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I received a notice from the local court system recently ordering me to appear at a specified date and time for jury duty. So when the time rolled around I hobbled my aged self to the courthouse, signed in and waited with the other prospective jurors for the bailiff to usher us in. I had no idea whether the trial was civil or criminal or any other details. But upon entering, I observed a defense attorney with a young man in his twenties or thirties at the defense table. After a pep talk by the judge, we were treated to the prosecutor’s remarks about the charge and some things for the jurors to consider as the selection process went along.

It was then that I learned that this was a domestic battery case. The words that came out of the prosecutor’s mouth as she cited the charge against the defendant almost caused me to fall out of my seat. I sat there stunned, thinking surely I must have heard that wrong, or out of context. But a few minutes later she repeated those words and I just started shaking my head rapidly back and forth. The first group of prospective jurors the prosecutor was addressing were off to one side, so she could not see me, nor could the defense attorney. But the judge was looking straight at me.

Ultimately, they obtained a panel of jurors from the first group and I was not called upon. But had I been, I had made up my mind that I was going to speak my mind, and not about the mundane topics of “Can you be fair and impartial” and “Have you ever been in a situation, blah, blah, blah” and all that. I would have been immediately excused. Looking back, I wish I had raised my hand during her initial diatribe and asked if I had heard right and proceeded from there. But I didn’t. I blew it. I had a golden opportunity, but I was a good little citizen and dutifully filed out of the courtroom with the others who were dismissed with the thanks of the court for showing up.

Upon returning home I was still shaking my head in disbelief at what I had heard. So I went to my trusty computer and looked up the domestic battery statute. I used Google because it’s faster than going to the library and checking out the code book and wading through all that. Just typed in the search terms and one of the first entries was that my state’s domestic battery statute had been revised in 2016. So I clicked on it and got an article with the revisions highlighted, followed by the actual text of the statute. The first line of the statute was almost verbatim of what the prosecutor had said in court.
It follows:

“35-42-2-1.3. Domestic battery.
 (a) Except as provided in subsections (b) through (f), a person who knowingly or intentionally:
o (1) touches a family or household member in a rude, insolent, or angry manner; or….”

Did any of that make an impression on you? Here it is again:

“35-42-2-1.3. Domestic battery.
 (a) Except as provided in subsections (b) through (f), a person who knowingly or intentionally:
o (1) touches a family or household member in a rude, insolent, or angry manner; or….”

The title of the statute is “Domestic Battery”. B-A-T-T-E-R-Y. The offense mentioned above is a Class A Misdemeanor and can result in imprisonment for up to one year. The continuing sections of the statute progress from Level 1 through Level 6 Felonies, as the evidence of injury and the ages of the perpetrator and the ….victim….are brought to bear.

So I looked up the Merriam-Webster definition of ‘battery’ The first definition was what I expected.

a : the act of beating someone or something with successive blows : the act of battering (see 1batter 1)

The second definition was something else:

b law : an offensive touching or use of force on a person without the person’s consent

Note the word “law”. The second definition is apparently as is used in law. Now, I don’t know when the practice of “law” began using that definition of battery, when Merriam-Webster’s began including that definition in their dictionary, or how many states besides my own have codified that definition. I am not an attorney, a legal scholar or anything else. I am familiar with the term “legalese” and “lawyer talk”. My dilemma, I guess, is in processing why there are two distinct definitions of the word “battery” – one common definition which all us non-lawyers out here in America can understand and one which the lawyers and, apparently, the lawmakers, have decided to use. For their convenience, I guess. Or to please a constituency. Or because like everything else these days, words don’t mean what they used to, education isn’t what it used to be and common law isn’t nearly as common, or as ‘commonsensical’, as it used to be.

Surely the legalese corruption of the word “battery”, and the legislative corruption of the word “battery” is a recent development? Surely. I am not naive. I follow current events. I know nearly everything under the sun “ain’t your father’s” whatever it is. But I swear I had no idea that political correctness had infused the political/legal system to the level of the codification of formerly benign or inconsequential terminology such as “touching” being synonymous with “battery” or a definition of “battery”. Nor any notion that if someone was “rude” or “insolent” or “angry” when they touched someone, they deserved prison time.

