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Hue and Cry!

Under old English Common Law, if you became the victim of a crime you were expected to immediately raise a “hue and cry” or “outcry.” Where are the watchmen of the night as politicians seek to implement more socialist schemes?

This morning (this was originally written about 2009) as I was going about my errands, I happened to catch Glenn Beck on the radio. It seemed he was really fired up and almost seemed to be hollering as he asked his radio audience regarding the latest socialist scheme that politicians were planning. He exclaimed with alarm, but also with the great feeling that Beck is famous for, “Where is the public outcry? Where the Hell are you America? Your country is being stolen from you!”

Indeed where is the outcry? Where is the watchman of the night?

Under old English Common Law, if you became the victim of a crime you were expected to immediately raise a “hue and cry” or “outcry.” If you didn’t you could lose the right to charge the perpetrator with the crime in a later trial. Further, by raising such an outcry the whole neighborhood could be marshaled together in an attempt to catch the criminal. Thus, the entire citizenry of the community were involved in the policing powers.

Further again under English Common Law, the plain, common and ordinary citizen was also expected, where and if possible, to use whatever powers and means in his/her ability to conduct citizen’s arrests. Thus the burden to a large extent was placed upon private citizens to maintain the public peace.

Sent to America by France to study the American prison system, Alexis de Tocqueville, marveled in his great classic, Democracy In America, published in two volumes, 1835 and 1840, how, despite a lack of a paid police force, the crime rate was low in the United States. And that unlike Europe, where the criminal was likely to thought of as a romantic character to be sheltered from the law, in the United States the criminal was hounded, chased, and brought to justice by ordinary everyday citizens.

Let’s revisit Tocqueville’s comment as found in book 1, chapter 5 :

It would be easy to adduce several facts in proof of what I advance, but I had rather give only one, with which I am best acquainted. In America the means that the authorities have at their disposal for the discovery of crimesand the arrest of criminals are few. A state police does not exist, and passports are unknown. The criminal police of the United States cannot be compared with that of France; the magistrates and public agents are not numerous; they do not always initiate the measures for arresting the guilty; and the examinations of prisoners are rapid and oral. Yet I believe that in no country does crime more rarely elude punishment. The reason is that everyone conceives himself to be interested infurnishing evidence of the crime and in seizing the delinquent. During my stay in the United States I witnessed the spontaneous formation of committees in a county for the pursuit and prosecution of a man who had committed a great crime. In Europe a criminal is an unhappy man who is struggling for his life against the agents of power, while the people are merely a spectator of the conflict; in America he is looked upon as an enemy of the human race, and the whole of mankind is against him.

Can you see the contrast and comparison de Tocqueville is making here? In Europe the criminal was an enemy of the state whereas in America the criminal was not only an enemy of the state, but of the whole human race as well.

But since that time America has fallen to the level of corrupt, degenerate Europe that de Tocqueville was familiar with. Today, the criminal in some quarters is lauded and glorified, or in some sectors of society ignored. With the increase of crime has come calls for more and more police, with stronger and stronger powers. But are all these police and all this power really necessary?

Roger Roots argues they are not. As he puts it in his law review journal article entitled, “Are Cops Constitutional.”

Law enforcement in the Founder’s time was a duty of every citizen. Citizens were expected to be armed and equipped to chase suspects on foot, on horse, or with wagon whenever summoned. And when called upon to enforce the laws of the state, citizens were to respond ‘not faintly and with lagging steps, but honestly and bravely and with whatever implements and facilities [were] convenient and at hand.

He further adds that:

The Founders could not have envisioned ‘police’ officers as we know them today.

Into whose hands does an ever increasing and ever powerful police state play? In 1984 I listened to Yuri Besmenov, who was an active KGB agent who defected, describe how he would promote moral anarchy in his target country. They would “soften” a society by:

  • The production, promotion and distribution of drugs.
  • The production, promotion and distribution of pornography.
  • Utilizing efforts to get a society interested in sex and then more sex.
  • Promoting various types of culturally destroying music and art.
  • Infiltrating the media: Movies; T.V.; Magazines, etc., in order to steer efforts to further weaken society morally.

Why? Because the KGB (now the FSB) know that moral anarchy is the seedbed of tyranny. American society must not only be demoralized but turned into a moral wasteland. The KGB know that their “perfect system of communism” can only be built upon the ashes of anarchy and chaos. Therefore, they make war against the wisdom that has come to man through the ages. They seek to overturn and destroy the very foundation upon which society, government and religion rest.

As moral anarchy progresses society becomes more and more corrupted, so more and more laws will be passed along with calls for more and more police. Eventually the target society reaches a point of complete anarchy or chaos so that a communist utopian state can be built upon its ashes.

So, what does this have to do with Christians? Well consider what would happen in our gang infested and crime ridden inner cities if we (citizens of the United States or citizens of other countries around the world), instead of being ashamed and afraid to act, start acting like early Americans in raising an outcry? Indeed, don’t we have a moral and scriptural injunction to do everything possible in the interests of “public peace and tranquility” to “step forward” and do everything we can to bring criminals and other violators of good laws were brought to justice (D&C 134:8)?

And don’t we also have a responsibility to also raise a “hue and outcry” when our political leaders do wrong? If we lose America will it be because as watchmen we have been asleep at our posts?


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