Have you heard the one about the guy who was finally tracked down by the authorities, arrested and jailed for the heinous “crime” of premeditated home improvement inactivity?
The criminal wantonly, deliberately and knowingly, with malice aforethought for lack of funds, failed to timely finish a siding project on his house.
For this unforgivable criminal omission of his duty to society and proper observance of the law Mitch Faber was arrested by the Burnsville, MN police on his way to work, locked up behind bars without bond for two days, and then subjected to electronic home monitoring surveillance following his eventual release.
The statist city leaders of Burnsville insist that they had no choice but to enforce their municipal home improvement code violation by the extreme method of bodily incarceration; this, despite the fact that the man had encountered financial problems because of the poor economy but was doing his utmost to finish the job. “We were in the process of finishing,” he said. “This wasn't something that we were trying to avoid doing.”
"You must complete the siding of your home," the Burnsville city authorities told Faber and his wife in a 2007 letter. Two more warning letters followed in 2009, and in 2010 they received a letter ordering an appearance in court where he got an ultimatum from a judge -- finish the siding or go to jail.
“I was expecting maybe a $700 fine,” said Faber. He and his wife then spent some $12,000 to finish the job with a stucco façade which they thought for sure put them in compliance with the ordinance. The City of Burnsville thugs thought not and put out a warrant for his arrest. Their inspectors ruled that the work was still not satisfactorily completed.
Faber was then taken into custody in November 2011. “I'm walking around in a green and white jump suit, I had to shower in front of a sheriff, I was shackled; my wrists were handcuffed to my waist — for siding,” said Faber. “It was insane,” said his wife, “absolutely insane.”
After two days in stir, a judge let him out, but required him to submit to electronic home monitoring. Dakota County requires participants — no matter what their crimes -- to blow into a drug and alcohol device every time an alarm goes off. “They could call me at 2 in the morning and they did,” said Faber.
This case presents an excellent example of why the United States of America has locked up in prisons and jails more people per capita than any other nation in the world and that includes China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea, and all the rest of the worst statist oriented countries on the planet.
Prisons are necessary to protect us from real criminals – not petty scofflaws who aren’t the least bit dangerous to society. This case most definitely should have been handled as a civil matter. The city should have been required to go to court and get a judgment against Mr. Faber for violating their ordinance. If he could not abide by the terms of the judgment they could attach his property, garnish his wages, or pursue other appropriate remedies under the civil laws. Putting him in jail punishes not only him but the rest of us as well who are forced to pay the bill.
And what makes these statists think that such “offenders” can eventually comply with the ordinance if they are in prison?
In Charles Dickens time, merry old England was famous for its ubiquitous debtor’s prisons. Unfortunate souls caught in circumstances beyond their control that couldn’t timely pay their debts were forced to rot in jail as punishment.
I thought these kinds of prisons and those types of punishments were abolished long ago, but it appears they are alive and well right here in the United States of America today.
What a shame that in the land of the free and the home of the brave we still incarcerate home improvement criminals.