Use of force

Somebody said the cops in New York choked a man to death for selling untaxed cigarettes. That’s dishonest. The man wasn’t choked to death for selling cigarettes, he was killed while resisting arrest.

Law enforcement by its nature is coercive. The cops tell you to stop. If you don’t stop, they tell you you’re under arrest. If you resist, they take you by force. Maybe they use a taser and then handcuff you and take you in, or maybe they use a taser and your heart stops. Maybe they tackle you and you hit your head on the pavement and you die. If you resist to the point of endangering the cops or bystanders, maybe they shoot you.

The cops did not set out deliberately to kill Eric Garner, but the force they used to arrest him did kill him. Anytime the law is enforced, even over a parking ticket, there’s a risk of somebody getting killed. Think of it as the “force” part of “enforcement.” You might say if selling untaxed cigarettes isn’t worth killing for, then it shouldn’t be illegal. Okay, but taxes must be paid.

If you sell drugs or steal a little money, you may be arrested. If you resist, they’ll take you by force. If you resist enough, they’ll kill you. That’s how government works, and that’s a good reason to keep the government as small as possible. It’s ironic that people complaining about law enforcement work hard to make us subject to ever more laws.

Government is not simply another name for the things we do together. Government is the institution that can legitimately kill you for defying it.

Squanto was Catholic

According to Scituate Chronicles, by Ted Clarke, Squanto was a Christian, and probably a Catholic. He seems to have been a decent enough regular guy, but not notably pious.

More than once he was captured and sold as a slave. He crossed the Atlantic multiple times, and lived in England for years. Having gone back to America and been captured and sold into slavery again, around 1614 he was rescued in Gibraltar by Spanish monks who taught him about Christianity and baptized him.

Squanto did give the Pilgrims critical help with farming, and it’s not a exaggeration to say the colony likely would have failed without that help. He also seems to have used his position and knowledge to prey on the ignorance of the local native Americans, and tried to manipulate the Pilgrims into attacking a particular tribe. So, pretty much a man of his time, or our own.

Clearing the bookmarks

Here are several that I haven’t managed to read yet:

“Sunday Hijacker”

Squeegee Man is making a comeback, both in his traditional form – as documented by the New York Post – and in a new, mutant form: Sunday Hijacker. Sunday Hijacker is cleverer and more cynical than his predecessor, and his modus operandi is to make a scene inside a church during worship until somebody pays him to go away. Screaming, knocking over furnishings, and threatening violence are his shtick.”

It’s surprising that this is new. Then again, “make trouble until they pay me to go away” is a well established business model. Maybe bums doing it in church is new, but lawyers have been doing it in the court house for years.

Faith without works

or talk without action

Wilberforce and other Christian leaders of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries used moral argument and persuasion to get the British government to suppress slavery. The British government stopped slavery by force, using their navy to seize slave ships.

It’s unfortunate that Christian clergy in the west today would use their powers of moral suasion not to get the government to do something about Boko Haram raiding villages and taking slaves, but to prevent the government doing anything about it, at least anything that might work.

Because there’s just about only one thing that will work: hanging the slave takers, the slave sellers, and the slave buyers, and hanging them with a for-real rope when and where they’re caught, and taking all their money, and the money of anyone who does business with them. Now some well-meaning people would say that’s unreasonable, and they do have a point. The exigencies of the situation may require some slavers to be shot instead of hanged.

Christians should start with prayer, but not stop there. We should work for what we pray for. And yes, we should pray for the members of the Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad. We should pray they’re held to account for their evil sooner instead of later, and that they repent and turn to Jesus Christ.