The Power Resides With We The People, Not We The Police

You may have read about a recent incident in Texas where a man, witnessing another man beating up a woman, stopped and drew his legal firearm on the woman’s attacker. A bystander contacted 911 who dispatched police moments later, and the attacker was eventually arrested by police with no shots fired, neither by the hero nor the police (the attacker appears to have been unarmed).

The police went on to say that they commended the heroic man’s actions for coming to the rescue of this woman. But as police so often do, stated that they didn’t want citizens exposing themselves to danger in this way.

This statement has a couple of interpretations.

Giving police the benefit of the doubt, this was to indemnify themselves from the impression that they would promote vigilantism. Meaning, that if they congratulated him entirely, gave him a key to the city, and/or named a street after him, it would encourage others to perform similar acts, one of which, if taken too far, could be felonious. There’s a line between justifiable homicide and murder, but sadly, it’s not like they teach this in school, so many may not know their rights as well as they should.

So taking this a step further, the next would-be hero-cum-felon might then say, “Well, I saw how police praised the other guy, so I wanted to do the same thing.” This then opens police up to a civil suit, arguing that the police encouraged such behavior.

The 1st Amendment
The Bill of Rights

It is upsetting we have allowed our country to become so overly litigious to the point where we’re afraid to speak honestly in such a way, but alas, tort reform is a subject for another post.

However, the other motive for these officer’s comments I most lean toward is the complete lack of hubris they often possess which leads them to believe that because they have went to a police academy and/or have former military experience, only they are qualified to use force to save a life.

I have regrettably never served in our military, nor have I went to any police academy. But I’ve been to the shooting range often, and I know my weapon’s operation well enough for defense purposes in the event use of deadly force were justifiable in a given situation.

More importantly though, I was raised with a set of morals that prohibits me from standing by and letting someone die when I’m capable of saving their life.

One good punch could mean the difference between life and death in a situation like this. I’m not about to roll the dice on an innocent life by calling 911 and hoping the police arrive in time when my partners Smith & Wesson can assist me in putting this business to rest now.911[1][1]

Government often wants us to subjugate ourselves to the men in blue. If I’m committing a crime and get caught in the act, I would agree—you’re busted, take your lumps. But to all the police officers out there who feel I should always comply with them, even when I’m in the right, I want to make a couple quick points.

  • You serve me, not the other way around. I also pay your salary. We citizens entrust you to enforce laws we voted to enact. It has never been our duty to comply with you, it is your duty to serve and protect us, and your responsibility to know the law and operate within it. If you don’t understand and appreciate all of that—you are essentially violating the oath you took when you signed up to be police officer; so resign now.
  • If it were your wife who had been getting beaten half to death, would you still have wanted this man to wait? Or would you have preferred him to intervene as soon as possible? I think we know the answer to this, so don’t be a hypocrite.
  • We have a guaranteed right to bear arms in this country. One of the reasons is because our forefathers wanted us to be free to defend ourselves. If you don’t like an armed citizenry, you can either attempt to get the votes to amend the Constitution, or you can expatriate. Otherwise, accept that you serve in a support role. So long as we have our Constitution, the power lies with “We The People,” not “You the police.” It is not our duty to comply with you. If you are in the wrong, we should not comply. If you attempt to get us to comply with force, you can rightfully be killed in self-defense.

At this time, the hero in question is unnamed, but his actions are highly commendable in my opinion—I’d gladly buy him the drink of his choice. Since this is an opinion website, unlike many police officers I suspect might actually agree with me, I don’t mind saying that I think we should be doing more of this, not less.

Every American citizen, at least the non-criminal ones anyway, should exercise their right to arm themselves. And more importantly, every state in the union should have the same laws on how and what you can defend.blog3

So while I am thankful for the 2nd amendment, I would welcome an addendum to it that reads something like:

The right for the people to defend themselves, innocent others, their property, and their position in space, shall not be infringed.

I feel this language is consistent with the Constitution’s paradigm of being a restriction on government, but I think it would further solidify one of the inherent intents of our Constitution’s second amendment, by taking away the ability of colorful language often used to subvert the 2nd amendment currently.

