Friday, September 21, 2007

Coming Back to Civilization?

Coming back from a long, restful vacation is always interesting. One always wonders how fast reality displaces that peaceful feeling.

Mine came real fast. My desk at work earned a PhD while I was gone (that’s Piled Higher & Deeper), and I was assigned two more projects while I was gone to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Worse, I needed to come up with a presentation on one of those new projects by the end of the week, and still keep all the other projects running. I felt like a juggler with one arm tied behind his back trying to keep all the balls in the air. Sigh… There went the stress relief…

But the time away allowed Mrs. Common Sense and I some much needed time alone, and the unforgettable memories that make up any marriage. We had not been on an extended vacation away from home for 10 years. We were due, big time.

However, the world goes on, and one again wonders what is coming around the bend next.

For instance, OJ Simpson is back in trouble with the law. I have no idea how his latest run-in is going to shake out, and in some respects, I don’t care. I believe that this person got away with two murders, aided and abetted by the inept prosecution & law enforcement that is in Los Angeles, and the judge & jury that had no idea what they were doing. In some respects, that case shows how woefully inadequate our justice system is in dealing with celebrities and other high-profile cases – it becomes a popularity contest instead of justice & closure for the victims (or their families).

And this idiocy isn’t limited to celebrities either. The protests in Jena, Louisiana over the initial charging of 6 black youths with attempted murder over the beating of a white youth is incredible. While the initial charge was over the top, if the colors of the victim and defendants were reversed, the protesters would be screaming “hate crime” and nothing short of life imprisonment. From

The six black teens were charged a few months after three white teens were accused of hanging nooses in a tree at their high school. The white teens were suspended from school but weren’t prosecuted. Five of the black teens were initially charged with attempted murder. That charge was reduced to battery for all but one, who has yet to be arraigned; the sixth was charged as a juvenile.

The beating victim, Justin Barker, was knocked unconscious, his face badly swollen and bloodied, though he was able to attend a school function later that night.

The only crime here was the assault of the victim by the 6 defendants. While the act of hanging the nooses from the tree is disgusting, the act didn’t break any laws. But that’s not going to dissuade the race-baiters and activists from a good protest.

Where I have problems with Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and their ilk (yes, ilk) is that they are not as color-blind nor as for equal treatment for all persons under the law as they would have you believe. No, they want their race to have special treatment. Multiple cases and incidents for both of these “gentlemen” speak for themselves if you care to do the research. The history there is that they stir things up, not resolve the problems or injustices.

Here’s my case in point: If they were as color-blind as they say they are, they would be pushing for hate-crime charges on the 6 black defendants. After all, didn’t the 6 black defendants beat up a white victim? And if past cases are to be used as examples, it shouldn’t matter what provocation took place – a physical assault took place.

And that’s the fallacy of “hate-crime” legislation. As far as I’m concerned, all crime is hateful in one respect or another. Hate crime legislation is not for the protection of the minority from the majority, but to provide additional penalties for crimes based entirely on hate. Which is another problem – how do you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt what a person is thinking or what really motivated him to commit a crime? Justice should be blind, and race (or any of the other hate-crime labels) should not enter into the mix. Entering criminal charges based on crimes with differing race, beliefs, or other criteria as factors can be just as discriminatory as the actions the accused is charged with.

While the above may crank off some of the readers of this post (and I can just hear this one coming) and think that I’m a racist, please stop and be intellectually honest with yourself. Do you really think that one race is superior than another? Do you hate a person’s race or skin color? I don’t on either count.

In many respects, this incident is something that has been blown completely out of proportion by activists. I’m not saying that nothing happened of a racist nature (there was), but calling attention to this event in this manner does nothing but present an “us versus them” attitude which numbs the message that they supposedly want to get across – equal justice. No, they want the defendants freed and not prosecuted for the assault. There is the injustice – do the crime, do the time, not freedom for the criminal.

And they wonder why people, in general, ignore these protests, and distrust the justice system.

Let’s not even start on Congress’s lowest approval rating ever, HRC’s health care plan or promised tax hikes, or Dan Rather suing CBS… 

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