Perhaps some of you believe you understand the distress a person feels watching their family and friends take no control over their lives in being better prepared. Well, for the purposes of today’s topic, take that distress and multiply it by ten and then you’ll know how I feel when I watch my friends, family, and associates ignore the most critical fundamental of preparedness—that which makes all of the 10 Principles of Preparedness relevant. The scary news is, if I were to assess a “National Threat Advisory” level in acknowledgment of this ignorance, I’d give it a level RED—as in “Severe risk of terrorists attack.” Oh, and by the way, most people don’t see this particular threat coming at them even when it’s right under their nose.
So, what danger is lurking around us so boldly that the otherwise “panic free preparedness pro” would come right out and label it as an imminent threat? Well, that would be our complete and utter lack of understanding of the laws around us, and the subsequent decay of freedom as a result of that ignorance. You see, our level of preparedness is directly linked to the level of Freedom we presently enjoy. As such, Freedom is what determines just how prepared we can be. Freedom is what determines whether or not we are free to pray for spiritual guidance to help us be better aware and prepared. Freedom is what allows us to make our own decisions on what and how we spend our money in the interest of tougher times. Freedom is what allows me the platform on which I can try to help educate others in matters of preparedness. And Freedom is what allows this crazy gal to put mineral oil on her eggs, wax on her cheese, and bottle her own butter if she darn well feels like it. *grin*
Last week I became quite alarmed as I watched a news article which highlighted the opinion that the Utah court systems are considered to better resemble the “Wild, Wild West” of justice as of late—not the environment of decorum that we’d expect. In the news article, three persons were highlighted as having been “victims” of a justice system gone greedy. Two of the persons unexpectedly spent time in jail—much to their shock of family and friends who were wondering where they were—and one gal felt as if she was being told that she only had a choice of pleading guilty or no contest; she didn’t know she had the right to plead not guilty. The alarming component of this story was that it was obvious to me that NONE of this stress had to become a part of their lives if they had just known and asserted their rights to freedom at the very beginning of their ordeals.
The first common sense approach I would always invoke in such a situation is to always have someone with me as a witness when dealing with the court or its representatives. It’s NEVER a good idea to go to any criminal court hearing alone—especially when there are no cameras or audio recordings to keep everyone honest. It certainly is a person’s right to have other’s present at their hearings.
Secondly, remember that we are all entitled to a “trial by jury” for any criminal accusation. As such, one of the first things any one of these persons should have done when first confronted with a criminal charge—regardless of how anti-climatic such a charge is—is to immediately file for a notice of DEMAND for a Trial By Jury with the court. I don’t need to know all of the details of these person’s cases to know that they wouldn’t have ended up in jail or been left feeling helpless if they had that simple little bit of law taught to them at some point in their life. The reason being is simple; if a Demand for a Trial by Jury was filed with the court, the city’s prosecuting attorney doesn’t want to work that hard to win a $90 fine traffic case or even a $700 business license matter. The “profit” is only valuable if it can be achieved with minimum effort. Depositions, paperwork out the wazzoo, and the hassle of orchestrating the research by paralegals and interns easily makes the process of simply getting ready for a jury trial a costly one when chasing after such a relatively small sum. Additionally, no educated prosecuting attorney would want such a case to go to a jury because jury members are inherently sympathetic on such everyday occurrence matters, right? We’re not talking embezzlement or a violent crime here. I’m telling you, the harsh reality is that no one ever accepted a job as a prosecuting attorney because they wanted to work harder. Thanks to our apathy, such a position is full of rote sentences and procedures day in and day out—to the point that they will avoid having to work for their money at all costs. You’re with me so far, right? As a result of all of this common knowledge, when confronted with a person who knows their right to a jury trial, the prosecutor is most likely to bring a little $90 or even $700 offense down to an infraction—which is then no longer a criminal issue which merits jail time--translation, no one goes to JAIL! (Think about it. Have you ever heard of a jury trial for a speeding ticket?)
