One of the more depressing things in the life of being an activist for rights is that more often than not, rights are lost because people didn’t want to defend the bad guy. It’s easy to look the other way when Scummy McScumbag has his rights violated because… well because scumbag!
Take this basic example. In summary, cop pulls over a car. Car stops, passenger gets out and walks into his own yard. Cop sees the butt of a pistol sticking out beyond passenger’s shirt, and arrests him for the crime of openly carrying.
The bold part is important, but is lost on most people when they read the full case. Said passenger was a felon in possession who was also involved with drugs, a bit of information the arresting officer was not aware of until later. The police officer did not arrest this guy for drug possession. He did not arrest him for being a felon in possession. He arrested him for the exact reason we argued that ‘brief exposure’ was not an adequate safeguard. Simply seeing a gun gave the officer all the exigent circumstances he needed to violate Scummy McScumbag’s rights in the name of ‘officer safety’.
It’s difficult to have sympathy for the guy. He wasn’t a good guy, wasn’t a legal gun owner, was still involved in some shady dealings, and deserved a good stay in the iron bar hotel. The problem is that Scummy still has rights. To brush those aside because he’s an undesirable doesn’t generally bother people, but it should.
You see, now that the 4th DCA has said an officer can arrest Scummy McScumbag for being on his own property and accidentally exposing his pistol, it means Officer Friendly can do the same thing to you. When you refuse to stand up for rights, you lose yours. It’s cases like these where they violate the rights of someone nobody wants to defend that the violation becomes precedent . When it’s your turn in court, don’t expect the judge to suddenly realize you’re the good guy and that you should get better treatment.
This is why we have to take on cases with less than perfect defendants. I’ve personally seen even the staunchest defenders of liberty simply refuse to help those they don’t deem worthy. This is why waiting for the ‘perfect candidate’ to take to court is futile. If you allow the ‘non perfect’ to get their rights violated, by the time your perfect guy comes along, it will be too late.