While there’s no doubt, self-defense wasn’t the only reason we have that enumerated right, and thus why it wasn’t specifically written in to the second amendment, the need for it was certainly understood and part of the equation. So I see no harm in specifically broadening that right. No matter where you are in America, when your life, property, space, or the life of an innocent other is threatened, you should not be wishing your lawyer was present to advise you before acting to save someone, your firearm and general understanding of the law should be all that is needed.

 

 

 

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Libertarianism: A guide for the future of limited government

The knock on libertarians often revolves around their promotion of legalizing what many consider to be immoral acts. Some libertarians don’t talk about it much, but the facts are this. If libertarians were in power, the following would both be legal and largely, if not entirely unregulated:

  • Drugs
  • Adult film
  • Prostitution
  • Gambling
  • Gay Marriage
  • Guns
  • Privatized education
  • Mixed martial arts
  • Alcohol

This is by no means a complete list, but also, some of you may say, “Hey, many of these things are already legal, depending on your location.” But the fact is that many are still illegal in certain areas, and others so over-regulated, they are essentially illegal. But let’s break them down one by one and realize why I believe government should recuse itself almost entirely from all of them.


Drugs

While there are many states now legalizing marijuana, I specifically said drugs—I mean all drugs. The issue arises from the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which requires all hospitals to treat anyone coming into the emergency room, regardless of their ability to pay. So then legislators can justify making drugs illegal by saying it infringes on the property (money) rights of everyone else by forcing them to pay to treat the addicts.BW-Girl-Smoking-Pot[1]

Simple fix: repeal EMTALA, that argument goes away. EMTALA infringes on the rights of the medical professionals and therefore is bad law.

YOU own your body, and YOU should have the right to destroy it if you see fit. What you don’t have, is the right to expect someone to save your life after you’ve made this choice.

Some people are highly depressed, highly unmotivated, have achieved little success, and are depressed as a result. They may then turn to substance abuse that snowballs into their eventual death. While this is sad, and any loving family members or friends should attempt to intervene, it’s not, nor ever has been, the duty of government.

We all know that laws are enforced at the point of a gun, so government is essentially saying “If you don’t stop attempting to kill yourself, we will shoot you.” It’s really that dumb.

I’m not encouraging people to kill themselves or use drugs, I think it’s stupid, but it’s their life and therefore their business alone, not mine.

Adult Film

While making adult film is legal, the issue often comes into regulations on the industry such as mandatory condoms in California now. I think almost all of us agree that laws prohibiting minors from performing is a good thing, aside from that, let them do what they want.

The issue stems from a sexually repressed societal behavior. For example, politician Steve Bellone was recently ridiculed for following famed libertarian and Duke University adult film star Belle Knox on Twitter, prompting him to claim he was hacked.

Belle Knox
Belle Knox

Hackers rarely hack someone solely for the purpose of following an adult film star. There was no hacker’s Tweet to make the politician look bad or anything like that. Clearly, like most of us, he probably finds her attractive, and he followed her. Since he’s a Democrat, I doubt it’s due to her political beliefs, she’s stated she’s a libertarian. But the point is, who cares if he follows her?

I’ve conversed with her on Twitter and seen a couple interviews with her on TV—she’s intelligent and engaging. Maybe instead of passing judgement, people should just try treating her and her coworkers like the human beings they are. As is true in any profession, there are going to be some wonderful people, and some less than wonderful people. Try judging them individually on their merits instead of as a complete unit like a bigot.

I get that many of us were raised that sex is bad, taboo, or that sex should only be between a married couple for procreation. But let’s be honest, sex is one of the most fun activities two consenting adults can enjoy with each other, and almost all of us do exactly that.

While I could find no studies on the percentage of people who engage in sex solely for procreation with their legally wedded partner, if this makes up more than 2% of the population, I’d be highly surprised.

Many people don’t always have a willing partner available to them. Adult film stars provide a fantasy for those people no different than James Bond movies provide a fantasy for men who want to imagine they’re an international bad-ass, or romantic comedies provide a fantasy for women who want to imagine a romantic relationship.

