Knife Stories

Reader Submission Contest: My son’s “illegal knife” legal nightmare

Howdy Folks… I hope everyone had a suitably celebratory Independence Day, or perfectly acceptable Tuesday for those not lucky enough to be American (I would hope all our readers feel pride in where they come from just as I do, so please take it in that vein). I hope you paused said celebration long enough to ponder the significance of one of the greatest political documents ever written, as our friend Ethan Becker implored in his essay yesterday. As we all get settled into the remainder of our week, here is the latest entry in our 2017 Reader Submission Contest. The author wishes to remain anonymous, and I am perfectly fine with that. It is not too late to submit a post yourself, just send your entry to thetruthaboutknives@gmail.com.  You can read about the prize pool and contest details here.

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Click here for AKTI’s suggestions on how to handle a police encounter while you are carrying a knife.

The Story No-one Wants to Hear.

By Anonymous

On April 13, 2013 my world changed completely.  And it was all because of this knife.  How could a cheap gun show knife I ‘’bought” for my son do that you might be asking.

Well the story starts many many years before…  you see I think I was born with a knife in my pocket.   OK, maybe not, but at least I can’t remember a time there wasn’t one there.  I used them while fishing, for carving sticks, fixing my bike and everything between when I was a kid.  It seems I was always had a use for one and so I always had a knife on me.  I remember I wasn’t 10 years old when the first Rambo Movie came out.  But I also remember I had a survival knife not long after.  And I wore that hollow handled survival knife strapped to my hip just about everywhere I went.  As I got older the style knife I carried changed many times but it seemed like there was always a knife in my pocket or on my belt.  And I never thought twice about it.   I remember my Dad telling me when I was younger to be careful with them.  I remember him saying once how he always carried a small pocket knife and no ever bothered him.  But I didn’t understand at the time what he meant.  Why would anyone bother him for having a knife?

Fast forward many years…  I now have 4 kids of my own and still go everywhere with a knife in my pocket.  At family gatherings and birthday parties everyone knows “I have a knife to help them open that new gift they just got…”   I can even recall a time of getting to my destination and realizing I just had flown with a knife in my pocket, but that was long before 9-11…

So imagine that, my oldest Son developed an interest in knives…  In the fall of 2012, at a Gun and Knife show, a particular knife caught my Son’s eye.  He had the money to buy it but the vendor refused to sell it to my Son because he wasn’t 18.  I gladly assumed responsibility for the sale and exchanged of My Son’s hard earned money for the knife he wanted.  He was now the proud owner of a fancy new “spring assisted” knife.  We both marveled at how quickly it opened.  I gave him the same advice my Dad had given me when I got a new knife.  I said intently, “be sure to be careful with that knife”.  The knife quickly became my Son’s favorite knife.  The next spring as the weather warmed and even though Christmas had provided a few new ones, it was still my Son’s favorite knife.  So He took it with him almost everywhere he went.

That is, until April 13, 2013.

It was a perfect night at the end of a beautiful Spring Saturday in April.  It was the kind of day you dream of all Winter long in Michigan.  That night my oldest Son was out riding his bike around the neighborhood.  I wasn’t exactly sure where he was, but I wasn’t exactly worried either as we live in a fairly quiet small town.  Besides, my Son had never been in trouble and I wasn’t worried as he’s a good kid and not the kind to go looking for it…  But when my ex-wife knocked at my door out of the blue that night and said we needed to talk about our oldest, my world changed completely.  I rounded the corner out my front door and onto my porch and saw my Son sitting in the front seat of my Ex’s van.  He was as white as a ghost and shaking.  His eyes were red and full of tears.  I’d never seen his face so full of fear.  The two of them explained to me the best they could through the emotions and tears, that My Son had been riding his bike just a few blocks away from My House when a Police officer stopped him and charged him with carrying an illegal knife!!!  The Police report later confirmed My Son was doing nothing wrong when he was stopped and that he behaved very respectfully to and with the Officer that night.  The Officer had simply seen a clip on My Son’s back pocket and stopped him to see what it was.  My Son while still shaking told me “Dad I wasn’t trying to break the Law”, “I thought my knife was legal.”  And then that night My Son would say the words that would haunt me to this day!!  “If I can’t carry this knife without getting into trouble, what knife can I carry?”  “What knife can I carry…?”

