Saturday, March 30, 2013

Presumption of Potential Guilt

From Khou.com:
CYPRESS, Texas — A mother got quite the scare after she saw a suspicious man in her children’s school parking lot.
“There’s no words to describe it,” said Sarah Atchison. “It’s the biggest nightmare of my life.”
Atchison said it started when she dropped her 2- and 4-year-olds…
“When I parked my car, I saw him just wringing his hands pacing looking very, very anxious,” recalled Atchison. “I didn’t know what to think of him.”
She rushed her children in and told the office staff. They ended up calling 911, pulled the children off the playground and went into lockdown.
I’m not even sure to start on this, it’s so ridiculous.  Seeing a suspicious guy in the parking lot is the biggest nightmare of your life?  Not knowing what to think of someone’s actions means that you should call the police?  What?    It’s obviously yet another episode of overreaction and paranoia occurring at school, and I’m half-tempted to start ranting on how homeschooling is best… but I’ll save that for another time.
Calling the police merely because someone is pacing about the parking lot and wringing his hands is something I don’t understand.  This guy had done nothing to harm the panicked mom or anyone else, and yet she presumed that he had some sort of sinister intentions and reacted accordingly.
Now, I could understand if she’d felt uncomfortable enough to leave, or perhaps to stick around until she was sure that everything was okay.  I’m glad that she was trying to protect her kids from any perceived threat, but unless I’m missing some vital piece of information, the school had no valid reason to call the police.
The episode didn’t end there, though…
… she looked out the window, noticed the man was now digging in his pockets and decided to call 911, too.
“There was a point where I was begging for the police to get there because they said, ‘Do you see any weapons?’ I said, ‘No. I don’t. I don’t know what he has on him,’” Atchison said.
Ahhh!  The “suspicious man” has POCKETS!  Somebody, save us!  Haven’t you heard, pockets are the latest in terrorist fashion!  The government must save us from such horrors, or we’ll all perish!

Okay, enough sarcasm.
In the end, the police arrived and found out that the “suspicious man” was actually just part of the new cleaning crew.  Oops.  False alarm.  Welcome to our school, sir.  Hope you enjoy working here.
This reminds me of the “See Something, Say Something” campaign.  You know, the one where you’re encouraged to be overly suspicious and call the authorities at the slightest provocation?

Presumption of innocence is supposed to be a guide of how we enforce our laws.  Unless someone is proved to be guilty of breaking the law, he is not to be punished.  Although this could result in a guilty person getting away with a crime, it protects the innocent from being unjustly punished.  As Blackstone stated, ”It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer“.  John Adams expounded further upon this:
 ”It is more important that innocence should be protected, than it is, that guilt be punished; for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world, that all of them cannot be punished…. when innocence itself, is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim, ‘it is immaterial to me whether I behave well or ill, for virtue itself is no security.’ And if such a sentiment as this were to take hold in the mind of the subject that would be the end of all security whatsoever”
This is not the mindset of today.
Instead of presuming our fellow American’s to be innocent of any crime, we are encouraged to suspect them of committing some crime – in fact, we’re even encouraged to presume that they are planning to commit a crime.  You’re photographing a bridge?  Why, you must be planning to blow it up!  You’re wearing a hoodie?  Terrorist!    Somebody, call the police!

Where is the injured party?  There is none.  Who has been harmed?  No one.  Why should the civil government get involved?  There is no reason for them to.  Without an injured party the civil government has no jurisdiction.
What has happened to our rights?  We are no longer allowed to go about our business with the liberty God gave us.  Instead, we are told that without the government breathing down our necks and constantly checking up on us, we will not be safe.
You mayn’t own that gun – you might end up murdering someone with it.
You shouldn’t teach your own children – you might not do a good enough job.
You’re not allowed to hunt, drive, marry, or sell things without our permission – we have to make sure that you’re capable of such things. (And unless you can prove to us that you are, you’re presumed to be incapable.)
We must cease from allowing the government to usurp our rights and act as if they are God.
 ”The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”  -4th Amendment

