In my area, I’ve been monitoring a case involving Army Master Sergeant Christopher “CJ” Grisham, who was unnecessarily assaulted, disarmed, and arrested by Temple policeman Steve Ermis while out on a hike with his son. The case went to trial this week, and at its end, there was a hung jury with five of six jurors finding Grisham “guilty” on the class B misdemeanor charge of “interfering with a police officer in the performance of his duties.” Prosecutors will indeed try the case again. Apart from the preposterous expense of re-trying the case, and ignoring the biased manner in which the court trial was carried out by visiting judge Neal Richardson, there remains the simple relevant fact that at least five of the jurors were able to discern: CJ committed no crime. He and his son were walking along a roadside in a rural part of Temple, the elder Grisham with an AR-15 slung from his neck, as well as his concealed handgun. There is no law against openly carrying a long-gun in Texas, and Grisham has a concealed handgun license, but as usual, there’s always somebody in a hurry to claim offense or that they had been in fear.
It was such a caller to Temple PD who initiated this case. I want to address this post particularly to such people, as perhaps best represented by a person who wrote a letter to the Temple Daily Telegram, or who otherwise claim some offense against their psychological state: Get over it. Your fears do not invalidate the rights of your fellow citizens.
Let us first stipulate that we have an obnoxiously large proportion of our society that no longer understands what constitutes a “right.“ I place the blame for this at the feet of a failed education system and failed parenting, as well as an ever-growing statist regime. Examples of rights are things like free speech, free exercise of religion, freedom from wanton search and seizure, and freedom to self-defense and its implements(the right to keep and bear arms, for instance.) Things for which there can be no right would include “a right to food,” or “a right to health-care,” or a “right to education,” among many others. Added to these material things provided by others to which one can have no legitimate right, there are also intangible things to which one can have no right. For instance, our founding documents specify a “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Neither does it demand simply “happiness,” nor does it suggest that such happiness as one may pursue ought to be provided by others. This is because it is preposterous to suggest that if you’re unhappy, somehow, somebody will compelled to make you happy. This is because your emotional or psychological state is entirely your affair. Knowing this, let us examine the preposterous, childlike, almost infantile claim of those who wish government to protect them from “fear.”
One of the letter-writers to the Temple Daily Telegram attempted to make this case: CJ Grisham may have a right to carry a gun, but in public spaces, her fear should trump this. Because the writer is afraid of guns, all who own guns must therefore yield the right to possess them. Consider the following from the Temple Daily Telegram, under the title My Rights vs. his:
“I would like to say “thank you” to Temple Council members for not allowing Sgt. Christopher J. Grisham to dictate how they address the issue of carrying guns wherever someone chooses. The Second Amendment gives him or anyone the right to “own” a gun, when legal. However, it does not give them the right to impose their rights on everyone else. His rights end when they infringe upon my right to feel safe and free of fear when I go outside of my home and see people carrying guns.”
“Impose?” This is the sort of inverted logic I expect from a third-grader. It evinces a complete misunderstanding of the entire concept of rights. If we are to subject the rights of citizens to the random, irrational and entirely variable fears of all other citizens, we must immediately embark upon a program to build a vast prison able to contain all seven billion humans, who once imprisoned must never be let out. I might claim, and it would be true, that I am afraid for my life due to idiotic letter-writers who demand the disarming of their fellow citizens. Let us now hold such letter-writers in prison, or at least prevent them from writing further correspondence lest I or others of a similar mindset be unnecessarily fearful. We can extend this putrid argument of the timid to virtually any and every issue. Once one has embarked down this path, there is no turning back. CJ Grisham did not impose anything on any person. He was minding his own business, on a hike with his son, when a police officer arrived to impose sanctions on him for the sake of some caller’s irrational fear, due to their ignorance of both the law and the concept of rights, or simply to malice. No, we must not permit such folly to determine when rights end, or there will be no rights of any sort: No cars, no trucks, no airplanes, and no houses. No people. Some one is fearful of virtually any thing, any one, or any action possible to imagine.
A sane adults’ emotional or psychological state is entirely under his or her control. I am not responsible for how you feel. CJ Grisham was not responsible for the dubious emotional state of the caller who observed him walking alongside a rural road armed with a rifle. I walk my property frequently with firearms in-hand. Thankfully, I live far enough outside city limits that most passersby seem to recognize nothing particularly threatening or untoward about an armed man in the country. Sadly, this is not always the case, and despite the fact that Grisham was breaking no laws, violating no rights, and frankly “imposing” nothing whatsoever on any other person, he was unnecessarily disarmed, assaulted, and arrested by a Temple police officer responding to that call. If you want to know how tyranny grows, it is due in large measure to the sort of numb-skulls who profess to be frightened of this or that. What they seek is a peace of mind absent any other humans, and far too many public officials are willing to seek power by claiming to serve that need. Only in death can any person rightly expect to obtain a “freedom from fear,” but ultimately, death, its threat, and its implements are the sole tools available to politicians who promise it.
Consider Franklin Roosevelt’s so-called “Second Bill of Rights,” a litany of things to be provided, including mental or emotional states. It would have been better to have termed it a “Bill of Violations of Rights,” would we have been honest. Obama-care is a response to the very same thing: Some people must have their rights to life, liberty, and property denied due to the wants, wishes, and fantasies of others. This practice of tyrants creating conflicts between the actual rights of some people and the wishes of some others is not new. What is new has been the rapid advance of this bankrupt theory into our American culture. Due to faulty education, negligent parenting, and a vast political engine based on exploiting human weakness, America has arrived at the point in history where it must now fail for the lack of individual rights and the courage that had maintained them. “Rights” as conceived by our founders are disappearing under the crush of timid, slothful, morally-confused people with the ethics and standards of our lowest common denominator. The hopeful aspect of Grisham’s mistrial is that one of the six jurors ultimately understood what had been at stake. When CJ Grisham is re-tried, I earnestly hope that more who have understood the concept of rights will be on his jury.
At least five more.
You may remember the viral video of the event:
Editor’s Note: The Temple Daily Telegram is a paid subscription site for much of its content. The letter posted is part of that content, and therefore not all of it is available without subscription. I wouldn’t recommend the Temple Daily Telegram to any person, even were its articles available at no cost. It is one of several regional newspapers of the local establishment, pandering primarily to cronies. While there are occasionally stories or columns that contradict the party line, it remains our local version of Pravda, of former Soviet Union character. Update: The juror verdict count was earlier reported as 5 not guilty, and 1 guilty. Subsequent information provided to this blog substantiates the notion that this was actually backwards.