Monday, September 19, 2005

I'm all for free speech...but destruction of property?

Michelle Malkin has an interesting post on the hung-jury case of anti-war protesters going too far:

Four anti-war protesters who spilled their own blood at a military recruiting station accused the Bush administration of trying to intimidate them and others from demonstrating against the Iraq war by prosecuting them in federal court.

The four defendants _ dubbed "the St. Patrick's Four" for their March 17, 2003 protest _ go on trial in U.S. District Court beginning Monday. The U.S. Attorney's Office decided to prosecute the four following a mistrial in April 2004 in Tompkins County Court, where the 12-person jury ended in a deadlock after nine members voted to acquit the protesters...

Two days before the invasion of Iraq, Burns and co-defendants Peter DeMott, 58; and sisters, Teresa Grady, 39; and Clare Grady, 46; were arrested at a U.S. Army and Marine Corps recruiting station at a mall in Lansing, about 65 miles south of Syracuse. During the protest, they splattered their blood onto the windows and walls, posters, pictures and an American flag.

Now it's one thing to protest. Its entirely another to destroy property. How destruction of property that isn't yours is a "protest" is beyond me. Not to mention how unsanitary spattering blood all over the place is. Actually, it seems almost...well...gross.

I noticed that the case seems to be avoiding the real issue. Property was destroyed for the purpose of a protest. Destruction of property is a criminal act. Instead, the defense is trying to say this protest was okay because it's protected by "international law." I've yet to figure out how destruction of property is legal in any court.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, they destroyed property. (Probably the janitor had to spend extra time mopping that day, too.) Is destroying some cardboard signs deserving of 6 years in jail? Is it deserving of a federal trial? How much is the taxpayer paying to prosecute and possibly jail a group of normally very peaceful folks who damage government-owned cardboard now and again?

Give 'em a slap on the wrist, give 'em a couple months, give 'em one trial. But don't waste time and money beyond that.

P.S. If you have "yet to figure out how destruction of property is legal in any court," look up the "necessity defense." This allows for the breaking of a lesser law to prevent a greater harm.

Imagine if a dog was attacking a child in that recruiting station, and you fought off the dog with a cardboard sign, or tried to stun it by splashing blood on it. If a crazy DA decided to prosecute you for making a mess and damaging the sign, the "necessity defense" might be your defense.

Is the "St. Patrick's Four" case at all close to this hypothetical with the dog? Too bad the jury can't hear the evidence and make a common-sense decision.

You might also read up on what International Law considers to be your obligation to prevent "war crimes" by your country.

19 September, 2005 16:26  
Blogger FlaK said...

You have some excellent points. I agree that 6 years is probably a bit excessive, but that's for the judge to decide once a verdict is given.

Although, I see your point with the necessity defense, I wouldn't think it would be usable here. Even the protest itself seems odd. Destroying a recruiting station would be kinda like attacking an human resource office. Their beef lies with higher-ups(read: officers)...not the Staff Sargents that make up the backbone of the recruiting force.

Anyway, good point on the necessity reminded me why I hated my law classes...too much if/then statements.

20 September, 2005 13:06  

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