Blog My random thoughts

January 31, 2011

Watching Death and Revolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:53 PM

I have never seen a violent death in person. I have watched my grandfather die (I think it’s easier in the passive voice). I watched my dog die. I watched the 9/11 attacks on television – I saw the second plane hit live. I remember watching on my tiny little college tv, the bombs falling on Baghdad in 2003. I definitely paid attention during the late 2004 Orange Revolution in the Ukraine. Now it is Tunisia, Yemen, and Greece protesting against the government. And in Egypt there is revolution in the air – taken from the model of Iran (who knew!) – a tweeted revolution.The paths of revolutionaries and death are rarely predictable, but the causes tend to be resoundingly similar.Desperation of hunger, safety, and a land mass too large to physically control with an army tend to be at the forefront of reasons and possibility. It seems that food, lack of employment and rising costs of living are large players in the four monetary revolutions. But these are all caused by a bastardization of economics in a monetary “policy” that I hope someday will be to our descendants as slavery is to us. A world economy (hooray! for some reason) exists today as it never has before. Thus the linked downfall of each national economy is clearly laid out. I cannot add anything new to the discussion, except to say that I am hopeful that this is a turning point. Each country that realizes its own possibility for revolution and growth is a blow to the face of every ineffective government worldwide.But this now, it is like nothing ever before. It is a sectionalized revolting class – unknown mostly, but someday to see the brief light in world-wide media coverage, only to fade. Yet not fade entirely. There is now a permanent catalog of all that exists. The internet will save humanity from repeating its mistakes or at least it will allow for the study of those mistakes, even if they are doomed to repeat. Egypt canceled the internet. Turned it off for all its citizens alike. A desperate move by a desperate government, and yet in the end, the nerds will have the day. Google turned on a voicemail to twitter system. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/posttech/2011/01/google_twitter_team_up_for_ser.html.As an effort to circumvent total government control over media, this effort stands out. The only measure to stop this play is to lock up every citizen. At some point, you have to believe the army says enough is enough. But even if it doesn’t, totalitarian regimes only seek to stave off failure, they do not try to succeed.We live in the future.  And yet death and revolution still are prevalent. I may not understand, but I will try.

January 13, 2011

What we consider Justice

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:22 PM

I know there are particularly ludicrous examples of miscarriages of justice (I mean, there are entire awesome websites devoted to idiocy in the law – http://loweringthebar.net/) but it seems as if the law and justice are no longer even marginally coupled. It’s almost as bad as a forex market. Of course this thought started as a weird hypothetical I stumbled upon (if polygamy is a strict liability crime and mistakes of law are not typically forgiven and divorces happen at an astounding rate, doesn’t that make it extremely likely that there are many people out there probably guilty of polygamy right now?). But it’s more than that. I just read this post –  http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2011/01/adult-prison-sentence-of-25-years-for-12-year-old-killer-in-indiana.html . I understand rationals regarding the need for retribution for the families of the victims and punishment to deter future crimes and the societal need to lock up dangerous people (I don’t understand the reform aspect of incarceration, but that’s another idea), but I really cannot understand the point of sending a twelve year old to prison for twenty-five years (sorry for spelling those out, old law journal editor habit). Again, it’s not simply this or pot sentencing or the Defendant sentenced to an additional six months in jail for dropping an F bomb (http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2010/12/f-word-in-court-equals-six-month-prison-term.html). No my problem is in this decoupling. Or, to put it another way, the loss of the spirit of justice in the fabric of the law.

The engineer in me is not content to simply identify a problem and leave it at that, so I want to present some ideas for fixing this decoupling. My first conclusion is that we need to get rid of some laws. The criminal justice code is simply too expansive. It is a system without a single basis, instead it is a framework of frameworks. It reminds me of a database of a database, one that is corrupted. I don’t mean corrupt in the moral sense, but in the internally inconsistent sense. This child who killed is being pulled in so many different directions – juvenile court is for rehabilitation, the prosecution is seeking to try him as an adult for retribution, and the defense will no doubt rest on the theory that he is not dangerous to society so there is no purpose to locking him up. Each one of these theories of justice can be consistent if isolated but together they really make a mockery of the idea of justice. We as a society need to pick a type of justice. It could be a different type of justice for different crimes I suppose, but hopefully we can pick one and stick with it.

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