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Random Tidbits

I don’t have anything *really* important to write about right now… just a few random thoughts and scraps of information.   To give each thought its own individual post would be rather silly, so I’m just dumping it all together into a single post.
- I finally stopped procrastinating and added an email subscription option.  I’ve been planning to do this for a long time, but just never got around to it… once I started, it took me a while figure the whole process out, and I’m not totally sure that all the wrinkles have been ironed out…
Anyway, if you’re a daring type of person, you can head over to my sidebar and sign up.  And, no… I’m not going to send you any spam or anything, okay?  The subscription thingy is just connected to this blog’s RSS feed.  Spam is nasty, and should be replaced with bacon.  Or… something like that…
- Okay.  Bit of a rant, next.  Wearing pajama pants in public.  Seriously, people?  You can’t get dressed before going shopping?  It’s not as if I’m asking you to wear a hat and gloves to go to Walmart – I’m only requesting that you wear normal clothes.  Of course, that brings me to my next little rant…
- Today’s clothing fashions and trends.  C’mon, people – skinny jeans look ridiculous.  Why do people want to look like they’ve been vacuum-packed into their clothing?   Ugh.  And then there’s the whole ripping-multiple-holes-into-clothing-and-calling-it-chic trend.  Seriously, don’t give me a tutorial on how to make my shirt look as if it’s gone through a paper shredder, thankyouverymuch.
- There’s a chance of snow tonight.  Snow?  In Alabama?  In the middle of March?!  I’m rather shocked at this strange turn of events, but it does provide me with a good excuse for being cold and making myself a cup of tea… :D
- I’ve yet to figure out why coffee cans are designed in such a way as to make the last few teaspoons nearly impossible to get out.  Maybe I’m the only person who’s bothered by this, I don’t know.  But I can’t convince myself to throw even that small amount of coffee out, so I spend a ridiculous amount of time fighting the blithering coffee can in order to set that last teaspoon free…
- I’ve been going through old genealogical records and photos and such lately, and I’ve been amazed at how interesting it is.  I won’t bore you with dozens of photos or anything, just this one.  This is a photo of my grandma, and I’d love to figure out how to replicate her hairstyle.  Not because I’d want to wear my hair like this, really… but it’d be fun to know how.  Given the current length of my hair, though, I don’t think I’d be able to do this without getting a haircut… and since I don’t want a haircut right now…
Oh well.  Such is life.

- Wee little cucumber plants, the first of my seeds to sprout.  We shall see how long they last before I manage to inadvertently kill the poor little things…  (Kidding.  Hopefully.)

And now that I’ve stared at this for nearly a half of an hour, trying to figure out how to end it nicely and… failing… I’m just going to click “Publish”.  Hmph.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pop-Tarts and Pistols

A school in Baltimore recently suspended a 7-year-old student.  Their reason?  The kid (unintentionally, it seems) bit his Pop-Tart into a gun-like shape.
As if that wasn’t enough, the school then sent a letter home to parents which stated:
During breakfast this morning, one of our students used food to make inappropriate gestures that disrupted the class. While no physical threats were made and no one was  harmed, the student had to be removed from the classroom….
If your children express that they are troubled by today’s incident, please talk with them and help them share their feelings. Our school counselor is available to meet with any students who have the need to do so next week.
Obviously, we need to make sure that poor little Johnny wasn’t terribly traumatized by such a horrible incident.  A pop-tart gun?  Why, he could have ended up with jelly on his nose, poor baby!  What’s next, kids shooting rubber bands?  Waaah!  Send him to the counselor, pronto!
</sarcasm >

Seriously, people?  Seriously?!?  This is ridiculous!  Stop acting like guns (or gun-shaped objects, or replicas of guns, etc, etc…) are evil.
Guns don’t commit crimes, people do.  Making firearms illegal is not going to cause the lawless to suddenly behave themselves.  Making America into one big gun-free zone isn’t going to stop criminals from breaking the law.  People don’t commit crimes because of their surroundings, or simply because they are able to acquire weapons; people are commit crimes because they are sinful.
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one….
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
-Romans 3:9,10; 15-18
Yes, guns can be misused.  But then, so can knives, and keys, and forks, and your hands… and just about every object, ever.  The solution does not involve setting up a nanny state and hoping that big government treats us well – no, the solution is to teach people to fear God and to keep His commandments.