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June 9, 2008

YouTube sentencing for digital generation

Thanks to a friendly reader, I saw this notable USA Today article reporting on a creative sentencing for generation next:

A judge here is using YouTube to punish two boys who used the video-sharing website for a prank that ended with battery and criminal mischief charges against them.

The prank, known as "fire in the hole," has become common in the past year. It happened July 25 to fast-food worker Jessica Ceponis at the drive-through of the Taco Bell in Merritt Island, about 50 miles east of Orlando.

Ceponis handed a carload of teenagers their soft drinks. When she returned to the drive-through window to give them their change, they yelled, "Fire in the hole!" hurled a 32-ounce cup of soda at Ceponis and sped off. The teens posted a video of the incident on YouTube.com, alongside a number of other videos showing similar pranks.

Today, the teens are scheduled to post another video on YouTube: an apology that shows them facedown and handcuffed on the hood of a car. The judge, prosecutor and defense attorneys who devised this punishment hope it will serve as a deterrent. "You need to broadcast the apology so that the audience is seeing … there were consequences," said attorney Tony Hernandez, who represents one of the defendants in the case....

The teens wrote, filmed and edited the apology video.  They also were sentenced to 100 hours each of community service.  In addition, they each have to pay a $30 cleaning fee to the restaurant and write letters of apology.  The charges will be dropped when the terms of the sentences are met.

So, in this context, do readers think a picture punishment is worth 1000 hours of jail time?   

June 9, 2008 at 03:37 PM | Permalink

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Comments

"The charges will be dropped when the terms of the sentences are met."

IMO, some conviction is needed here.Perhaps on a minor misdemeanor or disorderly conduct. But no conviction seems more like no consequence was suffered.

Posted by: a | Jun 9, 2008 4:32:15 PM

If those kids went to real prison, they'd probably never say the words "fire in the hole" again.

Posted by: anonymous | Jun 9, 2008 4:38:28 PM

I don't think throwing a cup of soda is worth a whole lot of jailtime with or without a video.

When I was a kid, there was no YouTube. There were, however, fathers. This sort of thing would probably not even become a police matter. It would be left to those fathers, and I rather think that, if they were like my father was, there would be no repeat episodes.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 9, 2008 4:47:43 PM

"If those kids went to real prison, they'd probably never say the words "fire in the hole" again."

Are we countenancing prison rape jokes here, Prof?
Hope not.

Posted by: anon | Jun 9, 2008 4:57:38 PM

anon:

I don't think Prof. Berman is or can be responsible for what commenters say. I'm quite sure he doesn't contenance rape of any kind.

Neither do I. But you might consider lightening up some.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 9, 2008 5:38:29 PM

I agree with you Bill. I shutter to think what would have happened to me when my father found out I did something stupid like that. My father who was a career Marine always made his expectations very clear when it came to his children.

Posted by: USMC | Jun 9, 2008 6:20:59 PM

If I would have been dumb enough to do that and the cops caught me, I'd beg to go to jail rather than face my father. Like USMC, my father always made clear what the expectations were.

Posted by: da2b | Jun 9, 2008 6:48:39 PM

Not suggesting Professor B has endorsed the comment -- I was calling it to his attention and suggesting that a response might be appropriate. This is, after all, a crime and punishment blog and many people are likely to joke about it in an off-handed way without putting much thought into it. Poorly said on my part.

As for your suggestion that I lighten up about prison rape.

No thanks.

(P.S. First hand accounts at the link -- you seem like a person of goodwill, so I am sure you will see my point of view if you take the time to read a few).

Posted by: anon | Jun 9, 2008 7:55:23 PM

USMC and da2b:

For at least a generation we've been told that marriage and traditional families are just a bunch of Puritan tripe that fails to show "tolerance" for "alternative life styles."

The results of this sort of thinking can now be seen in the growing prison population.

The real cause of increased incarceration is not that the police have run amok, or that we have a vicious, punitive society. The real cause is that we adopted an anything-goes morality and deluded ourselves into thinking that the only consequence of this would be peace and love.

Thank you for your participation here.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 9, 2008 8:03:21 PM

anon:

Fair enough. I took a look at the link. Thanks for the suggestion.

I recently saw a documentary in which the point was made that when crimes in prison -- rape, assault and drug dealing, principally -- were dealt with by refering them to the prosecutor, rather than just as some administrative infraction, they went way down.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 9, 2008 8:10:16 PM

anon:

Fair enough. I took a look at the link. Thanks for the suggestion.

I recently saw a documentary in which the point was made that when crimes in prison -- rape, assault and drug dealing, principally -- were dealt with by refering them to the prosecutor, rather than just as some administrative infraction, they went way down.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 9, 2008 8:10:21 PM

"I recently saw a documentary in which the point was made that when crimes in prison -- rape, assault and drug dealing, principally -- were dealt with by refering them to the prosecutor, rather than just as some administrative infraction, they went way down."

I am ordinarily not a proponent of increases in the scale of incarceration, but if these numbers are solid, this proposal is definitely part of the solution.

Best,
anon

Posted by: anon | Jun 9, 2008 8:13:58 PM

Good idea and no need for a life-long record if this will do the trick. It might even be possible to see how effective it is by reading the comments to the video.

Posted by: George | Jun 9, 2008 8:46:32 PM

I love the creative sentencing...and the throwback to public shaming instead of prison time.

Posted by: lawschoolinmate | Jun 9, 2008 9:52:31 PM

When I was a kid, we could throw soft drinks at people without having to get the goddam cops involved. I'm actually surprised they weren't charged with some form of terrorism and locked up for 20 years or more.

Of course since parents won't be parents, I guess cops are all that we have.

Posted by: bruce | Jun 9, 2008 10:49:50 PM

"The real cause of increased incarceration is not that the police have run amok, or that we have a vicious, punitive society. The real cause is that we adopted an anything-goes morality and deluded ourselves into thinking that the only consequence of this would be peace and love."

What a simplistic world view! What is "an anything-goes morality"? As far as I know, folks don't believe that murder or using cocaine is a good thing. A PART of the reason for the absurd incarceration rate is that AUSAs, particularly those in the notorious Eastern District of Virginia, locked up for absurd lengths of time anyone (just happened that most were young black men) that possessed even a miniscule amount of crack cocaine. And yes, the ED VA is notorious for the rate at which it locked up young black men who possessed crack cocaine. Notorious because AUSAs would take the cases out of state court and make federal prosecutions out of the cases for no reason other than that they didn't think that these men were serving enough time in state prison. And look at all the good that came of that.

Posted by: John | Jun 10, 2008 9:17:26 AM

Bill, your 8:03 comment is pretty hilarious in its random invocations of culture wars talking points.

Your attempt to focus the blame on our increased prison population on an "anything-goes morality" is truly funny. In large part, we have a massive prison population because conservatives like you thought it would be a terrific idea to declare a war on drugs and attach lengthy, draconian prison terms to those offenses. Thus, many, many poor children grew up in broken, one-parent homes, leading to a new cycle of crime and imprisonment.

Good work!

PS The drug war & attendant mass incarceration has also led to the continued devaluation of your beloved institution of marriage, which here you seem to trumpet as the greatest thing in the world, but I suspect you're loath to share it with other groups due to prejudice -- but maybe you're not one of *those* conservatives, I don't know.