Adult film stars are entertainers. They’re not evil, dirty, sub-human, criminal, and most importantly, they aren’t violating anyone’s rights. They’re simply people who are more comfortable in their skin than you and I, more open and honest about their sexuality than you and I, and let’s be honest, more physically attractive than you and I.

We could learn a lot from adult film stars on how to be open, free, and unrepressed; so enough already with all the people who act like they’re bad publicly, try to pass laws to restrict them, but then tune in later in the privacy of their own home—it’s entirely hypocritical.

Prostitution

Elaborating on the above, let’s talk about prostitution. There is no federal law prohibiting it, but all states baring Nevada do, and this is a shame.

Again, we all enjoy the act of sex, except the overly prudish few, so can we stop acting like it’s taboo?

Police Arresting Prostitutes in Thailand
Police Arresting Prostitutes in Thailand

If you are fortunate enough to have someone you’re attracted to have sex with you voluntarily, what kind of selfish jerk must you be to attempt to deny that pleasure to someone else who isn’t so attractive.

So what if they have to pay for it; how is that relevant? While sex for procreational purposes should have a love component to benefit the oncoming child, sex for fun doesn’t need one. I’ve been in a purely sexual friendship, and it was very liberating. So long as both agree that’s what it is, feelings won’t get hurt.

Sex workers are effectively dream-makers. For those who are either unattractive and/or shy, it may be the only way they get to experience such a fantasy. If these people are willing to provide that service for a nominal fee, where exactly is the victim?

Some argue it ruins marriages when men or women cheat with a prostitute, but is that the prostitute’s fault? Of course not! That marriage was clearly over already.

Due to the illegality of prostitution, it also fosters a dangerous environment when, if legal as in Nevada, it would be clean and much safer for both parties.

 Gambling

Many people believe gambling is only illegal in many areas because it’s too hard for government to collect the tax dollars they’re owed. Maybe this is part of it, but not being one to buy into conspiracy theories sans evidence to support them, I’m not pushing that notion, and I frankly don’t care.

In a free country, we have property rights, and money is our property. What we do with it has NEVER been anyone else’s business. Adopt a consumption tax system like the Fair Tax proposal, and the tax issue is solved.

Actor James Woods at a World Poker Tour event
Actor James Woods at a World Poker Tour event

Set up local and/or federal gaming commissions if you must to investigate and prosecute fraud, but opening a gambling establishment should be treated no differently than opening any other business.

Gay Marriage

A random person on the internet posted a very poignant observation.

“Being upset that people who are gay can marry if you’re not gay yourself is like being mad that someone is eating a doughnut because you’re on a diet.”

There are NO independent studies showing that gay marriage leads to ANY detrimental effects to society over conventional marriage. And like all the issues in this post, quite frankly it’s none of YOUR business what two other people do, so long as they aren’t hurting you.

Then the argument is that if they either adopt, or procreate a child in vitro, they’ll likely raise a gay child.gay-marriage1[1]

Two issues here:

  1. The evidence clearly supports that a homosexual’s preferences are innate. Acting out on those instincts may be a choice, but having an attraction to others of the same sex is purely instinctual. It may be a natural anomaly, but it’s not a choice. Anyone who has suffered unrequited love has effectively proven this. Because they would stop wanting that person if they could, but attraction is an instinct you don’t have an ounce of control over.
  2. So what! Until we have some evidence to say that gay people are more apt to infringe on the rights of others, even if gay parents did produce gay children, there’s no argument to be made that this is overtly bad.

Happily, the tide is turning recently in favor of gay marriage, so I believe this is evolving into a non-issue that seems to be working itself out on its own.

Guns

I explained in great detail previously, that in theory, I would support allowing people to own their own nukes, sort of.

The point is that in a free country we should be allowed to own whatever we want, so long as we aren’t hurting someone with it—guns included. But more importantly, we should have the right to stand up to oppressors of any sort, whether it be people trying to rob us, murder us, or an overly oppressive and corrupt government.Armalite AR-15

A gun is the only true equalizer that can make a fight between a 100 lb. woman and a 300 lb. body-builder a 50/50 endeavor. If I have a right to life, then I have a right to defend that life, and government has no right to force me into being the underdog.

