Police Chokehold DeathSince a grand jury’s decision not to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo for his role in the death of Eric Garner, protests across the country have popped up. Racial complaints have taken center stage at these gatherings, but I have yet to see any protesters call attention to the role an ever-expansive government played in Mr. Garner’s death. Government equals force, which is why policemen were sent to bring an American into compliance with laws on selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

Oddly enough, there are protesters in New York City who have turned the problem on its head — they’re holding “capitalism” accountable for Mr. Garner’s death instead of the politicians who want limited resources to go after the guy on the corner selling loose cigarettes.

USA Today reported December 6:

NEW YORK — Protesters staged a “die in” Friday night in an Apple store on Fifth Avenue and in Macy’s at Herald Square. …

Zandir Santos, 30, of Brooklyn, relished in the idea that protesters had disrupted life at an Apple store and a Macy’s in New York. The filmmaker said this is a pivotal time in American history and that police must change how they treat people.

“The CEO of Apple knows we shut his store down–that means capitalist America is going to take us seriously,” he said. “We are going to shake up your business and we want to hit you where it hurts.”

This blog covered Rosa DeLauro’s (D-Conn.) desire to tax Americans for every ounce of sugar they consume. This blog also covered New York City’s interest in banning e-cigarettes. The list goes on and on, but the point is always the same: when you vote for more government then you get more government, which includes the power to send cops to your door if you sell loose cigarettes, sell e-cigarettes, consume too much sugar, etc.

How many of the people protesting “capitalism” voted for the New York City politicians who crafted the laws that prompted NYPD to show up at Eric Garner’s footsteps? It’s a morbid question, but one worth considering: Did Eric Garner vote for the very same people whose rules and regulations played a part in his demise?

President Obama said Monday that the protests Americans are seeing now are “necessary” (provided they are peaceful), but he too only focuses on race — there have been thousands of federal regulations put in place under the Obama administration, and with that comes the power to enforce the government’s will.

The Hill reported May 15, 2013:

From 2009 through last year, there were more than 13,000 final rules published in the Federal Register, while fewer than 12,400 were finalized from 2005-2008, the report found. That’s an increase of nearly five percent.

Race is certainly an issue in Eric Garner’s death, but not in the way the media is portraying it. The National Journal reported November 9, 2012:

“93% of African-Americans voted for Obama, down 2 percentage points from 2008, although 96 percent of black women supported him.”

Translation: 93% of African-Americans voted for a guy who craves power to be consolidated into the hands of small elite in the nation’s capital, although 96 percent of black women supported him.

The conservative man and woman — white, black, brown, blue, or orange — just wants to be left alone. One way to make that happen is not to vote for power-hungry politicians who write endless lists of legislation that may require law enforcement officials to knock on your door in the middle of the night.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

14 comments

  1. You make a really good point. Something that baffles me, cops really are a pretty blatant example of government force. So what is the solution to excessive force? More government force! But..?!

    I heard an interesting statistic the other day, 93% of police brutality and excessive force cases involve white people. You sure don’t see that perspective presented on the news, but it really does speak to the fact that government force has consequences, and it proves that people aren’t simply targeted because of race.

    1. You make a really good point. Something that baffles me, cops really are a pretty blatant example of government force. So what is the solution to excessive force? More government force! But..?!

      It’s no coincidence that these are also the same people who think the best way to get out of $17 trillion in debt is to…rack up $25 trillion in debt. 😉

  2. It is sad that the response to too many laws is to get more laws. Every law costs money to enforce and we need to ask is there a better way to spend the money for example helping the poor?

    The very group that push for the laws act as if they were not any part of the situations they cause. Accountability in politics seems to be lost. I fear that this trend is going to do more harm than good since it does nothing but generate more ratings and money for some people. I look back and see powerful people doing nothing but promoting more fear, hate and segregation and that includes the President.

    I wonder how Bush would have handled this situation. Would we have had a massive protest about how this was handled if he was still in office? How would he be blamed?

    1. Accountability in politics seems to be lost.

      I think the accountability train left the station awhile ago. 🙂

      I wonder how Bush would have handled this situation. Would we have had a massive protest about how this was handled if he was still in office? How would he be blamed?

      I’m glad Bush is out of office for this one. If he was in office, then I’m sure there would have been stories about how he was somehow to blame…

    1. I haven’t seen that picture in awhile. Agreed! 🙂

      If I had the energy, then I’d probably find a way to do a post on this subject that also talks about the Second Amendment. Modern liberals want to disarm the population and put weapons into the hands of the very same police, federal agents, etc. that they say are racist. Huh?!

      My personal opinion is that 95% of cops are probably totally stand-up guys and gals. Maybe 5% of them are corrupt jerks. That rotten 5% can do a lot of damage, though… Likewise, I’m sure that 95% of New York City residents are stand-up guys and gals — but that 5% can do a lot of damage.

