Vigilante Injustice in Philadelphia

Reader Scribe writes in about a mob gone wild in Philly. From Scribe:

In connection with the alleged rape of an 11 year old girl, the police announced they were looking for a particular person of interest (not a suspect). Then the police union put out a reward of $10k for bringing him in by 5 PM.

Then, about an hour before the deadline, a mob grabbed the guy and beat him into critical condition (caught on surveillance video at a local bodega), such that a patrol unit had to rescue him from the mob. Then the head of the police union complimented the neighborhood for "really stepping up". And the mayor didn't even think to condemn this.


And the neighborhood gathered around the video at the bodega to cheer a replay of the mob beating.

And the guy beaten has not even been charged, though everyone is assuming he is guilty.

Vigilante justice is no justice at all.

More here.

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    The descent into barbarism accelerates (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by mcl on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:59:22 AM EST
    I warned people that if we legalize torture and kidnapping of "suspects" without charges and without trial, pretty soon we'd wind up burning witches on the streets.

    We're halfway there.

    The worst part (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Peter G on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:35:53 PM EST
    of the story, for those who may not have read it all the way through, is that the District Attorney and the police chief said yesterday that they do not intend to charge any of the members of the mob, even though they have good IDs on them.  In fact, the police commissioner said that members of the mob could be eligible for a share of the reward that was out for the capture of the rapist, if this guy is charged and convicted.  I'm not one to push for criminal prosecution normally, but I am astounded at this decision.  In fact, I agree with the FOP president who pointed out (not intending to make the same point I am making, but nevertheless correctly) that if police had beaten the suspect into critical condition while "subduing" and arresting him, those police would likely have been arrested.  A citizen on the street cannot have lawful authority (or official tolerance) to use unnecessary force in making a "citizen's arrest" (capture and hold for police) greater than what a presumably trained police officer would be authorized to use.  The relatively conservative local columnists in the Daily News condemns the violence.  In a sidebar to his column, you can vote on whether the vigilantes should be prosecuted.  Right now its about 65-26 (plus the "not sure"s) for No.  I voted Yes.

    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by lilburro on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:17:22 PM EST
    Not charging the members of this mob sure is a great way of ensuring mob violence doesn't happen all the time.  Yep.  What a situation.

    Sign of the times (none / 0) (#43)
    by Lora on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 09:15:16 PM EST
    When our leaders set a brutal example, it's much easier for the people to follow.

    The beating could have been a script right out of a movie.


    I remember Richard Ramirez (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Dadler on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:30:53 PM EST
    The Night Stalker serial killer in LA in the 80's.  Got attacked by a mob and beaten with a pipe when he was caught.

    Vigilant justice IS not justice at all, of course, but the bigger problem with it is that is inerently a part of all of us, the urge to vengeance.  Fighting it is fighting a part of human nature that doesn't go quietly.

    But we desperately need to overcome it.

    The public has always been given to vigilantism (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by MrConservative on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:42:33 PM EST
    But this has probably been accelerated by the modern pedohpile moral panic.  The police officer telling the barbarous mob that they were "really stepping up" is disgusting.

    It should pay the public no comfort to think that all the state has to do to kill someone is release an arrest warrant for them.

    The "pedophile panic" (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by JamesTX on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:33:40 PM EST
    is one of the shining accomplishments of the conservative movement for the very reason we are witnessing here. People have become convinced that offenses in that category (or now even remotely related) are special cases in which rules don't apply. That is the kind of society they want -- where someone can simply be nodded at by officials and the surrounding citizens attack. No rules. No law. No due process. It's a conservative's dream!

    There's something like a regression (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:34:46 PM EST
    to the ethos of the ant hill or a bacterial colony that seems to take over when a mob or a tribe is too much in accord concerning outside threats. Then there are those -- Im thinking of certain spin meisters and neocon slime -- who do their utmost to exploit the phenomenon.

    Great, politicize it. Nice move. (none / 0) (#25)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:04:40 PM EST
    So from the mayor and police chief down to the last of the vigilantes, what's your best guess as to how many of them consider themselves Dems?

    Me, I'm thinking just about all.


    Good point (none / 0) (#26)
    by tsfranklin on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:06:57 PM EST
    The problem here is more than liberal vs. conservative, but something society as a whole needs to address.

