Government's Moral Compass (Yeah, I Laughed Too)

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It’s always amusing when politicians, cops and other denizens of the dark side lecture the rest of us on morality. A hit-and-run accident in Hartford, Connecticut, has given everyone from the city’s chief of police to the state’s governor an excuse to scold the citizens who pay their salaries.

On Friday, May 30, 78-year-old Angel Torres tried to cross a street when one car nearly clipped him and a second hit him. Neither driver appears to so much as tap his brakes in the video captured by a surveillance camera. Mr. Torres "is tossed like a rag doll," as the Associated Press put it, and then "lies motionless" in the middle of the busy, two-lane avenue. Pedestrians stand staring on the sidewalk. Cars maneuver past the poor man without apparent concern; others slow or temporarily stop. A motorcyclist cuts over to survey Mr. Torres and the bystanders stepping off the sidewalk to gather around him, then roars off. A cop coincidentally in the area cruises into things about 70 seconds after Mr. Torres goes down.

Aside from the person who hit Mr. Torres — and there’s no doubt the driver knew what he’d done: his victim is briefly splayed against the Honda’s front passenger window before bouncing off — , folks react rationally. They’re stunned, hesitant, unsure what to do, but not so much that they’ve forgotten first aid’s first lesson: "Try not to move the victim." Bryant Hayre, 37, who "walked over to the accident scene" after buying some smokes, says that Mr. Torres was conscious and bleeding; he added, “I’m not skilled enough when it comes to blood flowing or I would have helped him." Good call. Turns out the accident paralyzed Mr. Torres, and as every course in first aid advises, "If the neck is injured, moving it can lacerate the spine and cause paralysis. Until proven otherwise, assume that such an injury is possible."

But Hartford’s chief of police sees callousness, not caution. “No one came to his aid,” Daryl Roberts claimed. “There were actually people looking at him … and driving away." The outraged Daryl thundered, "[These sorts of] situations…dehumanize our community" before he inadvertently told the truth: "I’m ashamed to say our city has a toxic relationship with ourselves.” So why not pull the plug on that poison and abolish the municipal government?

Daryl fired his volley after seeing the "very graphic" video, which he decided "sent a very bad message.” He leaped to the usual conclusion of Leviathan’s lackeys: citizens are stupid, derelict, and incompetent. No wonder they failed to help Mr. Torres. "We no longer have a moral compass," said the guy who devotes a good portion of his day to stealing other peoples’ property ("Year to date we have seized close to 180 guns," Daryl brags on his blog, "last year we seized 400. In one day alone Vice and Narcotics detectives conducted seven hot spot details, resulting in 42 arrests, seizure of two firearms, three vehicles, ten grams of crack, 1,300 bags of Heroin, and 12 grams of cocaine"). "Anything goes,” despaired this "chief among plunderers." And so "Roberts said he was u2018calling out’ city residents. u2018I’m challenging them to treat people with dignity and respect,’ he said. u2018This is no longer acceptable.’"

Hmmm. Wouldn’t "treating people with dignity and respect" mean not picking their pockets, nor insulting their intelligence by re-naming robbery "taxation"? Should it include prohibiting inspectors from invading businesses and homes on the presumption that without the city’s guidance, slovenly citizens will wallow in filth and unsafe conditions? How about butting out of the marketplace so that consumers can buy whatever they wish wherever they please? Assuming that we silly fools will overdose on heroin or blow ourselves up with fireworks doesn’t exactly exude "dignity and respect," now, does it? Talk about living in a glass house! Let’s hope Daryl’s hypocrisy inspires enough rock-throwing to demolish it.

Surprise, surprise: Chief Roberts’ bias against the citizens he supposedly "serves" so blinded him that he never bothered to check with 911. He had to "backtrack" when someone pointed out that "four people called 911 within a minute of the accident, and that the victim…received medical attention shortly thereafter." Daryl might have suspected as much since one woman in the infamous video appears to be clutching something, presumably a cell-phone, to her ear. She stands directly in the motorcyclist’s view. Perhaps that explains why he rides off: he decided enough people were already dialing 911. Dozens more might have phoned — except "bystanders speculated that people were afraid to get involved because they…don’t feel comfortable talking to police." Say it ain’t so.

Naturally, Connecticut’s governor couldn’t resist the temptation to burnish her own rectitude by denouncing citizens’ lack of it. Jodi Rell reflexively and ignorantly condemned "the reaction of some passers-by who did little in the moments after the crash to assist Mr. Torres.” She considers the video “beyond chilling.”

Nope. That would be government.

Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.

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