It was a few weeks later or so before the first court date so my Ex-wife and I set up an appointment with her Lawyer to meet to talk about what happened.  The Lawyer explained the legal process and what to expect next… and I asked about MI knife laws and if the knife My Son had was or was not legal according to the Law.  The Lawyer responded that “it didn’t matter what the Law said about his knife”.  Simply put, my Son was being charged by the Local Police and the best option, since he had never been in trouble before, was to hope the court would go easy on him.  He said since it’s his first offence if he plead guilty he would likely just have to do some community service hours and pay a fine.  But I persisted!  What about the knife and the Law!?!?!?  What does the Law say!?!?  But the Lawyer persisted as well and said that the Law did NOT matter!  You see the night of April 13th when this first happened I started to do some ‘Google’ searching to try to understand the law and I was getting confused.  But I did know the MI State Police web site said knives over 3 inches were NOT illegal, unless the person had unlawful intent.  So I called the Officer that night to try to understand the charges.  The Local Police Officer who charged my Son told me on the phone that night that any knife over 3 inches was illegal in Michigan…  And when I questioned him about why the State Police website said otherwise, he told me to get a Lawyer if I needed help understanding the law because I didn’t know what I was talking about.  I tried to explain to him that I believed HE didn’t understand the Law correct…  The call ended and I knew we were in for an uphill fight.  The Visit with my Ex’s Lawyer was no different.   My Son and I talked and neither he nor I wanted him to plead guilty to something he didn’t do wrong.

The months following would prove to be some of the most trying times and frustrating experiences I have ever had.  I called Lawyer after Lawyer and heard the same thing, the Law does not matter.  But I still kept trying to understand it better, and I ended up finding AKTI and KnifeRights.org.  I did everything I could to learn everything I could about knife laws and regulations.  But unfortunately where we lived the Laws did not seem to matter, facts did not seem to matter.  I’d lose more sleep and eventually succumb to panic attacks and bouts of rage trying to prove my Son’s innocence and understand the charges.  Because the truth was traded for opinions and facts were perverted to try to make a innocent child look guilty.  We heard excuse after excuse from the Prosecutor as to why My Son’s knife was not legal.  My Son’s knife was even recorded as being 2 inches longer than it actually was.  At a time when the police department who charged him were teaching and enforcing the law based on the belief that length determined the legality of a knife. Which does NOT agree with the Law.  But yet they recorded his knife longer than it actually was, when they believed and were teaching kids that being longer than 3 inches made it not legal.    The Sergeant had even signed and verified it into evidence at the incorrect overstated length.  The first meeting at the Prosecutor’s Office I questioned the charges and explained I did not believe My Son did anything wrong.  The person we were dealing with looked at the Police report and went straight to the the length and said, yes it’s over 3 inches it’s illegal!  When I handed them a copy of the Michigan State Police website that contradicted what they were saying about blade length they became irate and turned bright red!  It was then we found out the 3 3/4 inch long knife blade of my Son’s knife had been recorded as 5 3/4 inches long!  That simply wasn’t right!  So I questioned the length in the Police report and the Prosecutor contacted the Police department to verify the length.  But I was told they were having trouble contacting them because the Prosecutor could only talk with the charging officer about the case and he worked nights…  Eventually contact was apparently made because according to my lawyer the charging Officer stated it was the correct length.  How can that be!  So I contacted the Chief of Police directly, he was able to review the knife in evidence and confirm the recorded length was not correct!  And stated there was no record of anyone attempting to verify its length from the Prosecutor’s Office.  Then he told me the Officer was not able to find a ruler anywhere in the Station on April 13th and so he had to print one off of the internet to measure my Son’s knife, that’s why the report was not accurate.  So, it makes me wonder why that same Officer didn’t remember the ruler he had printed out that night when questioned by the Prosecutor?  Was that such a standard practice he didn’t remember it?  Or was he ever actually questioned? Sure makes me wonder…

But once the length issue was disposed of, they said his knife wasn’t legal because it was “Spring loaded”…  I had to purchase several knives just like my Son’s to bring to the court to show how it worked, along with Case law and a court meeting or two later and that issue was disposed of…  Then His knife was called a “Dagger”…  More round and round.  Eventually the case went away…  But not after spending almost 6 thousand dollars in Legal fees to explain the Law to the Police and Prosecutor/  And the case lingered over my Son for His entire Summer break and into the next school year!!

