Yes, Stupid Laws Can Kill People

cigarettes-tax-blackmarket

David Harsanyi writes: After news of the baffling decision by the New York grand jury not to indict a police officer in the killing of Eric Garner, I sent out a (slightly) hyperbolic tweet that wondered why Americans would want to entrust their free speech and health care to an institution that will kill you over failure to pay a cigarette tax.

Since then, I’ve seen numerous tweets discounting this argument as preposterous. It’s something akin to blaming jaywalking for the death of Michael Brown, we’re told. Rand Paul touched on the issue in an interview on msnbc yesterday and was, predictably, ridiculed for it by smokes-1024x717-385x270liberals – because mentioning the circumstances of a violent act is preposterous, apparently.

Though it certainly isn’t close to being the most important lesson of this inexplicable case, it’s not something that should be dismissed so flippantly.

Garner wasn’t targeted for death because he was avoiding taxes, but nonetheless, prohibitive cigarette taxes unnecessarily create situations that make events like this possible.

We frame violent acts and unintended consequences in this way all the time. When we discuss how illegal immigrant women can be the helpless victims of domestic violence, we also blame unreasonable laws for creating the situation. When we talk about the Drug War and millions of non-violent criminals it creates and the violent tactics of the DEA and other agencies, we have little problem blaming underlying policy. With good reason.

Some pundits have similarly blamed broken-windows policing for Garner’s death. Those policies, whether they work or not, at aimed at protecting property and people. In the case of Garner, police were enforcing a law that has nothing to with violence….(read more)

The Federalist

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One Comment on “Yes, Stupid Laws Can Kill People”

  1. […] The Butcher David Harsanyi writes: After news of the baffling decision by the New York grand jury not to indict […]


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