Don’t Be Surprised About the Tatane Ruling

Tatane being beaten to death by police.

The seven policemen who beat Andries Tatane to death with batons and shot him with rubber bullets at point blank range in the chest that led to his death have been acquitted by the Ficksburg regional court. The twittersphere is outraged at the quite predictable news.

If you understand how the state operates, you’ll know that one of the first rules of democracy is that the state is never guilty of murder. I wrote about this on a few occasions following the Marikana massacre. As Hans Hermann Hoppe explains there are laws that apply to the state and there are laws that apply to private citizens. The agents of the state have rights and privileges that the rest of us don’t have. One is to murder people and not face consequences.

On January 24 when Jacob Zuma blamed the deaths of Marikana on Lonmin and not the police who shot them, I tweeted:

When the state takes money forcefully from people, it is called taxation. When private citizens do it, it is called theft. The state drafts people into an army by force, but if done by private people it is called enslavement or kidnapping.

If you expect the state to take responsibility for the actions of its agents when they murder people who challenge the state, and to treat them as criminals as they would private citizens, you’re living in a dreamworld.