Private Education

While there are private schools all over the country, the fact remains that they are often not allowed to exist. The ones that do exist usually had to get special exemptions from the community, which often have the kibosh put on them by public school unions who have worked tirelessly at making it nearly impossible for private schools to spring up as easily as a McDonald’s might, and that’s a shame.

Geoffrey Canada: President Of Harlem Children's Zone
Geoffrey Canada: President Of Harlem Children’s Zone

We know free markets bring us better goods for cheaper prices, there’s no evidence to suggest that it wouldn’t do exactly the same thing for education. But school unions, afraid of losing the monopolized power they currently possess, fight tooth and nail to prevent free markets in education, and our children’s education suffers as a result.

So if you care about the education of children over the careers of unionized teachers, this is a system that must be changed.

Mixed Martial Arts

When the UFC first came to be, the rules were simple: no biting, no eye-gouging.

I’ve heard many people complain about the myriad of rules that have come to be in this sport, ruining what was originally a very exciting event.

UFC 1's Royce Gracie (Left) and Ken Shamrock (right)
UFC 1’s Royce Gracie (Left) and Ken Shamrock (right)

But what most people don’t know, is that the UFC has to get a license from the boxing commission of the state the event is to be held in. All the rules the UFC has added through the years, are mostly to done solely so they can acquire a permit.

I hate to repeat myself, but again I must point out, if two consenting adults want to beat the bejeezus out of each other, how is it anyone’s business but theirs? And if they’re then going to do so, what is wrong with others watching it, and even paying to watch it?

Alcohol

As evidenced by prohibition, our country has a long and sometimes stupid history with alcohol. But like all of the above, it stems from what is usually religious zealotry by folks that feel they have the right to tell you how to live what they feel to be a morally correct life. To those people I say, “F*** you! You don’t get to be the arbiter of morality.”

If there’s a sound argument for why someone can be trusted to carry a weapon and get their leg shot off fighting a war for their country, but then can’t be trusted to responsibly have a beer when they return home, I’d like to hear it.50__52490.1405435568.1280.1280[2]

But let’s also talk about the open container laws. I am the first person to lash out at drunk drivers—how dare you selfishly put the lives of others on the line in such a careless way. But the idea that drunk passengers would lead to drunk drivers fundamentally makes no sense.

This is born from the idea that we should effectively outlaw temptation. So what’s next? Are we going to outlaw movies or books with violence as they might lead to temptation too?

The only law on the books should be one that says you must be an adult to purchase it. If a parent wants to allow their 14 year old to drink a glass of wine with dinner, or a dad wants to share a beer with his 16-year-old son in order to bond with his budding little man, is there any scientific proof to say this is harming the child? If not, then as above, it’s none of your damn business.


As I stated earlier, this is by no means a complete list, but hopefully you see the underlying theme. In each instance, the “no victim, no crime” mantra couldn’t be more clear. The sooner we embrace the idea that the actions of others are none of our business, so long as they aren’t harming another, the better we’ll all be at peacefully co-existing. And isn’t that the worthiest of goals?

I Love NASA…But Let’s End It

As a libertarian, I’m generally against government programs, but on occasion, I find myself in their corner on things I feel as a libertarian, I should not be.

Some are debatable, such as the role of the EPA. While I would argue that their core mission of protecting us from polluters who would do others real harm, there is little doubt they have grown into a legislative monster with regulations significantly more overbearing than the simple task of protecting our right to life they’re charged with.fef7711f-2675-4dbc-82aa-257d6b961731[1]

One organization that stands out in my mind as having no basis to exist is NASA. I cannot logically argue that they are performing any duty of government as enumerated in the Constitution—they protect no rights whatsoever. Nor can I argue that a poor person who needs every tax dollar they’re compelled to give government that is given to NASA, should be forced do so.

