Friday, January 11, 2013

The Stupid Just Keeps Getting More and More Stoopid (part 2)

In yesterday’s post The Stupid Just Keeps Getting More and More Stoopid (part 1) I focused on Senate Bill 230 which would allow Indiana to nullify federal laws with which Indiana disagrees. Today, I want to turn my attention to a sort of companion bill that would require federal agents (think FBI agents, for example) to get the permission of Indiana’s Attorney General and/or a county sheriff before serving a warrant or making an arrest for a federal crime. And a federal agent who makes an “illegal” arrest “must be prosecuted”. Yes, your read that correctly.

Senate Bill 127, authored by Sen. Dennis Kruse (the same senator that wants Indiana’s school children to recite The Lord’s Prayer) follows along the path set by a number of far, far right fringe groups who seem to think that the primary government official in our system is the county sheriff. Doug Masson directed my attention to an article from the Denver Post about the inaugural convention of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. A quick reading of that organization’s website turned up this gem:

The county sheriff is the line in the sand. The county sheriff is the one who can say to the feds, “Beyond these bounds you shall not pass.” This is not only within the scope of the sheriff’s authority; it’s the sheriff’s sworn duty.

And this:

We are forming the Constitutional Peace Officers Association which will unite all public servants and sheriffs, to keep their word to uphold, defend, protect, preserve, and obey the Constitutions of the United States of America. We already have hundreds of police, sheriffs, and other officials who have expressed a desire to be a part of this Holy Cause of Liberty.

We are going to train and vet them all, state by state, to understand and enforce the constitutionally protected Rights of the people they serve, with an emphasis on State Sovereignty and local autonomy. Then these local governments will issue our new Declaration to the Federal Government regarding the abuses that we will no longer tolerate or accept. Said declaration will be enforced by our Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers. In short, the CSPOA will be the army to set our nation free. This will guarantee this movement remains both peaceful and effective.

Just read those parts of the mission of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association and I think you’ll pretty quickly get an idea of the mindset behind Sen. Kruse’s introduction of SB127. Or, you could just read the last provision of SB127:

Under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and the state of Indiana's compact with the other states, the general assembly declares that any federal law that purports to provide federal employees with the authority of a sheriff in Indiana is:
        (1) not recognized by and specifically rejected by the state of Indiana; and
        (2) invalid in Indiana.

I’m really not sure what to say about either this mindset or the bill. It does seem to me, though, that bills such as this one come from a viewpoint that considers the Federal Government as the enemy out to stomp on the rights of Hoosiers. It’s the same viewpoint that wants assault weapons and high capacity magazines to protect against a tyrannical government. It’s the same viewpoint that that wants to “take our country back” and talks about “Second Amendment remedies”. It’s the viewpoint that fears black helicopters and the New World Order. It’s the viewpoint that thinks President Obama is a Muslim Marxist Kenyan that wants to destroy America. It’s a viewpoint that I don’t understand.

I’m curious to know whether Sen. Kruse cheers against the United States when he watches the Olympics or wonders why Indiana doesn’t have its own Olympic team. Does he think that homes and businesses should fly, not the American flag, but that of Indiana? Or, perhaps the flag of the particular county? Does he remain seated for the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, preferring instead to sing Back Home Again in Indiana?

But more seriously, what precisely are people like Sen. Kruse worried about? What actions of federal agents are they afraid of? I doubt that Sen. Kruse is worried about the federal government arresting an undocumented immigrant or enforcing a drug law; I can’t imagine that he would object to the FBI arresting a Muslim terrorist. So what kinds of federal arrests give rise to the sort of concern expressed by SB127? There are only two things that I can think of: Guns and taxes.

Just imagine a situation in which Congress bans the sale of assault weapons but Sheriff Dipshit in Bumfuck, Indiana, disagrees with that law. Should he be able to stop the ATF from searching a gun dealer’s store following an allegation that the dealer is selling weapons illegally? Or what if Sheriff Dipshit thinks that Congress has exceeded its taxing authority and refuses to allow the IRS or another federal agency to seize property? What we’d be looking at is chaos. And rebellion. It really wouldn’t be any different than a Sheriff in the South refusing to allow federal officers to enforce a desegregation ruling, would it? We’ve seen standoffs between federal agents and cults (remember Ruby Ridge and Waco?); are we ready for standoffs between the FBI and a county sheriff because they disagree on the scope of federal power or whether a law passed by Congress is constitutional?

And SB127 doesn’t just require local consent; it also requires the State of Indiana to prosecute a federal official who acted without that local consent. Just picture, if you will, what our society would look like if states like Indiana start prosecuting FBI agents for their attempts to enforce federal laws. We would suddenly have a system where there would no longer be a national standard; there wouldn’t even be state standards. Rather, each county, throughout the country, would be a jurisdiction unto itself. I can just see some “whites only” or “no Muslims allowed” counties. Maybe counties where gays can be tied to fence posts after being beaten would be OK. Perhaps efforts to ensure that all people are allowed to vote wouldn’t be permitted in some counties. If that’s your view of America, perhaps you should find a more accommodating Banana Republic in which to reside.

And don’t forget to think about the interplay of SB127 with SB230 (which would allow for Indiana to “nullify” a federal law with which it disagrees).

Sen. Kruse, Sen. Boots, and others with similar mindsets seem, intentionally or otherwise, set on tearing America apart and creating a loosely affiliated group of 50 independent states (or thousands of independent counties). But we’ve already had these discussions … several hundred years ago. And we’ve already looked into the ugly mirror of “state’s rights” and nullification. That led to the Civil War and Jim Crow. Is that where Sen. Kruse and Sen. Boots really want to take our country? Apparently so. And Sen. Kruse wants our kids prayer all the way there…

Please, please, please contact your legislator and explain that bills like SB127 and SB230 must not be enacted!

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