Posts tagged with "law" - Faerye Net 2008-08-01T10:34:31+00:00 Felicity Shoulders The Jar-Jar Effect 2008-08-01T10:34:31+00:00 2008-08-01T10:34:31+00:00 <p>I thought of a new law of argument. You know, like <a href="" target="links">Godwin&#8217;s Law</a> or <a href="">Skarka&#8217;s Law</a>.</p> <p>&#8220;No aesthetic discussion can continue productively once Jar-Jar Binks is mentioned.&#8221;</p> <p>Only problem is, I don&#8217;t want to affix my name to it. I don&#8217;t want my name associated with Jar-Jar!</p> <p>So I&#8217;ve decided to make it more general. Now I maintain that there is a Jar-Jar effect. It&#8217;s when you&#8217;re having a constructive conversation or debate, and one person brings in a subject from which the other recoils so viscerally that the entire conversation is destroyed. As if that person cannot bear to be engaged with Jar-Jar (or Nazis, or George W. Bush) even in an abstract conversation. Jar-Jar effect. Tell your friends!</p> Hate crimes 2006-10-02T17:18:59+00:00 2008-05-30T13:53:02+00:00 <p>For a while now, I&#8217;ve been struggling with the concept of &#8216;hate crimes,&#8217; as <a href="" target="links">used in American law</a>. Part of my problem is described in the linked wikipedia article &mdash; it&#8217;s one of the areas of jurisprudence which gets most involved with the mindset of the criminal &mdash; not just whether he* planned the murder or knew what he was doing, but <em>why</em> he did it. It&#8217;s a fraught question, because it is nebulous and requires the court to ultimately know the killer&#8217;s motives, perhaps better than he does himself. There is also the issue of thoughtcrime &mdash; most of us don&#8217;t like the prospect of being prosecuted for thoughts, even if those thoughts are, in the case of hate crimes, pretty vile.</p> <p>That, I don&#8217;t think, is quite enough to throw out the concept of &#8216;hate crime&#8217; as an aggravating factor or separate charge entirely. But one thing I find particularly problematic about the &#8216;hate crime&#8217; label is inconsistencies in how it is deployed. For one thing, I think the legal defense <a href="" target="links">&#8220;gay panic&#8221;</a> is pretty much an admission of hate crime, not a defense against it, but that&#8217;s not my main point here. My main point is that certain groups aren&#8217;t protected. Particularly, women.</p> <p>Until today, this thought process of mine about hate crimes and women ended: &#8220;Aren&#8217;t most serial killers motivated by an irrational hatred of women? Why the hell aren&#8217;t <em>they</em> being prosecuted for hate crimes?&#8221; Well, today we have a new standard: <a href="" target="links">A gunman enters a school, has all the boys leave, and starts shooting girls</a>. (Not to be confused with the Colorado school shooting/hostage crisis last week, where the gunman <a href="" target="links">chose certain (mostly blonde) girls as hostages and sexually assaulted them</a>.) Of course, the gunmen in both cases are dead. That&#8217;s pretty much par for this particular course. So we won&#8217;t find out if any DA would consider prosecuting this as a hate crime. But I have a feeling that if the killer had let all the white schoolchildren out of a mixed-race classroom and started shooting at the remaining children, there would be no question.</p> <p>Should &#8216;hate crime&#8217; legislation be used to prosecute such a criminal, if we manage to catch one alive? Or is the entire &#8216;hate crime&#8217; designation too nebulous to remain in the body of American law? I am most certainly not a lawyer, and I really don&#8217;t know. It all just makes me tired and sad. What do you think, reader?</P> <p><small>* I use the male pronoun throughout. At first, I used &#8216;he/she&#8217;, but by the time I got to &#8216;himself/herself&#8217;, it had become ridiculous. Not all criminals are male, not all killers are male. I am adopting &#8216;he&#8217; for ease of use.</small></p>