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Friday, 04 December, 2020

Guilty as Charged

Date: 07 February, 1998

By: Chief

Imaget has been estimated that our prison population, some 2.5 million people, consists mainly, or should I say statistically, of non-violent "criminals." There are three salient points here which need most certainly to be brought to center stage for all to see and hear.

First is the word mainly, i.e., the majority of prisoners. Just how many is the majority? Approximately 80 - 85 percent. That is a big number. Indeed, of the 2.5 million "criminals" 85 percent equates to 2,125,000 people.

The second point is the term non-violent. That means these 2,125,000 "criminals" committed crimes against — no one. Or they committed crimes against — themselves. In other words, these "criminals" injured no one or damaged no one else's property.

The third point, and to be sure the most important point, is the crime or crimes these offenders, these jail birds, these "criminals" committed. Victimless crimes. Prostitution, drug use, drug possession, distribution and/or sales and other types of sexual crimes.

Moral crimes. Things that the legislature of a state or the Congress has stated, in writing no less, are wrong for We the People to do. Though there is no Constitutional authority, no Constitutional power, legislatures and Congress are putting citizens in prison for living their life as they so see fit.

If it hurts no other — do as you will.

Legislatures, Congress and 'special interests' don't seem to understand that quite simple concept. To illustrate this, show me within the Constitution where using drugs is proscribed. Or show me within the Constitution where prostitution is proscribed. Show me, I want to see it. Indeed there was an amendment proscribing the use of alcohol. The Eighteenth Amendment which took effect January 29, 1920 and was subsequently repealed in toto by the Twenty First Amendment in the year 1933. Did people stop drinking beer, wine, whiskey? No, not a chance. Prohibition did start a thriving business — bootlegging. Consequently tens of thousands of citizens were arrested and imprisoned. Hundreds, possibly thousands of people were killed by local, state and federal law enforcement personnel. Organized crime blossomed and people continued to 'tip' one or two.

After the fiasco known as prohibition one would have thought the legislatures would learn the simple truth — you cannot legislate morality. It is axiomatic. However, the reverse is true. Congress and various state legislatures have enacted a plethora of laws proscribing conduct of We the People where, once again, legislatures, state or federal, have absolutely no authority to tread. Don't believe me? Fine. Let your son or daughter ride their bicycle without a helmet — pay a fine. That is a crime in most states. How about driving your car without wearing a seat belt — pay a fine or lose your license. Ride a motorcycle without a helmet — pay a fine or lose your license. Rent your body — go to prison. Smoke a joint — go to prison or die in the process.

This is all due to, and make no mistake about this, someone else. A special interest group, normally, does not approve of your lifestyle and whines to the legislature. A bill is introduced and subsequently passed now making your lifestyle a crime. The political party in power gets additional votes, campaign money and volunteers for getting said legislation passed. They remain in power and you are now a criminal.

The results of such meddling have resulted in destroyed families, citizens imprisoned, criminal histories — making job hunting much more difficult for the now released from incarceration person — assets forfeited, and lives lost. All for the sake of 'I don't like the way you live and I'm going to do something about it'. In addition, our Constitution now lies in tatters. The Amendments which were put in place to protect We the People to begin with, the First through the Tenth and subsequently the Fourteenth, have been torn asunder or outright ignored by those whose duty it is to protect them.

To be sure this flagrant violation of our Constitution has generated a tremendous amount of wealth, power and influence. Prisons are being built at an alarming rate. More police are being hired daily. The police officer associations are some of the most powerful and influential special interest groups in the country. More prosecutors and public defenders are on local payrolls than ever before. Elected politicians provide secure havens for those with power, influence and wealth. Indeed it has become a major growth industry with its own distinctive and revolting name — victimless crime. And the travesty is this new industry is continuing to grow unabated.

When government legislates or even attempts to legislate morality government is thus entering into the hallowed halls of individual liberty with all the finesse of a bulldozer. This is an area that We the People did not surrender under the Constitution. Yet by our very lack of action we have nonetheless given government the green light to trample wherever and however government so sees fit. Because of this lack of action our fellow citizens are languishing in prison. Some are dead.

I have said before and it bears repeating:

The Constitution as applied to the citizen; Where the Constitution does not proscribe, it condones.

The Constitution as applied to government; Where the Constitution does not authorize, it proscribes.

We the People have a duty to prevent such behavior by government. We have a duty to throw out those who seek to rule us by force and decree. We have a secondary duty which fits hand-in-glove with the first. That is to allow those who live differently than we to live their lives as they so see fit. We the People may not like that. Indeed we may find it disgusting. However, if the lifestyle of our neighbor does not cause an injury — damage to another's person or property — and our neighbor's conduct is not specifically proscribed within the Constitution, then leave them alone and let them do it. It is certainly that simple.

Alas in those duties We the People have failed and failed miserably. For whatever the reason or for no reason we have failed. Failed to throw out those who seek to rule us by decree. Failed to let others live their lives — their way. By failing those two simple tasks we have failed to protect our liberty.

As such We the People are guilty as charged.

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