Rebirth of Reason

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Monday, August 18, 2014 - 9:50pmSanction this postReply

Among the complaints of the protestors over the shooting of Michael Brown by a white police officer is that the police are interfering with their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble and to express their views.


Ferguson's mayor and the city council issued a letter last Wednesday asking protesters to restrain their activities. "We ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and respectful manner," the letter read. Nevertheless, the protestors are questioning the government's authority to issue such a letter on the grounds that it interferes with their First Amendment rights.


This objection misunderstands the nature of the First Amendment.  No one has a right to freedom of speech or to freedom of assembly on someone else's property.


For example, I do not have a right to insult your family in your own home if you disapprove of my actions. Nor do I and my friends have a right to congregate on your property without your permission.


Similarly, even though ideally the government should not own the streets, the fact is that it does own them, and must therefore regulate the manner in which they are used, and that includes forbidding people from clogging the streets in large numbers. The streets exist to facilitate passage from one place to another. They are not properly a venue for protestors to express their anger and outrage.


Furthermore, given the potential danger that the assembly of a large mob poses for police who are faced with rioting and looting on a daily basis, the government is perfectly justified in prohibiting such assemblies, and in issuing curfews as a way of facilitating their efforts to defend against the ongoing destruction of property and mob violence.    

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 12:03amSanction this postReply



I see some of this a little differently. The government manages the streets, but they are owned by the taxpayers. It isn't the way it should be - public property doesn't work well, but it is the way it is at this time.


It is true that the government is in charge of regulating the use of the streets, but if the people aren't blocking access to businesses or traffic or threatening violence, then government has no right to interfere.


The constitution specifically recognizes the right to assemble. And it doesn't require the assembled to be polite or respectful, only non-violent and not block the access of others.


If traffic can still move, then the government has no business restricting the people since they will have violated no one's rights.  



You wrote:

Furthermore, given the potential danger that the assembly of a large mob poses for police who are faced with rioting and looting on a daily basis, the government is perfectly justified in prohibiting such assemblies, and in issuing curfews as a way of facilitating their efforts to defend against the ongoing destruction of property and mob violence.

I disagree with this. Nearly every statist government starts to control the people by denying them the right to assemble. It is true that police are in danger from the angry cop-haters and inner-city race-baiters and gang-bangers. But that isn't moral or legal justification for telling honest citizens they can't assemble or that they can't leave their home after dark.


I make a very clear distinction between peaceful assembly on one hand, and demonstrations that block the free access of others, or rioting (assembly with violence), or looting. Those are all different. Peaceful assembly should not be impeded. Police should stop people from blocking access and arrest them if they don't comply. Rioting should be answered with whatever force is needed to arrest the rioters and the conviction should bring a stiff sentence. As for looters, I think they should be shot on the spot.


The problem is the barbaric beliefs we see running rampant in much of today's inner city. It is creating an arms race between people behaving like violent savages and police that increasingly feel under siege and become more and more militarized, and more controlling.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 9:06amSanction this postReply



Thanks for weighing in on this.  You may be right about the curfews.  Looters should be shot on sight?  Hmm.


It looks like the police officer who shot Michael Brown may well have been defending himself if Brown was "bum rushing" him.  Even though the teenager was unarmed, he was much bigger than the officer and had already attacked him.  "Unarmed" does not mean non-threatening, as the media is suggesting.


If the officer is acquitted, how do you think the protestors will respond?  More of the same and probably worse.  Can he even get a fair trial given the lynch mob mentality of the people who have already tried and convicted him? 

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 10:31amSanction this postReply



I am so saddened by the the enormous gulf between what an average American used to be... someone who worked, raised a family, neither needed nor took handouts, and what we see today, not as the average American - an abstract I no longer can fill out in my mind with an example - but these angry, irrational, whiney, and unbelievably stupid people that we see on TV.


Has this portion of this generation become so totally different than what we used to see 30 or 40 years ago?  That would indicate powerful change agents working with very flexible 'character.'   It would be the result of a failure of the educational system or the family to teach critical thinking at even a marginal level, a failure to acquire positive character values, and the acquisition of hostile, collectivists beliefs.


Or is some of it just that a new generation of media and entertainment people are in place and they are sympathetic, and present for us what their progressive world view tells them is important?


I'm thinking it is both.  Actually, I guess it is that powerful principle of evolution and economics: That which 'works' gets rewarded.  If so much in the environment doesn't just tolerate bad behavior, but actually rewards it, and expects it, then it shouldn't be a surprise that we get more of it.  There was once a strong peer pressure against people who weren't productive when they could be - we called them bums.  They had some seedy part of town where they could live in a cardboard box but they weren't tolerated elsewhere.  No child ever saw themselves as growing up to be a bum.  But now it is normal in some subcultures to grow up in a family that lives on welfare, demands it as an entitlement, is hostile towards everyone outside of their dysfunctional subculture, and continues to survive in spite being irrational.  And we have a society that not only tolerates these choices, but apologizes for causing their misery, abolves them of any part in their misfortunes, and pays them more the greater the whining.



