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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Braves relief pitcher’s wife reacts to his murderer going free

The wife of Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Dave Shotkoski is reliving the anger and pain of her husband’s murder with news that the killer was released from prison in Florida on Tuesday, after serving just 15 years of his 27-year sentence.

 

I don’t remember this at all; I feel like I should.

TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 03, 2012 at 11:11 PM | 560 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general

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   1. Tim McCarver's Orange Marmalade Posted: April 04, 2012 at 08:31 AM (#4096304)
"I don’t remember this at all; I feel like I should"

He was a minor league player who signed with the Braves as a replacement player in '95. He was shot before the season began, so he never made it out of spring training. I'm not sure how long the story was in the news at the time; probably not too long since he wouldn't have been known by the general public. Still a tragic event.
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 04, 2012 at 08:50 AM (#4096314)
Thanks Tim. I had the same reaction as Erik.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 09:09 AM (#4096319)
Wow! 15 years seems very light for a murder committed during a robbery. And, from TFA, the killer was a six time loser before this sentence; it was his seventh jail sentence.

I don't see how this guy didn't get life w/o parole.
   4. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 04, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4096335)
How could you not shot a guy named Shotkoski?! He was probably wearing a hoodie.
   5. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: April 04, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4096390)
Felicia Shotkoski... was informed of the release by an automated message from the Florida Department of Corrections.


That seems weird. It reminds me of the automated messages from Petco reminding me of my dog's grooming appointment or the ones from Ralph's telling me I'd bought something two weeks earlier that was being recalled, so don't eat it.
   6. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 04, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4096405)
Multiple time felon commits murder and does 15 years. But we gotta have room for the drug addicts.
   7. Bruce Markusen Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4096521)
The killer was once arrested for cocaine possession, so it's quite possible that he was a drug addict at the time of the murder.
   8.     Hey Gurl Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4096534)
When I read this headline, I thought it was going to be like one of those "my roommate reacts to the end of Dexter Season 4" videos on YouTube. Oh Internet, what have you done to me.
   9. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4096577)
Very few states make me feel (relatively) good about living in Alabama. The Shooting Range Formerly Known as Florida has become one of them.
   10. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4096580)
The Shooting Range has better beaches.
   11. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4096590)
This is true.

Also, I suppose people are less likely to wear hoodies (a word I've always hated in my endearingly crotchety way, as it happens; I also hate the garment, & for that matter have hated hoods on regular ol' winter coats since childhood, so I suppose I'm at least consistent, if hateful) on the beach & thus have a decent chance of escaping a visit to the seashore with their lives.
   12. Squash Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4096598)
Multiple time felon commits murder and does 15 years. But we gotta have room for the drug addicts.

Specifically those crazy potheads. Shooting people is cool because we're going to need a militia when the Russians attack, but we can't have a bunch of hippies carrying around an eighth.
   13. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4096655)
just 15 years

"Just" 15 years? Try it sometime.

from the article: "Prison officials told Shotkoski that Evans was released early because he earned “gain time” for good behavior in prison. Evans is on probation, living with his girlfriend, and has a nighttime curfew, said Shotkoski, citing information from Florida corrections officials."
This is exactly as it should be. Evans, now 47, did (and is doing) what he was supposed to do to demonstrate rehabilitation. It's not like it's easy on the outside for a murderer with multiple felony convictions, and a probation officer, and a curfew.
I hope Evans has turned his life around, and that Shotkoski finds some kind of peace with everything that's happened.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4096664)
"Just" 15 years? Try it sometime.

Yes, just. The guy committed murder, in the course of a robbery, and had previous convictions and served time for "robbery, grand theft auto, cocaine possession, carrying a concealed weapon and other charges".

He was a career criminal who murdered a completely innocent man. The punishment should fit the crime.

He should get out of jail when his victim stops being dead.
   15. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4096675)
He should get out of jail when his victim stops being dead.


How would zombification fit into this scenario?
   16. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4096685)
He should get out of jail when his victim stops being dead.

Except his original sentence was 27 years, not life-plus-cancer-behind-bars. I guess it depends on whether you think Florida probation depts are just a bunch of big softies.

But to the larger point - I go through this all the time with prosecutors, on a smaller scale: what's the difference between, say, a 5-day sentence and a 10-day sentence? Thirty days, and 45 days? Eighteen months, and 22 months? I mean, besides that DAs always want the longer time. Fifteen years is a LONG time, and a 47-year-old man simply does not carry the same threat of reoffending* as a 32-year-old.
* "Reoffending" meaning a real offense, not coming home five minutes late for his curfew. Which, by itself, could get him locked up again. Depending on the govt's mood that day.
   17. Morty Causa Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4096687)
Not to rain on her pain, but it's hard to believe that there wasn't some sort of parole/probation proceeding, and if there was that she wasn’t notified of it before the convict's release. She might want to check with the local DA’s office that prosecuted Evans and ask someone there if everything was done according to Hoyle. Maybe it wasn’t and that release can be rescinded.

Too, everyone should understand that most all sentences are really for a time period along a range, a general vicinity, and not for a definite cut and dry term. Most every convict is entitled to good time, and everyone is entitled to be considered for parole along established guidelines (even Charles Manson comes up for parole periodically--he's denied it, but he has the right to come up for consideration), with specifically noted exceptions for violent crimes of the highest degree, like first or second degree murder, which doesn't seem to be applicable here. All victims and families of victims should understand that this is how it works. A person is sentenced to a term with provisos and under specified conditions. But the families of the victim should be informed when actions are being taken under those guidelines.

Still, like I say, no intention to belittle her grief and outrage. She should have been contacted personally before he was released, and she should have been informed that there was proceeding in place to decide if he would be released, and her input should have been solicited.

