Commit Any Felonies Lately?

No? Militarized cops might attack you for buying bottled water or shoot your dog anyway.

Elizabeth Daly went to jail over a case of bottled water. 

According to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, shortly after 10 p.m. on April 11, the 20-year-old U.Va. student bought ice cream, cookie dough and a carton of LaCroix sparkling water from the Harris Teeter grocery store at the popular Barracks Road Shopping Center. In the parking lot, a half-dozen men and a woman approached her car, flashing some kind of badges. One jumped on the hood. Another drew a gun. Others started trying to break the windows.

Daly understandably panicked. With her roommate in the passenger seat yelling “Go, go, go!” Daly drove off, hoping to reach the nearest police station. The women dialed 911. Then a vehicle with lights and sirens pulled them over, and the situation clarified: The persons who had swarmed Daly’s vehicle were plainclothes agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The agents had thought the sparkling water was a 12-pack of beer.

Did the ABC’s enforcers apologize? Not in the slightest. They charged Daly with three felonies: two for assaulting an officer (her vehicle had grazed two agents; neither was hurt) and one for eluding the police. Last week, the commonwealth’s attorney dropped the charges.

The agents’ excessive display of force is outrageously disproportionate to the offense they mistakenly thought they witnessed: an underage purchase of alcohol. But in a sense, Daly got off easy. A couple weeks after her ordeal, a 61-year-old man in Tennessee was killed when the police executed a drug raid on the wrong house. A few weeks later, in another wrong-house raid, police officers killed a dog belonging to an Army veteran. These are not isolated incidents; for more information, visit the interactive map at www.cato.org/raidmap.

They are, however, part and parcel of two broader phenomena. One is the militarization of domestic law enforcement. In recent years police departments have widely adopted military tactics, military equipment (armored personnel carriers, flashbang grenades) – and, sometimes, the mindset of military conquerors rather than domestic peace-keepers.

The other phenomenon is the increasing degree to which civilians are subject to criminal prosecution for non-criminal acts – including exercising the constitutionally protected right to free speech.

Last week A. J. Martin was arrested in Harrisburg, Penn., for writing in chalk on the sidewalk. Martin was participating in a health-care demonstration outside Gov. Tom Corbett’s residence when he wrote, “Governor Corbett has health insurance, we should too.” Authorities charged Martin with writing “a derogatory remark about the governor on the sidewalk.” The horror.

This follows the case of Jeff Olson, who chalked messages such as “Stop big banks” outside branches of Bank of America last year. Law professor Jonathan Turley reports that prosecutors brought 13 vandalism charges against him. Moreover, the judge in the case recently prohibited Olson’s attorney from “mentioning the First Amendment, free speech,” or anything like them during the trial.

In Texas last month, a woman was arrested for asking to see a warrant for the arrest of her 11-year-old son. “She spent the night in jail while her son was left at home,” reports Fox34 News. The son never was arrested. Also in Texas, Justin Carter has spent months in jail – and faces eight years more –for making an admittedly atrocious joke about shooting up a school in an online chat. Though he was plainly kidding, authorities charged him with making a terrorist threat.

Federal prosecutors also recently used an anti-terrorism measure to seize almost $70,000 from the owners of a Maryland dairy. Randy and Karen Sowers had made several bank deposits of just under $10,000 to avoid the headache of filing federal reports required for sums over that amount. The feds charged them with unlawful “structuring.” Last week they settled the case. Authorities kept half their money to teach them a lesson.

“I broke the law yesterday,” writes George Mason economics professor Alex Tabarrok, “and I probably will break the law tomorrow. Don’t mistake me, I have done nothing wrong. I don’t even know what laws I have broken. . . . It’s hard for anyone to live today without breaking the law. Doubt me? Have you ever thrown out some junk mail that . . . was addressed to someone else? That’s a violation of federal law punishable by up to five years in prison.” Tabarrok notes that lawyer Harvey Silvergate believes the typical American commits Three Felonies a Day – the title of Silvergate’s book on the subject.

