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

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