There are a few popular phrases and notions that folks have been saying for years and years, that I just need to call out. Take for example, “ignorance is bliss.” I would like to argue that ignorance is not bliss at all. Another popular one goes, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” This saying could not be more untrue. When I say these sayings are untrue, I am of course talking about their application in my arena, which is the law. There is nothing blissful about being ignorant, because in a court of law, what you don’t know really can hurt you.
If you don’t know anything about The Fourth Amendment, which covers your rights against unreasonable search and seizures, you may consent to something you had the right to deny law enforcement to in the first place. With your consent to search, the police may find drugs or something that could implicate you in a serious crime. I have even witnessed this happen with one of the most serious crimes- murder.
Suppose you do not know anything about the Fifth Amendment, which protects against self-incrimination, your right to remain silent, and your right to speak with counsel. I do not even have to go into all the reasons why being unfamiliar with this amendment can hurt you. If you are unaware that saying, “I am not saying anything, I want an attorney,” is the only thing you need to say to stop an interrogation in its tracks, it is likely you might end up saying something you will regret later. When you say something on record that you did not have to say, it will end up being played. There is a reason that they say, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” If you say it, it will be used against you. Is ignorance bliss when you make a statement, and that statement ends up being the only thing that causes you to be convicted?
There are many other pieces of knowledge that could cause harm to the uninformed. Unfamiliarity with the Sixth Amendment, which is the right to confront witnesses and the right to actual counsel, is another example of a lack of information being detrimental. I strongly encourage every one of you to get ahold of a copy of the United States Constitution. You need to read about all these rights. What you can do even before reading The Constitution, is go online and look up your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. By taking these simple actions, you can put yourself in a position where you are armed with the knowledge you need if you ever find yourself in a difficult situation. Do not put it off, do it now. Make sure to pass the information you learn along to someone you know and let them know I said to you that they need to know it as well. I do not want to hear about any of you getting into a bad situation that was totally unnecessary. I hope that this has been helpful. Share this with other people, and do it right now, do not delay! The life and liberty that you save could be your own. Take great care.