As The Wall Street Journal has reported, lawmakers in Washington have greatly eroded the notion of mens rea – the principle that you need criminal intent in order to commit a crime. Thanks to a proliferating number of obscure offenses, Americans now resemble the condemned souls in Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” – spared from perdition only by the temporary forbearance of those who sit in judgment.

“What once might have been considered simply a mistake,” the Journal explains, is now “punishable by jail time.” And as 20-year-old Elizabeth Daly has now learned, you can go to jail even when the person making the mistake wasn’t you.

This article originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Law enforcement see themselves as brothers in arms against a common enemy: you. They suit up every day for war. Gone are the days of peace officers who interacted with a community they felt part of. Now it's all busting heads in the name of righteous justice.

    The laws they enforced were written for them, and any seeming violation of those various laws and regulations is seen as a personal slight.

    As the state is trying its level best to assure its agents are the only ones allowed to protect themselves with firearms, you can't even call them heroes. They are relatively unaccountable and they have the power to remove your freedom at a whim.

    End of rant.

  • Sevo||

    "Gone are the days of peace officers who interacted with a community they felt part of."

    I never saw this. AFAIK, cops have always considered themselves as above the populace; not required to act in any way deferential to those they serve, but requiring deference from them.
    Cops have to realize that they are the janitors of society; we expect them to clean up the mess that some members of society cause. And other than that, put a sock in it. Do your job, we'll pay you and please don't get in the way of the citizens.

  • ||

    Sevo, unfortunately, the hero worship I see on the net and news day in and day out thinks otherwise.

  • John Galt||

    And never blame Hollywood for decades of glorifying, and thereby encouraging, the shoot first ask questions later Above the Law Super Cop.

  • Free Society||

    but be sure to blame hollywood for all violence and ciggarette smoking.

  • John Galt||

    I can't blame anyone for my disappointment in practically everyone. Hollywood's hypocrisy is, however, even more annoying than disappointing.

  • Free Society||

    I can't blame anyone for my disappointment in practically everyone.

    you aren't trying hard enough. I blame lots of people. it's really quite liberating to acknowledge the shittiness of almost everyone.

  • KDN||

    You're off the case, McGonigle!

    McGonigle: You're off your case, Chief!

    What does that mean exactly?

    It means he gets results, you stupid chief!

  • ||

    Robocop?

  • DenverJay||

    Wrong quote. Try Judge Dredd I am the law.

  • Duke||

    Law enforcement do see themselves that way. However, it’s the legislators and judges who are the ones empowering them to behave this way. Soft on crime, zero tolerance, the drug war, etc., etc. are STILL rallying cries of the politicians at every level. Until the worthless politicians stop making everything a crime and they reign in police power, and judges hold cops accountable, this will never, ever change. You can’t even get a judge to side against cops who are known to be lying, ever.

  • sarcasmic||

    It works both ways. Judges, DAs and such get special treatment from the cops. They're part of the club. For example if they're found to be driving drunk they're more likely to be given an escort home than of a citation.
    They're not going to rock the boat.

  • AdamJ||

    Well, many judges used to be DA's so what do you expect? Lets not let the citizens off easy here, they demand this behavior.

  • ghostsniper||

    You're passing the buck. Stop it.
    Each person makes their own decisions in how to interact with others. Violating another persons natural rights is inexcusable.

  • ||

    like Johnny implied I'm blown away that a single mom able to get paid $4012 in four weeks on the internet. did you see this webpage... www.Blue48.com

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    THIS is the winning issue for Libertarians. It is also the nose in the tent for drug decriminalization. violations of Federal or State regulations should never be criminal offenses, and criminal intent should need to be proven to prove guilt.

  • Almanian!||

    Federal prosecutors also recently used an anti-terrorism measure to seize almost $70,000 from the owners of a Maryland dairy. Randy and Karen Sowers had made several bank deposits of just under $10,000 to avoid the headache of filing federal reports required for sums over that amount. The feds charged them with unlawful “structuring.” Last week they settled the case. Authorities kept half their money to teach them a lesson.

