Republican Representatives Byrd, Boyd, Carpenter, and Taylor strike a blow at private property and the sanctity of our homes.
By Ryan S. Walters
It seems every few years a group of totalitarians in the Mississippi legislature conjure up what few brain cells they have that actually function to any reasonable degree and draft legislation that completely embarrasses our state and threatens our liberty.
In 2008, if you recall, several House members wrote a bill that would, I kid you not, make it illegal for restaurants in Mississippi to serve fat people. This joke of a bill was aimed at the chronically high obesity rate in the state. Representatives W. T. Mayhall, Bobby Shows, and John Read succeeded, not in getting the bill passed thank goodness, but in humiliating our state as word of the proposal made national news. They quickly backed off their crusade.
This session saw four representatives do something far worse than merely embarrassing the state; they introduced a bill that is downright dangerous to the future liberty of our people. House Bill 1261, known as the “Dangerous Dog Bill,” has two primary sponsors, Representatives Larry Byrd (District 104) and Tommy Taylor (District 28), but is also supported and pushed by Randy Boyd (District 19) and Lester Carpenter (District 1), who just so happens to be the chair of the House Conservative Coalition.
Now there’s nothing wrong with having a few laws with specific punishments for those who are not responsible in caring for their dogs and, out of irresponsible behavior, allow the dog to injure someone. But there should be enough on the books to handle those cases. This bill steps over the line, way over the line. In fact, no other state in the Union has ever passed anything like this.
Let’s look at the language of the bill itself. After first laying out exactly what kind of dogs are not permitted under this law, and how we are supposed care for them, our masters spell out our punishments, and here is where it gets hairy.
Section 3, Paragraph 8: “In order to determine if there is a violation … a law enforcement officer, at any time, may enter the premises where a dangerous dog is kept, or is believed to be kept, for an on-site inspection of the premises.”
So a cop, acting without a warrant, can enter my home “at any time” for an “on-site inspection” of my house to determine if I have a dangerous dog or not, and to determine if I am in compliance with the law. Say, gentlemen, didn’t they do that in Nazi Germany?
Well, fascist countries don’t have a Bill of Rights. But thankfully we do! Here is the text of the Fourth Amendment for those who don’t know it by heart:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
What part of “shall not be violated” do these illustrious legislators not understand? It’s plain English. It simply means private property – one of the great pillars that supports our republic – is protected and can’t be searched or any property seized without a warrant, and cops can’t get a warrant without probable cause. Probable cause does NOT give a police officer the right to break–in to a home, search, and seize anything because it is believed something bad is going on. A cop must get a warrant first, that is a warrant based on probable cause, not guesswork and hunches. Got it?
Let us continue on, shall we?
Section 4, Paragraph 1: “If a dog is determined by a law enforcement officer to be a dangerous dog, then the dog may be destroyed by the law enforcement officer, or his designee ….”
So it’s up to the cop, not a court following the parameters of due process, to determine if the dog is dangerous and destroy it, or in other words, seize the property. Again, another violation of the Fourth Amendment.
This can be done, the bill says, provided that two requirements are met: “The dog is running at large or not under proper restraint when on the premises of its owner, or leashed, muzzled and under the direct control of the owner when off the premises of the owner, as required under this act …”
Notice it says “when on the premises of its owner,” in other words private property. So, again, your property, including the confines of your home, is not safe from the clutches of unrestrained law enforcement acting on the whims of corrupt, fascistic politicians.
Other requirements: “There is no vaccination tag around the dog’s neck.” That’s also while “on the premises of its owner.”
So, taking these first two requirements, if a cop decides to bust through your door to see if you have a pit bull, probably because some jerk neighbor or relative called the cops in the first place (which is exactly how the Gestapo operated in Nazi Germany), and he simply finds your pit bull unrestrained INSIDE YOUR HOUSE and without a vaccine tag on, he can shoot it.
Here are more requirements (remember they only have to have two): “Attempts to peacefully capture the dog have been made and proven unsuccessful.” It’s highly unlikely that a strange cop is going to be able to capture your dog peacefully, so there’s another easy one.
And finally this gem: “Use of deadly force is permitted when a law enforcement officer, who confronts a dangerous dog, reasonably fears for his or her safety or the safety of others in clear proximity to the dog.”
So, again, it’s all up to the cop (no matter how stupid he may be), who has but to say that he was scared of the dog and he can shoot it. By the way, how do you legislative geniuses define “reasonably”? That’s right, you didn’t, did you? It’s one of the many legislative tools of tyrants to interpret law anyway they choose, and always to the detriment of the liberty of the people.
Simply put, this law is outrageous and cannot be supported by anyone who loves liberty and has any respect for the Constitution. There is nothing in this law that even hints at the Fourth Amendment, or warrants, or due process. When I first learned of it, I didn’t know if it was a joke or I had fallen asleep, fell through a wormhole, and woke up in Soviet Russia!
I could have expected something like this from Democrats but when I learned that it was Republicans that introduced it, I was incensed. This painful truth only proves Senator Chris McDaniel right: Conservatives have two enemies – Democrats and Establishment Republicans. Or as he said the other night on his five-city tour: “We must fight Democrats no matter what party they are in.”
And for conservatives to feel as I feel about this bill is not to say that we do not support law enforcement. I do support the police and the job they do but I support constitutional law enforcement. Our Bill of Rights is NOT open to interpretation.
Sadly, though, what is happening all across this great land is that cops are no longer serving and protecting the public; they are doing the bidding and enforcing the brainless and fascistic crusades of idiotic politicians, all in the name of keeping us healthier and safer. When a black man in New York City died at the hands of police simply because he was selling cigarettes on the street, something is going terribly wrong.
To those who have expressed support for this dangerous dog measure, seemingly out of concern that Pit Bulls are dangerous (although that is very much in dispute), you should be thinking about the slippery slope such a bill would place us on. It’s pit bulls today but what will it be tomorrow? Once a precedent like this has been established, there’s nothing to keep the government out of other areas of our private lives, as history has shown us.
Is it unreasonable to think they might begin inspecting our children to see if they are being raised right? Or perhaps to see if we are eating the right kind of foods, all of us being morbidly obese and all? Think that sounds crazy? They are doing it in Europe, and we are usually only a few years behind.
Thankfully, according to the chair of the judiciary committee, the bill will not make it out because there are enough good, salt-of-the-earth folks out there who believe in freedom and made it known to the legislature. God bless you all. But this is a lesson for all of us: Never take your eyes off our government. Ever. When you turn your back, they will bite you! So the real question is, are we more vulnerable to dangerous dogs or dangerous politicians?
I understand the arguments of some that these four distinguished gentlemen probably meant well, and I probably should hold my fire in wanting to refer to them as Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and Mao.
But whether it’s out of ignorance, stupidity, or whether it’s deliberate, this kind of legislation can never be tolerated for any reason in a free society. Whether it’s the NSA or the local police, government has no right to come into our homes!
So to the four horsemen of fascism: I hope the good, freedom-loving people in your districts send you home this year and you serve not another day in the Mississippi legislature. If you wrote this bill because you really believe it is the right thing to do, which is what I suspect, then why not try your tactics elsewhere? I hear Cuba is opening up!