Greg Morin, Columnist
Suppose the following: In order to prevent crimes against children there exists laws that require all residences and offices to be wired with cameras that record all activity.
Furthermore, this practice has existed for decades and is simply accepted by the populace as a necessary intrusion of privacy. Most feel they have nothing to hide and so quietly accept the intrusion. Occasionally though this tool is used to harass and intimidate those who are out of favor with those running the State. Unfortunately though, in spite of these abuses, the acceptance of a “greater good” arising from this system weakens any widespread dissent.
Now suppose an elected official finally objects to this system. Suppose they propose a repeal of the law enforcing this system. Does this mean they are “for” crimes against children? Or does it simply mean they are against State sponsored violations of basic human rights?
To take an even more extreme example: if it were shown that killing all males over the age of 30 entirely eliminates all crimes against children, should we thus enact such a law? If we did so, would the proposed repeal of such a law imply we are “for” those that would commit crimes against children?
It is entirely possible to be unified in the ends we seek while disagreeing over the most appropriate means to achieve those ends. Just because some particular set of means might achieve an end does not imply or prove it is the ONLY or BEST way to achieve that end. Objecting to an odious set of means does not imply an objection to its ends.
Those that make such assertions are intellectual midgets, political opportunists all too eager to play upon the fears of the crowd as they employ cowardly straw man attacks. So what is the point of my little tale above? To wit, Georgia Representative Sam Moore has introduced a bill that would repeal all state laws related to loitering (defined as being on public property, ejection from private property is always permitted). Such laws empower local authorities to harass and intimidate (also known as profiling) those that they feel “look wrong” or “may be up to no good.”
Current anti-loitering laws (GA §16-11-36) impose upon the citizens of this state a duty to produce proof of identity when such an inquiry is made under color of law enforcement. Current law states the officer may graciously allow one to prove their innocence “by requesting the person to identify himself and explain his presence and conduct.”
To be clear this does not relate to probable cause (i.e. unambiguous evidence of potential or actual malfeasance), it solely relates to pure gut instinct, and nothing more. That these laws have stood for so many years is a ludicrous offense to a country supposedly founded on individual liberty.
Sam Moore should be praised for his courage in opposing the status quo, not vilified with a false narrative. But that’s not really the part of the bill that has gotten so many fired up. Legislation, like making sausage, is messy.
Frequently new legislation that overrides parts of other unrelated legislation is added years later. Although the statutes related to loitering have nothing to do with restrictions on registered sex offenders, those statutes make reference to the loitering statutes so as to supersede any restrictions against them.
Thus this bill (HB 1033) repeals those other statutes as well to ensure the complete and absolute abolishment of all anti-loitering laws. What ?!? Police can’t indiscriminately ask anyone for proof of identity just because they happen to be near a school or church? Clearly Sam Moore must hate children. It’s simply not possible that he is just as much against those that would harm children as his critics but simply feels there is a more effective route to achieving this end than maintaining Nazi-esque unconstitutional “prove-your-innocence” laws. These laws are in fact racist holdovers from the Jim Crow era recycled with a new purpose; to fool the credulous into believing the lie that such laws will protect our children. They do no such thing. They simply create a false sense of security that lulls us into complacency, making it more, not less, likely that such a predator will succeed. Greg Morin is Chairman of the Athens-Area Libertarian party and CEO of Seachem Laboratories located in Madison. Constructive comments are welcomed to this paper or at gregmorin.com