    The very idea that the govt has any say, interest or authoritah to determine the AMOUNT OF FUCKING MONEY YOU CAN DEPOSIT OR POSSESS WITHOUT FALLING AFOUL OF SOME LAW OR OTHER is incredible.

    This is one of those laws that clearly indicate the US is waaaaaaaaaaay past "over the edge" and well on its way to meeting ancient Rome in the pits of history.

    Sad it is.

  • Matrix||

    out right stealing their money. If the agents responsible were clipped in the line of duty, the world would be a better place.

  • John Galt||

    Maybe Chocolate Jesus should ask us whose images are printed on the money. Just so we will understand it's always their money, never ours.

    It would be the Biblical kind of thing we should expect from our White House dwelling Messiah.

  • Davidson Freeman||

    I'm getting pretty sick of reading about cops shooting dogs. This site has covered a lot, Breitbart had video of a shooting in Los Angeles yesterday, and a week ago cops in Concord, CA shot my friends 13 year old cocker spaniel.

    Is this a recent trend? Or do we just hear more about it, like shark attacks and kindappings? Either way, it makes me sick.

  • Matrix||

    shot a cocker spaniel? wow. brave men in uniform protecting themselves from a ravenous hellhound!

  • Davidson Freeman||

    Yeah...here's the story, it's both sad and enraging.
    http://photos.mercurynews.com/.....eir-dog/#1

  • Matrix||

    poor doggie! :-( at least he survived. Most of the time they don't.

  • anon||

    If your dog didn't have anything to hide it wouldn't have gotten shot!

    /sic

  • Loki||

    RAGE TAKING OVER!!!!!

  • ||

    The dog was clearly resisting.

  • sarcasmic||

    They know and understand how much people value their pets, and that is why they kill them. They're sadists.

  • ||

    It's the price you pay for making them get off their fat asses.

  • ||

    "They're sadists."

    Bingo. I may have mentioned this a time or two in the past. That is the heart of it.

  • John Galt||

    "Is this a recent trend? Or do we just hear more about it, like shark attacks and kindappings?"

    It's probably a combination. Surely, we do hear more about these incidents since the internet always us commoners to share information more easily. On the other hand, when I was young many years ago, needlessly shooting someone's dog would've sparked outrage in a community. And the drug war hadn't really gotten rolling, so the citizenry wasn't yet so desensitized to police raids. They were uncommon. So obviously back that far it did not happen so often.

  • Loki||

    a week ago cops in Concord, CA shot my friends 13 year old cocker spaniel.

    A cocker spaniel??? Really??? What kind of pants shitting pussy is going to seriously be put in such fear of their life that they feel the need to use deadly force against a cocker spaniel? I mean what's he gonna do? Nibble your bum?

    Condolences to your friend, BTW, that really fucking sucks.

  • Bryan C||

    I have it on good authority that the common cocker spaniel is one of the most venomous animals known to man.

  • Matrix||

    Imagine if she and her friends in the car had been carrying guns and defended themselves against these armed thugs. Things would turned out much differently. If she survived the encounter, she would never see the outside of a prison again.

  • ||

    It is scary to realize that we have these violent, armed gangs running around, who may try to hurt or kill you for seemingly innocuous activity, with little or no warning. And, if you successfully defend yourself, you're fucked.

    I thought the whole point of the state having a monopoly of law and order was to prevent armed gangs of hoodlums. Ah, well.

  • ||

    I was thinking more about this. At least with mobsters, you can be that, if they're giving you trouble, there's some economically rational reason: they want protection money, they're protecting their drug turf, etc.

    Only with a state do you have people incentivized to attack each other for bizarre reasons like this. Would mobsters attack me for suspicion of buying beer underage? Probably not.

  • Alan||

    You are correct. The mafia is looking better and better.

