Friday, April 02, 2010

Abolish Prohibition, Checkpoints and Chases

I had to shake my head in sadness and anger at the front-page headline and article, "Police: Drugs, gun in car", in which Henrico County police tried to justify the slaying of an innocent in the course of their pursuit of a man who fled a checkpoint.

Community activists across America have repeatedly warned police bureaucracies that chases are too dangerous and result in innocent deaths, to no avail. Henrico PD's statement that the chase "complied with written guidelines" is insulting and meaningless. Most people who study American policing are aware that police bureaucracies' statements that an action "followed policy" is simply code-phrasing, acknowledging "yeah, we messed up, but we're not going to do anything about it, and neither are you."

If the same series of actions had been committed by a private individual, that private individual would end up sentenced to jail. For instance, if a security guard attempted to arrest someone at the entrance of a private, gated neighborhood, and that individual then fled with the security guard in pursuit and crashed into a park bench of children, the government police would would then quickly and gleefully arrest the guard for contributing to the slaughter.

No cowboy logic justifies high-speed chases. They are stupid and dangerous in the best of conditions. They should be banned except in cases of violent individuals who present an immediate threat to additional potential victims.

It is arguable that the man never would have run at all if not for his justifiable fear of the unconstitutional and un-American checkpoint. They belong in third-world dictatorships, but not in a nation that thinks of itself as "the land of the free".

At its core, the events that led to Taylor's death can be attributed to Drug Prohibition - itself a constitutional and moral abomination. Prohibition has ruined tens of millions of lives and has cost hundreds of thousands of other lives - millions, if you count a half-century of war, terror and aggression by global narcotics-funded religious and ideological extremist movements, along with decades of drug-related violent crime.

Prohibition's toxic stew includes an aggressive and arrogant drug warrior culture that by itself has killed and maimed tens of thousands of innocents in "collateral damage" - and drug warriors simply don't care about the damage their war causes.

Repeal Prohibition, end the "papers, please" roadblocks, and call an immediate end to all chases except where the suspect is known to pose an immediate violent threat to others. The cost of doing otherwise is simply too high, and no spin by the Henrico PD or its useful 'defenders' can change that fact.

1 comment:

  1. Very good article, and clear to the point that in a market economy, instead of a statist thuggish non-economy, this would never have happened.

    --Jesse Thomas
    San Diego