February  2018
A common enough story in New Zealand:
Someone you know gets pinged for speeding, and unfortunately incurs just enough additional demerits to lose their license for 3months. Adding insult to injury, just 2 weeks later, sufficient earlier demerits would have expired. And, of course, it happens on a clear road in perfect driving conditions- a strange place for the traffic police to be patrolling, unless their purpose is revenue collecting rather than road safety.
Up before the court, this costs a $200 fine plus $2,500 for a restricted (work hours only) license.
In the same session there's the inevitable "beneficiary", often more than one, there for having severely beaten a relative in a fight, leaving him in a pool of blood- not for the first time- who gets fined $300.
Sure, this is anecdotal, but it's the reality here, even for those who deny it because of their politics.

And there are people like Kate Bowden, an Australian citizen who'd been working legally in the US for many years in upper end jobs and was held at LA airport for alleged immigration offenses, the details of which the authorities refused to reveal. After accepting "voluntary" deportation to Australia rather than incarceration, she learnt they were asserting she'd overstayed her visa for less than 24 hours, twice in a 10 year period- and that she was now permanently banned from the US and her home in LA without any practical recourse. There are many similar cases, like this doctor who lived in the US for nearly 40 Years: Contrast these with Sergio Martinez, an illegal immigrant who was "not detained" nor was deportation ordered, when he was charged with 13 Felonies including the sexual assault of a 65 year-old woman in Portland Oregon, even though he'd been deported 20 times before, and had an extensive criminal history. There are many other cases like this one also:
On a larger scale, as the world's policeman, the UN disproportionately passes resolutions and supports complaints against open democratic societies but rarely condemns or even comments on the world's worst behaving countries.
In 2017 the UN General Assembly passed 21 resolutions against Israel, 2 against the USA, 1 each against Iran, North Korea, Syria, Crimea and Myanmar, but none critical of China, Russia, and other undeniable offenders: Since its inception in 2006, the UN Human Rights Council has passed 78 resolutions condemning Israel, 29 against Syria, 9 against North Korea, 6 against Iran- but none against Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, and other countries that routinely mistreat their own citizens.

The UN sends special rapporteurs to Western countries to report on those who've allegedly been irrevocably damaged by having an ancestor, 5 generations or more ago, who was a victim of slavery or colonialism. But strangely, the UN says very little and does nothing about the growing problem of slavery in Islamic North African States and ignores China's colonisation of Tibet and Indonesia's of West Papua- which are happening right now. The UN's rapporteurs are also active in calling out vestiges of racism in western democracies, yet their peacekeepers (mainly Dutch) stood aside and watched while Serbians slaughtered 8,372 Moslems at Srebrenica in 1995.

Why is it that authorities, at every level from the local to the global, are energetic and persistent in prosecuting minor offenders who are otherwise in good standing in their communities, but often don't act against more serious and recidivist offenders, be they individuals or states?
By applying their finite resources in this way, they not only make their communities and the world less safe, but lose public support that they could otherwise enjoy.

For the NZ Police to come down hard on minor speeding infractions while largely ignoring property crimes and going soft on more serious offending by serial miscreants, offends New Zealander's highly developed sense of fairness, and reduces respect for the law- which makes the police's work more difficult to do.
Over-the-top responses to minor and inadvertent visa infractions by otherwise contributing residents while 'giving sanctuary' to serially criminal illegals, harms US society and does significant damage to its international reputation.
And the UN's perverse and unbalanced fixation with Israel and countries that generally respect human rights, while choosing not to notice blatant 'crimes against humanity' in almost every other country, particularly China and Russia, has almost destroyed its capacity to make the world a better place.

But why do they all do this when it's so obviously misusing resources- and damaging to their reputations?

For the NZ Police, I can imagine that they go after those who exceed speed limits by as little as 4km/hr with such impressive dedication, while often not responding at all to burglaries, because speeding tickets generate revenue for them and are easy- while burglaries are too hard (13% clearance rate). Nor, I suspect, can there be much satisfaction in dealing with serial property offenders and the casually violent- compared to spoiling the day for people who still care about their reputations- or am I being too cynical?

For the US immigration service, I expect they are reacting to the contempt they're held in for not preventing illegals flooding in across the Mexican border- and the ease with which those they do catch and deport, bounce straight back. Nor can there be much fun in arresting some poor Mexican illegal for the 10th time in the sure knowledge there'll be an 11th. It's more personally gratifying, I'm sure, to destroy the more enviable lives of a doctor and the ex-editor of a fashion magazine.

Authoritarian countries misuse their own citizens whenever it suits them- and there's no way to stop this short of war, so the UN usually doesn't even try. It's much easier to hit on countries with representative governments that can call their rulers to account. And there's also payback; elected members of the UN Human Rights Council who are widely criticised for poor human rights, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Venezuela, Cuba, China, Egypt and Rwanda, must get perverse satisfaction from using their votes to condemn countries with the best human rights records while exempting themselves.

There are common elements in these examples of authorities failing to address serious problems while over-reacting to minor infractions:

The first is that problems like burglaries, illegal migration and misbehaving countries are difficult, and criticism can be deflected by focussing instead on easier issues.
Secondly, people in authority enjoy exercising power- as everyone does, whether they admit this, even to themselves- but even more so because people who are especially enamoured of power contrive to get themselves into positions of authority.

The solution is that political oversight of all such authorities needs to insist on a worst first approach.

NZ's Parliament could easily require our Police to take this approach- Parliament, after all, makes the laws the police enforce, and is their paymaster. NZ will be a safer and more equitable country when they do so.

Likewise, US lawmakers could reform their immigration service by requiring worst first prioritising. This would halt the international and domestic damage current practices are causing.

And the UN? A lost cause until a majority of its members have effective representative governments.

At the individuals level, a law allowing the systematic failure of authorities to prosecute worse offenders as a defence, would go a long way to fixing these failures of governance- by limiting the opportunities that enforcement agencies currently have to subvert the rule of law by selective application.