  • Bryan C||

    Exactly. And when a mobster starts getting messy or careless, his colleagues (or his competition) have a strong incentive to step in and stop this counterproductive behavior.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    That fat fuck Jon Tester wants to repeal the First Amendment in order to further entrench political incumbents, but has never, to my knowledge, uttered word fucking one about police excesses. It's good to have priorities.

  • John Galt||

    I did all I could to help remove Fat Little Jonnie Testicle from office. All I can do now is hang my head in shame for my state.

  • sarcasmic||

    When everyone is guilty of some crime whether they know it or not, and whether or not they are arrested, investigated or prosecuted all depends on who they know, who they piss off, or whose ass they kiss, then you do not have rule of law. You have rule of man.

  • Tim||

    I've been throwing away my mother's junk mail for years. Shit, is the NSA listening?

  • Matrix||

    What kind of monster are you? There's not a hole deep enough or dark enough to shove you in!

  • John Galt||

    Are you kidding? Posting on this site guarantees the FBI, CIA, DEA, ATF and every other three letter agency including the NSA is logging and storing your every whisper, word, keystroke and alleged thought.

    The whole Jihadi thing is so passe. Today the Average American Citizen Super Enemy is all the rage.

  • Tim||

    If I go down, I'm giving all of you guys up.

  • Matrix||

    Tonight... you shall sleep wid da fishes.

  • John Galt||

    Considering we've openly aired our views here, and the First Amendment has been effectively abolished, there's no one to give up. We're all going down together!

  • Rasilio||

    If that's the case we need to get more wimmens in here cause I ain't going down on any of you dudes

  • SugarFree||

    If something happens, I can't wait to hear my posts being read into the trial record.

  • anon||

    I just want to make sure Epi and Warty's are read too.

  • ||

    Are you kidding? We have secret courts now that dont keep records. You are likely to find out about your trial post-sentencing. They arent going to let you read shit. The first you will know about it will go something like this;

    *being shoved into the back of a cruiser, hogtied* "What the fuck man?! What is going on?! What did I do?!"

    *muffled through black mask* "Shut the fuck up!"

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Hey man! There's a beverage here!

  • Luddite||

    We are. The goon squad will be dispatched shortly!

    *knock, knock*

    Love,
    NSA

  • John Galt||

    Where'd I just read that recently; *knock, knock*

    Oh yeah, the poor gamer kid who's been incarcerated for the last nine months for posting a sarcastic "threat" to one of his fellow video gamers.

    "Hope and Change" LMAO!!

  • gaoxiaen||

    My mother's been throwing away my junk mail. Should I file charges?

  • Alan||

    5 years per count - estimating 3000 counts - you're going away for 15,000 years!

  • Davidson Freeman||

    "Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt."

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    I was trying to explain this concept to someone recently in regards to a "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" argument about the NSA. I started talking about the incredibly high number of ways there is to commit a felony. It's quite astonishing how fast the goalposts can move from NTH:NTF to "Well most of those laws are arbitrary and no one gets prosecuted for them" to "Well, those who have been prosecuted must have been doing something else wrong. You just don't know the whole story"

    I wish I had some better way to get it through their head that they are only free so long as no one in power decides they shouldn't be and that it's not difficult to run afoul of one of them.

  • Mainer2||

    Most people think that people in government are fundamentally like themselves. Reasonable people with some common sense. Because they don't follow this blog, they don't want to believe how twisted their brave public servants can be.

    On a scale much closer to home, some friends were complaining about a teacher that all the parents know is inept. But could not be fired. When I told them the problem is that the union cares very much about protecting the teacher, but really doesn't care that much about your child's education...well...How dare I malign the teachers. These goalposts didn't just move, they went to the other end of the field.

    So no, I don't know how to get people to understand either.

  • ||

    My wife is a teacher. One of her close friends/colleague is a libertarian. The staff looks at his ruminations with either indifference, confusion or absolute abhorrence. My wife comes home and asks me my opinion on what he claims and I often concur with him. You can see that the ideas presented are so far, far off the grid they literally sit and ponder it. Deprogramming people is damn near impossible because the government controls the tools of education.

