10 November 2020


On stolen goods and recovery of same


'Help help! I been robbed!'

This happens all the time. Mook with a handgun, junkie with a brick through your window, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammie Davis ripping off your casino. Somebody done took something of yours. You would like it back, thank you very much.

Or maybe an election.

Now the first thing you have to do is prove that something was stolen. Your wallet and watch, plus your girlfriend's purse. The jewelry you keep on the top of the dresser and in that box, plus your husband's bedside gun and the shottie in the closet, and the contents of the liquor cabinet. Maybe millions of dollars in cash.

Or maybe an election.

How do you pursue this outrage? Well, you have the pale spot on your wrist where the Rolex used to be, and the credit card numbers. Receipts for the jewelry, serial numbers on the guns, and the Rolex as well. Records from the casino counting room, to prove that the property's yours.

Unless it's an election.

Was it really stolen? Well they pistol whipped me and ripped the pocket where I kept my wallet, and the bruises on my GF's arm where they pulled off her purse and she saw them too, of course. And there's the brick through the window, and the footprints in the flower bed. And the closed circuit cameras in the counting rooms and the parking lots.

But witnesses were excluded from witnessing, if it's an election. All that exists is a bunch of numbers, and a few forensic auditors.

Now we come to the level of redress. Mook gets busted pawning your Rolex. Sorry, that's EVIDENCE now. Take it up with your insurance company. He's already sold it, and spent it on hookers and blow. Brick Guy? Traded all of the catch for pennies on the dollar, take it up with your insurance company. He'll never be found, and he spent it all on hookers and blow. And those poor bastards who ripped off the casinos? All the money ended up being burned. Didn't even get a chance to spend it on hookers and blow. Take it up with your insurance company.

Now we got an election.

I'm gonna have to get mathy here. There's a distinction between a proof and a demonstration, between 'Proven' and 'QED'. In law, it's the distinction between 'beyond a reasonable doubt' and 'a preponderance of evidence'. I am not a lawyer, nor am I a mathematician. I am (I flatter myself) much closer to being one of either than the average bear.

Here's how I break it down.

1: Was there a thing to be stolen?

Well, yes. Votes.

2: Did they have a presumptive owner?

Again, yes, the voter

3: Is there evidence that there was in fact a crime?

Here's where it gets dicey. There are eyewitnesses. There's a preponderance of statistical evidence pointing that way. BUT. Those accused will tell us that it's just due to changing rules. It's patently evident, although not provable, that those changes were initiated with the sole purpose of fraud. But we've got an unproveable here, in that it requires proof of a negative so we have do deal with QED.

4: Redress.

This is a real toughy. It's not as if one party has shot it all away on hookers and blow, despite best efforts. The only thing we as Americans have in the hope of redress is the court system. The courts are not an insurance company which can give us money to replace those things lost. What's been lost is a family heirloom, of immeasurable value, which cannot be replaced. The mugger with the gun can be put in jail, the junkie with the brick, and even the Rat Pack can be punished, but you'll never get back that watch that your wife gave you, your grandfather's shotgun, your grandmother's wedding ring that you put on your wife's finger so many happy years ago or even that lucky dollar coin you lost in Vegas.

What can be done? I really hate to say it, but a mulligan in some states, done under rigorous rules and absolute transparency. If they'd cared enough they could have put in downticket votes, but those are missing in hundreds of thousands of votes. Just the top place.

IN THE FUTURE? Demand personal ID on all ballots. Demand a real reason for an absentee ballot. I voted in a wheelchair one year. In person. (I was touched by the number of people who offered to help. Thank you all, and God bless you). This is not rocket surgery.

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