EDIT: drafted and posted this before I saw the prior post.
   18. Srul Itza Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4096689)
From the article:
His first trial on a charge of first-degree murder ended with a hung jury, with the jurors voting 11-1 in favor of conviction


So they deal it down to second degree, give him 27 years, and he is out in 15.

I guess Florida does not have a 3 strikes law. If ever there was a case where it was merited, it is this one.

This is exactly as it should be. Evans, now 47, did (and is doing) what he was supposed to do to demonstrate rehabilitation.


Is that demonstrating rehabilitation, or demonstrating that, having been in prison so many times, he knows how to be a prisoner?

It's not like it's easy on the outside for a murderer with multiple felony convictions, and a probation officer, and a curfew.


Are we supposed to feel sorry for the lot of a career violent-crime criminal who got out from under a first degree murder charge because of 1 juror? If he re-offends or violates probation, I am sure the bleeding hearts will be telling us that it was because the deck was stacked against him, instead of accepting that some people are just no damn good.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4096693)
Fifteen years is a LONG time, and a 47-year-old man simply does not carry the same threat of reoffending* as a 32-year-old.
* "Reoffending" meaning a real offense, not coming home five minutes late for his curfew. Which, by itself, could get him locked up again. Depending on the govt's mood that day.


I'm not particularly talking about re-offending, though I'd think given his rap sheet, there's a real possibility of returning to crime.

My issue is the justness of the punishment. 27-years is bordering on too light for this sort of murder, but at least you can say, he's 60, he had his whole adult life basically taken away. There's some proportionality.

15 is a joke. People do 15 for much less. He's still a relatively young man with a fiance and the ability to fully enjoy a long life. He doesn't deserve that. His victim doesn't get that.
   20. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4096703)
His first trial on a charge of first-degree murder ended with a hung jury, with the jurors voting 11-1 in favor of conviction. The case resulted in a plea deal and a 27-year sentence.


This appears to be where the problem occured. Although 15 years out of a 27 year sentence does seem fairly early considering his past history I don't think it's terribly unusual for this kind of thing*. The issue is that because the jury hung on first degree murder he ended up getting a plea deal instead so of course it wasn't nearly as long of a sentence as he deserved. With luck he'll commit some non-harmful to others probation violations and be sent back for the rest of his sentence.

*I was involved in a car crash caused by a drunk woman about seven and a half years ago in which her brother ended up a quadrapalegic and died a year later. About six months after that she caused another crash while under the influence that resulted in her 10 year old daughter (who had Downs Syndrome) being thrown through the windshield because she wasn't properly restrained. I know the daughter lived but don't know how badly she was injured; it should please BTF though to know that her child was indeed taken away. The woman pled to charges that resulted in a 10 year prison sentence but she was released after I think just a year and a half, way too early for my taste. It didn't take her long to commit four different probation violations and now she's back in prison and not eligible to apply for parole until eight years have passed. My parents signed up for one of those robocalls like Shotkoski got so they'll probably be receiving one in 2013 or '14.
   21. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4096716)
Are we supposed to feel sorry for the lot of a career violent-crime criminal who got out from under a first degree murder charge because of 1 juror?

You can, if you like.
Though I'm not seeing the "career violent-crime criminal" here. There's not enough info to know whether that "robbery" was a purse-snatching, or a stickup where he put a gun in somebody's face, or just a terrible plea bargain in a case where a defense lawyer with the time / resources / inclination might've beat the charge outright. Likewise the "concealed weapon" - I don't know whether that's a scimitar, or a screwdriver he was carrying when he was stopped for something else 25 years ago.
Also likewise, "violates probation." He could get arrested (for anything), charged, get a complete not-guilty verdict at trial, and still be found in violation of probation. Depending on what the judge had for breakfast that day.
He probably won't make it - the deck is stacked against him - but I certainly hope he spends the rest of his life as a solid citizen.

EDIT:
"15 is a joke. People do 15 for much less. He's still a relatively young man with a fiance and the ability to fully enjoy a long life. He doesn't deserve that. His victim doesn't get that."

Yes, people do 15 for much less. Maybe their sentences should be lowered, instead of trying to make every sentence as bad as the worst-possible ones.
His victim doesn't get anything, because his victim is dead. Another 12 years doesn't change anything about that. In a criminal case, it's People v. Whoever, not Dead Victim v. Whoever.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4096729)
Though I'm not seeing the "career violent-crime criminal" here. There's not enough info to know whether that "robbery" was a purse-snatching, or a stickup where he put a gun in somebody's face, or just a terrible plea bargain in a case where a defense lawyer with the time / resources / inclination might've beat the charge outright. Likewise the "concealed weapon" - I don't know whether that's a scimitar, or a screwdriver he was carrying when he was stopped for something else 25 years ago.

Did you miss the part where he had been in jail 6 times before this?

Robbery and carrying a concealed weapon generally point pretty heavily in the direction of violent.

Plus we have another robbery, and a murder. I'd say two robbery conviction, and a murder make you a career violent criminal.
   23. Morty Causa Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4096731)
Florida Murder statute

Note: for second degree murder, he could have gotten life imprisonment but didn't.

In Louisiana, my state, you seve the full sentence, life imprisonment (or possibly death for first degree), no good time, no parole/probation/suspension of sentence--life means life when it comes to first and second degree murder. Apparently that's not the case for second degree murder in Florida.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4096734)
Yes, people do 15 for much less. Maybe their sentences should be lowered, instead of trying to make every sentence as bad as the worst-possible ones.
His victim doesn't get anything, because his victim is dead. Another 12 years doesn't change anything about that. In a criminal case, it's People v. Whoever, not Dead Victim v. Whoever.


But the People act in the pursuit of justice. Justice in punishment demands proportionality. That's why we don't execute people for drunk driving, even though it would probably reduce the crime to zero. 15 years is not a just punishment for murder.