    Actually you have (none / 0) (#29)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:15:24 PM EST
    no way of knowing that "just about all" bit.

    Its not like the whole city and state votes Democrat. Plus, its a well known fact that if your line of work requires you to carry a gun and you vote Democrat, your weewee might shrivel up.


    Hence the words "I'm thinking." (none / 0) (#33)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:43:23 PM EST
    But, for the record, what if your line of work requires you to carry a gun and you vote Democrat, but you don't have a weewee?

    Eventually, I suppose, you'll explode (none / 0) (#49)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 02:49:15 PM EST
    and everything will get wet.

    Ha! (none / 0) (#50)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 03:01:34 PM EST
    Actually, you are (none / 0) (#32)
    by JamesTX on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:39:50 PM EST
    right as far as the current state of affairs. The fear and hatred of "sex perverts", and the ability to exploit that fear in order to stoke groups to impassioned hatred and violence, was one of the earliest strategies in the conservative takeover of the culture. It worked. It is now history. It was the birth of the "community watch" idea, and created the underlying assumption that society is made up of "us versus them". That was what conservatives yearned for -- a way to isolate and destroy its enemies without any reasoned process getting in the way.

    You are correct that this madness is now a bipartisan affair. But it is one of the major public campaigns that was used to re-popularize authoritarianism in the late seventies and early eighties. It is at the heart of what is wrong with our thinking about criminal justice, because it has spread far beyond its alleged original target (which was the political goal and purpose of it). It has literally changed the country and the entire criminal justice system. It has eliminated the issues of presumption of innocence and protection from overzealous prosecution and replaced them with an attitude that ends justify means in punishing the guilty.

    The current progressive movement will fail unless it recognizes this as a fundamental moral crisis in popular reasoning. We now have a whole generation who have never known any other way of thinking. Until we get this right, we're basically done, as far justice goes, that is. I guess we could be any number of things and maintain that system, but it isn't going to be a place anyone would want to live unless they have unusual wealth or power.


    Who was president in '94-'96?
    The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (the Wetterling Act) is a United States law that requires states to implement a sex offender and crimes against children registry.

    It was enacted as part of the Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

    [...]Congress amended the Wetterling Act in 1996 with Megan's Law, requiring law enforcement agencies to release information about registered sex offenders that law enforcement deems relevant to protecting the public.

    Also passed by Congress in 1996 was the Pam Lyncher Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act. This act requires the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to establish a national database of sex offenders to assist local enforcement agencies in tracking sex offenders across state lines.

    Get real. You are talking (none / 0) (#37)
    by JamesTX on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:09:15 PM EST
    about an Act of Congress, not an Executive Order. Who was in charge of Congress in those years? Also, the Clinton administration was not a progressive administration. It was placeholder -- an opportunity for Democrats to hold the executive, but they were Democrats in name only (DINO's). They had no chance of altering the groundswell of conservative sentiment in the country that was still boiling over from the Reagan revolution. All they were there to do was to protect the interests of wealthy industrialist Democrats who had been overrun by Republican policies. They knew they had no chance of actually furthering Democratic ideals on social policy, so they just basically did nothing and controlled damage where they could. They essentially went along to get along.

    I know, I know... (none / 0) (#38)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:14:40 PM EST
    The "bad" stuff he (or any Dem) did was becuase of the Republicans, and the "good" stuff he did was in spite of them.

    So glad you decided to politicize this.


    I am curious as (none / 0) (#42)
    by JamesTX on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 07:41:49 PM EST
    to what the alternative to "politicizing" the issue would be? It is political. Precisely, I would agree that some would like us to think of the issue as transcending politics, but that is part of the politics!

    It is a political issue that is peculiarly associated with a political movement. That movement was deeply organized, well funded, and was successful in large part. As a result, we now have the impression that it is some basic truth that transcends politics and has been with us "forever". But that is only if you have a very short memory (which politically, we seem to have).

    The "sex pervert" madness is something that emerged with the most significant political movement in the late twentieth century, and it followed with most of the other issues and strategies used in that movement. It's overall design was to deflect critical thought and dissatisfaction among the public away from authorities (who at that time were the target of criticism), and to target that aggression back into the population. The overall point message was this: Your enemies are among your peers, not among the executive authorities who police you. The "sex pervert" simply was a convenient vehicle for emphasizing and promoting that point of view and making it more palatable.