Posted by: Reader | Jun 10, 2008 10:06:07 AM

John:

"What is 'an anything-goes morality'"?

The theory that one way of living is as good as the next, and that to say otherwise is "judgmentalism"; that single-mother familes are as good as traditional ones, if not better, because they are a signal of women's liberation from male dominance; that drug use if acceptable, because what one puts into his own body is not society's concern (and besides drugs "expand consciousness"); that there's no shame in living as a client of the welfare state instead of taking responsibility for your own life; that dishonesty and deceit are not that bad, since "everyone does it"; that having children out of wedlock is OK -- and that to think differently is the mark of Puritanical "intolerance"; that crime is not the fault of the criminal but of the crushing society that "marginalized" him -- I can go on if you like.

"As far as I know, folks don't believe that murder or using cocaine is a good thing."

Sixteen thousand murders a year and widespread cocaine use tell me that a whole bunch of "folks" believe differently from what you think.

"A PART of the reason for the absurd incarceration rate is that AUSAs, particularly those in the notorious Eastern District of Virginia, locked up for absurd lengths of time anyone (just happened that most were young black men) that possessed even a miniscule amount of crack cocaine."

Some questions here: What is your definition of "absurd" and through what objective process did you arrive at that definition? Which AUSA "locked up" a defendant, for cocaine or anything else? I was under the impression that sentences were handed down by judges, not AUSA's. Is that incorrect? Any yes, we all know that AUSA's make the charging decision -- but that decision rests on the amount and type of drug the defendant has on him, which THE DEFENDANT controls, not the AUSA.

And what's with the obsession about race? Do you really want prosecutors to take account of race in deciding what to charge? Or in any other official act?

"And yes, the ED VA is notorious for the rate at which it locked up young black men who possessed crack cocaine."

Then I suggest they obey the law and not possess it. The overwhelming majority of young black men (and everybody else) stays away from crack. The minority who prefer to break the law can live with the consequences of their choice.

"Notorious because AUSAs would take the cases out of state court and make federal prosecutions out of the cases for no reason other than that they didn't think that these men were serving enough time in state prison. And look at all the good that came of that."

We were often ASKED by the state to take the cases, because we had better resources. And for "all the good that came of that": I refer you to the results of Project Exile, which concentrated on reducing the crack-linked (and epidemic) gun violence in Richmond. (Project Exile was initiated, by the way, by a Clinton-appointed US Attorney).

You're exactly right on that one. We displaced the state and went for federal time. In the first year of Project Exile, the murder rate in Richmond fell by half. In the second year, it fell by half again -- for "all the good that came of that."

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 10, 2008 10:06:47 AM

Reader:

"Your attempt to focus the blame on our increased prison population on an 'anything-goes morality' is truly funny."

That's it, Reader! Morality has nothing to do with how people behave! How could I have been so fooled for so long??!!

"In large part, we have a massive prison population because conservatives like you thought it would be a terrific idea to declare a war on drugs and attach lengthy, draconian prison terms to those offenses."

The sentences for drugs, and mandatory minimum sentencing statutes in particular (which I guess is what you're refering to, although you're too busy with ad hominems to say), were almost all passed by Democratic congresses in the 1970's and 1980's. The Controlled Substances Act of 1974 was passed by one of the most liberal and Democratic congresses in the last 50 years.

I had not been aware that John Conyers, Alcee Hastings, Ted Kennedy and Pat Leahy were "conservatives," but hey, whatever turns you on.

"Thus, many, many poor children grew up in broken, one-parent homes, leading to a new cycle of crime and imprisonment."

This assumes that the father or boyfriend was living at home to begin with. Where's your evidence for that?

The fact that one may disgree with the drug laws does not entitle one to break them. If you decide to break them anyway, and get caught at it, the consequences of going to jail rest with you, not the rest of the world.

"The drug war & attendant mass incarceration has also led to the continued devaluation of your beloved institution of marriage..."

You offer absolutely no evidence to support this, and understandably so, since it's nonsense.

"...which here you seem to trumpet as the greatest thing in the world..."

I think it's a healthy institution, yes. Statistics about longevity, happiness, prospertiy and the well-being of children brought up by couples in a stable marriage support this view. Do you disagree?

"...but I suspect you're loath to share it with other groups due to prejudice -- but maybe you're not one of 'those' conservatives, I don't know."

You're right, you don't know.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 10, 2008 10:39:20 AM

This is a fantastic for of punishment for these kids. It would be silly to lock them up for throwing soda and they probably don't have tons of money to pay fines with, so having them film an embarrassing confession could work both as a punishment and a deterent. Prison are crowded enough, so creative punishments and penalties by judges who want to keep kids out of jail and helping the community are great solutions.

Posted by: JT | Jun 10, 2008 11:19:56 AM

There is nothing more subjective than "morality." It's a meaningless word. All societies choose their own moralities, from killing sub-standard babies (Spartans) to allowing the clubbing of seals (Inuits). Also, morality depends on the circumstances. Is treason immoral? Maybe. Had a German and member of the Nazi party spied for the Allies and gave us Nazi secrets, it would have been treason. But immoral? Everything is subjective. Maybe the girl who got soda thrown on her was a Nazi sympathizer. Is it immoral to throw soda on a Nazi? Some people may say yes, others no. There are no right and wrong answers to what encompasses morality. Yes you can phrase something such that it's always immoral by definition, like "murder is always immoral" ... but it is defined as the unlawul (i.e. wrongful) killing of another human being.... so it always, by definition, has a basis for being immoral (though treason was illegal under Nazi law, too).

All you moral absolutists love to whine about "moral relativists" as you simply can't comprehend the idea that there is no objective morality. But that's only because you're stupid and short-sighted. In reality, you follow a subjective morality every second of your life. But you turn a blind eye towards it, convincing yourself that you live based on a consistent morality. You don't. Of course this is why religion is so appealing to stupid people, because it gives them the illusion of moral absolutes. In practice they pick and choose which parts of the bible/koran/torah/dianetics they want to follow, so there's nothing absolute about it. The really stupid ones convince themselves that as long as they have faith and love jesus, everything they do is per se moral. Those are the true sociopaths and they should be locked up.

Posted by: bruce | Jun 10, 2008 11:32:00 AM

Public shaming?... please? Another slap on the wrist that these kids will be laughing about for years to come. If you want REAL punishment that might actually dissuade others try at least a week in jail, followed by 100 hours actually working in the drive-thru with a sign around their necks saying what they did.

If they chose not to do this, they can do max time in jail instead. Once again, it's the very real LACK of (harsh)consequences that will not deter any delinquent from this behaviour. I'm a goody-two-shoes, and I wouldn't even sweat this punishment.

We need to move away from this amorphous "punishment fitting the crime" rhetoric, and move toward punishment that will DETER the crime later. The problem is, the bar of what will deter societies malcontents has moved wayyyy over, but societies punishments have not. older Judges (especially) act like they are sentencing Beaver Cleaver who just "had a bad lapse of judgment" when in fact they should consider assume they are looking at the next Michael Vick. They should dole out punishment so onerous, that punks would consider the "reward" of humiliating some single Mom working to support her kids in a drive-thru not worth the RISK of massive public humiliation and an ADULT police record later.