Oh….wait. I forgot. There have been, for some time, in jurisdictions throughout the land, prosecutable offenses called “hate crimes”. Remember when those started coming into vogue? (not to be committed but to be lambasted and then outlawed and prosecuted.) First it was “hate” crimes based on racial prejudice and animosity. Then other horribly aggrieved classes wanted their day in court. Like homosexuals and transvestites. Of course those of another sex or national origin and so on. I think nowadays it’s “illegal immigrants”. Can’t be hating on illegal immigrants you guys.

How many out there, when they first started coming out with “hate” crimes, didn’t see anything wrong with that? Go ahead, raise your hand. Admit it. Why, after all, if you’ve been proven to be a former Klansman, or were ever heard using the “N” word, and you get into a fight with a black person, you’re a hater and thus deserve extra punishment for that hate, right? Uh, huh.

And so now we are going to start punishing people, up to and including incarceration, for being RUDE…..INSOLENT…..OR ANGRY. But of course we should do that. Why? Well, because of the obvious fact that this is the 21st Century, of course.
To drive home the point, and perhaps to cleverly poison the jury, the above-mentioned prosecutor, in her pre-trial gab with the jury pool, talked about something called the ‘Rule of Thumb’, and explained that in the days of old, men could beat their wives as long as the rod was no bigger in diameter than the size of your thumb. Horrors! Obviously that disgusting practice can’t be countenanced in the modern age, so to show our virtue, we will now incarcerate the scoundrels if they….touch….their wives, or their kids, or anyone else under the roof, presumably even with just their little pinky, if it’s done…..insolently.

You can’t make this stuff up folks. Oh…wait. You actually can. See, using my trusty computer and Google search again, I looked up Rule of Thumb, because I sure had never heard the term used like the prosecutor used it. Turns out, she’s one of those who know so much that isn’t so – That’s right – feminist-revisionist fake history.

So as I sit here pondering the state of the state, in my case the state is Indiana, not to mention the state of the Union, comprised of many states a lot more blue than the formerly red state of Indiana, I wonder how many, probably mostly men but also probably enough women to allow them to claim there’s no prejudice against men, are sitting in jail because in a fit of anger they tapped their spouse on the chest and told them to call off the affair with their illicit lover, or for whatever reason. Who knows. It doesn’t matter I guess. It’s obviously the culture, the virtue signaling, anti-male, anti-authority figure, useful idiot, movement-oriented society that brought us to where we are today.

I think of that young man sitting there in that courtroom and the fact that I know nothing about him or the case. He might be a real creep. He might have actually pushed or shoved his wife. He might have swatted one of her kids. He might have just grabbed Aunt Elsie and told her, insolently, to stay out of his and his wife/lover’s business. He obviously didn’t injure anybody because he wasn’t charged with a felony. Or, he might be completely innocent. Maybe he has been falsely accused of being …..angry. Maybe he wasn’t ‘angry” at all. Maybe he was frightened and somebody took his ….touch … as being one spurred by …..anger. He obviously didn’t “beat”, or “batter” somebody in the Merriam-Webster common sense definition of words. If he did anything at all it was in the Merriam-Webster “legalese” definition of things.

Words used to mean things. Not so much anymore. It’s the …..emotion……that rules the road in this modern day and age.
Which is so much better than when men were allowed to beat women with sticks smaller than the size of their thumb. Or so they say.

“35-42-2-1.3. Domestic battery.
 (a) Except as provided in subsections (b) through (f), a person who knowingly or intentionally:
o (1) touches a family or household member in a rude, insolent, or angry manner; or….”

Just one more thing. We are allowed to criticize our government. And it’s leaders. And of course bureaucrats and politicians, state, local and federal. Do you think that as we ….progress ….into the next century, we will not be allowed to do so if done in a ….rude or ….insolent or ……angry manner? Or do you think we will get there before that?

Okay, I’m done now.

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