I Can't Breathe, Either
war against law enforcement and governmental authority in general was given a
little unnecessary prodding last year.
It's taken me a while to synthesize the mess into what I think is now a
cogent scold upon the folks who are feeling all smug about themselves. Which is to say, the legal establishment, the
police, the liberal nanny-statists, and in one notable example the racial
minorities, … virtually all of those feeling wronged in some way by what's
remember how many times I've had to say this and yet it doesn't sink in: using
law to "solve" a "problem" does one of two things, and usually both:
1] it creates
a new class of bureaucrats to nose around in everyone else's business;
creates a new class of criminal needing punishment from the legal system.
What good is
a law if there is no penalty for violating it?
Ergo, violators will be prosecuted.
That makes people into criminals.
In order to determine if there are violators of the law, a group of
people need to be given the job of determining if the citizenry is properly
conducting their affairs. This means
creating a group of governmental busibodies.
It doesn't matter what the law is.
The Obamacare law created around 45 million criminals overnight, just a
year ago. That is the number of
uninsured Americans who defied the Obamacare mandate to buy health insurance by
midnight on the last day of 2013. Not
buying health insurance is against the law — the law which is enforced by the
IRS, by the way, not that Obamacare is a tax or anything.
to a society where much, if not most, of what a person does is, or potentially is,
in violation of some kind of law or other is that the society becomes
criminalized. Not having health
insurance is a crime. Letting your dog
out the front door in the morning without staking it down is a crime. Buying cigarettes in one state where the
tobacco taxes are low to sell for a profit in the next state where the tobacco
taxes are astronomical is a crime. Not
wearing a seat belt and doing other genuinely stupid things is a crime. Yes, stupidity is a crime — we have guaranteed
the criminality of 100% of the population. The more police or other government agencies
are used to enforce these laws upon people, the less respect people will have
for the government … and the policing forces of that government.
The less respect people have for the cops and the government, the more likely
it will be for the deranged loonies to start picking off individuals within the
government. I said in an essay relating
the Congressman Giffords shooting in Arizona that the ones who created the
landscape for this sort of stammering insurrection are those who are whimpering
about being targeted by the loonies. And
I mentioned that it's difficult to tell who's a loony and who isn't because
what the loony says is largely correct.
doesn't want people criticizing them as sexual abusers and forcible
pornographers, then they should stop groping old ladies and pornoscoping the
rest. If the IRS doesn't want people
flying airplanes into their offices for being excessive and highhanded, then
they should stop being excessive and highhanded. It's extremely difficult to tell who deserves
sympathy when loonies take out the people abusing their authority in this
country. …in this FREE country where you are not permitted to be searched without a
warrant [it is the warrant which identifies the reason, and therefore the
reasonableness, for the search] and where we are required to be considered
innocent until proven guilty, and not the other way around.
quite a lot of crime we now solve will necessarily go unsolved. But what's the alternative? The alternative is to treat everyone as a
criminal — which is pretty much standard procedure for government in America
today. Think about the last time you
were pulled over for doing 43 in a 35 [or in my case, it was doing 43 in a 25
in a little pissant speedtrap town a few miles north of me, where I was maybe going 19 because I had been stuck
behind a slow diesel pickup hauling a cattle trailer for the previous 2 miles. My daughter was late for her girl scout
bowling event and even she was griping about being delayed by this truck
crawling down the road. But in order to
fight the ticket, I'd have had to take her out of school and her mother was not
amenable to that. "Just pay the
fine! Why does everything have to be an issue with you?"]
Rather than just writing the damned ticket — deserved or otherwise — and being
done with the encounter in about 45 seconds, what do the cops do? They recite a list of activities and
movements you are not permitted to make, and if you make any of them you will
be placed under arrest or at least have a gun shoved in your face; you'll have
the cop's face in your face in any event so he can sniff your breath; you are
checked for seat belts and passengers ditto; your insurance is checked; your
registration is checked; your license plate is "run"; your name and
social security number and/or drivers license number is "run". This process takes up to twenty minutes, and
it must be done [they say] because "don't you realize how many criminals
are caught in routine traffic stops?!?"
Yes, a handful, maybe a whole three-digits' worth nationwide each year … out of
probably a few hundred million "routine traffic stops". Do the math on that. Is it worth treating several million
Americans like criminals [many of them multiple times] in order to catch a few
hundred shoplifters and check kiters?
