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By Edward Jaffe

Perry Mason‘ the TV series was, of course, an idealized drama about the US criminal justice system. I dare say that even in Perry Mason America, many people involved in the criminal justice system never had a defense attorney like the Perry Mason character and perhaps had dishonest prosecutors, witnesses and judges. But that was retail injustice, not wholesale. I want to live in a civil society. That means a society permanently ruled by civilians. Post Perry Mason, the US criminal justice system (in broad terms) has become more rules-based and less context-based. In retrospect, the Rockefeller Drug Laws were a big system reset . . .

Drug law changes brought with them (now routine) mandatory minimum sentencing — with small offenses being punished like homicides. Once an individual is accused of a crime with an associated mandatory minimum, the right to a trial by jury fades quickly. The DA — the new epicenter of power — can let you walk, ask you to take jail time,  guilty or not, or dare you to take your chances in court where a loss could mean decades.

I seem to recall that on ‘Perry Mason’ discussions of “criminal intent” and “presumption of innocence” or even “reasonable doubt” would occur. Where does that fit into the draconian mandatory-minimum sentencing power wielded by the prosecution today? Do you think you will be sitting and telling your unique story to the jury? Probably not. Culture war-originated prohibition laws today are not about protecting society, but changing it by force.

The biggest system reset however, was the change of the criminal justice system’s focus from one attacking commerce in contraband to simple possession. No criminal intent, no other criminal activity, just a felony-on-contact approach. People involved in the commerce of contraband have always faced risks, but moving the focus to mere possession was a naked power grab aimed at simply eliminating users and reducing demand.

The assault on gun owners will follow the War on Drugs playbook and will ultimately criminalize (perhaps even felonize) hundreds of millions of guns, gun bits and ammo. I hate to say it, but the gun prohibitionists have some extremely sophisticated strategists and are playing a perfect game as gun owner groups are busy pounding the culture war drums, bringing their AR-15s to the neighborhood deli.

Along these lines, “universal background checks” are Trojan horse laws designed to move the legal process away from simple statutes concerning commerce. Tremendous leverage is being applied to this gun control issue, one that seems almost benign and little more than an extension of present laws to most citizens with no exposure to these issues. Why do you suppose so many millions being funneled into this effort?

Allow me to re-state my primary point here: The entire assault on gun owners will consist of moving the law beyond commerce-based concepts like NICS checks to possessory laws that will criminalize ownership of a large number of guns held, touched or loaned by tens of millions of Americans. In fact, without stout possessory laws, the War on Drugs could never have been waged. So shall it be with the War On Guns.

 

23 Responses to We Don’t Live in a ‘Perry Mason’ America Any More

  1. All too true. Back in the day, prosecutors and cops had to make things up in order to railroad someone. Now the law does it for them, eezy peezy. No wonder that Americans have less respect than ever for government and its organs and minions.

    Government is a sham. It’s a racket. It’s a RICO conspiracy. It’s a Gruber-level lie foisted on a gullible and stupid public that’s getting dumber all the time, courtesy of modern American education.

    The Founders knew that government cannot be trusted.

    “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

    — George Washington

  2. “I hate to say it, but the gun prohibitionists have some extremely sophisticated strategists and are playing a perfect game…”

    Hardly.

  3. Even before reading this piece I found myself thinking that the focus of the People of the Gun should be efforts on mitigating and removing the federal control on commerce in lawful items of possession.

    It is such a shame that our fore bearers gave the government such control over interstate commerce.

    • gof,

      Our fore bearers never gave the federal government power to control interstate commerce. Rather, they gave the federal government only the power to eliminate barriers to interstate commerce.

      Remember, our U.S. Constitution empowered the federal government to regulate interstate commerce. And regulate does NOT mean to control and erect barriers and impede interstate commerce. Regulate means to make regular, to work well, to work smoothly. One example of the federal government’s job, when it comes to interstate commerce, is to make sure that one state doesn’t exact tariffs on the products and services of another state. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution empowers the federal government to interfere with interstate commerce.

      Why no one has challenged this at the U.S. Supreme Court boggles my mind. Along the same lines, I am stunned that no one has tried to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution which clearly spells this out.

      • It has been challenged. The challengers lost. And thanks to that line of caselaw the federal government is somehow allowed to control something (wheat, pot, etc) that is neither sold nor even crosses state lines. Because somehow “interstate commerce” somehow became “anything that could possibly effect interstate commerce.”

        • Hannibal,

          As far as I have seen, the basis of all court cases has been “stop the federal government from regulating interstate commerce because we don’t want the federal government meddling in our affairs”. Of course such cases are guaranteed to fail because the U.S. Constitution empowers the federal government to regulate interstate commerce.

