Monday, April 9, 2012

The Great Mysteries of the Universe, Vegetarianism and Bad Government

Among the great mysteries of the universe is that I have often found myself in conversations with folks who find that some of the things governments do to be utterly tyrannical. And I’ve been in conversations with folks are utterly outraged that governments and big business are doing the Tiger Woods / waitress thingy. Yet, no matter what the evidence, not matter that at base the government is the only tool that can “legitimately” coerce folks, they cannot help but see government as the answer to all of their problems. Where’s the cognitive dissonance when you see reports like this:
Radley Balko via Coyote reports:
Cop runs license check on a suspicious vehicle. Although they apparently committed no traffic violation, cop insists that his decision to run a check had nothing to do with the fact that the occupants were black, and happened to be driving in an affluent, predominately white neighborhood. The cop’s partner apparently then enters the wrong license number, which returns a car that had been reported stolen. So cop follows car into driveway, which happens to be the home of the driver’s parents, where he lives. Cop approaches driver and occupant with his gun drawn. Driver’s parents come out to see what’s causing the commotion. Cop roughs up driver’s mother. Driver gets up from ground to tell cop to lay off of his mother. Cop shoots driver, a full 32 seconds after pulling into the driveway.
The driver, who was unarmed, will now carry a bullet in his liver for the rest of his life. The cop was charged with first degree aggravated assault. A jury acquitted him. Now this week, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon dismissed the driver’s lawsuit against both the cop that fired his gun and the cop who entered the wrong license plate number, citing qualified immunity. According to Harmon, the officer acted “reasonably,” and moreover, wrongly accusing an unarmed man of stealing a car, pointing a gun at him, then shooting him in the liver, “did not violate [his] constitutional rights.”
Both cops are back on the force. The guy with the bullet in his liver? Tough luck. He’ll be paying his own medical bills.
I have a new theory. Folks actually do not see this as government. And so do not equate this sort of thing with the myriad other things they want government to do.
Which is bizarre, isn’t it. I’ve been told by more than one person that “if you only saw how industrial animal raising happened, you would become a vegetarian.” OK, maybe that’s true. I know I cannot manage to kill an ant in my house. So, why don’t these same folks see how “industrial government” works? Why does that not make them want to be government vegetarians?

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