The Constitutional answer, of course, is no. But citizens are treated worse than criminals, actually, because much of the indignity of a
traffic stop is not permitted in a maximum security prison without reams of signed
permission slips that the traffic cop doesn't have. Sadly, our legal thinkers believe large parts
of our Constitutional rights apply only to criminals or criminal suspects, and
merely being pulled over for crawling through town behind a cattle carrier
because Deppity Fife was not up to his quota doesn't earn me certain of my
rights. It would make it too difficult
for the cop to do his job.
thing: governing a free people is supposed
to be difficult. If governance is
easy, the next stop is tyranny. Crack a
history book. There is no government,
ever, in the history of mankind, which started out by imposing hardships on the
ability of the government to govern where that government, by increment, over
generations, failed to make it easier to govern until it could govern at will
and thereafter become a dictatorship. In
democracies like Greece, or democratic republics like Rome, this process took
between 200 and 300 years. We are right
scheduled activities predicted by the history books is increased armed conflict
directed at the law enforcers in the increasingly tyrannical society. Sure enough, there've been a handful of loonies
shooting cops recently. I'm not
surprised. Not in the slightest.
I take that back: yes I am. What I'm
surprised about, though, is that it took this long; I was anticipating a
galvanizing event to inspire cop-targeting several years ago.
In July of
last year, a fat black guy with multiple health problems [and an arrest record mostly
for doing what he was stopped and questioned for, but who was otherwise
"law-abiding"] was stopped and questioned by New York City cops for
selling single cigarettes on the streets of the Big Apple. Selling loose cigarettes — "loosies"
— is illegal. …because tobacco is highly
taxed in New York State [$13/pack, I've heard; not carton … pack], and if someone from da Bronx were to, say, take a
cab over to Joisey and buy, say again, a few dozen cartons of cigarettes for
the modest price of $50 because New Jersey's tobacco taxes are significantly
lower, and then bring them back to NYC and sell individual smokes at a dollar a
stick because the customer doesn't have the $13 it takes to buy a pack … that's
called "black marketing". You
are not paying the New York taxes in your commercial transaction in New York,
and that is illegal.
It is also
free enterprise in any nation based on freedom, but that no longer includes us
here in the US.
At any rate,
Eric Garner, the fat black guy with multiple health problems, was selling
loosies when he was approached by cops … like he had been many times
before. The cops repeatedly told him
they were not arresting him, but they continued to pester him regardless.
Why? If the guy isn't going to be arrested, then …
cops … here's what you do: leave him the
hell alone. Selling loose cigarettes
is illegal regardless of their source and he could have been arrested for it,
but the cops made a decision not to do so.
But the cops couldn't leave it at that.
Garner, who'd been arrested multiple times for "black
marketing" loosies was irate about being pestered and he mouthed off at
the cops. The boy's got a First
Amendment; mouthing off is permitted, and … cops … if you're going to be
increasingly in the faces of the public for violating any of the bazillion laws
there are to enforce, you'd better expect to hear quite a bit of citizen jawing. Just a head's up.
After Garner started mouthing off the cops attempted
to calm him … by touching him and pushing him [albeit gently at this point] to
the side and "out of the way".
Of what? Who knows. Was it necessary? Not at all.
It was a situation created completely by the cops who were "not
going to arrest him" but yet somehow couldn't manage to leave the guy
point, Garner began "resisting".
Resisting what? Being pushed
around by cops … which they are not permitted to do when they are not making an
arrest; Garner was therefore not committing a crime by "resisting". You cannot "resist arrest" unless
you are being arrested. At almost all
other times there is no enforceable requirement to cooperate with the
police. The police on the scene were
constructing a confrontation out of whole cloth.
At this point, the cops attempted to subdue
Garner … for "resisting" what
the cops had no business doing in the first place if they were not going to
arrest him for selling loosies … and they subdued him by using a choke
hold. A choke hold is a type of maneuver
used in professional wrestling [where it's called a "sleeper" hold] and
its street-fighting homage where you lock your arm around someone's throat from
behind tight enough to cut off circulation to the head and the guy passes out. Only in Garner's case, a fat guy with
multiple health problems, it caused him to go into cardiac failure and die.
words were "I can't breathe," which was technically false since he
was talking, but someone having a heart attack from the unnecessary physical
ruckus created by cops abusing their power and deliberately creating a
confrontation … we can forgive a dying man his mistaken impression.
killed by the cops, and for no good reason.