    Libertarians are a tiny, small community that could be squashed compared to Leviathan.

    She also sits on the governing board of my daughter's school and usually gives me the run down of the topics and arguments.

    I just nod my head.

    Never plan to go and my wife totally gets why I wouldn't attend. She's annoyed by the group think and emotional pleas.

  • ||

    Also, we had a spirited debate once. It was me on one side and my wife and my best friend on the other. The subject was about a principal at a school in Montreal who decided to send out a note to parents asking them to dress their kids in Montreal Canadiens jerseys to support the Habs during the playoffs.

    One kid, supported the other team and had the audacity to come in with her Ottawa Senators jersey. She was asked to remove it or be sent home. She refused and was sent home.

    Well.

    I thought it was the most retarded, totalitarian crap I've heard. I supported the girl. My reasoning was A) the idea was stupid to begin with and the principal (ie adult) should have understood the simple basic fact that not everyone supports our precious Habs and B) it's a freedom of expression issue no matter what the fucking letter she sent asked.

    My friend and wife saw it differently. It was a question of respecting authority and that the girl was given a choice.

    I retorted it was a faux-choice. She was given a set of options she couldn't win. Not only that, it was an arbitrary decision that had little to do with actual school policy. On that level, I'd sorta see the argument.

    Not over a fucking hockey jersey.

    And on it went.

  • Calidissident||

    Damn, you Canadians really do love your hockey

  • Cybernetic Entomologist||

    Many years ago, famous French Canadian author Roch Carrier wrote a short store called Le Chandail De Hockey (The Hockey Sweater), about how all the kids in town wore Habs #9 (Maurice Richard) jerseys, and when his wore out, his mom ordered a new one by mail, and Eaton's sent a Maple Leafs jersey, which was pretty much the end of the world for that kid. Yes, we take our hockey seriously.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    This is why I'm glad my wife is a Libertarian. Hell, she introduced me to it when we first met. Around the time in the relationship when you start to explore long term compatibility, I explained how I had been raised in a right wing house, but many of the policies of the right were just idiotic. However I refused to join the left because they are just downright naive and childlike. That's when she showed me an interview with Drew Carey and another with Penn Jillette and I was immediately hooked.

  • ||

    Calidissident, hockey is the national psychosis. In Montreal they've decided it's a good idea to attach the Habs to a 'national identity' of the people of Quebec.

    Great. Nice. Swell. More collectivist bull shit bringing in politics into the team. But don't get me going on that.

    itsnotmeitsyou, In her defense, my wife is waaayyyy too smart, rational, pragmatic and sensible to fall in the liberal trap. It's the only mild argument we're ever had on such issues. She totally grasps the libertarian point of view and is not hostile to it in anyway.

    She's just to apolitical to care. Sure, she straddles the conformist way but she is a product of her environment. However, I don't worry.

    I asked her what she would have done as principal (since she's always asked to be one) and she said she wouldn't have sent the kid home. She's not trivial at all when it comes to this shit.

    Also, it sends the wrong message to the child and other kids.

  • ||

    I show her articles of what happens in schools in the states and she can but only face palm.

    It's funny. My sister in law is a (smart and ambitious) left-wing feminist but whenever we talk she acknowledges, as a former business owner, all the bureaucratic nonsense and faulty economic plans that hurt businesses.

    It's like they can't connect the two. Like there's a faulty wire. She also sees how bad Obama is.

    Hello.

    Earth to flake!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I did all I could to help remove Fat Little Jonnie Testicle from office.

    If that moron Rehberg had managed to take Janet Napolitano's cock out of his mouth once in a while it *might* have helped.

  • John Galt||

    That's quite possible. It's also possible that the incredibly massive smear campaign Tester ran across every form of media, non-stop for years, against Rehberg may have had it's intended effects also.

    Fat Little Jonnie much have some very wealthy backers to have spent so much for so long.

