11 Mar All Rise! No Thanks, I’ll Keep My Seat by Chris
“If… the machine of government… is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.”
– Henry David Thoreau
One Friday summer evening about 5 years ago I arrived home from work to find an arrest warrant in my mailbox. Puzzled as to what this could be, I got pretty worried. I was dirty, and tired from work. I remember it being around dusk, or later which would have put me at work for about 14 hours that day. My wife and I talked about it, and decided since it was Friday, we would wait until Monday morning to figure this out. No sense in sitting in the pokey all weekend. Besides, if it was that important, they know where I live.
Monday morning I called my job to tell them I would be late, that there is some kind of misunderstanding down at the sheriff’s office I needed to straighten out. I arrived at the sheriff’s office, warrant in hand. I handed it to the deputy, he checked it out and told me I was in violation of a new county “code” I had an unregistered truck in my driveway that was not covered by a vehicle cover. Speechless, I just stood there as he continued to tell me that since it was such a new “code” it has not received classification on exactly what kind of crime it should be. He informed me it was an automatic class 4 misdemeanor. He said that it wasn’t that bad. Yeah, that made me feel better. I was just stunned; the state was trying to turn me into a criminal!
He then told me if it was covered by the court date the charges will be dropped. I had a feeling he had said this schtick before. I asked him what would happen if I didn’t show up. He told me there would be a warrant for my arrest. Wow! I had to pinch myself!
This all started because my buddies truck blew an engine, and I was trying to source him one to install in my driveway. This particular make and model makes it hard to find a motor. So it sat for a couple of months. The tags died on it and some bureaucrat just happen to be spying on the good people of my neighborhood and happened to see the dead tags. Me being me, I did not want to comply with this madness! But, my wife told me to just do it, so we can get this out of the way. So I covered the truck the day before court, cussing the entire time. And yes I took pictures.
On the way to the historic Spotsylvania Courthouse, which sits on hallowed ground, I could not help but think justice will be done this day. After all this fine Virginian guardian of justice will surely put an end to this tyranny, right? My “case” was called, and there I met my accuser. Some lady who I had never met was now accusing me of breaking the “law”. Chest out, and feeling good, I proudly handed the judge the pictures, and the receipt for the vehicle cover. He then looked at the date on the receipt and asked me if I had bought it last night, I responded yes. He looked at the code enforcing bureaucrat, and asked her if she had physically seen the cover on the truck. She responded no. He then informed me I was guilty for “not complying fast enough” grasping to find words, I spoke up “you honor; I do not have a record”. He scowled at me “I don’t care”. I swung around to look at my wife, and she was just as shocked as me! I tried once more, “your honor, I was informed by the officer if I complied by the court date, it would be dropped”. He responded “we have no witnesses”.
I have since forgotten what the fine was. I think it was about $200 total including court costs. I sit here years later thinking about this, and how I was essentially pleading with another man not to take my property. I have a misdemeanor on my record because some faceless county tyrants jotted something down on some paper. They made a “code” to tell me what to do with my property, on my property. If I did not comply with this “code” they somehow had some right to my property.
I sit here now, and think about how I called this man honorable. Then I think about how I had to rise for this man. This man who I thought was a fair arbitrator of justice, had extorted me. I made a vow to myself right then and there. I will never rise for another man in a robe ever again! This man that sits above you in the court room, like he is your god. Why do we have to rise for these lawyers in dresses? Are they better than us? Do they not breathe the same air as us? Better yet, ask yourselves this question. Is this the justice system of free men? Free humans and those who claim a higher power. Your allegiance is to yourself and your creator. Not to the state! Participate in a little civil disobedience, rise for the judge no longer. Stop worshiping your false god, the state.
“Freedom is the emancipation from the arbitrary rule of other men.”
~ Mortimer Adler