I am a police officer and used to work in a local jail. You made it sound like “cops” kick in doors and personally line their pockets.
First let me say that to have legalized alcoholic beverages and not marijuana is absolute hypocrisy. At least in my experience the negative impact of liquor on society is far more devastating than pot. Most of my calls for service involve booze.
Second, I do agree that constitutionally, a person has a right to put what every they want in their body. The problem comes when I start picking up the tab for their self destruction.
If we had a society that was pragmatic enough to leave OD victims to die, problem solved, but instead Medics are called to the same address, week after week, taking these self destructive folks to the hospital at a huge financial toll.
While you were in jail did you ask any of those innocent 19 and 20 year olds, that were there with you if they were on disability for their drug dependence. I have, when I worked in jail, more than could be numbered! 20 and disabled, drawing social security. Who is picking up the tab for that? Society is going to pay for it one way or another.
By the way, here in Ohio, possession of small amounts, and I mean an ounce (a lot) is a ticket, you can’t go to jail for that. No one is in jail for having a joint in their pocket. Since 1990,I have been involved in maybe 3 seizure cases! All were big time dealers. Meth and crack and heroin are all very destructive. If no one has to pick up the tab, let em have it, but we will end up with the tab, and raising their illegitimate kids too.
Oh, thank you for saying exactly what is in my mind. All I can add is that I hope you reach many, many more people.
I asked a neighbor once,”How many laws are enough? When do the elected ones finally throw up their hands and declare the job done? How heavy a burden of legislation must we carry in our lives ’til they’re satisfied that we’re protected from our own follies sufficiently?” The neighbor had no answer.
You state “What, on paper, would appear to be the freest society in the world appears, in practice, to be among the most oppressive. Does this bother anyone besides me?”
I would like to agree with you. It bothers me for two reasons. And not the reasons you might think. You see I’m not American though I have been visiting the USA for 20 years or so for vacation and business so have the perspective of an outsider.
The two reasons are that (i) the people in the US seem to be oblivious to the inexorable legalistic technocracy that the nation is becoming and (ii) since US culture is globally influential through media and multi-national businesses there is a creeping legalism in countries where common sense normally prevails.
Over the years when I have left the US to head home to the UK, I have felt that I was leaving a police state for the land of the free…a slight exaggeration to make the point, but not far off. I have felt that common sense is disappearing from the US social life and being replaced by laws, To take 2 very simple examples which should be considered just as examples of a wider point not as important cases in themselves…In the UK there are no laws against jaywalking (except on Freeways) …you will not be booked for crossing a road when the man is on red. The lights are to advise adults when it is safe to cross rather than treating people as children to be caught for being naughty. You will not be booked for failing to give your seat at the front of the bus to an elderly or pregnant person, but will culturally know that it is something you should do. And signs will encourage everyone to give their seats to people not able to stand rather than indicating a fine if you don’t. There is no need for laws to punish offenders because children are taught acceptable behaviour from a young age.
I try to understand why the US needs to regulate the social world through so many laws. I can only conclude that it is because (i) there is no universal cultural model that acts as a common sense norm set of behaviours (ii) it is a fundamentally legalistic rather than common-sense based country…adversarial rather than collaborative.
Nevertheless the impression I have when visiting the US is that (i) really, it is the least free country I regularly visit (I now work in Australia and spend a lot of time in Asia and Europe too) (ii) people are told/brainwashed that the US is the land of the free (iii) things are getting worse. The most insidious part is point (ii). It is an example of American Exceptionalism. Which is to say that since the US is the biggest economy in the world there is a natural extension to “the US is the best in the world….at everything”. Though the US certainly is the best at some things, I would argue that most of these are in the economic sphere rather than in the social and that the US is walking zombie-like down a de-humanising path of over-regulated social and cultural life. I hope the US wakes up to this because of the influence it has outside of its shores.
I cannot begin to tell you how I am feeling after finding your article (The Informed Juror, Issue No. 82).
I’ve been a court reporter for 34 years and have felt sick about it for 34 years.
I’ve ostracized my reporter colleagues as I am the only one who is sensitive to defendant rights and have always found the jury system as it exists today to be fraught with deception and trickery.
