Friday Open Forum!

I’m sorry: I haven’t sorted through all of the recent Comment of the Day candidates, and there are a lot of them. I expect that today’s open forum will add to the list. In general, my recognition of outstanding commentary is too haphazard, and I will try to do better. It is helpful when commenters flag responses that they think are COTD worthy.

One note from me: I really missed not receiving any loyal progressive or Democratic defenses of the Left’s “Democracy is on the ballot” fearmongering. I did find in personal conversations that even the smartest Democrat apologists had a problem fending off even mild rebuttals. For example, I asked one hysteric how she could excuse her party pouring millions into the campaigns of the very “election deniers” they claimed were clear and present threats to the Republic. The query shorted her out like one of the rogue computers or robots Captain Kirk used to make blow up on “Star Trek” by posing an internally contradictory question that overloaded the machine’s circuits.

17 thoughts on “Friday Open Forum!

  1. Good news from Election Day. My left-siding, LGBTQ+, brother who unfriended me in the last election cycle reestablished contact. He had not only unfriended me on Facebook but all my phone calls were sent to voice mail that was never responded to. It was good to hear from him and his long-time partner. I pray, one day, to share an adult beverage with him again. He lives in Palm Springs, I live in Alabama. I believe the reason for the reconnection is simply that he is approaching 69, and I am approaching 75., thus it is time to set aside the bullshit and face our mutually shared immortality.

  2. Non-election day item. This story came across my desk this past week and I thought it might be a good ethics related question.

    Cornealious Anderson was a Missouri man convicted of armed robbery in 2000 and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Due to a clerical error, his bond was not revoked when a warrant was issued for his arrest. The reason he was not arrested was the Missouri Department of Corrections thought he was already in prison. The error was only discovered when he was scheduled to be released from prison in 2013 and later rearrested and required to serve his sentence.

    The facts: In 1995 Anderson and a compaion robbed a Burger King manager at gunpoint for roughly $2,000 while the manager was attempting to make the night deposit at a bank. He was found through witness statements and his license plate number. In March 2000 he was convicted by a jury.

    From the wiki:

    Ten months after the robbery, Anderson left Fulton Diagnostic Center on a $25,000 bond. His attorney appealed the conviction based on the inclusion of the Beretta brochure as evidence in the trial because it introduced unfair prejudice. The appeals judge, however, reaffirmed his conviction. His attorney then appealed to the Supreme Court of Missouri, which heard the case in 2002. Four of the seven justices voted to uphold the conviction. After the Supreme Court of Missouri’s ruling, his bond was to have been revoked and Anderson arrested to serve his 13-year sentence, but unknown errors in communication occurred and Missouri Department of Corrections believed he was already in prison. In 2004, Anderson filed another appeal based on inadequate legal representation at his trial. The appeal stated that Anderson was not in prison and it gave his current address at the time, but the Missouri Department of Corrections apparently did not notice this. Nothing happened with the appeal and for the next seven years Anderson went on with his life. During this time, he met his wife, LaQonna. They married in 2007. Anderson founded a company (Anderson Construction and Investment) and led a normal life. He registered his business, he voted, he renewed his driver’s licence all using his full name and address. His lawyer at the time told him that the state of Missouri would discover their mistake and that it was their job to find him. He told Today that he began to think “Maybe they just wiped the slate clean”.

    In July 25, 2013, marshals arrested Anderson at his home. An arrest warrant had been issued for Anderson after it was discovered that he was not in prison when he was scheduled to be released. Up until that time, his wife had no knowledge of his prior robbery conviction. He was held in Southeast Correctional Center in Missouri. On December 30, 2013, Anderson filed a writ of habeas corpus arguing that the 13-year delay in serving his sentence violated due process and that separating him from his family and the constructive life he had made for himself since he was convicted would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

    At the time the Missouri Attorney General argued against saying the supreme court held up more severe cases for much less serious charges.

    In March 2014, he was released from prison after credited for time served and no need for parole.

    A controversy arose in 2013 after the first article on the subject appeared with the victim of the robbery gave statements about how much the robbery had ruined his life (this part is somewhat confusing because the article makes it seems like he forgave him and is mad at him for ruining his life).

    In short: Man who was convicted of a crime largely escaped consequences and in the process turned his life around.

    Should he have fulfilled his sentence? Does it matter that he turned his life around (seems like moral luck on the state’s part)? Does it matter how the victim feels? What does this say about the Department of Corrections in MO?

    • What exactly is the purpose of prison; vengeance or rehabilitation. The answer to the question is determined by how you view the purpose of prison.

      All punishment is meant to deter future bad behavior.

      • I think the purpose is supposed to be justice. Reframing justice as vengeance ignores the harm victims of crimes have suffered. If people do not trust the justice system to mete out acceptable levels of punishment for crimes committed against them, then vengeance is what you will get in the form of vigilantism.

