As an attorney practicing law I eventually came to the uncomfortable conclusion that every person was in some way in violation of the law. If I asked enough questions and dug deep enough almost everyone as it turned out had committed an arrestable offense. Most were unaware of this and fewer wanted to hear the truth about their legal status, and were always eager to dismiss my observations. Most people simply could not accept the truth about the complexity and all-encompassing nature of the law, sometimes rejecting everything I said with the words: “The law simply cannot be the way you say it is. I think you are just trying to drum up business.” All I could do was shrug and wonder if they say the same thing to their doctor when they get a bad test result.

On occasion the violations, however, were so egregious and wilful that I could only put it down to sheer luck that my interlocutor had as yet avoided arrest. A common response was “This is how I make my money. It’s your job to make it legal.” The absurdity of such a statement always seemed to escape those who spoke this way, equal to telling a doctor: “I smoke, drink, and overeat, and I refuse to exercise — Now it’s your job to make me healthy.” Such people obviously have watched too many Hollywood movies where the lawyer was eminently corruptible, which I believe (and hope) is contrary to real life. When it came to money and business, many people I found not only make money any way they can but have not the slightest interest in whether their activities are legal or not, and are not inclined to bring their “business” to “boy scout lawyers”, being interested in hiring only the kind of attorney they had come to expect from Hollywood.

Such people are not actually criminals. The problem is that the law has little regard for the daily necessities of the common man more concerned with paying monthly bills than toeing that thin line between what is legal and what is illegal. If the money is there, they may grab it and think about the consequences later. And as long as the state is circumscribed in its power, the average person can continue to occasionally cross the line without genuine fear of eventual arrest. Real criminals OTOH plan, conspire, and will deliberately harm others with full knowledge of the evil consequences, possessing what the criminal law calls mens rea, or criminal intent. Mens rea is an essential part of a felonious act, an essential part of the criminal frame of mind.

Until now.

The problem with the J6 Committee is that an innocent trespass has now become a felony suitable to put the trespasser in federal prison for years without the possibility of parole. The J6 Committee has thrown mens rea aside along with habeas corpus, or “produce the body”. This should make everyone very afraid. Given that almost everyone is always in violation of some part of the law at any given moment, the attempt by the DC Inquisitors to assign a presumption of mens rea to the most casual non-criminal offenses means in effect to criminalize everyone. A limited state is there for the protection of the average citizen, the non-criminal. A state with unlimited power suddenly has the capacity to convict absolutely anyone that it wishes to convict. When prosecutors look for an offense, they can always find one. If they can impute mens rea without the actual presence of criminal intent, then they can find a crime in anyone’s background, a crime that at the federal level can imprison absolutely anyone, even innocent protesters, casual trespassers invited onto Capitol grounds by staff, or even an ex-President. As long as the J6 Committee continues its Star Chamber activities, no one will ever be safe.