I’ve received numerous letters from people claiming to be libertarians who are telling me that the cop was “within his rights” to shoot Michael Brown for a variety of reasons. I’m not sure what “rights” these are that tax-funded government agents have, but it’s odd to read “libertarians” go on and on about how right the government is and how wrong the private citizen is. Also implicit in this defense of the police in this case is a defense of police “work” that involves wandering around aimlessly while harassing people for petty infractions.
In this case, Brown was jaywalking, so the police officer, who apparently had nothing better to do (because Ferguson is presumably free of real crime), took time to stop and confront Brown about it. The unproven allegation that Brown stole cigars previously is irrelevant since the police officer knew nothing about that and no one at the shop called 911. Brown may or may not have responded violently. The media, dutifully printing police talking points, says there’s evidence Brown responded violently.
Of course, this could have easily been avoided. Had Wilson, the police officer, being doing something useful, like searching for stolen private property, investigating leads on some of the many unsolved murders in the area, or collecting evidence on countless assaults in the town, he would not have had the time to spend taxpayer resources on confronting Brown. Police officers are paid handsomely, and receive outsized retirement benefits far in excess of ordinary citizens who work in the private sector. Every 15 minutes spent on some petty infraction like jaywalking is money down the drain. And lots of it, especially if we consider the expensive equipment and weaponry that police carry at all times on their person and in their cruiser. These are resources that are then sitting idle so a police officer can yell at someone about jaywalking while real crimes go unsolved.
Unanswered is the question of why the enforcement of small-time traffic ordinances require personnel who are armed to teeth with lethal and (supposedly) non-lethal weapons, most of which are very expensive. Are traffic ordinances so holy and sacred that they require immediate compliance, or else lethal force shall be immediately dispensed? You may think that’s fine, but you’ll forgive me if I dissent.
As noted by one of my readers today, police work mostly involves revenue collection and filling out forms for insurance purposes. If he is like most police officers, Wilson likely spent virtually no time at all attempting to recover stolen property or solve real crimes. And why should he when he can drive around and do next to nothing instead? If you fancy yourself a libertarian, but defend this sort of wanton waste of taxpayer-funded manpower and capital, now’s a great time to just admit you’re not a libertarian.4:35 pm on August 19, 2014 Email Ryan McMaken