In my posts, I can be a bit hard on cops sometimes. This is because with great power comes great responsibility. Police are often in rough situations, and see the worst of the world on a daily basis, which can mess with anyone’s head to some extent. So today instead of simply criticizing the actions of more cops who shot innocent people, or violated their rights of freedom of speech and to be secure in their persons, I want to offer a solution. It’s so simple, and no one should have a problem with this: no victim, no crime.
So think about a lot of these instances of police abuse you hear. They start with expired tags, or with the refusal to show ID to a cop, or with twenty-somethings filming the police. The police as it currently stands feel their responsibilities cover “crimes” that have no victim, like insuring registration on cars is paid. In these respects they are little more than enforcers to ensure the state gets paid their “protection money”… because wouldn’t it be terrible if something happened to that nice shiny car of yours?
The solution is, a cop cannot intervene at all when there is no crime, defining crime as requiring a victim. Expired tags? Oh well, the state is not a victim if the money is extorted in the first place: withholding something that someone wants to take from you is not victimizing the state, it is refusing to be victimized (kind of like shooting someone in self defense who breaks into your house).
This wouldn’t eliminate all police brutality, but it would be a good start. Then there would be no dispute about whether police acted appropriately when shooting or brutalizing unarmed victims who had been stopped for jaywalking, or an ill placed traffic cone, or buying water, or reaching for a cane, or peaceful protesting, or not showing ID, or being dazed after a brutal car accident, or hanging out on a campsite they rented, etcetera.
There was no crime in all these cases, so the police would never have had any authority to even detain or force any of these people to talk to them. All these victims would still be alive or unmolested and unscarred from their run-ins with police, enforcing a law that has no victim to protect.
If common law boiled down to the non-initiation of force principle, things would be safer for police and for peasants—I mean civilians. Cops wouldn’t have to be trigger happy with innocent people, able to use the excuse, “I want to get home at the end of the night”. The only people that would be confronted would at least be suspected of a crime that had a victim, which would mean far fewer people ever having to deal with the police.
Did this person initiate force against another? If yes, the police get involved. If no, the police go on their merry way. And if the police initiate the force without a victim, well then they have violated the law like anyone else. The badge does not negate the possibility of victimizing another.
This would also mean we could free up a lot of resources. For one, you don’t need as many police, lawyers, and judges when the only people going through the system have victimized someone, versus expired licenses, smoking pot, or “resisting arrest” (and the only reason I mention resisting arrest as a victimless crime is because it always baffled me how someone could get arrested just for resisting arrest. After all, what were they being arrested for that made them resist arrest? And if they are only being charged with resisting arrest, that means there was no original crime to be charged with, and therefore resisting arrest was appropriate, as in “why am I being arrested if I have not committed a crime?”… “STOP RESISTING”).
We would also need fewer people to write laws, because they wouldn’t be able to make anything criminal if there was no victim, and everything that includes a victim is already criminal under the common law of, “No one may initiate force against another”. And they say there’s no room for budget cuts! But as it stands victimless crimes serve as an excuse for cops to abuse their power.