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2012 November 27 Tuesday
How Capricious Is The Legal System?

Gavin Mcinnes looks at people jailed for reasons that quite a few of us would find outrageous.

When a seafood importer lost out on a bid for a lobster contract, he sent an anonymous fax to the Fish and Wildlife Service claiming that Abner Schoenwetter, the guy who got the bid, was using the wrong container. Turns out Honduras had recently decided you have to ship lobster tails in bags, not boxes. Soon after the tip, officials from the FBI, IRS, National Marine Fisheries, and Customs stormed his place and threw him in jail FOR SIX YEARS! He lost his business, his family, and everything.

The revenge war is almost as serious as the drug war. An ex-con recently told me I would be horrified to see how many men are in jail for getting in an argument with their girlfriend. Often a girlfriend will get a restraining order during a breakup. Later, the couple will make up and hell move back in with her. The next time they get into an argument, she calls the cops and hes going to jail for violating the restraining order.

What I'd like to know: What are the biggest risks for running into legal trouble without in any way intending to break the law? Some of the examples Mcinnes cites are tragic. But they involve rare circumstances. False accusations are a risk obviously. Romance gone bad motivates some women to lie with enthusiasm. Lots of lies are told in divorce court. But I'm expecting judges to be skeptical of statements said during divorces. So where are the risks?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2012 November 27 09:46 PM 


Comments
ASPIRANT said at November 28, 2012 6:35 AM:

If this story is to be believed, you don't need to do anything particularly bad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5eOknaXgYU

While the guy definitely should have gotten some time or community service for what little he did (even if the whole thing was a misunderstanding, he shouldn't be driving in such a diminished mental state to ignore troopers behind him blaring their sirens), the police completely lost their shit. In the end, it seems to me that this happened because he was just the kind of person who would not under normal circumstances be able to muster a legal defense. The police thought they could get away with it, so they felt liberated to unleash the rage. Frightening that such a tiny amount of power can corrupt so completely.

When I drove a junk car and actually took it as a point of hipsterish pride that I wore scruffy clothes, I got pulled over almost weekly. Cops would invent bullshit stories, say they could smell something so they could search my car, if I refused to give them permission to search, they threatened to call in drug dogs. But now that I have a job where I have to have a nice car, dress up every day in collared shirts and slacks, ties and blazers, the police have disappeared from my life. Many times I've noticed I've been speeding with a cop right beside me, and they don't even look in my direction. And I'm actually doing marijuana now which I had never touched back then.

Basically, the same advice that could be given to anyone asking how to survive in any century... Don't piss off anyone with more power than you, and make sure you're well-connected. Or at least that you can appear that way.

red said at November 28, 2012 12:49 PM:

"So where are the risks?"

Anyone in America who does not appear to connected to powerful groups is at risk. Anything you do that might draw the authorities eyes on you will get you nailed with real or fake charges.

A good example is a man who made a documentary about running across the Sahara desert. An IRS agent watched his documentary and wondered how he could afford to make it. So investigated him and found nothing. Next he sent and under cover agent (a pretty chick) to talk him up at a bar. He admitted to her that he had lied on loan app during the height of the housing boom. Something that millions of people did at the urging of their mortgage broker and almost no one went to jail for. He's still in jail.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/02/opinion/nocera-the-mortgage-fraud-fraud.html?_r=0

Check it Out said at November 28, 2012 5:02 PM:

The problem is that you people do nothing about it. You're just too affraid to yell at your stupid boss, write your frustration on a wall in a brief hard-punch sentence, not just graffitti, shoot at a surveillance camera that's watching your every move, throw your tv out the window in a fit of consciousness, whistle to a girl with a nice butt walking on the street -she'll love it even if she plays indignated-, say directly to people what you hate about the country. Go stand out the White House with a big-ass poster that reads whatever you want it to. Take to the streets, but DO something. At least you'd be able to say you did it. At least you won't be unoriginal.

Gosh, people nowadays are so boring and dull. And all because they just don't have the guts to say what they think?

There have been some really class-act generations in the past, even in the 20th century, back in the 60's and the 20's when bold gutsy folks really wiped their ass with tyrant government attitudes.

For every frightened people there will always be a dictator. Enjoy the cage. It suits you.

Half Sigma said at December 7, 2012 2:02 PM:

This is a good lesson to not go out with the kind of girl who would get a restraining order filed against you.

Randall Parker said at December 8, 2012 2:28 PM:

HS,

Yes, be very careful who you seduce. Women are risks.


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