Lessons from American Violet

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 03-10-2010


Last night I watched the movie American Violet, which is based on a true story. The story is about a single mother of four, who is falsely accused of dealing drugs.

According to Wikipedia, it is very close to the truth, except for names and minor details like how many lawyers were on the plaintiff’s side. Of course the attorneys’ on the DA’s side say they didn’t act the way they were portrayed, but mostly it is accurate.  The movie is definitely a must see movie for those who are for the drug war or think it doesn’t effect them. Check out the trailer below.

About 10 minutes into the movie I’m already pissed off. Watching police swat teams swarming a apartment complex like they are waging war on the Taliban is something that happens everyday in this country. People need to wake up and realize the police state we’ve become.

The main character, Dee Roberts (real life Regina Kelly), is arrested at her job and not told what she was being arrested for. She assumes it is for the horrendous crime of unpaid parking tickets, but in front of the judge she is finally told she is under arrest for dealing drugs and will remain imprisoned until she can post $70,000 bail. I’m sure you can see why I was disturbed early on in the movie. The arrest was made with out informing the alleged criminal why she was being arrested. Is this America year 2000, or something from the middle ages? Next, her bail is set at $70,000. How is a single mother of four supposed to post a bail in that amount? What is the point of bail? I was under the assumption that it was to make sure they don’t skip town (meaning they would forfeit their bail money) or to keep an extremely dangerous person locked up during trail (ie. a serial killer). They could have set her bail at $1000, and it would have been enough for someone with her financial means to meet and still take very seriously. As far as a dangerous person, it’s obvious she was no threat to society. To top it all off, she’s left with a public defender who looks like the young punk that probably was a C student at law school (this is based on the movie for I don’t know what the real attorney was like).

Next, you will soon notice how inhuman we treat accused people in society. Dee Roberts is put in jail with three other women in a disgusting cell. They are treated like animals and made to see their children through little windows that look like something from a submarine. Keep in mind these are women who have not been arrested for violence. Even if they were guilty of dealing drugs, they were not violent. They are still human beings. In the long run, treating people like animals will tend to lead to more people acting like animals.

So, why would the DA do all this? Because he is incentivized by the federal government to do this. The federal government in it’s war on drugs gives money based on drug convictions. What’s the incentive here, to lower drug usage or to increase convictions? Of course, the monetary incentive is to convict. Add racism and poverty into the equation, and you have the perfect storm for what takes place every day across our country. Justice is not the ends of our judicial system. Money and power is.

As the story progresses, you will quickly see the abuse of power that takes place all the time in government. When Dee decides to sue the DA, she has child services checking in on her and she has a child custody hearing in front of the same DA she is suing. The DA harasses her former employer, so she can’t get her job back. After applying for job after job, she finally gets a minimum wage job, but quickly loses it after the DA makes a visit to talk to the owner.

As the happy ending comes, what’s the punishment for the corrupt DA? Absolutely nothing. It’s to be left to the voters. An now you understand why government corruption is a mainstay of governments. There is no real punishment for corrupt politicians. Who cares. Even if voters are intelligent enough to vote them out, which typically they aren’t, former elected officials usually turn into lobbyist who use their connections to curry favors for their cronies.

Finally, I’d highly recommend this movie to anyone. You quickly see the lessons preached by those who believe in liberty playing out. Government incentives always lead to lost liberty. Corruption is inherent to statism. Drug laws are used to create jobs in the enslavement of others. Justice is not something provided by government. Dehumanizing people is used to keep outsiders from becoming involved. Lastly, as shown between Dee and her former employer, government always pulls people and communities apart and discourages helping your neighbor.

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