It is always with mixed feelings that we greet a story such as that of Amal Asmar, who was harangued by two police officers and essentially fined for no good reason other than sitting on a bench.
On one hand, such a story proves C.A.G.E.’s message again, as if we needed more proof, that the State is too large and too powerful for the good of individual citizens, and that its many and fast expanding laws are more often used to curb individual liberties than they are to promote the good of society.
On the other hand, our hearts and our sympathies go out to Amal, who was just minding her own business as she tried to get home on a cold February night when the police, those armed agents of the State, decided for some unknown reason that they needed to assert their authority over a private individual.
This story reminds us of another that is still fresh in the mind of concerned Canadians that of Robert Dziekanski, tazered to death by a handful of RCMP officers who all lied through their teeth about the incident afterward.
Fortunately, the case of Amal does not end so tragically. Although roughed up both physically and emotionally, and fined $1040 for inappropriate use of a bench (she was sitting on it) and making a loud noise other than yelling (she was screaming in pain and fear as both officers held her against their police car and twisted her arms), at least she is still alive to talk with us and to wonder why her evening was so rudely and unjustifiably interrupted by two armed police officers. And we wonder “by what right” was it so interrupted?
As he recently explained in a radio interview, Daniel Romano, president of C.A.G.E., believes that the excess of power in the State has led its agents to feel as though they may act with a certain degree of impunity. At the legislative level, they feel that they can create whatever laws they wish without sound, logical or scientific justification, and regardless of repercussions and inconveniences, financial and otherwise. At the enforcement level, police agents parade with an increasing arrogance and attitude of entitlement, sometimes with dire consequences for the individuals who cross them the wrong way.
We at C.A.G.E. believe that these stories all add evidence that our society is burdened with far too many laws, and our government and the State are endowed with far too much power and far too little oversight. We would remind those who are elected, appointed, or otherwise employed within our government and State that their very purpose and raison d’être consist of ‘serving’ the individual, and any behaviour inconsistent with this premise is inconsistent with the pillars of a free and democratic society.
''All I want to know is why?”
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