Quite frankly, I don't see how any murder conviction can result in <30 years, or until age 65, whichever is later. If there are enough extenuation circumstance to warrant less than most of your life in jail, it probably isn't murder.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4096738)
In Louisiana, my state, you seve the full sentence, life imprisonment (or possibly death for first degree), no good time, no parole/probation/suspension of sentence--life means life when it comes to first and second degree murder.

That seems like a very sensible law.
   26. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4096744)
Did you miss the part where he had been in jail 6 times before this?

That part is so poorly phrased that I can't tell whether he'd been to jail 6 times, or got several concurrent sentences for different things at the same time (which would still technically be a separate "sentence"), or what. Clicked the link to see for myself, but it doesn't work.

Robbery and carrying a concealed weapon generally point pretty heavily in the direction of violent.

Right, unless they don't. They certainly might, but I can't be as certain as you are, based on the information in the article.

EDIT:
" 15 years is not a just punishment for murder."
See, and all three branches of the Florida government disagree with you.
   27. Shazbot Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4096745)
Punitive revenge isn't a good basis for law. Never has been.
   28. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4096747)
According to this article, our pal's criminal history includes, "kidnapping, armed robbery, two burglaries, grand theft and carrying a concealed weapon."

Odds are he will violate his release conditions before Labor Day. The relevant question is whether he will leave another corpse behind, or "only" an assault or robbery victim. 15 years for this guy is precisely why we end up with excessive sentencing.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4096750)
Punitive revenge isn't a good basis for law. Never has been.

Punishment is the primary basis for all criminal sanctions. Punishment is not the same thing as revenge.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4096753)
According to this article, our pal's criminal history includes, "kidnapping, armed robbery, two burglaries, grand theft and carrying a concealed weapon."

And, if he's got caught that many times, odds are he has another 100 felonies in his past, unless he's the worst criminal in history.
   31. Swedish Chef Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4096754)
The great legal theorist Ambrose Bierce recognized four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4096756)
The great legal theorist Ambrose Bierce recognized four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.

You know what they said in the Old West when asked why the penalty for horse stealing was sometimes harsher than for killing a man?

"Because there are some men that need killing, but no horse that needs stealing."
   33. Morty Causa Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4096757)
I wonder under which Bierce would deem his own homicide falls?
   34. Greg K Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4096767)
for that matter have hated hoods on regular ol' winter coats since childhood,

I take it we grew up in different places.
   35. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4096781)
From that second article (and thanks for digging that up):
Throughout the two weeks of trial testimony, prosecutors presented several people who witnessed the shooting from a distance but couldn't identify Evans in photo lineups. The single witness who did was a woman who saw Evans riding a bicycle from the shooting scene as she was a passenger in a moving car.

One prosecution witness, who said Evans confessed to the killing, recanted earlier statements when he took the stand.

In addition, the defense painted other witnesses as prostitutes and crack-cocaine addicts looking for a piece of a $10,000 reward offer made by the Braves and West Palm Beach.

I don't know what went into the subsequent plea negotiations, but these are all good arguments for reasonable doubt - separately and together.
If the DA was now more aware of unfixable weaknesses in its case, and Evans thought himself lucky to get anything short of first-degree murder, then we get what we got.
   36. Ron J Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4096787)
#21 I assume you're familiar with the article the Economist did on the US criminal justice system a few years back.

Found it

Worth the read in my opinion.
   37. zonk Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4096797)
If I could offer up a serious question for a moment...

Much of what I've read leads me to believe that prisons aren't very good at the whole rehabilitation thing. We can blame this on the prison "industry" (and I have plenty of blame on that), on the people in prison, or whatever... but here's what I'm wondering...

Why don't we have separate facilities/prisons for 1st time incarcerees?

It seems perfectly logical that if you lock someone up who committed a crime, even a horrific crime, for the first time -- but lock him up with hardened criminals on their 2nd/3rd/etc stretch, he's probably going to learn to be a better criminal above all else - if for no other reason than survival.

Why don't we have prisons set aside for people locked up for the first time, with rehabilitation programs specifically tailored to, well, rehabilitation? Forced classes -- if you go to the "first time slammer" with no HS diploma, well, you're going to spend your time behind bars at least getting a GED. Classes for technical, trade, or other skills. Prison staff not for "jobs" -- but specifically hired for purposes of promoting a purpose of rehabilitation.

It just seems to me that if you kept the first-timers separated out from the treadmillers, you'd probably have a much higher success rate creating more first and only timers.
   38. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4096807)
15 is a joke. People do 15 for much less. He's still a relatively young man with a fiance and the ability to fully enjoy a long life. He doesn't deserve that. His victim doesn't get that.


This reminds me of that part in Luke where Jesus said to his disciples, \"#### that ##### forgiveness ####, need to get medieval on a ############'s ass."

Might have been Mark.
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4096812)
Why don't we have separate facilities/prisons for 1st time incarcerees?

I think you make a good point, and I do think there are a lot of programs like this. A lot of 1st time offenders get probabtion, "intervention" programs (especially teens) and other punishments short of full-on jail.
   40. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4096815)
This reminds me of that part in Luke where Jesus said to his disciples, \"#### that ##### forgiveness ####, need to get medieval on a ############'s ass."

Might have been Mark.


Forgiveness has nothing to do with not meting out appropriate punishment. The Catholic doctrine of salvation says that even if you are forgiven your sins, you'll still pay every penny of your temporal debt in purgatory before you get to Heaven.

If you want a Biblical example, Jesus told the "good thief" he'd be going to Heaven, he did not remit his wordly punishment. The thief still had to suffer (likely for days) and die on his cross.
   41. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4096816)
#21 I assume you're familiar with the article the Economist did on the US criminal justice system a few years back.

Found it

Worth the read in my opinion.

