The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

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Ninja
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The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Ninja » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:54 pm

What the fuck is going on in this country? Why is this happening?

How can we be riding the crest of a near annual decline in crime rates over the last 20 years, but decide that now we really, really need to change 400 years of common law self defense law to make it cool to kill anyone who makes us subjectively uncomfortable? Where did all this cowardice come from? Fin de siecle? 9/11? Economic collapse? Black president?

How did we get to the point where we prioritize the hypothetical injury to a hypothetical victim over the actual life of an actual human being? Doesn't it seem odd that the law went so far out of its way, for so long, to avoid that result, and in just 10 years or so we've begun to take it for granted?

And where do we draw the line? Me, I'm really afraid of werewolves. Scared shitless. Can I fly down to Florida, murder a child, and then force a jury to consider, not the reasonableness of my fear of werewolves in general, but the reasonableness of my actions given my presumptively reasonable, subjective fear of werewolves, which I'll remind you, is very real for me? You can't prove he wasn't a werewolf. The little werethug probably has pictures of the moon on his Facebook page.

Something is obviously happening here, and it's not as simple as just saying "NRA" or "racists." Both of those concepts are part of the issue, but what's going on that has us all so scared at a time when, at least in aggregate, we should feel safer than ever? I suspect that the diffusion of crime from inner cities to smaller communities has a lot to do with it (just wait Madison, you're eventually going to get your big boy crime one of these summers too!), but that can't be the whole story.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby jonnygothispen » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:37 pm

The thing I feared the most when Bush became President wasn't always his policies, but the fact that he spoke to morons, and empowered the least intelligent to think in the most basic terms of bias towards other people who were actually more qualified to understand the problems we faced. And he used that to pass the corporate agenda, the most anti-American policies he could conjure up for profits. Coupled with FOX, and I'm giving FOX max credit for it now, this has become the most destructive force in America. They're teaching people to hate each other, and justify bullying and aggressiveness in every way imaginable so even when they realize they're lying, it's justified. The mere utterance of the word "liberal" for a Republican often gets the same kind of reaction "Jew" did for the Nazis.

When you teach acceptance of hatred and lying as a way of life, other people suddenly think their hatreds should be honored too and follow suit.

And although this stuff has been around since the beginning of time, it's exacerbated by one "news" organization. It's a mass brainwashing. I've never seen anything like it.

It was a nicer world when we just had a sort of centrist corporate media to worry about. FOX is so extreme there's even a news channel devoted to debunking it. People disagreed back in the day of more centrist media, but they got along over the most basic values like fair wages, decent health care and stuff like that. Now we're dealing with people who think stealing from the working poor will resolve the problems caused by the upper crust. It's so insane that it's kind of traumatizing to even hear them repeat the weird stuff they seem to believe in. It's just unreal in almost every way.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Ninja » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:05 pm

I think you're exactly right, and only half right, and it's a symptom of the situation that you only see half.

Public policy shouldn't be an entertainment product. The entertainment industry is extremely adept at dividing people into catagories, and the entertainment industry is extremely adept at creating drama, especially when that drama results in continued interest in their product. Politicians and special interests have taken note of the success of the media in that regard, and that's how we got tens of thousands of people protesting at the Capitol, and national news, out of something that would have happened whether Tom Barrett or Scott Walker had been elected.

But that's totally incompatible with the way actual public policy develops, which is why we have a paralyzed congress and state legislatures that can only pass headline-making reforms. And when those headline making reforms involve the criminal law, and they liberalize the idea of self defense, and then people who objectively appear to be innocent start getting kiled by people who are defended by the law, it's probably time to pull the plug on whatever the issue is.

And I guess I just gave up the ghost on my own theory of why this is happening, and why I don't find your one-sided FOX New explanation completely satisfying, so I'm open to any other theories.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby jonnygothispen » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:13 pm

Well, it's one sided in the sense that people are always going to find ways to hurt other people, and they will usually take the best line of defense once they do. So if the bad law is already there, they would be more inclined and prepared to use whatever language and emotions they have to get behind what the law covers.

But what I mean by pointing at FOX is that to me, they're #1 in the way they justify hurting other people by defending people who have threatened to kill Obama, Hillary, Nancy Pelosi, etc. and they keep driving it home 24/7, bullying guests and support it with lie after lie after lie. So someone watching FOX might have misgivings at first, but then eventually begin to feel a sense of false patriotism due to FOX's incessant barking, so that they actually entertain weird ideas about how they're going to step up to the plate and be the "hero."

I've just never seen anything like it at that level ever before. It feels like another planet.

Michael Dunn's neighbor has a few interesting things to say about Mr. Dunn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itwx2Vb6aNI

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Ninja » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:20 am

Again I think you're absolutely right, the media has trivialized public policy, celebrated anti-heroes, and encouraged horrible, horrible behavior by its audience in the name of "the cause," but I consider The Daily Show to be just as toxic as anything on FOX News, so I don't understand why you would single that network out.

