Quantcast

Jeff Snyder writes again.

Discussion in 'Legal' started by longrifleman, Oct 15, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. longrifleman

    longrifleman Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    western Missouri
    I'm interested in hearing what our "all laws must be obeyed at all times" contingent has to say.





    What You Love Will Be Used Against You

    by Jeff Snyder
    by Jeff Snyder



    In February 2002, responding to a tip, police in Swinton, England, investigated the home of Father Michael Daggett, an Anglican priest. When they found over 200 rounds of ammunition, they asked him if he had any handgun in his home, and Fr. Daggett told them that, yes, he had a .22. He showed them where he kept it.

    He was arrested for violating the 1998 handgun ban, plead guilty, was convicted, and served some time in jail. His bishop, the Bishop of Manchester, had been speaking about gun control at an anti-gun rally only a few days before Fr. Daggett's court hearing, and recommended that Fr. Daggett be defrocked. Apparently the Anglican Church acted on this recommendation, and Mr. Daggett has returned to his prior profession of dealing in antiques.

    In an interview with Manchester Online on September 12, 2002 following his release, Mr. Daggett was, in the words of the reporter, "unrepentant" about his right to self-defense. He is quoted in the news report arguing the right to self-defense is necessary to a civilized society, and a civilized society cannot exist if government infantilizes its citizens by depriving them of the right to make moral choices.

    "I would claim the gun laws in this country are illegal. Under a 1688 Bill of Rights, which has never been repealed, it says that everyone has the right to possess a weapon for self-defense. ... I am not an advocate of violence but I am an advocate of civilized society. It can only exist when people have the option to make adult choices. It is possible for a gun to be used as a defensive weapon."

    Despite his "unrepentant" stance on his right to bear arms, Mr. Daggett stated he was sorry for the adverse publicity he brought to his parish. "I have strong views about the individual's right to self protection but I lost sight of the fact that, as a priest, my responsibility is not just to myself. ... The unfortunate aspect of all this is the embarrassment I have brought to my congregation. I am deeply sorry for that. If I had been less bullheaded and more responsible perhaps this could have been avoided." These words suggest had he thought of the consequences of his imprisonment upon his parishioners, he may not have kept his handgun, but disposed of it in order to comply with the ban.

    Damned If You Do

    This story contains important lessons for anyone who opposes unjust, immoral or unconstitutional laws. Some gun owners in this country violate laws banning the carry of arms, in order to carry a gun, or have one in their car, for self-defense. Many who do this believe self-defense is a God-given or fundamental individual right, and the laws prohibiting the carry of arms by citizens in good standing are both immoral and unconstitutional.

    By carrying arms for self-defense in violation of the law, these men and women are acting in accord with their principles. But in violating the law, they take the risk Mr. Daggett ran, of being caught, convicted, sent to jail and losing their livelihood. If one is going to take this course of action, he should consider very carefully the consequences to himself and others, and be sure he is willing and able to live with them. Some who weigh these considerations choose to not violate the law because of the consequences to themselves and others, despite their conviction that they have a moral and individual right to do so.

    Two things stand out in Mr. Daggett's story. First, he has no remorse, shame or guilt for violating his country's law. Indeed, in words that are reminiscent of Thoreau in "Civil Disobedience," Mr. Daggett told the Manchester OnLine reporter, "I enjoyed my time in prison."

    While the news report characterizes this as unrepentant, and perhaps expects us to find this shocking, this attitude is actually the predictable consequence of the nature of modern law.

    At common law, for an act to be criminal it had to be committed, in the words of Blackstone, with a "vicious will" (where "vicious" has the older meaning of "having the nature or quality of vice or immorality" rather than the more common modern meaning of "brutal"). The requirement of "bad intent" insured that only acts that sprang from immoral or blameworthy intent could be defined as crimes, and were punishable.

    Modern law requires only an act be committed with intent, not bad intent, to be defined as criminal. This permits the state to criminalize conduct that precedes harmful conduct, in order to prevent that harmful conduct. As with gun bans, the law is used to restrain men before they have done anything that would be harmful or wrong, i.e., while they are still innocent, in order to prevent an act that would be wrong or harmful, like murder.

    A man who breaks such a law may feel many things, including embarrassment, social opprobrium, and self-reproach for breaching the trust of people who depend upon him, but the one thing he cannot feel is moral guilt, because bad intent is not an element of the crime. Thus, the state of mind of a man convicted of such a crime, like Mr. Daggett, cannot properly be characterized as "unrepentant" because there is nothing to repent. Morally, he is blameless, having had no intent to commit harm. Accordingly, he cannot feel that he has deserved his punishment. His punishment will forever be unmerited because he knows he is not (morally) guilty.

    Threats

    If modern law does not seek assent to, or compliance with, law based on men's moral judgment, upon what, then, does it rely to secure men's obedience? The threat of punishment – and in a particularly noteworthy way.

