Police Violence: The symptoms of deeper societal issues?

By Arthur Rizer

August 25, 2016

The rash of police-on-civilian and civilian-on-police violence has once again brought to a boil the question of why a nation founded on the very idea of limited government power is so tolerant when the government exercises power in the most devastating way — by killing you.


We don’t seek here to argue the facts of the police shootings that have occurred over the past few weeks. It’s easy (and lazy) to look at a video and say “that is a bad shoot” — and indeed, the past several shoots do “look” very bad. But it’s also clear there are numerous facts to which the public was not privy, and that the causes of this violence are far too extensive for this short piece.


One area often ignored that plainly is a major contributor to increased violence between police and civilians is the war on drugs. Like any war, the drug war has desensitized the public (and the “warriors” — a.k.a. the police) to violence. Also like any war, it has re-emphasized the truth of Cicero’s words “inter arma enim silent leges” — in times of war, the law falls silent. Indeed, since this nation went to war on the inanimate object of “drugs,” we have seen a steady decline in Fourth Amendment protections. The courts have steadily allowed dozens of exceptions to warrant requirements that are used extensively in drug cases.


The war on drugs drives a self-perpetuating system in which… read more.