Death of Eric Garner, The Use of Force & How It Ties Into Your Gun Rights

Opinion

Eric Garner Dies After NYPD Cop Puts Him In Chokehold
Eric Garner Dies After NYPD Cop Puts Him In Chokehold, IMG Huffington Post

Fayetteville, AR – -(AmmoLand.com)- Five years after Eric Garner was killed in an encounter with NYPD officers, Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who administered the chokehold that contributed to Garner’s death, has been fired. The incident began when the police approached Garner for selling untaxed cigarettes and escalated rapidly to an attempt to handcuff Garner, with Pantaleo's arm wrapping around Garner’s throat. Pantaleo’s experience had been mostly as a plainclothes officer dealing with violent crime, and he reacted as if Garner was a threat to public safety, rather than someone who was getting around New York City’s regulations to make a meager living.

I frequently encounter people on social media who believe that if you cooperate with the police, you’ll get through interactions with them. Of course, I’m also told that it’s best not to break the law. This latter statement is true, though the same people telling me this will often say in a few minutes that taxation is theft and that revolution would be an appropriate response to Medicare for All. And we who support gun rights do often point out that the Second Amendment acts as a backstop against tyrannical government, a guarantee that if all else fails, American gun owners constitute an overwhelming potential fighting force for the resistance.

Suspiciously, when the person who is the object of police use of force is black, a lot of us in the community are silent, as if the abuses perpetrated by law enforcement don’t matter. The lack of outrage over the shooting of Philando Castile, for example, did a lot of damage to the cause of gun rights. Here was someone who was legally armed and who was wrongly identified as a criminal.

In other words, he was one of us. He was someone we could find ourselves being. And the same is true about Eric Garner for anyone who believes that private interactions between free persons should not be something that the government can meddle in. If you’ve ever objected to licensing requirements for carrying a gun or starting a small business, to speed traps and sobriety checkpoints, or to the ability of officers to stop and frisk people who aren’t obviously committing a crime, you have planted your feet solidly on the road down which Eric Garner walked.

And this is the point for those of us who are concerned about preserving gun rights. Can a hundred million gun owners fight back effectively against a government run amok? Yes, it’s possible. This is especially true when the armed population gets aid from countries that want to score an easy blow against a rival, as our experience against England, the Vietnamese experience against France and the United States, the Afghan experience against the Soviet Union and us, and on and on illustrate this. But as the popular rules of a gun fight remind us, the less time you spend in a fight, the fewer holes you’ll find in yourself, and drawing that observation to its conclusion, if we don’t have to fight tyrannical powers, that’s for the best. If we allow law enforcement to get away with or at most getting fired after taking a life when no violence was justified, how long will it be until we are the ones facing such violence?

And as I often insist, we need to win over new people to the cause. If we’re not seen regularly standing up for people whose rights are being violated by the police, we shouldn’t be surprised when the same people don’t show any enthusiasm for protecting our rights.

Valuing one right means defending all rights. The mechanisms for chipping away at and tearing one down work as well for every other right, and this is true no matter how similar to or different from ourselves the person is who is currently being violated.


About Greg CampGreg Camp

Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.

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Mikey
Mikey
1 year ago

Phillandro was a piece of shit pothead and was higher than a kite when he got himself killed. It does not matter if he had a ccw he had a shitton of weed in his system at autopsy so under federal law he was not supposed to have the firearm. Also he was to high to understand what the officer was saying. This writer is no friend of the 2nd with this nonsense of sticking up for criminals. As to garner he already had a pending case for the same thing, police just wanted him to leave and have his… Read more »

TheRevelator
TheRevelator
1 year ago

The major issue with this article, and one I wish Greg Camp would have touched on in his writing. Eric Garner was not choked to death. He was very much alive when he received transportation to a hospital, where he died as a result of complications from a heart attack.

The fact that this information was left out of the article is a little disturbing. Mr Camp, if you see this I would like to know your response to it.

