"The child who is taught to believe the law will be his protection is the child who will become the victim of its own beliefs." "Unquestioned beliefs own you." - FUNKTIONARY
The Lawrence Police Department has released dashcam video of a white officer shooting a Black motorist during a traffic stop that turned violent. The officer who fired now faces a felony charge, though she maintains she meant to draw her Taser instead of her gun. [don’t hold your breath waiting for random or incidental justice in a system of injustice]
The police department provided the video to the Journal-World Monday morning, in response to an open records request from the newspaper.
The shooting occurred about 5:15 p.m. on May 29, 2018, in the 100 block of West Sixth Street, at the north end of downtown Lawrence. The video is from the patrol vehicle of an officer who initially pulled over Lawrence resident Akira S. Lewis, 35, for not wearing a seat belt. The footage shows the traffic stop escalating from there. Luckily for Lewis, he was not killed in the shooting. However, he was arrested and charged with battery against a law enforcement officer, interference with law enforcement and driving without proof of insurance, all misdemeanors, and failure to wear a seat belt. [MORE]
Michael Huemer further explains,
"The Significance of Coercion and the Reach of Authority
The need for an account of political legitimacy arises from the moral significance of coercion and from the coercive nature of government. It is important to bring these principles clearly into focus, to have a clear view of what needs explaining before we try to explain it.
First, what is coercion? Hereinafter, I use the term ‘coercion’ to denote a person’s use of or threat to use physical force against another person. When I speak of coercing a person to do something, I shall mean using physical force or the threat of physical force to induce that person to perform the desired action. I use ‘physical force’ and ‘violence’ interchangeably. I shall not define ‘physical force’ here; our intuitive understanding of the notion will suffice for the subsequent arguments, and I shall not rely on any controversial judgments about what qualifies as physical force.
My definition of ‘coercion’ is not intended as an analysis of the term’s standard use in English. It is a stipulative definition, intended to avoid repetition of the phrase ‘use of or threat to use physical force’. My use of the term differs from the ordinary usage in at least two ways: first, in the ordinary sense of the term, when A ‘coerces’ B, A induces B to behave in some way desired by A; but in my sense, A might coerce B by physically injuring B, whether or not A influences B’s behavior. Second, the ordinary sense counts a broader range of threats as coercive: in the ordinary sense, A might ‘coerce’ B using a threat to spread malicious rumors about B. This would not qualify as coercion in my sense, because the threat is not one of violence. The ordinary concept of coercion is useful in many contexts; nevertheless, I have introduced a stipulative definition because doing so enables us to consider some important and interesting arguments regarding political authority, while avoiding unnecessary semantic debates.
Government is a coercive institution. Generally speaking, when the state makes a law, the law carries with it a punishment to be imposed upon violators. It is possible to have a law with no specified punishment for violation, but all actual governments attach punishments to nearly all laws. Not everyone who breaks the law will in fact be punished, but the state will generally make a reasonable effort at punishing violators and will generally punish a fair number of them, typically with fines or imprisonment. These punishments are intended to harm lawbreakers, and they generally succeed in doing so.Direct physical violence is rarely used as a punishment. Nevertheless, violence plays a crucial role in the system, because without the threat of violence, lawbreakers could simply choose not to suffer punishment. For example, the government commands that drivers stop before all red lights. If you violate this rule, you might be punished with a $200 fine. But this is simply another command. If you didn’t obey the command to stop before all red lights, why would you obey the command to pay $200 to the government? Perhaps the second command will be enforced by a third command: the government may threaten to revoke your driver’s license if you do not pay the fine. In other words, they may command you to stop driving. But if you violated the first two commands, why would you follow the third? Well, the command to stop driving may be enforced by a threat of imprisonment if you continue to drive without a license. As these examples illustrate, commands are often enforced with threats to issue further commands, yet that cannot be all there is to it. At the end of the chain must come a threat that the violator literally cannot defy. The system as a whole must be anchored by a non-voluntary intervention, a harm that the state can impose regardless of the individual’s choices.
That anchor is provided by physical force. Even the threat of imprisonment requires enforcement: how can the state ensure that the criminal goes to the prison? The answer lies in coercion, involving actual or threatened bodily injury, or at a minimum, physical pushing or pulling of the individual’s body to the location of imprisonment. This is the final intervention that the individual cannot choose to defy. One can choose not to pay a fine, one can choose to drive without a license, and one can even choose not to walk to a police car to be taken away. But one cannot choose not to be subjected to physical force if the agents of the state decide to impose it.
Thus, the legal system is founded on intentional, harmful coercion. To justify a law, one must justify imposition of that law on the population through a threat of harm, including the coercive imposition of actual harm on those who are caught violating the law. In common sense morality, the threat or actual coercive imposition of harm is normally wrong. This is not to say that it cannot be justified; it is only to say that coercion requires a justification. This may be because of the way in which coercion disrespects persons, seeking to bypass their reason and manipulate them through fear, or the way in which it seems to deny the autonomy and equality of other persons.