As a part of some research I’ve been doing lately, I joined my husband in a “justice court” a few weeks ago. During this little field trip I was stunned as I watched individuals plead “guilty” time and time again in exchange for a plea deal in which they would simply pay a huge fine and thus avoid jail time. As I heard the judge say “if you fail to pay the fine you will go to jail for the duration of X amount of time.” Wait, what? I thought we didn’t believe in a debtor’s prison and yet I’m hearing a judge tell one defendant after another that they are receiving a waiver of jail time in exchange for a fine, and that if they fail to pay such a fine they will go to jail. Now I’m not attorney (just surrounded by them in my family) but that sure sounds like a debtor prison scenario to me. In fact, this abuse of power is so commonly done in our court systems that a state court was recently thrown into a bit of a dither when my father recently had the gall to challenge a decision based on this very issue. The court was attempting to hold his client in contempt for not yet being able to pay some guardian ad litem fees, and in consequence of his clients inability to pay, she was threatened with jail time. My father accurately pointed out that the case involved with said fees was a CIVIL action case and as such, the State Constitution specifically grants protection of no threat of jail as the result of an unpaid civil fine. My point being, it’s far too easy to get rattled and frightened when we carry on our lives without having some semblance of an understanding of the laws around us. It’s too easy for someone to bully us into believing that we’re going to get in trouble for this or that, and I’m seeing such bullying increase significantly in our nation—specifically in the last year. As such, I see a conflict with a person believing in being better prepared for what challenges may come and yet ignore the reality of an imminent threat that could negate any foundation of self-reliance, let alone all of the time and effort involved of becoming more self-reliant.
I feel this particular topic requires a couple more real-life examples…
Tonight I spoke with a friend of mine who was understandably frazzled. She had recently given a speech for a Toastmaster’s event in which she highlighted that she has elected to homeschool her children. For some unknown reason, someone listening to her speech felt that such a “radical” mode of education constituted my friend as being a threat to the well-being and safety of her own children. As such this person phoned in a complaint to one of the most unchecked divisions of our state governments—Child Protective Services. CPS contacted my friend (via a business card left on her doorstep) and other than that, the only other thing that transpired was my friend making a call (with another friend as witness) to the CPS representatives voicemail and offering to provide any necessary information they might require to settle this matter. She made this call without any formal issue being raised with her from CPS! And the only advice she got from friends around her was to cooperate as best as you can and nothing will happen to you (Geesh, sounds like a line from a Godfather movie). This woman has no idea what CPS formally wants with her, and unfortunately she didn’t know what her rights were in this matter either. But as a result of what MIGHT happen, this woman hasn’t slept, eaten, or had a calm moment since this whole thing started—all because she’s read and heard of all of the other folks who’ve been bullied by such a division (case in point, the Jackson family in New Jersey going on right now). Well, you can imagine a very different attitude from me when I talked to her; when I heard of her plight I couldn’t help but channel what my father would have to say. “Oh, “HORSE FEATHERS!”, I said when I heard of her calling the CPS rep back and leaving a voicemail message. It took my husband less than 10 minutes to talk with my friend, and then less than another 20 minutes to do a modest amount of research to discover that the laws in this mother’s state were totally in favor of her homeschooling her children and that she should have no reason to fear. Her peace of mind was right there in black and white. Just because she felt threatened by potential consequences (thanks to the lamestream media giving so much coverage to the horror stories of times past) she admittedly came completely unglued. In addition to pointing her in the direction of the laws and statutes which protect her, she was also reminded of some common sense steps to take when/if she ever does formally hear from the CPS representative. As a result, I had the pleasure of speaking to a much more calm friend who’s now probably willing to join me as a member of the “Kellene’s Husband Rocks” Club (Yes, we’re still accepting other applications for membership *grin*) and yet the only thing that’s changed between today and when this whole mess got started is that she got informed. Remember, I always say there are no victims, only volunteers. Well this is just one more example as to why I believe that so firmly. Perhaps if she knew some of these valuable pieces of rights and freedoms, she may have presented her speech in such a way that wouldn’t have caused a paranoid knucklehead to call CPS. In fact, perhaps there could have been an opportunity during her speech to create a more enlightened paranoid knucklehead today. Who knows? But I think we can all see how a little bit of knowledge can go a long way in delivering peace of mind.
