he asked if I had guns in car, I said yes, a .22 and a .45, in the back. He then pointed me in the direction of the local USPSA club and their shooting schedule. I drove the rest of the way home laughing about the encounter and I finally managed to hook up with the club a year later.

  3. Nothing is as scary as a cowardly cop who knows he can kill you without consequence.

  4. Had a similar situation more than once, but only once did I run out of patience with the damn Freda Faintheart routine and I finally asked, “If you’re so damn scared why don’t you just run away?”

    Didn’t make the situation any less tense, but I got a certain measure of satisfaction from it. At least, that was one cop who knew he wasn’t respected for his “service”. And I wasn’t armed, but you would have thought I was the most dangerous man on the planet.

  5. MPD is a joke. I wonder if this is the same esteemed officer who cuffed me and told me that “[I] wasn’t a real Marine” because somehow a real Marine would have coyly provided his ID on demand of the officer who randomly arrested his buddy while crossing a crosswalk. This also being the same officer who lied throughout his report about the incident. Honorless bastard.

    I agree that it’s silly to hear them talk about how hard their job is. No one ever put a gun to their head and forced them into it. It’s like choosing to be a mechanic then whining about the fact that your hands are dirty.

    But the problem is only going to get worse since we’re not willing to be cops ourselves. But then again, I guess I’d be a cop if I wasn’t afraid I’d be put in jail for not enforcing mala prohibitum laws.

    But I believe this is more a side effect of having too large a police force. You get a bunch of guys that joined up hoping to see some action only to find there’s none there. It causes you to have to adjust your standards of what is dangerous since everyone keeps telling you how dangerous your job is. Either way, I know the man I look in the mirror at every night before bed is a good man. I wonder how many at MPD see the same guy.

  6. Sorry to hear you were treated badly for telling the truth. It did remind me of my brother in laws stories of being pulled over for “driving while black”, except the cop actually had a reason for pulling you over. Also the cops in my in laws stories usually do not treat him with any courtesy. The humiliation involved by this kind of racism is horrible.

    One of the reasons I always liked your saying “gun bigots”. Because it aptly describes peoples
    “contempt prior to any investigation” about the folks who believe that their second amendment rights are a thing not to be ignored but protected.


    Now I am going to write something good about I can get a $10 off coupon if I do this. Joe just tell me if this is in bad taste. I will happily delete it or maybe you want to.

    I am writing about because I live in CA and CA will make purchases over the internet illegal in 2011. So far they have by far been the cheapest and they sell good ammo.
    Big plus it will tell you if it is in stock or not. I spent $150 last time and by my calculations I saved about $180. I live in the Bay Area and there are only two stores that sell ammo both are incredibly expense. They have made it so hard for gun sellers in this part of the world that their are very few left.

    Very important for CA residents! In 2011 not only will you have to buy all your ammo over the counter (BTW Walmart does not sell ammo in this area), but every time you buy ammo you will have to show your valid id and be finger printed and pay a little fee (I call it a tax, I think it was $5). Because anyone buying ammo is just a criminal as we all know.

    Friggin, “gun bigots”. Sorry for writing so long I guess I am a little pissed. The just make it more and more difficult every year down here.


  7. But I believe this is more a side effect of having too large a police force.

    Well, budget cuts should improve that situation fairly soon…

  8. ChrisTE; They were Moscow PD. The guy I spoke with was older than I. The guys I’ve spoken with at County are more like regular people, i.e. less of a gung-ho ninja culture, if that makes any sense. Some of them have come in here from time to time just to chat.

    The Inconvenience; You hit the nail on the head– vice laws and gun laws put police in an adversarial relationship with the population. No one can become a cop now without facing that contradiction (whether they’re aware of it or not) between upholding founding principles and their oath of office on one hand, and the law on the other. If you haven’t read Sheriff Richard Mack’s book, I strongly recommend it. He addressed this issue head on. In the back of the book he has an open letter to law enforcement, that if written today by you or I would be grounds for placement on the terrorist watch list at a minimum.

  9. Older MPD. Interesting. The older part surprises me. I guess it is good to have my pre-conceived notions broken.

  10. You know, I know most people used to think “carry permit = good guy” but not too long ago, I was looking at a rap music website at comments posted under an article relating to a rapper who was killed. The person who killed the rapper had a carry permit and it appears that gang members are starting to realize that the “way to go” is to get a carry permit ASAP.

    In a lot of states, almost anyone can get a CCW, as long as they don’t have a felony. (A lot of gang members get dinged young in life because they get caught with concealed weapons without a permit — HOWEVER, if they go get the permit, they can never get dinged for carrying a concealed weapon.) They see the CCW permit as a “get out of jail free” card so more of them are getting permits so they can be “legally strapped.” From the posts I read, I don’t believe misdemeanors count against getting a CCW, especially juvenile misdemeanors.

    This creates an interesting situation because cops can’t stop them for carrying a gun. And even if cops do stop them, they just flash the CCW card and they are fine. They can walk their “pits” and nobody is going to stop them, even with a MAC-11 with a 32 bullet magazine under their trenchcoat.

    Now this is all anyone posted, but if you carry this out a little further…. They can commit crimes, get pulled over, if no one is specifically looking for them, they can flash that CCW card and just continue on their way. Cops can’t confiscate their weapons, run tests on their weapons or do anything else. Cops have to let them go because they have a CCW permit. They are good guys now.

