There are many power-worshippers in the world today who think it would be just great if their area politicians passed a law banning this or that – some minor irritation that probably does not affect the quality of their life in any meaningful way but which they believe ought to be stamped out for the sake of maintaining good order at the very least.
These people are as dangerous as any fanatic that put a dictator into power.
The reason for this is that the Police, who are tasked by politicians with enforcing laws, will go as far as killing any citizen to enforce any law that they have broken, no matter how trivial.
A lot of people balk at this assertion, usually because they have neither encountered Police officers in operation nor thought the whole process through as a thought experiment.
But if you think it through as a thought experiment, the meathook clarity of it cannot be denied.
Take the case of a medicinal cannabis user. If you have a psychological condition such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or if you have pain related to terminal cancer and do not want to take opiates, you might end up as another of New Zealand’s hundreds of thousands of cannabis users.
Now let’s say that the Police come to your house with a search warrant, on the grounds that they have reason to believe that you have cannabis in your possession or a cannabis operation in your house. They are going to arrest you, and you know that you face up to seven years in prison for the offence.
You might well protest that you are fully within your rights to use cannabis as it is a medicine which legitimately alleviates human suffering, whether physical or psychological. And so the search warrant is not valid, because it was granted on the grounds that a crime had been committed, and none has.
This is perfectly reasonable – after all, you have harmed no-one. But what will happen at that stage is violence. The Police will escalate to violence at this point, probably by forcing their way into your home.
Let’s say that they are unsuccessful at doing so, either because you manage to lock the door in time or because you brandish a weapon in an effort to show them that you are willing to respond to their violence with violence of your own in order to defend yourself and your home.
In that case, you can probably assume that the Police officers will withdraw – and come back with the Armed Offenders Squad. They will call the AOS on the grounds that you threatened a Police officer with a weapon – the fact that you were only doing so to defend yourself against an immoral attack will not help you at all.
Jan Molenaar ended up shot dead at his own hand, probably in full awareness that escape was impossible.
Note here that this pattern of escalation of violence all the way to your death will happen if you don’t submit to the Police for any reason, no matter what it is.
It doesn’t matter what the crime is. It could be a hundred counts of serial murder, or it could be a parking fine. The inescapable rule is that you must submit to any state-allocated legal punishment for any offence you have been deemed to have committed, no matter how vindictive and cruel the punishment or how petty and victimless the offence, or the Police will kill you in the enforcement of it.
This is why there is cause to think very deeply before deciding that something should be illegal. Constable Len Snee would not have been shot dead if cannabis had not been legally prohibited, as Jan Molenaar would have been left in peace to treat his mental condition in the way that he knew best.
Anyone who supports a law also supports the consequences of enforcing that law. Those consequences might involve the Police shooting up a house with no-one in it, as happened in Napier last year.
In the case of cannabis prohibition, this means also supporting the expense of $400,000,000 per year and the occasional death of a Police officer – is it worth it?