The Old Media in the form of the AP planted a doozie of misinformation regarding Bernie Goetz’s recent arrest for attempting to sell marijuana to a police officer. The article described Goetz as a “vigilante” and racist, the thugs he shot as “panhandlers,” and his gun as “illegal.” All of the characterizations are completely wrong and deceptive.
Frist, Goetz was not a vigilante, he was only defending himself. In 1984, Goetz was confronted by four youths demanding money. The thug uses a language of tone and body so that while his words may be asking for money, the real message is a threat. Goetz correctly understood the message and shot the youths rather than be robbed (a common crime on NY Subways at the time). The criminals had numerous run-ins with the law before and since the incident; they were not panhandlers, but rather Goetz was exercising his unalienable right to defend himself based on the natural right to live. A vigilante is one who proactively seeks his version of justice, but Goetz did not ask to be confronted.
The young men Goetz shot were black, so the AP implied Goetz must be racist. Goetz did not choose the race of the thugs who approached him. Goetz is not responsible for the fact that even today, blacks are strongly disproportionately responsible for violent crime in NYC. Goetz was not racist in summing up his confronters, and facts he could not know at the time proved his assessment right – they were thugs and criminals. These insights no doubt influenced Goetz’s jury to acquit him of all charges except for possession of an unlicensed gun – he spent the better part of a year in jail.
The AP may be nominally correct that Goetz’s gun was not legal, but he was breaking no valid law. Natural law and the US Constitution protect Goetz’s right to carry a weapon, so the NY law itself was illegal. Further, consider the ugly reality of the Subway at the time. In NYC, driving a car about town is a joke and taxi regulators ensure that at many times hailing a cab is a long shot at best, so the Subway is the only real option for most New Yorkers. The AP itself concedes that then there were 40 serious crimes per day in the Subway system. Goetz was essentially forced to enter a thug’s paradise several times per day. If the government wants to create gun-free zones, they should at least provide security, but the Subways offered danger in addition to filth and stifling heat. People like Goetz had to choose between breaking illegal gun laws and becoming victims.
After a few other controversies, Goetz has resurfaced for being busted selling a trivial amount of MJ to an undercover cop. The worm has turned here. Even though the right to self-defense is immeasurably more important than the right to consume intoxicants at will, NY does not understand. In NY, guns are even more illegal than in the 1980’s, but MJ is de facto legal. Anyone walking through parts of Central Park or down hipper cross-town sidewalks gets a regular whiff of the naughty weed. It is understood that MJ possession and consumption is to be accepted, although the NYPD continue to bust MJ holders as if they were child abusers. Public opinion has shifted away from Rockefeller drug prosecution and toward MJ legalization. Goetz is now a potential symbol of the stupidity of police dedicating undercover cops to busing $30 MJ sales, just as he was once a symbol of self-defense rights. The pro-MJ Left will not take his cause because they do not understand both issues are based on natural rights. Even when the Left is right, it is usually so for invalid reasons.
The recent Goetz radar-blip is further evidence that the OM and the Left in general are divorced from the principles upon which everyone should live – the first principles of the US’s founding documents. Goetz is an unlucky pawn in an ugly game of government control. Self-defense and selling an intoxicant to a willing adult are not crimes, and both the Left and Right should leave Goetz alone.