The Libertarian Moment, Approach the Bench?

One of the big debates swirling around the freedom movement these days is whether or not America is currently going through “a libertarian moment.” The libertarian moment, as defined by Reason magazine editors Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, is “a time of increasingly hyper-individualized, hyper-expanded choice over virtually every aspect of our lives.”

By this, the pair are largely talking about the crumbling of institutional power centers giving way to an empowered mass of individuals, each being able to customize her own life and choices.

In the realm of consumer choices, this is undisputed. What is less well known, however, is the effect this trend is having in politics—more to the point, politics. More to the point still, local politics.

While Donald’s Trump flirtation with fascism and Hillary Clinton’s flirtation with everything just short of fascism have libertarians grabbing the nearest fifth of Jack Daniels on Tuesday night, something very different is happened at the local level.

Two controversial prosecutors with a record of being soft on criminal cops were thrown out.

In Chicago, voters kicked out the Cook County prosecutor Anita Alvarez, who was extremely slow to indict the police officer who shot black teenager Laquan McDonald in the back 16 times. Alvarez also has a history of using kid gloves to deal with the Chicago Police Department.

Her opponent and election victor, Kim Foxx, made the McDonald shooting a centerpiece of her campaign against Alvarez.

In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, voters also threw out incumbent prosecutor Timothy McGinty. McGinty’s office refused to press charges against two Cleveland officers for shooting Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Cleveland resident, in 2014.

So in at least a few jurisdictions, voters have clearly had enough of “soft-on-crime” prosecutors who are literally letting law enforcement getting away with murder.

Libertarians have railed against abusive police practices and their threat to individual liberty and justice for decades.

It looks like voters are starting to agree.

And in light of these victories, pro-liberty advocates should be setting up grassroots organizations that focus specifically on judicial, prosecutorial, and county sheriff races.

These advocates, if victorious, could fundamentally transform the criminal justice issue in favor of liberty without having to change one single law.

And with a new law enforcement community more in favor of reform in hand, the momentum to actually change laws for better would be unstoppable.

Call it a libertarian moment for the bench.

Another Brutal Police Shooting Brings the Reality of Government Murder Home

(Photocredit: NBCNews.com)

(Photocredit: NBCNews.com)

This time in the city of North Charleston, South Carolina. Officer Michael Slager, a White man, shot and killed Black man Walter Scott as he fled an encounter. Slager discharged his weapon a full eight times.

According to Slater, he feared for his life after he pulled over Scott’s vehicle for a broken tail light. However, video captured of the event show nothing like Slager’s account. In it, Scott, himself middle-aged and older than Slager, is shown running away from the officer in a lumbering fashion as Slager unloads eight shots into him. Scott is presumed to have fallen to ground dead.

The video also shows Slager rushing over to the body to put him in hand cuffs after the fact and then placing a taser near the body. Slager later allegedly got on the police radio to inform his dispatcher that shots were fired and that the suspect had taken his taser.

But is it just me or are these police murder crimes not only getting more and more frequent, but also more and more blatant? With the Ferguson homicide, there was at least a disputed story. Not so with the North Charleston shooting.

Police in this country are out of control and action needs to be taken in two fundamental steps: 1) we need more regulations on police activity that includes mandatory tamper-proof body cameras. Also, state governments should pass laws setting up local citizen review boards where all criminal police misconduct can be referred to and that have real investigative and subpoena power of all witnesses and evidence involved. 2) We need to repeal as many arbitrary rules and regulations on citizens that make deadly run ins on like this more likely. The North Charleston shooting was instigated by a broken tail light. Laws like these are meant as revenue generators for cash-strapped local governments, not public safety. Also, the choking of Eric Gardner in Staten Island, NY, a Black man killed by a White police officer, was the result of the accused being suspected of selling “loosies,” which are single untaxed cigarettes.

Americans need to take a good hard look at their police forces and their government as whole and ask themselves if they want to live in a country where you can willfully murder the same people you’re supposed to “protect & serve” if you have a badge.