Of course, if an entire generation hadn't been coddled with time-outs and "MY baby ain't do nu'in!", and parents had done their societal duty of raising children who feared and respected them, instead if raising "friends" who liked them.... I wouldn't be facing $10,000 in legal fees for beating a 17-year-old local football star senseless after he threw one of these sodas at me and my wife coming out of a Burger King. (We were just customers, and he said he couldn't hit the window person, so he just chose us).

Of course, he has yet to be charged (and won't, he's a minority-we have a black DA) while I, after coming back from 2 tours in Afghanistan in the USMC, will likely have a criminal record that will affect my entire life. SO, YES folks, this is not just some intellectual exercise, as you enter the legal profession consider this: The entire reason for law (and your profession) is to maintain order in a society. When those who follow the rules watch those who don't continually excused, why should we feel obligated to follow the law much less respect those who work in such a corrupted system. Justice, on both sides, must be meetered out quickly and fairly, or it is not justice at all.

The law's main purpose is to prevent anarchy by giving the victims the promise that some real measure of justice and fairness will prevail if they agree to not seek it on it's own. But a simple look around today (at least by us Non-lawyers) shows that if true justice is to found, it is NOT in the US Legal System.

Posted by: student of life | Jun 10, 2008 11:48:34 AM

In other words, you went ballistic over fizzy water being thrown at you, and you want to blame everyone but yourself.

Posted by: | Jun 10, 2008 12:04:50 PM

We need to move away from this amorphous "punishment fitting the crime" rhetoric, and move toward punishment that will DETER the crime later.

We could execute people for driving over the speed limit. That would deter future speeding. If you're not in favor of that, is it because the punishment doesn't fit the crime?

Posted by: bruce | Jun 10, 2008 2:02:15 PM

It's so easy to be anti-crime. It takes no intellectual honesty, no fortitude, no perserverence, no strength, and no vision. No competing interests to balance, no thinking, learning, or even basic mentation is required. You know that the vast majority of vapid, wide-eyed plebians will readily concur with you. There will always be victims to use as examples (what else are victims used for?) to appeal to the emotion of others. And in our binary world of false logic, if you're not against crime then you must, ergo, be for it.

"We need to punish criminals more harshly" is the first refuge of the scoundrel. The most vacuous, insipid, position anyone could possibly have.

Posted by: bruce | Jun 10, 2008 2:11:09 PM

I didn't "go ballistic". As my attacker drove off, he hit another car going around him in the parking lot. He then got out of his grandmother's car (she had no idea he had taken it) and started go after the lady he had hit! I got to him first. He was charged with reckless driving, but even though his attack on my wife and me AND the woman he hit was caught on the restaurant's tape, he won't be charged. Why? He's black and a local football star. I assure you, if the first white kid caught pelting an older black guy like that and driving off laughing will be facing alot more...hate crimes and everything else they can throw at him. BTW, this is not about race, white kids are being just as coddled by the system. It goes to the baby boomer adults who thought they could do better than their parents when it came to new-age discipline. They havent.

Obviously, because pansies like you enter the legal system wanting to coddle and excuse these savages, while good citezens are just expected to "suck it up". So, if it had been a bag of feces, would THAT have been any different, or are we to allow only "certain" unprovoked attacks on our citenzenry? If you expect good people to "not take justice into their own hand", then as a member of that system you have to make sure it works for all- esp. the victim. Or we WILL see that justice is done.

Ironically, I've found the muslim children in a backward land more respectful to elders and society than our little savages running around here. And the worst part, WE made 'em that way.

Posted by: student of life | Jun 10, 2008 2:11:38 PM

I can see that the only way some of you will EVER "get it" is when YOU are the victim, and the other guy walks away laughing at the fact that he can act with virtual impunity over you (legally speaking). No one here can intellectually argur the point that if the "Justice" system can't meet out fair justice and compensation, that people will begin doing it themselves.

Ironically, I bet you are the same people that support ruining some poor guy's small business over a ridiculous, unsupported civil suit, or taking his land because some rat was put on the endangered species list...but when people are physically attacked, we have to "understand" the perpetrator. It is so easy to hide behind your pseudo-intellectual law prof arguments that only the "enlightened" have the ability to look past our base emotional responses. Please. If that's the case, then why are Victim Impact Statements allowed at sentencing? They are nothing but emotional. It's because a defense lawyers job is to obfuscate the true viciousness of most physical crimes, and by the time you break every sequence down to each second, you lose the big picture of what has happened.

As for the punishment fitting the crime...are you honestly telling me that there is perfect fairness in our system? Tell that to crack addicts (usually minority)doing 10+ years in prison, while the white banker caught with even more cocaine gets drug treatment, and a deferred sentence. Your reaction here is a perfect example of why. Not a WORD about the guy who attacks us and rams a woman and a child in a car...Nope, lets look at you the citizen who was doing nothing more than having lunch. Yep, it's WE who are the real problem here, not some punk who gets a free ride from Parents, Teachers, and Society. I guess maybe you'll finally turn on and throw the book at him if he abuses poor doggies someday like Michael Vick, but as long as he's only attacking people, we citizens just have to suck it up and take it... I guess You FAR more intelligent law school people would know better than the vacuous, insipid, scoundrels like us...

Posted by: student of life | Jun 10, 2008 2:31:33 PM

It wasn't a bag of feces. It was a cup/can of soda. It doesn't take any legal education/"pseudo-intellectual law prof arguments" to know that beating someone senseless, in your words, is the appropriate response for getting soda thrown at you. But please continue with your description of your opinion of the American justice system.

Posted by: | Jun 10, 2008 2:54:56 PM

No the system isn't fair, but not because people aren't being punished enough. The unfairness lay in the opposite direction.

As for the whole "you'll never understand until you're a victim" hokey... that's a load of crap. It becomes a contest to see who the biggest victim is, and thus who understands the best. Okay you were a victim, but someone else had their spouse of 20 years murdered over a ten dollar bill. They're a bigger victim, and until you have your spouse of 2 decades taken away over pocket change, you'll never understand.

What's really being said is one cannot appreciate crime, and cannot be sufficiently anti-crime, until they are a victim of crime. That's the most asinine thing I've ever heard. This is why I'm so against victims' rights. Not only should victims not be allowed to speak at a defendant's trial, they should not be allowed within 100 miles of the courthouse except to testify if necessary. They have lost ALL credibility, all rationality, all objetivity, and all fairness for principles greater than themselves (like justice). Their perception is so skewed because of the bad thing that happened to them that all they can think about is revenge, and getting the most revenge (harshest sentence) possible for the person they claim harmed them. The fact that they may have wrongly identified or otherwise accused their supposed tormentor is beside the point. The fact that they asked for the crime to happen to them (yes, victims do ask for it which is not to say they necessarily deserve it), or were so negligent about it that they practically consented to being the victim, is also not a consideration able to come out of their foaming mouths. Victim impact statements should be absolutely prohibited in every possible form. Nothing is more irrelevant to sentencing than the impact on the victim.

