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John Stossel: America, the Law-crazed

Over the past few decades, America has locked up more and more people. Our prison population has tripled. Now we jail a higher percentage of people than even the most repressive countries: China locks up 121 out of every 100,000 people; Russia 511. In America? 730.

"Never in the civilized world have so many been locked up for so little," The Economist says.

Yet we keep adding more laws and longer jail terms.

Lavrentiy Beria, head of Joseph Stalin's secret police in the old Soviet Union, supposedly said, "Show me the man, and I'll show you the crime." Stalin executed anyone he considered a threat, and it didn't take much to be considered a threat. Beria could always find some law the targeted person had broken. That's easy to do when there are tons of vague laws on the books. Stalin "legally" executed nearly a million people that way.

I'm not saying that America is like Stalin's Russia, but consider the federal laws we have. The rules that bind us now total more than 160,000 pages. The Congressional Research Service said it was unable to count the number of crimes on the books. Yet last week the feds added or proposed another thousand pages. States and cities have thousands more. Have you read them all? Have our "representatives" read them all? You know the answer.

Continue:
http://reason.com/archives/2012/07/25/america-the-law-crazed

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Good article, though I'd be

Good article, though I'd be interested in the stuff about the guy and the 15 year bullet sentence.

In a lot of these cases, though not always, the person is a REALLY bad character who should be in jail for life or most of it and they nail them with whatever works.

Not saying that's the most libertarian argument, but these guys are often vicious thugs portrayed to be innocent victims.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson
"Annoyance is step one of thinking"
"We're all in the same boat, it doesn't matter if you like me"