Mikey
Mikey
1 year ago
Reply to  TheRevelator

Also since Phillandro had a ton of weed in his system he was not a legal gun owner

TheRevelator
TheRevelator
1 year ago
Reply to  Mikey

@Mikey That is a non sequitur here, and also why I didn’t address it. The lack of outrage in that case largely had to do with how Castile responded during the stop. Long story short, you had a young cop, a guy who was not in full command of his faculties reaching for his hip while telling the officer he had a gun, and a media all too happy to jump on a bandwagon and perpetrate a lie. Was it a tragedy, yes. Was it an act of blatant racism, no. However the age old adage must apply here, one… Read more »

option31
option31
1 year ago

Should the cop be punished yes. This idea I was following orders / enforcing the law as cover for deadly or illegal acts by government agents was found to be unacceptable at the Nuremberg trials for the Nazi’s. It was found that a law has to be moral otherwise it should not be enforced. The people that should ultimately pay are those that voted and passed it and required its enforcement. This law is still on the books so this can happen again. garner was selling loosies – which avoided NYC cigarette tax – basically he was invading their turf… Read more »

Beeroy
Beeroy
1 year ago

Eric Garner was not killed for selling untaxed cigarettes.
He was killed for resisting government authority. That is the fate that awaits us all so long as we see government as a means to force our will on others we disagree with.
Taxation is Theft.
GOVERNMENT is FORCE.
EVERY Rule and Regulation implies Violence for Noncompliance.
The Social Contract is a myth because there is a gun to your head when you sign it.

RoyD
RoyD
1 year ago
Reply to  Beeroy

So, reading between the lines because you choose to not say it in the open, you are an anarchist. Now you are outed. There that wasn’t so bad, now was it?

Ej harbet
Ej harbet
1 year ago
Reply to  RoyD

Wow that escalated quickly!
A anarchist doesnt want any government! I think beeroy wants a government that serves and protects the rights of decent people instead of robbing from and killing them.
If thats the case i agree with him

Mikey
Mikey
1 year ago
Reply to  Beeroy

He wasnt killed. He had a heart attack due mainly to poor life choices.

Beeroy
Beeroy
1 year ago

The erosions of our rights started under the War on Drugs with the weakening of the 4th Amendment, but since they “Only affected drug dealers” nobody much cared. That’s how they do it. Go after the low hanging fruit. First they decide in the courts that evidence is admissible because the police were acting in good faith that a search warrant WOULD have been available. Then they decide that it’s okay to confiscate your assets without charging you with a crime because it’s only a CIVIL asset forfeiture because we don’t want all these rich drug dealers hiring fancy lawyers… Read more »

tomcat
tomcat
1 year ago

I do not agree with this writer. This very large individual was breaking the law and doing it in plain site. I think the police were justified in taking him down and I have heard reports that his size added to his demise rather than 100% the cop’s fault. New York is anti cop and pro criminal because that is who will vote for the pssants. Arrests have decreased by a large margin from before this happened. The police have no backing and they are not going out on a limb for any dirt bag in NY. If this officer… Read more »

JohnBored
JohnBored
1 year ago

Selling untaxed cigarettes. It was Bloomberg who pushed the enforcement of laws against selling untaxed cigarettes. I surprised the cops didn’t beat up somebody with a large gulp soda. It is a stupid unenforceable law (just like a lot of gun laws) that contributed to the death of one person and the loss of a career and ruining of the life of another. That’s libitard laws for you. They push for some stupid law, push for zero tolerance enforcement, then hang the enforcer out to dry when they do their job. The New York cops should put Deblasio and Fredo… Read more »

Mikey
Mikey
1 year ago
Reply to  JohnBored

Cigarettes were taxed when he bought them. The problem is it is against federal and state law to sell cigs outside the pack or without a license. His main original crime was he was loitering in front of other businesses and selling the same products. This is not right. A business owner getting all the licenses insurance etc has the right to not have criminals undercutting him or having criminals loitering and harassing their customers. Fyi..at first the police didnt even want to cite him they just wanted him to stop loitering in front of the store who called them.… Read more »

Will
Will
1 year ago

The young black man knew what he was doing is illegal ! Lots of contact with law enforcement over the years.