Hadn't seen that article but let's just say I'm very familiar with its arguments.
At the federal level, nothing much has changed under Obama.
At the state level, nothing much has changed under Brown.
"Tough on crime" wins elections, even if it makes things worse for everybody.
   42. The Good Face Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4096822)
In response to #37, who's going to pay for it? I'm not unsympathetic to the argument that it would actually SAVE money eventually if done correctly, but there's zero political will to make the case and appropriate the up-front money. Other politicians and the media will have a field day when one of those guys gets out and kills/rapes somebody, which would be only a matter of time given the law of big numbers.

#21 I assume you're familiar with the article the Economist did on the US criminal justice system a few years back.

Found it

Worth the read in my opinion.


Worthwhile read, particularly the bits regarding the utter insanity of federal law.
   43. Fanshawe Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4096826)
Why don't we have prisons set aside for people locked up for the first time, with rehabilitation programs specifically tailored to, well, rehabilitation? Forced classes -- if you go to the "first time slammer" with no HS diploma, well, you're going to spend your time behind bars at least getting a GED. Classes for technical, trade, or other skills. Prison staff not for "jobs" -- but specifically hired for purposes of promoting a purpose of rehabilitation.


This is why:

"If you want to coddle convicted drug dealers, rapists, and communists, and then set them free to terrorize your children, then vote zonk for state legislature. But if you think that our parks are places for good Christians, and not hardened criminals, vote for me, Jack Gutfeelingson."
   44. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4096827)
Found it

Worth the read in my opinion.


Looks good. I will.

But I'll say in advance, there are waaaaaaaaay too many Federal crimes. The Fed's should leave 99.9% of law enforcement to the states.
   45. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4096830)
Forgiveness has nothing to do with not meting out appropriate punishment. The Catholic doctrine of salvation says that even if you are forgiven your sins, you'll still pay every penny of your temporal debt in purgatory before you get to Heaven.


Which is why I spoke of Jesus and not your little luncheon group of cross dressers.

Jesus didn't pardon the thief because he did not have the authority to do so. He pardoned him for "his Kingdom," which would indicate a position other than yours and the Church's stance.

But hey. Stick with your blood lust, man. When presented the teachings of your professed Lord and savior vs. your innate angry-monkey drive toward beating the guy with a stick, by all means, stick with beating the guy with the stick. It *clarifies.*
   46. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4096834)
See, and all three branches of the Florida government disagree with you.


In a state where it's perfectly fine to shoot people dead as long as you can convince the right idiots that you were "standing your ground" at the time? Boy, there's a shocker.
   47. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4096836)
#21 I assume you're familiar with the article the Economist did on the US criminal justice system a few years back.


If one isn't aghast at the police state in America, that person has no concern for liberty or freedom. The subset of the population who squint and walk past the obscenity of American "justice" while whinging about a half-measure regulation of the health insurance sector as "tyranny" are worthy of nothing less than scorn, and more often a boot tip to the face.
   48. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4096837)
Jesus didn't pardon the thief because he did not have the authority to do so.

Ummmmm, he's God. If you're using him as a source of authority, you're stipulating that, so he clearly had the authority.

He healed lots of people. A angel was sent to release Paul from jail. Not to mention the famous "live by the sword quote""

[51] And behold one of them that were with Jesus, stretching forth his hand, drew out his sword: and striking the servant of the high priest, cut off his ear. [52] Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword. [53] Thinkest thou that I cannot ask my Father, and he will give me presently more than twelve legions of angels? [Matthew 26:53] [Latin] [54] How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done?


So, he also had the power.

You're out of your league on this point. From Jesus on down, Christians have never taught that criminals shouldn't be punished.
   49. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4096838)
But I'll say in advance, there are waaaaaaaaay too many Federal crimes. The Fed's should leave 99.9% of law enforcement to the states.


Back in the mid-'80s, when I was covering the state criminal courts & my wife-to-be the federal courts in Little Rock, I always maintained that if I felt the urge to kill someone, I'd drag them to the nearest post office grounds first so that I'd fall under "polite court" jurisdiction. I guess that could've changed in the intervening quarter-century.
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4096839)

If one isn't aghast at the police state in America, that person has no concern for liberty or freedom.


Which has nothing to do with the appropriate punishment for murder.

The people that shouldn't be locked up are non-violent offenders and low level drug dealers.

No sane person is going to argue that the sentence for murder shouldn't be really, really long.
   51. Downtown Bookie Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4096840)
Back in the mid-'80s, when I was covering the state criminal courts & my wife-to-be the federal courts in Little Rock, I always maintained that if I felt the urge to kill someone, I'd drag them to the post office grounds so that I'd fall under "polite court" jurisdiction.


Would you then leave the body at the Dead Letter Office?

DB
   52. zonk Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4096842)
In response to #37, who's going to pay for it? I'm not unsympathetic to the argument that it would actually SAVE money eventually if done correctly, but there's zero political will to make the case and appropriate the up-front money. Other politicians and the media will have a field day when one of those guys gets out and kills/rapes somebody, which would be only a matter of time given the law of big numbers.


But we're already paying for it --

Per RonJ's Economist article - even the bottom run (Mississippi) is spending $18k a year on incarceration... even if costs were to rise for the first-timer prisons, I have to think we'd come out ahead in the long-run if it meant a lot fewer people spending a lot less of their lives in prison.

   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4096844)
Back in the mid-'80s, when I was covering the state criminal courts & my wife-to-be the federal courts in Little Rock, I always maintained that if I felt the urge to kill someone, I'd drag them to the nearest post office grounds first so that I'd fall under "polite court" jurisdiction. I guess that could've changed in the intervening quarter-century.

Yes. I think Federal Law enforcement has become seriously militarized and fasciscized.

I mean the Koresh-Waco thing is the perfect example (almost 20 years ago). The local sheriff knew Koresh went jogging and came into town alone, so he offered to just pick him up on one of those occasions.

Instead, the ATF had to stage a big raid, to show off all their fancy equipment and training. Unfortunately, their combat skills weren't up to the standards of a bunch of wackos, and they got a bunch of agents killed. And then, they retaliated to save face, killing a bunch of women and children in the process.