Do I really
need to spell out the lessons to be learned here? Do I really need to question why, when the
history books are chock full of examples and when one example is from the
infancy of our own nation itself, anyone in this country needs to have those
lessons spelled out for him … again?
laws you make the more law-breakers
you make. Some laws are necessary for a
society to operate smoothly and the government must exercise its power to
enforce them; other laws are only necessary for a government to exercise its power
and don't, in themselves, make a society operate manifestly more smoothly; they
simply create a criminal class which it typically becomes fashionable to
pillory, usually for the purpose of extracting their money. These laws exist solely to make the
government more powerful.
laws whose purpose is to make the government more powerful overtake in
perceived importance the laws which make the society operate more smoothly, the
people begin to get agitated. When
enough people are agitated they start throwing things — first, usually, are
unkind words, followed by anonymous sticks and rocks, and then non-anonymous sticks
and rocks, and then bullets, and then worse.
Seriously, crack a history book. Our country was founded as a more or less
direct result of ridiculously excessive taxes on various consumer goods
starting famously with tea, and the refusal of a group of malcontents to pay
them. Ridiculously excessive taxes on
tobacco? Malcontents refusing to pay
them? Ridiculously excessive [to the
point of being psychotic] taxes on health care?
And 45 million refusing, as of midnight, December 31st 2013, to pay
them? Stop me if you've heard this one
before. This cannot end well, and I
amazed that so many people can't figure that out for themselves.
We have seen
bullets and cars used as projectiles lobbed at cops just in the last month,
taking a few cops' lives, all emanating from this [and another, still
procedurally abusive, but markedly different] event. I've said it before: tolja so.
event occurred maybe 25 miles from my house, in the month following the Eric
Garner travesty. And sadly, it is the
one that is galvanizing the stammering insurrection. This is sad, because it is inarguably the one
event that the cop, himself, was largely justified in doing what he did.
Missouri, two black male youths boosted a handful of crap from a convenience
store/gas station one night last August.
Extremely minor petty theft. The
clerk called the cops with a description.
Later that evening, a white cop saw two youths walking down the middle
of the street. The cop [in his car]
approached and told the kids to move to the sidewalk. The youths mouthed off — which they are permitted
to do, frankly. It appears to have been
at this point that the cop noticed that the two were a match to the shoplifters,
down to the unique color of their socks, and that they even were carrying the
very items that were reported stolen. The
cop retreated and called for backup and while waiting, the youths approached
the cop [still in his car] reached through the window to grab the cop's gun and
one [reportedly] informed the cop "You're too much of a pussy to shoot
me". A struggle ensued, the cop won
the struggle [finally, after getting beaten in the face and shot in the hand by
his own gun], and one kid was shot … multiple times, when once would arguably
have sufficed; this kid was killed.
hint to any petty thieves who don't want to die for a crime that would net a
$200 fine. If you're going to boost
crap, don't walk down the middle of the street afterward. If you're going to walk down the middle of
the street afterward and a cop tells you to move to the sidewalk, say,
"Oh, yeah, sorry" and then do it.
If you can't find the sidewalk as requested, don't show him the stuff
you stole. If you must show him the
stuff you stole thus making him request the assistance of other cops to come
arrest your stupid ass, don't saunter over to his car before they get there and
compound your future problems by trying to boost his gun while demeaning his
masculinity. Why does this need to be
thing is, this event — constructed by the youthful thieves and not the cops — is being cited as a
"Civil Rights Moment" by the activists who have not yet emerged from
the 1950s. I've heard comparisons of the
use of police force in Ferguson to that used in Selma. …
because the blacks in Selma obviously poured gasoline all over themselves, set
themselves on fire, and then started bawling when firehoses were used to put them
out. Being washed down the street was
just a side-effect.
demanded the criminal prosecution of the cop, and everyone from the locals to
the feds is falling in line to do it. The
St Louis Country prosecutor, though, Bob McCulloch [in the six-degrees of
separation game, I stand at two; Wall-Eye Bob is the friend of a former boss of
mine] refused to do his job of looking at the credible evidence and declining
to prosecute; he washed his hands of responsibility and referred the matter to
a grand jury. But McCulloch didn't use
soap; he entirely forgot [or ignored] what he ever learned about the grand jury
process in law school.
of a grand jury is to determine if there is enough positive evidence of
criminal wrongdoing that could be taken to trial; a grand jury is a one-sided
event by its nature. That's why grand
juries are not public. A grand jury is not to compare and contrast the positive
evidence against the exculpatory evidence, nor to provide reasonable
doubt. Those are matters for the defense
attorney to handle at trial. McCulloch's
grand jury was, in effect, a closed-door trial with McCulloch acting as defense
attorney despite his duty to prosecute.
prosecutorial misconduct, there was no crime committed by the cop that could be
prosecuted. McCulloch needed to pull on
his big-boy pants and make that decision himself without punting to a circus grand
jury that he was ringmaster of. The only
evidence suggesting there was a crime was provided by the other petty
thief. All eye witnesses and all physical
evidence deny his claim that the pair were innocently attempting to surrender
themselves for shoplifting and were instead attempting to mug an armed
cop. When you do that, you'll likely get
shot, and one of them did.
there are lessons to be learned here, as well.
