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Justice and related

Lawsuits: Does this amendment give too much protection?

The threat of lawsuits for reportage of suspicious activities of course can only have a negative affect on public’s efforts at diligence:

H.R.1401

Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007 (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)

SEC. 137. IMMUNITY FOR REPORTING SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES AND MITIGATING TERRORIST THREATS RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION SECURITY.

(a) Immunity for Reporting Suspicious Behavior- Any person who makes or causes to be made a voluntary disclosure of any suspicious transaction, activity or occurrence indicating that an individual may be engaging or preparing to engage in a matter described in subsection
(b) to any employee or agent of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Justice, any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer, any transportation security officer, or to any employee or agent of a transportation system shall be immune from civil liability to any person under any law or regulation of the United States, any constitution, law, or regulation of any State or political subdivision of any State, for such disclosure.

(b) Covered Disclosures- The matter referred to in subsection (a) is a possible violation or attempted violation of law or regulation relating–

(1) to a threat to transportation systems or passenger safety or security; or

(2) to an act of terrorism, as defined in section 3077 of title 18, United States Code, that involves or is directed against transportation systems or passengers.

(c) Immunity for Mitigation of Threats- Any person, including an owner, operator or employee of a transportation system, who takes reasonable action to mitigate a suspicious matter described in subsection (b) shall be immune from civil liability to any person under any law or regulation of the United States, any constitution, law, or regulation of any State or political subdivision of any State, for such action.

(d) Limitation on Application- Subsection (a) shall not apply to a statement or disclosure by a person that, at the time it is made, is known by the person to be false.

(e) Attorney Fees and Costs- If a person is named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit for making voluntary disclosures of any suspicious transaction or taking actions to mitigate a suspicious matter described in subsection (b), and the person is found to be immune from civil liability under this section, the person shall be entitled to recover from the plaintiff all reasonable costs and attorney’s fees as allowed by the court.

(f) Retroactive Application- This section shall apply to activities and claims occurring on or after November 20, 2006.

But, even acknowledging the limitation mentioned in part (d), the above amendment goes too far. The threat of lawsuits is an unfortunate negative consequence for any reporting of suspicious activity of the kind covered in the amendment. It’s not always fairly pursued, but the right of persons to seek redress, whether against government persons or others, should not be legally impeded solely on the basis of preventing a hypothetical risk.

Somethings which are confusing about part (d) (or however lawyers would refer to it) is how such a determination would be established, and when. Part (e) indicates, at least to me, such determinations can be made before the fact of a lawsuit’s resolution. I would think, while judges have some power to dismiss cases, the issue of determining if the defendents knowingly reported falsely is something to be dertimined best by the juries of their trials, assuming any such case has the merit to reach the stage of jury deliberation.

While it can be said the amendment serves the greater public good, in the name of national security, the right of recourse through civil courts should not be limited to a single standard, as is apparently stated in part (e). The amendment is too broad, with too narrow of an exception.

Illegal Immigration

I try to be moderate about this, but I do have conservative leanings on the subject. I think some control is necessary, and that the argument that they were here first doesn’t hold water, especially given the unacceptable possible precedence it could set. I am not a no borders, share and share alike guy.

Where I am less conservative is in the totality of the solutions. Not deporting is all right with me, and I am not opposed to some amnesty, mostly indifferent. Also, I am for easing the rules for the path to citizenship if they can be shown as unreasanable per the average immigrants abilities to abide by them; fining them is enough for me.

But what offends me is that these immigration rights advocates, legal or illegal, arrogance. Even though I am not for harshly punishing them, I am becoming angry; they show no humility. I’m at least willing to consider such things as reparations, investing in the immgrants’ host nations, but they seem to think they are owed. How helpful they’ve been to America is something I’ll leave to others, but the idea that one is owed because they did good after breaking the law is a rather dubious moral concept.

Waving our flag won’t help. I’m not about to become draconian on this, but I am getting angry, and I think I have a right to be.

Means, Motive and Opportunity

That criteria is perhaps the most well known in determing suspects of crimes, but the second criterium troubles me.

