I’m no legal scholar. Hell, I’m not even a failed pre-law student. I’m just a guy that likes to know how things work. In order to do this, I tend to bring a bucket full of (un)common sense when I look at what people are talking/arguing/rioting about.
Here’s a few things that are fairly topical, so let’s see if the layman can start to understand them.
1) Ferguson, MO. I’m not even going to use names, because, frankly, people get all up in arms if you say them.
Okay, here’s what I know FOR CERTAIN. A cop, who happens to be white, shot and killed a teenaged (18, so, you know: an adult) man, who happened to be black. What looks to be true, according to most of the information I’ve seen: there was an altercation in the back of the police car, and it would seem that at least 1 shot was fired INSIDE the car and the teen was hit. The cop fired additional shots OUTSIDE the car, which killed the teen. What I don’t know AT ALL, because too many differing stories are out there: was the teen “hands up, don’t shoot” like the initial reports said, or was he advancing on the officer as later eyewitnesses and the purported witnesses to the Grand Jury would indicate?
MY TAKE: if the suspect was fleeing, or legitimately attempting to surrender, and the cop shot him and killed him, he should be indicted. Of murder? Maybe, in that situation, it could be manslaughter or even less. A struggle, shots already fired, adrenaline up….hell, I won’t second-guess a cop in THAT situation.
Now, if the suspect was advancing back at the officer in a threatening manner, one shot already fired after a struggle over the gun….sorry, folks: that’s self-defense.
However, since the only response by the victim’s “community” (which should be the entire town of Ferguson, but we all know it’s not) has been screaming for “justice” from day 1, and had some protests devolve into rioting/looting by some segment (probably egged on by outside forces) of the group, I can only say this: Justice is seeking, finding, and accepting the truth of a situation. If the officer simply killed the teen as he ran away or surrendered, then justice is him facing a jury of his peers in the legal system. What justice is NOT is threatening him with mob violence, threatening his family, or threatening to burn the city down if he is not indicted. If he acted in self-defense or in defense of THE COMMUNITY as a whole, then justice is to accept that reality, let go of your anger, and move on, supporting the police and letting this officer get on with his life. You know: the life he puts on the line FOR YOU every day he goes to work? Just like the rest of the police.
I don’t know what really happened. I’m not sitting on the Grand Jury looking at all the evidence and hearing from the witnesses. Like everyone else, I have to wait to see. But I urge anyone protesting/mourning these events in Ferguson to remember that this is your community, where you live, work, shop, and raise your kids. Please, don’t let people with their own agendas manipulate you or take advantage of the situation to further inflame the passions that lead to looting, riots, and more violence, which can only end badly.
2) “Executive Amnesty.” Oh, yes, the flavor of the hour. By know, you all know what actions the President has announced in regards to the illegal immigrants present in the country. And before you get yourself all riled up, yes, I will be using the phrase “illegal immigrants.” Why? Because I hold a degree in English. An “immigrant” is someone who relocates to a geographic area to which they are not native. “Illegal” describes the manner in which an action is taken. 11 million people–or more–have immigrated to America through means outside those proscribed by law. Hence, they are illegal immigrants. This phrase does not describe the individual’s personality or motivations, only their methodology. If we can’t even agree on the meanings of words, what hope do we have to solve any REAL problems, people?
The President announced a convoluted formula for figuring out who his executive action (a “memo,” not an “order” according to various news outlets) will apply to.
First, the President’s assertion that he can dictate/suggest to DHS, DOJ, other executive branches how to prioritize the handling of illegal immigrants is legitimate. I believe that the White House’s legal justification for this was that even though there are 11-ish million illegal immigrants in the country already, the various law-enforcement branches are only funded enough to deport roughly 400,000 individuals a year. Therefore, the executive branch is ALREADY prioritizing whom to deport, and a further clarification of that is well within the executive’s authority.
However, if the process will now be having those people currently living “in the shadows” (whatever the hell that means) apply for deferment for a period of three years (specifically), then here is where my damned language skills come back to haunt me again. Instructing your prosecutors not to “waste time” on “non-criminal” illegal immigrants in favor of more “criminal” elements is one thing, but to then issue a work visa to said individuals is something wholly different. At this point, they have not been simply issued a brief reprieve, they have been granted a LEGAL STANDING in this country through a process that runs contradictory to established immigration law. THAT action–the changing of the process by which one can enter and legally seek employment in America–is explicitly the purview of the Congress, to be EXECUTED, not modified, by the executive branch.
As we learned from Arizona a couple years ago, individual states cannot even pass a state law that mirrors federal law so that they might be empowered to enforce it due to the lack of federal action. If a state cannot, of its own volition, opt to enforce Congress’ immigration law, how, then, does the executive branch rationalize CHANGING said law outright? That makes no logical sense to me.
3) Obamacare. The Supreme Court will hear a case on the Obamacare exchange subsidies. They should, if they have a modicum of common sense among them, decide that subsidies were written specifically as a carrot for the states to establish exchanges. The Executive and Democratic party can argue “intent” all they’d like, but the process clearly shows (from all I’ve seen–and heard, thank you John Gruber) that the bills “intent” was always to bribe the states with extra money.
My take: This should take about a day and a half to decide. Subsidies go bye-bye.
That’s it for now. My common sense hurts. Watching politicians and their various talking heads twist reality in a vain attempt to get what they want hurts. It’s a big, wide world out there, folks. Trust the Shadow, use your brain, and remember: if the government makes it sound great, it’s probably bad. If they make it sound bad, don’t worry, they have a plan. Run.
Don’t take any wooden nickels.