In a memorable scene in “E.T.,” young hero Elliot (Henry Thomas), intoxicated by his psychic link to his marooned space alien pal, loses impulse control during Middle School science class and, while E.T. watches John Wayne’s passionate kiss with Maureen O’Hara in “The Quite Man,” embraces the class heart-throb—played by barely pubescent “Baywatch” babe-to-be Erika Eleniak!
— and gives her a passionate smooch.
If Spielberg’s classic premiered today, this scene might be condemned as sexual assault by feminists, who would insist that Elliot should have been charged. Is that really fair? Rational? Sane?
At Pikesville (Maryland) Middle School, a 13-year-old boy has been charged with second-degree assault for kissing a 14-year-old girl on a dare. Police were called to the scene by the school, undoubtedly influenced by the current sexual assault freak-out on college campuses. (The proper response of an ethical and well-led police force, by the way, would be “Don’t waste our time.”) Continue reading
“[T]he DNC joins with Americans across the country in affirming ‘Black lives matter’ and the ‘say her name’ efforts to make visible the pain of our fellow and sister Americans as they condemn extrajudicial killings of unarmed African-American men, women and children.”
—-The Democratic National Committee, in a resolution passed last week endorsing #Black Lives Matter”
You think that having Donald Trump running (temporarily and momentarily) as a front-runner in the race for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination is embarrassing for Republicans? That’s nothin’! The official endorsement of the racist, violence-promoting, anti-police and anti-rule of law movement Black Lives Matter ought to disqualify the Democratic Party as a trustworthy political organization until it stops pandering and apologizes for this statement.
Black Lives Matter is a racist, anti-white, hate-fueled organization that considers any law enforcement involving black criminals presumptively racist. The movement continues to rely on false and discredited media and activist narratives (“Hands up! Don’t shoot!”), citing “victims” like Michael Brown as the justification for its existence, presuming guilt in cases where the facts are uncertain or in legitimate dispute (Eric Garner was not “choked to death,” nor was he intentionally killed; Sonny Gray’s death is still unexplained; there is no evidence that Tamir Rice’s death was related to race). The primary result of the group’s efforts so far have been to increase racial tensions, to spark deadly attacks on police officers, and to cause a catastrophic rise in urban murders as police avoid proactive methods and stops involving black suspects to avoid becoming the next Darren Wilson. Continue reading
Last September, African-American actress Daniele Watts (“Django Unchained”) engaged in lewd, if non-felonious, public conduct, then exploited the tensions arising out of Ferguson to claim victim status, police harassment and race prejudice. When the police were exonerated by the recording of her arrest and she was ordered to apologize by a judge (and asked to apologize by civil rights leaders, who were embarrassed after they rallied to her support only to find that she had played the race card without justification), she failed—twice—to deliver a sincere apology. She is defiant and intoxicated by her martyrdom, another young African American who has been convinced of her entitlement to be an anti-white racist.
To appreciate the tale, we have to go back to September 11, 2014, when the actress and her white boyfriend, a “celebrity chef,” were visibly engaged in sexual conduct in their car in broad daylight on an LA street. Neighbors complained—we have not yet reached the point where rutting in public is legal and acceptable, but give progressives time—and police responded. Naturally, as this was at the height of the Ferguson controversy, the news media immediately reported the story as more police harassment of black citizens, this time for “kissing while black.” Here’s a typical account from September 14: Continue reading
Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Rights, Romance and Relationships, U.S. Society
I try to keep my legal ethics seminars up-to-the-minute, so while preparing for yesterday’s session with the Appellate Section of the Indiana Bar, I came across a bunch of entertaining stories in which the ethics were a lot clearer than the law, or vice-versa. All of them could and perhaps should sustain separate posts; indeed, I could probably devote the blog entirely to such cases.
Here are my four favorites from the past week’s legal news, involving a mother-son lawsuit, a brazenly unethical attorney general, a college scoreboard named after a crook, and police officer’s sense of humor: Continue reading
Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Family, Finance, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Marketing and Advertising, Professions, Rights, Sports, U.S. Society
Is that too much to ask?