This political entertainment product that Jon Stewart and Rupert Murdoch peddle does dumb down and trivilalize public policy, but it also turns it into a contest in which winning an argument is more important than adopting the best possible law. That doesn't result in very good law.

And as you point out, the media dehumanizes "others," whether the others are poltiical opponents or people who are used as political props, and it promotes conflict and hostility between those groups, which I think is starting to manifest in real world violence as the culture war continues sinking to the lowest common denominator.

But what might be most important when it comes to situations like the fucked up expansion of firearm rights and self-defense laws is that turning politics and public policy into a game leaves those things extremely vulnerable to manipulation by special interests. The NRA loves it when people celebrate firearm proposals in the media, and the NRA loves it when people criticize firearm proposals in the media, because either way they're getting what they want - a national conversation about firearm ownership. And every time we have one of those statewide or nationwide conversations in the media about gun laws (ie concealed carry in the early 90s, then castle doctrine in the late 90s, then stand your ground in the early 00s) firearm sales increase significantly.

That's the only reason the NRA wants these laws passed. The leadup and discussion and contraversy are all free advertising that's been proven over and over to be very effective at selling handguns. And if the end product of all that leadup, discussion, and contraversy is a shit law that leaves people far less safe than they were in the past, the NRA doesn't care, because it was never about the law to begin with, it was about hustling the people who were paying attention to the legislative process.

I just don't understand why people allow themselves to be played like that, or how an entertainment product can be so important to us that we're willing to ignore all the horrible consequences of consuming it. It's getting worse every day, so we'll see where the bottom is eventually. In fact, I think we're getting real close right now.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby bleurose » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:05 am

well, Nin, one big difference is that people with at least a modicum of intelligence understand that "The Daily Show" is entertainment. Farcical, yes, with some truth to it, but entertainment nevertheless. So right there, you've already been unable to make the distinction between that and "Faux" News which clearly labels itself as Truth and Fact when it is little to nothing of either.

Some are so hung up on the notion that everything must somehow be "equal", that responsibility is equal, that they can't recognize when it is clearly unequal.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby rabble » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:04 pm

bleurose wrote:well, Nin, one big difference is that people with at least a modicum of intelligence understand that "The Daily Show" is entertainment. Farcical, yes, with some truth to it, but entertainment nevertheless. So right there, you've already been unable to make the distinction between that and "Faux" News which clearly labels itself as Truth and Fact when it is little to nothing of either.

Actually, Fox has stated equivocally that many of the shows that put themselves forth as news are in fact entertainment. O'reilly, Hannity, etcetera are in that group.

I saw it on the Daily Show so I know it's true.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Ninja » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:25 pm

bleurose wrote:well, Nin, one big difference is that people with at least a modicum of intelligence understand that "The Daily Show" is entertainment. Farcical, yes, with some truth to it, but entertainment nevertheless. So right there, you've already been unable to make the distinction between that and "Faux" News which clearly labels itself as Truth and Fact when it is little to nothing of either.

Some are so hung up on the notion that everything must somehow be "equal", that responsibility is equal, that they can't recognize when it is clearly unequal.


That's a fair point but I think it's kind of a cop out. A better paralell for me to have drawn would have been Jon Stewart to Rush Limbaugh, but I don't think your defense lets either of those guys off the hook. They can claim as much as they want to be just entertainers who are just telling jokes, but they know perfectly well that they're responsible for shaping the perception of a huge portion of the population when it comes to political and quasi-poltical issues.

The news industry isn't really distinct from the entertainment industry anyway. Where would you put someone like Rachel Maddow or Bill O'Reily? They don't seem to have any journalistic ethics or integrity, but they don't clearly portray themselves as clowns either. And people take them seriously, which is ridiculous because they're both clueless.

Entertainers with little to no background in law and public policy are shaping our law and public policy. That's a problem, we're starting to see its symptoms, and some of those symptoms are deadly for certain demographics. But there's money to be made from it and people love their meaningless culture war screaming matches, so I don't see it changing anytime soon.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:39 pm

Ninja wrote:Entertainers with little to no background in law and public policy are shaping our law and public policy. That's a problem, we're starting to see its symptoms, and some of those symptoms are deadly for certain demographics.


I would agree, but I would also say there are politicians who DO have backgrounds in law and public policy who are fucking things up as well. Just because they have this knowledge doesn't mean they have the public's best interest in mind. I would also argue that some of these entertainers are not setting policy, but pointing out the idiocy of the policies being introduced.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Michael Patrick » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:53 pm

Ninja wrote: The NRA loves it when people celebrate firearm proposals in the media, and the NRA loves it when people criticize firearm proposals in the media, because either way they're getting what they want - a national conversation about firearm ownership. And every time we have one of those statewide or nationwide conversations in the media about gun laws (ie concealed carry in the early 90s, then castle doctrine in the late 90s, then stand your ground in the early 00s) firearm sales increase significantly.

