April 30, 2005
New tactics, new heroes!
Jeff Soyer (God bless him!) has sounded the alarm about a horrendous new piece of proposed legislation which would require ten year mandatory minimum sentences for anyone who so much as passes a joint to someone under eighteen:
As the Republicans continue to self-destruct and also continue the "war on drugs", along comes Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner who introduced a bill on April 6th that would impose mandatory federal sentences for even the most minor crimes. I heard about this tonight on the Rolley James show and actually dragged myself out of bed to blog about it.As if we didn't need more proof of the Molochian nature of the Drug War. These laws create a constituency of armed bureaucrats who love to imprison people for human appetite crimes, and demand constantly harsher sentences. More and more people are sent to prison, and more and more people are subject to prosecutorial blackmail. Why, the latter is even being cited as a reason to pass the law:
In a way sentencing guidelines cannot, mandatory minimum statutes provide a level of uniformity and predictability in sentencing. They deter certain types of criminal behavior determined by Congress to be sufficiently egregious as to merit harsh penalties by clearly forewarning the potential offender and the public at large of the minimum potential consequences of committing such an offense. And mandatory minimum sentences can also incapacitate dangerous offenders for long periods of time, thereby increasing public safety. Equally important, mandatory minimum sentences provide an indispensable tool for prosecutors, because they provide the strongest incentive to defendants to cooperate against the others who were involved in their criminal activity.Blah blah blah. Bureaucratese is bad enough, but there's something positively creepy about treating ten years of someone's life as a trading commodity to be bargained away through a legalized process of government extortion -- the goal of which is to replace a free country with a society of informants.
I realize that the hysteria surrounding what we call "children" is so impenetrable that some will continue to believe that any and all government abuses are justified, and I understand what a pain in the ass it is to read through mind-numbing legislation like this.
But please! Read on a moment more! (Especially those of you who "never get involved," and who think that because you'd never pass a joint to a teenager at a party that you're not affected.)
Kindly Congressman Sensenbrenner has not forgotten about you, the ordinary person, who might mistakenly attend a party where someone passes a joint to a teenager.
He's added a bonus!
If you see or even learn that someone handed the joint to a teenager, why, you'd now be required to become a rat! That's right, under this law, you'd have an affirmative duty to become an active government informant, or face a federal prison term of 2-10 years!
(m) FURTHER PROTECTION FOR CHILDREN.--Who even needs political hyperbole anymore? Possessory offenses are bad enough, but failing to be a narc?
Comrades! All hail Pavlik Morosov, Hero of the Culture War!
(Hey, maybe the legislation is just Congressman Sensenbrenner's way of engaging in satire . . . Gee, d'ya think so? I do so wish this could be comedy.)
posted by Eric on 04.30.05 at 04:41 PM
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