Eric Garner’s Death Shows How Stupid Laws Help Get People Killed


(Reason)- After news of the baffling decision by the New York grand jury not to indict a police officer in the killing of Eric Garner, I sent out a (slightly) hyperbolic tweet that wondered why Americans would want to entrust their free speech and health care to an institution that will kill you over failure to pay a cigarette tax.

Since then, I’ve seen numerous tweets arguing that bringing up the tax is preposterous. It’s something akin to blaming jaywalking for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.), touched on the issue in an interview with MSNBC yesterday and was, unsurprisingly, ridiculed for it by liberals—because mentioning the circumstances of a violent act is preposterous, apparently.

Though it certainly isn’t close to being the most important lesson of this inexplicable case, it’s not something that should be dismissed so flippantly.


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