One thing about NASA I feel we should all know, but sadly most don’t—a major selling point to the American people when NASA was proposed before its eventual inception in 1958, is that NASA shares all of its information freely with the public. You might think this is no big deal at first, but nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s called spinoff, and the list is mind-numbing. Using a random example for instance, in 2007, NASA helped develop Thermawing, a de-icing system for airplanes large and small. The companies now making this product don’t owe NASA a dime. They got “free” research and development (R&D), which made a product much cheaper and more readily available for all to use.

If Thermawing had been developed privately, the company that might have developed it would have needed to spend a fortune on research—money they likely didn’t have, which would have driven costs so high, it may never have even come to market. But NASA is essentially a benevolent R&D sugar-daddy, and as such, many products we have today we have because the “free” R&D of NASA made them affordable enough to bring to market.Kelly-thermawing-detail[1]

NASA has also done an amazing job of inciting children to become future scientists. Many of today’s engineers and physicists would not be where they are today if they hadn’t heard those simple words, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

As science is obviously very important to me, I’m very thankful for a most of the great work NASA has done, as we all should be. But at the end of the day, if I were president, I’d have no reason not to veto  every bill that crossed my desk to fund it.

There is no doubt they’ve served the greater good. But “the greater good” isn’t the duty of government, protecting rights is.nasa[1]

That’s the funny thing about being libertarian that many lose sight of. We can all think of things we are for or against that conflict with our views on the role of government, NASA is mine. But us libertarians often pride ourselves on standing up for liberty we don’t even agree with.

I hear Republicans say they’re for free speech, then vote for laws to prevent burning flags, or laws to quiet the Westboro Baptist Church assholes…er, I mean, parishioners.

I hear Democrats say they are for free speech, but then try to pass legislation that prevents the Koch brothers from publicly supporting liberty-minded candidates.

In both instances, they’re being hypocrites. Free speech isn’t about protecting speech you deem acceptable, it’s about letting people say and do whatever they want, no matter how heinous we might believe it is, so long as they aren’t violating the rights of someone else.

Personally, I think recreational drug use is a silly habit, but I fight for the right to legalize drugs, get rid of EMTALA which forces hospitals to treat everyone, then let natural selection and bad decisions run their course. It’s your life, if you want to end it with a needle in your arm or a pipe in your mouth, that’s your decision to make.BW-Girl-Smoking-Pot[1]

Libertarianism is about the right to be free, period. People often ask me if I like Hayek, Von Mises, or other libertarian economists, and I do. But I can honestly say I don’t care.

Even if I knew libertarianism would make the economy worse, (which I don’t believe for a minute) I would still support it, because to me, liberty is far more important.

If I knew libertarianism would lead to more gun deaths, or tragic accidents due to a lack of our current litany of warning labels on everything, I’d still support it. Tragic deaths are bad, but a loss of liberty to prevent them is even worse.

Every once in a while, people go skydiving, their chute fails, and they die. But we don’t ban skydiving. Divers learn from it instead. Every year we have thousands of vehicular deaths, but we don’t ban cars. We learn from them and build safer cars.

So why ban drugs or mandate warning labels that only serve the stupidest of people? Anyone smart enough to read a warning label on Liquid Drano should damn well be smart enough not to drink it.

It’s easy to champion some of the wonderful things government does, and NASA is easily at the top of that list for me. But by virtue of being tax-payer funded, it is ultimately a government agent putting a gun to our heads and compelling all of us to fund their scientific endeavors, and that I cannot abide.

So I have two choices: I can either be a hypocrite and support NASA while calling myself a libertarian, or I can see NASA in the same light as the postal service and AMTRAK, and support selling their interests to someone in the private sector and washing our hands of it. As much as I love NASA, I’ll choose the latter.

 

 

How Do We Get Better Cops? Start By Ending All The Hypocrisies.

With all of the protests lately regarding the police killings of young black men, a lot of people are lashing out at the men and women in blue.

In New York City, protestors were heard chanting:

What do we want?

Dead Cops!

When do we want it?

Now!