Below are simplified definitions of each criterium.

The means are myriad, they can be resources, weapons, persons, anything which assisted in the commission of crimes.

Motives are the assumed reasons for crimes. Crimes may be a response to offenses, thus the commission of a crime might be the motivation itself, that of inflicting damage or death, or it may be the means by which one achieves the motivating goal, perhaps money, possession of another person, et al.

Opportunities exist when there is sufficient time and ability to have committed crimes.

What makes determining motive so difficult for me is not in understanding what can be motives, but in being certain of the intended motives for crimes. To some, they are obvious, but about when alternative motives have close to as much legitimacy as assumed motives? Or when defendents’ claimed reasons for crimes cannot be disproven? Well, the initial answer should be, I believe, to discredit the alternative motives, if one is certain of the truth of the assumed motives, but one should go where evidence leads and be careful to not mold evidence to suit theories. Unfortunately, this isn’t a popular notion, that a benefit from an action is not necessarily the reason for the action, or some criminal activities.

Above is why I am a terrible conspiracy theorist, or a terrible thinker, because if my logic is not too insane, what I am alluding to is an important, to me, ethical question: Is it right to convict in one’s mind another person because he might, even if indirectly, obtain something which belongs to another, and not answer the question of whether his stated reasons for his action are sincere? Does hypocrisy prove him dishonest? Is it even pragmatic to expect non hypocrisy in whatever the situation happens to be? To me, conviction without even an ounce of concern of these questions is cynical and amoral, and I hope not to be that way, even if I come across as stupid.

Gonzales, why did you quit as US Attorney General?

Gonzales: I do not recall at this time that I said I would quit, but in the event I did, I want it known I take full responsibility for that decision, though I cannot say it, if it occured, was mine, because I am not aware of having made that decision, and I might not have been part of any discussions about the decision of which you speak. Could you repeat the question?

So, what? Were you fired by your dog?

Gonzales: I cannot rule that possibility in or out, assuming I am no longer the Secretary of State.


But you never were the Secretary of State.

Gonzales: That may be the case.

Or not.

Gonzales: That too.

Thank you very much, Mr Gonzales.

Gonzales: You are welcome. You may ask your question now. Or did you already? I do not recall at this time if you…….

Vengeance rape

I’ve heard some people defend the step-father’s action: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/story/406426.html (no longer works, sorry).

Here is my reponse to them.

Most people observing a person being chased, with no knowledge as to why, have a natural concern for that person, for he’s both in apparent danger and possibly undeserving of his situation.

Similarly, most people observing a person being sexually assualted, but with no knowledge as to why, feel concern for that victim, a label they would apply to the subordinate subjects in both examples, and with the incomplete knowledge they have, would be correct in doing so. Most people would also assume him to be innocent.

In both examples, an observer naturally feels empathy for the victim, whether he’s being chased or sexually assualted, but generally don’t for the aggressor because it’s not assumed that he’ll be justified after the fact, thereby making his action at present appear to be inappropriate to the observer.

What those who’ve condoned the step-father’s action are arguing is that an act which they would normally consider criminal and abhorrent to think of, let alone watch, is good if there’s an acceptable, to them, excuse, even given belatedly. After all, if the step-son deserved it, he deserved it no matter when the rationalization is given, right?

That means I could rape someone and be a hero to them, because they would probably not know my actual reason at the time, as long as I give a good excuse later.

In other words, they are inhuman morons.

Vengeance rape: additional thoughts

As I understand it, there exists a type of justifiable action defense, meaning that what one does can be justified on the basis of security, fear, what have you.

But, for that defense to have validity, the defendant must be able to show that the evidence to support it existed, and was known by him, prior to his having committed the action he’s on trial for, as well as show that his action was reasonable among and compared to however many possible choices he had. There’s probably more to it, assuming I’m even remotely close, but what bothers me is how it seems his supporters will put themselves in his position, and try to act as if they are in the same circumstances as him, when a majority of them could not have his knowledge of the crime which his criminal act was an apparent vengeful response to. He is largely being excused by information known after the fact, information that a humane person would see as irrelevant if they were watching the second alleged rape happening, and they would ask for proof of crime and guilt thereof for the first crime.

