Liberty Endangerment

An Ohio father was arrested — charged with child endangerment and held on $2,000 bond — for simply posting to Facebook a photo showing himself with his one year old daughter on his lap, while holding a gun in his right hand, pointed away from the child [ref].

Dominic Gaines’ gun turned out to be a BB gun. But that doesn’t matter.

Court documents claimed that “due to the close proximity of the BB gun to the child, there is a substantial risk of physical harm and safety of the child.”
Hogwash. The photo showed his child safe on his lap. There was nothing threatening about the photo. There was no “smoking gun”, no evidence whatsoever that any crime had been or would be committed.

(This case made me think of the movie Minority Report, where law enforcement used psychics to identify and arrest people before they’d committed a crime. The crimes were inevitable … or were they?)

Were the arresting officers, the prosecutor and the court really motivated by child safety? Or could their primary motivation have been the vilification of firearms and the intimidation of firearm owners?

Perhaps. Regardless of their motivation, they made an arbitrary decision to arrest, book and detain a man based on an unreasonable interpretation of an unconstitutionally broad statute. In the scheme of things, it was a small exercise of tyranny, something Mr. Gaines’ should be upset about, but of little consequence to you and I, right?

Wrong. Little tyrannies, left uncorrected, will multiply and expand, until the individual liberty and the rule of law become quaint, subversive notions.

No, this wasn’t about child endangerment. What was really endangered here was liberty. Not just Mr. Gaines’ liberty, but my liberty, and your liberty.


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