Making Criminals out of You and Me 
     American government at all levels (local, state and federal) are creating criminals out of thin air. They are filling prisons with citizens; and justifying their clamorous need for more of our money by defining our normal actions as "crimes", thereby making criminals out of ordinary people. There is a gap between what is regarded as right and wrong by ordinary people, and what is arbitrarily defined as crime by statute. Let me make one thing clear to you from the beginning: law has its origins in the customs of the people. For example, it is customary to regard the killing of another person, except in extreme self defense, as wrong. This has been "codified" as law. It is also customary in a large percentage of society, for instance, to regard sex between teenagers as normal. This custom, or "common law", is ignored by modern courts, who only pay attention to laws passed by legislators who are out of touch with the society they live in, or give lip service to Christian chastity while behaving just like everyone else.  
     Let's take a random sampling of things ordinary people like to do (supposedly protected as "pursuit of happiness") that have been made illegal by legislatures: 
     1) Alcohol. Why is it legal to drive your car to a bar, and legal for the bartender to serve you multiple drinks, when it's not legal for you to drive away afterwards? Excuse me, but that smacks of entrapment! I have personally been followed from a bar by a police car that was waiting in front for people to leave the bar (this happened in Sierra Madre, CA). Luckily, I passed the field sobriety test. Some of my friends haven't been so lucky. The only VALID issue in regards to drinking and driving is whether you are too drunk to drive without endangering yourself and others. Not whether you have a beer in your hand, or empties on the floorboards; nor an absurd percentage of alcohol content in the blood either! Here in California .08% gets you busted and that's simply insane! That's not drunk, that's barely buzzed! Open container? Irrelevant. Empty bottles in the back seat? An excuse to make a criminal out of someone who hasn't hurt a soul and isnt in fact endangering anyone. We have the right, taken away from us by prissy, mealy-mouthed legislators, to drink and drive afterwards, so long as we aren't seriously trashed. We should be able to legally drink WHILE driving, too! The only real issue is whether we constitute a danger to ourselves and others. A slightly intoxicated driver is no more dangerous than some wheeling-dealing yuppie who's driving down the highway with more attention on his cellphone conversation than the road; no more dangerous than some dried up geriatric with bad eyesight, slow reflexes and an Alzheimer's addled mind. Less, probably. But the prissy puritans have singled out alcohol for punishment, quoting volumes of statistics to justify their abuse. Pardon me for being a cynic, but I don't trust those statistics. For instance, how many of the drunk driving related accidents took place during the day and how many at night, especially between the hours of 2 AM to 6 AM? I'll bet most of them took place late at night. How much of the slowed reactions and bad judgement by the "guilty" drivers was caused by alcohol, and how much by being sleepy? Have any unbiased researchers checked into that possibility? In any case the law goes way overboard in punishing people for crimes of manslaughter and property damage that they haven't even committed yet. Perhaps they could get better "protection" for citizens (much of government boils down to little more than a mafiaesque protection racket) if they gave drivers "field alertness tests", and carted off to jail anyone who was sleepy. I can see the new catchphrases now: Yawning Drivers Kill. Don't Sleep and Drive. (This latter suggestion is sarcasm.) 
     Here in L.A. I can't even walk down the street with a beer in my hand without risking a ticket. Yet to do so harms no one. I can only guess that the puritanically insane regard alcohol as something "dirty", like the way they see sex, that must be done quickly and secretly behind closed doors, if it is done at all. Flashing a beer on the street is equivalent to unzipping and waving genitalia around in the air, eh? Some innocent little girl might see that beer and be emotionally scarred for life! 
     And with the puritan presumption that alcohol is evil comes the laws that "protect" children from it. (sarcastically) God forbid that some teenager should drink a beer, he would grow up to be an alcoholic bum on the street, eh? Isnít that the (ir)rationale? A friend from Torrance lived for a time in a small village in Germany. She told me that kids 16 and over can legally drink in Germany in supervised clubs. And we all know what an uncivilized, unindustrialized backwater Germany is. Not. So what we do here in the US instead is "protect" them from alcohol. But of course our juveniles drink anyway, which disobedience helps increase their disrespect for laws and the police that harass them in enforcing the law, which in turn leads to breaking more laws later. As any kid in LA knows, especially the blacks and latins, the police are the Enemy. You don't need to look any further for the causes of widespread crime by people in their teens and twenties than the way the police fuck with them for being normal. 
