Who Does He Think He Is — The Government?

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Jesse Dimmick was being pursued as a murder suspect when he broke into the home of Topeka residents Jared and Lindsay Rowley. Taken hostage by the knife-wielding fugitive, the couple played for time by serving him junk food and putting “Patch Adams” in the DVD player.

That unbearable film had the desired soporific effect, and once the invader was asleep the couple fled. Shortly thereafter the police arrived and arrested Dimmick. A few months later he was convicted on four felony charges, including two counts of kidnapping. The couple filed a $75,000 lawsuit against Dimmick for trespass and related tortious injuries. The convicted kidnaper replied by suing his victims, insisting that they had broken a verbal contract by allowing the police to arrest him.

“I offered the Rowleys an unspecified amount of money which they agreed upon, therefore forging a legally binding contract,” claimed Dimmick in a breach of contract complaint demanding $235,000 in damages.

Where would a criminal get the idea that an agreement extorted through the threat of criminal violence could possibly be legitimate? From the entity Justice Louis Brandeis extolled as “the potent, the omnipresent teacher [that] teaches the whole people by its example” — the government. Any government, in fact.

Every supposed obligation imposed on individuals by government is a form of extortion or armed robbery carried out under the color of supposed law. If those arrangements are morally defensible, why shouldn’t private criminals enjoy the same privilege?

“Everyone knows that the State claims and exercises [a] monopoly of crime … and that it makes this monopoly as strict as it can,” observed the immortal Albert Jay Nock in Our Enemy, the State.  “It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants, whether the property of citizen or of alien…. Of all the crimes that are committed for gain or revenge, there is not one that we have not seen it commit – murder, mayhem, arson, robbery, fraud, criminal collusion and connivance.”

Dimmick’s claim that the victims of his invasion had agreed to a “legally binding contract” to shield him from the legal consequences of his aggression makes every bit as much sense as  troop immunity agreements Washington sought from Iraq and Afghanistan. Dimmick’s demand for monetary compensation is of a piece with Michelle Bachman’s demented proposal that Iraq be forced to “reimburse” Washington for the invasion that left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead and made the country practically uninhabitable.

Neo-con scribbler Diana West displayed a touch of Dimmick’s audacity in a recent column reproaching the ingratitude of Iraqis and Afghans for the “blood and sacrifice of tens of thousands of Americans” who had invaded their countries. She was particularly offended by the recent Afghan “loya jirga” – clan assembly – that “produced a list of conditions for a continuing American presence” in that country. Among those supposedly untenable demands were “no more immunity from Afghan law for U.S. forces”; “no more night raids by U.S. forces”; “no more `arbitrary’ detention of Afghan suspects….”

In brief, the Afghans — who don’t have the power to evict the invaders outright — are playing for time, just as Dimmick’s victims did, by asking them to behave as if they were guests.  This doesn’t change the reality that U.S. troops carrying out an aggressive war are acting as armed robbers, kidnappers, and murderers.

If Jesse Dimmick had been wearing a government-issued costume and carrying an assault rifle, he would have been entitled to kill the young married couple if they displayed so much as a momentary tremor of non-compliance. Instead of being imprisoned, he would most likely have received a promotion and a commendation for valor. The only reason he is currently living in a government cage is not because he violated the rights of his victims, but rather because he did so without a government-issued license.

12:02 pm on November 30, 2011