    At the time of that revolution, the baby boomers were mostly at the stage of life where they were parenting young children, and they naturally reacted to rhetoric which made them fear for their children. They were also still young enough to be overtly sexual, and thus it was easy to arouse their disgust with stories of perverted sexuality.

    Nothing in our history matches the results. Sex offenders have become the model cause for a frightening departure from traditional American values about justice. The ideas that started with sex offenders have spread to other offenses, and are dangerously close to becoming universal. The registration laws (public branding), and the other things like holding people beyond their sentences (civil commitment), are not matched by anything in our history. These practices are diametrically opposed to our most fundamental ideas about justice, and we see in our legal heritage repeated rejection of these practices. It takes a very active imagination to rationalize that these things are constitutional. They are blatant rejections of all the ideas behind the Bill of Rights. It is a blatant anti-constitutional attitude, but the conservative movement somehow sold us on it. We are not going to recover until someone comes up with an explanation. Otherwise, our rights are meaningless.

    Emotional froth that can be raised over sexuality provided a convenient vehicle for Americans to forget who we are. That is why it was chosen as a strategy for the conservative movement.

    In another post, I noticed a comment that summarizes the whole idea for me. I remember when the conservative mantra was, "why isn't anyone worried about the victim's rights?" The comment noted that as humans we are capable of multitasking. We can be worried about more than one thing. The rhetoric of the conservative movement has given us this impression that there is only one side to every issue, and that we must choose.

    Everyone is concerned about victims. But what good are we doing victims if we don't do real justice, and we just promote hasty conviction and punishment and vigilantism? For instance, the person who was convicted of killing the little girl in Plano named Ashley, and which led to a series of sex-offender laws in Texas called "Ashley's Laws" which made it easier to convict anyone of sexual offenses, turned out to be innocent. He was exonerated by DNA. Therein lies a very important message. The laws this man was convicted under were considered too weak, so we changed them to give a greater advantage to the prosecution. Then, it turns out the conviction obtained easily under those "insufficient and weak" laws was false! The guy didn't do it! Now, we have laws that make it even easier to convict, when the previous laws resulted in wrongful conviction to begin with. Where is the reason in this? I don't get it.

    It is political. It's all about the political beliefs which define how we view individual rights and due process. It isn't about sex offenses. It's about a way of doing things in criminal justice. And it is spreading. It is becoming the model for all criminal justice practices and attitudes, and it is a frightening departure from our most sacred constitutional values.


    The is a book that confirms this (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by 1980Ford on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:55:37 AM EST
    Politics and Plea Bargaining: Victims' Rights in California.

    It argues the conservative goal was never really victims' rights, but was the undoing of due process.


    Well, if you read it in a book (none / 0) (#47)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    it must be true.

    If conservatives (none / 0) (#56)
    by JamesTX on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 03:46:50 PM EST
    were as worried about victims as they claim they are, there wouldn't be so many victims in the world. Conservatives use sympathy for victims to advance their ... political agendas.

    Simply put, I think you're flat-out wrong. (none / 0) (#48)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 01:17:21 PM EST
    I think you've got an agenda and this incident is a (completely lame, imo) opportunity for you to advance that agenda.

    This is no time for a partisan witch hunt! (none / 0) (#51)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 03:05:39 PM EST
    there's a reason why people have agendas in the first place, su. Often they're based on peoples actual experiences and observations in the real world.

    OK, OK, you convinced me. (none / 0) (#52)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 03:24:49 PM EST
    Absent "the conservatives" the vigilante boyz in the hood would not have gotten upset that a neighborhood girl got raped and then beat up the guy they think raped her.

    Or is it absent "the conservatives" the Dem mayor wouldn't have thought them vigilante boyz were so phat? Or is it absent "the conservatives" the girl wouldn't have been raped in the first place?

    Ah, whatever, it's all still those evil "conservatives" fault...


    Not all, but partly (none / 0) (#53)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 03:29:45 PM EST
    as in, when you elevate an-eye-for-an-eye from a reflex experienced by everyone to an integral part of your platform

    I'm thinking (none / 0) (#54)
    by JamesTX on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 03:42:07 PM EST
    sarcastic unnamed one doesn't think my opinion is worth much! I respect that. An agenda? Perhaps. I do think there is some validity to understanding this type of behavior in terms of the conservative revolution. If you don't, that is fine. To point out that Dems are just as guilty of this kind of stuff as anyone else nowadays is a point I have already noted. Sure they are. But Dems are mostly conservatives nowadays, too! The shift in the Overton Window has made moderate conservatives look like liberals!