As for Michael Vick, like I said in the post about dog abuse a week or two ago, torturing dogs is much worse than attacking people. The dogs are defenseless, and the dogs most certainly never asked for it. The people likely did ask for it. Maybe the poor victim was beaten up for throwing soda at the evil horrible "scum-bag" criminal.

I don't see what any of this has todo with unsupported civil suits that ruin small businesses. In my experience as a lawyer, there are no bigger self-professed "victims" than civil plaintiffs. Every single would-be civil plaintiff who has ever stepped into my office has given me the same sob story about nightmares and PTSD. It's like they know their claim is frivilous and that they can't show damages, so they instinctively know they have to feign post-traumatic stress disorder. I hate civil plaintiffs every bit as much as I hate crime victims. Anyone who is proud to be a victim can go fuck himself. Unfortunately, in our society, being a "victim" is the most sought-after social status that exists. Nothing is more lucrative than being a victim. It's everyone's goal, everyone's dream. They get attention, they get pity, they might even get free money (because they oh so deserve it).

Posted by: bruce | Jun 10, 2008 3:15:33 PM

You are right....my eyes have finally been opened by your enlightened view.

I should have handled it this way after he smashed the woman's car and got out cursing her and angrily running up to her..

"You poor victim of society! I can see that it is not your fault that you don't know your father, your mother is in and out of prison, and your grandmother barely knows you exist, except when the police come knocking (unfairly, of course) at her door. You are an oppressed minority; that, and the fact that you can run really fast with a ball means you deserve special dispensation. A law student online taught me that!. Yes, if you feel angry, or ANY emotion for that matter, please feel free to throw things at whoever you like. Perhaps take a swing at this lady who was blocking your get-away. Here, swing on me..I deserve it."

"Thanks to anonymous legal scholars online, I see that I have no right to be angry. Hell, the fact I'm white probably makes me even more guilty for your anti-social behaviors than you do! Thank God, for future law students and their profs who have shown me the light. I AM THE SAVAGE HERE! Not you. You are just a poor, misunderstood person who NEEDS to be able to attack people (as long as it's not TOO serious). I have to understand that, and accept it. So here, don;t hit the lady with a kid in her car, take it out on me. That's what law-abiding citizens are here for...at least according to your future defense team."

There now, do I sound more enlightened? Less Moral Absolutist? I certainly wouldn't want to seem too "judgemental" of those who attack innocent people. I don't want to come off as one of those backward hicks who believes that "Your rights end where my nose begins". Obviously, I need to open my eyes to the fact that as Orwell pointed out in Animal Farm..." We are all equal, some of us are just more equal than others" under the eyes of the law.

Oh, I wonder...what will the punishment I would get if I walked up to a sitting judge or senator and whipped a full 32oz cup of ice at them? Hmmmm, well...I guess they would be lawyers, so they would understand completely! I wouldn't be jumped by authorities,security, or anyone. And certainly not prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Naw..just maybe a $30 fine and go onto the law blog and apologize. Surely, thats all any of you future judges or politicians would want, right?

Posted by: student of life | Jun 10, 2008 3:31:44 PM

Bruce,,,no one is arguing that good, fair trials should not be the norm. No one is arguing for summary executions. No one said that you CAN"T understand the victims point if view until you become one. My sister had never had even the slightest thing ever happen to her, and she is 3 times more strident in her passion for victims than I am. These are red-herrings that 1st year law students throw up because that is what their profs are telling them.

In fact, I haven't seen one intelligent counter-argument to the many reasonable views I've expressed. Only ad-hominum attacks, and a condescending view that we mere plebes couldn't possibly understand the nuances of your brilliant argument so we aren't even going to bother. If this is what passes for law school minds these days...well, you probably got a good future in politics. You can spew pablum with no real substance there, and actually prosper quite well. But if you ever plan on doing trial work, understand the Jury is made of "regular" people just like me, who DO see a right and wrong- especially when it comes to attacks on others. And if you plan on defending others you better come up with far more articulate-and much less condescending- reasons why people should tolerate this kind of unprovoked violence towards others. If not, you are gonna have to set up your own office down at the jail, just to keep track of all the clients you put there with your incompetent arguments.

(Sorry, but 4 years of championship High school Debate have really left me feeling worried for the lack of cogent arguing style as demonstrated by the younger generation on the internet)

Posted by: student of life | Jun 10, 2008 3:53:06 PM

I never said you didn't have the right to be angry or that you had to act like a Real Christian (i.e. turning the other cheek and apologizing to the person who harmed you and never getting angry and never wanting retribution). Those are basic human emotions, and they're perfectly rational. That's why Christians are all hypocrites unable to do what Jesus did. I only said that when you are faced with such emotions, your opinion as to what should happen to the person who harmed you (or, more accurately, the person you claim harmed you) is worthless and irrelevant and should be given absolutely no deference or respect. What's so funny and ironic is that most people who are vocally "tough on crime" turn out to be self-professed Christians.

Do you think habitual drunkards with many prior DWI convictions should be allowed to offer their opinions on what the punishment for repeated DWI should be? Probably not. The opinion is biased. Ditto for the opinions of crime victims as to what the punishment should be for the criminal who allegedly harmed them. Biased, prejudiced opinions of those who have a proprietary stake in the matter (whether it be financial, emotional, punitive, or social) should be completely disregarded. I'm not trying to get into a debate about free speech and who can say what. You can say whatever you want. I'm talking about which opinions should be taken into consideration and which should be ignored.

There is a presumption that a criminal harmed the victim(s) of the crime, if any. The act is a CRIME and punishable as a particular level of misdemeanor or felony based on the degree of presumed harm to such victim(s). A first degree felony is assumed to cause more harm than a class A misdemeanor. As such, why do we need the person harmed to come into court and bitch and cry and whine and point and scream and curse and demand satisfaction? What does that provide the justice system, other than an emotional outlet for an upset person (who more than likely asked to be harmed)? Absolutely nothing. The courts should not be used as a psychiatrist's couch. Moreover, screaming in court doesn't ever provide satisfaction to the victims, no matter what punishment is handed down. Victims do not get their precious "closure" until such time as they forgive the defendant. Not even an execution will do it. Listen to the interviews of family members who have had the murderer of their relative executed. Wasn't as nice as they thought it would be. Still pissed. Still angry. Listen to the interviews of the rare few who forgave the defendant. Satisfaction. Closure.

You should make like a good little Christian and forgive the person who you think harmed you. Stop being a victim. You'll feel better. And then your opinion might not be completely worthless.

Posted by: bruce | Jun 10, 2008 3:57:02 PM

Bruce...your rants about Christians et al. give away your biases...obviously far-left (though I'm sure to YOU it is right down the middle :-0...). I never brought religion into any of this. Though I do find it fascinating that the same lawyer who railed against the "back-ward thinking of Christianity, defended a Muslim man for his right to beat his wife (since she is property) under Sharia law. And this was in a "civilized" European country- Germany. Give it a few years...it will be so here too with apologists like you.

Of course "Christians" will still be the focus of your hatred then too, not those who openly profess to hate all you probably love...Individual liberties, Gay & women's rights, animal rights, the right NOT to be a part of a particular religion, freedom to criticize others 9esp elders) openly, etc. For all your disagreements with them, I don;t see ANY Christian group saying you should be punished for merely opposing them, or calling for freedom of expression to be infringed. Much less calling for their wives to be considered legal "property" that they can beat.