Picture perfect example of bad law enforcement.
   54. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4096845)
I take it we grew up in different places.


Undoubtedly so; southwest Arkansas isn't known for its arctic weather. Coldest weather I've ever been in was 2 degrees, driving back from Memphis in early '96 after the Waco Brothers failed to play a scheduled date (I think their travel schedule was screwed up by icy roads farther north). It was so damned cold that even though I had the car's heater blowing full blast, it had no perceivable effect.

Coldest when I was growing up was the day it fell to 6 degrees in January 1977; that was brutal, because all I had was a windbreaker in senior high, & I was thin as a rail besides because I'd been horribly ill.

Even so, I would never have deigned to wear any sort of hood on my head. Good thing my ears no longer stuck out like car doors, as they had in grade school.
   55. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4096847)

But we're already paying for it --

Per RonJ's Economist article - even the bottom run (Mississippi) is spending $18k a year on incarceration... even if costs were to rise for the first-timer prisons, I have to think we'd come out ahead in the long-run if it meant a lot fewer people spending a lot less of their lives in prison.


Makes a ton of sense, but I'm not sure how many first time offenders (except for really serious crimes) actually do prison time.
   56. zonk Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4096854)
"If you want to coddle convicted drug dealers, rapists, and communists, and then set them free to terrorize your children, then vote zonk for state legislature. But if you think that our parks are places for good Christians, and not hardened criminals, vote for me, Jack Gutfeelingson."


I generally take a more Studs Terklel view of the citizenry -- that the American citizenry of all stripes are good people who would do the right thing if only they were presented with all the information.

I will say this, on prosecutors --

I've known a few people that have worked in the Cook County state's attorney office as prosecutors and I was amazed at their transformation... Didn't matter what political stripe they were going in, didn't matter what sort of person they were going in -- after a couple of years, they became near stark-raving lunatics about criminal justice. Didn't matter what sort of statistics were discussed - everyone and I mean everyone, from their POV, deserved to be locked up and locked up for a long time.

In a way, it sort of reminds me of the dehumanizing aspect that I think Frederick Douglass wrote about in regards to slavery (not that I'm trying to bring in either a racial element or slavery) -- both sides of the equation get dehumanized to the point that both lose a piece of their soul.

For a prosecutor, when I'm sure you regularly get faced with inhuman acts, I suspect it's quite easy to become a hardliner not out of political necessity or career advancement -- but just because you see so much wrong every day, you stop believing there is any right.
   57. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4096855)
Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword.


I hope you're not reading that as a justification for killing people "by the sword." Because that's totally not what your lord and savior fella is saying there. Not at all. He's telling the fool that violence brings violence, and that his followers are not violent.

So, he also had the power.


Again with the categorical wrongness. Wow. The entire point of the Nazerene's ministry was the turning away from worldly power and the fallen violence that it requires, in lieu of the "kingdom of heaven." There's a reason the Romans offered up him vs Barrabus ya know.

You're out of your league on this point.


Don't go and confuse fealty to catechism with thinking, buddy. I'll let you know when you catch up.
   58. Fanshawe Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4096863)
I generally take a more Studs Terklel view of the citizenry -- that the American citizenry of all stripes are good people who would do the right thing if only they were presented with all the information.


I don't necessarily disagree with that, but I think there are plenty of people who have a vested interest in obscuring or failing to povide that information.
   59. The Good Face Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4096865)
But we're already paying for it --

Per RonJ's Economist article - even the bottom run (Mississippi) is spending $18k a year on incarceration... even if costs were to rise for the first-timer prisons, I have to think we'd come out ahead in the long-run if it meant a lot fewer people spending a lot less of their lives in prison.


I may have been unclear in my post, and honestly I think #43 said it better. Any politician who pushes for something like this would be putting himself in an incredibly vulnerable place.

Anyway, while it could save money down the road, if you want separate facilities and prison personnel who are there to rehabilitate instead of handing out beatings, you're going to need to invest more money up front to get it off the ground. Which of course ties into the whole political vulnerability issue. "Zonk wants to waste your tax dollars coddling criminals instead of investing in jobs for law abiding Americans!"
   60. Downtown Bookie Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4096879)
Anyway, while it could save money down the road, if you want separate facilities and prison personnel who are there to rehabilitate instead of handing out beatings, you're going to need to invest more money up front to get it off the ground. Which of course ties into the whole political vulnerability issue. "Zonk wants to waste your tax dollars coddling criminals instead of investing in jobs for law abiding Americans!"


Maybe you could turn it around:

"How much longer are we going to coddle these career criminals by allowing them to remain under the same roof as non-violent first offenders? It's time we show these hardend criminals, these menances to society, that we mean business! Get them out of these country clubs and into a real prison, where they can be given the punishment that they deserve!"

Hey, it's worth a shot.

DB
   61. The Good Face Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4096882)
Maybe you could turn it around:

"How much longer are we going to coddle these career criminals by allowing them to remain under the same roof as non-violent first offenders? It's time we show these hardend criminals, these menances to society, that we mean business! Get them out of these country clubs and into a real prison, where they can be given the punishment that they deserve!"

Hey, it's worth a shot.


I like the cut of your jib young man.
   62. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4096884)
For a prosecutor, when I'm sure you regularly get faced with inhuman acts, I suspect it's quite easy to become a hardliner not out of political necessity or career advancement -- but just because you see so much wrong every day, you stop believing there is any right.

I think it's even simpler than this: "convictions" equals "career advancement." "Longer/tougher sentences" equals "career advancement."

A DA who wins a difficult trial on fairly shaky evidence, tends to get promoted.
But nobody gets bumped upstairs for dumping the iffy cases. The boss does not stop by the office to say, "Hey, nice work on that dismissal."

