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There's licenses for everything nowadays, from marriage, to adding a bathroom in YOUR house. Speeding tickets and speed limits make us "criminals" for going 66 in a 65 zone, even if nobody else is on the road. Motorcyclists and bicyclists get tickets and fines for not wearing a helmet, and then there's seatbelt laws... We've become a society of laws that force people's "good ideas" on everyone else, regardless of constitutional freedoms. Here, we'll discuss our freedoms and how to keep them.

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force;
like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.
Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
- George Washington - founding father, general of the continental army
in the war of independence, first president of the United States, and
framer of the Constitution.

To all who cry "peace at all costs":
"NO WAR" you say? We tried that.
Fifty-five million people died.
It was called World War II.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Binky the barking leopard

I was involed in a debate on a forum recently, and wanted to make a short post here. Basically, a person was charged with speeding and the prosecution brought criminal charges against him for it. Their basis is that Arizona law (where the speeding took place) says that anything over a certain speed (or a certain speed over the limit) is a criminal offense.

Now, a little background here for those of you who aren't familiar with law. A crime by its very definition requires a victim (someone who was harmed by a person's actions). Here's a definition from a law dictionary:

n. a violation of a law in which there is injury to the public or a member of the public and a term in jail or prison, and/or a fine as possible penalties. There is some sentiment for excluding from the "crime" category crimes without victims, such as consensual acts, or violations in which only the perpetrator is hurt or involved such as personal use of illegal drugs.

This reasoning goes back to natural law, which our nation is founded upon, which says basically "You can do whatever you want, so long as you don't hurt me in any way by doing it..." And so in order for there to be any sort of crime, there must be some sort of corpus delicti (body of the crime, or essence of the crime), aka someone who was harmed by the defendent's actions. For example, a person cannot be tried for murder if there is no body, except in very rare circumstances (believe it or not, people have been executed for murder, and the "murdered" person turned up very much alive later).

And so, basically, in this case, this person did not commit any crime. He may have a civil case brought against him, but no crime has been committed, because nobody else was (unwillingly) on the road anywhere near him at the time of his speeding. If they were, they could reasonably argue that his "excessive" speed (say 30+ mph faster than someone else) caused a situation that threatened someone else's property, health, or life. But, there wasn't anyone else there, and they're still trying to charge him with a crime.

Now, this really bothers me, because what they are doing there, by calling "anything over X speed" a criminal action, is they are essentially doing the same thing as I would be doing, if I walked up to you with my dog and said the following:

"HEY!!! What do you think of my new leopard I have here?"
You reply "Um, that's a dog..."
I say, "no... it's a leopard, and his name is Binky... Binky the leopard..."
You say "no... Binky is a dog... Binky the DOG..."
I CONTINUE to insist "no... Binky is a leopard, see, Binky, bark!!!" {woof} "See? Binky barks just like a leopard..."
You then walk away from me thinking "what an idiot..."

Unfortunately, we've got this attitude in America that "the lawmakers bind themselves to the Constitution and our rights, they wouldn't violate them and step outside their legislative power, and if they did, the judges would reel them in..." This is obviously not the case, lawmakers have been making laws for years that the Constitution has given them no power to enact, yet they still do it, and we don't call them on it.

The simple fact is, a crime requires a victim. Plain and simple. No victim, no crime. There is NO such thing as a victimless crime.

So, my dog isn't a leopard, no matter how much I call it one. But if you agree with me that it's a leopard, even though you know it's not, you aren't doing me a favor.

Now, legislators aren't mean people out to harm us, but they've been slowly led down this path over the years (like a frog in boiling water) of allowing certain laws on the basis that "it's a good idea" even though government has no business doing certain things.

So the next time a lawmaker says "that's a criminal act" when there's no victim, just remember my barking leopard, and say to the lawmaker "No sir, Binky is not a leopard" ...wait for his reaction, then tell him the story of Binky.