It’s not just cigarette tax laws that can lead to the deaths of those the police seek to arrest: it’s every law. “Libertarians argue that we have far too many laws, and the Garner case offers evidence that they’re right,” wrote Carter.
It isn’t just libertarians who warn about overcriminalization. The conservative Heritage Foundation published a report last year by former U.S. attorney general Michael Mukasey and Paul Larkin Jr. warning that “the sheer number of federal laws that impose criminal penalties has grown to an unmanageable point.”
If we want to reduce violent confrontations between citizens and police, we should reduce the involuntary interactions that cause them. Any offense that does not directly harm the life, physical health, or property of others should not be regarded as such. The civil code should instead be used to address those grievances.
The rule for this should be simple: If there’s no victim, there’s no crime. This should be the foundation of criminal law. And, yeah, getting your feelings hurt by someone does not make you a victim of anything other than your personal issues.