Wednesday, December 22, 2004

2nd Amendment Woes

Here's a man in Washington State who, while driving down the highway, was stopped by the police for a traffic offense and was found to be carrying a weapon ... a pistol.

He was carrying it 'open', which is to say not concealed, and apparently that is legal in Washington.

But wait!
The gun was unloaded (necessary, it seems, for the gun to be unloaded under current Washington law ... I haven't looked it up yet). However, it was a semi-automatic pistol and he had a loaded magazine tucked between his legs.

When the police escallated the situation, he demanded his rights as a citizen and demanded that the presence of the weapon be ignored by the police.

Bad idea, they thought. So the police eventually took him to jail, took away his pistol, recorded some 'statements' from his wife which seemed to put him in a VERY bad light, and generally dealt him a world of legal hurt.

This story has been all over the Blog-o-sphere for the past week, and I've avoided commenting on it so far. I was wondering what would happen next?

Looking at later posts by FishOrMan, it appears that he feels entirely at the mercy of the courts, the Spokane DA, and fate. I note his comment:
"Please, treat my wife kindly. She is very special to me."

Pretty ugly, huh?

And later, after it appears that he may be a convicted felon and lose his 2nd amendment rights:

One more thing. In case any local goblin wants to rob, rape, steal and murder my wife and I, tonight might be your best chance.
What can you say?

Here's what I say:
(1) When you're on The Street, and the cops pull you over ... you can argue with them and demand your rights, or you can cooperate and hope to salvage as much as you can of your life. When you're carrying, it's not always enough to know your rights. If the cop who is shining his flashlight in your face isn't in a mood to agree with you, there are far too many ways for him to justify kicking your ass. Tomorrow is another day, and understanding that logic isn't going to get you home before dawn is just another factor in 'situational awareness'. Is this right? Probably not. But understanding reality is perhaps a Survival Factor.

(2) This poor SOB has made his stand, and has asserted his Civil Rights. Maybe someday, ten or twenty years from now, and if he has enough money (which he has not) to hire clever lawyers who will pursue the case, he may even be cleared of all criminal charges. Maybe even the civil charges (which have not yet been brought by the local authorities). For now, he's facing jail time, and bankruptcy because he needs to find and pay lawyers, and he is completely despondant about his ability to defend himself, his family, and his home. I thank him for providing a 'test case' which may someday expand the interpretation of the Second Amendment for the rest of us, but I sure wouldn't want to be in his shoes.

Love your country? Sure thing.

Trust your country? Think about it.

Your country is represented, on the streets, by a bunch of folks who may be reasonable men, but on the other hand they may be a pack of socially-disfunctional turds. It's Hobbe's choice, and if you choose wrong, you lose.

No, I don't like what I've just said any more than you do. But I don't know that the current political environment has anything better to offer.

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