The Evil of Red Flag Laws

Another reason why “red flag laws” are out and out evil.

Some years back, I had some business with a lawyer. What the business was is unimportant to this post (it did, in the end, come out in my favor). In the course of the business he told me of a case where a man spent every summer in jail. Seems the man’s ex would accuse him of assaulting her. The police would arrest him. Then, when it came to trial she would not show up and the case would be dismissed on “lack of evidence”.  Then the next year, she would do it again.  As you can imagine, it made it difficult for this man to hold down a decent job or anything of the like.  So making bail every year was out of the question.  And so from arrest to trial (at which point charges would be dismissed through lack of evidence), he sat in jail.

I asked the lawyer if the police didn’t eventually figure out what was going on. He said that from their perspective they didn’t see “a bunch of false accusations.” They saw a man with record with a long list of arrests.  The judges hearing the case for arraignment would see the same thing.  And, as their thinking no doubt went, where there’s that much smoke….

This is just one case in a situation where there is due process protection:  primarily the “speedy trial” provision.  For sufficient values of “speedy trial.”  I’m not even really complaining about the system here.  Any system is going to be abused (see “First rule of government“).  About the only thing I could think of to add in cases like this is stronger censure about people making false reports and reports which they don’t follow up on.  But this is what happens with due process protection.  And even with them, there are people who will use it to harass the innocent.  Take that away and what do you think will happen?  Really?

“Red Flag” laws are just another way for the vindictive and just plain evil to use the state to carry out harassment and abuse on their behalf.  And it does so to accomplish something which are already addressed by existing law if the state will just use them.  Chief among these is the 72 hour psych hold.  You can take someone suspected of being “a danger to self or others” in for 72 hours, 3 days, for evaluation allowing them to gather evidence to make a case before a judge (at which the accused can also be represented, present his or her own evidence, and argue his own side of the case) that the person needs to be deprived of liberty or property (I’ll presume “life” isn’t on the table in cases like this).  You know, what whole Fifth Amendment thing about “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law”?  Yes, it’s a lot of trouble to do that.  It’s supposed to be a lot of trouble.  Depriving someone of basic rights like life, liberty, or property is supposed to be hard.

If you want something easy, find a different line of work.

Thus, “red flag laws” are not necessary.  The only thing they “buy” is the ability of people like the ex described above to get the police to harass people they don’t like.  And that makes them far worse than useless.

That makes them downright evil.

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