EDIT: to be clear, I don't think we're disagreeing all that much. It's just that a second- or third-year DA is generally some 28-year-old whose courtroom experience has been overwhelmingly devoted to taking pleas in DUI cases. They are not going anywhere near murder / rape / torture cases, at that stage of their careers.
   63. Lassus Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4096894)
You're out of your league on this point.

Snapper, if you are reading the whole bible with the same diligence that you've interpreted Matthew 26:52, it is not Sam who is out of his league.
   64. zonk Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4096897)
I think it's even simpler than this: "convictions" equals "career advancement." "Longer/tougher sentences" equals "career advancement."

A DA who wins a difficult trial on fairly shaky evidence, tends to get promoted.
But nobody gets bumped upstairs for dumping the iffy cases. The boss does not stop by the office to say, "Hey, nice work on that dismissal."


Maybe...

One of the prosecutors I know had no designs on a career path -- she was planning to have kids in the next couple of years and planned to do the stay-home thing until they were at least off to kindergarten. She may go back into practice, but likely private practice.

I'd have described her as rather pixie-like in college... and she still was post-college and law-school -- unless you brought up crime or anything illegal. Then it was a damned flaming sword of justice. Maybe it's the environment, maybe it's just natural competitiveness, but I think repetition has a ton to do with it.
   65. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4096901)
Snapper, if you are reading the whole bible with the same diligence that you've interpreted Matthew 26:52, it is not Sam who is out of his league.

Yes, yes I know, you want the comfy modern interpretation of Jesus as a cool guy who says be nice to one another, but basically you can still do anything you want.

That's not Biblical, or historical. In Matthew 26:52 Jesus is saying, I have the power to protect myself, but I voluntarily choose not to, so that I can fulfill my mission. Jesus is never a pacifist in the Bible (he commands his disciples to but swords, he attacks the moneylenders in the temple, etc.) though that's how some people dearly want to see him.

Let's just skip the religious debate. It's going nowhere.
   66. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4096902)
I think it's even simpler than this: "convictions" equals "career advancement." "Longer/tougher sentences" equals "career advancement."

But isn't the same true for defense attorneys? Getting criminals off = career advancement. Shorter/easier sentences = career advancement.
   67. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4096908)
Jesus is never a pacifist in the Bible


Who came up with that "turn the other cheek" stuff? It's been decades since Sunday school, but I don't recall the Sermon on the Mount being attributed to Gandhi.
   68. Lassus Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4096909)
Yes, yes I know, you want the comfy modern interpretation of Jesus as a coohl guy who says be nice to one another, but basically you can still do anything you want.

I'm an atheist who was raised Roman Catholic. I have no wants whatsoever in regards to Jesus.

I will admit, however, there is more than one way to interpret a 2000 year old story written in a dead language. Which is more than you are willing to admit.
   69. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4096930)
But isn't the same true for defense attorneys? Getting criminals off = career advancement. Shorter/easier sentences = career advancement.

Not exactly - the defense attorneys don't get to decide whether to dismiss a case (that's the DA), or whether to take a plea (that's the defendant).
Public defender offices (very generally) tend to promote based on courtroom experience - say, a certain number of trials. It's not GOOD if seven straight trials result in a conviction for something, but we have to do what we can with the cases we have.
You will commonly see an overcharged case result in a guilty verdict on lesser charges, and both sides claim victory. A great defense lawyer can see clients convicted of something in twenty straight trials. A second-year DA can "win" twenty straight. (I think of DAs as baseball pitchers who get to throw from 50 feet, and then decide they must be great because they strike so many guys out.) (And nearly all of the umps are former pitchers. With glaucoma.)

Private defense lawyers don't get "promoted" in the same way at all. Obviously a successful defense in a big media case can get a lawyer's name out, but that's a tiny fraction of the cases out there. The endorsements that lead to the most work are from word-of-mouth - people with (shall we say) "experience in the court system" talk to one another, and if you have a rep as a fighter, that good word gets around. Those guys understand that a good defense lawyer can still lose a tough case*; they just want to know that their lawyer is going to make the govt do its job.

* Gerry Spence supposedly never lost a criminal trial as a defense lawyer, but (a) the sole source of that information is Gerry Spence; and (b) as noted above, "victory" to a defense lawyer can mean anything short of "guilty on all counts."
   70. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4096947)
Yes, yes I know, you want the comfy modern interpretation of Jesus as a coohl guy who says be nice to one another, but basically you can still do anything you want.


Of course, Jesus doesn't think you can do anything you want! He says you have to give all your possessions to the poor.
   71. zachtoma Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4096957)
From Jesus on down, Christians have never taught that criminals shouldn't be punished.


John 8

1Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

2And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
   72. zonk Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4096958)
Well, you can prove anything with Jesus...
   73. zachtoma Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4096964)
Many of the attitudes in this thread reveal why America has become a police state. If you dispute that, you must be a) white, b) not poor, or c) both.
   74. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4096971)
Well, you can prove anything with Jesus...


What did he say about molesting young boys? That it's OK if you think the world of a guy in Rome who wears a dress & a really big hat?
   75. zonk Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4096972)
What did he say about molesting young boys? That it's OK if you think the world of a guy in Rome who wears a dress & a really big hat?


Easy... just trying to inject a little levity... I'll go back to the vomit thread now...
   76. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4096974)
Many of the attitudes in this thread reveal why America has become a police state.

I know it's increasingly popular to say the above, and I don't like a lot of the things that go on at the federal level. (As the great judge Alex Kozinski likes to say, "We're all probably federal criminals.")

I also know the drug laws account for a large percentage of inmates, but the drug laws are the law of the land, and we don't get to pick and choose which laws we get to follow. If people want the drug laws changed, they should work to do so, not complain that the laws on the books are enforced.

