Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 572, May 30, 2010

"True liberty is the right of every man to
decide for himself what is proper and just"

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Necessitas non cognescere legem
by A.X. Perez

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So after being lost in the mountains for three days and a blizzard coming down you stumble on a well appointed hunting lodge, break in and help yourself to a warm place to sleep, water and food. When the weather breaks a heavily armed force of federal, state, local and rented cops descends on you and drags you off for various and sundry misdemeanors and felonies.

You beat the rap on a plea of necessity knows no law. This is a just plea, sometimes people are stuck with such a mess that to survive or protect the life of another they must commit acts that under less extreme circumstances would constitute a criminal act.

Usually, but not always, it is successfully used to beat an illegal possession rap when someone uses an unlicensed or illegal weapon in self defense.

Necessity knows no law. All bets are off in an emergency, a crisis. Like 9/11, or Katrina, or the bank collapse of 2008, or the war on terror in general, the war on crime (drugs), the immigration mess, or the BP oil spill. the Constitution is supposed to contain constraints on the power of government. That was the price tag that several of the founding Fathers put on their support or at least keeping their beefs to themselves. But what about in an emergency? Does the principle "Necessitas non cognoscere legem" apply to the states as well as individuals?

Obviously those who wish to be our bosses think so. They sure seem to have a talent for ginning up or puffing up emergencies to justify trashing the Constitution, even if it means "overlooking" Constitutional solutions to a crisis.

Who'da thunk it?

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