Saturday, December 24, 2005

No Knock Entry - Bad Policy

Clayton Cramer relates a story about police trying to enter a home without a warrant here. (Hat tip Instapundit.) Surprisingly enough, this wasn't a drug raid but rather a weapons issue. Unlike the Cory Maye case, among many others, no one was hurt.

The more laws there are on the books, the more law enforcement you will need. It never ceases to amaze me how cavalierly many, if not most, of my fellow Americans call for more and more laws. We used to call our policemen "peace officers", but nowadays they are called "law enforcement officers". A few generations ago, the idea was to let everyone do as they pleased so long as they didn't bother other folks (i.e, violate others rights via violence or theft). Those days are long gone, as many of the laws passed over the last few generations are laws that criminalize the potential for (perceived) bad behaviors, but the behaviors aren't really criminal in of themselves. Because many of the "crimes" we now have don't violate another citizens rights, they go "unreported". Thus the need for "law enforcement officers" to go out and find out who those miscreants are and "enforce" the law on them.

What do I mean by those few sentences above? A couple of examples may help explain what I mean.

Strict gun control laws presume that the gun owner may do something bad with his gun. Can't have that, so make owning the gun illegal or difficult to do so legally. So the crime is no longer using a gun immorally, but merely possession of the gun itself. The law turns otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals with the stroke of a pen. And of course, the laws do nothing to actually stop criminals from committing crimes, it just adds another charge if they are caught after the fact.

The same rationale is used to justify drug prohibition. Some small percentage of drug users will face some dark days due to their abuse of some drugs. Can't have that, so just make possessing the drug a crime. However, of the million or so drug arrests each year, only a fraction of those arrested are real addicts with real drug problems. And rehab is what they need, not jail. The vast majority of those arrested are ordinary folks who use drugs the same way others do alcohol or are trying to make a quick buck in the lucrative, prohibition-spawned black market. Again, the law turns otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals with the stroke of a pen.

With laws that criminalize ordinary human behavior, whether its a weakness for intoxicating substances or the desire to be able to defend one's hearth and home, is it any wonder that there is so much cynicism, anger, and hate in this country?

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