Liberty & Zero Tolerance


Upon any reasonable analysis, so-called Zero Tolerance laws and regulations, which I define as automatic outcomes for particular offenses or transgressions, make zero sense. Instead they are used as an excuse for people to exercise their authority without thinking or being called upon to justify the reasons for it. So not only do these Zero Tolerance results frequently result in a direct deprivation of Liberty, they are also a source of much wrongful mentoring to our children and harm to us all. Thus if some elementary school children take a knife to school to slice open an apple during a healthful eating demonstration, or set up a lemonade stand in their neighborhoods without first obtaining a permit, or take a pen to school that has some liquid and an inert marijuana seed inside, they are all punished. Why? Because the school principal or city council members, etc. “have no choice” but to enforce the laws and suspend the students or close down the lemonade stands, “because that is what the laws require.”

Of course, many times those arbitrary decisions are reversed when a parent shows up with a lawyer to challenge them. So that not only results in our children learning to hate authority because it is arbitrary, but it also teaches them that only the wealthy who can afford attorneys can receive fair treatment. Of course, these zero tolerance laws also affect adults in instances involving things like medical marijuana, mandatory minimum sentencing, and when they attempt to make jokes while going through TSA screening at airports – with the same arbitrary results. So people who care about justice and fair play should lose no opportunity in trying to repeal all zero tolerance laws and regulations. Liberty demands it!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President