I’m not regularly in the habit of hanging out with the seedier elements of society. There is a specific reason for that, that has nothing to do with the person at all. You will never see me being friendly and hanging out with Martha Stewart. (It’s not like I would ever be given the chance, but if I was, I would decline.) The reason I wouldn’t be seen with Martha Stewart, or any number of other people, has nothing to do with political views, personal preferences, how likeable that person is or anything of that nature. I wouldn’t be caught with them, ever, because they are convicted felons.
While Martha may be very likeable, and very personable, the fact that she is a convicted felon could have a negative impact on me, were I associated with her and I ever had to use my firearm in self defense. Allow me to elaborate;
In the state of Texas, who issued my license to carry, if I ever have to use my firearm in self defense, I am going to be arrested, will spend at least that night in jail, and I will go in front of a Grand Jury. It could be the absolute most clear cut case of “That guy tried to kill me!” with witnesses, video evidence, etc. Even if a police officer was standing next to me when it happened and he said “thank you,” I would then be arrested. The police are not a jury in Texas, and they don’t get to determine someone’s guilt or innocence. So far, who I know, or who I associate with hasn’t been a factor. Some guy tried to kill me, I defended myself, I’ve been arrested. One friend of mine puts it this way; “You may beat the rap, but you won’t beat the ride.”
The next step for me is going in front of a Grand Jury. Now, in front of the Grand Jury, who I know, who I associate with, who I’m friends with, and who my friends are friends with comes into play. It has been famously said that a Grand Jury in Texas could indict a ham sandwich. In a Grand Jury, there is no judge. The prosecutor can bring a parade of witnesses in front of the Grand Jury, who could potentially all say that I shouldn’t be allowed outside without a helmet and adult supervision. I do not get a defense attorney at a Grand Jury. I can call no witnesses. I can’t even plead the 5th. It is not a trial. A Grand Jury’s sole purpose is to determine whether I should go to trial. Trials are expensive. Trials are not short in matters like these. My freedom is at stake. A Grand Jury can come back with two results in this scenario. If they decide that going to trial has merit, they will “true bill” me and return an indictment. If they decide that there is not nearly enough evidence to even dream of a trial, then they will “no bill” me and I am free to go. If there is ANYTHING that will sway a Grand Jury’s opinion in favor of indicting me, I want nothing to do with it.
One of the questions that any prosecutor worth his salt will ask, is about my associations. Do I associate with felons? The answer to that is no. Do any of my contemporaries associate with felons? The answer to that had better be no also. Remember, I’m under oath, and I cannot plead the 5th. If I answer yes to either of those questions, there will likely be an audible gasp from the members of the Grand Jury, and now they have reason to put me on trial. It’s not a good reason, and it may be trite, but it is a reason.
So, as for Martha Stewart? As pleasant as she may be in person, I will never want to be associated with her, since she’s a convicted felon. I have to choose my friends very carefully. It has nothing to do with them as individuals. It has nothing to do with political beliefs. It has everything to do with the fickle nature of people I have never met, if the time ever does come that I have to defend myself.