Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Final Word On The Phelps Fiasco

...(at least on this blog) goes to Radley Balko, who's provided wonderfully, bitingly sarcastic commentary throughout the news cycle this event dominated:

Michael Phelps Apologizes ... to China
His message to Chinese youngsters: “Do the right thing.”

Which I guess means submit to the state’s authority, even when the law you’ve broken is an immoral one, and the means the state has used to enforce it are wholly disproportionate to the alleged crime.

So let’s stop with the rabble rousing. No more questioning the legitimacy of bad laws. No more questioning the state’s power, or it’s willingness to flex its authority when it gets embarrassed by its citizenry. No more staring down tanks, whether they belong to Deng Xiaoping ... or Sheriff Leon Lott.

And, in case you don't feel sufficiently motivated to click Balko's links, here's the picture of Deng's tanks:

And here's Lott's:

That's right, the good Sheriff Lott actually procured an armored personnel carrier for his department--and that was even before his jurisdiction was overrun with such nefarious characters as pot-smoking swimmers. Balko actually wrote about this madness months ago:
The Richland County, South Carolina Sheriff's Department (that's them above) just obtained an armored personnel carrier, complete with a belt-fed, .50-cal turreted machine gun. Sheriff Leon Lott has charmingly named the vehicle "The Peacemaker," and insists that using a caliber of ammunition that even the U.S. military is reluctant to use against human targets (it's generally reserved for use against armored vehicles) will "save lives."


Like most of these military toys obtained by local police departments, the Peacemaker will inevitably be used on drug and gambling raids—that is, to enforce laws against consensual activities. Or, as we're now seeing in Minnesota, perhaps on raids against leftist political activists.

Oh, authoritarianism. The human propensity to violently dominate others would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic. And terrifying. Because when it comes down to it, we are just an overgrown tribe of super-empowered chimps.

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