“I do blame the politician,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, explained on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” “We put our police in a dangerous situation with bad laws.”
Garner died after a police officer put him in a chokehold while trying arrest him for selling tax-free cigarettes. The police officers at the time were unaware of Garner’s pre-existing health conditions that likely helped lead to his death.
On Wednesday, Paul said Garner’s death would have been prevented if the law creating New York City’s high cigarette taxes — the highest in the country — wasn’t created.
“I think it’s also important to know that some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes,” Paul said. “So they’ve driven cigarettes underground so as not to make them so expensive.”
The likely Republican presidential hopeful continued, “But then some politician also had to direct the police to say, ‘Hey, we want you arresting people for selling a loose cigarette.’ And for someone to die over you know breaking that law — there really is no excuse for it.”
The lefty spin on this so far is implying that Sen. Paul is ignoring the police officer’s actions while trying to blame it on the politician who passed the cigarette tax, which is ridiculous. He seems to be looking at the entire situation and asking, “How did we ever get to this point?”
Progressives are responsible for outlawing or criminalizing everything from behavioral choices to speech and they don’t seem to get the totalitarian direction in which this is all going. They live in a permanent state of disconnect, never grasping that the nanny-state big government they practically treat as a fetish is the same government that spies on citizens and can spawn heavy-handed law enforcement.
So yes, there is a connection between creating a criminal black market for a still legal substance through onerous taxation and an ugly encounter with law enforcement that resulted in death. It most definitely does not excuse the actions of the officer (which most on the right and left are condemning), but it does provide a cautionary tale that should be heeded.