In the end the charges were eventually “deferred” until they were disposed of, when they should have been dropped right away I believe.  The Local Police WERE enforcing and teaching the Law incorrect.  They taught for years that any knife over 3 inches is illegal just for being over 3 inches, MI Law does NOT support that claim.  According to the City Manager, the Local Police this past School year (2016-2017) have started teaching the law correct.  And by ‘teaching it correct’ I mean that according to the City Manager they are no longer talking about knives at all in their training….  But the City Manager told me they have no plans to correct the years of inaccurate instruction they provided to the Grade School kids in the area.  The City refused to reimburse me for my legal fees and by the time I gathered the evidence to support my case against the Prosecutor the statute of limitations had expired.  Not to mention every Lawyer I talked to told me they would recommend I move out of the State if I wanted to Sue the Police and Prosecutor as they would make my life difficult if continued to live in the same State.

So my life has forever been changed by a cheap gun show knife I ‘bought’ My Son at a Gun and Knife show.  Because every way I look at the Laws in this State, my Son’s knife IS and WAS legal. So the answer I keep going back to on the question that has haunted me since April 13th…  The Answer to my Son’s question is, “Son the knife you were carrying on April 13Was/IS legal according to the letter of the Law”  But because the Laws in Michigan are so poorly written the ‘Law’ allow opinions not facts to decide what the ‘Law says’ in a courtroom and the courts always favor the Police not the citizens, facts or the Law.  I never once had a desire to know and understand MI Knife laws like I do today.  But now, like it or not it’s all I can think about most days.  Growing up I had a Police Sergeant from a different local Police Department as a youth group leader in the church I attended at that time.  I spent a good amount of time around him in my formative years, and because of him I grew to have a deep respect and trust in and for the Police.  But unfortunately, since my Son’s case, my “eye’s have been opened” to what can happen when the Police do not understand the Law correct, willful or not.  And I am much more likely to question things when I hear a story about Police corruption.  When in the past I would have been much more likely to have instantly sided with the Police.  Michigan’s Laws ARE confusing.  They are arguably some of the worst written in the country, but not as confusing as I think the Local Police and Prosecutor tried to make them.  Case law dating back to 1945 prove knives over 3 inches are not illegal as long as the person carrying the knife does not have unlawful intent.  And even the  Michigan State Police website boldly stated that fact until the FAQ section was recently updated.  Hopefully soon SB245 will be signed by Michigan’s Governor Snyder, which will repeal 750.226a.  When and if that happens, the “spring-loaded”/“spring assisted”/”Switchblade” issue will be settled once and for all in this State.  But it’s not the end of the issues with Michigan’s knife laws.  This State still needs a preemption bill and 750.227 still needs to be fixed.  Because the terms “Dirk, Dagger and Stiletto” are not defined in 750.227.  I emailed the MI State Police and I received a reply stating 750.227 only applies to fixed blade knives, but there is NOT case law in Michigan to back that claim.  So even though I have an email from the State Police telling me 750.227 does not apply to folding knives, any prosecutor could say differently and I’d have no protection under the Law.  And since knife laws are all I can think about most days, I for one will be doing all I can to get them clarified, changed and updated.

 

Discussion

40 responses to ‘Reader Submission Contest: My son’s “illegal knife” legal nightmare

  1. Stories like this piss me off. There was no reason for the officer to treat your son like a criminal, I’m guessing he is just one if those cops that believe everyone is a threat to them and doesn’t understand that there are good people out there. I recently was looking over MI knife law and discovered, to my surprise, that it is illegal to carry a fixed blade knife of any length. Which is ridiculous, I can’t carry an ESEE Izula, or even have it in a vehicle (how am I supposed to get it home?). It isn’t just knife laws, all laws need to be refined to be clear, concise, and allow people the option to live their lives without being criminals jyst for their day to day activities.

  2. “…as we live in a fairly quiet small town.”

    ahem. the revenue generating system; thank you for railing against it.
    not only in nyc, huh? infuriating, that junior deputy is really keeping the neighborhood safe.

    “knock knock. your son is in possession of an item that may bring unwanted attention to your household. i suggest you swap this out and store it in your collection before one of the frustrated morons in our department decides to cite him for it. nice knife, by the way. have a good night.”

