In the past year or so I’ve read of high school kids being arrested for having a butter knife at school, a 12 year old handcuffed and detained for eating a french-fry on the DC subway, and 61 year old Kay Leinbrand arrested for letting her hedges grow too tall. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that none of these people intended to break the law, or even had an inkling of an idea that they were breaking the law.
“….there is no conveniently accessible, complete list o federal crimes.” reported the American Bar Association. There are over 4000 federal laws, and over 300,000 thousand federal regulations. Add to that countless state and local laws and it is impossible not to be “Ignorant of the Law.” You want to find out how bad it is, there is a new word for it; Overcriminalization.
Overcriminalization” describes the trend in America – and particularly in Congress – to use the criminal law to “solve” every problem, punish every mistake (instead of making proper use of civil penalties), and coerce Americans into conforming their behavior to satisfy social engineering objectives. Criminal law is supposed to be used to redress only that conduct which society thinks deserving of the greatest punishment and moral sanction.
But as a result of rampant overcriminalization, trivial conduct is now often punished as a crime. Many criminal laws make it possible for the government to convict a person even if he acted without criminal intent (i.e., mens rea). Sentences have skyrocketed, particularly at the federal level.
Less than 100 years ago to be be convicted of a crime the prosecution had to not only prove that you committed an criminal act, but that you had intent to commit an illegal act. A person had to be proven to have a “guilty mind.” That meant the accused could understand that the actions leading to arrest were wrong. This protected people from being arrested for simple mistakes. Now intent has no bearing.
Assume your loved one is off with their National Guard unit in the Middle East. And to show your support for your loved one you put a big plastic yellow ribbon around the oak tree in your front yard. Depending on where you live this may be a crime, and you may be fined, excessively for littering or endangering the tree, etc., regardless of the intent, purpose, or other relevant behavior.
According to Edwin Meese III, the former attorney general, “the average American, the average business person and the average corporation have little or no hope of knowing all of the thousands of criminal-law statutes -- and tens of thousands of criminal-law regulations -- by which they must abide in order to remain on the right side of the law.”
It got so bad here in Florida the government passed a law to force people to get a license to become an Interior Decorator.” Imagine having to pass a test, take hundreds of hours of approved classes, to tell people what color to paint a room and where to hang a picture, and that "Shag" carpeting is "In" again. Luckily a Florida judged ruled the practice to law to be unconstitutional. Laws like this don’t protect the consumer, but they do protect existing Interior Decorators from new competition. All this kind of law does is give to the government more power and increase prices.
Talk to any law enforcement officer and you’ll soon detect the “Us Vs. Them” mentality, they assume everybody is a criminal and have to prove they are not. Law enforcement is not your friend anymore. They can and will lie, cheat, and coerce to prove a person is guilty of something. Sense it is virtually impossible for you, or any business to actually follow all the laws we now have, it is vitally important that you protect yourself from the government. This video explains exactly why you should never under any circumstances talk to any government official. Watch the whole thing and play close attention to how the cop explains how he can and will trip you up.
Even Barney Frank recognizes that we no longer live in a Free society. I'll end with a very telling and compelling quote from the long standing senator. "Criminalizing choices . . . when the choices involved have no negative effect on the rights of others, is not appropriate in a free society."
– Barney Frank (2009)