Bill
Bill
1 year ago

JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership came for says: “All of the Bill of Rights for All of the People”. A German Minister said: “When they for the Gypsies; I didn’t protest because I wasn’t a Gypsy; when they came for the Jews; I didn’t protest because I’m not a Jew; et al. When they came for me; there was no one left to protest”.

cav2108
cav2108
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill

“When they come for the criminals; I don’t protest because I am not a criminal. Let’s not confabulate this guy to be a gentle anything except maybe a gentle criminal resisting a valid arrest for criminal activity. He wasn’t being arrested because he was a gypsy.

Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Strangelove
1 year ago

Eric Garner was a drug abuser and petty criminal who was well-known to police. He had been repeatedly warned not to sell cigarettes in front of businesses, the owners of which frequently complained to police about it. People act like he was some king of martyr, when nothing could be further from the truth.

UncAl
UncAl
1 year ago

Get a copy of Sheriff David Clarke’s book “Cop Under Fire”, and read the real take on this matter; might surprise most of you!

24and7
24and7
1 year ago

If the federal government would stop encouraging certain races of people to believe they were above the law, then maybe Eric Garner wouldn’t have been unintentionally killed.. Maybe he would have respectfully cooperated with the police, if the federal government wouldn’t take sides and give “protected class privilege”..

Chris Mallory
Chris Mallory
1 year ago
Reply to  24and7

“respectfully cooperated with the police,”

That is the advice we give to hostages, not free citizens. Garner was not harming anyone. He should have had no contact with the police at all.

Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Strangelove
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Mallory

: Yes, he was harming the businesses. How would you like some giant street thug selling loosies in front of your store?

RoyD
RoyD
1 year ago

I see that Greg didn’t bother to state why the Police were interacting with Garner. Oh yes, he mentions the “untaxed cigarettes” and him just “trying to make a meager living.” That is not why the Police were there. They were there because several of the legitimate businesses along that street had called the authorities about Garner undercutting their business by illegally selling “singles.” If Garner had not been, in effect stealing from those businesses, he would not have been arrested that day for that crime. Also, given his size, he was playing Russian roulette with his life under normal… Read more »

Chris Mallory
Chris Mallory
1 year ago
Reply to  RoyD

He wasn’t stealing anything from those businesses. He was meeting a demand of the market. People buying single cigarettes are unlikely to shell out the $15 a pack New York thinks people should be paying.

Montana59
Montana59
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Mallory

Well it’s like this, like it or not he was breaking the law.Just because he was black he has no right not to obey police command. He is no better than anybody else. As far as New York dumbasses keep voting the communist back in office to make these dumb laws.The high tax on tobacco only hurt the dumbasses who vote these morons in.They are not smart enough to vote them out so there you have

Will
Will
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Mallory

In NY,people buying single cigarettes would come out way ahead paying 15$ pack !

Mikey
Mikey
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Mallory

Can we loiter in front of your business harassing your customers?
Oh wait you dont have a business otherwise you would understand why the police were there

HoundDogDave
HoundDogDave
1 year ago
Reply to  RoyD

“Untaxed cigarettes”? Anyone selling bootleg out of state cigarettes is NOT going to be selling them 1 at a time. Someone selling “singles” has most likely bought those smoke locally (probably the store he was in front of) and paid ALL the Federal, State and Local, cigarette and sales taxes on each and every cigarette in the pack. The store (and the Government) has already gotten their share of the profits from the pack of smoke. He was in no way STEALING from anybody other than maybe his customers, who were willingly paying the premium for not having the funds… Read more »

RoyD
RoyD
1 year ago
Reply to  HoundDogDave

I see that you don’t understand how taxes work as applied to “retail” sales.

HoundDogDave
HoundDogDave
1 year ago
Reply to  RoyD

Really, explain to me if the taxes (federal, state, and local tobacco taxes and the state and local sales taxes) were paid at the time of purchase at the retail store, What more taxes are owed if he sells his personal property to a willing individual?

