Vail Daily reports an interesting case:
Martin Joel Erzinger, 52, faces two misdemeanor traffic charges stemming from a July 3 incident when he allegedly hit bicyclist Dr. Steven Milo from behind then sped away, according to court documents.
Milo and his attorney, Harold Haddon, are livid about the prosecution’s decision to drop the felony charge. They filed their objection Wednesday afternoon, the day after prosecutors notified Haddon’s office by fax of their decision.
. . . Erzinger manages more than $1 billion in assets. He would have to publicly disclose any felony charge within 30 days, according to North American Securities Dealers regulations.
Milo wrote in a letter to District Attorney Mark Hurlbert that the case “has always been about responsibility, not money.”
“Mr. Erzinger struck me, fled and left me for dead on the highway,” Milo wrote. “Neither his financial prominence nor my financial situation should be factors in your prosecution of this case.”
Hurlbert said Thursday that, in part, this case is about the money.
“The money has never been a priority for them. It is for us,” Hurlbert said. “Justice in this case includes restitution and the ability to pay it.”
Some critics of libertarians claim that wealthy people could regularly “get away with murder” since they could simply pay restitution rather than be punished. This position makes the error of assuming monopoly justice, however. This case is a problem of monopoly justice, rather than of wealth. The fact that the state is the monopoly provider of justice means that the victim only has a single place to make a complaint, and if the prosecutor does not provide satisfactory service, he simply must live with being dissatisfied. There are no competitors to which he may appeal. Under a stateless system, arbitrators would have to produce rulings which tend to satisfy all parties. Without a state, a felony conviction would not automatically have the power to severely curtail a person’s ability to earn a living. Without a state, a victim would not be required to accept an “advocate” who disregarded the victim’s own wishes.
CTV Edmonton reports the case of a man convicted of “inciting racial hatred” when he burned a cross on the lawn of an interracial couple. This is a clear crime, but the crime is trespass and vandalism, not “inciting racial hatred.” Criminalizing some real or imagined scheme behind his criminal actions is not only unnecessary, it sows the seeds for more and more thoughts being banned. This is little different from prosecuting a religious extremist for inciting religious fervor. Moreover, as a friend pointed out, in this day and age, burning a cross does not even incite racial hatred. It generates huge outpourings of goodwill for the victims, and widespread condemnation of the ideology behind the criminal behavior. That reaction has far better effects on race relations than prosecutions for thought crimes.
Recently, through DownsizeDC.org, I sent an email to Congressman John Linder, urging him to support an end to the war on drugs and the legalization of marijuana in California. I believe that move will do much to make both Californians and Mexicans safer. Predictably, our masters in Washington are more concerned with maintaining power than actually allowing people to freely make choices for themselves. The response, which should come as no surprise to any libertarian:
Dear Mr. Wicks:
Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding the recent drug-related violence in Mexico. I appreciate hearing from you, and I share your concerns.
In 2007, former President George W. Bush announced the Merida Initiative proposal, a coordinated effort between the United States, Mexico, and the countries of Central America to combat the threats of drug trafficking. President Obama recently stated that in 2009, under the Merida Initiative, $700 million would be invested to support Mexico’s law enforcement and judicial personnel in the war on drugs. This money will be spent in part on training personnel, equipment for counternarcotics forces, and information sharing. Additionally, to increase border security the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is tripling intelligence analysts and increasing the number of canine units operating along the Southwest border, as well as increasing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staff in Mexico.
Our drug policy must be a comprehensive one, and we must continue to put pressure on producers throughout the Americas to ensure that they cannot sell their product in the United States or ship across our borders with impunity. We also have an obligation to assist foreign governments with their efforts to stop the crime and violence associated with the drug trade, a trade primarily focused on meeting American demand for illicit drugs. I believe that we must dedicate ourselves to winning the war on drugs and I will support legislation that attacks this serious threat to America’s health and national security on every front.
Again, thank you for contacting me. If I can be of further assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to call on me.
