January 10, 2015

WTF, Rolling Stone?

Yep, I admit it--I occasionally argue with trolls. I know the standard line is "Don't feed them," but I think that's counterproductive, at least to a point. Ignoring trolls is how we got the bloated monster called Fox News, after all. Of course, this depends on your tolerance for arguing to begin with (and mine is pretty high) and naturally you have to pick your battles. Still, I think it's possible to enjoy arguing with a troll, at least for a while. If nothing else, I find I learn a lot looking up links to refute some of their stupider assertions. (Not that the overwhelming majority of trolls pay any attention to logic and evidence, but that doesn't matter. The learning experience is what's important, and what I don't use now I can employ later.) And really, the point is not even the troll--it's the lurkers who may be convinced by something you say.

That being said, I tried to post this comment on the Rolling Stone website, on this article. I tried twice and the post was removed both times. I imagine it was because of the number of links. I fully support the right of websites to moderate their comments however they see fit, but if they do so, I think they should have a written comment policy explaining why and how they remove/delete comments, including a list of words that would trigger automatic removal. Rolling Stone doesn't seem to, or at least I couldn't find it. And since creative trolls can infest a site regardless, they should also have live moderators.

At any rate, this comment is in reply to some jackass named "Liberal Garbage," who most definitely is a "creative troll." If you feel like wading through the nearly 2800 (!) comments on the article, you will see me there, arguing with this idiot. This is what I would have posted to him, and what Rolling Stone removed.

You are the same type of people that cry over terrorists dying and feel sorry for mass murderers getting justice through execution.

Well, I guess that depends on your definition of "terrorist," doesn't it? As the saying goes, one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter. See: Nelson Mandela. Having said that, I would not shed a single tear if Scott Roeder, the homegrown terrorist who murdered Dr. George Tiller, died.

The key element you are missing is justice.

Execution by the state is not "justice." I oppose the death penalty in all cases, because justice and vengeance are two different things. We're not Israelite tribes wandering through the wilderness anymore (if "an eye for an eye" is where you're getting your definition of justice). We're a civilized society, or we're supposed to be. The death penalty has no place in a civilized society.

Even discounting the moral arguments, there is a non-zero possibility of executing an innocent person in this country (and rather more than that in Texas). That alone is enough for me to oppose it. Just offhand I can think of two people who were innocent: Cameron Todd Willingham and George Stinney.



In fact, a judge just threw out George Stinney's conviction. He was exonerated in December, 70 years after being put to death in 1944.



(This is so you won't whine about "liberal sites," although you'll notice that both the Fox News and NPR stories say almost the same things.)

Per the Innocence Project, 150 people have so far been freed from death row, from 1971 to present.


It seems to me that life without parole, a virtual "living death," is quite enough. We the people, and the state that represents us, shouldn't stoop to the level of murderers to dispense justice.

In order to perform the correct actions and avoid an unjust punishment for doing their job is the sole reason they do not immediately revive someone.

So it's all right with you that police officers can shoot someone, justly or unjustly, and sit back and let them die? I'm sorry, but that's barbaric. It also stinks of a cover-up, and remember, it's always the cover-up that gets you. As I said, the four-minute lack of medical aid was named in Tamir Rice's wrongful-death lawsuit. That tactic sure worked to avoid an "unjust punishment," didn't it?

The key operating word is criminals.

Actually, the key operating words are "innocent until proven guilty." Those specific words don't appear in the Constitution, but they've been a part of jurisprudence in this country for over a hundred years (since the 1895 Supreme Court decision, Coffin vs. US). What does appear in the Constitution is the phrase "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial." It's kind of hard to enjoy that right if the police shoot you and let you die, now isn't it?

A prime example of both these principles is the trial for the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, which has just started jury selection. Almost everyone knows he will be convicted; nevertheless, he still has the right to a trial, whether you like it or not. (And no, I don't think he should get the death penalty either.)

Perhaps you would like the police to immediately revive the terrorists that just shot up a Paris magazine last night.

If they did, so what? They'd still go on trial, wouldn't they? Although they won't be executed in France, since that country amended its Constitution to explicitly ban the death penalty. (Edit: That's not going to happen since yesterday's shootout and the deaths of the terrorists, but the principle still applies.)


Police action against them is the same, justice served.

Again, it's okay with you for the police to set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner? Is that really what you're saying? Because that's vigilantism, plain and simple. It's also blatantly unconstitutional. The police have no more right to do it than Ismaaiyl Brinsley had a right to do it.

Or is it fine and dandy until the police start coming after the wrong kinds of people, namely you and yours?

I would really like to know if you believe some of this nonsense, or if it's just your admitted trollish self spouting off. Because if it's the former, you are a truly frightening person.

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