Something that should give you pause

A few months back, author James Peter Watts was arrested for “assaulting a federal officer” (a felony) at the border crossing between the US & Canada.  He was just found guilty of that felony “failure to comply with a lawful command” (still a felony).  His thoughts are here.

The important thing to take away from this, the thing that will have you cleaning guns & counting ammo is this:

Here at the Sarnia Best Western I don’t have the actual statute in front of me but it includes a lengthy grab-bag of actions, things like “assault”, “resist”, “impede”, “threaten”, “obstruct” — hell, “contradict” might be in there for all I know. And under “obstruct” is “failure to comply with a lawful order”, and it’s explicitly stated that violence on the part of the perp is not necessary for a conviction. Basically, everything from asking “Why?” right up to chain-saw attack falls under the same charge. And it’s all a felony.

When did we lose the right to question authority?

This entry was posted in Heroes, Comrades and Brothers, Order of the imperial upraised middle finger.. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Something that should give you pause

  1. eriko says:

    His name is actually Peter Watts. Very nice guy also. Rescues abandoned cats. I kid you not.

  2. Rivrdog says:

    Noted. the Great Un-Do, Phase One.

  3. Kurt P says:

    When did we lose the right to question authority?

    When those that told us to question authority became authority.

  4. Chris says:

    Those poor bastards. If they turn asking “why?” into a felony punishable by prison what stops any of us from reacting MORE violently?

    They (the powers that be) still don’t get it. The laws protect them, not us. And when we say “damn the laws, I’m doing what’s right” I pity those on the receiving end.

    You treat me like a criminal, don’t be surprised when I start acting like one.

  5. Grumpy Old Ham says:

    He sure should have a complaint about the jury. Did no one sitting in the jury box ever hear of “jury nullification”? They could have set him free *and* sent a message about the vagueness of the statute.

    Kurt P makes an excellent point. “Questioning Authority” was OK when the hippies had none; now that they’re at the controls, you’d better not question them. Hypocritical asshats.

    IANAL, nor do I play one on Al Gore’s Amazing Internet.

  6. From what I’ve come to understand (and someone should feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), judges and DAs have taken pains toselect juries and prepare jury instructions such that jury nullification is minimized or eliminated (i.e. choose juries that are very “law & order”, and prepare jury instructions that give the impression that a jury is not allowed to find for the defendant even if they disagree with the law).

    I don’t think a lot of people even know what jury nullification is.

  7. Ken says:

    No, you’re pretty much right, Mad Rocket Scientist. At minimum, judges are at great pains to instruct juries that they must judge only the facts, not the law, and anyone who even looks like they might know someone who knows what nullification is, they’ll be “thankened and excusematized.”

    Kurt P: You’re right too. But of course, now that the right people are in charge, what’s the hangup? Making the Nation of Men — the Rule of Man, which is to say the law of the jungle — has always been what it was about.

  8. eriko says:

    GRUMPY OLD HAM – The primary schmuck at the border had been on the job for 6 years. He did not magically turn into an asshole 14 months ago. It does not matter the particular person at the head of the system. It is the system it self that is the issue.

  9. Jeff H says:

    Another correction – assault was never among the charges. As Peter notes in the passage you quote, he was convicted under an extremely broad statute that it’s not accurate or helpful to characterize as “assault”.

  10. Joat says:

    Wait, “From the keyboard of a freshly-convicted felon…” shouldn’t they take his keyboard away, he’s a dangerous felon we can’t let him exercise his first amendment rights.

Comments are closed.