Since an awful lot of folks in the government try so hard to misinterpret the Bill of Rights and to limit our rights, I submit the following "revision," in contemporary language. Had the founding fathers known what "modern" government would try to do, and their twisting of words, they probably would have written things this way. Remember, the Constitution was written to protect the people from the government, and not the government from the people.
To protect the people from the government, the government is severely restricted when it comes to its powers, and tampering with unalienable rights whether listed or unlisted. It has no power to change or modify them. In addition, the government has no power or authority to take any action without the express permission of the people. Any attempts by the government or its agents to violate these or any other unalienable rights, as well as the Constitution shall be punished with imprisonment for up to 10 years. This part of the Constitution is NOT a politically correct "living document."
The government cannot make any laws about establishing an official state approved religion, nor can they tax, prohibit, or restrict in any way the free exercise of a religion by the citizens, either individually or corporately, in public or in private; nor can they limit the freedom of speech, nor of communication in any form, nor the right of the citizens to peaceably to assemble for their purposes, nor to travel freely, nor to petition the government for a resolution of grievances of its citizens.
An armed citizenry being necessary to the security of a free people, and a free state, the right of citizens either individually or corporately, to acquire, keep, bear, train with, transport, and use arms, ammunition, and their accoutrements, shall not be infringed upon, limited, restricted, licensed, nor taxed, in any way and the provisioning of arms and ammunition shall be encouraged.
"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the
whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual
way to enslave them." -- George Mason, Speech During Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
No soldier nor agent of the government shall, in time of peace or war be quartered in any citizenís house or other private buildings, without the consent of the owner, and reasonable compensation for consented use shall be given to the owner of such housing, as well as restitution made for any damages made while occupied by them.
All citizens will be secure in their persons, houses, properties, papers, rights, and effects, against unreasonable searches, forfeitures, and seizures. No lawful property may be seized, examined, inspected, nor forfeited for any reason unless upon a valid and verified warrant for a crime. No such warrants shall be issued except upon probable cause of a malum in se offense, supported by oath or affirmation of at least 3 sworn witnesses (the historical precedence), and particularly describing the place to be searched, the specific persons or things to be seized, and the reasons for such actions, and limiting things searched and seized specifically and strictly to those items enumerated in the warrant. If charges are dismissed or a not guilty verdict is returned, all property and rights must be immediately restored and full compensation made for any damages or loss to property seized.
No citizen shall be made to answer for any offense, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the military forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger. No citizen; shall be subject to prosecution or punishment twice for the same offense. No citizen shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. No citizen may be subjected to any future punishment or forfeiture of property or rights after the original sentence. No laws may be made retroactive to increase a sentence or punishment, or create a crime after the fact.
In all criminal or civil prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial within a reasonable time frame (nominally 90 -120) days, by an impartial jury of the state or district wherein the crime shall have been committed, that district having been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with all witnesses and all evidence against him prior to the trial; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of a learned and able counsel for his defense.
No suits may be brought at common law, where the actual value in controversy is less than 500 dollars. In suits where the actual value in question is greater than ten thousand dollars a jury, may be called and their verdict may not otherwise be reexamined in any court of the United States. No awards may be made for "pain and suffering." In all suits, the plaintiff shall bear all costs of litigation of both the plaintiff and defendant in the litigation if the plaintiff loses such litigation.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted, nor any rights permanently denied. A citizen lawfully deprived of any right or privilege as part of a sentence shall have those rights or privileges restored immediately upon the completion of the actual sentence imposed.
The listing in the Constitution, of these certain unalienable rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage any other unalienable rights not mentioned here or retained by the people, either individually or corporately.
The powers not specifically delegated to the government by this document (the Constitution), are reserved exclusively to the states, or to the citizens. No law, regulation, nor restriction, may be enacted or enforced by any individual or agency of the government, such powers being delegated solely to the congress.
SOME THOUGHTS ON SPECIFIC ARTICLES
Basically the government is not to muck with the lives and beliefs of its citizens.
The implicit meaning of the Second Article, besides stating the citizen's rights to protect themselves from tyrants and evil, is that controlling what a person can do, own, possess, or use in a responsible manner whether it be firearms, machinery, or books is inconsistent with a free nation. Misuse or misbehavior should be punished or controlled, not possession. The issue that something could be used for evil purposes holds no water. In the specific case of the 2nd Article, the acquisition of arms and ammunition is necessary for freedom from tyranny.