  • Ron||

    The more laws they make the more laws I break. The more laws I break the fewer laws I'll obey. When everything is criminal then nothing is criminal and soon no laws have any effect and none are obeyed. Anarchy is what we are trying to prevent but it is anarchy that we create.

  • AlmightyJB||

    That's basically what happened with both alcohol and drug prohibition.

  • anon||

    And pretty much where we're at again. I already don't give a shit what laws I break.

  • Ron||

    Talking to fellow gun owners we've decide since we don't know what is legal anymore we will just do what we want.

  • Alan||

    I'm caring less and less.

    I'm naturally a very law-abiding person. So is my mother. She even worked for the FBI back when Hoover was in charge.

    We're both fed up and caring less and less about man-made laws.

  • AlmightyJB||

    To way to many people, cops are undisputed heros that you are obliged to cooperate with. If you do not immeditaly comply to what they say even if they are violating your rights then you get what you deserve. I've heard so many people defend completely outrageous cop behaviour it's pathetic. As been said here before, it's frustrating that we get the government everyone else deserves.

  • John Galt||

    "I started talking about the incredibly high number of ways there is to commit a felony."

    You must not be talking enough. It's very difficult find an American who understands they've already done plenty to be made a "legitimate" target by our overseers' enforcers.

  • anon||

    It's very difficult find an American who understands they've already done plenty to be made a "legitimate" target by our overseers' enforcers.

    I understand they can lock me up for pretty much any bullshit they can dream up, yet I do not consider any of their bullshit "legitimate." Where's that leave me? Terrorist?

  • John Galt||

    You, me, any and all of us. Well, excluding those of us who know the right people with power, or can afford to purchase justice.

  • Montani Semper Oppressi||

    "Thus, After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." De Tocqueville's words have never been truer.

  • Mainer2||

    Regarding Flashbangs. I live about 6 miles away from the Sig Arms training facility in New Hampshire, and there was MAJOR uproar and consternation over the noise when police were training and set off flashbang grenades. 6 miles away, and I swear it sounded like artillery fire. Yet most folks are probably OK with police throwing them into peoples homes, because drugs.

  • Tim||

    Because terrorism

  • phandaal||

    MURICA

  • sarcasmic||

    For laws to be respected they must be respectable. When so many laws are just plain stupid, then even the ones that should be respected are ignored.

    "When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law."
    --Bastiat

  • anon||

    I'd say Freddy was wrong on this one, but mostly because when the law becomes so perverted, it's not law anymore.

  • sarcasmic||

    Personally I draw a distinction between law and legislation.

    Laws are rules that society follows. For example I don't believe legislation exists that prohibits people from cutting in line, yet very few people do it because, well, it's against the law.

  • anon||

    I like the analogy, yet I wish it applied to those situations you run into when people have to merge due to accident/work/whatever, and you always get those few assholes that race to the end and then try to cut in.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've been known to force such assholes off the road or into oncoming traffic.

  • KDN||

    Cut-ins are sometimes necessary due to the populace's cluelessness about a road's design.

    There's a two-lane onramp from one 3-lane highway to a 5-lane parkway that I get on every day, and from roughly 1.25 mi before it until .25 miles everybody crowds the right lane in anticipation of it. At .25 mi it expands to 2 lanes, traffic starts to go and I move from the middle lane to what will be the left lane of the onramp and continue to the next highway with only a minor reduction in speed, shaving 7 - 10 mins off my commute.

    It's pretty obvious from the design of the onramp and the traffic patterns on the highway (roughly 90% of all drivers on the previous road use this onramp) that the intent of the designers is for more drivers to operate in this manner, but most instead sit in traffic for a mile even though the same thing happens every fucking day and look aghast at the 1% of drivers who treat the exit in the manner in which it was designed.

  • Loki||

    you always get those few assholes that race to the end and then try to cut in.

    I hate the assholes who slow way the fuck down so that they merge in while there's still half a mile or so of lane in front of them before they have to merge over.

