A Quick Observation on the “Too Many Laws” Argument (as Linked to Garner)
While I need to formulate (and am working on it, in fact) more well developed response to the discussion of the role played by the law on cigarettes in the death of Eric Garner, I do have a simple response I want to note (it is a thought that has occurred to me more than once as I have read and heard assertions about the situation)
Jonah Goldberg serves as most proximate inspiration:
But only unreasonable people can deny that those laws are partly to blame. Without laws making cigarettes more expensive, Eric Garner would be alive today, period.
In reading this (and similar assertions–i.e., that more laws equal more chances for law enforcement to go awry, ergo, have so many laws is part of the problem) I have to wonder if the libertarian/anti-government types are willing to recognize that this is exactly the argument that many make about guns after a mass shooting (i.e., if guns weren’t so easy to access that event X would not have happened–both are vested in a basic assertion about probability). And, further, that libertarian/anti-government types always reject those probability arguments in that context.
I will also state that I will be a bit “unreasonable” (from Goldberg’s POV) and “deny” that the law was “to blame” in the following sense: there is nothing in the law that required the actions of the police officer in question. While the law was ostensibly the motivation for the confrontation, the way the police behaved is the issue here, not the law. If anything, that law has not, to my knowledge, resulted in other deaths so from a probability point of view, this assertion is nonsense.
I will revert to “reasonable” however, and agree that more laws do, in fact, increase the chances of police-citizen interaction. However, again, the issue is not the interaction itself, per se, but rather is that behavior of those engaged in the interaction. This should be the focus of this discussion, not whether one favors a given law or not.