A young man in Michigan has a real grasp of political theater. When he turned 18, he loaded his rifle, strapped it on his back, and went for a stroll.
When a policeman asked him for his identification — “Your papers, please” — he refused to present it. Three policemen arrested him.
The case went before a jury. The jury acquitted him.
Did he break the law? The jury said no. The law was easy to apply. Michigan is an open carry state. If people can see that you are armed, you have a right to be armed. You do not have to present any ID.
Then why did the cops arrest him? Because he did not appear to be 18.
Fair enough. But then they added these catch-all violations of civil liberty: disturbing the peace and obstructing a police officer. A local judge dismissed the third charge. If every judge in the country did this in all cases of non-violent refusal to cooperate with the police, there would be no such charge brought.
As for disturbing the peace, the jury said the man was innocent. This is good news.
Combs just graduated high school in June and had received the long gun — a vintage 1942 M1 Garand .30 caliber combat rifle — as a gift from one of his brothers on his 18th birthday.
In his testimony, Combs said he decided to walk around with the rifle to exercise his civil rights.
“I was just exercising my rights,” he testified. “Freedom of expression, freedom of speech.”
He made his point.
We need more people to make this point.