Sunday last, the Washington Posts’s Outlook section included an anti-American diatribe against police and whites by a California public defender named Raha Jorjani. I know there are black racists that see the world, law enforcement and government as he does, and there is nothing wrong or irresponsible in the Post allowing such screeds to see the light of day in its pages—all the better to expose them. I would feel better if the equivilent racist bile from the white side was not treated differently, but I tire of pointing out this double standard, at least right now.
But no editor should allow such a piece to include factual distortions on the scale of the opening paragraph, which begins,
Suppose a client walked into my office and told me that police officers in his country had choked a man to death over a petty crime. Suppose he said police fatally shot another man in the back as he ran away. That they arrested a woman during a traffic stop and placed her in jail, where she died three days later. That a 12-year-old boy in his country was shot and killed by the police as he played in the park.
Suppose he told me that all of those victims were from the same ethnic community — a community whose members fear being harmed, tortured or killed by police or prison guards. And that this is true in cities and towns across his nation. At that point, as an immigration lawyer, I’d tell him he had a strong claim for asylum protection under U.S. law.
What if, next, he told me he was from America? Black people in the United States face such racial violence that they could qualify as refugees.
The short and well-earned response to his last sentence is “Bullshit.” Before one can even get to his offensive and absurd (and paranoia-seeding: the lawyer must regard it as good for business) thesis, the utter dishonesty of his premises disqualify the op-ed for serious consideration, as well as raise question about the way this guy would practice law. If that is how he represents facts in court, he won’t be a lawyer long: Continue reading
On August 8, political leaders, national activists and hundreds of people including Cornel West and the relatives of Eric Garner and Oscar Grant came to Ferguson, Missouri. They chanted, sang and marched in a vigil to commemorate the death of a young black man who was shot in the act of attacking a police officer, because a false account by one of the young man’s pals created racial division, began an unraveling of trust in police nation wide, ruined the police officer’s career, prompted attacks on the grand jury system, and launched a lie, “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!,” that dominated protests in many cities for months. There are many destroyed businesses and lost lives because of the events in Ferguson last year.
Why is anyone commemorating them?
Because, in this issue, facts don’t matter. Or “Facts Don’t Matter.” This will be a regular mantra on Ethics Alarms, until they do.
Activists urged the crowd not to let Brown’s death “be in vain.” What does that mean? Mike Brown threw his life away. He was no martyr, no hero. Can an ethical and positive movement be constructed on a false narrative and a phony hero?
Nope. Continue reading
Let us stipulate that trooper Brian Encina behaved unprofessionally and atrociously by any standard in his handling of the vehicle stop of Sandra Bland in Prairie View, Texas, on July 10, setting into motion a series of events that led to Bland’s death by apparent suicide in a jail cell three days later. The police work shown by the dashcam video is unforgivable, and could be used in officer trainings on how not to handle a traffic stop.
That does not make him responsible for Bland’s death, however. He was not responsible for an incompetent bail system that had this woman in jail for three days, apparently because it was a weekend, and if she did take her own life (agreed: since her family has no reason to trust authorities at this point, nothing is likely to convince them of that no matter what the evidence, and also agreed, the suicide verdict looks mighty shaky at this point), that is, by law and logic, an intervening cause that exonerate the officer in Bland’s death. Activists will make the obvious Freddie Gray comparisons, but in this case there is no reason to believe that the officer, no matter how wrongful his conduct, either intended or contributed to her death. At worst, Encina is guilty of bad policing and using excessive force. This is not the Freddie Gray case, unless there was a dark conspiracy of frightening proportions.
Once again, however, a black citizen is dead after a confrontation with a white cop. For many pundits, civil rights advocates and black racists as well as irresponsible elected officials, that’s evidence enough that this was a racial incident. It isn’t evidence enough, however. The racial identities of the participants do not mean race was a factor, and absent some other facts that we have not learned about yet, any effort to suggest otherwise is nothing but the Zimmerman con, assuming racism unjustly to advance a political agenda. Let’s see if the Justice Department launches a civil rights investigation this time….again, assuming nothing more suspicious turns up. That would be the smoking gun evidence of this DOJ’s bias. I wouldn’t bet against it happening. Continue reading