    "Agenda" has become rightspeak (none / 0) (#55)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 03:46:37 PM EST
    for an explanation I dont like and would prefer not to contmplate overly long.

    I'll be the first to admit though (none / 0) (#57)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 04:19:35 PM EST
    that when I, Mr Liberal think about how I would respond if someone did something horrible to one of my kids some very unpretty scenarios run through my mind.

    Who doesn't feel (none / 0) (#59)
    by JamesTX on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 06:29:16 PM EST
    that way? That is human nature. Somehow the people on the other side of this issue paint those of us who support the rule of law as being animals of some sort who don't understand those feelings and don't empathize with victims. I am frequently told that I "support child rapists". Nothing could be further from the truth.

    There is a difference between understanding the feelings and believing those feelings should be allowed to run roughshod over reason and justice. That is the difference. What somehow gets suppressed under the conservative reasoning is the prospect of the opposite state of affairs, which is even more likely when we don't allow sufficient due process and require sufficient evidence. How would you feel if you had to visit your child in prison for the rest of your life or watch your child executed -- for something they didn't do? Many parents have to do that. Based on the number that are luckily exonerated, and the chances of finding exonerating evidence after the dust has cleared, the number who suffer that fate must be even larger.


    Well said, James (none / 0) (#62)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 08:24:40 PM EST
    Currious James (none / 0) (#58)
    by Rojas on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 04:29:52 PM EST
    Was/Is MADD a conservative movement?

    Yes. (none / 0) (#60)
    by JamesTX on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 06:47:11 PM EST
    I suppose you are going to tell me Democrats are involved! I don't argue that.

    Why? Because the laws they have caused to be enacted are not just, and they go beyond what is reasonable in assigning culpability for death. The notion of vehicular homicide is a terribly skewed idea. Those laws assign responsibility for death even in cases where the person was not directly responsible for the death, based solely on what they have in their blood system. It is a throwback to the historical idea that anyone who broke religious rules was responsible for earthquakes. It is the idea that simply because you are doing something wrong, you are responsible for anything bad that happens around you.

    Is driving under the influence dangerous? Yes. Should it be prosecuted? Yes. Could a drunk person cause a death? Of course. Should they held responsible when they do? Yes. Is every person who has been drinking and is involved in a fatal car crash always criminally responsible for that death? No. Not by a long shot. Sure, in some cases, but not in others. The law creates an imaginary act of murder where none exists based solely on the person's blood alcohol concentration. It is the idea that just because we don't like some behavior, we can just arbitrarily upgrade it to murder in order to get the penalties we want. It's sort of like the law of parties. That is folly.

    And no ... I don't "support drunk driving"!


    MADD has been very successfull (none / 0) (#63)
    by Rojas on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:54:31 PM EST
    Much more so than child sexual assaults as in your previous example. Seems there's a DWI exeption to the constitution.
    A 130 lb. woman leaves a restaurant after having one glass of wine with a minor child in the car is felony child endangerment in this state these days. Way over the top.

    It is bizarre. (none / 0) (#64)
    by JamesTX on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:45:41 PM EST
    It is such a difficult position to argue because one is so easily accused of supporting bad activities or supporting the crimes. People shouldn't get in cars with children after drinking, but there are million shades of gray in the level of egregiousness of that act. There are many things about putting a child in a car that are much more of a threat to the child's safety than whether the driver has been drinking, but those things never show up in the law. Most of those things are not felonies, if they are crimes at all. A parent too tired or preoccupied to drive who takes children 50 miles across crowded freeways so he or she can visit a friend (or to shop) is much more dangerous than a parent who is over the limit, but conscious and reactive, who takes a child two blocks on residential streets to see a doctor or for some other important reason. There is no comparison in the risks or the morality of the behavior.

    The problem is religious authoritarianism, and an attempt to use the law to enforce religious rules about temperance. This is a legal blog, and I realize lawyers don't much think in those terms. It doesn't matter why the law was made, it only matters that it is the law. Since we have had twenty years of being ruled by religious fundamentalists in many state legislatures, they don't see the obvious irrationality. So we now have a whole new set of laws of which many are thinly veiled attempts to enforce religious values. They therefore don't make any sense in terms of what we have traditionally viewed the role of the government in this country to be. You can't tell me there is no consequence for having laws that don't make any sense. Eventually, we will pay for it in one way or another. When laws don't make any sense, there is no way to develop an abstract system of rules or heuristics for determining what is right and wrong. That is, you have to be an expert in the law to obey it, because there is no natural system of reasoning that will give you any clue as to what is likely to be legal and illegal. It is unpredictable, unless you know what the people who made the laws value and how they think. Nowadays, the people who have made many of these laws value religious authoritarianism of a peculiar type, although that motive is officially proscribed in federal law. Authoritarianism, which is the construct I use to define liberal and conservative categories, is intimately tied to religion and religious dogma. That doesn't mean all religious people are conservatives, or that all are unreasonable. It just means that a very powerful group of religious authoritarians have fought to gain control of government over the last few years, and have largely succeeded. They have produced a wealth of laws that don't make any sense, unless you understand that they are writing Christian laws, and you understand the peculiar moral reasoning system of fundamentlist Christians. We are weaker as a society because of it. It would be better if they just came out and said they were writing fundamentalist Christian law as the law of the land. That way, people could better predict what is likely to get you in trouble and what is not.


    But James, at least in Texas, (none / 0) (#67)
    by Rojas on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 09:35:25 AM EST
    those religious fundamentalists in the state legislatures were forced to action by a Democratic president who was withholding federal hiway funds. That is the typical control model.

    And the reason I mentioned MADD is because they have been the most successful at lowerering the evidencery standards and redifining the criteria for the commision of a crime. And it's through the work of MADD that the basic protections in the BOR have been eliminated wholesale in a manner only dreamed about by the worst of the law and order advocates.
    So you can point fingers at fundamentalist Christian groups and say they are the problem, but it's inaccurate. They do however represent a threat.
    The reality is there is a evangelical nature to most of the victim's reform movements in this country. They are mostly true believers with no regard for due process. But the nature of their true beliefs have little to do with Christian thelogy. Conserving fundimental constitutional protections are not on their radar.


    Thanks! (none / 0) (#68)
    by JamesTX on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 10:23:33 AM EST
    This is interesting, and something I should know more about:

    ...those religious fundamentalists in the state legislatures were forced to action by a Democratic president who was withholding federal hiway funds. That is the typical control model.

    Any help in understanding that would be appreciated. I can say that riding around Texas in Cadillacs drinking beer used to be a standard behavior for powerful politicians and business leaders in Texas, so I suspect there was some face saving and foot dragging in making that into a moral issue.

    I think there are two levels of explanation, and you have tapped into the upper level. There are the real reasons for the power plays, and then there are the myths that are simply used to manipulate the population. There is the real reason for destroying due process and the mythical reason which is taught to the public. The real reason is always empowerment of the elite; that is, eliminating services to and rights of the poor. And then there is the mythical reason which causes those poor people to pull the "R" lever against their own interests (we'll get those sex perverts away from your kids and put a stop to all this Godless partying). I don't think religious fundamentalists in state legislatures are so much religious fundamentalists themselves as they are running on religious fundamentalist platforms and writing criminal law which satisfies religious fundamentalists in the population and brings in votes. But they support the religious fundamentalist culture, ultimately, because they know it is an authoritarian culture. That culture allows them to implement policy from high levels which will be simply obeyed, and not questioned, at lower levels. That is what religious fundamentalism teaches as morality: Authoritarianism and obedience.

    I guess I would say that powerful politicians support, cultivate, and nourish religious fundamentalism because it is authoritarian, but it is the authoritarianism they are more interested in than the religion. The groups themselves, as I suspect you imply, are simply pawns, although not entirely innocent or benign from a civil rights perspective.


    And riding around in Pickup trucks..... (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Rojas on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 12:27:12 PM EST
    with gunracks.... and goat ropers need love too bumper stickers...

    It was a right of everyone with a healthy distinction between drinking and driving and the crime of drunk driving.

    The stick.

    "Congress passed the .08 BAC measure on October 6, 2000, as part of the Federal Transportation Appropriations Bill.