In fact, by and large it is these evil Christians giving up life and treasure to bring a measure of freedom to people hwo have no bearing on their own lives...we do it simply because it's the moral thing to do. Of course, I'm sure you feel freedom is only for some "special" people with American passports....not for those brown people "over there" I meet people like you every day...and you don't evn realize the closeted bigotry in your own hearts, but you'll say all the right things. Good people do the right things, Politicians and lawyers just say them....

BTW, when will be able to start developing some of your own cogent arguments FOR your POV, rather than just railing how about the Far-Right Christian Bogeyman is going to get everyone? Oh that's right, the far left hasn;t been able to argue FOR their side in years...I guess after being intellectually carried by a sympathetic media for so long, the old mental muscles have begun to atrophy.

Oh, and I'm not a far-right Christian...I'm an Ayn Rand Libertarian. But, For all my disagreements with the far-right, at least necessity has forced them to come up with excellent arguments for their case of how society should be ordered. Just look at all the books written recently. The right presents reasoned arguments for their side (even if you disagree with them) while the left has pablum-spewers like Al Franken with rich tomes such as "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot" as their standard-bearer.

I realize this convo had veered off course from it's original subject, but to the casual reader, condescending and intellectually vacant arguments FOR society's (nad the world's) rejects and AGAINST honest (*gasp*, shall we dare say, CHRISTIAN?)values and peoples are illustrative of the divide this country has found itself in. And when someone DARES stand up to say XYZ is wrong...he is a Dimwit, Homophobe, Sexist, Anti-muslim, environment-hater, etc.

Leftists have successfully set up the argument thusly: "We are the intellectuals and thus teh only true authority on anything. So, if you disagree with us, our position is so unassailable that if you disagree with us it PROVES you are too stupid to even counter, Plus, your probably a CHRISTIAN!"

This circular logic is just about on every left-wing blog i see these days. It comes from an incredible arrogance and condescension. A hallmark of the far left. Just like the Pigs in Orwell's, Amimal Farm.

Posted by: student of life | Jun 10, 2008 4:48:53 PM

"Biased, prejudiced opinions of those who have a proprietary stake in the matter (whether it be financial, emotional, punitive, or social) should be completely disregarded."

So by this, I assume you would agree with me that all "Race Crimes" laws be repealed? After all, what's the difference if I beat a black man while shouting racial slurs vs. beating him because I think he looked at my wife wrong? He received the same beating, a crime against SOCIETY, not him. If he had an extra measure of humiliation or emotional trauma for being beaten solely because I didn't like his race, tough luck! Suck it up, Tyrone! Right? This ain't about you! Bruce said it's about society! And society is not hurt by me expressing my hatred for another race. In fact, I can do it all day long under the First Amendment. Any Klan March proves that. So I should only get the penalty for simple battery...Oh, and if you swing back on me after I start walking away (and it is no longer self-defense) then YOU should be prosecuted too!

Yeah, Bruce...go ahead and try to prosecute Tyrone on that one, and only charge me with simple battery. Your DA's office (and half the city) would be in flames before you finished reading the statement on the courthouse steps. Isn't funny how "certain" approved groups in our society have a special right to act on and demand special status for their "emotional grievances" and be understood, while others are just expected to turn the other cheek, forgive and forget, and "Stop being Victims"?

Posted by: student of life | Jun 10, 2008 5:10:24 PM

It veered from the original topic of imposing just and effective punishments for appropriate crimes, as it warred with your inflated sense of victimhood. Which is the sense that the nation's bad parenting, elitist lawyers, and racially-biased prosecutors, are the reasons you can't obtain justice. As opposed to accepting personal responsibility over the fact that you, a grown man (in age, if not maturity), beat a minor senseless because he splashed you with soda pop.

Posted by: | Jun 10, 2008 5:26:45 PM

I have no inflated sense of victim hood. I've just returned form seeing what REAL victim hood is like in Afghanistan. And it was borne out of a societies acquiescence to evil doers, and the belief that if we just leave the bullies (Taliban) alone, they won't bother me. Most Afghans, like people all over the world, just want to raise their families in a peaceful society, prosper at their jobs, take of their families, etc. I asked many of them how they could just let a tiny minority take over and rule so thuggishly over them. The answers I got back sound alot like your arguments.

As more and more thuggish and brutish things started happening (to a people who were a lot more hardened than we are) they just kept excusing it, and when people stood up and objected to criminals running the country, they we're told how "out of touch" they were with the mainstream. The we're told they we're "overreacting", things would soon settle down. Those missing dissenters were just a fluke.

It has always amazed me how in step with, and excusing of, the Left is with thugs & dictators everywhere around the world, while at the same time decrying the most petty of liberty-quenching laws here. Somehow to you people, a Saddam Hussein-type is a "Freedom fighter just trying to keep his country together" (by any torture necessary) while trying to bug an Al-Qeuda operative here is akin to Nazi Germany. I guess I shouldn't be suprised.

I think most on the left secretly admire the ability these people have to dismiss, control and silence people who disagree with them. It's what the left here tries to do daily. I wonder, if a group of Neo-Nazi teens were running around in your town, Bruce, pelting only people of colour with Sodas, would you be so dismissive? Of course not. And if an adult black man beat the crap out of one of them and was charged, (the whole thing being caught on camera), would you be so condescending here? Of course not... you'd be wanting know the address of the rally where you could bring your ACLU banner!

Like I said, you leftists have completely different rules depending upon WHO is wronged in this society. In that regard, you are no different than the Neo-Nazi types who don't believe they should be getting 20 year sentences just for "beatin' up a Negro". The law should apply differently for different folks, right? You're right, I will never obtain justice because thug-apologists like you have infested the legal system for so long, fairness for the innocent, not just the charged, is no longer the cornerstone of the American Justice System- it is just a silly thought exercise for would-be lawyers.

Posted by: student of life | Jun 10, 2008 6:52:30 PM

So by this, I assume you would agree with me that all "Race Crimes" laws be repealed? After all, what's the difference if I beat a black man while shouting racial slurs vs. beating him because I think he looked at my wife wrong?

Yes, I do, and I could not agree more. I'm not the hypocrite.

I never said I hate christians, I said I find people who call themselves christians to be hypocrites. Christianity does not comport with the human species. I find Islam much more dangerous than Christianity, for whatever it's worth.

All your whining about being a victim and the left this and leftists that leave me no doubt that I know your type well. What's interesting is that liberals are far more enchanted with and obsessed by the idea of being a victim. You're just another simpleton who, like Bush, hates the "fact-based community" and likes to act on faith and feeling. You like easy positions and don't ever want to have to think about anything. If it sounds right on the surface, you're 100% for it. Thus you've taken the oh so brave step of proclaiming yourself to be part of the "crime should be punished" crowd. Wow. How brave of you. As long as there is crime (and there always will be crime), there will be jackasses braying and bitching that criminals need to be punished more severely. Pfffft. I just ignore them, but they're so loud and obnoxious they get unwarranted, undeserved attention - especially when they scream about also being a victim. Such people should have their vocal chords cut out and fingers chopped off.