For the people who believe far too many people are locked up, a simple question: What proportion of state and federal prison inmates do you guess you'd want (or even tolerate) as a next-door neighbor? One out of five? One out of ten? One out of a hundred? (And a follow-up: If you don't want them living next to you, why should they be let out to go live next door to someone else?)

If you dispute that, you must be a) white, b) not poor, or c) both.

Or d) Have this crazy idea that habitual lawbreakers should be locked up.
   77. zachtoma Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4096979)
For the people who believe far too many people are locked up, a simple question: What proportion of state and federal prison inmates do you guess you'd want (or even tolerate) as a next-door neighbor? One out of five? One out of ten? One out of a hundred? (And a follow-up: If you don't want them living next to you, why should they be let out to go live next door to someone else?)


Another simple question: how many inmates or former inmates do you even know? I don't know any, but since you are asking me to guess: 4 out of 5.
   78. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:54 PM (#4096983)
Another simple question: how many inmates or former inmates do you even know?


Well, I used to work for one. And I know a couple in my neighborhood. All in the pokey on drug charges.
   79. zachtoma Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4096990)
but the drug laws are the law of the land, and we don't get to pick and choose which laws we get to follow.


You arguably do have this privilege if you are white and wealthy, then you can use drugs with impunity. If anything goes wrong, you don't have to go to jail, you can just go to rehab. Besides:

'...there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."'
-Martin Luther King Jr.
   80. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4096991)
ust trying to inject a little levity...


Not allowed here, sir. Please confine yourself to wailing, rending your garments & gnashing your teeth.
   81. MHS Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4096993)
[we don't get to pick and choose which laws we get to follow


Yes, we do. As long as we are willing to accept the consequences of our actions.

   82. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4096994)
Besides, who was that who talked so much about just laws and unjust laws... and the duty to defy unjust laws? Oh yeah, it was Martin Luther King Jr.


Not only not a good Catholic, but named for Mr. Reformation himself.
   83. Fanshawe Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4096996)
For the people who believe far too many people are locked up, a simple question: What proportion of state and federal prison inmates do you guess you'd want (or even tolerate) as a next-door neighbor? One out of five? One out of ten? One out of a hundred? (And a follow-up: If you don't want them living next to you, why should they be let out to go live next door to someone else?)


Well I already live near a lot of people who I'd rather not live near, so the relevant question is who would be significantly worse than them right? A lot of the drug offenders would be ok. A lot of people in prison on felony-murder are pretty bad guys with pretty bad judgment who had very bad luck, but I bet some of those would be ok. A lot of people in prison for assault and other lower level violent offenses are run of the mill ######## who are just like some of the ######## I live near except for one night where things got out of hand. If there are any real life Ocean's-11-style super burglars, I'd love to live near them because they seem like interesting people and I don't have anything that would be worth their time to steal.
   84. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4097003)
The Martin Luther King quote is a red herring. Jim Crow laws and drug laws aren't remotely similar, unless we're supposed to believe no white people have ever done time on drug charges.

The idea that drug dealers and users are the modern-day equivalent of blacks who refused to leave a lunch counter or move to the back of the bus is utterly absurd. There's civil disobedience and there's criminal disobedience; drugs involve the latter.

Yes, we do. As long as we are willing to accept the consequences of our actions.

Right. I thought this was understood to be inherent in my comment in #76.
   85. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4097005)
For the people who believe far too many people are locked up, a simple question: What proportion of state and federal prison inmates do you guess you'd want (or even tolerate) as a next-door neighbor? One out of five? One out of ten? One out of a hundred? (And a follow-up: If you don't want them living next to you, why should they be let out to go live next door to someone else?)

The US locks far up more people (as a % of total population) than any other country.
So, another simple question: does our country have more bad people, or more dumb laws?
   86. zachtoma Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4097006)
And even if somebody is a murderer that doesn't mean they are going to murder you because you happen to live next door. In fact, I think the odds of that are vanishingly small. Plus, why should we have an expectation of total public safety? That would be unprecedented in human history; I don't think it's reasonable or acheivable.
   87. Swedish Chef Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:20 PM (#4097014)
In fact, I think the odds of that are vanishingly small.

You mean it's almost certain? Oh dear.

One tip for a quiet life: never move into an apartment that had a drug dealer as the previous tenant.
   88. zachtoma Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4097016)
Jim Crow laws and drug laws aren't remotely similar


I don't think this could be more misguided. The laws themselves aren't, but their effects are. There are a lot of researchers and academics (I like Michelle Alexander) who have written about how the War on Drugs effectively mirrors the social control of Jim Crow. Yes, white people serve time on drug offenses, mostly poor whites, but the overwhelming majority of drug war casualties are black Americans. Police forces actively target black neighborhoods and use stop-and-frisk to collect bodies for the prison-industrial complex, allowing private contractors to sustain high profits. In this way, drug laws have even more in common with plantation logic than Jim Crow. Those bodies may eventually pass out of prison, but they have been stripped once and for all of their democratic rights, their access to public services, and are legally discriminated against on the housing and job markets - a branded 'criminal' is a second-class citizen, it is socially-accepted discrimination and it is shameful.
   89. Chicago Joe Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4097017)
This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.


Probably figuring out a primitive version of WAR.
   90. Swedish Chef Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4097022)
Probably figuring out a primitive version of WAR.

Bah, those numbers can't capture the heart and scrappiness that makes a winning gladiator.
   91. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4097027)
The US locks far up more people (as a % of total population) than any other country.
So, another simple question: does our country have more bad people, or more dumb laws?

Probably a combination of both. Regardless, the "U.S. locks up more ..." thing is another red herring, as there's nothing shameful about locking up criminals. I've been all over the Americas, and I haven't been to a single place yet that wouldn't benefit from locking up more people, whether it's for violent crimes or corruption or drugs or a long list of other crimes.

And even if somebody is a murderer that doesn't mean they are going to murder you because you happen to live next door. In fact, I think the odds of that are vanishingly small.