    Again, Mr. Daggett's experience is instructive. Mr. Daggett clearly did not fear, or even mind, jail. He was willing to accept jail for living in accordance with his principles. What he realized, however, too late, was he could not accept the effect his imprisonment would have on others – he could not bear the thought of his failure to fulfill his responsibility to others.

    This, then, is what it comes to: the state uses a man's sense of responsibility against him, to divide him. That which a man loves is used against him, held hostage to obedience to the state's laws. Consider, a person may believe his responsibilities include defending his family from violent crime, and so desire to carry a handgun for protection. A parent may believe his responsibility to his children includes the responsibility, not only of protecting them, but also of preserving his own life so he can continue to love and support them, and so desire to carry a handgun for protection.

    The state comes along and bans the carry of guns – for the citizenry's "protection." Now each must choose in which manner he will risk failing to live up to his responsibilities: A husband and father may choose to carry, risking depriving his wife and children of his love and support if caught and convicted. He may, instead, choose to not carry, in order to insure he will not fail in his responsibilities to his loved ones due to imprisonment. But if he is assaulted, and fails to protect himself or his loved ones because he chose to not carry, then he has also failed, and must forever live with the thought he knew what he should have done and failed to do it.

    Either course a man must hate himself, because either way he fails to act fully in accordance with what he believes to be right and responsible – risking either death or grave injury to himself or a loved one if he fails to carry, risking loss of his ability to provide love and support if he is imprisoned for being, as Mr. Daggett said, "bull-headed."

    A Means to Control

    What is critical to understand is the state counts on this to secure obedience to laws that rest on its (supposedly democratic) fiat, rather than on assent to moral judgment about right and wrong (as in the case of laws that criminalize actions only if there is bad intent). The state uses a man's sense of responsibility and what he loves against him, to control him.

    Certainly a state that so uses its "citizens" will not be creating any goodwill toward itself, or respect for its laws, for it is not possible to respect such laws, or to love a government that so treats you. Such laws, instead, lead only to questioning the state's legitimacy. For if government, as its modus operandi, sees what is best in us only as its opportunity and means to control us, then what is the nature of that government?


    October 15, 2004

    Jeff Snyder [send him mail] is an attorney who works in Manhattan. He is the author of Nation of Cowards – Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control, which examines the American character as revealed by the gun control debate. His website is here. This article originally appeared in American Handgunner, July/Aug 2003.

    Copyright © 2003 American Handgunner
     
  2. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    9,222
    Location:
    SouthEast PA
    good stuff! Link?
     
  3. longrifleman

    longrifleman Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    western Missouri
  4. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2004
    Messages:
    7,376
    Location:
    CA
    Laws that violate natural rights cannot be passed and enforced without first changing the culture of the society on which they are imposed. The inherent value of the individual must first be overridden by the notion of the "common good", as represented by the state. This concept includes the diminution of any sort of "God" or any concept of a higher authority. The higher authority becomes the state, to whom all are answerable, and whose province it is to grant or deny privileges.

    This statist mindset is becoming well established here as more and more people look to government as the 'great provider'. The left has been hard at work for many years indoctrinating this view even into schoolchildren, and it will one day pay off as totalitarianism takes hold. Of course, it will fail in the end, as it always has. We've pretty much lost the culture of our country, and the noose will get tighter and tighter as more of us are willing to give up our liberties for an empty promise of security.
     
  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    24,039
    Location:
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    He's living in the wrong country for that sort of intelligent, rational thought.
     
  6. Drjones

    Drjones member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    2,803
    Mr. Snyder is a wonderful, wonderful man.

    If you don't have it already, buy his book "Nation of Cowards."

    It is worth its weight in gold.
     
  7. Don Gwinn

    Don Gwinn Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Messages:
    6,384
    Location:
    Virden, IL
    Snyder said a mouthful there. Why do I want to carry? Because I want to protect my wife and my sons. Why won't I carry in Illinois? Because I have a responsibility to them not to get thrown in jail or lose my teaching certificate.

    Just today, we took two classes of kids with varying degrees of mental and physical impairment to a bowling alley. A man with a bit of an "off" aspect came to our end of the bowling alley (no one was bowling within thirty yards of us, and the bowling alley must be 100 yards across) and sat down, smoking a cigarette. He wasn't exactly watching the children, but he was sneaking furtive glances at them and he wouldn't meet my eyes. It was odd. I offered to talk to him, but I was deemed too threatening, so the head of the department went over and asked with a dazzling smile whether we could help him with anything. He told her no, he was fine, he was just waiting for his league to arrive. He was bowling for the Sangamon County Mental Health team. :scrutiny:

    It never did seem quite right, and we were there for over two hours without any league showing up, but he never made any threatening moves either. I did kind of wish I had a Glock 30 in my waistband instead of my Spyderco, but I felt good about the knife, believe me. Even that would probably have gotten me fired if there had been an incident, but it'll probably just be a warning if the principals ever decide I shouldn't have it.

    It was exactly the kind of incident that makes you wonder what your real responsibility is.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice