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The Gator

If America is so great, why do we have so many bad people?

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5 minutes ago, whoknew said:

You wrote - "Speeding and jaywalking aren't even close to vandalizing a law enforcement vehicle.  Unbelievable "

 

I agreed with you. Speeding and jaywalking usually get tickets (fines) of $25 to $250 or something. I don't think anyone is arguing that is the penalty that these folks should get.

I mean - you understand that there are different penalties for different severities of crimes, right?

I feel like I am going nuts here. Am I missing something?

Yep, its something you will never understand. 

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16 minutes ago, Boston said:

It is a very interesting case...one thing I don't like about what they did is it is is pre-meditated...that carries a lot of weight for me because it's not getting caught up in the moment and doing something foolish...you have to plan your crime which means you have plenty of time to think this thru...you know what you are doing has consequences...also, this was a violent crime and while no one got hurt anytime something like a molotov cocktail is involved that is a very distinct possibility (i.e. I don't really cut them much slack for no one getting hurt)..

I agree with all of this.  The fact that these people are both lawyers and know perfectly well what they're doing and what the consequences could be is also an aggravating factor IMO.  Lifetime disbarment seems like an obvious professional sanction above and beyond whatever criminal charges are present.  Just that a long prison sentence doesn't serve society's interest.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, whoknew said:

You wrote - "Speeding and jaywalking aren't even close to vandalizing a law enforcement vehicle.  Unbelievable "

 

I agreed with you. Speeding and jaywalking usually get tickets (fines) of $25 to $250 or something. I don't think anyone is arguing that is the penalty that these folks should get.

I mean - you understand that there are different penalties for different severities of crimes, right?

I feel like I am going nuts here. Am I missing something?

Just chiming in to let you know I was literally LOL-ing by this point of the back and forth.

Sometimes I think people need legitimate visual aids to understand something instead of "riGhT" and "wRoNG".

C'mon Blutarsky, "Picture a scale laid in front of you with punishments stretching from one end point to the other, a literal slap on the wrist on one end and being beheaded slowly on the other...you have a line where you can stop it on this scale" :grad:

Edited by Hugh Jass
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1 hour ago, IvanKaramazov said:

Here's what figures to be a more controversial example of what I'm talking about.  The gist of is is that these two nimrods threw a molotov cocktail into an empty, abandoned police car that had already been vandalized.  I don't think anyone disagrees that this is something that deserves punishment.  But they're looking at a minimum of 45 years in prison, which is for all intensive purposes a life-ending offense for a property crime that put nobody in danger.  That's insane.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/lawyers-arrested-molotov-cocktail-nyc-protest.html

Edit: Typo.  I originally said that their mandatory minimum was 35 years.  It's actually 45 years.

 

 

This is a very interesting framing of what exactly they are charged with and what actually happened. 

They threw one and got chased down and caught. She had another one ready to go and they had the stuff to make many more. 

Framing this as just burning an already messed up police car is odd. They also iirc are actually out on bail and havent been convicted yet. 

So that is REALLY odd in the discussion of too many people in prison for too long. 

I mean if we are going to frame things this way shouldnt Cesar Sayoc be already released? I mean all he did after all was send people non working models of pipe bombs....

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19 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

This is a very interesting framing of what exactly they are charged with and what actually happened. 

They threw one and got chased down and caught. She had another one ready to go and they had the stuff to make many more. 

Framing this as just burning an already messed up police car is odd. They also iirc are actually out on bail and havent been convicted yet. 

So that is REALLY odd in the discussion of too many people in prison for too long. 

I mean if we are going to frame things this way shouldnt Cesar Sayoc be already released? I mean all he did after all was send people non working models of pipe bombs....

For what?

Good points with the rest.    "45 Years" will always make me stop to try to understand what they did.  That's basically life.  Interesting discussion though, and admittedly an extreme example what the point is trying to get across.  

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1 hour ago, KarmaPolice said:

For what?

Good points with the rest.    "45 Years" will always make me stop to try to understand what they did.  That's basically life.  Interesting discussion though, and admittedly an extreme example what the point is trying to get across.  

It's 45 years total for seven different felonies:

arson

conspiracy

use of destructive device

civil disorder

making or possessing a destructive device

use of explosives during a crime of violence

What the news article won't tell you that you are reading is that the very last charge carries a 30 year minimum, the bulk of the 45 being reported that will very likely be plea bargained out of.  When arguing America is too tough on crime you should argue actual sentences given, like this, which seems to be about right to me.

Also, its weird to argue that America has too many criminals and America is too tough on crime simultaneously.  

 

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40 minutes ago, WinnST00 said:

It's 45 years total for seven different felonies:

arson

conspiracy

use of destructive device

civil disorder

making or possessing a destructive device

use of explosives during a crime of violence

What the news article won't tell you that you are reading is that the very last charge carries a 30 year minimum, the bulk of the 45 being reported that will very likely be plea bargained out of.  When arguing America is too tough on crime you should argue actual sentences given, like this, which seems to be about right to me.

Also, its weird to argue that America has too many criminals and America is too tough on crime simultaneously.  

 

This brings up another issue - overcharging by prosecutors. Its done to force plea bargains and its a real problem.

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4 hours ago, John Blutarsky said:

Yep, they deserve whatever they get. Its common sense. Don't do this crap. Why do you justify it?

No one has justified it.  More to the point, it is patently absurd to suggest "they deserve whatever they get".  Would you be fine with allowing a computer to choose a random number between 1 and 1000 months of prison time?  Part of the idea behind our justice system is that punishments are supposed to fit the crime, rather than just hand out punishments willy-nilly.  "Deserve whatever they get" is self-evidently a backwards way of punishing.

I assume what you meant to write was, "yes, they deserve 45 years for this particular crime".

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7 minutes ago, Rich Conway said:

No one has justified it.  More to the point, it is patently absurd to suggest "they deserve whatever they get".  Would you be fine with allowing a computer to choose a random number between 1 and 1000 months of prison time?  Part of the idea behind our justice system is that punishments are supposed to fit the crime, rather than just hand out punishments willy-nilly.  "Deserve whatever they get" is self-evidently a backwards way of punishing.

I assume what you meant to write was, "yes, they deserve 45 years for this particular crime".

Keep reading.

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57 minutes ago, WinnST00 said:

It's 45 years total for seven different felonies:

arson

conspiracy

use of destructive device

civil disorder

making or possessing a destructive device

use of explosives during a crime of violence

What the news article won't tell you that you are reading is that the very last charge carries a 30 year minimum, the bulk of the 45 being reported that will very likely be plea bargained out of.  When arguing America is too tough on crime you should argue actual sentences given, like this, which seems to be about right to me.

Also, its weird to argue that America has too many criminals and America is too tough on crime simultaneously.  

 

Lol.  I read that as though they were out on bail for something else when they did this.  

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Let's put it this way.  You wouldn't write "they deserve whatever they get" if the sentence was a $400 fine.  There's some range of punishment that you (or anyone) thinks would be appropriate for this particular crime.  What punishment do you think is appropriate?  And yeah, asking someone what punishment is appropriate for a crime is not the same as "justifying the crime".

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48 minutes ago, Rich Conway said:

Let's put it this way.  You wouldn't write "they deserve whatever they get" if the sentence was a $400 fine.  There's some range of punishment that you (or anyone) thinks would be appropriate for this particular crime.  What punishment do you think is appropriate?  And yeah, asking someone what punishment is appropriate for a crime is not the same as "justifying the crime".

You get what you deserve arguing with this guy.

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2 hours ago, WinnST00 said:

It's 45 years total for seven different felonies:

arson

conspiracy

use of destructive device

civil disorder

making or possessing a destructive device

use of explosives during a crime of violence

What the news article won't tell you that you are reading is that the very last charge carries a 30 year minimum, the bulk of the 45 being reported that will very likely be plea bargained out of.  When arguing America is too tough on crime you should argue actual sentences given, like this, which seems to be about right to me.

Also, its weird to argue that America has too many criminals and America is too tough on crime simultaneously.  

 

I get what you are saying in the bolded, but I don't think the current argument is that black and white.  Talking about the # of people in prison.  So 1. do they need to be there? (hence the talk about legalizing drugs).  2.  If some of the sentences are are too long or if mandatory minimum sentences are that would along contribute to a bloated prison population.  

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1 hour ago, Rich Conway said:

Let's put it this way.  You wouldn't write "they deserve whatever they get" if the sentence was a $400 fine.  There's some range of punishment that you (or anyone) thinks would be appropriate for this particular crime.  What punishment do you think is appropriate?  And yeah, asking someone what punishment is appropriate for a crime is not the same as "justifying the crime".

are you seriously expecting context & proportionality here?!

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Why shouldn't attempted arson, destruction of property, and knowing endangerment of life and limb carry a heavy sentence?

People suggesting that they should get less in punishment tacitly are admitting that these crimes aren't as serious as others. Let's not beat around that bush. I think if you scratch hard enough, you'll find a guy that supported the protests and thinks that they just got a little carried away.

I damn well know not to throw a Molotov into a crowd of people, near a crowd of people, or even on the periphery of a crowd of people. That it is premeditated is worse. They should be punished to the full extent the law provides, though they won't be because they're white collar criminals.

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Did you all catch this whopper of a line from the article linked about the incident in Portland?

Police identified Feller as among a group of about 20 anarchists who descended on downtown as peaceful May Day protesters spoke about a variety of social issues. Officers arrested 25 people that day for vandalizing property, setting fires, throwing rocks and other violence.

Ah, yes, the peaceful May Day protests if not for all those anarchists showing up and throwing flares at people and property.

Sounds peaceful to me.

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7 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Why shouldn't attempted arson, destruction of property, and knowing endangerment of life and limb carry a heavy sentence?

People suggesting that they should get less in punishment tacitly are admitting that these crimes aren't as serious as others. Let's not beat around that bush. I think if you scratch hard enough, you'll find a guy that supported the protests and thinks that they just got a little carried away.

I damn well know not to throw a Molotov into a crowd of people, near a crowd of people, or even on the periphery of a crowd of people. That it is premeditated is worse. They should be punished to the full extent the law provides, though they won't be because they're white collar criminals.

 

What's a heavy sentence?

 

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Just now, whoknew said:

What's a heavy sentence?

I'll leave that wisdom to what has been determined by either state statute or common law.

It's arson, plain and simple. Should be 25 years in most places.  That's a guess. Don't hold me to it. I forget what NY law says, and that's the Bar I passed.

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Just now, rockaction said:

I'll leave that wisdom to what has been determined by either state statute or common law.

It's arson, plain and simple. Should be 25 years in most places.  That's a guess. Don't hold me to it. I forget what NY law says, and that's the Bar I passed.

That's a weird standard. Our whole discussion was that states are handing down too severe punishments. And your argument seems to be - states are wise and what they determine is fair is fair.

I mean - I guess that's an argument. It just kind of makes our discussion moot.

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To expand - I think they should get a heavy sentence also. Probably in the 5 year range.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, whoknew said:

That's a weird standard. Our whole discussion was that states are handing down too severe punishments. And your argument seems to be - states are wise and what they determine is fair is fair.

I mean - I guess that's an argument. It just kind of makes our discussion moot.

What states determine all the time with respect to criminal law is not necessarily fair, but I'd defer to the states when it comes to the charges of detonating explosive materials in pubic and arson. The latter is a pretty old doctrine of law that has always carried severe penalites. That's why I threw common law in there, too. Arson with the intent to injure or the reckless endangerment thereof. 

Edited by rockaction

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, whoknew said:

To expand - I think they should get a heavy sentence also. Probably in the 5 year range.

Yeah, I sort of got what you were getting at. There are a lot of things at play here, not the least of which is that the result of the crime and the intent of the crime are a bit muddled for some. I see clearer lines of accountability. 

We could discuss "attempt" or "intent" crimes all day vis a vis state statute, the Model Penal Code, etc. I think that this is one of those cases where my own stance on the objectives of criminal law comes into play. This seems to fall under a heavy hand of specific and general deterrence, if one is looking for the what the sentence provides to society. 

And I'm for legalizing drugs and other offenses now codified, so it's not like I'm some Billy Ballbuster law-and-order swashbuckler here to save the Western store fronts in town. It's more that this particular offense has a long history of being dealt with, and presumably effectively up until this point.

That someone would be so callous and indifferent to life as to hurl a Molotov cocktail anywhere near people should be considered in the sentence, and apparently has been at statute.

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11 hours ago, rockaction said:

Why shouldn't attempted arson, destruction of property, and knowing endangerment of life and limb carry a heavy sentence?

People suggesting that they should get less in punishment tacitly are admitting that these crimes aren't as serious as others. Let's not beat around that bush. I think if you scratch hard enough, you'll find a guy that supported the protests and thinks that they just got a little carried away.

I damn well know not to throw a Molotov into a crowd of people, near a crowd of people, or even on the periphery of a crowd of people. That it is premeditated is worse. They should be punished to the full extent the law provides, though they won't be because they're white collar criminals.

Well, I was the one who brought this example up, and I promise that I don't support this particular type of protest.  I'm all for the peaceful "let's hold the cops accountable" protests, but very much against the "let's burn it all down" cosplayers who decided to tag along, a group which includes the people we're discussing.  

As far as I can tell, the stars of this episode didn't endanger anybody's life and limb.  What we're talking about might technically qualify as arson, but it's not what folks typically have in mind -- no insurance fraud is involved, for example.  It's more like just plain old destruction of state property, specifically a police vehicle that was probably already depreciated into the low-five digits.  That's not nothing, it's a crime for a good reason, and it deserves punishment.  My only point is that there is a big difference between "this deserves punishment" and "this deserves life-ending punishment."  If you think a 45 year sentence is appropriate here, you're essentially arguing that torching a single, unoccupied, already-vandalized vehicle merits something in the same universe as a life sentence.  I'm not convinced that any property crime would justify that strong a sentence.  Maybe somebody who blows up an empty court-house like the Weathermen, but just a car?   

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On 8/6/2020 at 2:47 PM, whoknew said:

This brings up another issue - overcharging by prosecutors. Its done to force plea bargains and its a real problem.

Totally agree with this. This was obviously one crime here. It’s stupid to charge them with 7 different things that are all really essential components of the same thing.

It makes total sense for someone to be charged with 3 different crimes if they kidnap, rape and murder someone, but this is just overcharging you force a plea.

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1 hour ago, IvanKaramazov said:

Well, I was the one who brought this example up, and I promise that I don't support this particular type of protest.  I'm all for the peaceful "let's hold the cops accountable" protests, but very much against the "let's burn it all down" cosplayers who decided to tag along, a group which includes the people we're discussing.  

As far as I can tell, the stars of this episode didn't endanger anybody's life and limb.  What we're talking about might technically qualify as arson, but it's not what folks typically have in mind -- no insurance fraud is involved, for example.  It's more like just plain old destruction of state property, specifically a police vehicle that was probably already depreciated into the low-five digits.  That's not nothing, it's a crime for a good reason, and it deserves punishment.  My only point is that there is a big difference between "this deserves punishment" and "this deserves life-ending punishment."  If you think a 45 year sentence is appropriate here, you're essentially arguing that torching a single, unoccupied, already-vandalized vehicle merits something in the same universe as a life sentence.  I'm not convinced that any property crime would justify that strong a sentence.  Maybe somebody who blows up an empty court-house like the Weathermen, but just a car?   

You are completely ignoring that they were chased down and were ready to go with more of these things. 

They only destroyed a jalopy is really altering the circumstances here. 

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On 8/6/2020 at 10:33 AM, Boston said:

It is a very interesting case...one thing I don't like about what they did is it is is pre-meditated...that carries a lot of weight for me because it's not getting caught up in the moment and doing something foolish...you have to plan your crime which means you have plenty of time to think this thru...you know what you are doing has consequences...also, this was a violent crime and while no one got hurt anytime something like a molotov cocktail is involved that is a very distinct possibility (i.e. I don't really cut them much slack for no one getting hurt)...so while I have zero sympathy for these losers I do think 45 years is pretty harsh...this won't go over well with many here but I'd like to see some hard labor used instead of years...what hard labor means is open for debate but how about people like this go into poor neighborhoods, clean them up, paint houses, do landscaping and stuff like that...put in an honest day's work in exchange for lesser time...it would help society and hopefully helps rehabilitate people like this.

Great Post!  This is where I stand.

I think it's a win-win: We have a TON of law breakers we should put to good work to clean up and/or improve our communities thru an honest days work.  Heck, I'd even support paying them even though they broke the law.  Give them ONE YEAR of working for the city/county/state to improve things.

Just spitballin' here.  I'm sure there would have to be some deeper thoughts on how to implement something like this.

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On 8/2/2020 at 11:10 AM, Boston said:

Everything starts with good parenting...no guarantees but if you take responsibility for raising your own kid correctly you have a far better chance of not adding a bad person to the world.

This can't be said and shouted enough.  I believe this is the #1 reason as to why we have the problems we have now.

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4 minutes ago, BladeRunner said:

See, just when I think I'm on board with what @Boston and @IvanKaramazov said, @rockaction and @parasaurolophus enter into the ring and totally make me reconsider my position.

Aggggghhhhh!

Just read about the guy in prison for life in louisiana that stole hedge clippers*. That will work you back around. 

 

*put away for life for his body of work, but there are guys out in the street in new york that have a body of work ten fold. 

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On 8/1/2020 at 2:23 PM, The Gator said:

I think the thing that sticks in my mind - if "we" are so great, why do we have so many "bad" actors.

Its a dichotomy that I can't wrap my head around.

If we are Great - then we should have a lower proportion of bad actors - in this case defined by people who have broken the law and are incarcerated.  The fact that people are making bad choices tells me, that life is not great for them.  

And, if people are committing crimes - its not great for the rest of us either.

I don't think the solution to crimes is to simply lock up the criminals.  We have been doing that for decades and we are not stopping crime.  Its time to reimagine how to tackle crime - by really studying the root causes, and doing what we can, as a society, to alleviate those problems.  In the end, if we can do that, it makes all of our society "greater."  We can't keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result.

 

in my opinion this conversation has to start with the failure of the war on drugs - thousands and thousands of people locked up or killed, billions and billions of taxpayer dollars spent, and for what? Drugs are easier to get and used more widely these days than they ever have been. Meanwhile our continually escalating approach to policing and incarceration has created continually more ruthless and heavily armed and equipped criminal elements, turned inner cities into gang warzones, and forged some of the most malevolent trafficking organizations in history (and for a bonus, the cartels have completely destabilized and broken the Mexican government and given us an incredibly volatile security threat on our southern border).

there needs to be a complete overhaul of our national drug policy to move towards a more pragmatic and less draconian/Puritan strategy on this stuff. Human beings enjoy using drugs and alcohol - that's just a fact of our history on this planet, and prohibition-based approaches aren't successful in addressing that fact. And the incredible amount of money to be made selling the stuff just leads to more and more desperate, vicious people willing to take the risk, regardless of how rough things get.

I'd be in favor of complete legalization of weed and limited legalization of everything else (basically decriminalization of possession of personal use amounts). Legalized, regulated and taxed marijuana would be a financial windfall for the country, and I don't think the risks (DUI, increased teen use) come anywhere close to outweighing the benefits. I don't think we want to fully legalize hard drugs, although I'm probably a lot more willing to accept arguments for why that might work than most everyone I know, but it's time to stop wasting police resources, locking citizens up, and/or making them pay thousands of dollars in legal fees and live with a permanent criminal record for minor stuff like having a couple of pills or a baggie of cocaine on them. Just take their stuff and flush it down a toilet, give them a misdemeanor citation, and make them attend rehab or counseling. I'd also like to see drastically reduced penalties for nonviolent dealers and suppliers (assuming they're not selling to kids) - save the big prison sentences for violent offenders and try to deincentivize turf wars and gangland killings by going after those guys much, much harder than the ones who are staying peaceful.

our prison system and law enforcement is big business these days, so I'm confident very few current politicians have the balls to propose anything like this, much less actually make anything happen. But in my opinion this one change would be the most effective step we could take to create positive overall changes and alleviate a bunch of problems we're looking at right now with our country in terms of law enforcement reforms, inner city violence, an overburdened judicial system and excessive incarceration rates.

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4 minutes ago, Possum said:

 

in my opinion this conversation has to start with the failure of the war on drugs - thousands and thousands of people locked up or killed, billions and billions of taxpayer dollars spent, and for what? Drugs are easier to get and used more widely these days than they ever have been. Meanwhile our continually escalating approach to policing and incarceration has created continually more ruthless and heavily armed and equipped criminal elements, turned inner cities into gang warzones, and forged some of the most malevolent trafficking organizations in history (and for a bonus, the cartels have completely destabilized and broken the Mexican government and given us an incredibly volatile security threat on our southern border).

there needs to be a complete overhaul of our national drug policy to move towards a more pragmatic and less draconian/Puritan strategy on this stuff. Human beings enjoy using drugs and alcohol - that's just a fact of our history on this planet, and prohibition-based approaches aren't successful in addressing that fact. And the incredible amount of money to be made selling the stuff just leads to more and more desperate, vicious people willing to take the risk, regardless of how rough things get.

