Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Cradle and the Grave of Liberty, part XXI

It seems that the Philosopher Kings running Massachusetts are so smart that they can tell that you're committing a crime, even when you're doing nothing at all:
Drunk guy in his car. He’s not driving, because the car isn’t running. The engine isn’t turning. But he just got convicted for drunk driving. And everyone involved ADMITS he wasn’t driving.
OK, he was doing something.  He was sleeping in a parked car.  That counts as "driving" in Massachusetts.*

I guess that if the Constitution is a "living" document, and doesn't mean what it says but rather what we think it should, then why not the Statutes of the Realm, too?  So the guy is a habitual drunk, with prior convictions.  It shouldn't be too hard to follow him in a cruiser when he goes out on a bender, right?  I mean, this was his fourth conviction - the local Po-Po had heard of him before.

I guess that's too much work.  So let's just say that sleeping it off in your car is driving, and call it a day.  Tune in tomorrow, when they'll explain how it's really "economic activity" when you don't buy something ...

* Actually, some of the traffic I've seen on Rt-128 makes me think that sleeping while driving is a regular occurrence in the Hub.


Divemedic said...

This is not as ridiculous as it initially sounds. This sort of law is in place in every state, AFAIK.

Picture a group of guys who are planning to rob a bank. At what point are they guilty of bank robbery? When they plan the heist? When they buy the masks and guns? When they enter the bank with the masks and guns? When they yell "this is a stickup!" Or only after they have the loot and have escaped?

The same applies here. When are you guilty of DUI? When you buy liquor and get drunk with no designated driver? When you enter the car drunk? When you turn the key? When you put the car in drive?

A drunk man behind the wheel with the key in the ignition, and at least partially turned shows that he was in the process of committing the crime.

BS Footprint said...

Every 'law' is a tool, waiting to be used against someone.

In my experience, most peeps are fine with this kind of misuse as long as it's someone else who's on the receiving end of it, and it's someone they perceive they need to be protected from.

Drunk 'drivers' are one of those classes of people who 'deserve what they get', no? So hey, it's OK in this case. Right? /sarc

The problem with the 'pragmatic' approach to constitutions, laws, and enforcement: Eventually one or more of the 'tools' will be used on you and the majority of folks will go back to eating their dinners while the evening news blathers on...

daeth said...

It is the same in Ohio. When I first moved back to Cincinnati, I rode the bus. There was one guy that told me his story one day. He was a manager for a local resturant chain, and after a Christmas party, recognizing that he was too tipsy to drive, decided to take a nap in his car. He slept for a while, then woke up cold, so he started the engine to get the heater running. The cops stopped to check on the car that was running with no one apparently in it, and when he admitted that he had felt he was too tipsy to drive, they made him take a breathalizer test. He blew a 1.0 (legal limit in Ohio at the time). They arrested him for DUI. He lost his license, and job because of it. He has served his time, and now refuses to pay the reinstatement fee to get his license back. He rides the bus and it very bitter about it. He feels he did the right thing. He probably could have driven home without issue, and not been caught, but he feels he did the right thing and was punished for it.

NotClauswitz said...

In CA they can pop you under those conditions if the keys are inserted in the ignition.

Anonymous said...

Here in Wisconsin also...if the keys are in the ignition. having the keys in the ignition means you had the INTENT to drive, therefore you were driving, ergo the ticket for DWI.


"Zack" said...

Same in Illinois. The keys are the key... here, they don't have to be in the ignition, just in your possession inside the car.

Dan said...

I have to chime in on Divemedic's comment. Those hypothetical wanna-be bank robbers are not guilty of robbery, they are guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery. Bottom line, sleeping in a car is not driving. The fact that cops in other locales do similar things makes it no less ridiculous.

SiGraybeard said...

FWIW, I'm with Dan on both of these. You haven't committed bank robbery until you've robbed the bank, and you haven't driven drunk if you're just sleeping in your car.

If "everybody is doing it", it's just another symptom of how screwed up the rule of law has become.

What's that quote about, "the purpose of the law is to make criminals"? I think it's from Atlas Shrugged?

Phssthpok said...

There is no way to rule Innocent Men. The only power any Government has is the power to crack down on Criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many thing to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws.

-Ayn Rand: Atlas Shrugged

Mark Horning said...

Graybeard, The quote you are likely thinking of (from Atlas Shrugged) is
"There is no way to rule innocent men."

"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

I'm pretty certain here in relatively free AZ you would get busted for sleeping drunk in the car if you had your keys on you. I'm told if you put the keys in the trunk that is an affirmative defense, as it shows intent NOT to drive.

Anonymous said...

Unless the vehicle is moving under its own power (i.e. you put it in gear and slipped the clutch/let go of the brakes) then you've committed no crime, regardless of what a pin-headed law says. If the law makes you a criminal for anything short of that, then you're a murderer for carrying a pistol and a rapist for having penis, too.


BS Footprint said...

Speaking of the grave of liberty:

State Mandates Food Cops in Every Restaurant

The inmates are now fully in charge.