Originally posted by PatesHatriots
When the government begins to persecute the innocent. No more, no less.
If this is the standard by which you gauge when it is appropriate for revolution, then aren't the people way behind schedule?
Taking just the death penalty alone as an example, and although these executions have been handled almost exclusively by the states, but since 1973
when the death penalty was ruled Constitutional, at least 139 people have been exonerated of the charges against them, their convictions overturned,
and were released from prison presumed innocent, just as you or I would be.
Of those 139 the average time span between conviction and release is 9.8 years and for 17 of those released, DNA played a significant role in their
exoneration. While some were released simply because their previous trial in which they were convicted was in error and actual burden of proof was
never proved, and instead a judge gave the jury a directed verdict, or some other sort of judicial malfeasance that amounted to persecution of what
must always be presumed innocent, but for the purposes of this argument, nor should we necessarily assume the entire 139 released were indeed innocent
of the charges brought against them, but that they were released and exonerated, means that in a legal sense, they were declared innocent, and that
then qualifies them as being innocent who were persecuted.
The numbers I have offered were taken from the Death Penalty Information
, and below is a quote from that site, it should be noted however, that when reading the information for yourself in that site you will
notice that the 139 listed is six more than is claimed to exist on that list in the quote below. Obviously that page needs to be updated, but the
quote is a compelling argument to their innocence:
We believe the term "exonerated" is entirely appropriate to refer to the individuals on this list, which now numbers 133 individuals. Exonerate
means to clear, as of an accusation, and seems to come from the Latin "ex" and "onus" meaning to unburden. That is precisely what has occurred in
these cases. The defendants were convicted, given a burden of guilt, and then that burden was lifted when they were acquitted at a re-trial or the
prosecution dropped all charges after the conviction was reversed. These are not individuals who received a lesser sentence or who remained guilty of
a lesser charge related to the same set of circumstances. All guilt was lifted by the same system that had imposed it in the first place. Our justice
system is the only objective source for making such a determination.
While these 139 were indeed exonerated does indicate that our justice system works as best it can to prevent the persecution of the innocent, it is
merely an indicator and what can't be known by a list of those exonerated since 1973 is how many innocent people have been executed? I don't think
that Amenesty International
is being hyperbolic when they assert:
The death penalty is the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights. By working towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, Amnesty
International USA's Death Penalty Abolition Campaign looks to end the cycle of violence created by a system riddled with economic and racial bias and
tainted by human error.
To further illustrate the heinous persecution of innocent people by the government, below are
examples of wrongful
Arizona: Ray Krone, released in 2002
* Spent 10 years in prison in Arizona, including time on death row, for a murder he did not commit. He was the 100th person to be released from death
row since 1973. DNA testing proved his innocence.
Illinois: Madison Hobley, Aaron Patterson, Stanley Howard and LeRoy Orange, pardoned in 2003
* Sent to death row on the basis of "confessions" extracted through the use of torture by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and other Area 2
police officers in Chicago. They were pardoned by outgoing Governor George Ryan, who also commuted the remaining 167 death sentences in Illinois to
North Carolina: Jonathon Hoffman, exonerated in 2007
* Convicted and sentenced to death for the 1995 murder of a jewelry store owner. During Hoffman's first trial, the state's key witness, Johnell
Porter, made undisclosed deals with the prosecutors for testifying against his cousin. Porter has since recanted his testimony, stating that he lied
in order to get back at his cousin for stealing money from him.
There can be no argument that these people and presumably many more have been either wrongfully executed, or have had to endure on average nearly a
decade of persecution by the government, before finally being released. Of course, it is a low number comparatively speaking and perhaps for some, a
number low enough to justify the error, but it is that an nothing more, a justification for state sponsored persecution.
The death penalty serves as merely a dramatic opening salvo, since 1973 of the governments willingness to declare war on the people. It was just a
few years earlier in 1971 when then President Richard Nixon officially declare a
"war on drugs"
, which historically had all ready begun long before that, but
was elevated to a national priority during this time.
This so called "war on drugs"
has created a black market industry that
according to a report by Foreign Policy in Focus, (FPF), as high as $100 billion dollars a year in the U.S. and a $400 billion dollar a year trade
world wide, accounting for 8% of all trade across the world. In the meantime, the U.S. federal government, primarily through their administrative
agency the Federal Drug Administration, (FDA), has advocated the prescribed use of drugs for even longer than the "war on drugs" has been fought in
the U.S., and where Congress will demand that pharmaceutical companies place warning labels on the drugs they sell, to the adverse side effects that
these drugs can cause, including warnings of potential suicidal urges that may come when ingesting certain "anti-depressants", in effect placing
their seal of approval for consumption of these dangerous drugs, while claiming to fight a "war on drugs" because of the dangers these drugs cause.
As of 2008 there were 2,424,279 people incarcerated in the U.S., and of those more than 2 million people, 1,518,559 reside in either federal or state
prisons. Approximately 1 in 18 males is in prison or being monitored by some government agency. Figures from the year 2002 tell us that 93.2% of the
prison population were males, and about 10.4% of the U.S. black male population was behind bars, compared to the 1.3% of white population, and 2.4%
Hispanic population. The U.S. leads the world by far in incarceration rates, with 754 people out of 100,000 and with the U.S. having only 5% of the
worlds population the population of the prisons in the U.S. amount to 23.4% of the worlds population.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice
, as cited by
in the year 2008 more than 7.3 million people were either in
prison, on probation, or parole, by the end of that year. This amounts to 1 in every 31 adults being wards of the state in some form or another, due
to conviction and incarceration. As early as 1994 reports indicated that the outcome of the
"war on drugs"
had resulted in the incarceration of one million people in the U.S.
each year. Out of those drug arrests, the fourth largest cause of those arrests were for possession of cannabis, at 225,000 of the million drug
"offenders", figures that are 25 years old, that show both federal and state governments more than willing to persecute people for possession of a
"controlled substance". Whether these "drug offenders" are innocents being persecuted by the government becomes a valid question, in light of
the standard you've supplied us.
Are people who use recreational drugs guilty of a crime? Both the federal and state legislatures have written legislation declaring the act a crime,
but is it? What is a crime?
In its most general sense, crime means a wrong doing classified by the
state or legislature as either a misdemeanor or felony, which then demands we ask; what is a
misdemeanor, what is a felony?
. In general a misdemeanor is an offense less than a felony
and a much more serious crime. Take note, however, that when offering specific examples of
these dictionaries provide crimes that present a clearly defined victim, as
opposed to the so called "victimless crimes"
or consensual crimes of drug use, possession
Not to mention gambling, prostitution and other consensual acts deemed illegal. There is compelling evidence that the government is indeed
persecuting innocent people. The O.P.'s question is pertinent, timely and valid. I believe with all my heart that the "velvet revolutions" in
Eastern Europe last century marked an evolution in revolution, and change can be brought about through peaceful means, yet vigilance constant.