    I’m not sure how this works if you have a group of men and some of them are felons and some are carrying “good guys with a CCW”…. But it sure makes crime-fighting more exciting!!!

    Anyway…. back to the original post. I’m sure they are just being cautious but considering you are from a small town and your name is known, I’m very surprised. I can’t really blame them for being cautious because they want to go home alive at the end of the day. Maybe these two have had different experiences than the State trooper had?

  11. ubu52, you’re an idiot. Anyone who is just walking around with a weapon is no trouble for anyone. If they choose to commit a crime with it, now THEY are a problem. You can’t see the disconnect there, and that’s why you believe prior restraint can work.

  12. M Gallo, you’re an idiot. Criminals walking around with legal weapons are a threat to everyone. Since they’ve already committed crimes, yes THEY are a problem. You can’t see the connection there and that’s why you believe prior restraint doesn’t work.

  13. I don’t think either ubu52 or M Gallo are idiots. Please back down just a notch, okay?


    You are concerned that carrying a weapon is not justification for law enforcement to take action against them. A valuable tool of theirs has been taken away by the existence of concealed weapons permits and, more generally, the specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms. Right?

    Do you also have the same concerns about the rights to freedom of association, religion, to have a lawyer present before questioning, trial by jury, to not incriminate yourself, unreasonable search, and habeas corpus?

    Isn’t the Fourth Amendment just as much as the concealed weapons permit that prevents the police from acting as you would like in your scenario of the cops pulling over suspected criminals? Couldn’t we just ignore the Fourth Amendment and allow the cops to search anyone, anything, anytime and make it sufficently easy for the cops to catch bad guys?

    Why do you denigrate the specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms but not the others? Are they somehow unequal in your mind? Perhaps the 13th Amendment “needs” to be ignored next week. Is it acceptable for the government to just start ignoring it without going through the process of amending the constitution?

    In A Conflict of Visions Sowell describes the viewpoints I see us aligning up with. I am process bound, there are rules that must be followed and if you don’t like the rules you change them through the process. You appear to be results bound. If you don’t like the results when following the process then the government should “do the right thing” anyway.

    There are problems with both views. The guilty can go free with my “vision”. In your “vision” people are subject to the whims of the people currently in power–“driving while black” being a well understood example. There are further implications but that would be the subject of longish blog post and beyond the scope of a comment.

  14. Joe,

    This could be a complex topic worthy of a blog post.

    As related to Lyle’s original post, I just don’t blame cops for being a bit on edge since CCW doesn’t equal good guy as much as it did five or ten years ago.

    I agree with you on the 4th Amendment, etc.

  15. ubu52 seems to think that having a carry permit is a license to commit crime. Uby, the police can arrest you anytime they have probable cause, whether or not you have a permit. Because some people are rude to you, do you wish to limit and license speech?

    I’m going to side with ubu52 on the “idiots” comments, as she was just replying in kind. While I think it is better to be civil, if you are insulting to me, do not expect me to be civil to you. In the same vein, if you act violently to me, expect me to reply with it. Using whatever tools I have available.

  16. Ubu,

    What part of “Has not been convicted of a crime” (and yes, in most places, certain, fairly common, misdemeanors count as well as felonies) is so hard for you to understand?

    Given that gangbangers tend to start their gang behavior (and thus generally start committing the sorts of crimes that would disqualify them from getting a CCW) around the age of 14. They cannot buy a pistol until age 21, and generally cannot get a CCW until age 21 either. Managing to go from 14 to 21 without getting caught at a disqualifying act is a bit tricky. (In those cases where juvenile offences do not count as gun disqualifiers, maybe we should take the ones associated with predatory behavior such as gang related violence, and reexamine teh whole failed concept of “juvenile violent offenders”; treat them as adults, with adult consequences. Big enough to do a drive-by? Tall enough to rob a liquor store? Big enough to do REAL time. The idea behind “juvenile offences” was originally to differenciate between “stupid kids doing stupid stuff” and “real criminals” — a 14 year old gang banger IS a “real criminal”.)

    Care to back up your claim that scads of gangbangers are getting CCWs so they can carry without fear of teh law? You offer ONE, UNSOURSED, ANECDOTAL CLAIM that this has happened ONCE, and are using it to apply to a large group. (When I was going to school, that sort of thinking was called “prejudical stereotyping”, BTW, and was generally associated with bigotry.)

    Care to explain your paradoxical statements above? “Since they’ve already committed crimes, yes THEY are a problem. You can’t see the connection there and that’s why you believe prior restraint doesn’t work. ”

    Hint — “prior restraint” is something that you apply to people that HAVE NOT been convicted of any crime. Under the doctrine of “innocent until proven guilty”, people who have not been so convicted are NOT considered “criminals” by the government, NOR IS THE GOVERNMENT ALLOWED TO TREAT THEM AS SUCH. If it’s “prior restraint”, then BY DEFINITION, you are asking the government to treat people who have not been convicted of something to be officially punished for it.

    Maybe you’d like to just grab the next ten teenage punks you see with dark skin, baggy pants, and gang colors, and just lock them up for life? I mean, they are just as much “criminals” as the people you want to deny enumerated Constututional rights to. (I.E., Ubu thinks they are scum, despite a lack of legal conviction, so they must lose their liberty.)

  17. Lyle , would you please specify which one of the books Sheriff Mack’s book you were refering to, he has written a number of books.
    Thank you

    Best wishes

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