Chief among them is that when you have too many laws and too many
interactions between citizens and cops [or between citizens and other bossy,
intrusive, self-righteous officials with impunity and, typically, insufferable
smugness], … even if the cop is
justified in this one incident, far too many people are going to be remembering
the 100 other incidents where the cop or other official was simply being a
self-important asshole, and they are going to refuse to give the benefit of the
doubt, let alone believe the evidence.
They will, instead, as they've done in the aftermath of Ferguson,
construct themselves a tidy conspiracy theory holding that the physical
evidence was fabricated, and all the witnesses except the other thief lied. And then they'll use this conspiracy theory
to justify rioting and burning and looting and wetting their panties in public. …or to get out of college finals a half a
continent away because they are just too "traumatized" by a kid who
tried to mug a cop being killed in the effort.
This is a
"cry wolf" moment for our form of governance. If we are to be a free people, then the
government must leave us the hell alone in virtually all circumstances; stop
making excuses to pester the people. Because
if you can stop, then when the government does
deign to pester us for one of the remaining valid reasons they are permitted to
pester, the chances that anyone, let alone whole demographics, will fly off the
handle in exaggerated response will be virtually nil. However, cops [and other bossy, etc
officials] pester citizens routinely, and for everything from selling
individual cigarettes in the face of moronic taxes to seat belts to licenses for
selling homemade cupcakes to too much toothpaste in your carry-on to health
insurance to a dog that pees on a neighbor's tree. As a result, I'm sorry, but people are bound
to not be terribly sympathetic to the government position when incidents such
as Ferguson happen. The Ferguson cop was
correct, but many people don't want to hear it, and therefore they won't. They are simply too fed up with the rest of
the government bullying to listen. And I
don't blame them; I'm fed up with it, too.
final scold goes to the very people who are the most critical of the government
and their enforcers in these [and a handful of other recent] events. These people are the idiot liberals, the ones
who irrationally, without any supporting evidence and whole libraries full of
proof to the contrary, believe that government is a valid means of fixing
social predicaments and particularly, with respect to these incidents, they are
the minorities in our nation.
"safety"? have the government treat everyone like a terrorist until
they prove they aren't. Want toys that
don't choke babies? have the government design toys. Tired of seeing people die in car wrecks?
have the government force people into seat belts. Don't want people making snide comments about
your ethnicity? have the government create politeness guidelines the breaking
of which is seen as a violation of the "civil right" to be uninsulted
if you are a racial or ethnic minority.
question, folks … how in the hell do you think the government can do these
wondrous and magical things?
is: force. If people do not voluntarily
comply with the reams of rules put out by our governments, they will be forced
to comply. In either event, the use of
force is either manifest or threatened.
People with guns, or bossy people in suits holding laminated ID badges
who can call the people with guns,
will make you do what they tell you to do whether you want to do it or not,
whether it's any of their business or not, whether they are allowed to or not,
and whether we were designed to live like that or not. It will always, always, always boil down to
the folks with guns forcing you to do what they tell you to do. It doesn't matter if it's some guy trying to
make a buck selling loose cigarettes to beat an outlandish morality tax, or
some arrogant kid who boosted a QuikTrip trying to beat down the guy there to
arrest him for it, it's people with guns using force.
nation we were intended to live in, only a very very very small fraction of that force is legitimate. Stopping petty thievery, yes. Stopping street peddling, no. But when you insist that the government solve
all our problems, even problems that really aren't problems, the way you liberals
have, the government will stop seeing the necessary distinctions between these
circumstances, and they will treat them all identically as even you are now
realizing, as just another opportunity to use force to make people do what they
I did not
want the government to solve all these problems, because I know that the
government's only method of solving problems is to turn a whole lot more of us
into criminals that need to be forced to obey their stupid rules. YOU are the ones who wanted the government to
solve all these problems; the use of force — which you are now whining is
"excessive", which it often [but not always] is — is a direct result
of YOUR demands. Not mine.
this. Don't forget that.