While some may assume that being libertarian, I hate the police, the fact is that I don’t. I hate what government has made them become, and that’s a pretty big distinction.ap_eric_garner_reaction_12_jc_141203_16x9_992[1]

First things first, I hate bad cops with a passion. If you’re given the honor of serving your community, you damn well should remember what an honor it is. If you did it for the money or the power, in my opinion, you’re likely a bad cop already.

I feel that police officers who commit crimes should receive more punitive sentencing than the average citizen. Not only do they know better, but they’re people we trust to enforce these laws, and they’ve abused that trust.

They should be held to a significantly higher standard. Instead, they’re often given an opportunity to resign sans any prosecution on things that might put the rest of us in jail. This often lax, or sometimes non-existent, prosecution of police officers who break the law breeds a massive amount of distrust.

But that being said, bad cops are like bad people—a very small minority of the community. Most selflessly put their lives on the line for us every day, and let’s be honest, don’t get much thanks for it. The days of little kids wanting to grow up to be Andy Griffith, Elliot Ness, or Wyatt Earp are long gone for the most part—which is pretty sad.

Wyatt Earp
Wyatt Earp

I am not one to argue that racism doesn’t exist in America, but I will vehemently argue that racism has both been marginalized and has become equalized.

I think that idealistic or fundamental racists like the KKK or New Black Panthers, as well as people who either publicly or secretly hold such hateful views, are easily a small minority. Furthermore, those people are generally pretty quiet about it because they know it’s no longer widely acceptable behavior as it might have been 40+ years ago or more. It’s not like there are polls asking people if they are bigots, so confirming my opinion is difficult.

But also, I believe that the percentage of black people who hate white people has equalized to the number of whites who hate blacks. While I’ve never attacked someone because of their race, I’ve been the victim of racism a couple of times, and I’m white. Only advancements in scientific understanding and critical thinking will eradicate these non-sensical views, and that just takes time.

With each decade, it is painfully obvious race relations improve, so there’s not much need to do anything different than what we are already doing.

Many of the black people protesting against cops however, are doing EXACTLY what they profess to be the wrong thing to do. Their argument, whether you agree or not, is that the police are bigoted against black people, yet in response, they are being bigoted against cops—a blaring hypocrisy.

Assuming a few of these people have been a victim of a crime, called the police, and had an officer respond to assist them, are they now willing to end the officer’s life who may have helped them previously just because he/she wears that uniform?

I get that these people are angry, but if the desired outcome is to be treated as respectable citizens, behaving in a supremely disrespectful way is not going to help that cause.

The second issue is that if these folks are ever the victim of a crime, are they renouncing their right to call 911? Because if they don’t, that’s also being entirely hypocritical.911[1][1]

Throughout all of these incidents, I’ve tried to use critical thought instead of arriving at some preconceived notion. While I admit that I’m a science geek, and therefore tend to think more analytically than most, asking people to exhibit critical thought as a general rule, should not be deemed an unreasonable request.

So where is all this police hatred coming from? While some believe it’s the actions of the police alone, I feel the issue is far deeper than that.

I see the issue as predominately one of an ever-growing policed state. People instinctively want to be free, just as our forefathers intended. Despite the fact that few identify as libertarian, most people tend to agree with the “no victim, no crime” mantra.

Since Libertarians rarely got more than 5% of the vote, it’s well-known that 95% of black people elected politicians who pass the laws they’re then mad at the police for enforcing. A majority are Democrats, but the GOP isn’t entirely innocent here either. They’re effectively their own worst enemy. But again, it’s entirely hypocritical to vote for politicians who promise to pass these laws, then lashing out at police when they’re charged with enforcing them.

So if we want better relationships between the citizenry and the police, I have four easy solutions:

  • Stop being bigoted against cops in an effort to stop them being bigoted.
  • Stop passing laws you wouldn’t support a cop killing someone over.
  • Don’t call 911 when you need a cop, then treat them like dirt when they respond.
  • Stop allowing police to evade prosecution by simply resigning. Pass laws that make it clear, government corruption of any type will be dealt with more severely, not less than that of the average citizen.

It’s really that simple.

