L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 138, September 10, 2001
One Issue Voter... No More!
by David Purves
Special to TLE
I have probably been what my old army anarcho ex-paratrooper friends used to call a "One Issue Voter" for some time now. I have tended to vote out of the old precept that a right not exercised is a right just waiting to be lost... and when I've voted, I've voted on one issue: Gun Rights. If the candidate doesn't meet my criteria, Kermit T. Frog gets another write-in vote.
Now, I live in Alabama. Gun rights here aren't so bad. If you are willing to buy that the government has any right to regulate guns, we are doing quite well. Our "Shall Issue" policy predates the shall issue boom of the 90's. We have lots of yummy guns shows. Our state Attorney General has filed in the long pending Texas case "US vs Emerson"... on the side of Emerson. I thought I was doing ok, I only voted for Kermit a few times in the last election. Gun rights here aren't so bad. Not great mind you, but well enough to not have to vote with my feet to Wyoming. I went to court today. Even the events entering the courthouse seemed to bode well to me. The courthouse recently installed metal detectors, which in itself is enough to piss me off. So, exercising my rights, I make a point of carrying a pocket knife whenever I go to the courthouse. To say I'm carrying it because of the courthouse is giving the county too much credit. I've carried a pocket knife because of the danger of "Space-Time Vortices" since high school (don't ask... If you don't know the explanation will take too long.)
Now, I couldn't find my battered Wenger swiss-army knife this morning; so I took my cute little SOG Sogwinder. I tossed it in the bucket as I walked though the metal detectors along with all my other pocket junk as I entered the courthouse. The guard looked at me a little funny as he opened it one-handed (snick!) and measured the blade. Too long? Ooops!
"Why are you here today?"
"I'm going to Judge (xxx)'s courts."
"Are you there for anything serious?"
"I'm there to support a friend."
"So you're not 'in' court today?"
"No." He threw it back to me, closing it first.
Now, my friend (and Parish Priest) I went to support today is innocent. Not just innocent but damn innocent. Any bonehead could see that in court. No evidence against him, just the statement of a person already in jail.
Something "brought out" in the accuser's in-jail therapy. My friend's defense was as good as you can get. His defense was good enough that the DA... on the first day of the trial... moved to have the dates withdrawn from the warrants. This the day after the DA's motion for discovery revealed that my friend was in surgery or leaking spinal fluid during the period he was accused.
So, coincidentally, the accuser changed his story 20 minutes before the trial and thus the year the event was suppose to have taken place. No problem. Church records verify the accuser was not attending church in the "new" year the event was to have taken place. Witness after witness for the defense blew the prosecution out of the water.
The judge's verdict? Guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt.
As the defense attorney (a former DA himself) explained to us after the trial, all he really can do during a trial in front of an elected judge is find out what evidence the state has. Elected judges, as he explained, will rarely rule against the state or return not-guilty in cases of this type. They have their political careers to think of, after all. The Judge in question is running for Circuit court next election, I hear.
I am a one issue voter... no more.