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American man gets fifteen years for flag-burning.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mouthwash, Dec 20, 2019.

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  1. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Your exact words were,
    How did you expect this to be interpreted?

    Per the article quoted in your OP, the perpetrator stated that he "opposed homosexuality" and that he "burned down their pride". Does that imply, to you, that he is simply taken a hard line on public indecency?
     
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  2. Socrates99

    Socrates99 Bottoms up!

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    This guy could have livestreamed a rainbow flag burning simultaneously on twitch, youtube, facebook, etc every day if he wanted to and not faced legal repercussions. As long as he owned the flag or had permission from the owner to burn their flag. He might have gotten himself banned from a few platforms depending on whether or not they enforced their own policies concerning hate speech. Not a crime there.

    It wasn't the act of burning the flag that got him in trouble. It was the crimes he committed in the process. Adding in his motivation and history makes it a hate crime.
     
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  3. Commodore

    Commodore Deity

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    The reason he got 15 years is because it was labeled as a hate crime, which I believe automatically adds years onto sentences which can push the sentence beyond what would normally be given for a certain crime. That and, as Zardnaar pointed out, the fact that this guy is a habitual offender. It's well known that in the American legal system, habitual offenders and "career criminals" will always be punished more harshly than first-time offenders.

    I see the 15 year sentence as entirely reasonable, especially since this chucklehead seems to show no remorse for his actions and gleefully admits guilt. This would indicate he doesn't believe he's done anything wrong and has proven himself a menace to society that very well might escalate to violence against actual people instead of just destroying property if only given a slap on the wrist.
     
  4. Manfred Belheim

    Manfred Belheim Moaner Lisa

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    That has to be one of the most bizarre criteria I've ever heard for judging the appropriateness of a sentence. "If I'd beaten him to death before it went to court would I have got away with it".
     
  5. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Why is that bizarre? If a guy is practicing behaviors that could lead to him being legally beaten to death it does put those behaviors into a different perspective than the "hey free speech burn a flag no big deal" perspective that seems to be popular. It isn't about "would have gotten away with it," it's about under the law such an outcome would not be unexpected. When someone opts, intentionally, to commit crimes they are sacrificing certain protections. That's life. Of all the people available to launch a "harsh sentencing is uncalled for" campaign over, this guy is among the last I'd choose.
     
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  6. Truthy

    Truthy Ambulating

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    I don't think it's fair to phrase it as we're trying to feel bad for him. I'm not being disingenuous. And I'm not sure I follow the logic of your argument here. A guy could break in and I could shoot and kill him and not get prosecuted. So what? What bearing does that have on what prison sentence he should get for the crime of breaking into my apartment?
     
  7. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Because if you shot him for being in his own apartment it would be a much different thing. I haven't gone looking for your specific comments on the matter, so this may not have any applicability to you whatsoever, but there are people taking the "burning the flag is freedom of speech" line, as if the flag wasn't stolen in the first place. Another point of relation to the apartment break in is that residential burglary is (in all jurisdictions I think) a more serious crime and carries a harsher sentence than commercial burglary, specifically because commercial burglary carries a much lower risk of turning into a violent confrontation. Similarly, home invasion is treated much differently than conventional burglary.

    The incident crimes here; petty theft and arson; are being viewed by the court as being in the same vein as the home invasion, in that they were committed in a manner that made confrontation basically inevitable.
     
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  8. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy The trees are actually quite lovely.

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    Yeah, it's the essence of three strikes all over again only now it's a **** in Iowa instead of ******* in LA.
     
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  9. Berzerker

    Berzerker Deity

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    They'd be wrong, but who did that?
     
  10. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Patine, for one here. Plenty of others elsewhere on the ol' internet. Also plenty of "well it was a gay flag so it's okay" going on out there.
     
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  11. Berzerker

    Berzerker Deity

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    I live in the town made infamous by Fred Phelps (and Brown V Ed), somebody bought the house next to theirs and painted it like a rainbow. Now thats funny.
     
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  12. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy The trees are actually quite lovely.

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    Which does suck. I'm guessing the racists that like the state's approach in these situations are going to manage to enforce significantly more harm.
     
  13. Manfred Belheim

    Manfred Belheim Moaner Lisa

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    I don't know how you can't see how that is bizarre. I'm sure if someone stole an apple and unexpectedly ran out in front of my car whilst making his getaway, I could legally drive over his skull and end his life. It would seem a bit weird to try and use that fact as an excuse to justify locking him away for 30 years though.
     