I'd be in favor of complete legalization of weed and limited legalization of everything else (basically decriminalization of possession of personal use amounts). Legalized, regulated and taxed marijuana would be a financial windfall for the country, and I don't think the risks (DUI, increased teen use) come anywhere close to outweighing the benefits. I don't think we want to fully legalize hard drugs, although I'm probably a lot more willing to accept arguments for why that might work than most everyone I know, but it's time to stop wasting police resources, locking citizens up, and/or making them pay thousands of dollars in legal fees and live with a permanent criminal record for minor stuff like having a couple of pills or a baggie of cocaine on them. Just take their stuff and flush it down a toilet, give them a misdemeanor citation, and make them attend rehab or counseling. I'd also like to see drastically reduced penalties for nonviolent dealers and suppliers (assuming they're not selling to kids) - save the big prison sentences for violent offenders and try to deincentivize turf wars and gangland killings by going after those guys much, much harder than the ones who are staying peaceful.

our prison system and law enforcement is big business these days, so I'm confident very few current politicians have the balls to propose anything like this, much less actually make anything happen. But in my opinion this one change would be the most effective step we could take to create positive overall changes and alleviate a bunch of problems we're looking at right now with our country in terms of law enforcement reforms, inner city violence, an overburdened judicial system and excessive incarceration rates.

Great post and I appreciate your response.

Just want to point out that earlier in the thread it was shown that drug crimes make up a relatively small percent of the prison population.  Does that change or alter your thoughts?

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On 8/6/2020 at 10:26 AM, John Blutarsky said:

Yep, they deserve whatever they get. Its common sense. Don't do this crap. Why do you justify it?

I 100% agree with you that these dudes are losers and need some type of punishment, but I think going to prison for a couple of years is plenty tough enough as both a penalty and a deterrent to further stupidity of this type. Putting a citizen away for 30-40+ years for property vandalism is unnecessarily excessive, to me. That's the kind of thing that shouldn't happen in a reasonably enlightened and humane nation, imo.

for instances where an actual human being got hurt because of a punk act like this, I'd support a lot tougher penalty. Just don't think that's the best course of action here though.

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6 minutes ago, Possum said:

I 100% agree with you that these dudes are losers and need some type of punishment, but I think going to prison for a couple of years is plenty tough enough as both a penalty and a deterrent to further stupidity of this type. Putting a citizen away for 30-40+ years for property vandalism is unnecessarily excessive, to me. That's the kind of thing that shouldn't happen in a reasonably enlightened and humane nation, imo.

for instances where an actual human being got hurt because of a punk act like this, I'd support a lot tougher penalty. Just don't think that's the best course of action here though.

I think here is the real fear:  In this incident, they were caught with MORE Molotov Cocktails which clearly showed that they weren't done.  Someone MAY have died had they not got caught.

Does that factor into the sentence?  Would "a couple years" go even longer than that for you?

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3 hours ago, IvanKaramazov said:

Well, I was the one who brought this example up, and I promise that I don't support this particular type of protest.  I'm all for the peaceful "let's hold the cops accountable" protests, but very much against the "let's burn it all down" cosplayers who decided to tag along, a group which includes the people we're discussing.  

As far as I can tell, the stars of this episode didn't endanger anybody's life and limb.  What we're talking about might technically qualify as arson, but it's not what folks typically have in mind -- no insurance fraud is involved, for example.  It's more like just plain old destruction of state property, specifically a police vehicle that was probably already depreciated into the low-five digits.  That's not nothing, it's a crime for a good reason, and it deserves punishment.  My only point is that there is a big difference between "this deserves punishment" and "this deserves life-ending punishment."  If you think a 45 year sentence is appropriate here, you're essentially arguing that torching a single, unoccupied, already-vandalized vehicle merits something in the same universe as a life sentence.  I'm not convinced that any property crime would justify that strong a sentence.  Maybe somebody who blows up an empty court-house like the Weathermen, but just a car?   