    States have until October 1, 2003, to pass a .08 BAC "per se" law that would meet the provisions of an existing federal incentive grant or face the withholding of 2 percent of their federal highway construction funds, as part of the new .08 law. States that have not passed a .08 BAC law by October 1, 2004, will lose 4 percent of their federal highway construction funds. States without .08 BAC per se laws by October 1, 2005, will lose 6 percent of their federal highway construction funds, and on October 1, 2006, and each year thereafter, states without .08 BAC laws will lose 8 percent of their funds. If states lose funding in 2003, they have four years to pass .08 BAC when the money can be returned to the states upon passage."

    Also notice this is a "per se" law wich means the crime is no longer defined as driving while being impaired.


    Thanks! (none / 0) (#73)
    by JamesTX on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 12:42:26 PM EST
    I am not familiar with that in detail, and I will want to look into more of that history. It is important, but it is something that didn't get the press that other things got during that period. Since I didn't have any reason to be involved with it (I had learned by that time to never drink and drive), I just didn't hear much about it. Of course, that kind of apathy is part of the problem!

    I am very interested (none / 0) (#61)
    by JamesTX on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 07:55:26 PM EST
    by the way, in what my categorizing it as so tells you about me. Perhaps I can clear that up without answering a lot of questions!

    I am strongly and probably excessively anti-authoritarian. To extremes. Yes. You can get me on that! I err toward restraint of authority, probably more than is warranted and certainly more than the average person -- liberal or conservative -- sees as reasonable. But I, too, have my viewpoint, and I don't see it as any more ridiculous or extreme in the liberal direction than what is accepted as "centrist" today is in the conservative direction.

    So, what does "conservative" and "liberal" mean? I realize that is an academic question and very complicated. In times of upheaval, those categories become blurred, and I think the "conservative movement" was one of those times. I don't think the two factor model (social versus economic liberalism) is always needed. I think the second factor emerges during times of transition, and then disappears in the stable times.

    I see the most important distinction being attitudes toward authority (dogmatism). I am anti-authoritarian in a sort of balancing or corrective way, because the conservative movement, for me, was all about empowering arbitrary authority, reducing individual protections from arbitrary authority, and creating Draconian penalties to terrify those who might think about questioning authority. The purpose was to create a more easily managed society for elites.


    You are using these terms in a manner (none / 0) (#66)
    by Rojas on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 08:27:59 AM EST
    that suits you and not in any conventional sense. I have nothing but respect for classic liberal ideals and classic liberal thought. It represents the best of our traditions and is certainly worth preserving, conserving.

    But your attempt at writing all things off to a conservative conspiracy against due process is wrong headed and simplistic in my view. It ignores the journey.

    The contemporary victims rights movement has its roots in the woman's movement with advocacy for anti-rape and battered woman issues and reform. Such advocacy led to a partnership with law and order conservatives and the resulting punitive and anti due process legislation. This became the model for other victim's advocacy groups and their ascendancy into the federal arena where crime control legislation (dollars) would be used as the big stick and carrot needed to direct state legislatures. The result is the authoritarian state we have today with incarceration rates that would make Stalin blush.


    The classical (none / 0) (#69)
    by JamesTX on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 10:38:39 AM EST
    liberal view is the second factor I was talking about, and I think it is good, too. It is the context of time which alters the situation. Those values are based on the assumption that there is opportunity, which was plentiful at the time the ideas flourished.

    When I say so-called progressives and liberals today still champion conservative values, I am talking about your second statement. There are no liberals anymore. There is authoritarian feminism and authoritarian fundamentalist Christianity. The authoritarians...won. That's why I am sitting all alone, writing things on blogs that sound nutty to anyone who reads them! If authoritarianism is the evil, that fits nicely with classical liberalism.


    authoritarianism is inheirent in many (none / 0) (#70)
    by Rojas on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 11:54:03 AM EST
    movements. But the end result is that is will be used to protect the status quo.

    Once again, Brandies said it best;
    "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal well meaning but without understanding."

    I don't think your views are nutty at all. I think you fairly and objectively describe the current situation. My concern is that you will turn away many potential allies if you fail present your discussion using conventional terms. There were many self identified conservatives who saw and correctly predicted and identified the threat inherent in the rise of the machine. Like the liberals of the day their views were marginalized and cast into the abyss of extremism by contemporary politicians who knew these ideas were a threat to their source of power. Those same politicians are still running the show.