I don’t blame Austria for what Josef Fritzl did

But its punitive system, at least in the following example, is a joke, and not a funny one.

The father [Josef Fritzl] faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on rape charges, the most grave of his alleged offenses. However, prosecutors are investigating whether he can be charged with “murder through failure to act” in connection with the infant’s death, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080501/ap_on_re_eu/austria_captive_daughter

Really, what’s the point? Well, he likely doesn’t have many years left anyway. He’s in his early 70s, 73, if I’m not mistaken. I also feel sorry for his wife, who, by the accounts I’ve read and heard, was truly unaware of what happened. I just imagine the poor woman wanting to scratch her face in guilt and terror.

The only real justice, admittedly in the revenge sense of the word, would be for all of that family to tear the demon dad to shreds, but that would make them into monsters, or teach them lessons they shouldn’t be taught, but there’s no doubt he would deserve it.

Austria, increase the punishment for rape. 15 years for multiple charges of rape, especially ones that lead to forced births, is not enlightened and civilixed, it’s flat evil.

Only I may violate it, says the arrogant ass

It always amazes me, no, it annoys me, how a person can complain, even if justifiably, about one person’s violating the rights of others while effectively doing the same thing, and they do not know they are doing it.

Here are two examples.

I’m strongly opposed to the anti-snitching movement (anyone with a decent bone in his body would be). There are understandable reasons, having to do with personal and familial safety, for why some persons might not snitch when they witness crimes and suspicious activities, but a broad stand against snitching, and not just to protect junkies who qualify as being harmless, but possible murderers, rapists, etc., is absurd.

One of the main defenses of this is the claim that the police are corrupt. That’s true in some cases, but what bothers me more than the generalization some form from their anecdotal experiences or rumors , is that some of those who complain about the police abuses, use that as a justification to not only refuse to assist in bringing justice to the victims of criminal acts, but also to advocate vigilante justice, which is inherently going to violate the rights of those suspected of criminal activities, whom do, in fact, have rights.

” it’s wrong for the police to beat people up, but, by golly, if I think someone did something illegal, it’s perfectly ok for me and my buddies to beat that person up”.

Well, to enlighten, if you complain about violations of laws and then violate the law yourself, you’re a hypocrite, and not in a tolerable way. That kind of violation wouldn’t fall under the banner of civil disobedience either, not without making that strategy for change look insane.

The second example, and here’s where I risk the neocon label, is with the notion of Impeachment (of President Bush in this case, but the following holds true for any person facing trial).

My opposition isn’t with Impeaching Bush, I couldn’t care less if that’s done. If there’s a case to be made, make it. Obviously, if not, it can be argued that Impeaching him would be wasteful but for giving some people a sense of appeased vengeance, but that’s really of limited value if the goal is to remove Bush from office. With all that said, I’ll go onto what does bother me.

Given the anger, the justifications for which aside, people have over Bush, I wondered what they would think if Bush were Impeached but not convicted; would that be justice? According to most people I asked, the answer was no. Well, from a subjective standpoint, that’s true for them, and I might form the same opinion. But what they fail to realize with their contention, is that they aren’t only supposing only one outcome can be, which makes their understanding of impeachment minimal, at best, but that there’s a hypocrisy (again using a double-standard with respect to law, specifically the US Constitution), here also: According to their line of reasoning, Bush violates the Constitution, literally and in spirit. Therefore, we should ignore, before the fact, the outcome of a Constitutional procedure, Impeachment if we don’t like it (just as Bush is alleged to ignore and violate the Constitution), and proclaim what it should be. In other words, a trial is moot; there goes the principle of assumed innocense until convicted by a fair and impartial jury or judge, or, in this case, the Senate (no comment). 

If some want him out that bad, they should start a revolution, or at least admit to being hypocrites.

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