          What the cases failed to do was point out the correct meaning of the key word “regulate”. When the framers wrote the Constitution, that word meant to make work well. It did not mean that the federal government can create all manner of what we think of in contemporary terms as “rules and regulations”.

          I am not sure if I am explaining it very well but I hope you get the idea. I guess the only other way that I can illustrate it is that the U.S. Constitution did not empower the federal government to create “red tape”. Rather, the U.S. Constitution empowered the federal government to eliminate “red tape”.

        • A court challenge based on the meaning of ‘regulate’ would be thrown out because a historically correct reading of the same word in the second amendment would make the National Guard argument even harder to support.

      • Totally agree. I hardly understand why not more people think like this. Especially, judges 🙂
        I reached the same conclusion just by reading the friggin’ document.

  4. We never did live in a Perry Mason world. That was hollywood. In the real world it’s simple, the Golden Rule. Them that has the gold, rules. The wealthy ran the courts and controlled the pols. For a brief moment the unions gave everyman a chance to be protected from those at the top. But the union bosses gave in to the temptation of power.

    So now, everyman is back to being at the mercy of the wealthy. Sh1t flows downhill and we live in the valley.

    As for our corrupt .gov. Whatever we replace it with will be corrupted also. It’s the nature of the beast.

    The only thing worse than a corrupt .gov(there is no other kind) is no .gov. Once we have no .gov then the strong arm madmen move in.

    • Sounds like there will always be a .gov, even if there is no .gov. After all, once those strong armed madmen such as myself move in, obviously we are going to take power, and all the shinies. Therefore, it will be just another corrupt .gov, only without all the pretense at being fair and balanced, and instead just openly and honestly beats the loot out of you. I’d almost prefer it as a refreshing change of pace.

      • Refreshing honesty indeed. Can I have a place in your cabinet? Or do I have to kill those already there? After all, you keep what you kill.

        • You’ll have to prove yourself. You want to become part of my inner circle, you must kill one of them with your bare hands, and eat their heart. Or just have, like, a small bite of it. He will, of course, be allowed to do the same to you to keep his position, and you will have to do the same to all who challenge your position.

          Of course, the truly clever ones are the ones who realize that such restrictive rules are stupid, and just shoot their opponent in the face. I respect such a thing, and will have to give you the position, as I suddenly have an opening with only one person asking for it.

      • Indeed, at least there will be lines drawn instead of a .gov that bullshits you “protecting” your interests.
        When the enemy is clear, the plan is simple. When you have to deal with FUD, you have to deal also with the meek that eat that shit.

  5. I still see the principal threat from the public health perspective. And not just for guns. But guns, in particular.

    It can be argued (in a “Butterfly Effect” way) that almost any activity in which an individual may engage, or personal decision they might make, can have an impact on their health and well-being. And, since the government now has (or will soon have) virtual control of public and private health, there is nothing out of the purview of government control.

    The Bill of Rights is canceled, not by statute or even POTUS ruling, but by regulation.

  6. Very good article. While Ron Paul could be interesting on some subjects, I always thought his idea of government incrementalism was spot on.

  7. There never was a Perry Mason world. Not if you were black,brown,yellow,Catholic or female. Raymond Burr’s homosexuality would too. Nope I don’t think the bad guys are brilliant either. Witness the last election. Civil uprisings have happened(like now) over events much more trivial than gun confiscation.

  8. Mandatory minimum sentences are the logical, if blunt and unwieldy, legislative response to lefty judges letting serious offenders walk with a slap on the wrist, especially if they happened to hail from an officially recognized victim demographic.

  9. My brother-in-law, who is partially paralyzed from a stroke, a diagnosed schizophrenic, and doesn’t soak English well, have a row to someone he did not know.
    When he dropped the guy off at the destination the car was swarmed by police. The house was being watched. Drug manufacturing was going on in the house and the guy he didn’t know was involved in drugs.
    The DA refused to believe anything my brother-in-law tried to say. The DA just assumed that he was just another Hispanic drug dealer. He threatened my brother-in-law with 25 years in prison if he didn’t take a plea deal. Then in court the DA trotted to get him 7 to 10 years even with the guilty plea. The DA didn’t give a s#i7 about facts or truth. He just wanted another notch in his belt.
    He just had his bias. And that was all. The fact the my brother-in-law was innocent and knew nothing was taken as a sign of being uncooperative. A total a-hole.

  10. “Along these lines, “universal background checks” are Trojan horse laws designed to
    move the legal process away from simple statutes concerning commerce. ”

    It always utterly amazes me when my fellow gun owners stand in front of the counter
    at Cabalas and submit to a NIC’s “check”. “Master…pretty please…can I can I…? The
    citizen does not ask what God given rights he/she happens to exercise at any given
    moment….the american serf never stops. You DO realize they can increase the
    reasons to decline your “permission” until NO guns are sold….or turn off NICs
    checks in certain regions.

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