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Policing by Consent: The British Bobbie

After the UK's recent prison reforms, it seems reasonable to reform the police force... except that there is no police force as we would think of it in the modern day. The so-called "police" look more like a military force ready to shoot first and ask questions later. That is why Sir Robert Peel has passed into law his Peelian Principles for a modern police force. He has established the Metropolitan Police Service or "Scotland Yard" as it is called because the rear entrance to the building opens onto a street of the same name. Peel's Principles boil down to this: A policeman is a member of his community paid to give service to his community with impartiality, mindful that he doesn't make the law, nor dispense justice, but with a minimum of force, he brings criminals to a court of law to FACE justice. He prefers to prevent a crime now, rather than catch a criminal later, and with common-sense laws, a policeman can gain the trust and cooperation of his community. The test of policeman doing his job well is that crime is at a minimum, and he doesn't seem to be doing very much at all. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
France had an organized police force before the UK. Essentially, the archers manning the walls of the Palace were reorganized into a police patrol. In modern day Paris, the policemen are still called "the archers", but probably not to their faces. The term "Bobbie" is a favorable name for a policeman, and it is derived from Sir Robert Peel's first name. The less favorable name of "Peeler" comes from his last name. I can feel the idealism behind Peel's Principles, but what I see happening today is a police force becoming an occupational force again. While I'm sure it makes sense to use a bomb to blow up a sniper in Dallas, I would have felt better if it had been the National Guard or Tom Clancy's "Rainbow Six" doing that. Not the police. Blowing up criminals doesn't have that "Officer O'Reilly walking the beat" kind of community feel that I'm looking for from our police force. (No offense meant. It just makes me nervous.) I see why the police must take a defensive posture for their own safety, but it is a symptom of something gone wrong elsewhere. Something fundamental. [4] [5] [6]

The Smithsonian Institution and "Feel Good" Boondoggles

An English chemist named James Smithson dies and for reasons unknown, he bequeaths $500,000 (a little over 13 million in modern dollars) to the United States government for the construction of the Smithsonian Institution to further scientific inquiry. The Congress is delighted and wrestles to gain control of the money for their pet projects, but the sacks of gold sovereigns won't be sailing to America any time soon. Smithson has a nephew. By stipulation of the will, Smithson's nephew is going to have to die before the Congress gets the money. (I hope he has a good bodyguard.) The nephew won't pass away until 1835. In the meantime, John Quincy Adams (the former President who lost to President Andrew Jackson) will run for Congress and win. He will set the Smithsonian Institute money aside as an endowment and use the interest to maintain the Institution long-term. In fact, he had proposed such a project in his 1825 Presidential address and was ridiculed for his "lighthouses of the skies" proposal to build an astronomical observatory among other things. Once Adams gets into Congress he is going to make science happen. In fact, John Quincy Adams is going to be a lot more effective as a Congressman than he ever was as President... especially when it comes to fighting slavery. [7] [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Speaking of frittering away money that is supposed to be used for science, I just about choked on my hummus (mashed chickpeas and yes, I really eat that stuff) when I heard that the Obama Administration was directing NASA to reach out to the Muslim community to make them "feel good" about their contribution to math and science. Charles Bolden is the NASA Administrator and while I'm all for educating the general public about science, I don't see how teaching science to Catholics, Jews or Muslims is any different than teaching it in general. I'm calling BS on this one. (Boondoggle on Steroids!) I listen to the AstronomyCast podcast with Frasier Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay. Although I've never heard her comment on this subject, Pamela has gone into detail on how difficult it is to get funding for critical scientific space projects. Why NASA would waste its money on anything like helping Muslim countries "feel good" is beyond me. FYI, the very first history segment I did was for the year 1258. It was a report that the Muslim supercivilization that everyone talks about collapsed when the Mongol hoards came barreling through Baghdad and turned it into rubble. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]

Greece is Now a Nation

I can't let this year go by without saying that Greece essentially won it's independence from the Ottoman Empire and the Egyptians this year. They had been fighting for a long time and they had a lot of help from other nations. It's all over but the shouting now. The "shouting" will include hammering out a final treaty in the next couple of years. Borders across the world are changing. New countries are coming into being. If I mentioned them all I'd be talking about nothing else. The modern world is taking shape. [16]