Eric Garner’s Death Should Never Be Equated To Michael Brown’s

A friend of mine who happens to be a government employee and now a died-in-the-wool statist (he keeps calling himself a liberal, but I don’t think he knows what it means) started a conversation with me stating that “you know how much of a liberal (read: statist) I am, but when is it OK to fight back against the police, get killed over it, then be labeled the victim?”

I read a good bit of the grand jury evidence against Michael Brown in Missouri, and like the grand jury, came to the conclusion Michael Brown was shot in self-defense.

I watched in disgust as he robbed a convenience store, forcefully pushing aside the owner as he was confronted for stealing the cigarillos. So I have little reason to believe the “gentle giant” argument put forth by those who knew him. Kind people don’t do what he did to that innocent store owner.

See the video here.

While I’m not glad he is dead, I have no reason to believe Michael Brown treated Darren Wilson with any more respect than that victimized store owner. I feel that if Michael Brown is a victim, he is only a victim of his own aggression, not a racist police officer’s actions.

But the Eric Garner death has a completely different meaning to me; one I cannot ignore.

Whereas Michael Brown robbed a store and attacked a police officer it seems, both felonious activities, and both with clearly defined victims; the impetus for police action against Eric Garner is very different.

Here is the video account of what happened. The actual interaction that lead to Garner’s death is at the end of the video at approximately the 8-minute mark.

Medical examiners ruled the death a homicide, due to neck compressions, as one can imagine. Famed medical examiner Michael Baden backed up the findings.

But what led to the police confronting Eric Garner in the first place?

Eric Garner was selling untaxed cigarettes in front of local area businesses, garnering complaints. New York has a $4.35 tax on packs of cigarettes from the state, but add to that, a $1.50 tax by the city of New York, and they are by far, the cigarette taxing capital of the United States.

This overtaxing of cigarettes in the city has led to an underground market for untaxed cigarettes bought out-of-state, them smuggled in and sold on the street. Often referred to as “loosies,” whereas a normal pack of cigarettes go for $14.50 in NYC, Eric Garner’s loosies would typically sell for around $8.00.

While I understand that businesses don’t like people outside their stores selling “illegal” goods, the sidewalk is public property. Aside from store owners who were annoyed, Eric Garner’s only victim would have been the city and state of New York for lost tax revenue—he was harming no fellow citizens.

The police are not rightfully given much of a choice on which laws they choose to enforce. Even if they didn’t agree with the law, they are sworn to uphold it, and regarding the cigarette tax, they did exactly that.

When I wrote The Point Of A Gun two years ago, I asked people to consider this basic principle when considering a proposed law. Would I be willing to kill someone over it? If not, I shouldn’t ask government to potentially kill someone for me over it.

Some people felt I was fear-mongering at the time, making up ludicrous arguments to promote libertarianism. Surely no police officer would kill someone over something so benign as cigarette taxes, they would argue.Utah-DPS-SWAT[1]

Apologies for saying us libertarians told you so, but…we told you so.

Eric Garner may have been a menace to local businesses, he did have a long criminal history for more serious crimes, and he certainly could have been more cooperative with the police. But while he was clearly irate, I didn’t see him attempt to attack any officer, so there was no victim the police were protecting at the time, including themselves.

If Eric Garner had been murdering a homeless guy, raping a woman, or molesting a child, no one would be upset he is dead now at the hands of the police. We’re mostly all willing to kill someone under those circumstances.

So that means the policeman’s actions were not the problem. The problem is, and often always will be, government oppression that leads to mini-revolts like this one.

If libertarians were in power, Garner would have been no different from any other street vendor selling random goods, but in New York, liberty is all but dead, especially for smokers.

So if you want freedom, you must start voting that way. Otherwise, you have no right complaining when the government carries out orders you essentially voted for them to enact. People yearning to be free will stand up for their rights, and under these statist-like rules in New York, will either get accidentally or purposefully killed for defying them.

We libertarians will always ask, “What is so wrong with the concept of No-Victim-No-Crime?” Because we can surely tell you what is wrong with statism. It results in deaths of victimless “criminals” like Eric Garner who should be alive today, and able to sell whatever the hell he wants to sell, so long as he isn’t hurting anyone.