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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bad Laws and Bad Enforcement Make For Restive Citizens

For John, BLUFChange is needed in Baltimore, both at the Governmental level and by the People themselves.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Village Voice thinks the rioting (and looting and arson) in Baltimore exposes how our knife laws are antiquated and abused by the Police and Prosecutors with regard to the Black Community.  The reporter is Jon Campbell and the dateline is Monday.  The article is "Freddie Gray Arrest Exposes an Antiquated Knife Law Similar to New York's".

Here are a couple of key paragraphs:

But Gray's initial arrest may not have happened if not for an antiquated provision of Baltimore's municipal code, which prohibits the possession of a "switchblade" knife.  Gray had allegedly been running from the police, for reasons that still aren't clear, and after a brief chase, officers found the knife clipped to his pocket in a closed position — he was not alleged to have brandished the knife or threatened anyone with it.

The arrest charge recalls an issue we've been covering in New York City for months — the NYPD's enforcement of a half-century old law against so-called "gravity knives."  The law was the subject of a lengthy investigation we published last year which found as many as 60,000 questionable arrests in ten years, making the statute one of the top-ten most-prosecuted crimes in New York City.

Switchblades?  Reminds me of the 1963 book by David Wilkerson, The Cross and the Switchblade.  And, the fact that I was issued, early on in my Air Force pilot career, a switchblade knife, which also had a U-shaped blade for cutting parachute risers.

This, of course, goes to the issue covered by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds in his short piece, Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything Is a Crime (Columbia Law Review).

The other thing that pops out of this is the rule of thumb that one should never run from the police.  It is not that I believe every claim by police that the suspect was running away, but I think the odds favor not running, and as it becomes the rule in a City like Baltimore it will be harder and harder for police to beat up suspects with impunity.

Of course, if the People of Baltimore are not able to pull it together then a more fascist regime may supplant the current democratic regime.  It will be fascist even if it self-describes as syndicalism or some such form of organization and overthrow of the current form of government and economic order.  Sadly, such a change will lead to (1) less freedom for individuals and (2) a less efficient organization of the economic side of life.  Even those Blacks currently feeling oppressed will not the greater oppression.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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