James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, July 11, 2016

Just laws, cop abuse, and the arroagance of Eric Garcetti

The 2006 Duke Lacrosse case featured:
  • An investigation of a  real crime. Unlike, say, the phony "crimes" like gun or drug possession, rape has an actual victim 
  • White men, athletes at an elite university, as suspects. Maybe they weren't all rich, but they were privileged with access to  competent legal counsel.
Even after evidence indicated the accused were innocent, the police and prosecutor pursued the case.

If innocent Duke athletes aren't safe from The State, nobody is. Botched prosecutions and wrongful convictions are commonplace even when the laws, such as  laws against rape, murder, and robbery, are just and necessary.

So what happens when they're not? Increasing the minimum wage is a case in point. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, in a Freakonomics interview, said it will lead to increased "net economic activity" in his city.

That's a dubious proposition at best, but the more important question is...

Who does Eric Garcetti think he is think he is to make it illegal for people to take jobs at wages they are willing to accept?

Garcetti admits there will be some displacement with a minimum wage hike, but somehow thinks it's worth it. What will happen to the jobless?

They'll likely get public assistance of various kinds. But also, the circumstances will encourage people to earn money in the unlicensed, untaxed shadow economy.

Even if the goods and services they provide aren't illegal in themselves, they're made illegal by the lack of paperwork and taxes.

And that can lead to nosy neighbors calling the police, or police spotting and inquiring into "suspicious" activity themselves.

Some of that police contact will get out of hand, and police may panic or become abusive. It's statistically likely the victims will disproportionately be racial minorities.

And when an incident becomes a national headline, we'll again wonder how we can "reform" police departments so they'll be less racist in practice. No doubt Eric Garcetti will have something reasonable and "compassionate" to say.

But it's the Garcettis of the world who are the fundamental problem. Don't pile on victimless laws on top of just laws and then be shocked when minorities bear the brunt.

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