I see prosecutors and courts in a conspiracy to deprive Americans of their rights in today’s system of meting out justice in order to fill the already overflowing private/public prisons with free labor for rich and powerful corporations and to “get rid of” people who are not white and not wealthy.
I feel sick when I see a jury given scant evidence, untruthful evidence, and the jury returns with a guilty verdict because of it.
I feel sick when I juries are given absurdly written, incomprehensible, idiotic jury instructions read at a pace so fast many times the words are misheard.
It’s ghastly that juries are not allowed to take the written instructions, as incomprehensible as they may be, back to the jury room.
Juries are always prohibited from having the evidence in the jury room.
Juries are so unaware that they are being hoodwinked from the get-go. Every time a recess is called, all manner of proceedings take place on the record out of the presence of the jury so that the jury deliberates the case never knowing the phenomenal amount of evidence they didn’t get to hear.
In every trial I ever reported, the jury is told they must return a verdict of guilty if they find so and so, even though they do not agree with the law.
Juries don’t understand that once they pronounce the defendant guilty a sentence is then passed by a court that more than likely has a prosecutorial background and prosecutorial leanings. They don’t understand that lobbyists in the country representing rich and powerful corporations lobby the courts for severe, stiff, long, harsh, inhumane sentences and that it is likely that the defendant they find guilty will serve such a sentence.
On and on and on and on.
And the statement by the court I hate to hear the most is, “Members of the jury, our systems is not perfect, but it is the best in the world.”
It’s not the best in the world. It’s by far one of the worst.
The U.S. has more prisoners than any other country in the world.
The U.S. still has the death penalty.
A jury of one’s peers in America is a very scary proposition in this time in the world. I dare say very, very few Americans are my peers.
I found your article while in search of the very information I was looking for for an article I am putting together called “The Enlightened Juror – Serving on a criminal jury in the U.S.” I had no idea that what I have been intuiting all of these many years actually existed until now.
I am writing the article as part of a support group for Jose Barco, railroaded by the Colorado Springs Police Department into one of the “Filthy Four” courts in Colorado, El Paso County, Judge Larry Schwartz. He was given a 52 year sentence that he is presently serving in the BVCF in Colorado. He’s 24 and won’t be eligible for parole until he is 56 years old.
The jury filed an affidavit with the court immediately after their deliberations stating their confusion about the instructions given and that two of the jurors demanded to leave so they could return to work the next day. The prosecutor manipulated the facts in closing and through state’s witnesses who should be charged with perjury.
You can learn about Jose at www.veteransresourceforjustice.org or going to Frontline’s “The Wounded Platoon” where his story is chronicled.
I have attended a few so I know what he was experiencing. I think the whole idea is one we all should share, not just the shooting but the history that the instructors teach. Yes I have shot a rilfeman score and am proud to do so. It took a couple trips to the line but well worth it.
Appleseeds are a great way to make new friends and learn a little more of that day in 1775 when our country was born.
It is very sad to see our great country in the ruins that it is in now, and from what I have seen from other people; there is no way to fix it. People don’t care; they truly are sheeple.
Finding like-minded people to associate with is rare and you have to be careful that you are not being watched, although I know we all are. There will be a day when we will no longer be welcome to state our opinions and will be thrown into prison or exterminated because of what we think or believe. I do believe it is not far away. Especially under the ruling of the “czars!”
I’m 61 & have been watching this once great country begin to fall apart since …well probably since Eisenhower warned the country about the military/industrial complex 50 years ago. Seems like that was the beginning of the end…at least it seems that’s about when the destruction of the country began in earnest.
Guys our age have seen the best years of the U.S. I have a son & daughter ages 30 & 32 & a grandkid….am scared as hell for them & their generation. Son has some sense, girl is liberal as hell.
Wife & I can probably survive ok here in rural upper Midwest…gardens, firewood, water, meat. & spend little.
The U.S. Constitution? What did Dubya call it ? “nothing but a G– Damn piece of paper”. And today…in practice…that’s what it is. Can’t believe I just wrote that.
We do need to be strong & keep up the fight, Dave.
I am always thankful for the arrival of BHM. I believe the magazine is an excellent example of how people can live together, live more fully and more free.
