Your Property…Is YOU

Under the guidance of then President Trump, there was a concerted effort at criminal justice reform, which I wholeheartedly support–and still do. However, part of that discussion, the reduction of some property crimes from felonies, to misdemeanors, has not unexpectedly in some places, resulted in an uptick in property crimes. But in and of itself, that’s not the real issue. In an article entitled,  ” Will Property Crime Uptick Become A Crime Wave?” Debra J. Saunders opined back in 2015, that a then recent small rise in property crimes, could be a harbinger of a much larger and more violent growth.  Ms. Saunders did a straightforward job in explaining how reducing the punishments for some “property” crimes from felonies to misdemeanors could have the unintended consequence of increasing those property crimes and possibly lead to more violent crimes. Back then I agreed with her, but that is not the problem – it’s a symptom.

The real problem is a near universal presumption in not only Saunders’s article, but across pretty much the entire spectrum of American thought, right or left. That presumption, is that there is an actual, substantive difference between property crimes and violent crimes – or as they are referred to in law enforcement, “persons” crimes.  My position is; When it comes right down to it, there is little if any difference.  Both categories bring harm to others, varying only by degree. Walk with me for a bit.

Right up front, I’ll admit that I used to project that same presumption. It took me a long time to understand.  Like many people, I considered persons crimes more heinous than “mere” property crimes.  After all, the popular belief is that “stuff” isn’t nearly as important as a human being. At first blush, that seems entirely reasonable–reasonable until you take things to a deeper level. A little over twenty years ago, when I was working the street as Deputy Sheriff, I had a minor epiphany. Like most young law enforcement officers, I considered the routine bicycle or other minor theft as not too exciting. It was much more interesting to make a big drug bust or be involved in a vehicle pursuit with the lights and sirens going. A common bicycle theft required a lot of paperwork and most days resulted in no thief being identified, much less arrested, convicted and going to jail; though there was this one group of young “entrepreneurs” we busted. They were a bunch of early and pre-teens running a no-kiddin’ bicycle “chop shop.” But that’s a story for another day.

As a fairly junior member of the agency I worked for, it was a bit tough to feed a wife and two little girls on a Patrol Deputy’s salary. But it was doable, with some work and discipline. My epiphany as it were, came one year, when my wife and I made a personal commitment to not to go into credit card debt to for Christmas and end up working the entire next year to pay off VISAMasterCard.  So, trying to be a “Good Daddy,” I worked several overtime details to make sure Santa Claus was adequately funded.  My oldest daughter wanted a bicycle, her first.  With a bit of extra effort, I was able to get her one…the Barbie model, with “pink streamers and everything, Daddy!”


Barbie Bike sold at Walmart-Pink Streamers and Everything

Not two weeks after Christmas, in the middle of the day, someone came into my backyard and stole my daughter’s new bike.  She was crushed.  What else could I do but go buy her another? As I worked voluntary overtime to come up with the cash for a replacement, it struck me that what was stolen wasn’t just a $77.00 bicycle (plus tax and undue stress on Daddy for his refusal to read assembly instructions).  What was stolen was the piece of my life I had to spend to earn the cash to buy it…twice.  In that regard, this petty theft was indeed a crime of violence, a persons crime.

Now let’s look at our Constitution.  Fast forward to these past few years and my habit of listening to Mark Levin discuss the Constitution, specifically, the Founders’ concern for not only personal, but also property rights and how integral the Founders believed those rights were to liberty. Levin points out four different amendments in the Constitution that specifically give property equal regard as with liberty and people.

3rd Amendment: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. 

4th Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

5th Amendment: No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

14th Amendment: … nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law[.]

Why did the founders believe this way?  My experience with my daughter’s stolen bike got me halfway to the answer.  I realized that, in a manner of speaking, property is a form of stored labor.  Somebody, somehow had to work to get the money to purchase that property.  In that regard, property represents so many hours of a person’s life.  It follows naturally that taking property could be considered taking a portion of someone’s life.

