The whole Eric Gardner episode is an illustration of the heavy handedness of political power, Somehow we have gotten away from the idea that in a truly free society government interferes in the life of its citizens as little as possible thereby creating a situation where just about anyone can be arrested.
Law Puts Us All in Same Danger as Eric Garner
On the opening day of law school, I always counsel my first-year students never to support a law they are not willing to kill to enforce. Usually they greet this advice with something between skepticism and puzzlement, until I remind them that the police go armed to enforce the will of the state, and if you resist, they might kill you.The reality is that this actually goes way beyond cigarettes and black markets, what it's really about is just how much are we going to allow government to criminalize our activities.
I wish this caution were only theoretical. It isn’t. Whatever your view on the refusal of a New York City grand jury to indict the police officer whose chokehold apparently led to the death of Eric Garner, it’s useful to remember the crime that Garner is alleged to have committed: He was selling individual cigarettes, or loosies, in violation of New York law.
The obvious racial dynamics of the case -- the police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, is white; Garner was black -- have sparked understandable outrage. But, at least among libertarians, so has the law that was being enforced. Wrote Nick Gillespie in the Daily Beast, “Clearly something has gone horribly wrong when a man lies dead after being confronted for selling cigarettes to willing buyers.” Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, appearing on MSNBC, also blamed the statute: “Some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes, so they’ve driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive.”~snip~
For instance people should wear a seat belt because it's a good idea but a lot of states have mandatory seat belt laws that impose a fine if you or your passengers are caught not wearing one.
While not an arrest-able offense ignoring or not paying the fine is.
Warrants are issued for over due fines all the time and if you are confronted by a police officer then you are subject to arrest...by force if necessary. The reality is that government really requires you to wear a seat belt and if you don't pay a fine then they will potentially use force.
Is that an appropriate use of force by police? Over not wearing a seat belt?
Because that is really what instigated a potentially violent arrest.
Cigarettes or seat belts the question is do we really want to put citizens and police in these kinds of situations?
If they are it's not the cops fault but the politicians who pass ill considered laws in order to pander to specific groups.
Then there's the tyranny of the government using laws and regulations to target groups and individuals due to their political beliefs. Like the IRS did to conservative groups.
I've had the IRS pursue me for owing around $600.00, I'm politically conservative. Al Sharpton, liberal/democrat/race pimp, owes 4 million dollars and as far as I know still owes.
As Ann Coulter said, do not stand between a liberal and his taxes" that was Eric Gardner's mistake and the truth is it could happen to anyone.