        Do we really want to encourage a free first crime policy? Only rape someone once, then behave afterwards and all will be well! Only murder someone once and everything will be fine! The victims just have to live (or not) with what was done to them? I don’t think that will work.

        On the other hand, there also needs to be consequences for gross government incompetence. So there is that. How do you manage to create a system so incompetent it cannot even keep track of violent criminals? Intentionally is my guess. Encouraging the government to suck is even more dangerous than encouraging people to commit crimes.

      • Vengeance or Rehabilitation?

        I say neither.

        The purpose of prison is to physically remove the convicted criminal from society in order to prevent that criminal from committing more crimes and causing harm to innocent victims. It’s as simple as that.

        Vengeance is definitely not the reason. It’s in our founding documents that “cruel and unusual punishment” is strictly forbidden. We don’t put criminals in prison to make them suffer. We put them there to prevent them from causing others to suffer.

        Rehabilitation is nice, but not strictly a requirement. So long as a criminal is physically prevented from harming others, the purpose is served. If, at some point, reasonable people can make a determination that the risk of releasing someone is substantially lower to society than the risk of continuing the sentence, then I’m of the opinion that release is okay.

        But again, it’s all about preventing the criminal from committing further crimes.

        –Dwayne

    • How would the attorney not be at risk for some sort of sanction(s)? As an “officer of the court” his excuses for lack of follow up sound a bit thin.

  3. A non-US legal…travesty?
    https://www.irishtimes.com/crime-law/courts/2022/10/26/youth-who-stabbed-home-intruder-jailed-for-three-and-a-half-years/

    A skinny Irish teenager was sentenced to 3-1/2 years for manslaughter (after being tried twice for murder) after defending himself and his mother with a knife after a large violent drunk broke into their house at night and attacked him in his bedroom. The sentence seems to hinge, in part, on the suspicion that the outmatched kid might have dared to keep a knife accessible for defense (rather than down in the kitchen and handy for an intruder, I suppose), and that the hulking attacker was “unarmed”, and his family misses him. The judge seems to think he was lenient in his ruling.

    The Irish appear to suffer from the same sort of upside down victim/perp illogic that the British and much of the American left do, especially when it involves self defense with an adequate weapon. After similar cases, the Brits have supposedly recently made a few changes and given some slight assurances that citizens won’t be at undue legal risk for defending themselves at home. Still, not everyone is buying that. Reading comments from Brits on their situation, I’ve seen a number devoted to ideas on how to “stage” a home defense without appearing to have had “intent” to harm a criminal. One fellow said he keeps a sharp spade and a pair of dirty boots by his bedroom closet, as if just left there after gardening.

    And the dems want us to be more like Europe. That could mean not even a shotgun to fire off the balcony, as president Spongebrain has suggested.

      • “Spring gun” law taken to the extreme? Better make sure your kids don’t leave out any toys on the floor that might trip up a burglar.

      • In tort law in U.S. states, property owners are responsible for injuries caused to persons by certain types of property hazards. while there are some nuances regarding developed property as opposed to undeveloped property, the injured person being an intruder is not a defense.

      • We may never know. Looks like Irish Court records are generally not available to the public:

        https://www.courts.ie/access-court-records
        “All records created in relation to court proceedings are considered ‘court records’. As these records relate to the business of the court, they are within the control of the judge concerned.
        It is important to note that under the FOI Act, records of the Courts are subject to the restriction provided for under Section 42(a)(i). Therefore, court records are not accessible under the FOI Act.
        Outside of the FOI Act, right of access to some court records is ordinarily reserved for parties concerned or their legal representatives.”

        However, from what I could look up, most British records seem to be accessible online.

  4. Armistice Day has me thinking about war ethics. How’s that for an oxymoron? Russia has been getting crap for targeting civilian infrastructure, including apartment buildings and the electrical grid. There has been talk about the Russians destroying a dam to flood an area and deprive the Ukrainians of a river crossing. What’s the deal? What did the U.S. destroy during shock and awe in Iraq? Other than regime change, why did the U.S. invade Iraq? During WWII, the Allied strategic bombing campaign, which included bombing cities, was intended in large part to “discomfit” the German populous, thereby reducing Germany’s industrial output. (Not to mention firebombing wooden Japanese cities, purported ly to destroy dispersed manufacturing facilities.) The famous British operation “busted” a dam and flooded large parts of the Ruhr flood plain.

    Are rules different if you’re an aggressor as opposed to a defender? How is Russia’s reason for invading Ukraine any different from out invading Iraq? Are rules different if we’re the aggressor? Is consistency the hobgoblin of small minds?

    Remembering Steve Gomez, our neighbor on 4th Terrace, one cut through lawn from our house on Fifth Street, a classmate of my brother at St. Michael’s for all eight grades, only child of Mr. Gomez, our neighborhood barber and husband of Mrs. Gomez, Steve’s mom, killed in action in Vietnam. Steve, we hardly knew you. I doubt you were even nineteen.

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