Over the past several years (well, more like the past 15 years) I have received an unwelcome, hands-on education about getting involved in the court system. After a lot of reflection (and disappointment), I came to realize that getting involved in the court system generally leads to unhappiness. This may be obvious to many, but it took me a while to realize that it is probably best to just to stay out of the court system. Stay away from the police, jail, traffic tickets, parking tickets, etc. My basic thinking was that if I am ever forced into one of these systems, I want to get out as quickly as possible. Pay the fines/bribes/whatever. Just get out.
Further reflection led me to notice that there are actually lots of systems that are best avoided. Again, you might have seen the destructive nature of these systems well before me, or maybe your programming wasn’t quite a deep as mine. But for me, it took a real shift in thinking to even realize that some of these are destructive systems to avoid.
Some of these systems seem to hunt for victims and pull them in. Think of the Criminal Court System. Other systems seem to lure you in–they seem to offer you something, some sort of reward for entering. Think of entering the Civil Court System trying to sue someone–you are entering court because you think you will receive a reward at the end. Lets call these two different system types “Hunting Systems” (they are hunting for victims) and “Luring Systems” (they lure in their victims). To be clear, the lures and rewards that Luring Systems offer are real–some victims have to actually be rewarded for the lure to be effective.
Lets explore some of these systems.
The Criminal Court System
Type of system: Hunting.
What happens: You get arrested, thrown in jail and humiliated. You will need to post bail, hire an attorney (you will not be appointed an attorney, that’s mostly for the movies), go to hearings and eventually go to trial. Basically they grab you, drag you in and they make lots of mistakes. Look at the Innocence Project (and donate!).
Best Case Scenario: The prosecutor realizes he or she made a mistake and drops the case. It does happen. It probably won’t happen to you. The most realistic best case scenario will be that the jury finds you “not guilty.” Of course this means that someone can still sue you in civil court (look at what happened to O.J. Simpson when he was found “not guilty”). See “Civil Court System” below.
Worse Case Scenario: You are found guilty and you go to jail. You then decide to either do your time in jail or fight on appeal.
How to Extract Yourself: Well, you probably need an attorney. If you did the crime, then maybe you are willing to strike a bargain. Maybe you’re willing to strike a bargain anyway, even if you did it. Prosecutors and attorneys love plea bargains this because they all get paid and the work is easy. If you didn’t do it, then you will probably want to fight and you’ll need an honest attorney who will actually fight for you. Good luck finding one.
Recourse: Essentially none. If you are hunted down and dragged into criminal court, you are at the whim of the prosecutor who has his/her own agenda. Prosecutors are not really accountable. Prosecutors are often (usually? always?) voted in. See if you can see how difficult it is to unseat a sitting prosecutor. You could go to the media. I’m sure they will be interested in your story (note the sarcasm).
Necessity of the system: Probably necessary. There are some bad people out there. Overhaul is necessary. Ask any of the people freed by the Innocence Project.
The Traffic Court System
Type of system: Hunting. This is a sub-system of the Criminal Court System.
What happens: You know. You get pulled over. The cop walks up with a gun, a taser and a bunch of bullets. You get a ticket. You probably thank the cop when he writes you a ticket and the cop returns to his car laughing because you thanked him. The truth is you are thankful because you didn’t get shot. Hopefully you don’t agree to a search of your car (see Criminal Court System).
Best Case Scenario: A warning. Who knows why cops issues warnings instead of giving tickets. It has happened to me. But, this isn’t really realistic.
Worse Case Scenario: You could get shot or arrested. Here’s an example of something that could happen. [Well, the youtube link I posted is now broken….. Youtube……. Well, look up some examples of cops messing with people, you’ll find some.]
But generally the worst case it that you get a ticket. Hopefully when you get this ticket you don’t have any other unpaid ticket. If you have some unpaid tickets, then you might be going to jail. Here’s a story of traffic issues in St. Louis (its worth reading).
How to Extract Yourself: You pay the ticket. If you are “lucky” enough to live in Missouri, you can pay an attorney to turn a speeding ticket into a parking ticket (yes, I’m serious). In any case, the answer is to pay money, as much money as they ask for. If you don’t insult the cop and make the cop mad (see the video above), all they really want is money. So give it to them and get out of this system.
Recourse: None. Some people appeal their tickets. Maybe this is worth doing. My guess is that in the worst case they will just make you waste your time and pay the original fine. If you’re willing to spend your time this way, its probably worth it. Good luck beyond that.
Necessity of the system: Lets be honest here about safety. If “they” were serious about safety, the speed limits would be a lot lower. Maybe 30 mph? This would be an annoyance, but things would be safer. The speed limits aren’t about safety, they are about collecting revenue. The Traffic Court System is unnecessary.
The Civil Court System
Type of system: Luring and Hunting
What happens: Someone sues someone else because they think they can get money or something else that they want.
Best Case Scenario: You win your law suit. It does happen. Your lawyer will get paid and the other side could appeal and do any number of dirty tricks to make sure you don’t actually get your reward. But who knows, maybe you’ll get what you want (note sarcasm).