    A lot of those "assholes who race to the end and then try to cut in" are actually trying to merge correctly, and not hold up traffic behind them.

  • Willard McBain||

    It's also the pricks that speed ahead to close gap and block people from merging. A merge is supposed to act like a zipper, everyone just slides in place.

    If highway design 101 was part of drivers ed, the world would be a much more courteous place.

  • AlgerHiss||

    CATO has a great site that follows cops involved in criminal activity. If you’ve never visited this site, you will be shocked at just how awful the current condition of civilian peace keeping is:

    http://www.policemisconduct.net/

  • dinkster||

    Unfortunately, that only lists the ones that receive consequences.

  • Jim176||

    Once again I say: when the people who are responsible for upholding the law then break the law, there is no law, and all that is left is a struggle to survive.

  • ||

    In all fairness, the chalking on the public sidewalk probably goes beyond the limits of "free speech" and into vandalism - which shouldn't be anything worse than a ticket. If it was on private property it would be a different story.

  • sarcasmic||

    Something that washes away in the rain is not, in my opinion, vandalism.

  • Jim176||

    I beg to differ. Chalk washes off with the rain. Now spray paint is another thing entirely.

  • John Galt||

    Agreed. Had the little b@$tards that tagged my new shop with spray paint only used chalk instead I would've only been mildly annoyed for causing me to have to drag the hose out instead of my wallet.

  • anon||

    Yeah, if you get pissed off about chalk on your sidewalk, you really gotta find some better shit to do with your time.

  • ||

    Yeah, it might be an overreaction, but I can see some justification for at least a fine or citation or whatever. It's a lot less egregious than the other examples.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah its not always that the perpetrators are in the right. It's the complete overreaction to everything. Cops called to schools for slight misbehaviour. Swats team raids on someone selling raw milk. I made tge mistake of watching some reality police women of whereever shows. Almost every single incident was a complete overreaction, often creating dangerous situations for bystanders for very trivial things.

  • dinkster||

    The 'fine' should be two hours of comm service.

  • dinkster||

    "GET OFF MY LAWN"

  • ||

    Trying to make a somber film out of a campy kids show is always a gamble. Browbeating the only people left in the country who might actually be interested in a cowboys and Indians picture with the oppression of the red man is a good way to narrow your audience even further. This should go right next to John Carter on Disney's vault shelf.

  • ||

    Wrong tab. The interwebs are too confusing...

  • umh||

    So in the ABC agent case we have a gang of plain clothes law enforcement types with nothing to do. Having nothing useful to do they grasped at a mental picture of criminal behavior that was in their heads; since law enforcement types spend almost all of their time thinking everyone is a criminal.

    This country really needs to defund the police state before it is too late.

  • Wyrd Wulf||

    The militarization of civilian police is, at least, one objective of the "war on drugs'. They want boots on the ground if and when they may need them.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I think there is truth to that. The more they turn the US into a third world country, the more concerned they are aboug third world problems like citizen revolts. They want paramilitary forces that see the rest of us as the enemy.

  • feudalserf||

    What no has mentioned explicitly is that this is all by design. Spying on citizens, eroding the Bill of Rights, creating an us-against-them mentality among the police, supporting the war on drugs, militarizing the police, passing too many laws. It's all an effort to keep the serfs in line to serve the King. Every regime tries to do this - they always have, they always will. America was once different.

  • feudalserf||

    I forgot gun control. That's another tactic. And persecuting groups of citizens who unite against them (enter IRS or "treason" charges against reporters).

  • ||

    Hm. Looks like North Dakota has been spared so far according to the Cato chart.

    So far.

  • AlgerHiss||

    A gentle and friendly admonishment: It is "T"...Rufus T. Firefly.

    Thanks for keeping their memory alive!

  • ||

    I know it's a 'T.'

  • Henry the Twooth||

    This article does not properly explain what "mens rea" actually means, and I think is misleading. Mens rea is about the intent to commit an ACT (or omission), NOT about the intent to commit a CRIME (which is a legal consequence of a specific act in a specific context). Generally, ignorance of the law is not an excuse, however, ignorance of the FACTS is.