I always enjoy reading Mr. Silveira’s articles because of his depth of knowledge and willingness to say what he feels. I don’t always agree with him though, and must take exception to his use of Plaxico Burress as a good example of a right-to-carry case. Mr. Burress was carrying a locked and loaded firearm in an unsafe manner. He endangered everyone around him by doing so. It is only luck that he and not an innocent bystander was shot.
I’m in favor of concealed carry without restriction generally, but am willing to grant that some mandatory training and qualification could be a good thing. Carrying in an unsafe manner should be a punishable offense, regardless of whether he was carrying legally.
It is this case specifically that makes it harder and harder for gun rights defenders to get their points across. Your magazine is a first rate source of gun information. I believe this article, while communicating many good points, went wide of the mark in citing this example.
Very good exposition. I’d like to add that there is an ongoing effort to educate Americans of their perfect right to judge the law and the facts in every trial by jury.
I’m proud to say that I got the Jury Rights plank into the Libertarian Party platform at LP10, Denver, 1981, from the floor in open convention. I was a lot younger, and hot from reading Lysander Spooner’s “Trial By Jury.”
In 1987 Larry Dodge and Don Doig, then of Montana, were reading the 1982 LP platform and decided to take it out of one Party’s province and make it a public issue.
After listening to a local radio morning show discussion involving the indoctrination of public school children by our latest president I was left feeling drained and disillusioned with the state of our nation. For many years I’ve known something was wrong in America. I was raised as many of us were. Watching the glorious feats of the one off free nation that never was before and always would be.
I was positive of the greatness of a nation. As I have grown older, learned, read, thought and seen; There is something wrong with our system. I grew up extremely poor, impoverished even. Many nights we went without food, in these United States. Even so, I had faith in the natural rights granted to Americans. Slowly though, it waned as the youthful imaginings were jolted by the brutal realities of our situation.
Needless to say, it is an illusion. So many times in my life I have been presented the opportunity to “Do the right thing,” And, have. I have been honest johnny, I have been even Stephen. I have worked and paid and fought to be a good person. Literally from the depths of homelessness, I have rebuilt my life. I have worked any honest job a man can work and I have not tasted that forbidden fruit. Yet, I am at best lower-middle class. I manage paycheck to paycheck and work like that simpleton on a treadmill chasing the pot of gold that never comes.
Now, beyond those physical labor and minimum wage pains, I am still in the cogs of a giant machine turning with absolute [intent] to enslave. I am angry and irrational, often blaming politicians and the idiocy of my fellow citizens. Sure, I’ve learned to play within the rules. I’ve managed to color within the lines and “Yes’sa,” “No’sa” through a corporate society. For a kid who grew up in Los Angeles dirt poor and never finished High School, I am through pain and persistence struggling upward.
But, it still lingers, that knowing, that understanding of the absolute obscured nature of my goals. The distaste of the sweet fruit of life in the eyes of the greater picture. When I see a man on television proclaiming he will be different, crested by his brilliant star spangled button, I taste that concoction of poison drenched in sugar. And still, I blame politicians, shadow masters with unlimited power, time, influence and money. I am apathetic in the hopelessness. That is, until I searched Google for the only thing I could think to call this situation: “The American Dictatorship.”
How apt, succinct, honest and sad I found it. The eloquence of the piece was quite frankly refreshing, disheartening and alarming. I know that is a rather odd compliment, but, I assure you it is true. This article struck a nerve of unwavering truth. And so, I have written you to thank you for stating it as such. Also, to let you know, despite my apathy in regards to our system and the extreme disbelief in any real, meaningful change in our country. I will try, honestly try to be “The people” again. I will not let the feeling of utter helplessness against the idiocy of my peers and the massive size of the machine prevent me from getting started. If you can write, I can write and call and sing and kick and scream and no longer be a bystander to the rape of the inherent rights of humans.
I would also like to point out that I have loathed the loud mouthed opinionated political persons and as such, it will be difficult for me to begin on this path, however, it must be done. I thank you.
Well, in spite of some letters I have seen from time to time complaining about the “political” views expressed in Backwoods Home, it seems that you guys were right on in your series about the coming dictatorship.
In the article it was noted that we had set the economy up as a fascist system – well – now the government control’s the banks, the auto industry and the administration has simply done away with the congress by appointing “czars” who can act without congressional supervision, and by claiming executive privilege can refuse to testify and explain their actions to congress.