      I need a new Marvel movie out, ASAP. Or maybe a new issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. All these cop stories are draining…

    2. Regarding the disarming thing, I indeed find that leftist tendency puzzling. Disarm the populace and arm the police they say are corrupt? That’s just inconsistent.

      I do hope you find another good comic to read, though. 🙂

    1. I’m not even sure what you’re asking. Are you asking me what the “solution” is for human nature? There isn’t one. It’s possible to mentally and spiritually sand away the rough edges, but human nature is human nature. Any power you give the government will be abused.

      The Founding Fathers had a pretty good blueprint for how the country should be run. I suggest reading The Federalist Papers. If you’re not into reading that, then I suppose Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America is also an excellent option.

    2. I always laugh a little bit when Lizard19 randomly asks questions like that, given his history of referencing me on his blog. During those times he usually implies he knows exactly what I’m thinking, what my motivations are, etc. Since he can apparently read my mind, I’m not sure what purpose it serves to suddenly ask me what I think. 🙂

  3. A saying among liberals/progressives is, “‘Government’ is just a word for people working together.” But the truth of the matter was stated by George Washington: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force.”

    That is not always a bad thing. If criminals and reckless drivers are a threat to public safety, it is the duty of government to restrain them, by force if necessary. Liberals, though, are as reluctant to enforce laws as they are eager to pass new laws.

    Never enact a law unless you are willing to use force to make people obey it. That doesn’t justify a cop shooting someone for shoplifting or jaywalking, but it does mean that any encounter between a law enforcer and a law breaker, even for a minor offense, could escalate into a knock-down, drag-out fistfight, or even a shoot-out. A cop stops a driver for speeding, the driver pulls a .357 and points it at the cop, the cop shoots him in self-defense, and then the news media report, “A black motorist was shot by a white police officer after the officer stopped the man for a minor traffic violation.” (Or, “A youth was shot for stealing cigars,” or, “Police choked a man to death for selling bootleg cigarettes.”) And it is usually the criminal, not the cop, who chooses to escalate the situation.

    In the Garner case, conservatives and libertarians are joining with bleeding heart liberals in condemning the cop. They want to exploit this incident to expose nanny state policies and high taxes, the enforcement of which led to the tragedy. But the cops don’t make the laws, and they don’t choose which laws to enforce. And they should not be the scapegoats when enforcement of an impractical law produces bad results. (And, no, I am not using the Nazi war criminal “I was following orders” excuse. It’s a long way from arresting a bootlegger, and then releasing him on bail an hour later, to torturing innocent people to death in concentration camps.)

    Michael Brown was not shot for stealing cigars; he was shot because he attacked a cop, forcing the cop to shoot him in self-defense. And Eric Garner was not killed for selling loosies; he died of a heart attack, brought on by the stress of the altercation, which he himself escalated.

    It’s ironic that protesters have adopted the mantras, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and “I can’t breathe.” The autopsy proved that Brown never raised his hands. And no one truthfully says, “I can’t breathe.” If you can talk, you can breathe.

    OK, I realize that an asthmatic having an attack probably doesn’t say, “I’m suffering from inflammation of my airways, which is causing severe shortness of breath.” He might gasp, “I can’t breathe!” But the fact remains that Garner could talk after the cop released the “choke hold” (actually more like a head lock), proving that he was not “choked to death.”

    To convict Officer Pantaleo of murder, you would have to prove that he intended to kill Garner. To convict him of manslaughter or criminal negligence, you would have to prove that he knew, or reasonably should have known, that the headlock could fatally aggravate Garner’s health problems. Garner’s obesity was obvious, but the cops could not be expected to know about his diabetes, heart condition, or asthma.

    If the cops violated department policy, that is an internal disciplinary matter, punishable by suspension or firing, but not a matter for criminal prosecution. If you got caught goofing off in the break room when you were supposed to be working (whether your job is mopping floors or programming computers), you would probably get fired. But you would not be indicted by a grand jury.

    And the SJW’s who say, “There should have been a trial” don’t know what they are talking about. If there was not enough evidence to justify an indictment (of Wilson in Ferguson or Pantaleo in New York), then there was not enough evidence to convict.

    If the cops are at fault for anything, it may be for failing to render appropriate first aid after they had Garner handcuffed. But they are cops, not paramedics. They did call for EMT’s, who may have also failed to render the right treatment; Garner died en route to the hospital. Standard procedure for an unconscious person is to lay him on his side, allowing saliva to drain. Maybe the officers didn’t know that morbidly obese people are an exception (they need to be kept vertical).

    I really believe Pantaleo is something of a scapegoat or a sacrificial lamb. A sergeant was at the scene, supervising the arrest. If Pantaleo was using excessive force, it was the sergeant’s job to order him to stop. It was also the sergeant’s responsibility to ensure that the subject received any needed first aid after the scuffle. But, afaik, the sergeant has not been reprimanded in any way. And there was never any talk of indicting the sergeant; in fact, she was guaranteed immunity from prosecution.

    But then, that sergeant cannot be expected to take responsibility for anything. After all, she looks like she could be Obama’s daughter.

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