  3. In New York City the popo can get their “busts” numbers up by arresting everyone they encounter with a folding knife. You can look elsewhere for how F’d up the law is and corrupt the police and prosecutors in the City are. Upwards of 70K have been put thru the grinder and have weapons arrests for the rest of their lives.

    • Yes. In NYC any folding knife is a switchblade, if the arresting officer “thinks it looks like one.” Every official involved gets a “brownie point” when it comes to getting a good summer vacation time period and the case is eventually settled as some type of “dismissal.” All that results is everyone spins his wheels for 9 months as the bureaucracy smiles.

  4. Unfortunately, at the American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI), we’ve had to help so many people with similar stories. Fortunately, this father was and is tenacious and we have been able to use his story to work to get the knife laws in Michigan moving in a much better direction! Having the State Police take the lead on this legislation was huge in getting support from legislators. Governor is expected to support. Be sure you know what to do when you have a knife and an encounter with law enforcement, and teach your kids to know what to do. We have an excellent, updated article on our website http://www.AKTI.org under resources written by a criminal defense attorney. Share it with your friends and family. Thanks Michigan AKTI member for sharing your story!

    • Thanks to you and AKTI for your actions in getting the MI legislation passed, as well as your work throughout the US.

  5. This is why I’ll never live anywhere but the south. In Alabama, if you don’t have a knife on you, people look at you funny.

    • Same here in Maine…I always have a Microtech OTF in my pocket, not to mention a .40 on my hip! Thank god there’s some freedom left somewhere.

  6. “It’s a free country.” How many times have we heard that only to learn it is not? The ancient legal maxim “nulla poena sine lege” or roughly “there is no penalty without a law” has been stood on its’ head today in far too many states. The bedrock principle that a free people is bounded only by clearly defined law was embodied in the notion “what is not prohibited, is permitted.” This was known for centuries but appears to have been lost lately. So, too is the notion that certain rights shall not even be infringed. Not by looks, not by function, not by shape, size or scary color.

    Meanwhile the government which should have been sharply restricted by the opposite proposition first set forth in the Constitution “what is not specifically permitted is not allowed” has been all but forgotten (See “The Forgotten Tenth Amendment”). This is not an accidental development. The government would gladly create a class of privileged politicians, police and government workers who can do as they please and tell the rest of a free nation that they must serve the government. This is why the Framers insisted on a written Constitution and written law made known to all.

    Thank you for fighting the fight on this one. You did right by every measure (although I surely wish there would have been a lawyer to really slug it out for you).

    • That maxim goes all the way back to the season that a now ancient culture finally posted a two page set of simplified laws, meaning indeed that ignorance of the law was no excuse!

  7. i enjoyed your reading your story. i live in alaska and i too got in trouble back in 2005 as a high school sophomore.

    one of my classmates noticed i carried an extremely small single edge fixed blade knife on my keychain. the entire knife in its small plastic sheath couldnt have been more than 3 inches. the blade, at most, was half the length. it wasnt full tang, it had small thin black plastic handle and all in all plain and in no way cool looking. goody two shoes went to the principal saying i carry a pocket knife around all day. nothing had ever happened where anyone wouldve noticed me having a knife, i didnt take it out or use it at in the middle of class or anything, so i never even found out who was paying such close attention to my keys.

    i was almost expelled, and would have been unable to get a high school diploma. i couldnt have attended any other school in our bourogh(county). the nearest school i couldve attended was an unfeasible 3 hour drive from our house, and neither of my parents couldve quit their jobs just to home school me.

    fortunately, since i was compliant or whatever, instead of being expelled i was suspended for the max limit of 45 days, and during that time i had to compete 100hrs of community service, and also go to the juvenile detention center several days a week to do homework so i wouldn’t be a month and a half behind.

    it really sucked. i did break the clearly stated rules though, no knives in school. in your situation the rules were much more vague.

    that being said, maybe a knife with a spring in it isnt the best edc for a young adult . i would imagine his encounter with the police would have gone differently if he carried the same size knife, only a locking folder instead of one that opens quickly with one hand. i have an official boyscouts of america folding pocket knife that has well over a 3 inch blade, and i cant imagine a police officer harrasing him for that.

