While on the Internet, I came across a new device that capitalizes off public fear. It seems that we can’t have a tragedy in this country without an immediate “solution”, yet people keep wondering why they still happen. This is particularly true with police brutality. The new device is known as the “clown gun”.
There is, of course, two sides to the argument that have created a false dichotomy. To the police, “just follow the law and you’ll be ok!” To the citizen, “stop arresting and assaulting me!”
It seems both sacrifice reason and logic for emotion and conviction. As a result, we get feel-good “solutions” such as body cameras and the clown gun.
This new device is a handgun attachment. Once fired, the projectile immediately contacts a non-lethal ball and it safely incapacitates the target. The next shot, however, will not be so safe. Of course, it must be manually attached.
To an avid gun owner, I see two major flaws. First, human error could result in a misfiring while attaching the device – assuming you attach it in time. Secondly, firearm instructors basically agree that in a self-defense situation, don’t stop shooting until the threat is neutralized. As we’ve seen in videos of police shootings, they have trained this way. I doubt that’s going to change.
Body cameras have become a popular new trend. They have been useful, but I personally think it’s a waste of money. After all, they have a power button. Even when they are functioning, I can’t help but think that officers may not react as necessary in certain situations. If confronted by a threat, even a slightly delayed reaction can mean life or death. Moreover, it’s not a burden that should be put on respectable police officers.
Police brutality does not exist because police wake up thinking “how many citizens can I assault today”. There are obviously “good” and “bad” cops just like there are “good” and “bad” accountants.
We see conflicts with police simply because we have too many laws. Drug prohibition has been a complete failure. Police are asked the round up every addict, recreational user, and dealer around. Since drugs are illegal, drug dealers have to use violence to maintain market share. This, in turn, poses a threat to police who understandably begin to associate drugs with violence.
Drug use is victimless. Criminalization has only increased the interactions with police, especially in poor black communities. The inevitable result of aggression is more violence and it will always escalate. Instead of addressing the problem, we ask police officers to use devices that risks their lives. The political class are too corrupt and arrogant to admit their policies are a failure and a harm to everyone.
Police have no reasonable chance of successfully enforcing drug prohibition. If drugs are a criminal justice issue, as opposed to public health, then it will be violently enforced at the tax payer’s expense. Philadelphia had to decriminalize marijuana because they couldn’t afford to do the paperwork! Now taxpayers are going to pay for clown guns and body cameras, but the problem will not stop.
I firmly believe that legalizing drugs will solve a lot of our fiscal and social problems. We should treat users like alcoholics and not lock them in cages with threats of violence. Like anything, it does not come without risks and costs, but the benefits would far outweigh them. Tax revenue, regulated production and distribution, respected property rights, less violence, and fewer violent police encounters.
Instead of counter-intuitive solutions, we attempt to manage symptoms created by well-intended policies gone awry. Drug prohibition is another example and these devices are just a manifestation of the bigger problem.