A guy named Nandi Cain got badly beaten by a law enforcer over . . . jaywalking.
Yes, I know. Cain invited the brutal take-down and beating. Not for jaywalking — but because he did not Submit to and Obey the law enforcer. That’s what apologists for the enforcer will say, anyhow. The enforcer was merely doing his job. Which is to enforce the law.
Emphasis on force.
After all, how else to obtain submission and compliance? The enforcer couldn’t just let the jaywalker . . . walk away, could he?
Perhaps they have a point. Maybe the problem isn’t the thuggery of law enforcers but that there are so many thuggy laws for them to enforce.
Horse, cart — etc.
Why should it be illegal to walk across a street just because there’s a sign that says you may not? What if there’s no cross traffic? What if there’s no reason to stand there like a dolt and not cross . . . other than there being a sign that says you may not cross?
Isn’t it like the laws that demand a full stop at every stop sign, even when there’s no reason to come to a complete stop? If you can see perfectly well there are no cars oncoming, it’s a waste of gas as well as of time to come to a dead stop — just because there’s a sign.
There are two problems with such laws. The first is that they overstep. All the talk about “our freedoms” notwithstanding, the fact is we live in a micromanaged, adult-diapered version of a School for the Not Particularly Bright in which it is presumed everyone is an imbecile and therefore must be treated as such even if a given individual has not done anything to warrant such treatment.
Such as walking across the street when there is no cross traffic and it is therefore obviously safe to do so. Same goes for making a right turn on red, passing a slow-poke notwithstanding a double yellow line — but clear lines of sight and no question that there isn’t a car coming in the opposite lane.
Why should such a person be in peril of assault by an enforcer in such a case?
Because he ignored a sign forbidding it? This is an obnoxious — an evil — doctrine. It is even worse than the famous literary persecution of Jean Valjean by the merciless Inspector Javert — because after all, Jean Valjean did steal something. His persecution was over the top, of course. But there was an actual underlying crime — properly speaking.
But what is the jaywalker’s crime? Or the seat belt not-wearer’s? The California stopper’s? Have they taken anything from anyone? Have they harmed anyone? They haven’t even harmed themselves.
Well, they might.
So the scofflaw must be treated as though he had.
This brings us to the main problem with these Pecksniffian edicts. They are brutally binary. The law says you may not walk across the street unless the signal first says you may. The law says you must come to a complete stop. It is either, or. There is no latitude, no discretion — and so, no option for the enforcer to exercise judgment. To take into account that, for instance, there was no traffic around and so yes, it was safe to walk across the street and moronic to just stand there like a Pavlovian animal waiting for a blinking light to trigger your behavior rather than the use of your mind.
At least, not officially.
A law enforcer is trained — programmed, just like a Pavlovian robot — to enforce the laws. He does binary. He is required to do binary. If he doesn’t do binary, then he himself is a violator of the law.
Thus, 58 MPH in an under-posted 55 MPH zone with traffic averaging 60-ish is illegal speeding and a ticketable offense, regardless of the idiocy and injustice of the thing.
Nandi Cain made the mistake of arguing with the enforcer who pummeled him. Not over whether he jaywalked — but over why he was being hassled for it given no harm was caused. Law enforcers do not care whether any harm was caused. They care about just one binary thing — whether the human cattle who is the object of their attentions did or did not violate the law.
If you did, then you must Submit and Obey.
The enforcers have been trained to be every bit as merciless as Inspector Javert with regard to suborning your immediate submission. Their tactic, in the event you do not comply immediately, is often grotesquely disproportionate escalation.
Because what else is there?
Enforcers are brutal only secondarily — like the aftershock of an earthquake.