    Thanks for (none / 0) (#72)
    by JamesTX on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 12:32:05 PM EST
    your kind words, and for drawing attention to this problem of how I sometimes carelessly use the conservative and liberal categories. I know those are confusing ideas, but you have illuminated some important perspectives for me.

    Wow. I just read some of (none / 0) (#1)
    by ding7777 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:36:03 AM EST
     the comments against the reporter for condemning Mayor Nutter's response...

    Look away (none / 0) (#2)
    by Spamlet on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:49:18 AM EST
    It's hideous.

    Which is why when I wrote TL, (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:52:47 AM EST
    my re line was "Why Philly is going to Hell".

    That city has, for whatever reason(s), lived far too long under the spell of violent suppression and oppression of minorities and poor/working class by both the police and their fellow minorities and poor/working class.  They think themselves "tough", but in reality they are acting stupid.

    And, FWIW, that's the same reason I commented yesterday that there's a reason Philadelphia police occasionally have to dodge sniper fire.  They and the whole city are suffused with the stupid idea of violent retribution as the appropriate response to anything.

    Then again, any city where Frank Rizzo gets the full-wall Chairman Mao mural treatment (note the people in the foreground, for scale) should not be surprised when violence and vigilantism become the rule, not the exception.


    Oops. (none / 0) (#4)
    by scribe on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:55:07 AM EST
    I don't know what your experience is (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:21:30 PM EST
    with Philadelphia, but I don't think that's a really complete picture of the city.

    No, it is not a complete picture of the city, (none / 0) (#9)
    by scribe on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:33:00 PM EST
    but it's a pretty prominent part of any portrait of it.

    One thing I can say for sure (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:44:58 PM EST
    is that it's not Frank Rizzo's city anymore. The people who put him in office are a distinct minority today.

    The people may have changed, but (none / 0) (#13)
    by scribe on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:02:56 PM EST
    the attitude remains.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#23)
    by joanneleon on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:58:53 PM EST
    I don't think that's an accurate picture of Philadelphia either.

    Ugh (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:21:50 PM EST

    That first link is disturbing (none / 0) (#10)
    by nycstray on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:37:48 PM EST

    I think it is pretty horrible (none / 0) (#11)
    by lilburro on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:41:44 PM EST
    that Mayor Nutter would not condemn it.  And I'm sure the connection between the violence of a mob's revenge and the violence of rape is not lost on people...it's not like vigilante justice makes the streets any safer for women.  

    What the heck is going on in Philly?

    So essentially the police put out a contract (none / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:49:28 PM EST
    on the guy, for a mob to do to him what they could not without consequences to their careers? This is beyond vigilante justice.

    Keeping mob justice (none / 0) (#21)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:53:27 PM EST
    and vigilantism in check: I thought thats what Phillies home games were for.

    Heh, I always thought home games were for (none / 0) (#22)
    by nycstray on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:58:15 PM EST
    screaming out your stress {grin} Speaking of which . . .

    {goes and checks baseball scheds}


    And could easily spin out of their (none / 0) (#36)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:01:43 PM EST
    control too at some point.  The police and politicians have engaged in a dangerous game here.

    With all due respect (none / 0) (#24)
    by tsfranklin on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:01:30 PM EST
    Where's the anger about the brutality and injustice suffered by the little girl?

    gee, did i miss something? (none / 0) (#27)
    by cpinva on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:11:46 PM EST
    Where's the anger about the brutality and injustice suffered by the little girl?

    has this guy been charged and found guilty, of anything, yet? i didn't think so.

    the problem with red herrings is that after a short time, like house guests, they go bad.


    Yes, you did miss something. (none / 0) (#30)
    by tsfranklin on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:22:44 PM EST
    I didn't say anything about the guilt or innocence of the individual guy who was beat up. Instead, I asked where the anger was for what the little girl suffered through.

    We are adults (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by MrConservative on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:37:17 PM EST
    We can multi-task.  Opposition to vigilantism /= lack of respect for victims.  Vigilantism does no respect to victims.  It's an entirely selfish response that is designed to please YOUR OWN reptile brain.

    And this blog's main purpose is to report on news like this, it's not a standard crime blog.


    It is pretty evident in the actions (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:59:36 PM EST
    of the mod - the anger for what the little girl suffered through that is.

