The first paternalistic law in Pennsylvania is the motorcycle helmet safety law. Although this law was repealed in 2003 to exclude some groups of people from wearing helmets, the law makes it mandatory for people below twenty-one years and those with less than two years of road experience to wear helmets as they ride motorcycles. This law ensures that in case of accidents motorcycle riders are protected from head injuries. Accordingly, even if critics argue that helmets cause neck injuries, there is no tangible evidence to support this claim, and even if there would be evidence to support it, it is still reasonable for motorcyclists to wear helmet for safety purposes (Jones and Bayer 210). As a result, anything raised against this law may not be of any importance because the law is aimed at protecting the lives of motorcyclists.
The second paternalistic law in the state is the suicide law. The law prohibits individuals from aiding their colleagues or other people as they commit suicide. It also prohibits medical doctors from aiding patients to commit suicide during hospitalization period or during any other time. For the medical practitioners, anybody that procures the necessary supplies or confirms a plan to commit suicide is guilty of a second degree murder, and should be charged in a court of law. The aim of this law is to protect life and discourage people from helping others to commit suicide (Mackellar 63). Therefore, although the person that takes away his/her life may not be charged in a court of law, other people that in one way or the other play roles in the suicide exercise are liable of their actions. In line with this law, the government in 2014 signed act 71 into law. This act requires school entities to include youth suicide awareness and avoidance programmes as well as ongoing professional development programmes in their curriculums. The focus of this practice is to deter youths from committing suicide and other related crimes.
The third paternalistic law in Pennsylvania is the anti-gambling law. This law prohibits the members of the public from engaging in certain gambling practices such as poker and roulette. In this regard, anybody found playing these types of games can be charged in courts of law with first degree misdemeanor. In so doing, the law protects the members of the public from bad practices that may result to economic losses (Jones and Bayer 209). This is in relation to the fact that gambling does not create money in any way. Instead, it only transfers money from one individual to the other. In that process, people waste time and money doing nothing constructive because one of them must lose money for the other to gain financially. As a way of ensuring that Pennsylvanian people do not lose money through such practices, the state government has developed anti-gambling laws to safeguard the interests of its people. Largely, the law has protected people that would otherwise lose money through gambling practices by deterring them from engaging in such practices.
The police officers are mandated with serving and protecting the members of the public. Nonetheless, in the process of doing so, they sometimes overstep their mandates. In particular, they use excessive force that is beyond what the law allows them to use. As a result, in the recent past there have been allegations that police officers routinely use excessive force especially when they suspect that no one is looking at them. On the other hand, there have been allegations that the members of the public allege excessive force when no one is present at the scene so that they can extort money from the local governments.
With regard to the above issues, I agree with the allegation that police officers routinely use excessive force especially when they think no one is looking at them. Although the law does not condone such a practice, the media has in the recent past highlighted such incidences to the extent that majority of us can no longer trust police officers unless they change. In USA, black Americans are the major victims of police brutality even if the whites are also victims (Chaney and Robertson 483). Without focusing attention on either group of the people, the law allows police officers to use force in certain cases. For example, it allows police officers to use force when suspects decline to be arrested. Furthermore, it allows them to use force when they suspect a person is committing a felony, during riots or in other life-threatening incidences. In other instances, the law allows police officers to use force to prevent prisoners from escaping from jails. In spite of this fact, the law is clear that unwarranted force should be used as the last option and to some extent. This means that inasmuch as it is lawful for the police officers to use force, such force should be used rarely. In fact, it should be used when other measures of fighting crimes have failed. Seeing that some police officers routinely use excessive force when no one is looking at them, then it means that they do not understand their jobs. In addition, if they understand their jobs, then they are ignorant. For this reason, something needs to be done in the police force to fight this vice.
On the other hand, the victims of excessive police officers are never truthful especially when presenting their cases to local governments. Most of these victims tell lies in the hope that they will be compensated for violation of their rights (Rushin 3200). Whether there is any form of compensation or not, the members of the public should not fight police brutality by telling lies. Instead, they should be patriotic to their states and nation by learning to tell truth all the times. This means that they should not replicate what police officers do when no one is watching them. In its place, the members of the public should tell the truth so that it can be easy for the courts of law to determine the extent at which police officers violate the law as they execute their duties. In this regard, it is my hope that the members of the public will take the fight against police brutality a notch higher by telling the truth before the courts of law and desisting to replicate what police officers do. Furthermore, it is my hope that police officers will learn to use force as the constitution stipulates, and if they do not learn their lesson, the law will take its course. Nevertheless, measures need to be put in place to help police officers to apply force when necessary and in accordance with the law. In addition, the members of the public should be reprimanded if they tell lies in courts of law in the hope of extorting money out of local governments.
Chaney, Cassandra, and Robertson Ray. Racism and police brutality in America. J Afr Am st, 17: 480-505, 2013. Print.
Jones, Marian, and Bayer Ronald. Paternalism and its discontents: motorcycle helmet laws, libertarian values, and public health. American journal of public health, 97.2: 208-217, 2007. Print.
Mackellar, Calum. Laws and practices relating to euthanasia and assisted suicide in 34 countries of the council of Europe and the USA. European journal of health law, 10: 63-64, 2003. Print.
Rushin, Stephen. Federal enforcement of police reform. Fordham law review, 82, 3189-3247, 2014. Print.