Archive for the ‘War on Drugs’ Category

Government Killed Eric Garner — but Eric Garner Helped

December 4, 2014

I have some questions about this case. but first, I’d like to restrict the careless use of the terms “chokehold” and “choked” from the discussion. Does nobody bother to understand the difference between CHOKING and STRANGLING? CHOKING is blockage of the airway, usually at the trachea, preventing breathing. Death ensues in a minute, or less. STRANGLING is blockage of blood circulation to and from the brain, by blocking the major veins and arteries in the neck.

Death from this takes a little longer, but results in unconsciousness in much less time. Both choke holds and strangleholds, on an adult. require two, locked hands or some instrument, such as a rope or necktie, to apply pressure to the airway, veins and arteries, in any combination. The video is poor, but the ME’s report denies any injury to the airway or bones of the neck, making it VERY unlikely that either a choke or strangle WAS EVER APPLIED.

The dead man was obese (MORBIDLY obese, I would say, from the video), and it is a matter of record that he had multiple, chronic medical problems of the type associated with obese men, including but probably not limited to, Congestive Heart Failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (asthma and “heart disease” are often quoted from the ME’s report), hypertension, kidney failure and other contestants in what was already a horse race to see which killed him before the others could.

The point of the above is to assert that he may have been on the verge of collapse and death before this event. I DON’T rule out that his death may have been made immediate by the stress of his arrest, including wrestling with cops trying to handcuff him, and possibly even sitting or kneeling on his thorax to control him. The continuous pressure of an adult male on Garner’s chest or back, compressing his thorax and impeding return blood flow from his body to his heart, and keeping him from taking a full breath, would have done nothing to help his blood circulation or his ability to breathe.

Whatever happened out of sight of the camera, his respiration was good enough for him to complain loudly enough to be heard in the video that he couldn’t breathe. If you can’t breathe, YOU CAN’T TALK, because it takes moving air to talk. He was talking, and therefore, breathing, during the arrest.

It is entirely possible he was having a heart attack or some life-threatening arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat that doesn’t circulate blood), while the arrest was going on. It may not have been detected until he was in the ambulance, on an EKG monitor, or maybe not even then. Whatever caused the cardiac arrest in the ambulance, the takedown on the street certainly could have contributed to it, but he could easily have dropped dead on the street that day, with no one else to blame, because of his abuse and neglect of his own body.

As far as the force used, that was the result of new laws on the books at the state or city level that were intended to recover lost revenue that was supposed to roll in as a result of absurdly high state and local taxes on cigarettes. As much as New York’s government hates free markets, the forces that drive them are like gravity, and cannot be pushed aside by sin taxes and “revenuers.”

Government greed was the first and most significant contributor to this man’s death, followed closely by his own behavior, short-term and long-term. NOT a police choke hold, but a government choke hold. It probably would not have happened as it did, if New York City and State weren’t trying to choke every last cent of revenue out of their residents, to fund their bloated, inefficient and corrupt governments.

“Legalize it”? Maybe It’s Time.

October 18, 2011

Dried marijuana "bud," Courtesy of Wikipedia. NOT my photo! ("Eees no' mine!!")

Let’s just say I know enough about smoking marijuana (having been college-aged in the late 60’s) to know how apt is the term “wasted” in that context… but let’s also say that I could have passed a random, pop drug test any time over the last forty years, and I could do so at right this moment.

While I am not chomping at the bit for the legal right to hit the pot store on the way home from WalMart, it is hard NOT to see the cost of the “war on drugs” on our Constitutional rights. And, no, you don’t have to be a Paulistinian, or even a classical Libertarian to see it.

“]”]”

Would you trust your rights to "Good" Attorneys General -- Ashcroft (L) and Thornburgh (R)

”]”]”]”]If we give government the power to knock down doors without first serving a warrant, and to seize private property without due process or even criminal charges (among a host of abuses justified by the “War on Drugs,” not to mention the “War on Terror”), we are giving that power not just to a John Ashcroft or a Dick Thornburgh; we’re giving it to a Janet Reno and an Eric Holder. That’s not just stupid; it’s reckless and destructive.

What have we given up from the Bill of Rights, just to ignore the inherent evil of no-knock warrants and civil asset forfeiture? If a government acting in our best interests can abuse these procedures, what can a government that holds us in contempt do with them?

Legalizing marijuana would break away the current markets for marijuana from their very close relationship with the markets for heroin, cocaine, meth, hot guns, stolen property, prostitution, human and drug smuggling, terrorism, etc., draining tens or hundreds of millions of dollars from that income stream, and diverting it into taxable income streams. It would also unclog thousands of slots on pending court case calendars and empty prison and jail cells of people who otherwise wouldn’t be there, making room for the people who really should be locked up.

The statists graciously accept all our offers to surrender our rights for alleged safety or other benefits, regardless of the “war” allegedly being fought — drugs, poverty, terrorism, income inequality…

They know from history that such rights, once surrendered, are seldom restored, except by force and the spilling of lots of blood. At some point, it will be too late to get them back without that terrible cost.

We’re not there just yet, but we’re awfully close.

Show Me Your Criminal’s License!

January 18, 2011

Would it have helped if he had a license?

It was inevitable.

Mindless, reflexive calls for the abridgment of the Second Amend rights of law-abiding Americans arise like dandelions in spring, right after a high-profile shooting. It’s time to get uncivil (that means, “honest”) and call these proposals what they are.

They are fraudulent, unconstitutional efforts to limit the possession of firearms to government-approved persons, and to disarm citizens. While most of these proposed laws will make it more difficult to own or carry a handgun legally, they will do nothing to limit the use of handguns in the commission of crimes. The gun-control fetishists  know this, and it doesn’t matter to them. Making the lawful possession of firearms by citizens impossible is exactly what they intend.

Here’s my counter-proposal to these useless measures.

Let’s license violent criminals. Any criminal must obtain a picture ID from the federal government that certifies he (or she, or “other” —  let’s be inclusive) is a government-licensed criminal.

Before committing any violent crime involving a firearm, the criminal must present a valid Criminal’s License to the intended victim. Failure to do so would subject the criminal (if caught, if prosecuted, and if convicted) to severe penalties, such as denial of all but basic cable service while in prison.

Skeptics will heap scorn on my proposal.

They will call it naive.

Why would a violent criminal go to the trouble to obtain a license to commit crimes, when he (or she, or “other,” of course) is completely capable of committing crimes without it? Why would a criminal intentionally incriminate himself (or herself) by applying to the government for a license to commit crimes?

Why would any criminal, even a complete idiot, tip his (or her) hand to his intended victim(s) by presenting his (or her)criminal credentials before his attack?

I submit that any criminal stupid enough to abide by burdensome gun laws is stupid enough to apply for a criminal’s license. Law-abiding people will not commit crimes, because they are — well — non-criminals.

A restriction on the Second Amendment has nothing to do with “fighting crime,” and everything to do with depriving non-criminals of the right of self-defense, which is neither granted by, nor can be revoked by, government.

What happens when the federal government decides to quit pussyfooting around, and makes any private citizen without government connections a criminal, simply because he or she owns a (formerly) legal firearm? Why, all the local law enforcement agency has to do is print out a list of gun owners, and send the SWAT team out to knock on your door.

If you don’t answer your door, and let the troops walk off with your firearms, they can kill you, put your spouse in prison, condemn your house and auction it off, and put your children in (“gun-free”) foster homes.

Why? Because you’re a criminal. And, an unlicensed criminal, to boot.

The panting opportunists and jackals who want to capitalize on the Arizona massacre to curtail our rights are contemptible.

They should be scorned and defeated at every opportunity.