However, I’m not sure that makes a difference. Our congress is the best that money can buy (and they have been bought) so we see the spectacle of the house voting for huge spending bills they haven’t read, and allowing the president to fire people in private industry, because of his wisdom and vast experience in business.
I am not sure where our government found the “right” to interfere in our every day lives – it seems that we had perfectly adequate bankruptcy laws.
Self sufficiency seems to be a lot more important now that we have decided equality of outcome is more important than equality of opportunity.
Your article was of great interest to me and I wish more people would have that attitude in their heads to just say no to all this nonsense.
However, you and I are approaching this “federal” problem from two different points of view and I’m hoping that you will give some thought to my approach because from reading your article, it appears that you believe that the Constitution is alive and well but just being violated.
When honest weights and measures (gold and silver) were removed from our monetary system the Constitution was replaced by Maritime Law. We are no longer under the Law of the Land; we are under Maritime Law which deals with Treaties, Contracts and Trusts. How does one know this? Because to be under the Constitution, the Law of the Land, there would be many, many people in jail for treason at this time. When we contract to various activities/benefits with the ‘federal” government by our signature, we give them credence for their unlawful activities and put ourselves under their thumb. Take the Constitution into any court today for your defense and you will one of two remarks from the Judge. He will either tell you that you may not bring the constitution into his court or he will say GUILTY, because you never argued the point of “show me the contract that I signed that gives you jurisdiction over me”.
Instead of just saying NO, let us stop signing our lives away to them and after withholding our signatures from licenses, contracts, etc., we will no longer be giving them “federal” jurisdiction over our lives. It’s time to get back to the States and let this “federal” nonsense disintegrate into the very small place of power they were given originally.
I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written, but Just Say NO can just as easily apply to “licensing, contracts, etc.” as it does to anything else.
So rather than two different points of view, we merely wrote about two aspects of the same view.
I subscribe to your magazine and look forward to each issue. I especially enjoyed the most recent article on the Coming Dictatorship. I agree with you, and that is why I am deeply concerned about the future of our country.
There is a huge machine (U.S. Government) that is out of control. This machine is consuming everything in its path, but mostly it is consuming and wasting our hard earned tax dollars, and borrowed money (T-Bills, etc.). I fear for my children and grand children. They most definitely will not spend their lives in the same country you and I grew up in.
I’ve been thinking about how to bring this machine to a halt, non-violently, before it is too late. The machine runs on a lot of tax dollars. Without those tax dollars it would be slowed down, and maybe stopped. Would it work to organize as many people and companies as possible to quit sending tax dollars to D.C.? This might be a really bad idea, but something along these lines must be done.
People in other countries hold worker layouts and strikes to cripple a country for a short period of time. Sometimes it works. Do you think it would work here?
What if truckers shut down their rigs for 24, 48 or 72 hours? Think what that would do, especially if the trucks going into Washington D..C. did this. We the People have the power to bring this machine down if we organize. My guess is that would be the problem. Getting enough Americans to agree to stay home would be very difficult.
I hope I don’t sound desperate. I want the best for our country and all of those that will have to live in it. I don’t really think of myself, only my family. I do not want to exclude anyone, harm anyone or discriminate against anyone either. I realize not everyone will agree with what I have said here. All I know is that those who were elected to represent me are not representing me. They are completely disconnected. I can only imagine who really controls this country now.
By the way, I am a military veteran, and I took an oath to uphold the Constitution and defend it from enemies both foreign and domestic, and I will do so. I am afraid there are those Americans who also took similar oaths who will not do what they swore to do. I just wanted to share with you that I recently found an organization called OATHKEEPERS.org. I think this is a step in the right direction, if this is a legitimate organization.
Thank you for listening to me, and thank you for your magazine.
While I don’t think the act will ever fly in the U.S.A. It is alarming. But there is much food for thought in the effort.
We North Americans, U.S and Canada, are among the very few nations that use the Boxer primer in our ammo. The central flash hole in the cartridges makes it easy to punch the spent primer out and simple to reload the cartridge. Most countries use the Berdan primer with three off center flash holes, making it very difficult to remove the spent primer and reload the cartridge case. I believe this was intentional to prevent their people from reloading ammunition. Think about who uses which type of primer and their form of government and the truth will slowly sink in.