    • 45 days of suspension, homework in jail, and “community service” for a keychain knife? That’s practically North Korean of the school to do that to you. And to threaten to essentially ruin your life by withholding your ability to graduate from High School? This shows how “compassionate” these “open minded” Leftists running the schools are. You should count yourself as fortunate for not having a full size Swiss Army Knife, as you might have been executed by your teachers.

      • I do believe that Swiss Army Knives are referred to in some circles as “assault knives” and are the worst of the worst blades instuments. Responsible for the deaths of millions! And you can kill 7 or 8 people without having to stop and wipe your blades

  8. Michigan knife laws don’t need to be fixed or re-written.
    They need to be REPEALED!
    There is no reason to have laws regulating tools.
    Murder is illegal. Stabbing or cutting someone is illegal. Robbery is illegal. Assault is illegal.
    The implement used shouldn’t matter.
    REPEAL MICHIGAN KNIFE LAWS!

  9. Again, I say the ultimate answer is to defund Prog (1984) Ed, which loathes and hates and fights always against Natural Law; and replace the anti-human and anti-republic pedagogy with Western (1776) Enlightenment and its love of Natural Law. Natural Law loves self-defense. This fixes all over time.

    In other words, this family’s adventure into the very real world of 1984 is due to Progressive (1984) Education for the judges, the cops, the community, the school, the everything. All slavery problems begin in America with Prog (1984) Ed and the will stop with Western (1776) Enlightenment Education and its love of Natural Law. Fix schools and you fix everything.

  10. It’s really about the war on manhood. Anything masculine must be suppressed or medicated or punished. The men who support this nonsense are Stockholm Syndrome men.

  11. Never trust the police since most are ignorant of the law and must get that quota written every year to get promoted.

  12. I am surprised this did not go to a supression hearing. A police officer cannot detain you just because, even in Michigan. So, if it was just a consensual encounter, the officer was paying fast and loose with his authority because most people will submit no matter what. We do not not have the probable cause affidavit to see what the official statement about the offense nor do we have vdeo, but so far this smells.

    • You’re not going to have ‘suppression’ hearings in municipal court for a misdemeanor.

      And your apparent reasoning that “most people will submit no matter what” is without any basis whatsoever. By your reasoning there is no such thing as a consensual encounter. You may believe this if you wish (I know it to be false, as plenty of people do not submit) but you are contradicted by hundreds of years of American caselaw and hundreds more before that of common law.

  13. Do no this understand why a motion to suppress was not filed by your lawyer. What was the reasonable suspicion for the stop? Mere possession of a knife is not a legal basis to stop anyone.

  14. Also just make sure to never EVER say you have it for self protection or defense. it is for witling. In many states regardless of the length and the laws, saying you have it in public for self defense is violation of deadly weapons law.
    You can carry a five inch folding knife in Washington DC (on the streets as places like museums and federal buildings may have their own specific private property rules), you just must never say it is for any usage that may be threatening.
    Essentially in most places regardless of length it is sprung switchblades and daggers or dirks that are illegal to carry. bowie knives, 6z’ buck folding knives are legal open or concealed as long as those knives have another purpose beside as aa weapon.
    Again NEVER say you have it for self defense.

  15. I could write a lot, but I’ll make it simple:

    1. Thank you for fighting this through and not giving up. Please continue to fight against the police and prosecutor in this area. The fact that the knife was improperly described on a sworn report should have caused the officer to be charged, and the AG in your state needs to hear about it repeatedly until he either charges the officer or makes it clear that he doesn’t stand for the law.

    2. Please quit telling us what you found on the State Police web site. Dude, police officers aren’t lawyers. You do not ask the police for legal advice. Ever. That should be blatantly obvious to you at this point. There’s a reason the highest law enforcer in the state is the Attorney General. ATTORNEY general. See that? If you have a legal question, call his office. He’s the only guy that matters.

    3. This needs to be brought up when it’s time for city elections. The officers involved need to be fired, or the city government needs to go on record (to be used against them later) as supporting the obvious law-breakers.

    4. Please explain to your kid that if an officer stops him the answer to every question is “Am I being detained or am I free to go?” Every. Question. Same. “Answer”. People think that’s “disrespectful”. Who the hell cares? Your son shouldn’t have respected that “officer”. In fact, he should have nothing but utter contempt for such scum bags.

