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Libertarians on Ferguson, Eric Garner’ms death (etc.), updated daily/assorted opinion

6 Dec
It’s a diverse and contradictory range of views.  As usual, take a dozen libertarians and get a hundred opinions.

Sean Malone (Virginia)

I don’t know what cops these people have encountered, but I have never had an experience like this. 
Now, granted, I have never driven drunk or stolen anything or dined and dashed or whatever; yet every time in my life I have been pulled over on the road the experience has resulted in a fine or a ticket at minimum and an unnecessarily aggressive interaction at worst (see also: my recent NYC experience). I am extremely glad not to generally have to feel like I am going to get shot or killed by police, which I am sure I would were I not white, but I have never had cops actually be “nice” to me outside of the occasional instance where I have approached them to ask a question or something. Mostly my experience is that the cops use people as pinatas with all the goodies inside going to the state. They’ll take your money, or your property through asset forfeiture, and treat you like an obviously dangerous criminal even on the most routine stops.
We keep trying to make this issue a purely racial problem because it fits the narrative a lot in entertainment and media want to push… And race is obviously an important factor… But it all really comes down to accountability and a system that makes cops immune from any consequences for their actions. For this we can thank everyone from police unions to “tough on crime” people from the 1970s on.
Twitter anecdotes aside, don’t believe for a second that being white means never having to worry about police. Just talk to Kelly Thomas about that.
Oh… Right… You can’t.
Thaddeus Russell (California)
If Mike Brown attacked the cop he should be viewed as an even greater hero. After all, he was born under a military occupation.

Robby Soave (reason magazine)

“You know what’s also a cause? Overcriminalization. And that one is on you, supporters of the regulatory super state. When a million things are highly regulated or outright illegal—from cigarettes to sodas of a certain size, unlicensed lemonade stands, raw milk, alcohol (for teens), marijuana, food trucks, taxicab alternatives, and even fishing supplies (in schools)—the unrestrained, often racist police force has a million reasons to pick on people. Punitive cigarette taxes, which disproportionately fall on the backs of the poorest of the poor, contribute to police brutality in the exact same way that the war on drugs does. Liberals readily admit the latter; why is the former any different?
If you want all these things to be illegal, you must want—by the very definition of the word illegal—the police to force people not to have them. Government is a gang of thugs who are paid to push us around. It’s their job.
A well-meaning liberal who doesn’t want people to smoke but also doesn’t want the government to kill them for doing so has plenty of other options, by the way. There are countless organizations and products dedicated to helping people quit cigarettes voluntarily.
But anybody who wants it to be a matter of law must accept that resistance will be met with fines, prison, and death. As Bloomberg View columnist and law professor Stephen L. Carter put it:
It’s not just cigarette tax laws that can lead to the death of those the police seek to arrest. It’s every law. Libertarians argue that we have far too many laws, and the Garner case offers evidence that they’re right.
There are many painful lessons to be drawn from the Garner tragedy, but one of them, sadly, is the same as the advice I give my students on the first day of classes: Don’t ever fight to make something illegal unless you’re willing to risk the lives of your fellow citizens to get your way.”

Ray Kessler (Texas)

Once the “race card” is played, any kind of rational assessment goes out the window.  On other hand, racism of all sorts (even anti-white, e.g.  “Nation of Islam”) is still a curse in the U.S.  Further,  there is much that could be done to lessen the possibility of unjustified police killings.  Officer helmet/body cameras, effective discipline against officers, tracking to locate and monitor “problem officers,” etc.   Another issue is the “presumption of guilt”  which many blacks and leftists apply to each and every case where a white officer kills an apparently unarmed black male.  It even extends to white civilians such as George Zimmerman.  In spite of Zimmerman’s acquittal in the face of a massive prejudicial media campaign, many still believe he is guilty.  On the other hand, many officers automatically view any young black male as dangerous. Yes, a few of these officers have abused their powers, but it is hypocritical for persons who complain about stereotyping minorities to stereotype white police officers.  Finally, even if the suspect is initially unarmed, he becomes potentially armed if he or she goes after the officer’s sidearm.  The law allows officers to use deadly force if immediately necessary to prevent the offender from getting control of the officer’s sidearm or other firearm.  We need real solutions to the problem of excessive use of force by police.  We don’t need to get



David Morris (Texas)

Ray, I would zero in on body cameras as so far the most intriguing idea so far.

Gary Reed (Texas)

Here’s what I think is the best libertarian answer:

Abolish all victimless crimes. This will do away with all police department vice squads and narcotics units overnight. That means every cop shop can reduce its manpower by keeping only the best of their best cops. Police Academies would once again have to raise their qualifications to winnow out the dumb, bad, psychologically maladjusted applicants, keeping them out of law enforcement entirely. Make all Cop Watch type organizations absolutely legally sacrosanct and untouchable so they can video every cop in public doing the public’s work. Then strengthen laws to hold the chain of command’s feet to the fire. There’s likely more that could be done but that’s the first that comes to mind