Paul Chambers Planning To Blow His Twitter Joke Trial Sky High...

from the that's-a-joke... dept

Paul Chambers, who has now lost twice in court for making a joke on Twitter (talking about "blowing [an] airport sky high!!" if it didn't reopen from weather delays), which everyone (including the police) agree was a joke, is now threatening to blow the case sky high, by appealing to the UK High Court. One would hope that the folks at the UK High Court recognize the chilling effects of prosecuting someone for making a silly statement on social networks that clearly had no intent behind it. Again -- before people accuse otherwise -- I have no problem with the message being investigated by police to make sure it wasn't serious. However, once it was clear that it was not a real threat, then no charges should have been brought. In the meantime, I'm still wondering what kind of terrorists first Tweet that they're actually going to blow up an airport... Perhaps the folks behind the TSA's security team can answer that...


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 6:22pm

    "I'm still wondering what kind of terrorists first Tweet that they're actually going to blow up an airport... Perhaps the folks behind the TSA's security team can answer that..."

    The ones that want to make it easy for the government to catch them.

     

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    kyle clements (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 6:29pm

    "I'm still wondering what kind of terrorists first Tweet that they're actually going to blow up an airport... Perhaps the folks behind the TSA's security team can answer that..."

    The same ones who want to make binary explosives, but require 3.1 ounces of each fluid?

     

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    TehZomB (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 6:32pm

    Horray for common sense. I can't believe they actually convicted the poor guy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 6:44pm

    Again -- before people accuse otherwise -- I have no problem with the message being investigated by police to make sure it wasn't serious. However, once it was clear that it was not a real threat, then no charges should have been brought.

    Where's the deterrent effect in just being let go once they determine it's a joke? That just wouldn't work.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 7:33pm

    Re: A matter of who needs to be deterred.

    "Where's the deterrent effect in just being let go once they determine it's a joke? That just wouldn't work."

    It's obviously police and prosecutor and courts who need to be deterred from acting without sense. Officious idiots who act on "if even 1% chance" or to score another case are a greater danger by far to citizens than any alleged terrorists.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 7:34pm

    Why would you make an explosive? termite (rust and aluminum) can go right through security as can LI battery's. LI can explode and often does when over charged.

    Face it, anyone who wants to take a plane down can do so with little to no difficulty and with things already allowed.

    The only true solution is no bags, a paper jumper for clothing and an oral and non-oral enema to be 100% sure.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 7:36pm

    "In the meantime, I'm still wondering what kind of terrorists first Tweet that they're actually going to blow up an airport"

    Actually, that's not so surprising. It was common practice for the IRA to call the police and tell them just before they were going to blow something up in England.

     

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    Big Al, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 7:57pm

    Re:

    I remember those times - it gave the police enough time to evacuate the area (but normally not enough time to find and defuse the bomb). The warning was always given with a pre-determined code-word which they had been made known to the authorities previously.
    However, the IRA didn't usually target civilians - they were known to only target soldiers, police and government figures along with (normally government) property. That way they were seen as 'legitimate' fighters rather than haphazard murderers. Mind you, blowing up pubs that squaddies frequented along with the general public kind of destroyed that image...

     

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    Jay S (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 8:02pm

    Tweeted threat

    Re: I have no problem with the message being investigated by police to make sure it wasn't serious. However, once it was clear that it was not a real threat, then no charges should have been brought. But there needs to be a deterrent for fools who joke about committing terrorist acts. Perhaps they should be charged for the cost of the investigation. Similar tactics are being used for people who damage infrastructure.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 9:02pm

    Fast, Cheap, Good. Choose Two.

    This is what happens when you let a bunch of off-shored developers and analysts running the system.

    So they choose "fast and cheap" to get actionable information but when they find it's not good, they're caught with their pants down and lobby to change societal norms.

    So they call on The State to criminalize comedy/satire/parody so they don't have to hire that army of intelligence analysts to sift through the information.

    Why? So the executive can purchase a 70-foot yacht for saving money that would normally take an army of intelligence analysts to get "Fast and Good" information.

    Duh!

     

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    Chargone (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 11:25pm

    Re: Tweeted threat

    ... there's prank calling the police, then there's making a comment of the sort people often do in the normal course of events to express frustration.

    they're two very different things.

    this was far more the latter than the former. kinda like if you heard someone say the same thing to his mates, ya know?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 1:07am

    I think they didnt pat down his little tweet correctly

     

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    darryl, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 1:14am

    Where is the joke Mike ??

    A joke is intended to make you laugh, a threat is intended to convey a threat. Mike do you know the difference between a joke and a threat. A threat of terror to be more precise.

    this is not a prank call and it was not done as a joke..

    The only two people who said it was a joke, is the arresting cop and his laywer. Not even the guy who said it said it was as a joke.