Meanwhile no matter what is done to criminals, the victims NEVER get closure and NEVER get over it until they forgive the person who harmed them. Even after executions, victims (well, their families... which begs the question how to define a 'victim' but that's another issue for another day) never get closure and don't feel better. Yes every single one of them. Go watch interviews. RIght after the execution they'll say it was good and "now we can have closure" but they never get it. Only the rare few who forgive the criminals feel better.

So why don't you quit whining about how you're a victim, forgive the person who harmed you (if anyone), and you'll feel better. You'll also be a more legitimate Christian. WWJD? He'd forgive. Don't talk the Jesus talk, walk the Jesus walk - or find a religion more compatable with your desire for vengeance (I'd suggest Islam). Plus - when you're no longer a victim, your opinion on these matters will no longer be completely and untterly worthless.

Posted by: bruce | Jun 10, 2008 10:37:42 PM

"As long as there is crime (and there always will be crime), there will be jackasses braying and bitching that criminals need to be punished more severely. Pfffft. I just ignore them, but they're so loud and obnoxious they get unwarranted, undeserved attention - especially when they scream about also being a victim. Such people should have their vocal chords cut out and fingers chopped off."

You have a fascinating view of crime and punishment. By your far more enlightened logic, I suppose women who "complain" about being raped should just forgive and forget. And of they persist on bothering true intellectuals like you with their petty victim hood, well rip their uteruses out and sew up their vaginas so they won't have to worry about being raped again. Sheeesh, such whiners!

I can see now where your twisted view of just who deserves justice came from..I quote from your first post...

"When I was a kid, we could throw soft drinks at people without having to get the goddam cops involved. I'm actually surprised they weren't charged with some form of terrorism and locked up for 20 years or more"

So true, what has the world become when a teenager can't commit assault/battery on an innocent person (so long as the damage as just minimal) with impunity? News flash genius, ask most decent people in the US who's world they would rather live in, and they'll chose mine- Even if there is *Gasp*, Christians afoot!-- You know, the one where people can be reasonably sure that miscreants like you will be dealt with quickly and justly when they harm another for no reason. Not yours where the person being assaulted/battered is told to just "suck it up and stop whining. If people wanna abuse you for their amusement, you'll just have to accept it" You lose that argument everytime, psuedo-anarchy boy. (Of course I'm sure you are the FIRST one to call 911 if YOU were under threat). Now that I think of it, it's too bad someone didn't whoop your ass when you were throwing things at them for no reason, you may not be the social reject you present yourself as today...

Posted by: student of life | Jun 10, 2008 11:45:59 PM

I suppose women who "complain" about being raped should just forgive and forget.

Not overnight. Not after a day or two. But eventually, yes. Are you saying they should NEVER forgive and hold on to a grudge for the rest of their lives, constantly yapping about how they are a victim, wearing buttons and t-shirts that say "I WAS RAPED!" and attending every rape trial in the state to advocate for the harshest sentence possible? Yeah you probably are, as that's what you'd do.

Whenever I say I oppose something you assume I advocate in favor of the opposite of it. Typical stupid modern american. I say B is bad, thus I must be in favor of A. Everything is a dichotomy, and if you're not for something then you're against it.

Well let me totally befuddle you. I am not in favor of teenagers assaulting people with impunity. At the same time, I'm not in favor of them being arrested and thrown in jail and having their names put into "the system." Don't let your head explode as you try to grapple that one... you'll probably just conclude I'm lying one way or the other, because you will be completely inable to process something that's not either A or B.

Do you really think the lady who had the soda thrown on her didn't do something bitchy to ask for it? Maybe the teenagers asked for ketchup and she gave them an attitude and told them to fuck off and gave them the finger (after all, how dare they inconvenience her with condiment requests). Or she short-changed them. Who knows. I bet she did something. Again, i'm not saying she necessarily deserved having 16 oz of water and corn syrup thrown on her, but the chances that she was completely innocent in the situation is slim indeed. Most people born after 1980 are total assholes. It's because their parents told them they are special and all winners (they were given a trophy whether they won or lost).

ask most decent people in the US who's world they would rather live in, and they'll chose mine

And which world would that be, the one where "crime is punished"? Hahahahahhahahahaha wow...

Posted by: bruce | Jun 11, 2008 12:04:26 AM

Hey I have a serious question for you.

Two identical twin brothers, A and B (with the same criminal history) rape two different women. They are both caught and both prosecuted. They're looking at the same range of sentence, say 20 years to life. Again both have the same criminal history, and other than the victim both crimes were equally severe.

With me so far? Okay. They're both tried separately and both found guilty. At sentencing the victims each give victim impact statements. The first victim speaks at A's sentencing and gives a passionate speech about how he's destroyed her life, taken her innocence, and caused here severe physical and emotional harm, and she cries all throughout the speech.

Still with me? Okay.

Remember that rapists A and B were tried separately and the sentencing hearings are taking place in different courtrooms before different judges. Now, the second victim speaks at B's sentencing, but because she is a Christian, she does what Jesus would do and says she forgives B for having raped her. She says she hopes he finds redemption and help in prison, and that his soul is saved, and that one day she and B can meet and talk about what happened. She even asks the judge to have sympathy for B's troubled misguided soul. She does not ask the judge to do anything in particular.

Remember, other than the divergence in victim impact statements, all other facts about the two crimes are substantially the same. A and B have the same backgrounds and criminal histories, too.

So here's the QUESTION: Do you think rapist B should receive a shorter sentence than rapist A?

Just yes or no, please.

Posted by: bruce | Jun 11, 2008 12:22:11 AM

"In addition, they each have to pay a $30 cleaning fee to the restaurant"

it cant be a punishment-since that was already covered by the community service and the letters of apology and apology video.

so lets see-there are 2 teens-so essentially that means the court thinks it costs $60 to clean up a soft drink.

do courts even try to make sense any more?

Posted by: george weiss | Jun 11, 2008 1:48:28 AM

Heh, I knew this guy would never answer that question in my previous post.

Posted by: bruce | Jun 11, 2008 9:45:53 AM

"Do you really think the lady who had the soda thrown on her didn't do something bitchy to ask for it? Maybe the teenagers asked for ketchup and she gave them an attitude and told them to fuck off and gave them the finger (after all, how dare they inconvenience her with condiment requests). Or she short-changed them. Who knows. I bet she did something. Again, i'm not saying she necessarily deserved having 16 oz of water and corn syrup thrown on her, but the chances that she was completely innocent in the situation is slim indeed."

Of Course you are right! How could I be so dense? These angels who had their video cam going in the drive thru giggling at what they were about to do would have ABSOLUTELY not thrown the drink if they thought their service were 100%! They didn;t WANT to post this on Youtube...they HAD to!...As a matter of protest against the corporate Machine, Maaaan!. Good Lord, you are such a caricature of the prototypical liberal ideal that has infested this society. Let's not hold anybody responsible for their behaviour, Prima Fascia, let's try to understand what made them this way, and see who else we can assign blame to.