LOL. "Don't worry, honey. Think of all the women Ted Bundy didn't rape and murder. You're probably not even his type!"

I don't think this could be more misguided. The laws themselves aren't, but their effects are. There are a lot of researchers and academics (I like Michelle Alexander) who have written about how the War on Drugs effectively mirrors the social control of Jim Crow. ...

A lot of nonsense. Areas with high drug activity have always tended to have a high amount of violent crime, which attracts a heavier and heavier police presence. If drug-related shootouts start happening in the suburbs, the police will start being heavy-handed there, too.

Again, if people don't like a law, they should work to change or repeal it. The idea that using (or selling) crack or heroin is some sort of modern-day civil disobedience is laughably absurd.
   92. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4097030)
So, another simple question: does our country have more bad people, or more dumb laws?

Probably a bit of both. We're a good place to be a criminal so we probably have more than our fair share. But with the prison pop numbers we have- and the nature of the offenses that draw big sentences- there is certainly some bad policy as well.

Coke to Joe.



   93. zachtoma Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4097031)
The idea that using (or selling) crack or heroin is some sort of modern-day civil disobedience is laughably absurd.


An idea that nobody has put forward except for you. I am glad to know, however, that we ought only to celebrate the radicalism of King's civil disobedience when it comes pre-sanctified for our consumption - that is an important distinction.

Areas with high drug activity tended to have a high amount of violent crime


I bet you that my lily-white private high school had more drug activity, and a more developed drug economy, than any inner-city high school in the same county (Los Angeles). I didn't see any cops or violent crime, but I did see a lot of kids going on rehab breaks. In fact, the last National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that drug usage and abuse rates are higher among whites than in any other ethnic group. Yet, at the same time, 10 black Americans are arrested for drug crimes for every white American that is.
   94. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4097032)
I've been all over the Americas, and I haven't been to a single place yet that wouldn't benefit from locking up more people, whether it's for violent crimes or corruption or drugs.
If only government were bigger and would throw more people in jail.
   95. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4097034)
An idea that nobody has put forward except for you.

Huh? You're the one who invoked MLK and then doubled down with the "worse than Jim Crow" rhetoric in #88.

I bet you that my lily-white private high school had more drug activity, and a more developed drug economy, than any inner-city high school in the same county (Los Angeles). I didn't see any cops or violent crime, but I did see a lot of kids going on rehab breaks.

Right, you "didn't see any violent crime." If you had, a lot of those white kids would have been heading for the slammer. Violent crime is what draws police, and the police presence ends up ensnaring a lot of non-violent drug users.

If only government were bigger and would throw more people in jail.

In big parts of Mexico, and Venezuela, and the D.R., and Haiti, and Guatemala, and Colombia, and ...? Yes, absolutely. More people need to be locked up in all of those places. Anyone who's even glanced at the crime rates and corruption reports knows this to be true.
   96. Morty Causa Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4097037)
One thing that's not completely clear to me when it comes to the decriminalization of drugs is whether that means factories, distributors, retailers, marketing, merchandising--what? Bristol-Myers and others could crank up the factory fires? Walmart stock up the shelves? Commercials on TV? Will there be government regulation? Does the FDA get involved? How is it in the countries that have gone this route--if any have?
   97. zachtoma Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4097041)
Huh? You're the one who invoked MLK and then doubled down with the "worse than Jim Crow" rhetoric in #88.


You're making an equation between ignoring an unjust law and an act of positive civil disobedience done as activism - "Oh, smoking crack is like Freedom Summer? OK LOLOL" - which is a sneaky way to make your argument a lot easier. MLK's statement justifies both of these things but does not equate them, and I took care not to equate them either. I also didn't say "worse than" Jim Crow anywhere, for the record.
   98. Morty Causa Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:57 PM (#4097050)
Police forces actively target black neighborhoods and use stop-and-frisk to collect bodies for the prison-industrial complex, allowing private contractors to sustain high profits. In this way, drug laws have even more in common with plantation logic than Jim Crow.


It seems to many people that there is a distinction, and it lies in this: unlike with slavery and Jim Crow, the remedy seems to be in the hands of the disadvantaged. Don't do drugs? And stay away from people who do. Now, if you're still being hassled after that, see a lawyer, see the ACLU.
   99. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 04, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4097056)
I also didn't say "worse than" Jim Crow anywhere, for the record.

You didn't edit #88? It seemed like parts of it were more strident the first time I read it. If not, my mistake.

You're making an equation between ignoring an unjust law and an act of positive civil disobedience done as activism - "Oh, smoking crack is like Freedom Summer? OK LOLOL" - which is a sneaky way to make our argument a lot easier. MLK's statement justifies both of these things but does not equate them, and I took care not to equate them either.

I'll be happy to concede your point in the last sentence, but I still don't buy into the "ignoring an unjust law" part. Discriminating against people on the basis of skin color is (and was) unjust. Locking up drug dealers isn't unjust, even if violent crime has drawn more police into Area A than Area B. I'm a "more police, more prisons" guy, so it's not like I'm happy that non-black drug dealers and users might disproportionately get a pass for their unlawful behavior.

It seems to many people that there is a distinction, and it lies in this: unlike with slavery and Jim Crow, the remedy seems to be in the hands of the disadvantaged. Don't do drugs? And stay away from people who do. Now, if you're still being hassled after that, see a lawyer, see the ACLU.

Exactly right. Really well said.
   100. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: April 04, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4097062)
You're making an equation between ignoring an unjust law and an act of positive civil disobedience done as activism - "Oh, smoking crack is like Freedom Summer? OK LOLOL" - which is a sneaky way to make your argument a lot easier.
It also lets you focus on drugs and Latin America, while not addressing the fact that America puts more of its own people in jail than any other first world country. Or are you arguing that America's the only place that does it right, that more nations should be putting more people in more jails?

EDIT: Question answered.
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