Rule of Law or Rule of Man?

Recently it came to light that Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was discharged from the Navy Reserves for testing positive for cocaine use. This news story reminded me how lopsided the rule of law is in the ostensible Constitutional republic that is the United States.

A major component of a free society is that the law applies to everyone equally, regardless of class. That the law is applied equitably and to everyone be they rich or poor, man or woman, gay or straight. But too often we see that those with political connections are held to a different standard of law. This case with Biden’s son is just one example. The episode reminded me of Penn Jillette’s famous rant regarding the war on drugs and how it’s applied differently to politicians than to the rest of the country (above link contains profanity).

One need only periodically read the news to find that police officers around the country routinely get away with theft, destruction of property, and even murder on a regular basis. And by “get away with,” I mean that the protocol is usually that the officer in question first gets a paid vacation and then the police department conducts an investigation of itself only to find that no wrongdoing occurred.

A recent example that should not be forgotten is the brutal murder of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill man loved by his community who was tazed and beaten to death by police. Thomas’ last words were of him calling out for his father to save him from his murderers. The police officers involved were fired, thankfully, but were acquitted on all charges earlier this year.

In the United States, murder and theft are wrong. That is, until you put on your magic suit with a badge that gives you special rights. Police around the country engage in legal yet morally questionable tactic known as civil asset forfeiture which gives police the ability to confiscate cash and other property (like cars) without even having to press charges. The idea is that people have rights but their property does not. To say this is in clear violation of the Fifth Amendment and the deprivation of property without due process would be an understatement. Comedian John Oliver had a segment just recently dedicated to the topic.

If we behaved like our government, we would be put in jail.

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