A Florida man earned his 15 minutes of fame for doing something really stupid. Michael Foster saw 62 year old Clarence Daniels put a holstered weapon in his pants – a legal action in Florida. Foster followed the man into a Walmart, screamed “He’s got a gun,” placed him in a choke hold, and threw him to the floor. Daniels replied “It’s legal.” The two were separated, and Foster was properly arrested for battery. This is a telling case of the stupidity, ignorance, and violent habits of at least one hoplophobe.
Let us contrast this with another case. What if Michael Foster had had a badge? What if he had shot Clarence Daniels – in the same manner as officer Sean Williams, who shot and killed John Crawford III in another Walmart, while Crawford was carrying a bb gun, intending to purchase it? Officer Williams was neither arrested nor indicted with any crime.
The Declaration of Independence includes these words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed…”
Being a libertarian – or an American – means taking these two ideas quite seriously: that “all men are created equal” and that governments derive “their just powers from the Consent of the Governed.”
We who are governed cannot give powers to any government which we do not ourselves possess. If we have no just power to kill people on a whim, we cannot delegate any such power to anyone else. Under what circumstances do we as individuals have a just power to kill others? Basically, defense against some violent action which would harm ourselves or others.
It would be wrong to delegate a greater power than this to the government, or to its agents.
It was wrong to make some people slaves to others. America rectified that error. It rectified the error of using the law to treat some people differently than others, via segregation and black codes. But we have allowed another error to creep in: the law treats police as if they are more equal than the rest of us.
We should not allow this to stand. Police, like every other person in America, should be held accountable for their violent actions, by the same standards of justice. It is this principle of equality which makes the difference between a police state and a free country.