Monday, November 2, 2015

The FBI and Dillinger - States Rights

The only constitutionally recognized police force for the United States is the U. S. Marshall's Service. Prior to the 1920s almost all crimes were state crimes and not federal crimes. The Treasury was one of the biggest federal law enforcement agencies because they went out of counterfeiters because that was a federal crime. The Secret Service, that protects the presidents, is actually part of the Treasury department. In fact, prior to the 1920s the US Marshalls were not active in most places. They were active in the west because they were the only police force that had any authority on Indian lands. The US Marshalls authority was limited to federal crimes and it wasn't even until after Kennedy's death that it became a federal crime to kill a president.

Now, let me tell you about John Dillinger. Mr. Dillinger was a bank robber and murderer during the 1920s. That era spawned a lot of violent criminals, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Ma Barker and her boys, Al Capone and so many others. The people at the time often viewed them as heroes because they saw the banks as bigger criminals during the great depression. If you don't know the people I mentioned, you need to look them up. Dillinger and the others I mentioned were guilty of bank robbery and murder; but, the reason the federal government got involved was because they had transported stolen vehicles across state lines. See, the federal government used to only have any authority over crimes that crossed state lines otherwise only state resources could be used.

I need you to really think about what I am saying. In 1920 a constitutional amendment was enacted that prohibited the sale of alcohol. They had to make it a federal law to be effective and the states loved it. The states also loved it when the federal government helped them find their worst criminals. It was state police officers that begged for the federal government to be allowed to help them catch criminals, they were not coerced or forced into it. I see a lot of ultra conservative media talk about how the fed has too much reach; but, they never address the fundamentals, like why can the federal government have authority over kidnappings that do not cross state lines?

Let's go back to Dillinger. The FBI called him number one on the list of the most wanted and that he was wanted dead or alive. Yet, the only federal crime they could arrest him for was driving a stolen car across state lines. How does that rate a dead or alive order? At around the same time the FBI got involved in the case of Bonnie and Clyde. Two more murderers; but, the FBI had the same charge against them as they did against Dillinger, stealing a car and crossing state lines. By the way, Capone went to federal prison for tax evasion, not for killing or even breaking the 18th amendment, they didn't even bust him for bootlegging.

What the real question I am addressing is the use of federal troops, the military, to deal with riots. Why should people who don't believe the federal government should have national programs like social security support the federal government being involved in shutting down internal state protests like Occupy Wall Street? Trespassing is not a federal crime, not even today. The federal government coordinated the shut down of occupy sit-ins with the states, that is a documented fact and neither Fox news or conservative politicians complained.

This is actually a mediocre post because I lost track of where I planned on going with it over the three days it took to finish it. Having said that, I would enjoy reading comments on any posts including this one. Retirement is boring.

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