liberalization of pot, stop and frisk, and anti-terrorism laws aiding harassment

Pot – more evidence of liberalization of use of marijuana, including for recreational use. This is a good thing. It’s absurd that this particular drug has been the subject of so much controversy and life-ruining incarceration for so many people, mostly darker skinned and/or lower socioeconomic.

Stop and frisk in NYC – outrage from Trayvon Martin’s mother. –

“There are now more stop and frisks of young black men in New York City than there are young black men in New York City,” Jealous said.

Kelly stressed that no one is stopped without a reason.

“Nobody wants to be stopped,” Kelly said. “We have engaged in a major training evolution for several years, focusing on these issues, to do these stops with courtesy, do them with respect.”

It’s unknown to me how “stop and frisk” has affected crime. Crime is down nationwide, so it’s possible that any abatement in crime in New York City is a reflection of a broader pattern. Having said that, the slippery slope here is massive. Even if stopping and frisking blacks and other racial groups that the police are suspicious of does indeed reduce crime, it comes at the high cost of dignity of people in those groups. We cannot live in a police state, even if the long arm of that police state only impacts certain “disfavored” racial groups. To effectively criminalize entire races is a horrifically dangerous precedent.

This is a dangerous tactic that is at odds with a longer-term strategic view of how crime can be curtailed (via community engagement rather than estrangement) and how potential terrorism can be thwarted (through solid traditional police work rather than through arbitrary, race-based suspicion and humiliation).

Partner of reporter associated w/ Snowden harassed/detained, had electronic personal effects confiscated. This was in the UK and justified by that country’s anti-terrorism law. I’m not really sure what the point of this move was, except perhaps to make people fearful or angry of government thug tactics on law-abiding people. The documents have already been leaked at this point, and if people start being “disappeared” or publicly incarcerated, then the risk of unredacted or unfiltered disclosures increase rather than decrease, something that will ultimately be counterproductive.

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