Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rule of Law

There have been plenty of "teachable moments" with respect to the rule of law lately, just not the one's the President would choose. By now everyone who gets their news from the internet or TV has heard about Professor Gates run in Officer Crowley of the Cambridge police. While I admit that the Professor behaved like a jackass, and had no basis to assume that the Officer's conduct towards him was based on race, I am still not happy about the "disturbing the peace" arrest. First, since when is behaving like a jackass a crime in America? Second, whose peace was being disturbed? Gates was not arrested until he had been asked to step outside, because, in my opinion his conduct, when fully confined to his own home, did not constitute disturbing the peace. That is because it requires the element of other witnesses. I think the police like to use this crime as a catch all when their authority is challenged. I understand the tough job they have to do, but I still think the arrest unwarranted by the facts as presented. But did they act stupidly? Au contraire, the police actions showed remarkable restraint and understanding of the law. What bothers me is that the law is written so broadly as to given almost unlimited discretion to law enforcement to make an arrest.

But remember also that the President is the chief law enforcement officer in the land, by virtue of heading the executive branch. For him to state that the Cambridge police "acted stupidly" without possession of the facts is a gross dereliction of his duties. His statements certainly prejudice the playing field. Further, what if the police were in the wrong, legally? The President's rash statements make it harder to find an unbiased jury pool. Another sad commentary on our legal system.

On this same subject, the WSJ has a nice breakdown on the race vs class aspects of the confrontation.

On to other legal matters, Obama's place of birth and ipso facto, his eligibility to be President. The birthers are wingnuts, there I said it. The fact of the situation that convinced me are the newspaper blurbs announcing the Chosen One's birth in Honolulu. Hard to believe a conspiracy theory so devious, so penetrating, so all powerful, as to be able to reach into the past over forty years. I am not even going to argue the rest of it, because it is so absurd. Sometimes you only need one fact to make a judgement. For example, in a famous local murder here in America's finest city, the victim, a married male in his twenties was found with rose petals scattered around him. Sorry, that one fact allowed me to correctly conclude that the little wifie did it, no guy is going to commit suicide in that fashion.

Finally 'Dawg sent me an email with a link to this video below. While it appears outrageous at first. I think it is a clever piece of propaganda.

I am generally unsympathetic to Muslim causes because they often act like intolerant dictator wanna-be's. While I agree that the security guards behaved badly, I still have a question. Let's say this were a Christian gathering like Promise Keepers at a public stadium like Qualcomm. If some Muslims showed up with literature, wouldn't the Promise Keepers security team have the right to have them removed? That's because the Promise Keepers have the permit to hold their rally and it interferes with their freedom of speech to have that rally disrupted. Doesn't excuse the assaults security goons, but maybe puts a different perspective on the whole deal. I think the permit holders have the right to eject who they want, even if the individual was acting reasonably. But we also don't know what the guy said or did before the whole video shoot started, so I am not exactly sympathetic.


  1. I don't see how these kids were being disruptive.

    Legalese aside: the behavior of the booth-tenders and security guards is a product of a backwards-assed culture that wants its bigoted, sexist, homophobic and vile ways imported to our country.

  2. Although the PK's analogy is fair, is their rally open to the public with a Q&A booth? Also would they be given a pass if treating muslim in a similar manner?

  3. Dean and 'Dawg, good comments. Can't really answer, but it is clear to me that something happened before the video is rolling that we aren't aware of. Regardless, it still begs the question as to why Islamic security can act more like gang-bangers than legitimate security.

  4. I believe it was the inflamatory image on his T-shirt.