Do we believe in peace in preparedness or don’t we? If a little bit of knowledge can be such a boon to a frightened mother, a business owner, an unemployed single dad, teenage mother, etc. don’t you think such knowledge would be important for each of us to better endure the challenges that will undoubtedly continue to come our way?
Several years ago, I had an employee who got herself in some big trouble with the law. Her husband had just been sent to prison for 15 years and the prosecution was coming after her next for one of the most horrid crimes I believe any woman could be accused of. When my husband showed up to testify on behalf the prosecution (because that’s who required him to be there), needless to say she was a bit bent out of shape to see her boss there, ready to unravel some of the lies she had perpetuated in her defense. It’s no surprise then to note that after this instance she didn’t work for us any longer and her revenge took a very meticulous path from there, to the point that she called the FBI and filed a formal complaint with a bunch of hooey right out of a Fox Channel Series. (Why don’t FBI persons actually investigate the informants first before acting on some crazy X-File kind of accusations?) Now, I say “hooey” but the fact of the matter is, you can be Mother Theresa, and if someone says the FBI is checking on you, it’s enough to get your nerves rattled—well, me at least. But my husband was completely unfazed by this. He knew what our rights were. He knew what the law was and more importantly he knew that we had done nothing improper. That little bit of knowledge completely turned the tables on the whole emotional makeup of that event for me. Rather than being afraid and waiting for the proverbial knock on the door, we contacted the FBI and invited them to come and speak with us. No further action was warranted by them, and we slept peacefully. A similar event took place over the about three years ago. We had filed our taxes in accordance to federal law, but someone had attempted to make things “interesting” for us by attempting to discredit how we had filed. This time I had the benefit of lessons learned. Once again, knowledge was our most critical preparation for such a time. After no less than four different in-house audits, all was determined to be well by the IRS much as we knew it would be since we complied with every letter of the law and thus had claim on the freedom which is guaranteed to us as a result. We still sleep peacefully and haven’t fretted one single moment on April 15th for years.
Now before someone smart decides to warn me about providing legal advice, let me share one other little tidbit with you. Attorneys do not have a monopoly on helping people; and I’m no more sharing legal advice right now than if I were to read to the passenger in my car the contents of a posted speed limit sign. When I hear that kind of rhetoric in the name of caution, I can’t help but think about the horrible time in our world’s history in which it was considered a sin, punishable by DEATH, if anyone other than a sanctioned member of the King’s Church were to read or utter words from the Bible. Sure, I suspect that prosecuting attorneys would love it if they were never mistaken and never challenged. But that’s simply not in the make-up of my DNA and I’m certain if you’re a regular reader of this site, it’s not in your make-up either. What I’m sharing today is simply the content from our own laws, state and federal constitutions, Declaration of Independence, etc. And I’m begging all of my fellowmen to make these empowering words an important part of our mental hard drives, because when we forget them, then they forget us and no longer stand by us to protect us. It’s an unpleasant reality that law enforcement and government officials will overstep their bounds anytime they get a chance to do so. In fact, LEOs are specifically upheld in their right to lie to a defendant in order to get a confession or at least valuable information. In spite of the Constitution being very clear in its intent to LIMIT the influence of government in our everyday lives, we’re witnessing all too often government officials attempting to expand their influence in our lives and even attempting to use a very clear U.S. Constitution to justify it. But to me, that scenario is just as important to prepare for as is a financial collapse, an earthquake, or even the death of my spouse. I don’t believe that anyone can have a self-reliant life and be ignorant of their inalienable rights and freedoms.
