China is waging a war on dogs taller than 13.7 inches. The basis is a long-dormant law prohibiting Beijing residents from owning dogs “too big” for — well, for the law prohibiting dogs that big.
In addition to losing their furry friends, flouters are subject to fines but not jail time. In other respects, though, the war resembles many silly but dangerous wars on wrongly banned things.
- The rationale is contradictory on its own terms. Critics note that small breeds which are not banned (Jack Russell Terriers) can be more aggressive than large breeds which are banned (English Sheep Dogs).
- Owning the illegal thing is illegal even if no one’s rights are violated thereby, and regardless of the owner’s actual rights.
- Enforcers of the bad law have quotas to fulfill.
- Enforcers receive tips from persons eager to cause trouble, even when they have no real complaint to make.
- Enforcers conduct scary raids, sometimes mid-night raids, to hunt for the non-dangerous banned thing.
Such features also characterize America’s War on Drugs, hardly limited to cracking down on crack houses full of shady characters. On the basis of real or imaginary information, police violently invade homes to search for drugs. People (and their dogs) are killed during such assaults.
What Radley Balko calls The Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces (officially published in July) has made America’s War on Drugs, a war on people, and dogs, all the more deadly.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.