It’s become one of those self-evident truths Massa Tom once wrote about to state that government has become overtly punitive – as opposed to keeping the peace, its sole legitimate function.
There are many examples. Here is the latest.
Virginia’s Roanoke County has hurled a fatwa (news story here) making it a crime to sleep in your own car – even if that car is parked on your own property.
“Violators” are subject to arrest – and a $250 fine. Also a possible Hut! Hut! Hutting! – since the fatwa endows armed government workers with the legal power to come onto private property, rap their knuckles or flashlights on private property (the vehicle, its windows) and demand ID and so on from someone not harming anyone.
If the person questions, is the least bit recalcitrant . . . Hut! Hut! Hut! Bash the window in and drag the victim out.
I am test driving the 2020 Mercedes GLE450 this week (review will be posted soon). It comes with massaging seats, which I happen to not have inside my house. And so I have been spending time in the Benz – which is parked on my driveway. The one I am forced to pay taxes on, for the privilege of being allowed to use – and the fiction that I own.
Doubled-down on by this fatwa.
Armed government thugs – what else are they? – who notice me snoozing in the Benz, parked on my driveway, in front of my garage – now have the power to trespass onto my property (I did not invite them, do not want them) and physically accost me.
It is obscene.
Even more obscene, the bullies responsible for this outrage have been trying to gaslight their victims. When a local news affiliate questioned the Board of Supervisors, it received the following:
“The purpose of the ordinance is to enable our staff to intervene in serious cases where people are using their automobiles for an extended period of time as sleeping quarters, in place of a residence, hotel or other accommodations. Most importantly, our concern is for the health and safety of the person living in this type of situation, particularly during the cold winter months. Enforcement of the ordinance will be complaint-driven, and individuals in need will be provided with information regarding resources to aid them in their situation. The ordinance does not prohibit short-term napping in vehicles.”
The “health and safety” of the person… who is now to be Hut! Hut! Hutted!
And they will be subject to the Hut! Hut! Hutting! because . . . it is “healthier” and “safer” to sleep exposed to the cold and rain and whatever else is outside than to shelter inside a warm car.
And the caveat about the ordinance not “…prohibit(ing) short-term napping in vehicles”?
Who will decide what constitutes “short term” and “nap”? Why, the armed government worker on scene; it will be at his discretion.
Even assuming an AGW who isn’t looking for a reason to hassle someone, the plain fact is the law empowers him to hassle anyone he likes.
The person napping – or sleeping – can no longer tell the AGW to go away. Well, no longer has any legal power to demand the AGW go away.
In his own car – even if parked on his property. Or – and this is just as important – property owned by someone else, who is not complaining about it.
This ugly business is, however, to be expected – and expanded. In many states, it has been illegal for years to sleep it off in your car. The once-upon-a-time responsible thing to do after having one too many has become the legal equivalent of the irresponsible thing; the “violator” may be charged with drunk driving . . . even though no driving has taken place.
Why not, after all? At least you’ll be a moving target – and you’ll probably make it home without killing anyone (as opposed to certainly not killing anyone if you were left in peace to sleep it off).
Both sleeping it off – and just sleeping (or even just napping) have in common the thing which used to be relevant insofar as the law was concerned but no longer is:
No harm done.
Because the law now concerns itself with being the cause of harm. It began a long time ago, with little things – seatbelt laws, for instance – that set the precedent for more (and bigger) things.
I’ve tried, for many years, to get across the point that precedent become practice. That if X is permitted, Y will follow – if the two are based on the same general principle.
If a person who has long ago paid the bank in full for his home is forced to continue paying the government what amounts to rent in order to be allowed to live in “his” home, then why not also pass a law making it illegal for him to nap – or sleep – in “his” car, even if it is parked on “his” driveway – and in front of “his” home?
. . .
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