By Douglas J. Hagmann
The 1979 movie And Justice For All is arguably the best cinematographic display of insanity and corruption in our legal system that remains relevant today. It remains a near-perfect illustration of judicial absurdity combined with personal and professional hubris that is repeated over and over in the U.S. The faces and names might change, but it was, and still is, a clear indictment of our legal system and specific individuals who believe themselves to be above the law.
In the battle against citizens’ rights to bear arms, such individuals occupy not only seats of power in the federal government but in various state governments as well. The issue of gun control has largely been most visible at the federal level over the last century. Due to the Constitutional issues beyond the scope of this article, it is arguable, however, that an individual’s right to own firearms under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, independent of federal control, might well fall within the jurisdiction of each state. This is exactly what we are now witnessing. At present, there are approximately 1,300 bills pending at the state level to change firearm laws, according to the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The majority of such legislation is decidedly against the law-abiding, gun-owning citizen. Virulently so.
One famous scene from And Justice For All played out almost verbatim during an April 30, 2013, meeting of the New Jersey State Law and Public Safety Committee when committee chairman New Jersey State Senator Donald Norcross shouted to one constituent, identified as New Jersey resident James Kaleda “You’re out of order!” Almost as if he was following the script written for Al Pacino, James Kaleda retorted, “this meeting is out of order!” It was, perhaps, the most fitting assertion during an otherwise uneventful four-hour long session where it appeared that the passage of seven-(7) new restrictive state gun control measures were decided long before the hearings began.
What egregious offense did Mr. Kaleda commit that compelled Senator Norcross to shut off his microphone and have him physically escorted from the public meeting? Some might contend that it’s a bit difficult to tell, but a simple utterance of “gun control” might have played a part. It appears that Senator Norcross, acting with the imprimatur of the federal government to disarm his law-abiding constituents, has also been emboldened to disallow discordant discussion despite its intellectual value. And there it is, ladies and gentlemen, a textbook example of the inextricable connection between our right to bear arms and our right to free speech.
While this might seem like a non sequitur at first blush, let me remind you that it was this gun control “lawmaking process” of the New Jersey Law and Public Safety Committee that was the stage setter for the “hot mic” comments captured at the conclusion of the New Jersey Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee just nine days later. It was during the latter meeting that the candid comments of three New Jersey State senators revealed their true intent of gun legislation: confiscation.
While that meeting received the most public attention, as everybody loves the unscripted “hot mic” moment, the unbridled tyranny displayed during this meeting slipped under the radar of many. It shows that we, the American people and residents of certain states, are not being treated as citizens but as subjects to a royalty that dare not be questioned. It illustrates why we must never accept constraints on the rights delineated by our Constitution, the very document that so many have died for, and the reason behind today’s holiday. It also shows the depths to which certain elected miscreants will sink to avoid having the truth spoken in a public forum.
James Kaleda was effectively silenced by the arbitrary, tyrannical actions of a power-imbibed state senator with his fingers poised and trembling over a microphone kill switch. He was escorted from the building with the wave of his hand by armed state police sworn to uphold the Constitution, but instead serving as the official state muzzle of unbridled tyranny and the hubris of one man. The story, however, does not end there.
As I watched the two-minute, forty-second video, I was alarmed at the audience clapping, with some giving a standing ovation, as Mr. Kaleda was being escorted from the halls of injustice. Why, I asked, were these people clapping at their own rights being ripped from them? Have we all finally succumbed to some ultimate brainwashing? Not at all, according to attorney Billy Baer, who, with Daniel Haggerty, was present at the meeting and secured the video footage of this entire incident.
The spectators at the meeting were incensed. They were outraged not only at Senator Norcross, but at the behavior of the entire committee of elected officials turned royalty. When told to sit down and shut up (my words) by the king’s court, many within the gallery rose and began to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in defiance of the trampling of the rights of not just Mr. Kaleda but all residents of New Jersey and all citizens of America.
Befitting to his majesty’s smug position of royalty, Senator Norcross remained seated during this pledge to the patriotism of our country and for which it stands. Not one of these royal elites had the decency to stand.
If Senator Norcross and those like him have any doubt whatsoever, Americans are getting angry. From the crowd, you can hear one man yelling… “you woke a sleeping giant!” We are getting angry at the cesspool of arrogance among the elected elite, and we’re reaching a point where it will no longer be tolerated.
Contrary to your belief that America is your kingdom, we will not be ruled like subjects. You have shown that you can turn off the microphone and escort one person from your presence who disagrees with subjugation, but you will not be able to extinguish the voices of us all. Today of all days, as we look upon the acres of tombstones of those who have died before us, know that there are more willing to make the ultimate sacrifice so our children can live in freedom and not under tyranny.