In the case of Eric Garner's death, police were enforcing a law that has nothing to do with violence—not in the short or long term. It exists to shield people from their own lawful habit. High cigarette taxes were cooked up, for the most part, to artificially inflate the price of a product politicians and voters dislike so that others would not be able to afford it. New York has by far the highest cigarette taxes—over 5 bucks a pack. Unsurprisingly, the policy has spurred a black market.
The Garner case should remind us that government is force and that more government has predictable returns, argues David Harsanyi. If you believe cops are racists or generally out of control, why give them more opportunity?