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.