  14. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Well, darting in front of a car isn't exactly intrinsic to petty theft. Stealing something from someone and lighting it on fire in front of them? Confrontation certainly goes with that territory.

    Basically, my position is what it usually is: people who go looking for a confrontation can't cry when they find one, even if it turns out to not go their way. So I'm not gonna cry for them.
     
  15. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    I'm not actually concerned about the length of the sentence. I'm more concerned with the question of "is this, or isn't it, a hate crime/act of terrorism?".

    BTW, someone was arrested today for posting threats against Justin Trudeau's life on social media (the reason why he wore a bullet-proof vest to one of his rallies during the election campaign). We are no longer in the era where someone can throw a pie at a politician and people applaud them, and of course people are still arguing over the "Shawinigan handshake" incident all those years ago. I remember thinking that the pie-thrower who clocked Ralph Klein didn't deserve jail (it's just a pie, after all)... but now we're in the era of "what if it had been a knife or a gun".

    He got off far too lightly, given the number of years that he spent messing with his students' minds, essentially brainwashing them into hating the Jews and denying the Holocaust.

    We're in agreement about Kenney, then. Although Klein is right up there in Kenney's shadow. There's a reason for my reaction to Klein's death ("good riddance").

    Fair enough. But I would appreciate if you'd answer my question.

    It's implied violence, a form of symbolic violence, or even surrogate violence. That doesn't mean the perpetrator might not commit physical violence.
     
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  16. Oerdin

    Oerdin Deity

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    There is nothing good, reasonable, or proportionate about this.
     
  17. Patine

    Patine Deity

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    Understand me. I don't oppose the idea of punish these types of crimes. What I oppose is how the current laws work (or don't work) and how they're defined. The labels of "hate crime," and "terrorism," and all the extraordinary police, judicial, and sentencing powers and limitations on the defendants rights that ensue upon such a label being declared, the nebulous, ill-defined, and lacking legal meaning of these terms in a solid sense, the immense and open discretion of the judiciary on this matter, and often the lack of (or immense difficulty to) appeal being wrongly labelled such, the ease and lack of burden of evidence with which they can be applied, is a true concern, and has been proven to be a source of abuse of authority, overkill sentencing, jumping-the-gun, and character destruction, as has been witnessed. I'm not saying it's always the case - not nearly so, but it has been ENOUGH to be worrisome. The laws need to be tightened, better defined, and have more proper oversight. That's the core of what I'm saying.
     
  18. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Lumping "hate crime" with "terrorism" and calling both poorly defined labels is odd. I agree with pretty much everything you said with regards to charges of "terrorism." But the hate crime statutes are actually pretty clear cut. The victim has to be identified by a protected characteristic; in this case sexual identification. The crime has to be on the list of applicable crimes of violence; in this case arson. And the accused has to be demonstrably motivated by hatred of the target group identified by the protected characteristic. I would have to say that a first year ADA with a mouth full of cotton balls could make that stick here. This case, under the pretty clear statute, is just cut and dried; you identify someone as belonging to a legally defined protected group, take their stuff and burn it in front of them, then outright admit you did it because you hate that group...that's a hate crime all day long.

    There is no indication that this guy didn't receive the benefits of his rights, as he should. This case was tried in open court. He had an attorney. His self-damning and incredibly stupid comments were made voluntarily. There doesn't seem to be anything out of order to this at all, in terms of due process. So I don't really understand what your issue here is. The only issue I've really seen expressed as "unfair" about hate crime laws is when the straight white men get punched back they always want to scream "hate crime hate crime" and get mad when they don't get that advantage too.
     
  19. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    So if protesters burn the American flag, we should assume that they're gearing up to launch terror attacks on American soil? That doesn't seem likely.

    It's literally called 'pride'. That's not synonymous with homosexuality.

    This thread is about flag-burning and it's what I had on the brain.

    Yes. Had he said that 'homosexuals are conspiring to take down America' it would be a different story.
     
  20. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Actually your title is misleading and this statement is inaccurate, if you accept that the by far most common usage of "flag burning" refers to an act of political protest in which the protestor burns the flag of their own country or some occupying or otherwise enemy country. This thread is about a THIEF and an ARSONIST, not a political protest.

    Unsurprisingly, here's another one.
     
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