Saturday, September 10, 2005

Crimes and victims

Here we have the ultimate Orwellian fantasy...when is a victim not a victim? Case in point...a lot of folks, bloggers and writers of letters to the editors of many newspapers are going on and on about how the victims of Hurricane Katrina are actually not victims at all, but rather stiff necked head-in-the-sand folks who shoulda got out when they got the chance. Well, I dunno...I have a lot of sympathy for most of those people....I would probably have stayed right here in my home too....especially since it would have withstood dozens of hurricanes over the years, and who would have thought it would have got as bad as it did! But I am happy I did not have to make that decision.

Be that as it may...clearly some folks made an error in judgement, and that puts them at risk. I think that makes them a victim, if only a victim of their own mis-judgement. There is a real person here...who is hungry, de-hydrated, and falling ill from Hepatitus A and B, and maybe a dozen other diseases.

Now contrast that to this article I got from the CyberLaw blog.

Here is the cut and paste of the summary.... of the Washington Post article...

The increasingly common law enforcement tactic of having adult officers pose as children in Internet chat rooms to arrest potential sex offenders came under legal attack on September 7 when Maryland's highest court ruled that the law does not allow the prosecution of people who merely believed they were dealing with children. The Maryland Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the Frederick County Circuit Court conviction of Richard J. Moore, saying he could not be found guilty of committing a crime with a nonexistent victim."Court Overturns Child Porn Conviction

This really makes you think now don't it! The police officers who are protecting our most vulnerable have been told that their "sting" operations are not valid! This will make ANYBODY sit up and say WHAT the HELL?

Originally I could not believe it, then I got thinking about it. Here is a perp who is trolling for underage nookie. He finds a cop pretending to vulnerable and underage. The perp falls for it and ends up in court. However, there never WAS a real live victim. So therefore, no crime. Ahh, (you say) but there was "intent". Well trouble with "intent" is that "intent" is a "Thought Crime". Remember the term "thought crime"? It came out of George Orwell's book 1984. I can walk down the street and "think" about robbing the store with all the jewelry in the window, but until I pick up the coping stone and actually THROW is not a crime.

My head just hurts from this line of thinking. Here we have live victims in a flooded city who are not really victims, and "virtual" victims who never existed at all but are real enough to put a guy in jail! No wonder the court in Fredricksburg overturned the conviction!

So, by extension, how many other "crimes" are there which don't have a victim? Dr. Keon who picked up an undercover cop in the market thinking she was a hooker...shall we overturn this conviction?

I invite others to comment on this....

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