Before John Locke, the common belief was that there was some sort of “divine right of kings.”  This divine right stated that all rights, liberties, and properties were held by the King.  His subjects were permitted to use them only at his pleasure.  Of course, the King could revoke such a right at any time.  As Mark Levin has noted, John Locke and a few of his contemporaries espoused a radically different paradigm: that certain rights resided in the individual.  These rights were “natural rights” that were inherent long before, and regardless of, the existence of government.

Our Founding Fathers took Locke’s philosophy regarding life, liberty, and property and sprinkled it liberally throughout the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.  This equal billing of these three fundamental rights continued until the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.  After that point, personal and property liberties came to be treated differently and unequally.

One recent and truly egregious example of this is Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws, whereby a citizen merely suspected but not convicted of a crime may have his property confiscated and must prove innocence, at his own expense, to get it back.  Another is the recent Kelo decision by the Supreme Court, whereby property can be taken from one citizen because the state (city, county, or state) can obtain more tax revenues from another, a clear violation of the intent of the Takings clause of the Constitution.

It’s time that we all as Americans understand that property is a significant part of liberty.  It’s time we all insist that the possession of property is a part of being a human being.  Your property is your labor.  Your property is You

If you enjoyed this article, then please REPOST or SHARE with others; encourage them to follow AFNN

Truth Social: @AFNN_USA
CloutHub: AFNN_USA

5 thoughts on “Your Property…Is YOU”

  1. Until the peasants had a right to their own property there were no individual rights. The King could kill them, rape the women and take whatever they wanted. Once folks could own property, all individual rights came into existence. Theft from other than the King, owning real and personal property did not exist. No reason for inheritance laws as no one owned anything to pass on. John Locke was correct: Life,Liberty and Property are God given, the people now grant power to the Government and the government better remember that important point.

  2. Darn right your property is you! When you put in the hard time at a job, to feed your family, buy those bicycles, and someone comes on your property and takes it, if you don’t do something about it, consider the effort you made to acquire that property.
    I don’t know when that bit about property being a lesser of a crime happened, but thankfully some laws, like the Castle Doctrine allow you to defend it, just like you were being robbed at gunpoint. That is a pretty recent change in attitude about laws to protect what you own, including the family and yourself.

    Something to consider about our current inflationary time is that crime will skyrocket when people get hungry or lose their jobs. When those Food Stamp cards quit working at the check stand at Kroger’s, we will see the unlawful raiding of anything you haven’t secured, like what happened in California at the Walgreen’s and the big stores a year or so ago.
    One can have all the compassion and empathy about another losing their job, but there are ways to deal with that stuff, other than robbing another for their sustenance, knowing that the proceeds of the theft will likely go more for a six pack and cigarettes than feeding their family.

  3. That presumption, is that there is an actual, substantive difference between property crimes and violent crimes – or as they are referred to in law enforcement, “persons” crimes.

    Maybe… just maybe… good laws (not the arbitrary and capricious laws), regardless of how they’re labeled are just the warp and woof of the same foundation (not necessarily in 2-dimensions) that a good society is built.

    Remove or skip some of either the lengthwise or longitudinal warp or weave or draw the woof (or cross-threads) don’t regularize the cross-threads through or don’t insert the cross-threads regularly over and then under the warp and you have a bold of cloth (or in our example society’s foundation) that has no ability to support a society because anything built on its firmament can break through the foundation and collapse the structure you’re building (or have built).

    Good laws, regardless of how their labeled or how in favor they are in a society, are critical to building a stable and lasting society.

  4. The courts also examine laws dealing with “personal” rights such as privacy and gender discrimination by using a “heigthened scrutiny” to review and strike down such laws.
    But with laws dealing with business and property they use a regular or rational basis scrutiny. This means the courts take the personal more seriously than property.
    This ignores that you need economic freedom and prosperity to secure personal rights. Property rights are personal rights.

Leave a Comment