Monday, July 11, 2011

Not Safe at Home

A man’s house is his castle, for where shall a man be safe if it be not in his house? ~ Sir Edward Coke, 1628
The story of the Oak Park woman who faces jail time for growing a garden in her front yard got me searching this morning for other examples of how the steel toe of government excess is stomping on people's rights even in their own home.

Other Evil Vegetable Gardens
Governments attacking home vegetable gardens appear to be a international phenomenon. In Georgia, a man was fined $5000 for growing too many vegetables in his yard. In British Columbia, Canada the government engaged in a crusade against indoor winter gardens, fining people $5200 for growing vegetables in their basements.

Wildflowers Lead to Arrest
A woman, Verna Gates, in Alabama let her natural wildflower garden get a little to natural for the tastes of some of her neighbors. Hers is not just some random weed patch. She is a renown botanist carefully tending rare plants native to her state.That doesn't matter to the local government. To them anything that isn't an English rose or lawn are weeds. So Verna was arrested for violating the weed abatement ordinance. The case went to trial in May, she won.

Utah Declares Desert Illegal
In Orem, a woman stopped watering her lawn because water was too expensive. She let the lawn revert to its natural state. In Utah, that would be desert. Police handcuffed the 70 year old woman and threw her in jail. The court ended up fining the woman $100 and placing her on six-months probation for refusing to water a lawn.

First Amendment Void in Kansas
In Valley Center, Kansas a man, Jarrod West, spent months trying to get his local government to do its duty and clear public drainage. Frustrated, Mr. West put up a sign in his yard asking the city to fix the problem. City Administrator Joel Pile saw the sign and acted promptly. He ordered the police to arrest and jail Mr. West pending a $10,000 bond. Pile stretched out the action right up to the trial date before dropping all charges. Of course, by then Mr. West had paid thousands of dollars in his defense.

Police Are Camera Shy
Things like this are happening all over the country. Police are beating the crap, or Tasering the crap, out of some poor, hapless nebbish. A curious bystander pulls out his cellphone to film the incident. The cops notice the bystander and turn their accumulated rage on him. If the bystander is lucky he won't have the crap beaten out of him, too, he'll just be arrested because in many states it is illegal to film an on-duty cop.

Figure you might be safe standing on your own property while filming a public street? Numb nut. If your think you're safe in your own home you deserve to have the crap beaten out of you.

Another thing that happens all the time is police raiding the wrong house. Sometimes they kill an innocent occupant. Sometimes they will just terrorize the children. No one is immune from being dragged out of their house in the middle of the night at gunpoint; not even judges. Will the police at least pay for damages when they make a mistake? Guess again. And they never learn from their mistakes.

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