Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Coming up sometime today — I have little doubt of this — is a protestation that “State Representative Fagan’s remarks were taken out of context.” Let’s go ahead and do our homework before we’re asked to do it this time, and consider the sad case of James Fagan of Massachusetts. I feel like this is where Rod Serling should glide into view and intone, “submitted for your approval…James…Fagan.”
Let me tell you why it’s so wrong, It’s so wrong because in these situations…that 6-year-old is going to sit in front of me, or somebody far worse than me and I’m going to rip them apart. I’m going to make sure that the rest of their life is ruined. That when they’re 8 years old they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep. When they’re 19 years old they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody. And that’s not because I’m a nice guy. That’s because when you’re in court, and you’re defending somebody’s liberty, and you’re facing a mandatory sentence of those draconian proportions, you have to do every single thing you can do on behalf of your client. That is your obligation as a trial lawyer.
The point he’s trying to make, is the same one that’s been made by our liberals about “torture” inflicted by the United States at Guantanamo, and about the three-strikes in California. It’s a cute little way of playing at cause-and-effect thinking, by those who are all but complete strangers to cause-and-effect thinking.
It goes like this: If you have a twenty year automatic sentence for one conviction of child rape, and I’m a defense attorney and my client’s been accused of it, I will be playing “accuse the accuser” all the time with each case that comes up, because I’m going to be holding nothing back when it comes to keeping my client out of jail for two decades.
So you see, there’s just a scintilla of reasoned consideration of consequences in what he’s saying. Just enough to give the feeling that that’s being done. It would be funny, were the subject matter different.
If this were an honest argument, legislators like Fagan would be making the same one when it’s time to raise the minimum wage. I can hear it now. “If I’ve got twenty kids working for me and next week they’re going to be costing me an extra $400 a week, I’m gonna rip them apart!” When’s the last time you heard Fagan, or anyone from his party, saying anything like that.
But you see, that would be a far more reasonable implementation of this cause-and-effect method of debate. If I have twenty people working for me at $7 an hour — or if I’m just thinking of hiring that many — you have to assume that as a businessman, I’m going to instigate a change in my plans if & when that goes up to $8. It’s quite unavoidable.
Contrasted with that, Fagan’s argument only makes sense if he can say “life, for our child molestation victims, will remain relatively pleasant and carefree if we ritually allow our predators to take a walk after a token rap on the knuckles.” That’s the opposite side of the coin that is his argument, and I’m afraid it’s so patently absurd that nobody’s going to step up and even pretend to put their name by that. Quite to the contrary, Charles at Constitutionally Right puts the kibosh on that whole thing, adroitly and concisely:
While it is true that it is a defense attorney’s obligation to defend his or her client to the best of his of her ability, that is true in all cases. Mr. Fagan would have you believe that he would be harsher in his cross examination of the victim if his client is facing 20 years then if he was only facing 5 years. His illogical, and downright offens[iv]e argument is that by mandating a sentence of 20 years, the State legislature will be victimizing the child by forcing him and his peers to traumatize the little girl on the witness stand. In essence, he argues that the only way to prevent him from “ruining” her life, is by offering leniency to the child rapist in the hopes he does not attack another young girl.
The victims of these predators have already lost what they’re going to lose. Yes, it’s heartbreaking to even consider them being “torn apart” like that, and that does happen, but the reality is they didn’t make the situation. The prosecution didn’t make the situation, the legislators who would sign off on the law didn’t make the situation. The predator did, and he deserves to go away for a long time. The crime itself has lasting effects; the cross-examination, brutal as it may be, does not. It’s a sacrifice some families choose not to make, but that others do, to make sure others aren’t traumatized the same way.
Here’s another way to look at it: If we pass this law, and in another twenty years we have a whole generation of grown-ups who were raped and brutalized as little kids and then “torn apart” by the defense attorneys because of Jessica’s Law…will it make sense, at that time, to say “darn that Jessica’s law, all these people were forever psychologically damaged because they were torn apart on the witness stand by the defense attorneys“?
No, that would be a very silly thing to say. Fagan’s argument, therefore, is not only lacking in merit but wholly disingenuous as well. Quite to the contrary, finding ourselves up to our armpits in traumatized adults who were victimized as kids, we’d blame the perpetrators. And, if for some reason there was a sharp up-tick in persons known to have been so brutalized by then, we’d say “Thank God for Jessica’s law putting these creeps away for twenty-five years, I wonder how bad the problem would be if we didn’t have that.”
That would be only reasonable. If that happens in the wake of passing Jessica’s Law. But the evidence indicates, overall, that the innocent are victimized in direct proportion to the leniency built into our justice system. You lock up bad people, crime goes down, you let ‘em out, crime goes up. And that, right there, is the cause-and-effect argument Fagan is trying to avoid: If we don’t want our children molested so that it becomes necessary to put them on that stand in the first place, what do we do with our convicted child molesters? Lock ‘em up, or let ‘em out?
Cassy thinks we should go ahead and just execute them. Frankly, at this point, I’m not entirely sure I disagree with that anymore. There are real lives being put in danger while we tolerate these utterly absurd nonsensical arguments from people like James Fagan, and if we just execute the child molesters we can stop arguing about them. At that point, who knows what happens to Representative Fagan. A good chunk of his reason-for-being would go away, then, so he could retire from his state legislature and pursue whatever other leisurely activities he has in mind. My guess would be going fishing, ripping the fish apart, making sure they can’t sleep, making them throw up. Whatever.
Update: Mark Lunsford, father of the Jessica after whom the law is named, responds:
“Why doesn’t he figure out a way to defend that child and put these kind of people away instead of trying to figure ways for defense attorneys to get around Jessica’s Law?” Mark Lunsford fumed, slamming recent remarks by Rep. James Fagan. “These are very serious crimes that nobody wants to take serious. What about the rights of these children?”
Lunsford, whose daughter Jessica was raped and murdered in Florida by a repeat sex offender, will be in Massachusetts tomorrow to push lawmakers to pass Jessica’s Law, which would require a 20-year sentence for rape of a child under 12. The House passed a watered-down version of the bill last week but Lunsford and other victims’ rights activists will be pushing the Senate to include mandatory prison time in the final law.
“If this bill is not going to put these people away, don’t disrespect me by putting my daughter’s name on it,” Lunsford told the Herald last night. “You have to put these guys in prison and admit these people are uncurable.”
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