     2) Drugs. Actually alcohol is a drug, too, a semilegal one. But with the street drugs that are totally illegal to own or use, the harassment by government has reach biblical proportions. And all in vain. It doesn't matter whether you are for or against drug use (I'm mostly against it, but support your right to disagree.) it is obvious that the War on Drugs is a flat failure, and has turned into a combination circus, money pit and war against American citizens. Legalize them fuckers NOW! No matter how much the police harass people for using, selling and making drugs, they are not going to stop. Many people want to use drugs. That's a fact. Economics shows that wherever there is a demand for something, then someone will be willing to supply the desired commodity in exchange for money. This is a fact of economics that every Republican and the non-commie Democrats know and support, but selectively, turning a blind eye when it comes to commodities that they object to on puritanical Christian moral grounds. As a result we have prisons filled to overflowing with citizens who have been convicted of drug-related offenses. Imagine how much money we could save as taxpayers if we quit enforcing drug laws and let all of the folks convicted of drug offenses out of jail! Billions! We could probably afford (if we wished) to set up public detox clinics everywhere at half the price, for the use of anyone who wants to clean up. Instead we are taxed into poverty to pay for a multitude of irrelevant government services, including the War on Drugs, which is actually a war against a large fraction of the American people. The bottom line is that you own your body, the government does not. You have the right to pursue happiness by putting whatever you want into it, without fear of going to jail. (flatly) The drug laws are wrong! 
     3) Sex. I have read that figures from the National Survey of Family Growth (Whoever the fuck they are. Keep in mind that I don't trust statistics and  people who compile them for their own purposes, but this seems to be simple survey results.) indicate that nearly 1/4 of the women surveyed had sex before they were 15 years, 16 1/2% more had sex before 16 years, and the same for before 17 years. That works out to something like 57% of teenage women having sex before their "legal age of consent", which means they were statutory raped (The guys are often too young to have given legal consent also, setting up the insane situation of two teenagers having technically raped each other!). That is ridiculous. These young women have the right to control their own bodies and choose to have sex, and it is a clear majority of them that are choosing to do so. Their older boyfriends are risking prison sentences and becoming registered sex offenders for the rest of their lives, just by doing what is normal, natural and fun. The very LEAST that legislators should do is drop the age of consent to around 14 or 15 and allow them to be with guys up to 3 years older. Similar to the California drunk definition of point oh eight, the laws intended to protect children from being sexually exploited by adults have gone too damned far. 
     4) Tobacco. Actually this is another drug that's semilegal like alcohol. It's at the harassment/abuse stage at the moment with such crap as you can't smoke here, there, anywhere they say you can't. It's a deliberate campaign to make social outcasts out of smokers. Attempts are currently underway to break the tobacco companies financially with lawsuits. Prediction: looming on the horizon is criminalization of tobacco use. Can you say Schedule 1 controlled substance, Billy? 
     5) Auto insurance. The lobbyists for the insurance companies pulled off a major coup for their employers: mandatory insurance. Remember that "anything not forbidden is mandatory" (T.H. White)! The laws in this state say that if you drive a car and are not insured, you pay a hefty fine. And if you don't pay the fine, you go to jail. That's really clever. If someone is too poor to afford car insurance, how can they afford to pay the fine that's about 50% more than a year's insurance? What is this: "Drive a Car, Go to Jail"? I guess it is still illegal to be poor. 
     6) Guns. For years a subtle campaign has been underway to disarm the American people. And a major fraction of voters are stupid enough to believe the propaganda. Didn't anyone ever warn you against trusting authority? Yeah? Then why believe them on the subject of firearms? Let me tell you what is true: we will never have an overt dictatorship over us so long as we possess the means to fight back against an oppressive government. Sure, assholes use guns to rob, terrorize and kill the innocent. But the alternative is to be defenseless. When the demonstrators were swept away by the Chinese Red Army in Tianamen Square they were helpless. If the U.S. Army were to do the same thing to thousands of demonstrators in this country the reaction would be deadly violence. Those dead Chinese demonstrators had relatives who were outraged and enraged, but they were unarmed. Here if the same thing had happened there would be many dead soldiers and such heavy resistance that the government would fall. And that keeps the government (mostly) in line. The BATF assault on a small religious group initially failed because the Branch Davidians shot back. I do not condone the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, but it is a perfect example on a SMALL SCALE of the sort of resistance an oppressive U. S. government faces in reaction when it gets out of line. 