"Are you saying they should NEVER forgive and hold on to a grudge for the rest of their lives, constantly yapping about how they are a victim, wearing buttons and t-shirts that say "I WAS RAPED!" and attending every rape trial in the state to advocate for the harshest sentence possible?"

Ummmm. Heaven Forbid! Wouldn't want women out doing that! Just tell them to suck it up...Hey, it happens! Yeah, I think you lose again...Hanging by your own words. ( Feel free to jump in here ladies).

As for your second Hypothetical...given the same circumstances in each case, the punishment should be the same in each case....the harshest sentence the evidence allows. I would not be swayed by the "leniency" woman, I would still give max sentence. The reason, I am keeping a predator of the streets as long as I can. ( This is a REAL case of rape mind you, not the ' I dated him 3 months, he left me for a hotter girl, then raped me" type. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about).

To sum it up, the costs/sentencing should not ONLY cover the REAL costs of remidiation, but also serve as a real DETERENT to others who hear about the sentence, In addition, the more public the humiliation the better, as word of mouth os the BEST advertising---both Positive and Negative.

There...answered enough for you?

Posted by: student of life | Jun 15, 2008 7:04:33 PM

Good Lord, you are such a caricature of the prototypical liberal ideal that has infested this society. Let's not hold anybody responsible for their behaviour, Prima Fascia, let's try to understand what made them this way, and see who else we can assign blame to.

I could care less what "made them" the way they are. They're immature kids, what more is there to "understand"? I never said they should not be held responsible for their behavior. As I clearly stated: I am not in favor of teenagers assaulting people with impunity. But no teenager should be put in handcuffs and throw into jail, have his name permanently placed into The System, have to post bond, and face prison time for tossing a cup of Dr. Pepper onto someone. You want them to be locked up in prison. You're the sick one. If there's ever an offense that is worthy of a slap on the wrist, it's throwing a cup of soda on someone.

Now... after all your yammering and blathering about victims, victim's rights, and how victims should be allowed to speak at sentencing, when pressed about it you think the court should completely ignore the victim! I agree with you, of course. I don't think victims' wishes, thoughts, or desires should be given the slightest consideration by the court at sentencing, either. So, you're a hypocrite... but we already knew that. After all your pro-victim rhetoric, you think their victim impact statements should be completely ignored by the court! Even worse, you want to sentence all defendants to the maximum possible punishment in the statutory sentencing range.

Do you really believe in "mandatory maximums"? In the same breath you admit that some rape allegations are not real rape. By "no real rape" (fake rape) you simply mean you don't believe the victim. Wow. But how do you know not to believe the victim? The defendant says he either never had sex with her after he broke up with her and started seeing Hotter Girlfriend or he had sex with her but it was consensual, NOT rape (thus explaining any dna evidence found). The "victim" says he held her down, slapped her, and forcefully penetrated her. How do you know when to believe the victim and thus have a "real rape" or to believe the defendant and have a fake rape? You seem like the type who would believe the victim 100% of the time (except when it's you in the handcuffs).

I have tried (and won) two fake rape cases. In one I even had a tape recording of a phone call wherein the purported "victim" is telling the defendant that she made up the charges because she was pissed that he was having sex with other women. The prosecutor still didn't drop the charges. The jury took 30 minutes to acquit and was very pissed off about having their time wasted. But the "victim" still got up on the stand and cried.

Assuming I hadn't have had that recording, you'd want my client to be serving a mandatory maximum of life in prison. Wow. What should be the punishment for a 23 year old male convicted of the statutory rape of a 17 year old girl (assume age of consent is 18), where the defendant met the "victim" in a bar where you must be at least 21 to enter, he says that she had a fake ID that said she was 21, she looked like she was over 20, and she specifically said she was 21 when the defendant asked her? He doesn't deny having had intercourse with her. But no matter what - it is statutory rape! He RAPED A CHILD! A poor little precious child! I'm sure you'll say this is not "real rape" but the victim will get on the stand and cry, say he ruined her life, she'll deny ever telling him she was over 17, she'll say she never used a fake ID (which the police threw out to assist the rape prosecution) and she'll say that she snuck into the club to see a DJ she liked but never had a drink. The prosecution's psychologist expert witness will say she is suffering from severe mental distress, PTSD, and that she'll never be the same. She'll say she was a virgin and the judge won't let the defendant put on the five male witnesses who say they've had sex with her prior to the date of the statutory rape. Maximum sentence for the rapist?

In a sane world, he wouldn't even be found guilty.

Posted by: bruce | Jun 15, 2008 8:29:06 PM

"no teenager should be put in handcuffs and throw into jail, have his name permanently placed into The System, have to post bond, and face prison time for tossing a cup of Dr. Pepper onto someone."

And a 17 year old hwo assaults someone, whether it be by his fist or another object, should not be handcuffed, WHY? Oh, the poor precious thing might have his self-esteem damaged! He doesn't need to go to prison (yet, though he'll probably be there soon enough), but he, as well as his peers, should have a harsh enough awakening to the fact that you can't just go around and do this sort of thing to innocent people, then get a slap on the hand. This punks are the RESULT of Time Out-style punishments. I meet them everyday, even seen some when they came into the Marines. They were STUNNED when the first person they screwed with (as an adult) just came after them! They had NEVER suffered a PHYSICAL punishment in their life. They had only been lectured and "reasoned with". The funny part is, the moment there was a physical consequence for their actions, they backed down immediately. Suddenly the little punk wasn't as "bad" as he thought he was.

We live in the real world, Bruce. Not the soft, cuddly, "we don't believe in striking our [bratty} child" world that these Soccer Moms and Project Moms are cranking out. Wether it's from a misguided idea that "violence begets violence", or just plain horrendous, lazy parenting, it is society at large that has to suffer the effects of these self-entitled punks.

Oh, and I never said the court should IGNORE the victim....I said that if the victim, out of some emotional need wants to let the assailant go, the rights of society to be safe from said assailant should take priority. Besides, I doubt the pain of NOT letting some guy off easy is any where NEAR the pain of watching your rapist get off with probation. I'm not a rape victim, but I'm pretty sure I got the majority of them on my side on this one too....

As for your cases....I never said mandatory sentencing based on ALLEGATIONS. That's what trials are for, to allow the accused his side of the story. To deny the allegations altogether or to at least offer mitigating circumstances. I have nothing but respect for defense attorneys. (Not NEARLY as much for ambulance chasers who I consider legalized extortionists- but that's another argument).

I have (almost) been the recipient of a false rape charge myself (she fessed up at the last minute when cops told her they'd have to do a rape kit). A lot of guys go thru this, so I know how devious women can be. What kills me is, you'd probably defend a woman's right to make a false charge (a proven one- not a he-said, she-said type) and NOT do any prison time herself. I think anyone (including cops or DA's) who manufacture false charges against someone -or hold back exculpatory evidence, and are found out- should face the same time in prison that the accused would have served. I'm sure your "no jail for any reason" ideology would have a problem with that too. I have a big problem with alot of statutory rape laws in this country, especially once a girl passes 16 or 17. She may be naive, but she knows what she's doing with an older guy. If she regrets it later, too bad. She made the choice, good or bad, and like all of us, has to live with the choices and mistakes we make.

