Holding to Higher Legal Standards

In a conversation relating to the Zimmerman case one of my friends made a statement that really bugged me. I’m paraphrasing but he basically said, “Concealed carry holders should be held to a higher standard just like cops and soliders.” The belief that some people should be held to a “higher standard” has always bothered me, especially when discussing legal matters. I firmly believe that all should be equal under the law. Whether you hold a carry permit, are a police officer, or are a soldier should be irrelevant if you’ve harmed another person outside of self-defense.

Of the three categories he listed I will point out that only one of them receives no state protection. Both police officers and soldiers are actually exempted from various laws. If anybody is held to a “higher standard” it’s the average person who actually faces prison sentences, fines, or both for breaking the state’s decrees. When a police officer breaks a law or decree they are usually given administrative leave until the public forgets about the officer’s transgression at which point he’s put back on the force and the whole ordeal is forgotten. Those who believe some groups of people should be held to “higher standards” than the average person need to stop using state agents as their examples.

One of the failures of our legal system in the United States is the creation of numerous protected groups. Corporations, by definition, are granted limited legal liability by the state. Agents of the state are often given the ability to break some laws in order to enforce other laws. The wealthy and politically well-connected are often able to get special privileges from our legal system and are always favored in political matters. Individuals convicted of felonies, not just violent felonies mind you, become a separate class and are stripped of several so-called rights. The list goes on but you get the point. Equality under the law doesn’t exist in the United States (or anywhere else that I’m aware of). The state sees fit to hold some groups to a “lower standard” while it holds other, usually the average individual, to a “higher standard.”

The legal system should not hold some to a “higher standard.” All should be equal under the law. If you’ve harmed another person or their property it should be irrelevant what your profession or status in life is. Murder is murder. Theft is theft. The only reason to establish “higher legal standards” for some groups is to allow discrimination. When somebody says they want carry permit holders held to a higher legal standard what they’re really saying is, “I don’t like the fact you carry a gun. Guns are scary and I want to discourage people from carrying them. Since I can’t prohibit you from carrying a gun I’ll do the next best thing, I’ll make sure your every action in life is placed under a microscope and if you screwup, even in the most minor of ways, you’ll spend the rest of your life rotting in a prison cell. Meanwhile I demand the law take it easy on me because I don’t carry a gun and therefore I’m not a blood thirsty ravenous monster like you.”