I thought they were throwing them around crowds. If they planted one in an abandoned car, then my feelings certainly change. Perhaps I waded in not knowing the facts of the case and should have shut my mouth instead of spouting off. I'll take my twenty lashes and be done with it if those are the facts. 

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6 minutes ago, BladeRunner said:

Great post and I appreciate your response.

Just want to point out that earlier in the thread it was shown that drug crimes make up a relatively small percent of the prison population.  Does that change or alter your thoughts?

Thanks man - I think the number quoted in this thread was 16% of all prisoners, right? No, that doesn't change my opinion for a few reasons:

  • I think we spend far too much money on the drug war right now - in 2015 the feds spent $9.2M per day incarcerating drug offenders, and states spent an additional $7B overall, and that's just incarceration without accounting for police budgets - and I can't see where we're getting anything close to a positive overall return on that investment
  • regardless of the percentage of drug offenders as a whole, far more citizens are being locked up for drug-related crimes today compared to the last 40 years: in 1980, there were around 41k drug sentences total, and in 2014, almost 490k people went to prison. Yet for all the thousands more folks going to jail, nothing's changed in terms of drug availability or rates of use - the only thing we're doing is packing the prisons and breaking up families.
  • Six times as many people get arrested for possession as get arrested for dealing - 1.3M citizens were arrested for possession in 2015, a rate of one every 25 seconds. Like I said in my previous post, I think it's an absolute waste of time and resources to arrest and criminalize folks for personal use drug possession - I know several people who have gone through that process and it's an absolute nightmare that costs them enormous amounts of money, jeopardizes their transportation and employment (further destabilizing their lives), and lands them in an incredibly bureaucratic, glacial and uncaring judicial system with a permanent record and stigma for life. And for all that, it's been shown that this strategy does very little to change behaviors and deter future use.
  • There's no question that the increasingly harsh sentencing and escalation of police action has created an enormous amount of violence in the drug trade that affects all levels of society. Drug dealers and suppliers aren't going away - too much cash to be made - and I personally don't care what consenting adults put in their bodies, so I'd like to see us accept that it's an unavoidable part of life and start scaling our aggressiveness back. I'd try to disincentivize violence through drastically reduced focus and sentencing on nonviolent offenders, and then I'd go hard in the paint on the ones who compound their drug offenses with other violent acts. I realize this is probably one part of my thinking that will be a real tough sell for a lot of people, though.

I could go on, but bottom line for me is that over the last 40 years we've ramped up police presence, drug arrests and prosecution on a massive scale, but nothing has changed except that the streets have gotten way more violent (leading to increasingly militaristic police forces in a never-ending cycle), the taxpayer bill is through the roof, and thousands of Americans who didn't hurt anybody but themselves end up in the system, in prison, or sometimes dead for what seems to me to be very little good reason. I - like probably most of you other guys on the board - have tried my share of drugs over the years, and my experience has been that while there are definitely potential bad consequences for excessive drug use, for most people it's a victimless crime (when enjoyed in moderation) that has been demonized to a much greater degree than reality would indicate. I think our current strategy for handling drugs is ineffective and I think there are a whole lot more Americans who realize that and would support some form of change than most people realize.

then again brother, I'm just a dork with an opinion on a message board - it's entirely possible that I'm way off on my conclusions, and I'm always up for hearing alternative solutions or viewpoints.

The articles I used for my stats are here (that second link really has some wild numbers, check it out if you have time):

https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2016/jul/10/cory-booker/how-war-drugs-affected-incarceration-rates/

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/criminal-justice/reports/2018/06/27/452819/ending-war-drugs-numbers/

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Possum said:

could go on, but bottom line for me is that over the last 40 years we've ramped up police presence, drug arrests and prosecution on a massive scale, but nothing has changed except that the streets have gotten way more violent

I dint think this is true. 

https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/ucr/publications#Crime-in the U.S.

Edited by parasaurolophus
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53 minutes ago, BladeRunner said:

I think here is the real fear:  In this incident, they were caught with MORE Molotov Cocktails which clearly showed that they weren't done.  Someone MAY have died had they not got caught.

Does that factor into the sentence?  Would "a couple years" go even longer than that for you?

good point, I appreciate the info - I wasn't aware they had other bottles with them. I might support some additional penalties for that, yeah - i still don't think I'd say throw the book at them for something that didn't actually happen, though. I mean when it comes down to it, even though they had the additional cocktails, no one ended up getting hurt (and honestly these morons probably put themselves in the most danger carrying those things around, they're lucky not to have blown themselves up).