    Example, it is July 4th, and I stupidly fire my pistol into the air to celebrate - ye-hah! I did not know that it is illegal to so discharge my pistol (let us assume it is). Even though I was not aware that my act was illegal, I can be found guilty.

    Let's say, however, that I borrow James Bond's parasol. Unbeknownst to me, the parasol was made by Q and has a pistol inside it. I go to open my umbrella, but it instead discharges the pistol hidden inside. In this case, I arguable lacked the MENS REA to commit the crime (illegal discharge of a firearm), as I meant to open a parasol, not fire a pistol.

    Again, MENS REA is about the intent to commit the underling ACT, not the CRIME.

  • dinkster||

    Yeah that definition works when laws are reasonable with respect to public safety. Grandma accidently growing an opium plant because it looked pretty should never end with a guilty verdict.

  • BeBraveUSA||

    “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” Lavernity Pavlovich Chief of Security under Stalin
    Seems like something Eric Holder might say today. Soviet prophesies seem to be coming true more and more these days. I suppose it helps when DC is run by Communists.

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  • gaoxiaen||

    Why would you be afraid just because a bunch of strangers run up and start pointing guns at you?

  • DenverJay||

    Look, here's the deal. You get the government you deserve. And the majority of Murkins have boners for the government. They literally believe that if the government is fucking with you, its because you deserve it. Then, of course, something happens to them, and they fall afoul of the powers that be. But so what? We get one or two more recruits. It still will not change the way most people vote. By the time it becomes so obvious that the statist worshiping media can no longer hide how corrupt and despotic the government has become, it will be too late. And the people will wake up, and realize that those crazy libertarians nut jobs were right all along, but, again, it will be too late.
    There is even a little essay about it, with many versions, but one of which ends something like: "and by the time they came for me, there was no one left to speak up for me."

  • Alan||

    By the time they wake up and realize we were right after decades of calling us ignorant cretins, they will be angry with us for being such smartypants.

    Yes, I've had that conversation.

  • Jayburd||

    "Is this a recent trend? Or do we just hear more about it, like shark attacks and kindappings? Either way, it makes me sick."

    About 40 years ago those 'Birchers' used to put out bumper stickers that said "Support Your Local Police". Does anybody remember those stickers? Does anybody remember why they printed those stickers? Those kooky Birchers called the alarm of the "federalization of the local police force" using what? Why your tax money of course. Bribery and blackmail are the only two things federal taxes are good for. So you Reaction Magazine readers just keep whining about the cops boo hoo.

  • Solidus||

    There are increasing signs that the federal government is terrified of its citizenry. In addition to the dramatic uptick in police violence against citizens and criminal complaints replete with prison time for civil issues, there is the matter of NSA, IRS and DOJ (Fast and Furious). People in the U.S. are losing their liberty and their lives at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, the pattern is all to clear in the historic records; the most recent example of which is Hitlers rise to power between 1933 and 1939. http://coldwarwarrior.com/2013.....rds-chess/

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    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job Ive had. Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, www.Bling6.com

  • Anvil||

    All these ludicrous incidents occurring and more.....courtesy of our ever-expanding unConstitutional govt.

  • edwardmartin321||

    my co-worker's step-aunt makes $76 every hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for six months but last month her pay check was $21126 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site.... www.cnn13.com

  • Sevyy||

    " Also in Texas, Justin Carter has spent months in jail – and faces eight years more –for making an admittedly atrocious joke about shooting up a school in an online chat. Though he was plainly kidding, authorities charged him with making a terrorist threat."

    I blame Canada for this one.

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  • buybuydandavis||

    Did the ABC’s enforcers apologize?

    Haw haw haw haw! Good one!

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    my best friend's mother-in-law makes $74 every hour on the internet. She has been fired from work for five months but last month her pay check was $18367 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site........Buzz55.com

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