Another incident has occurred in Missouri, of police shooting dead a young man in St. Louis. After stealing a couple of drinks from a store, he was walking towards them and daring them to shoot him, so they did (NB: strong language, violence).
Of course, the police could have tased him or sicced a dog on him, but they didn’t bother with that. Then they lied about how threatening he was, asserting that he was holding a knife up at them and came to within three or four feet — later refuted by the cell-phone recording.
While we should have no patience with police brutality, and this did not have to happen, there are two sides to these stories. If you’re openly stealing and goading police, you’re going to find trouble in no time.
At times like these, various observers want to attack either the police or the criminal, but both are at fault. Worse, such condemnation fails to acknowledge that these outcomes are inevitable, given the conditions at play. Neither police accountability nor a crackdown on criminals will fix the tragic mess.
Given a welfare-dependent, poorly educated, and humiliated underclass with limited employment prospects — exacerbated by minimum-wage folly — the incentives to engage in crime are enormous. And when legislators create lucrative black markets with prohibition, from narcotics and prostitution to simple migration, they only add icing on the cake for criminality.
This goes beyond the underclass, though. As books such as One Nation under Arrest have documented, the labyrinth of legislation that exists in the United States creates “traps for the innocent but unwary and threaten[s] to make criminals out of those who are doing their best to be respectful.” The United States’ prison population, the largest in the world and per capita, is more than enough evidence of the police state.
When members of the police force find themselves at odds with the community, it is because they are enforcing laws that have ostracized them. Predictably, faced with the us-versus-them predicament, they become edgy, trigger happy, and stand by their own.
There is a way out. We must oppose legislation out of line with the natural law, the values that already exist on a private basis, and tear down the barriers to opportunity that condemn people to the underclass.