In Other News

  • Stephenson's "Rocket" locomotive wins the Rainhill Trials. His locomotive distinguishes itself by not blowing up... a definite plus for passenger confidence and safety. He wins the contract for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. [17] [18]
  • The photographic camera is in development. The invention won't sell well, so France will buy the patent and give away the technology for free. Thank you France! [19]
  • The accordion is patented. "Cause she's playing all night / And the music's all right. / Mama's got a squeezebox. / Daddy never sleeps at night!" ([Click Here]) [20] [21]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1829, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Robert Peel - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 17 July 2016. “Peel entered the Cabinet for the first time as Home Secretary (1822��1827), where he reformed and liberalised the criminal law and created the modern police force, leading to a new type of officer known in tribute to him as 'bobbies' and 'peelers'.”
  2. Peeler - definition of peeler (2016). Retrieved on 17 July 2016. “After Sir Robert Peel”
  3. Principles of Good Policing (December 29, 2013). Archived from the original on May 16, 2015. Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.”
  4. Paris Police Prefecture - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “In Parisian slang, the police are sometimes known as 'the archers', a very old slang term in reference to the archers of the long-defunct Royal Watch.”
  5. Dallas Shooting: In An Apparent First, Police Used A Bomb Robot To Kill. NPR (July 8, 2016). Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “After sniper fire struck 12 police officers at a rally in downtown Dallas, killing five, police cornered a single suspect in a parking garage. After a prolonged exchange of gunfire and a five-hour-long standoff, police made what experts say was an unprecedented decision: to send in a police robot, jury-rigged with a bomb.”
  6. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “The novel, Rainbow Six, was written by Tom Clancy and published in 1998. The novel focuses on John Clark, Ding Chavez, and a fictional multinational counter-terrorist organization named Rainbow.”
  7. James Smithson - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 12 April 2016. “'I then bequeath the whole of my property, . . . to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men.'”
  8. Traub, James. John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit. Basic Books. ISBN 9780465098798. “In the fall of 1838, as Richard Rush, who had been delegated to receive the Smithson bequest, was returning from London with 105 sacks filled with gold sovereigns, Adams wrote two long letters to Secretary of State John Forsyth, memorializing and expanding on his conversation with Van Buren and laying out the case for building an observatory. Adams' great fear was that the bequest would be frittered away on schemes unworthy of Smithson's majestic instructions. He admonished Forsyth that the funds must not be used to build a school, college, university, or, certainly, ecclesiastic establishment. The money must not "fall victim to the canker of almost all charitable foundations," by which he meant handing out jobs to political hacks.” 
  9. Measuring Worth - Results (2016). Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “A simple Purchasing Power Calculator would say the relative value is $13,100,000.00. This answer is obtained by multiplying $500000 by the percentage increase in the CPI from 1829 to 2015.”
  10. Unger, Harlow G.. John Quincy Adams: A Life. Da Capo Press. 
  11. Hummus - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “mashed chickpeas”
  12. NASA Chief: Next Frontier Better Relations With Muslim World. Fox News (July 5, 2010). Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a recent interview that his 'foremost' mission as the head of America's space exploration agency is to improve relations with the Muslim world.”
  13. Boondoggle - definition of boondoggle (2016). Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “a futile and unnecessary project or work”
  14. "Barack Obama: Nasa must try to make Muslims 'feel good' - Telegraph", TMG, July 6, 2010. Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.” 
  15. Astronomy Cast (2016). Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “Hosted by: Fraser Cain & Pamela Gay”
  16. Greek War of Independence - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “Following years of negotiation, three Great Powers—Russia, Britain and France—decided to intervene in the conflict and each nation sent a navy to Greece. Following news that combined Ottoman–Egyptian fleets were going to attack the Greek island of Hydra, the allied fleet intercepted the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet at Navarino. The battle began after a tense week-long standoff, ending in the destruction of the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet. By 1828 the Egyptian army withdrew under pressure of a French expeditionary force to which the Ottoman garrisons in the Peloponnese then surrendered, while the Greeks proceeded to the Ottoman-controlled part of central Greece.”
  17. George Stephenson - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 16 July 2016. “As the L&MR approached completion in 1829, its directors arranged a competition to decide who would build its locomotives, and the Rainhill Trials were run in October 1829. Entries could weigh no more than six tons and had to travel along the track for a total distance of 60 miles (97 km). Stephenson's entry was Rocket, and its performance in winning the contest made it famous.”
  18. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 392-393. 
  19. Louis Daguerre - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 16 July 2016. “In 1829, Daguerre partnered with Nicéphore Niépce, an inventor who had produced the world's first heliograph in 1822 and the oldest surviving camera photograph in 1826 or 1827. Niépce died suddenly in 1833, but Daguerre continued experimenting, and evolved the process which would subsequently be known as the daguerreotype. After efforts to interest private investors proved fruitless, Daguerre went public with his invention in 1839.”
  20. Accordion - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 18 July 2016. “The accordion is one of several European inventions of the early 19th century that used free reeds driven by a bellows. An instrument called accordion was first patented in 1829 by Cyrill Demian, of Armenian origin, in Vienna”
  21. The Who - Squeeze Box. YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 18 July 2016.

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