Worse Case Scenario: You lose, pay your attorney, go into bankruptcy and your life is ruined.
How to Extract Yourself: I don’t know. This is probably why there are so many settlements for ridiculous cases–it is easier to just pay someone off and get out of this system.
Recourse: None? Appeal and pay your attorney more? File bankruptcy?
Necessity of the system: Who knows, but I’m quite sure that these courts are mainly for the rich–they don’t help many “normal” people. I suppose without these big corporations would do whatever they wanted, maybe the civil courts keep them in check. Oh yeah, these big corporations already seem to do whatever they want. Can we agree that the Civil Court System is unnecessary?
The Family Court System
Type of system: Luring and hunting. This is actually a sub-system of the Civil Court System.
What happens: One spouse files for divorce and then you fight over the money, house, kids, etc. One spouse thinks he/she will be better off fighting in court.
Best Case Scenario: The spouses decide to settle everything between themselves.
Worse Case Scenario: The fight goes on and on. Eventually money runs out, everyone is broke, the children are disasters. And, for many this can lead to the Criminal Court System, see above. Watch the movie Divorce Corp for more details on the horror that this can become (an amazing movie). Or, just talk to one of your friends who has gone through it.
How to Extract Yourself: I don’t know. Refuse to fight? Give in? Represent yourself in court?
Necessity of the system: In its present form, this system is inflicting a lot of damage on families. I doubt that any reform will do any good, so I will judge this system to be unnecessary.
The K-12 School System
Sub-Systems: Special education
Type of system: Hunting and luring. They will hunt children down and make sure they attend school. They also lure children (and their parents) in by telling them how important schooling is (they usually label it as “education”, but it should be labeled as schooling).
What happens: You go to school five days a week, 6-8 hours a day, endure boredom, do pointless exercises and get tormented by other kids and teachers. It is horrific with no actual positive outcome.
Best Case Scenario: Your parents extract from school and you can educate yourself.
How to Extract Yourself: Unschooling. Google it.
Recourse: None. The time you spent in school is lost forever. Sorry.
Necessity of the system: This one is easy but took me a while to realize it is unnecessary. If you think this schooling is necessary then I would ask you about all the important education you learned in school that you couldn’t have learned without it.
Type of system: Luring. We’ve all heard it, “College for everyone!”, “You will make more money if you go to college.”
What happens: You go to college and continue your K-12 schooling to college for several more years (probably 6 more years). Its just the same nonsense as K-12 schooling, only you probably drink more and go to class less.
Best Case Scenario: You have fun, you meet some great friends.
Worse Case Scenario: You end up with a worthless piece of paper that says you are now schooled even more. This also happens in the best case scenario.
How to Extract Yourself: Don’t go!
Necessity of the system: Probably unnecessary but I think there is still some good things about college. There might be a need for some of the research conducted at colleges and universities. I may just be too programmed at this point in time to judge this as completely unnecessary.
The Religion System
Type of system: Hunting and Luring. The religions I’m used to seem to lure people in with a reward of heaven. But they are also hunting. At one point in my life I was a Mormon Missionary. I was a trained hunter for religion. Because its fun, here’s me as a Mormon Missionary:
What happens: You go to church, you are bored and told a bunch of silly stories.
Best Case Scenario: You have a community that you enjoy. You might even get some value from the silly stories (good luck on this one).
Worse Case Scenario: You believe the silly stories, you persecute gays and generally hate others.
How to Extract Yourself: Leave, but you will usually leave your community behind. Maybe you can find community with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Church of the Latter Day Dude or United Church of Bacon. Probably not. At this point it looks like you’ll have to take the silly stories if you want your church community.
Necessity of the system: Not necessary.
The Income Tax System
Type of system: Hunting
What happens: The government makes you pay income tax.
Best Case Scenario: You pay. Maybe you’re rich and you can hire someone who helps you only pay a little bit (or none if you’re really rich). Maybe you get a “refund” which means you already paid too much, but you can celebrate and pretend that you got money back for free.
Worse Case Scenario: You pay and you pay fines for not paying. Maybe you go to jail like Al Capone.
How to Extract Yourself: Don’t make any money? Run your business “under the table” (see Criminal Court System above).
Necessity of the system: In case you didn’t know this, the United States didn’t start the income tax until 1861, and that was to pay for war (another system). Bottom line, unnecessary.
There are many, many more systems that you will want to avoid. I got tired of writing details about these so I’m just going to make a short list and let you fill in the blanks. Some of these are sub-systems of the systems above (or maybe even super-systems of the systems above).
- The Government System
- The War System
- The Fiat Money System (The Federal Reserve System)
- The Doctor and Hospital System
- The Mental Health System
- The Utilities System (electric, sewer, water, etc.)
- The TV/Internet System
- The Foster Parent System
- The Adoption System
Lots of people are actually happy in their systems. Or, at least they think they are happy. Think of the prisoner who has spent his life in jail and has found comfort there. Schools and religion might be the best example of this–many seem convinced that schools and religion are the only paths to true happiness.
I wish I could recommend everyone to open their eyes, but it does often seem like Systematic Happiness might be better. Will you take the Red Pill or the Blue Pill?