     That's why they are afraid of us owning rifles. That's why they are afraid of us knowing how to build bombs. It is disgusting that the moron major media are cooperating with the campaign by a large fraction of government officials to disarm the American people. The hue and cry to find and destroy "militias", demonizing them as wild fringe crazies is a direct assault on the intention of the 2nd Amendment. And most of you believe the major media and the "concerned" government when they finger these groups as a threat to ordinary people. They are lying to you. They aren't afraid for you. They are afraid for themselves, because they would be targeted by such groups, correctly, as the enemies of all Americans. 
     Guns are a tradition of the common people in this country. They are a pleasure that none of the shrill urban liberals out there are going to understand, but for the rest of you: there is a great deal of joy in going out into the woods, desert or to the firing range and clearing the throats of a few firearms. And so long as no one is being hurt, then it's none of the government's business how many or what type of firearms and ammunition we own. Gun collectors, harmless hobbyists for the most part, are being harassed and their collections redefined as "arsenals", conjuring wild visions of row upon row of machine guns ready to begin a war in the streets. And when the "arsenal" of some collector who has been arrested for fighting with his wife has been confiscated and catalogued, the media finds that almost no two guns in the collection are alike, and the originally trumpeted "assault rifles" include rimfire .22s, shotguns with bird hunting chokes on them and other similar non-assault weapons. 
     So don't support the fight against armed robberies by trying to disarm the Korean guy who owns the corner liquor store. Don't support the struggle against gang drivebys by taking handguns away from family men. Don't support the police's problem with heavily armed bankrobbers by taking semiautomatic (Assault! Assault! Assault!) rifles away from homeowners. Don't try to disarm everyone in your horror and revulsion toward murder -- disarm the murderers. Or better yet, defuse them. Think of how few gang firefights there would be if they weren't fighting over drug selling turf (see above). When alcohol was made illegal in this country (Prohibition), the rum-running gangs shot up the damned country! And when alcohol was legal again, the shooting slowly went away. The Mafia doesn't do too much killing anymore because it's bad for their business. But if it became necessary again because they were competing for large scale smuggling turf, then they would be shooting each other just like during the 20's. Guns aren't the problem. We need guns, to keep the BATF, FBI and all the rest of the federal alphabet soup from killing us arbitrarily. The real problem is too many laws making too many citizens into criminals. 
     We need to decriminalize all the things that normal people enjoy doing. Drinking. Fucking. Smoking. Getting buzzed. Driving. Plinking at defenseless tin cans. Or subsistence hunting "out of season." Owning the means to defend ourselves helps preserve those pleasures from arbitrary curtailment by loose-cannon government agencies whose arbitrary policies would be backed by the only people still armed to the teeth: police and soldiers. Owning firearms protects the freedom of the press. Owning firearms protects your right to peaceably gather in groups. Owning firearms protects your freedom of religion (including your right not to have any). Owning firearms protects your right to speak your mind freely without being jailed for it. Owning firearms protects your right to trial by a jury of fellow citizens, etc, etc. Outlawing guns will not end killing, but will simply make efficient killing the exclusive jurisdiction of government. I don't mind an efficient government, but that sort of efficiency frightens me. Want to quote me the statistics on numbers of people killed by guns in this country? First find out how many of those were killed by the police, then find out how many were killed in the pursuit of normal pleasures made illegal by arbitrary statute. Then we'll talk. Otherwise, fuck off. I refuse to listen to people driveling obvious bullshit that they parrot from TV, song lyrics or their favorite fantasy author with a Ph.D. in socialistology. 
     This country is fucked up: we have too many laws making too many things illegal. The knee-jerk reaction of law enforcement, the courts and legislatures is usually to bear down harder than ever in reaction to an increase in what they are defining as "crime." That doesn't work. All it does is create an underground of people in revolt, go ask urban blacks if you don't believe me. The only way to decrease crime is to make more things legal to do. It's idiotically simple, and only simple idiots can't see it.

This article originally appeared in Flipside Fanzine.