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L. Neil Smith's
Number 534, August 30, 2009

"Ding Dong the Drunk is dead!"

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Mitigating the Risk of State Abuse
by Rob Sandwell

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Cops are cracking down.

The "War on Drugs" has pulled another dangerous criminal off the street. Donald May was driving home from work when he was pulled over, arrested, and imprisoned for three months on charges of possession of crack cocaine and tampering with evidence. During those three months he lost his job and his apartment, and the police sold his vehicle at auction. Make special note of that last one. Before he was convicted of a crime, the police confiscated his vehicle, and sold it for their own gain.

In the end, it turned out that the crack cocaine seized by the officer at the scene was actually a breath mint. Oops! Sorry. You're free to go. You can read more about the incident here.

The officer at the scene claims he checked the mints and they tested positive for drugs. He claims he saw Donald May buy the drugs at an intersection prior to pulling him over. He claims May admitted at the scene to possession of cocaine. He claims May waived his miranda rights. May claims none of that ever happened.

Of course, this isn't the only time something like this has happened. There are a number of cases of people being arrested on accusations of drug possession or distribution, which have turned out later to be false. Substances as benign as soap, cookies, chalk dust, and deodorant have all been at the heart of similar cases.

Putting aside the fact that there is no moral justification for the "War on Drugs." Ignoring the vast number of people, both here and abroad who have been slaughtered in its pursuit. Forgetting about the innumerable violations of freedom and liberty it was created specifically to effect. Disregard the fact that it is at its heart nothing more than the claim of men with guns to regulate what you do with your body and your property.

Above and beyond all that, the cops are simply unreliable, untrustworthy, and incompetent.

And more and more people are running into these harbingers of malady every day.

Old women are getting tazed. Young men are getting shot to death. People are harassed, beaten, robbed, sexually assaulted, kidnapped, and tortured every day in this country by the fine men and women who make up the many law enforcement agencies of your government.

Carry too much of the only legal currency allowed by law? You're probably a criminal and they can seize your money on suspicion of drug activity. Prove they're wrong. Don't talk fast enough during an interrogation? Prepare to get a lamp shoved into an orifice not specifically designed for that activity. Hair too long? Skin wrong color? Name spelled funny? Prepare to be "detained" and harassed for hours, or days, or months, or in the case of some Guantanamo detainees, years. All at your own expense by the way. All in the name of "justice."

If you are a regular reader of websites like The Libertarian Enterprise, you know why this sort of thing happens. Because the police aren't really there to serve and protect. They are there to make sure that everyone does as they are told, and to mercilessly apply force against those who do not.

All of which gave my wife an idea. We were discussing the case of Donald May, when she said, "Someone should offer insurance against that kind of thing."

Genius! After all, here is a man who was perfectly innocent, who due to government misconduct, lost his home, his car, and his job. The ramifications of those losses could last years. Imagine if he had a family, how much would they also have lost? Imagine what brutalities he may have been victim to while in the government's "care." And this sort of thing is becoming increasingly common.

I have had a law enforcement officer threaten to blow my head off because I had a bb pistol in the car with me. Not because we pointed it at them. Not because we threatened them with it in any way. Just because it was there. I have had a law enforcement officer threaten to "sling some led through my windshield" because I followed him half a mile down the road, and he interpreted that as a threatening action. Many of you, or your loved ones, will come in contact with law enforcement in an unjust manner throughout your lives. Maybe all of you.

Just imagine if someone was offering "Government Abuse Insurance." For a low monthly premium, you could be insured against any losses you incur as a result of the government abusing your rights. Some plans could have riders which stipulate that if you are actually found guilty of a crime, the insurance policy doesn't pay off. Other plans could include insurance against losses incurred as a result of non-violent, tax, or drug crimes. Over time, the marketplace would choose which policies it wanted.

Of course, as things get worse, and they will, premiums would naturally rise. Because as government agencies become more and more desperate, they will inevitably become more and more violent and intrusive, which increases the risk to the insurer.

Given the option, wouldn't each of you choose to insure your families, homes, and financial futures against the risk of government abuse?

I think there would be a huge market for this. I think many people would want to take advantage of such a product.

But the real question is, how would the government respond. I am guessing that they would never even allow such a product to come to market. After all, they would argue, that simply encourages illegal behavior. It eliminates the threat of consequences in the mind of the criminal. If someone did begin to offer it, I'm sure steps would be taken to outlaw it.

No, they can't allow "Government Abuse Insurance."

After all, the payouts alone would require another insurance industry bailout.


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