On the Brown/Ferguson Event:


Brown being shot: Conflicting reports - shot with hands up? Shot in the back while running away?  Shot while 'bum-rushing' the officer?

       Facts: to be determined.  We don't know yet.   


Demonstations:  Some peaceful.  Recently the police asked people to keep walking which appeared to help.  Looking like a company of Army Rangers in camo fatigues with all their heavy equipment isn't helpful.


Rioting: Some violent people among those whose only crime is being stupid.  They should be identified and snatched up.  There are laws on the books regarding terrorism and that is what the the initiation of violence for the purpose of changing policy or causing fear and disprupting normal life is all about.


Looting:  Like I said, the best approach would be a "shoot to kill" order issued for all people actively involved in looting.


Police Militarization: an issue all of its own.  We are shifting, rapidly, from a police who protect and serve, to this SWAT team look with armored vehicles and whose policy is about control and attack instead of protect and serve.


Government transparency: Should all police acquired information be released immediately?  I don't know.  Maybe some things should only be released during the trial.  The British won't release anything till after the trial concludes or the decision is made to not try the person and they don't allow the media to comment till then.  But that isn't in accord with America's freedom of press.  There should never be a selective release of information to suit a coverup, or to slant things for better PR.  



I guess the way I see it, the police did less than they should towards looters and rioters, more than they should towards peaceful demonstrators, didn't help with the way they are militarized, and handled the PR badly.  They were over their heads in this - and that's to be expected, they are a small town police force.  They should have called in a consultant from a big city force to advise them.  The facts still aren't in on who was at fault for the death - Brown or the cop.  


Too much of what we see in the news today is of a nation teetering on the brink of shifting from a nation of laws to a nation that ignores laws, and in their place grants angry emotions the power to justify violence, and acts as if the ends justify the means. 

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 6:35pmSanction this postReply

I know the popular libertarian thing to do is to "blame government first," but I honestly don't think that completely applies here. There are neighborhoods directly behind the main road where the protesters planted themselves. The picketing generated a whole lot of racket, keeping neighbors awake. They refused to disperse because, you know, the "no justice, no peace" thing, which is actually a pretty threatening slogan as slogans go. These protesters don't seem to care how they're affecting people who aren't interested in joining them.


 I'm having a terrible time being sympathetic given what has transpired since the shooting:


Video of Brown robbing 50.00 worth of small cigars from a convenience store, physically assaulting, then again threatening the clerk (who is clearly more than a foot shorter than Brown) who tried to stop him. This happened approximately 10 minutes before the cop tried to stop Brown from blocking traffic by walking in the middle of the road.


Autopsy showed Brown was hit 6 times in the front of his body, not the back. Four of the wounds were survivable. 


Medical report of the officer show Brown had broken an orbital bone in Wilson's face.


Up to 12 witnesses recount the events as Wilson had reported them: Wilson told Brown and companion to get out of the road. Brown refused and assaulted the officer, ran away, then turned back an came toward the officer in a threatening manner, yelling "you gonna shoot me?"  Officer shot brown who kept advancing toward him until he managed to get two head shots into the guy. Brown finally dropped mere feet from Wilson. 


The "You gonna shoot me" thing makes complete sense as to how it was misunderstood by other witnesses who claim Brown was "surrendering" and saying "don't shoot me."  That wasn't what was happening, but that's their story and they're sticking to it.  No one in their right mind would keep advancing toward a cop who had a gun on them, but Brown did. 


This whole ugly thing seems to be a trend in parts of the black community: blame the victim if the victim fights back.








And this poor bastard was just recently convicted (convicted!) of second degree murder (second degree murder!) for shooting a drunk teenage girl who was pounding on his door and windows in the middle of the night. The police originally let him go on his self defense claim, which appeared obvious to them. That is until a mob protested for days and days wanting him arrested for a raysis "murder."  He had no reason to hurt the girl. She simply terrified him because, apparently, it was her right. At most this was an accident brought on by the girl's own irresponsible actions, but any mention of that was immediately met with "blaming the victim."  See the pattern?

She spent the night drinking at home with a friend. Got upset with the friend and left the house after midnight. Mom claims she had absolutely no idea the girl was intoxicated (I couldn't even look at a beer without my mother knowing about it. This girl had three times the legal limit in her system hours after she left the house.)  She crashed her car into a pole (of course.) A neighbor tried to help by calling an ambulance and told the girl to wait. Girl wasn't havin non of that and walked away. The whole trial was about this girl "just wanting help" from the man. In the middle of the night. By pounding on his house. Instead of waiting for the ambulance a witness called. Right.  It was reported today that her parents are suing the guy in civil court for 10 million dollars for "wrongful death."  Evasion sure does pay! 




I won't bother with the whole Travon disaster, but it's the same story. Kid attacks guy. Guy fights back and kills kid.  Mob insists on charges brought against the guy for saving his own life. 


This is exactly what is waiting for Officer Wilson, and he better prepare himself. Feds are already putting a Grand Jury together to "investigate."  Federal Prosecutors are already "presenting evidence" to a Grand Jury, but it's perfectly clear to me that Brown is not the victim here. Wilson is. 

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