Member of Congress
Even people of fairly limited intelligence (i.e., congressmen) can see the clear line connecting the war on drugs to drug violence. It is well past time to stop assuming the drug warriors actually care at all about our lives. They care about their own power, and the power of the state on which they depend. If thousands must die and millions must be imprisoned, that’s just a cost of doing state business.
Recently, my college friends and myself were discussing a recent article in Vibe magazine on the experiences of a flamboyantly gay man at Morehouse College, and the response of the school’s president. I shared the two articles with family and friends, and the inevitable question “what has happened to black men?” came up. It seems clear to me that the main things which have happened are the reasons I despise Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan. The war on poverty brought us welfare, which pushed a lot of black men from homes in the name of easy (or easier) money. That was Johnson. Reagan escalated the war on drugs, which further devastated the black family, especially the black males. Can anyone really claim that it is better for a black guy to be locked up for smoking or selling weed, rather than going to a community college and getting himself a job some day? Is controlling what someone does with his own body so very important? Is promoting the creation of drug gangs, then promoting the increase in the intrusiveness and violence of policing something we can really describe as “good?”
Because of these two factors, black men have fewer male role models. Many men emulate their mothers, unsurprising, as so many men are reared without fathers. Some of those mothers are educated, so that is fine as far as education goes. These men will pursue education. But they do not act like men. This is true even of many heterosexual men. Among any sufficiently large population, a number of gay people is to be expected. I do not find it surprising that a segment of the gay population would take emulating their mothers to an extreme that the straight men would not.
I predicted years ago that black higher education would become increasingly gay, and specifically, effeminately so. The war on drugs has devastated the ranks of black men in black communities to such an extent that female role models are, all too often, the best role models for success that black boys have. The testosterone has been depleted from the segments of black society most in need of it. This is one of the many tragedies brought to neighborhoods across the nation by the desire to force moral choices on others “for their own good.” And, while I targeted those two presidents for specific criticism, we can hardly “blame whitey” for this one. There are lots of people who are black drug warriors. Pretty much every black politician, including Obama, is a drug warrior. Eric Holder, his pick for Attorney General, is an especially fervent drug warrior. As far as I am concerned, we should treat blacks who support the war on drugs the same as we would treat a black guy doing a minstrel show in full blackface at an NAACP meeting. They deserve nothing but derision for being essentially black slave overseers. They profit from promoting oppression.
Over at the online photography magazine, Photofocus, Scott Bourne warns photographers of the terms of service they may unwittingly agree to by posting a picture on Twitter. From the article:
Ask a real lawyer (not some guy named Larry who plays one on your local camera club forum) what this means. I did. My lawyer says it means that Twitter can do pretty much anything it wants with my photos (other than claim actual Copyright to them) and there’s nothing I can do about that. Is that an issue for you personally? Maybe not. It’s unlikely it will impact you if you aren’t trying to sell your photos. But if you are, read on.
As a professional photographer, I can’t sell “exclusive” rights to any image I decide to publish on Twitter. The reason is that once it is published on Twitter, there is no exclusivity left. That could be expensive. As professionals, we need to decide whether the exposure we get via Twitter is worth that trade off. For some of us the answer is yes – for others the answer is no. The purpose of this post is to get you to understand that you will have to make some hard choices. I am hoping they are informed choices, no matter what you decide.
In the case of the Twitter TOS, it seems that the terms Twitter stipulates are exactly the pro-freedom position: you can do whatever you want with the stuff you own (stuff, not ideas) unless you have contracted some other arrangement. Twitter owns the servers. You own the photo, sure, but you still have the photo after you uploaded it. What the uploader is actually doing is using Twitter’s stuff to create a copy on Twitter’s servers. For the photographer to then claim that he has the right to determine what Twitter does with it is like going to someone’s house and using a dollar bill left on a counter to make origami, then demanding the right to determine what happens to it as a result of your pattern rearrangement. It is nonsense from the start.