You see, as a Libertarian, I am all about personal freedom WITH personal accountability, and that flies in the face of modern day liberal thought. Sure, they LOVE the "you can do whatever you want as long as you don't hurt someone else" part. (though you seem to think it's OK to assault someone else as long as it's not too serious). But liberals HATE the second part----"but, you have to live with the consequences of your actions". So, to a liberal like you, one should be allowed to do drugs or practice risky sex whenever they want (agreed), but if they become addicts or get AIDS, the State should take care of them with a plethora pf social programs!- WRONG! It is not my, or any other citizen's duty to protect you from your own stupidity. I could make a compassion case for caring for the Mentally Retarded or a Paranoid-schizophrenic, but not someone with all his faculties who simply CHOSES to be anti-social or engage in risky pursuits.

Oh, and as for your case....THIS is why I learned years ago- the hard way- don't EVER have sex with psycho chicks, professional victims, or young girls, no matter how hot or willing they are. Since women have virtually unlimited power using rape allegations as a weapon, it is not a matter of IF they will use it when things go South, it's a matter of HOW and WHEN. Even if authorities are not brought in, they will go around telling everyone you know this crap. These days, if a chick even MENTIONS a history of abuse on the first few dates, I'm outta there! I find those are the Oprah watchers who WANT to be victims too. It gives them a sense of significance and people feel sorry for them. They will embellish every creepy thing that ever happened to them into full fledged rape stories. And remember, every VICTIM needs a PERP....and with these psychos, Your IT! a few years ago I went on a few dates with a chick who, by the time she got through all her stories, was raped by EVERY boyfriend she ever had! BYE-BYE! And as a serial dater, I can't tell you how common this crap is from women, esp. white chicks, these days. Sorry Honey, but the fact you got drunk off your ass at the frat party and woke up the next morning in some strange guy's dorm room, doesn't make you a rape victim. But thats a lot easier for some women to face up to than " I just had a drunken, slutty moment". But that's what you get from a bunch of Lifetime channel and Oprah watchers- not to mention people like Bruce who seem to feel that personal responsibility is as evil a notion as being a *gulp*... Christian!


The harsh truth is, You reap what you sew in this world. So, If you wanna sew some hatred and for kicks you whip a large drink at some Marine coming out of a Burger King, you should not stand there SHOCKED that you've just reaped an upsized ass-kicking from aforementioned Marine. And guys like you who defend a punk's RIGHT to assault people and not be really punished for it, ought to have your ass kicked once or twice- though I sincerely doubt it would do any good in knocking some common sense into you.

Posted by: student of life | Jun 16, 2008 4:53:08 AM

To call yourself a libertarian makes a mockery of the term.

I have (almost) been the recipient of a false rape charge myself (she fessed up at the last minute when cops told her they'd have to do a rape kit).

If she hadn't fessed up, you would have been charged, and then you'd be agreeing with me on every single thing I've said in this thread. "Bruce is right" are the only words that would come out of your mouth.

Posted by: bruce | Jun 16, 2008 11:15:30 AM

You are wrong in just about everything you say because you are emotional. I approach each of my points as practically as possible. Even whopping up on my attacker, while certainly emotional, was defended from a practical position. i.e. The necessity of consequences for attacking another to be swift, justified, and truly frightening to the criminal...so he learns that there are REAL consequences for his anti-social actions.

You use a very typical liberal/emotional fault in your argument...you argue from the specific to the general, rather than from the general to the specific. That is called an anecdotal argument, and they always fail the logic test. i.e. Someone was falsely accused by a witness/victim in a case, therefore ALL Victims should be excluded from testifying. This is ridiculous on it's face and I think you should ask for a refund from the law school that trained you- or, in your case, DIDN'T!

This is why it's so difficult to argue with liberals (NOT LIBERTARIANS- Two different animals!).... Within seconds, all logic is thrown out the window and personal anecdotes and ad hominum attacks are supposed to suffice for intelligent debate on critical societal/political issues. Don't worry, you are in good company. Far Right religious fanatics argue in precisely the same way, and are as equally insufferable to anyone with an IQ over 120.

As for my Libertarian credentials...I have been a senior party member in Florida for 8 years. Here is the definition from the dictionary:

A libertarian is someone who, in general, supports government policies that favor individual liberty in all matters, whether economic, personal, or social.

Perhaps the only place I differ from many other Libertarians is on the subject of national defense/security. I realize that liberty is not just a concept to be explained to others and the power of their argument will convince everyone else (a common Libertarian fallacy). Rather, liberty is an ideal that must constantly be fought for. Intellectual arguments do little for an illiterate people who have been taught since birth that the only way out of their miserable life and on to Heaven is to kill as many people as possible who do not believe EXACTLY what you do, and submit their will to that of the Theocratic State. Like the Borg, negotiation and discussion is irrelevant. You will be assimilated to the collective will of Allah, or you will die!.These folks pretty much just need to be eliminated from the planet. Preferably, via a 7.62mm round from my M-40A3 rifle!!

Hopefully, I can head back there as soon as possible...A jihadist's greatest wish is that of Martyrdom, and I wanna do all I can do make their dreams come true...

Posted by: student of life | Jun 16, 2008 2:35:02 PM

You don't have a single opinion or belief that has substance - everthing you believe is complete emotion, nothing more. But you're in good company - most Americans, on the right and the left, are the same way. You speak in truisms, nothing more. You have no real opinions, just aphorisms. They're the same for both the right-wing and the left-wing:

"Criminals should be punished."
"People who commit crimes should be held accountable for their actions."
"Those who commit really bad crimes should get the harshest punishment."
"We should defend our way of life, using force if necessary."
"Guilty people should not get off."
"We need to stop terrorism."
"Taxes should be no higher than necessary."

You take no positions which might require you to defend them. You come to no position based on any thought process. You simply believe what sounds good, and what nobody could possibly disagree with. A true intellectual wimp, as mentioned previously.

Even positions like pro/anti gay marriage require defense. Do you have one controversial opinion on anything?

Posted by: bruce | Jun 16, 2008 7:03:01 PM

"Criminals should be punished."
"People who commit crimes should be held accountable for their actions."
"Those who commit really bad crimes should get the harshest punishment."
"We should defend our way of life, using force if necessary."
"Guilty people should not get off."
"We need to stop terrorism."
"Taxes should be no higher than necessary."

You take no positions which might require you to defend them."


I am reminded of the pithy writings of men far more brilliant than I...."We hold these truths to be self-evident". Must I REALLY defend such positions as stated above? It is akin to defending the premise that water is wet.

"Do you have one controversial opinion on anything?"...

Another common fallacy of the left, that a position must be "controversial" to be worthy or valid. In fact, the worthiest of positions are those which prove their validity and relevance on a daily basis.... or, are "self-evident"

I don't try to take a position purely on the basis that nobility of cause lies in inverse proportion to its general popular acceptance. Rather, it should possess in itself a fundamental, elemental truth of life. Stated another way, I'm not trying to be hip & edgy Maaaaannn!....I'd rather be right.


Posted by: student of life | Jun 16, 2008 11:43:03 PM

Videoing that is stupid, but I don't think these kids should have the rest of their lives screwed up over it.

Posted by: Fake ID Dude | Aug 5, 2008 3:44:18 PM

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