Thursday, February 11, 2010

Throwing Snowballs is a Felony?

This is something I have been meaning to put into a post for a while now, but it's not an easy subject, or one that is easily defensible. I have been bothered for some time by the spread of what I call the "felonization of living." Ayn Rand had a belief that innocent men could not be controlled, and therefore the State would try to make as many things criminal as possible, in order to control people. It often seems to be a prophetic thought in today's world. The latest example comes by way of a post by Kurt Hoffman of Armed and Safe and seems truly outrageous-throwing snowballs. Go read the report at The Smoking Gun. If convicted, these two young men will have their rights to vote and to own or carry weapons taken away for the rest of their lives, all over throwing snowballs, an activity engaged in by youngsters from time immemorial.

Felonies used to be serious crimes, like murder and manslaughter, rape, armed robbery or theft of truly large monetary amounts. Minor crimes and misdeeds were punished by fines, or a month or two in a local jail. Of course, there were no drug crimes legal or illegal, before the early part of the twentieth century. Any firearm could be legally owned by anyone who had the funds to buy it until 1934 (excluding unfortunately, Blacks, who were subject to the "black codes" which still haunt us today.) During the course of the Twentieth Century and continuing into the Twenty-First, more and more stuff has become a crime, and "felonious" has been defined down.

Martha Stewart is a felon. Let us suppose that she has a stalker, a rabid fan who wants to know the secret of making a lace doily that sits flat. If Martha Stewart felt a need to defend her life from her rabid stalker, she would be prohibited from carrying a gun to do so. Do you think Martha Stewart is a danger to herself or others if she had a gun? How about an average person who happens to have jumped through all the hoops to have gotten a concealed handgun license. Is a licensed concealed carrier a danger to you or anyone else if he carries his weapon into a Post Office? What magic does the Post Office posses that makes him a danger there, but immediately outside renders him harmless? Similarly, one could ask about all the other prohibited places North Carolina lists such as restaurants, theatres, banks, etc.

I ask you to consider that perhaps the course we have been taking has made matters worse, not better. More people today are in prison, yet we feel less safe than ever before. The felonization of living has not worked to make us a better people, but only proved the Founders of our Republic right. David Codrea has a saying that if I may paraphrase, if a man can not be trusted with a gun, then he shouldn't be allowed to walk among us without a keeper. That is part of the answer. The other part is to stop making things illegal. If a crime is serious, then it should be punished seriously. If a "crime" is only so because someone has defined it as such, repeal it. If a crime is a minor misdeed, then lesser measures should be taken. Throwing snowballs certainly fits the one of the latter categories.

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