RoyD
RoyD
1 year ago
Reply to  HoundDogDave

Perhaps you should read what you wrote again. Garner was de facto in business and he was doing the very same thing that the store owners were doing, selling their personal property for profit. Only he wasn’t burdened by collecting the taxes due when engaged in said activity as the “other” businesses were doing because they wanted to operate within the constraints of the law and he didn’t. Being an outlaw has it’s costs.

HoundDogDave
HoundDogDave
1 year ago
Reply to  RoyD

AND, again, WHAT TAXES ARE STILL OWED? Why is this any different than you selling your old DVDs or your collectible baseball cards and comic books at your yard sale?

HoundDogDave
HoundDogDave
1 year ago
Reply to  HoundDogDave

Now be honest, what harm is being done to society in general, any government body or the retail market as a whole by an individual selling loose cigarettes that he/she bought and paid for, including all taxes due the government, to another person that is unable or unwilling to buy 20 cigarettes at a time? If that person did not sell those loose smokes that other individual, that second person would either suffer through their nicotine fit without a smoke and the profits and tax revenue from that un-smoked cigarette would be realized by no one, or they would continue… Read more »

RoyD
RoyD
1 year ago
Reply to  HoundDogDave

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what happens when you realize that you have gone off the track and refuse to acknowledge it. It is both amusing and a shame at the same time.

HoundDogDave
HoundDogDave
1 year ago
Reply to  RoyD

RoyD, I’m off track? Really? I would seriously like to hear your explanation for that comment. What part of my post do you feel lacks any logical reasoning? What terrible harm is done to society by some poor fool selling his cigarettes to some other poor fool? Please enlighten me so I can be saved from my ignorance. Or are just a butt hurt troll because I disagree with you?

HoundDogDave
HoundDogDave
1 year ago
Reply to  HoundDogDave

RoyD, or should I call you RawD? Because you sound like you’re sore from playing with yourself. I understand if you are just to busy stroking you own ego to participate in the intellectual intercourse of opinions, but if you can’t engage with a relevant statement defining you stance either in support or to refute one of those opinions, you’re just a voir, self flagellating, making animal grunts from inside the closet. You are just a distraction to the participants of our verbal orgy of opinions. Please try and keep the noise down.

Beeroy
Beeroy
1 year ago
Reply to  RoyD

LMAO! Why not just say he was killing children by selling cigarettes?

StreetSweeper
StreetSweeper
1 year ago

Search for “Daniel Shaver” and watch a police murder. I believe “National Review” is the topmost site with the full video. Philip Brailsford, the LEO trigger man, was also fired. Not all, but some police, are out of control.

Chris Mallory
Chris Mallory
1 year ago
Reply to  StreetSweeper

The cop was fired, but in recent days he has been re-instated so he can get his disability pension. He got PTSD from shooting Shaver.

H
H
1 year ago

I’m impressed by how far you get in life, here being allowed to post screeds on Ammoland.com, by calling people racists who you claim are on your side. There was a lot of outrage in the pro-RKBA community over both the Eric Garner and Philando Castile cases, but evidently there can never be enough for those of us born with Original Sin. So in the service of signaling your own virtue, you divide the community.

Will
Will
1 year ago
Reply to  H

A lot of outrage over Garner and Castile in 2A community ? When ?Where ? I guess we just take your word as fact right ?

tomcat
tomcat
1 year ago
Reply to  Will

@ Will I read “H”‘s comments twice and have to agree with you and we have both been on this site a long time.

CWT
CWT
1 year ago
Reply to  Will

Why should there have been any need for outrage from the 2A community? Garner had nothing to do with the 2nd. Castile was a bad call by the police officer and, had he survived, would have gotten charged with felony possession of a firearm and impaired driving because of the drugs.

Will
Will
1 year ago
Reply to  CWT

Thats why H comment made no sense ! Nothing to do with 2A at all !