I’m sure I’ve said the same thing over the years, but Lawrence Lessig recently said it in the context of the BlackLivesMatter movement.

LARRY LESSIG: What I think the meaning of Black Lives Matter is… people are focusing on the Black part, I think we should focus on the Lives part.

When you have a system of fundamental inequality, what that does is disempower people, and in America to be disempowered as a black person is not just that you aren’t getting roads built, or that ambulances take longer, it is that your life is not respected, so you are actually risking your life to be a black person driving in certain areas, because we have instituionalized this idea that inequality of so deeply in America.

Ferguson is an amazing example of how they have structured their tax system to basically tax through fines. Taxation through citation. Police officers aren’t police officers, they are tax collectors.

You park your car, get a traffic violation, you don’t pay that fine on time, you get a fine on top of that, you don’t pay that on time, you get an arrest warrant, you’re facing $500, and these are not people who have $500.

Regardless of the race issue, police are increasingly robot-like apparatchiks, divorced from the people they are in theory supposed to “serve.” Right across the street from me, some young people I know were having a party, and when one of them inadvertently stepped onto the sidewalk while holding a can of beer, a police car zoomed in and gave the guy a ticket for “drinking in public.” In front of his own house! I understand that there are laws, but it just seemed so unreasonably like a game of “GOTCHA!” (motivated by substantial fines, of course) that I thought that as the older man who lives across the street I might try to attempt to interject some common sense. So, I explained to the senior officer that I lived across the street and that these kids were not being rowdy or making excessive noise. Guess what? He would not answer me, or even look at me! He heard me, and scowled menacingly in my general direction to let me know it — a total robot. So why the fuck is this rude jerk entitled to my tax money? And of course, had the young guy been black, he’d have been far more likely to be wanted for some unpaid parking ticket and hauled off to jail. That’s the way the system works.

I agree with Lessig that lives matter, and I would even go so far as to say that even dog lives matter.