It is generally considered a beneficial thing for politicians to have on their resumés—that they sponsored many laws during their time in Congress. But how beneficial is that to the rest of us? The vast majority of these laws are the babblings of those shit kids gone adult who wanted 900 rules for an average game of hide and seek. You remember those kids. We hated them. And of course the rules they came up with only benefitted them (you count to one million when I hide, and I’ll count to 12 when you hide kind of thing).
At this time, it’s almost impossible to figure out how many laws we truly have. Some estimates put the US Federal laws at near 50,000. I researched and tried to find a hard and fast number, but was completely unable to get clarity on the topic. Words like boundless, enormous, stratospheric, and fucked-up all emerged in relation to the sheer number of laws on the books.
And then there’s this gem: research indicates that 70% of US adults have committed a crime that could lead to their imprisonment.
This frightful statistic is needed to comprehend the vicious nature of our law enforcement and judicial system in this nation. In reality, there’s a law on the books that could put you away if needed. Take this into consideration as it works symbiotically on the disproportionate “legal” brutality heaped upon people of color. The vague enforcement of the laws allow for a tiered system that is largely safe for upper class white individuals, but everyone else is suspect … exponentially so for those who aren’t white.
A clear illustration would be the application of marijuana laws. Blacks are prosecuted at 4 times the rate of whites, but the usage rates are largely the same. This allows for a direct to prison path that permits racists of all stripes to bemoan the perceived criminality of black individuals while ignoring similar activity in their own community. Not to mention the very unnecessary regulation of a plant! This plant has one characteristic that demands that it be illegal,however– that of a high likelihood that it’s widespread use could hurt pharmaceutical company stock. You can pretty much do your thing as an individual (or a plant) until your existence is a threat to corporate profits. Well, that and the initial push to make this plant illegal was based on racism too. The crop yields from that initial racism has been—- wildly successful, even beyond the best year for pork bellies…..it’s a harvest of black souls ruined through absurdist cruelty. What those bastards planted years ago yielded exactly what they wanted. Namely more racism, and like all good divisive practices, the protectors of corporate interests reap up their benefits as well. Hierarchy and division always has beneficial side effects for the oligarchs. And this is but one example of an unnecessary law, unequally applied and disproportionately punitive.
The extrajudicial murders of blacks have been all too clear of course lately, thanks to ample video proof since all those years of disappearing black people didn’t seem to be good enough. Enforcement needs such as clearing the Wendy’s drive-through….who knew it was a capital offense to get drunk and want some crappy food? There’s the law they can put me away for (like 1,000 times over). But the drive through must keep moving– even if it needs to run over the bodies of black men.
Other laws added over the years include ones against helping parched, possibly dying individuals crossing the Sonoran Desert (illegally crossing of course—another law in place from those who took the land from the tribes of the area). Laws, laws, laws and not a drop to drink.
If the application of thousands upon thousands of laws has been a success, why are so many fearful individuals arming themselves? Now I know this is dangerous territory because you get into the gun-fetishists who want no laws regarding firearms. They say laws don’t work, except in the case of banning abortion and banning immigrants. I don’t pretend to know how to unravel that shit–our country is armed to the teeth. The sickness and rot needs to be healed on a much broader scale, I’m thinking to even make a dent in that problem. My issue at hand is the thousands upon thousands of laws on the book that allow for subjective application. Don’t for one moment think they couldn’t be applied to you at some point if our course doesn’t change.
The injustice and absurdity is in place to use against everyone. We have no choice but to dismantle this ridiculous construct and replace it with decency and empathy.
“To make a thief, make an owner; to create crime, create laws.” Ursula Le Guin