Monday, April 2, 2012

Trayvon Martin

What's the meaning of the Trayvon Martin controversy? What has given this story legs in the national media, as opposed to the other incidents of interracial violence that occur daily across the fruited plain? I'll contend that unlike this heinous incident, where trained law enforcement agents simply apply the death penalty to someone that they perceive as a problem, the Martin affair shines a light on the controversial (to leftist statists) "Stand Your Ground" doctrine that has been accepted as normal in many states and by the US Supreme Court itself. Both political parties are, by necessity, statists. Both Democrats and Republicans, regardless of the differences in their ideologies, advocate an extensive and expanding government law enforcement effort, an entrenchment of state power administered by the party in power in a democratic charade. We see this in the creation of the monster TSA, the Homeland Security Administration, weapons on the hips of forest rangers, drone aircraft and armored vehicles for the use of police departments, government surveillance of the internet, banking, and communication systems; all developments lauded by the membership of both parties.

The exclusive right to the use of violence is the foundation of state power. The state cannot share this with any part of the citizenry. A confrontation between the state or its agents must be resolved to the state's advantage. There can be no legal use of coercion by private parties, no rivals to the state. A similar incident in 1984, when New York subway passenger Bernhard Goetz used an unlicensed gun to wound 4 muggers generated intense national controversy over race relations, gun laws and the individual's right to self-defense. Goetz was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and served 8 months of a one year sentence. He was later sued by one of his attackers and ordered to pay $43 million in damages.

Some small towns, saddled with increasing taxes to pay the salaries and benefits of their own police departments, have investigated hiring private contractors to patrol their streets. Of course, this has run into significant opposition. The city cops don't want to lose their jobs. County sheriffs don't care to see their responsibilities expanded unless there's a commensurate increase in their funding. Critics maintain that private law enforcement can't have the ability to make arrests, even though there's no reason it couldn't be authorized by the municipality involved.

The Trayvon Martin phenomenon doesn't have anything to do with unfortunate demise of a young man, something that occurs daily. What it's about is checking an outbreak of perhaps unconscious anti-statism.

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