Here we should give thanks that our “Commie sit down to pee pen raised rabbit liberals” do not understand firearms or ammunition. The technology to serial number all ammo and I.D. Fired cases to the gun they were fired in does not exist and the bureaucracy to do so would be enormous and ultimately be a failure. BUT! A Federally mandated switch to Berdan primers would render all of our ammunition un-reloadable. I think an attempt to do this is coming “As sure as God made little green apples!” Let’s stay alert for the attempt!
Ex Captain, 5Th Special Forces, Viet Nam
The [linked] article by Mr. John Silveira is woefully out of date. Leaving the article in its current state only adds to the misinformation, panic, and stridency generally found on the internet and in mass emailings of dire warnings regarding our personal liberties. The Ammunition Accountability Act, in every form and everywhere introduced, failed. It was never brought to a vote in any of the 18 states in which something of this nature was introduced, either dying in committee, dying due to no action taken, or even having been withdrawn. Though the tools of research and verification are at the fingertips of anyone possessing a computer and who could read the article at the above link, the tendency all too often is to immediately post such misinformation to everybody they know, distributing concern, unease, and panic, while contributing nothing constructive. There is no current threat from the Ammunition Accountability Act or anything resembling it anywhere in the Union.
As a matter of service to your readers, the author might compose a follow-up article, updating the fate of the bill in each of the states, or even just a paragraph denoting that the bills are currently a dead issue. Perhaps your editorial staff would undertake the project. Will it/they resurface? It is likely, even probable. And that would be the time to update once again, inform and motivate the reading/shooting public to the new threat. Letting old, inaccurate, outdated information stand serves no good purpose, informs no one, and only leads to useless spam, and frankly, de-sensitization of the reading/shooting public to real, clear, and present threats to our liberties and the 2nd Amendment.
John L. Corstorphine, Jr.
Thanks for calling that to our attention. The author just added to the article a couple of paragraphs updating the current status.
However, that piece was published in 2002 and in the seven years since then, things have gotten worse for those who believe in personal freedom and personal responsibility.
Perhaps now that the major media has finally realized their half-century-long dream of partnering with committed socialists in the White House and leading both houses of Congress, the masses you speak of will wake up one day to find an America that is far different than the utopia they were promised…and then do something about it.
But honestly, Randy, I’m not betting the house on it. There’s just too darn much for them to watch on TV.
I enjoyed your article a great deal and your conclusions about the Constitution not authorizing the current governmental train wreck are spot on.
But you failed to mention some small but important items — that officialdumb possesses far more ordinance than the entire populace combined.
All of the mice agree that the cat needs a bell…but who is going to tie it on him?
You might consider some remedy thoughts in an article some time. At some point the opposition strategies will devolve to confrontation. If that is to be non-civil war then strategies must be developed ahead of time that avoid violence. A very tall order since officialdumb is fond of violence.
Pulling all money out of banks and closing accounts en masse would cut the most tender flesh on the statists. Or a state banking system such as North Dakotas. (They have $1.5 billion in surplus state budget funds. Who else has that?) So would going to barter systems. So would pulling kids out of public schools. And of course, states rights laws which actually have teeth would make great tools. there many options, but all require citizen cohesion.
I have spent decades on this line of thought. It is fairly easy to create chaos that leads to civil war that leads to some Stalin character that rules for 80 years to ruin. It is far more difficult to stage non-violent opposition that wears down the elites to the point of departure so that statesmen can take office. Jesus said, “Consider the unrighteous judge…” A great plan. Elites love the best seats at the feasts, greetings in the market and titles. That is why they want the office. Booing and rotten tomatoes and disrespect make them pout and go home. Look at the current Town Hall Meetings and the reaction of the bloated toads.
You write well. Perhaps you could tell us all how to do things that work without our homes being burned to the ground by the New World Order troops. My great concern is that without such plans, the end result will be just that, only an iron fisted dictator will hold the power.
Just found the BWH website and read 2 of your articles; one on the bailout and one on the Bill Of Rights. Just the kind of stuff I’ve been looking for; easy to understand, concise articles on issues important to people who care about the direction this country is going.