    5. Related to that, always – ALWAYS – name the officer when you write a story like this. He’s a piece of garbage, nothing more. Chances are that he’s done this before, and when people search his name they should always be able to find out his history. That’ll help make his career “history”, hopefully.

  16. I could have told you the law doesn’t matter. This is how we know we’ve got a New World Order on our hands. We’ve been taken over by Satanic Globalists. And they are going to get their way and their Beast unless we’re all willing to make the ultimate sacrifices.

  17. Today, in the US, guvmnt does what it wants, when it wants, how it wants.

    The law does not matter. You do not matter.

    Your only role and purpose is to pay the salary and Cadillac health, vacation, and retirement benefits of guvmnt sociopaths while praying they do not notice you.

    Live it, learn it, love it.

  18. Our memories fade of realities prior to big events. The author says,”I can even recall a time of getting to my destination and realizing I just had flown with a knife in my pocket, but that was long before 9-11…[sic]”, but flying with a knife in your pocket prior to 9/11 was perfectly legal, as long as the blade length (meaning the edge only) was under 3.5″ and it was single edged.

    I traveled extensively prior to 9/11 (and for about a year after, now I only take a few trips a year), and I never went anywhere without my Gerber side-locking, blade changing, 3.25″ edge length knife which had been prep’ed to the point where I could pull the side lock mechanism and flick it open with one hand as fast as any spring-assisted knife. Of course, post-9/11, the Gerber needed to fly in my luggage to the destination

    Only once in the 12 years of million+ mile air traveling was I challenged by airport security, in Nashville, Tennessee. The agent told me my blade was too long, I challenged him, and he lay the knife blade down on the table, pushed it towards a tape mark on the table, and got to the end of the edge before reaching the tape. He then pushed it past to the un-edged portion and all the way to the polymer body, which put the knife tip .25″ past the tape. “See!”, he proudly exclaimed. I calmly asked him to call his supervisor over, told him to repeat the process, he did. The supervisor smacked the agent on the back of the head, told him he would get to repeat a training class, handed me my knife, and wished me well on my flight home.

    I miss those days. Miss the knife, too, it was eventually stolen along with the rest of my clothes at the gym. To this day and living in Beijing, I still daily carry a 3.25″ lock-back, with a photo on my phone of the Chinese law that says my carrying it is perfectly legal on public property (so the subway security theater won’t try to confiscate it, all folders less than 10 cm blade length are perfectly legal).

    • It is for a reader submission contest. I am not going to mess with someone’s story if I don’t need to.

      I understand it is a bit stream of conscious but out of 10k page views (thank you Dr. R!) you are the first to complain.

  19. Alaska has an interesting rule. It says that if a law is ambiguous and can be reasonably construed in more than one manner, the courts (or the jury if it gets that far. I never once saw it get that far when I was practicing.) must construe any ambiguities in the law in favor of the criminal defendant. I don’t know what the law is in Michigan but I believe it also this is a precept in federal law. I am not sure about that because I haven’t practiced for over ten years but I remember this as being pretty much the rule of law in most all jurisdictions. If the law is not sufficiently clear in its definitions it is impossible for any member of the public to know when he or she is in violation of the law. I believe the federal cases were settled regarding vague vagrancy laws that could be applied to anyone the police the police took a dislike to. I used that case law to get the panhandling laws thrown out in Fairbanks, Alaska because the Salvation Army “panhandled” at Christmas and the fire department “panhandled” for “Jerry’s Kids” every spring. The law precluding panhandling was not only vague but was so vague that the police actually supported the fire fighters panhandling for what they considered a “good cause” but arrested “vagrants” for the same behavior. I wonder if the law is different in Michigan or if the attorneys you went to were just so hidebound that they just didn’t pay attention to the possibilities for a valid, quick, and cheap Motion to Dismiss.

  20. The same thing happened to my son in NYC, except the knife had a 2.5″ blade. After thousands of dollars the case was eventually dismissed. But guess what – the arrest was public record and shows up in any private company background check. It shows up as illegal weapons arrest – it sounds like he could have bee caught with a machine gun. Despite good grades he got accepted to worse schools and got worse jobs than his friends, including those with arrests for pot. Never carry any knife in NYC under any circumstances.

    As for me, I remember this everytime I do my taxes and make adjustments accordingly, and I never have anything to do with law enforcement or any agency or non-profit associated with them.

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