I hope you’re getting a better picture of the moral of today’s article. Freedoms only go away when we ignore them, forget them, or hold them as irrelevant. But the opposite posture—knowledge, awareness, and being determined to uphold those freedoms brings about a world of preparedness that I’d like to see in everybody’s life—peace. Genuine peace.
While there may be a lot that’s not right with our nation, I believe we can still have a hope that our Founding Fathers did more to protect us than we may realize at present. But I promise you that if you will make obtaining this kind of knowledge a part of your preparedness efforts, you will find that pot at the end of the rainbow to be just as wonderful as they intended it to be.
© 2019 Of COURSE this post is Copyright Protected by Preparedness Pro. All Rights Reserved. NO portion of this article may be reposted, printed, copied, disbursed, etc. without first receiving written permission by the author. This content may be printed for personal use only. (Then again, laws are only as good as the people who keep them.) Preparedness Pro will pursue all violations of these rights just as vigorously as she does any of her other freedoms, liberties, and protections.
where would one start that would fall into the category of not knowing or understanding their rights, I don't consider myself stupid, but uninformed yes, and as such I follow your blog and try to remedy that. But honestly sometimes while I agree with your posts, and know that I need to do more to be "truly" prepared, I feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start.
Good question, and if the article wasn't already so long I probably would have added a paragraph about some suggestions. I think the most important thing is to start reading quality books written by informed persons. Cleon Skousen, Judge Andrew Napolitano are two authors that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to others to help them get better educated on such matters. It' really, really important though to be able to trust your resources on these matters.
I would be curious to know what, if any, opinion you and your hubby had on the HSLDA, or Home School Legal Defense Association. With membership ($10/mo) you can have legal representation in any and all matters or questions about the legality of homeschooling/social worker's visits etc. They love to teach people their rights. However, I heard they had some rough years a few decades ago that gave them a bad rap.
I actually don't have an opinion on them. I'm not aware whatsoever of their reputation. But I do have an opinion on a person hiring a lawyer when they are actually quite capable of representing themselves. What people fail to realize is the the lawyers are officers OF THE COURT, as are the judges. Thus the person who will be most loyal to you and your best interests is yourself. Obviously that doesn't apply to all issues, but something at this level, I would hope would be something that could be defended by an individual person--although I may see it that way because I have been trained all my life how to do that.
Thank you so much for this article. I am going to the library today to requests those books. Do you know of a "legal rights for Dummies "book?
Thank you so much for this article. I am going to the library today to request those books. Do you know of a "legal rights for Dummies "book?
I would say that any of Judge Andrew Napolitano's books would be considered my "legal rights for Dummies" book. Hmmm..Maybe I need to write another book. :-)
I've heard the opinion that if you are questioned you should say absolutely nothing unless you have a lawyer present. I see in your last comment that you wouldn't agree with that because there are some issues you should be able to handle yourself, but how would you be able to determine what those issues are, and which would require a lawyer? I know that some of the "horror stories" where people are truly innocent but are hounded, doubted, and even convicted and released 38 years later (that happened recently) may not happen all the time, but that would hardly matter if you were one of the people involved, and it could have been avoided if you had appropriate legal representation... It would surprise me if most people didn't think that if you are innocent, you have nothing to worry about, but I guess my question is, how do you know when it would be best to have a lawyer present?
No, that's different. If you are being questions by a law enforcement officer you do NOT EVER assume they are your friend, your ally, or your "only hope". NEVER ever speak with a law enforcement officer alone. Being pulled over for a speeding ticket requires some specific decorum as well that far too many people ignore. Some get belligerent and only make their problem worse. An LEO is not a judge. So if you have an excuse, alibi, etc. save it for the judge. Just sign your ticket and take care of it the courtroom--of course, after immediately filing for a Demand for a Trial by Jury. :-)
Kellene, I absolutely LOVE this article. You hit the nail on the head. Knowledge is the key to our freedom is the key to our way of life. I'll be posting a link to this article for any of my readers to check it out. It's TOO IMPORTANT for anyone to NOT read! That being said, I feel a lot like the first person who commented... I'm not stupid, but I definitely do not know my rights like I need to! I would be one of those people who tensed up the moment I heard CPS was looking at my parenting skills. I'll take your suggestions on reading some books, but would you also consider doing some seminars on this subject? I'd love to learn more from someone who's already been down that road! :)
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insights.