    Clearly, no one supports what happened to her.  But that doesn't mean that a mob-gone-wild beating of a guy who may or may not be guilty is going to help her or any other victim of a crime either.


    no, really, i didn't. (none / 0) (#39)
    by cpinva on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 07:11:29 PM EST
    Yes, you did miss something.

    go back to fishing, see if you can catch something with a bit more substance to it.


    I like to think some things can go without saying (none / 0) (#41)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 07:24:05 PM EST
    Guess not.

    oh, and that would be (none / 0) (#40)
    by cpinva on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 07:16:24 PM EST
    Instead, I asked where the anger was for what the little girl suffered through.

    allegedly. at this point, there's no evidence such an event actually occured, much less that the individual in question was involved.

    facts are funny old things, you can't make them up. so no rebecca, tsfranklin has no point at all, much less a good one.

    I wouldn't say there's "no evidence" (none / 0) (#44)
    by Peter G on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 09:53:18 PM EST
    that the "event" occurred:  "The girl was attacked Monday morning shortly after she dropped off her sister at a day-care center and began walking along the 3300 block of Kensington Avenue. The girl told police that her attacker had said he had a gun and forced her to walk to the 2000 block of East Westmoreland Street, where he attacked her behind a house.
        Police described the attack as "sadistic," and the girl required surgery at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. She went home Wednesday."
     Seems to me that the 11-year-old's statements and the nature of her injuries, as corroborated by the hospital, are "evidence."  I agree that what sort of evidence there may (or may not) be about the guy who was attacked by the mob is presently unknown.

    pretty rare reward (none / 0) (#45)
    by diogenes on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:04:26 PM EST
    How many police unions offer a reward to capture a mere "person of interest" to be a witness?  I'd bet that the rapist (whoever he was) was a high risk to reoffend quickly, thus the reward.    

    i would. (none / 0) (#65)
    by cpinva on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 03:42:38 AM EST
    I wouldn't say there's "no evidence"

    uncorroborated statements, regardless of how compelling the alleged victim is, are just that, nothing more. they aren't evidence. that description could, i suspect, fit quite a number of men in that area, including the victim of the beating.

    the source of her injuries is unknown, at this point, regardless of the "description" provided by the police, and the "nature" of them provided by the hospital. since the police weren't there, it's just their opinion, totally lacking in any factual foundation.

    again, no evidence at this point. if this girl was, indeed, sexually assaulted (or assaulted period), i sympathize with her and her family, and hope they catch the scum bag. unfortunately, by essentially allowing a mob to attack someone not even identified as a suspect, if he does turn out to be the guy, the police and mob may have just deep-sixed his prosecution.

    nice work.

    i thought it odd as well, that a police union was putting out a reward, for someone other than a suspect in a policemen's shooting. what's up with that?


    Well (none / 0) (#76)
    by Lora on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 04:11:41 PM EST
    I'm wondering what could have happened to the girl if not rape.

    I suppose she could have had an accident resulting in severe injuries requiring surgery, and said it was rape?

    Or, she could have deliberately harmed herself severely at 11 years old, or invited someone to harm her?

    Seems very unlikely, doesn't it?

    Perhaps slightly more likely, but still unlikely, the police made it up...?


    Physical evidence claimed by police (none / 0) (#74)
    by Lora on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 04:01:06 PM EST
    According to Captain John Darby (emphasis added):

    Capt. John Darby, the commander of the Special Victims Unit, said at a morning news conference that police wanted to bring Carrasquillo in only "for contempt of court, for a prior summary offense."

    But he added that investigators had "linked [Carrasquillo] through physical evidence" to a rear yard on Westmoreland Street near Emerald, where the rape occurred.

    However (none / 0) (#75)
    by Lora on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 04:05:48 PM EST
    There is apparently no physical evidence reported yet to link Carrasquillo to the rape itself.

    what offense? (none / 0) (#77)
    by diogenes on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 10:35:34 PM EST
    What was the prior offense for which they wanted him for contempt of court?  Was it traffic tickets or violating orders of protection vis-a-vis child abuse issues?  I have no idea, although I'm sure the police union knew.

    Another man got stomped (none / 0) (#78)
    by 1980Ford on Sun Jun 07, 2009 at 01:27:44 PM EST
    Wrong man attacked in vigilante injustice

    This one was not guilty of anything.