By Chris Bunton
Before I went to prison I felt that I had rights. But, as soon as I got arrested, and before I was even convicted, I started to learn that my rights were at the mercy of others, who interpreted those rights differently. Their interpretation always benefited the system, and never benefited me.
I learned that they will lie to you, but you better not lie to them. I learned that even though you have the right to remain silent and not be compelled to bear witness against yourself, it doesn’t mean they won’t try like hell to get you to do it. I learned that you have the right to bear arms, but as soon as you are charged they will try to strip those guns from you before you are even found guilty. And then, if you are found guilty of a felony you will lose the right to bear arms for life. I learned that “Innocent till proven guilty in a court of law” is actually interpreted as “innocent till proven guilty IN a court of law.” Meaning that the only place you’re considered innocent is within the four walls of a court room; if even there.
I learned that I have the right to not have excessive bail. But, that the definition of “excessive” is not determined by poor people, or even the average American. I learned that you have the right to a speedy trial, after you sit in jail for months. Then, after the prosecutor asks the judge for an extension, you will sit in jail for months more. You have the right to a jury, unless they coerce you into waiving your right to jury with promises that it will make the judge and prosecutor happy. You have the right to a trial, unless they compel you to plead guilty because they threaten you with decades in prison if you don’t plead, and promise you only a couple of years or probation, if you do.
I learned my rights during my divorce, when my word as a man was considered a lie, and I was treated as a criminal while only having the protections of a civil case. It’s where I was considered guilty simply at the word of a disgruntled ex. I was compelled to surrender all evidence of finances, as if I had any. I thought we were to be secure in our papers?
But, that is only for criminals. At least that is what they told me. I would like to see where it mentions a difference between criminal and civil in the Constitution. Where does it say in the Constitution that the burden of proof is different in a civil and criminal case. Does life and liberty not include finances? If you can go to jail for refusal to comply, doesn’t that make it criminal? Could I have an attorney appointed to me for free for that? Well, of course not. They can garnish your wages, lock you up for contempt, hound you in every aspect of your life, and make sure you cannot escape your “responsibility”. Millions of Americans have gone through this corrupt family court process, had children stolen from them, been reduced to poverty, and been driven to suicide or other acts of destruction, and nothing changes.
I could go on and on, but the point is that when I hear people telling me that the law or government, or bureaucrats, will protect my rights, or freedom, or privacy, I laugh, because if they won’t do it in the good times, they sure won’t do it in the bad times.
That brings us to the point, because folks will say, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”, and other such witty things. They seek to refuse sympathy to those who have their rights stripped from them, claiming they deserve it. These same people will wave flags claiming to support Liberty, and do not really understand it.
The problem is that those in power have always stripped freedom or rights from the people no one cares about. This allows the rulers to become experts at it long before they strip rights from the general population. Whether destroying liberty is intentional or planned, there is always a potential for a slippery slope.
Our country is based on individual liberty, which is why the Founders gave us a Republic, not a Democracy; we are not to bow down to Rulers, or Mob rule. If we allow rights to be stripped from criminals, or those we label as criminals, then what stops the rulers from making more and more laws, to create more criminals?
Freedom is scary. To be free, we must allow others to be free. We must take responsibility and stand up against real oppression, whether inside our minds or in the world around us. When we are free we might fail, we might fall, but that’s the thrill of life.
In prison everything was provided, everything was equal, and everything was controlled. After leaving prison, I can plainly see how the system that rules us greatly resembles a prison, and grows more prison-like by the day. More liberty is the answer to many of the problems in our society. Not all problems. Some things need direction from limited authority, as the Founders imply in the Constitution.
It’s way past time to wake up and turn back the clock. It’s time to spread freedom, before the door is shut forever.