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Comment This isn't a victory for Behring-Breivik. (Score 3, Insightful) 491

Someone once pointed out that hoping a rapist gets raped in prison isn't a victory for his victim(s), because it somehow gives him what he had coming to him, but it's actually a victory for rape and violence. I wish I could remember who said that, because they are right. The score doesn't go Rapist: 1 World: 1. It goes Rape: 2.

What this man did is unspeakable, and he absolutely deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. If he needs to be kept away from other prisoners as a safety issue, there are ways to do that without keeping him in solitary confinement, which has been shown conclusively to be profoundly cruel and harmful.

Putting him in solitary confinement, as a punitive measure, is not a victory for the good people in the world. It's a victory for inhumane treatment of human beings. This ruling is, in my opinion, very good and very strong for human rights, *precisely* because it was brought by such a despicable and horrible person. It affirms that all of us have basic human rights, even the absolute worst of us on this planet.

Comment Re:"Investigation" doesn't mean "harrassment" (Score 1) 282

That's an excellent and relevant question.

There is a balance that needs to happen here - on one hand, an understanding that law enforcement will need to legitimately poke their noses into people's business from time to time. It is certainly to society's benefit that law enforcement be allowed to act with a degree of preemption rather than purely reactionary.

But at the same time, there must also be an understanding that law enforcement is composed of *people*, who are every bit as fallible and subject to moments of weakness, temptation, and corruption as any other people - and so accordingly must be required to act out in the open, subject to inspection. And when law enforcement *does* overstep their bounds, they must be held accountable.

We, as a society, have been lax on the latter. We've allowed some elements of law enforcement to run amok (motivated by mostly good intentions to be sure). Those transgressions are slowly being corrected, and constant vigilance is good practice.

By the same token though, assuming that *all* law enforcement activity is unjustified and harmful is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The pendulum cannot swing too far over in the other direction.

And most of the top comments in this thread are just mindless shoves at the pendulum. More balance and moderation is required.

Comment "Investigation" doesn't mean "harrassment" (Score 5, Insightful) 282

And as a corollary:

"Hello, Authorities? I think this man is up to No Good. I'm seeing behavior that leads me to think a Plot is Afoot.".

"Thank you Sir. We'll check it out."

[an Investigation is Conducted]

"Well, it turns out that there's nothing going on that contravenes the law. No Nefarious Plot. We'll file this in our archives and move on to something else."

The fact that an investigation was conducted in response to a complaint is *to be expected*. That's what the "I" in "FBI" is all about. The good news here was that when the investigation turned up nothing illegal, it was shelved.

Now it is certainly true that during the McCarthy Era, there *were* investigations that went too far, and innocent people suffered consequences even when they were never charged and convicted. There was much for law enforcement and government to learn during this time period. I'm certainly no fan of witch hunts - especially ones where the definition of "witch" is not well defined.

But it is also true that there *were* foreign agents about, and they *were* seeking to do harm. Investigating leads that might end up in a legitimate conviction is a good thing. Dropping an investigation that proves unfounded is also a good thing.

But Oh Noes! Government! Security! These things must be bad, right?

Comment Re:FOIA isn't meant to support a business model. (Score 1) 139

Why "ride the coattails" rather than "stand on the shoulders of giants"?

Is it so terrible that someone might benefit from someone else's work? That multiple eyeballs see the same info, multiple brains ponder meaning, multiple voices tell its story?

Attempting to protect exclusivity with public information is not the right answer.

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