That's the only reason the NRA wants these laws passed. The leadup and discussion and contraversy are all free advertising that's been proven over and over to be very effective at selling handguns. And if the end product of all that leadup, discussion, and contraversy is a shit law that leaves people far less safe than they were in the past, the NRA doesn't care, because it was never about the law to begin with, it was about hustling the people who were paying attention to the legislative process.


The NRA wants to increase the sales of guns because contrary to its origins it no longer represents the interests of gun owners, it represents the interests of gun manufacturers.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Ninja » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:58 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
Ninja wrote:Entertainers with little to no background in law and public policy are shaping our law and public policy. That's a problem, we're starting to see its symptoms, and some of those symptoms are deadly for certain demographics.


I would agree, but I would also say there are politicians who DO have backgrounds in law and public policy who are fucking things up as well. Just because they have this knowledge doesn't mean they have the public's best interest in mind. I would also argue that some of these entertainers are not setting policy, but pointing out the idiocy of the policies being introduced.


You're absolutely right, but I think the cart is so far out in front of the horse that it's become standard. Even politicians who know better are beholden to this populist movement now, and the dumber politicians are still trotting out stupid shit because they know it's the kind of red meat their culture war constituents are salivating for.

And that didn't happen by accident, so I don't have much sympathy for them. I suspect that poltiicans recognized very early on that they could exploit the increasing popularity of this "politics as entertainment" model, and they dove into it headlong in the late 80s/early 90s. And it went really well for them for about 20 years. But in the last 5 years or so the smart ones have started to realize what a monster they have on their hands, and how out of control its getting, so now they want to reign in the passions that they used to exploit, but it's too late. Hence, the Tea Party canabilizing Republicans, and poor Obama not being able to catch a break, even from those who voted for him.

The problem is, whether we're electing people who are playing dumb, or people who are actually dumb, the outcome is the same - total gridlock broken up very rarely by sensationalized, idiotic, media-championed "reform."

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby jonnygothispen » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:21 pm

I think the problem is two fold. We need total CFR first with 100% publicly funded campaigns-no cash or favors before, during or after serving in political office. And something to rein in the corporate controlled media like passing truth in broadcasting laws like Canada has.

It's only a dream... only a dream...

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Ninja » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:39 pm

jonnygothispen wrote:I think the problem is two fold. We need total CFR first with 100% publicly funded campaigns-no cash or favors before, during or after serving in political office. And something to rein in the corporate controlled media like passing truth in broadcasting laws like Canada has.

It's only a dream... only a dream...


Both of those solutions do serious violence the first amendment though, so as much as I might agree with your end goal, I don't think that's the solution.

And it shouldn't be necessary. If we electors took our civic duty more seriously then all the campaign money and corporate media in the world wouldn't make any difference. The money is just used for TV commercials, phone calls, and direct mailing. It's not somehow magically influencing election outcomes against our will. We just fall for the stupid shit that it buys, because we love to play this game. And if we didn't treat it like a game, I don't think that money or blatantly biased media would have any power at all.

This is a democracy, and we're not behaving very responsibly, so that's on us. We're not so powerless that we can't educate ourselves and put a little critical thought into our positions and votes. But for the most part, we choose not to make that effort because it's so much more fun to scream about abortion and global warming.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby bleurose » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:24 pm

Nin,

You are not doing your argument, such as it is, any favors by continuing with this meme "they are both equally guilty" when, as I said before, they clearly are very unequal in offenses. You must recognize/acknowledge that if you want to have any credibility. I hardly think it is Limbaugh's prime objective every time he opens his pie hole to ensure beyond any doubt that absolutely everyone understands clearly that he is simply an entertainer (notice how many qualifiers I put in there to make sure you get the point?). To the contrary, he absolutely wants people to completely believe that he is THE source of fact-based news.

Oh, and you don't help your case when you try to paint with a broad brush. Rachel Maddow is clueless?? She is a Rhodes scholar, for crissakes. That is is an educational achievement that still actually means something in this day and age. And incidentally, it is an intellectual/educational award that conservatives rarely qualify for.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby jonnygothispen » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:15 pm

Ninja wrote:
jonnygothispen wrote:I think the problem is two fold. We need total CFR first with 100% publicly funded campaigns-no cash or favors before, during or after serving in political office. And something to rein in the corporate controlled media like passing truth in broadcasting laws like Canada has...

Both of those solutions do serious violence the first amendment though, so as much as I might agree with your end goal, I don't think that's the solution...

I disagree. We were founded on the one person, one vote idea of equal representation. When people with more money are able to influence opinions with the media they own in a deceptive way w/o presenting the opposing view, or influence your politicians to pass policies that hurt the majority, just because they have more money than you do, that creates unequal representation.

I disagree with the idea that money is speech, or that rich people should be allowed to buy our Government.


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