"[T]he people are not to be disarmed of
their weapons. They are left in full
possession of them." -- Zacharia Johnson, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
I think this one is self explanatory. The government must at all times respect the rights and property of its citizens no matter what the situation, and the government cannot simply take over civilian property for its own use--temporarily or permanently no matter what the situation.
Particularly with respect to forfeiture, the state has no moral or legal authority to seize property or to cause a person to forfeit property with out full and just compensation, just because the government or its officials want it. The only property that can be seized under law is that which was acquired under criminal activity.
V and VI
There are basically only two types of crimes. "Malum in se" or crimes in and of themselves wrong and malum prohabitum or crimes designated by the state.
Malum in se crimes are things like such as murder, robbery, theft, armed assault or robbery, forcible rape or sexual assault, arson, piracy, hijacking, causing a death through negligence or misdeed such as DUI, and similar things
Malum prohabitum crimes are "crimes" created by legislation of the state, such as misstatements under oath, violations of local, state, or federal ordinances, and other similar non-violent offenses, and these days the state is in the business of making things illegal..
Life would be much simple and justice better served if only only malum in se crimes would be given jail time, while malum prohabitum offenses would be punished with fines, restitution, and indentured servitude, based upon the affect of the wrongful act upon the victim. As it now stands someone can actually be jailed longer for some minor non-violent offenses than someone who deliberately kills another person.
Having non-violent offenders provide restitution and servitude instead of incarcerating them would free up jail space for the violent offenders and would probably reduce the number of prisons needed, and might actually accomplish something for many victims. There's nothing wrong with indentured servitude as far as I'm concerned, and indentured servitude as punishment for a crime is specifically permitted by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Of course incarceration is big business these days.
With the possible exception of grievous crimes of violence a person's full rights should be restored at the completion of their sentence. They have paid their due. In cases where rights have been restored and the individual again commits a malum in se crime, then rights could be permanently lost.
The intent of the founding fathers was to limit frivolous or harassing lawsuits. The original $20 stipulation was a lot of money in those days.
Bail, fines, and punishment have to be in proportion to the value of the offense. Torture and other punishments to inflict pain for revenge are not allowed. In addition, there is no moral nor other justification to continue to deny a person's rights (particularly one who's offense was non-violent in nature) at the completion of their actual sentence.
Even if a "natural" right isn't listed in these articles it is still a right and it cannot be altered nor taken away by the government. In short, if in doubt, the right belongs to the individual citizen.
Powers not stated in the Constitution as being the purview of the government are reserved for the states or the citizens. Nowhere in the Constitution, nor in the minds of the Founding Father's are government agencies, the president, nor or individual personnel given the power to make laws and to make non-compliance a criminal activity. Laws can only be made by congress.
I'd also like an article that states that the government can make no laws abridging the freedom of trade and production.
In my opinion the two BIG mistakes that the Founding Fathers made
were in not
having a penalty clause that would have provided for punishment
for those in the government who willingly and deliberately violated the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as a whole, and a requirement that all laws apply to members of the government. I have a feeling that they thought people would be more honorable than they are these days.
Basically, the government is to leave the citizens alone in the conduct of their lives.
If you have never read the whole Constitution I strongly suggest that you go down to your local library and read a copy.
THE BILL OF NON-RIGHTS
The following has been floating around for a long time in various formats. It is attributed to Lewis Napper, a self described philosopher, and kind of puts things in proper perspective.
'We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, and delusional.
We hold these truths to be self evident that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights.'
ARTICLE I - You do not have the right to a huge home, new car, big screen TV, cell phone, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.
ARTICLE II - You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be, so you will never be alone.
ARTICLE III - You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful; do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.
ARTICLE IV - You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes. Get an education and go to work--don't expect everyone else to take care of you!
ARTICLE V - You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.
ARTICLE VI - You do not have the right to physically harm other people who are minding their own business. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair or shoot you ourselves.
ARTICLE VII - You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.
ARTICLE VIII - You do not have the right to a high paying job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training, laid before you, to make yourself useful and earn your salary.
ARTICLE IX - You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.
ARTICLE X - This is an English speaking country. We don't care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it or go back to wherever you came from!
ARTICLE XI - You do not have the right to change our country's history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in one true God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, and if you are uncomfortable with it, TOUGH!
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