Back in 1906, a ne’er do well Prussian cobbler assembled something resembling an officer’s uniform, commandeered a handful of soldiers, and marched them off to the nearby town of Kopenick where he seized the town treasury and arrested the mayor and treasurer on suspicion of financial misdealings. He ordered one group of soldiers to take them to the guardhouse in Berlin, ordered another to stay at their posts in Kopenick until relieved, and he absconded with the money. Although he was eventually caught, the affair of "the captain from Kopenick" became celebrated worldwide, and everyone (many German included), had a good time laughing at the way in which the Prussians slavishly obeyed the orders of an army officer (Certainly, the world found it a lot funnier than it would forty years later). All very amusing, of course, but as today’s NY Times reminds us, Prussians are not the only ones susceptible to slavish following of orders.
Apparently, a man with little more than a security guard badge, a "Police" t-shirt (presumably not for the band), and a Law and Order vocabulary has managed to pass himself off as a federal agent and make warrantless arrests for months in a small Missouri town. Perhaps it’s time for the "Show Me State" to rethink its motto.