What is more important to the definition of what it means to be an American: the Constitution as it was written in 1787-1792 (to include the First Ten Amendments) or the regulatory power of the state to arrest as many people as possible and throw them in jail on slim evidence of real wrongdoing to keep the (few) left outside “safe”—and more importantly, to support the power elite’s establishment?
A Louisiana Judge picked up on arguments in a brief Herbert Paul Bethel recently submitted up in Fresno County, California (last October) and handed down an opinion affirming THAT THERE IS NO RATIONAL BASIS TO DISCRIMINATE BETWEEN FIRST AND SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS, even as regards individuals released from penal custody after conviction of a “felony.” THE SECOND AMENDMENT THUS JUST WON A MAJOR VICTORY in the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court from the Honorable Judge Darryl Derbigny, who basically picked up on several key points in Bethel’s Brief:
(1) Once people convicted of a crime have served their time, there is no rational basis to deny them ANY further exercise of their full civil rights. This proposition is politically uncontroversial when it comes to the right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech, but many other rights of people convicted of “felonies” are curtailed, most notably the right to keep and bear arms.
(2) Judge Darryl Derbigny has now ruled, exactly as Herbert Paul Bethel argued in Fresno County, California last fall, that the United States Supreme Court’s opinion in MacDonald v. City of Chicago REQUIRES that Second Amendment Rights be given equal dignity with the First, Fourth, and Fifth, at the very least.
(2) The voters of Louisiana last Fall overwhelmingly endorsed a gun rights amendment to the Louisiana Constitution which enshrined the MacDonald v. Chicago holdings in State Law—but in so doing LOUISIANA LEADS THE WAY FOR THE REST OF THE NATION TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS IS IN FACT FUNCTIONALLY AS WELL AS STRUCTURALLY EQUAL TO ALL OTHER RIGHTS SECURED BY THE BILL OF RIGHTS.
(3) Louisiana Revised Statute 14;95.1, as of today, March 23, 2013, is a DEAD LETTER on the Louisiana Law Books. No free adult person may now be denied the right to keep and bear arms in this state—HURRAY FOR THE PEOPLE OF LOUISIANA! HURRAY FOR JUDGE DARRYL DERBIGNY!
I will be writing much more about this, but wanted to alert readers to the major groundswell that this decision may precipitate. It is almost unique in the History of Louisiana that this State has ever taken the lead in the PROTECTION of Civil Rights, and it certainly happens that the Civil Rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment are among the most sacred to all Conservative, Traditional Americans.
Some American Conservatives may be traumatized by this decision, because too many American Conservatives (I hate to say this, but it’s true) are unreflective hypocrites: they pledge their love of freedom, but they also love “security” and so (many, not all) “moderate” and “mainstream” Republicans (basically includes just about every single Republican in the Senate except Rand Paul and just about every single Republican in the House now that his Dad Ron has retired) would rather keep the prisons full, whether they are full of REAL criminals or not, and make “ex-cons” into permanent second-class citizens with regard to their lifelong disabilities in certain fields of life (most notably gun ownership).
On a pure “rational basis” standard, I suspect that felons who have served their time may be MORE in need of firearms for LEGITIMATE purposes of self-defense than the average American. Herbert Paul Bethel’s entire story in Fresno being a case in point….
What bothers me most is that so many Conservatives in this Country do not realize how unjust America’s laws have become, how ALL AMERICANS are potential “felons” within the meaning of a totally over-written, overbroad and vague set of criminal codes. And so many Americans who have yet to have a major brush with the law support the mass incarceration of their fellow citizens WITHOUT REGARD for the fact that too great a percentage of America’s HUGE incarcerated population have committed at best “commercial” crimes such as drug smuggling or sales, and that the constitutionality of regulating such things is, at best, “open to question” (some would say there is no constitutional basis for the “War on Drugs” whatsoever—and I am one of THOSE….)
In this connexion: STRIKE GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL from your list of Republicans you might consider supporting because he immediately spoke out AGAINST Judge Derbigny’s decision (and was lukewarm about the Constitutional initiative last year).