I'm just talking out of my ### here and making this up on the spot, but I think I'd be good with giving them a couple years probation following the jail term where if they're involved in anything else like that, they run the risk of much more serious punishment in future.

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2 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

yeah, good catch man, I worded that really badly - I should've just said the drug trade has gotten more violent since the start of the WOD. I was indulging my inner Too Short voice there (e.g. "y'all don't know nothing 'bout these streets, man"). Probably not a great choice in any serious discussion, but that's why I don't make the big bucks :lol:

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Posted (edited)

Poorly educated narcissists with a delusional sense of entitlement.

Edited by Apple Jack
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21 minutes ago, Apple Jack said:

Poorly educated narcissists with a delusional sense of entitlement.

What is this in reference to?

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30 minutes ago, Apple Jack said:

Poorly educated narcissists with a delusional sense of entitlement.

Who?

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7 hours ago, BladeRunner said:

This can't be said and shouted enough.  I believe this is the #1 reason as to why we have the problems we have now.

And our incarceration rates contribute to this issue and what I believe you said was the #1 problem- single parent households. 

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7 hours ago, BladeRunner said:

Great post and I appreciate your response.

Just want to point out that earlier in the thread it was shown that drug crimes make up a relatively small percent of the prison population.  Does that change or alter your thoughts?

I still haven't found the answer to my question, but like he said the chart I saw had about 15% or so.  My follow up question is how are they coding that for data?- ie somebody does a B&E to get some drugs, somebody gets shot over a deal, etc? Are they on the chart under a drug crime, or something else?   My point is, I would guess that the crimes related to drugs are higher than that 15 or 16%. 

We would probably get some info by looking a crime/incarceration % in states like Colorado pre and post legalization.  

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3 hours ago, KarmaPolice said:

I still haven't found the answer to my question, but like he said the chart I saw had about 15% or so.  My follow up question is how are they coding that for data?- ie somebody does a B&E to get some drugs, somebody gets shot over a deal, etc? Are they on the chart under a drug crime, or something else?   My point is, I would guess that the crimes related to drugs are higher than that 15 or 16%. 

We would probably get some info by looking a crime/incarceration % in states like Colorado pre and post legalization.  

yeah good point, I'm curious how the numbers on the different crimes are collated too. That second link I posted from the Center for American Progress says that in 2018 20% of the prison population - 456,000 individuals - were locked up specifically for drug stuff, and over a million more were on parole or probation for the same reason. It doesn't give any explanation on the statistics though.

looking at the footnotes of the CAP article, they used this report for those stats: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2020.html. It clarified that the 20% only includes nonviolent drug offenses, so I'm guessing violent drug-related crimes like the ones you mentioned are probably counted just as robbery or homicide. There's also some interesting info there about stuff like rates of incarceration in prison vs local jails, how much higher jails are for nonviolent drug arrests, and how the vast majority of those inmates come from lower class families that get hit disproportionately harder by the costs of bail, fines, court fees, etc.

man, I was blown away at how many people go to jail in this country for misdemeanors like jaywalking - they make up 25% of the daily jail population. And once you're arrested and go through the system, the massive bureaucracy and rules trip up a lot of folks who get out on probation and send them right back in again, which seems like a major bummer for all concerned until you consider the confidence and peace it must bring to the accounting staff who handle the operating budget.

and I'm too lazy to look for any other stats right now, but I'd think that legalization and decriminalization have to create a positive effect on arrest numbers for pro-weed states, especially for possession arrests. I grew up and live in kind of a low income rural area, and a whole lot of people out here go to jail for weed possession (or the old "I smell marijuana in your car, sir" routine that ends up getting them searched and arrested for something else) - removing that stuff from play seems like it'd make a significant difference.

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15 hours ago, Possum said:

man, I was blown away at how many people go to jail in this country for misdemeanors like jaywalking - they make up 25% of the daily jail population.

I think it is important to clarify that this means "misdemeanors such as jaywalking". Because most misdemeanors that lead to jail time are not  like jaywalking.

Unless you consider getting in a fight in a bar or stealing a TV to be like jaywalking.  

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