Those who defend and enforce unjust laws are oppressors and criminals. Most people can understand that. Why then do so many in law enforcement take the position that every law, no matter how stupid or oppressive, must be enforced? One of my Republican primary opponents, David King, recently affirmed that he would enforce and defend laws that criminalize drugs, whether or not he thinks they are a good idea:
I disagree with David King on this issue. Each person’s right to control her own food, medical treatment, and personal possessions is a fundamental human right. The exercise of fundamental human rights is not a matter of social policy for legislators to criminalize. Officers who enforce criminal laws against mere use or possession of a substance — whether it be cannabis or some other substance — are themselves committing immoral acts of aggression against the alleged drug “criminal.”
As Attorney General, I will refuse to enforce anti-drug laws against peaceful users and traders so long as no violence, threat of violence or fraud accompanies the use or sale of the thing in question. I will not willingly order the officers under my supervision to commit immoral acts — even if by so doing I expose myself to threat of impeachment or lawsuit.
Above, King states that he would “defend and enforce” victimless crime laws “until a court directs otherwise.” Not I. If elected, I will exercise prosecutorial discretion and refuse to prosecute cases in which the only chargeable crime is possession or distribution of a substance or thing, whether that thing be a drug or a constitutionally protected weapon. The Attorney General should defend the basic human right to right to control what you put into your own body – and to defend yourself by keeping and bearing arms responsibly.
In contrast, based on his position on substance criminalization, King would be willing to confiscate everyone’s weapons and put gun owners in jail, so long as the legislature passes the law. If he would make an exception for guns, he is either unprincipled on the issue of whether the AG should refuse to prosecute immoral laws, or he does not believe that people have any fundamental human right to control what goes into their own bodies. If he believes you have no right to control what goes into your own body, he would hold your body to be the property of the state.
So ask yourselves, “law and order” Republicans: does the law serve basic human rights, or is law enforcement free to violate human rights so long as supported by legislative process? If the government can do whatever it wants “until a court directs otherwise,” who will protect you from the government? If David King were Attorney General, certainly not him.
Protecting human rights does not mean being soft on true crime. On the contrary, focusing police resources on actual dangerous criminals while allowing responsible sellers to operate makes things far tougher on the illegal cartels and unethical dealers. Those who enforce prohibition on everyone facilitate profitable exploitation of the public by unethical dealers.
As Attorney General, I will enforce drug laws against violent cartels and dealers, those who sell drugs to children without parental consent, and those who intentionally push addictive and destructive drugs in a manner reasonably expected cause harmful addiction. All of these activities are examples of criminal aggression against which defensive force is justified.