Yes, if for no other reason than to help me sleep better at night. Thanks for the feedback, Debbie!
Thank you for another informative article. I could use to refresh my memory on some if this.
re: your 2011 copyright note
[for anyone how may be interested]
How do individuals interested in copying/print your articles for his or her prep personal file get your authorization and also respect your wishes? - I suspect many do not have fancy electronic equipment and keep electronic files and links. your valuables articles would be lost or of no use when the electricy or the grid goes down if they cannot be accessed in an 'older format' [hard copy] or the internet goes down for any reason.
clarification may be helpful for everyone.
A person can print out something that they find of interest for their own personal use, even in the event of a copyright, but the moment that they share it with someone else then it is exchanging legally protected content for value--even if no money is exchanged. For example, if a person copying my articles multiple times and then distributes those copies as gifts to others or as resources for church members, that would then be violating the copyright laws.
I agree with :
"If you are being questions by a law enforcement officer you do NOT EVER assume they are your friend, your ally, or your “only hope”. "
but would also add ANY government employee. We went to get new license plates last week and the guy next to us was registering a motorcycle that he had swapped for a snowmobile, no cash was exchanged. He answered a friendly question about how much he valued the vehicles and he said, "Oh about $4000." Well he was hit with a $400 tax bill for his transaction between himself and his friend. Needless to say he freaked out. He was told they could not change the appraisal because it was entered into the computer. He should have known at least to not answer the question. The government should not expect us to appraise items. And if the government asks you to value an item, they have a reason, they are not just shooting the breeze. I would not lie about it but I would not offer more information than necessary.
Good scenario to bring up, Hopper. There are SO many instances that I could go on and on about, but one article simply doesn't suffice. This is why I encourage folks to get as much info as they can on their real freedoms, and the law. Believe it or not, it's very much on our side, but only when we know it.
You have DNA capable of doing just about anything and doing it well. Thank you for providing this insight and education.
As for your Dad - Horse Feathers - I can hear him say it. What a great man, and so blessed to have you for a daughter.
I've had an awful fear of the IRS ever since I stopped doing a regular job. I try my best to do everything right, but it seems so hard on my own. (And my husband doesn't want to pay anyone to help us when we can do it ourselves). And the stories from friends and neighbors don't help. Are there any good resources you could recommend?
Yes, I would recommend without hesitation, MyFreedomRestored.com That's my husband's site and he's helped a LOT of people by sharing the lessons learned in his dedicated journey.
I just put a hold on 2 books by the judge you recommended to better educate myself, thanks for the suggestion!.
Awesome! some people say that "knowledge is power" but I say APPLIED knowledge is power. Way to take action!
I know so many people who have been scared to death by threats from government agencies. I myself am so tired of worrying that some false accusation will be made against me and I'll have to fight for my children. Thank you for taking the time to write this encouraging post.
Kendra, you may want to read this article posted on WND today. I have a friend who's enduring this EXACT scenario today. I'll be writing more about it soon in greater detail.
Kellene,You say to ask or file for trial by jury but I have heard many times that the judge denied the accused that right and said he would be the deciding factor. How do you get around that?
A judge cannot deny a trial by jury for a misdemeanor case. However, he can for an infraction. So typically it's lowered down to an infraction thus negating a trial by jury. It's simply not possible to deny a trial by jury. (the technical rule is, as long as there's not chance of a jail sentence, then a trial by jury can be denied.)