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Apr
30

The Right To Remain Silent

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I have often regretted my speech; Never my Silence! – Xenocrates

SILENCE!

speechIn a noisy world of other people’s opinions, subliminal marketing messages to buy things we do not need and our own busy minds, we forget that Silence is sometimes a luxury we have the right to give ourselves!

Now I am not referring to the Miranda Warning with which we have all become familiar despite not having led a life of undiscovered crime, thanks to all the detective shows on television!

It requires an officer of the law to inform an arrested person of interest they are taking into custody for interrogation that they do not have to answer any questions but that whatever they do say (or do) can be used in court as evidence against them.

The Miranda Warning goes like this:

  • You have the right to remain silent when questioned.
  • Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law.  
  • You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning, if you wish.
  • If you decide to answer any questions now, without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
  • Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?

 It was instituted to protect the innocent, and by default also the guilty, who find themselves in incriminating circumstances, before they are interrogated in order to preserve the admissibility of their statements against them in criminal proceedings.

I recall reading a story in a compilation of Readers Digest stories many years ago that remains with me till this day as very wise counsel to take!

When the house of a vagrant solitary man is demolished to make space for a car park, the workers discover the skeletal remains of a woman inside the chimney. There are stories that his wife left him many years ago but no one had ever seen her again! When questioned by the authorities, he invokes the Fifth Amendment: The Right to Remain silent rather than incriminating himself.

Further investigations reveal that the woman in question was the wife of a former tenant of the house and forensics reveal that the bones belonged to a tall woman rather than the petite figure of his wife. He is exonerated. And then as the concrete is being poured onto the land that used to be his garden, he quietly begins to chuckle. (Of course the implication being that he had in fact killed his wife and buried her in the garden, but the Fifth Amendment saved him from accidental discovery of his own crime.

  Silence is Golden!

It does not come easy to a talkative person like me…. and my patience has been tested severely recently by people who express opinions without having a clue as to what they are talking about or what is being attempted to achieve! And I don’t suffer Fools gladly!

And yet, every time I exercise my Right to remain Silent, I come out the winner. There is no endless meaningless debate around topics that matter. Nor is there any additional energy invested in trying to get someone who plainly lacks common sense to see reason!

Yet, while Silence may be the best known reply to a Fool, I do try and preserve their dignity! They have a right to that too, same as anyone else!

It is not my job to educate them of their folly; Life will do it better than I can! And if they never learn, let them be happy in their ignorance. It has taken me a mighty long time to learn this lesson, more Fool, I!

But now I exercise my Right to Remain Silent in the face of Utter Folly, Sheer Idiocy and Wasteful Energy spent trying to knock reason into empty or dense heads!

And so, we come to the end of the month that celebrates and Preserves Fools, a wiser and Silent person. And once again it has been proven to be Golden! No Fools were harmed in the making of this Post!

When do you exercise your Miranda Right to remain silent?

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