    He said it was done out of anger and frustration, Mike,, anger and frustration is not a joke !!!

    And who are you to decide if what he said to nearly 500 people can be considered a threat, sure it is not a threat to you as you are no where near the airport.

    But if you are working at that airport, and HAVE to be there, there someone saying that are going to blow up your place of work IS a threat, and it might, and probably will instill fear into any normal person.

    Especially if they are at that airport.

    So it was not a message to a 'few close friends' it was a broadcast to about 500 people, and it was publicly available to millions of people.

    So only Mike, his defense lawyer and a cop think it was a joke, no one else sees it as such, they see it for what it is, and what it was intented to do, instill fear into the people at the airport.

    "Do something about the delays OR ELSE". is a threat..

    If it is a joke, then Mike let us in on the punchline..

    The punchline will be that guy going to prison for being heavily fined for causing or instilling terror, and making a threat to a national and federal asset.

    And if they could fine him for being stupid they would do that as well.. I would

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 2:06am

    Re: Where is the joke Mike ?? He's ranting at you again that's where

    And if they could fine him for being stupid they would do that as well.. I would
    If that legislation ever comes in I hope you have a very very very large bank balance.
    As for the rest.... I don't apparantly speak the same language as you so I've given up trying to translate into english. What's the weather like on your planet?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 2:17am

    Another "what kind"

    I'm still wondering what kind of terrorists first Tweet that they're actually going to blow up an airport...
    The kind that have underground (or mountaintop) lairs and secret bases, deathrays, swimming pools full of rabid sharks (with or without lasers) or at least ill-tempered mutant sea bass..... and a compulsive need to explain the dastardly plot to the hero in time for it to be foiled before the end credits.

    That text was aimed at those daring do-gooders in the Secret Service to taunt them because they'll never stop him! Bwa! Ha! Ha! H.... Curses! Foiled again!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 2:33am

    Re: Where is the joke Mike ??

    http://www.ivona.com/

    Go to that site there and copy paste what you just wrote and hear out loud what it sounds like LoL

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 2:37am

    Well nobody can make absurd statements anymore.

    This is not security, this is just ridiculous, next someone will disapear and if they find him/her ever again it will be found that he/she was enhanced interrogated.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 3:40am

    Re: Where is the joke Mike ??

    No it was a joke made in bad taste. Stop and understand it for what it is. How are Twitter documents "Tweets" executed? Under what juristicution are they recognized? What does a Twitter Document ("Tweet") require to be recognized formally? Does it need a signature of all parties?

    Can you present other formal Twitter Documents (AKA "Tweets") that are executed by the Twitter company? Out of the estimated 95,000,000 Twitter documents (or "Tweets") per day, what is the percentage that hold recognized legal bearing? Please list out the jurisdictions. Lastly, should Justin Bieber be scared of the findings you'll surely report back here?

    I bring these important things up because it seems you have a different view of the Twitter service. Many people see the communication equivalent to the writings on a bathroom wall rather than any type of legal document. In absence of legal intent, additional research would need to be performed, no?

     

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    Anonymous Howard, Cowering, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 4:18am

    #13 - Re: Where is the joke Mike ??

    "...if they could fine him for being stupid they would do that as well.. "

    Careful what you wish for.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 4:40am

    How many people here do not realize it is stupid to make a threat against anyone?

    Same as above but within earshot of witness'?

    Same as first, but published?
    (Certainly in Canada anyway for all of the above. We are not allowed to protect/defend ourselves, so threats of violence are considered very serious. I've known this for many years.)
    I don't agree with the charge, but think before you txt ppl.

     

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    Bruce, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 5:27am

    The Joker Should be Fined, not Jailed

    "What terrorist tells in advance of their plans to blow up an airport."

    Having worked for many years for TSA, I know it is actually the norm for terrorists to give advance warning of their intentions. There are many reasons for this: to cause terror, to maximize terror, to disrupt travel, to cause maximum expense to their adversary at minimal expense to the terrorist, to bleed their adversary with many small threats ("the death of a thousand cuts"), to thumb their noses at the ineffectiveness of security personnel who cannot prevent the explosion despite being warned, to frustrate security personnel, to make security personnel waste time and money figuring out which one is the REAL threat, to divert security forces on false tips, to be able to say "we warned you", to try to achieve their objective without having to actually detonate and kill (i.e. like a kidnapper's ransom note), to expose the incompetence of their adversary, to gain publicity for their cause, to gain a sense of justice in warning so civilians are evacuated, to attract security forces to the scene so that more security forces can be killed, to test out the security forces' capabilities and see if they can actually stop the plot ("dry runs"), etc. etc.

    This is not merely a joke, it is a joke regarding a serious matter, and one that requires serious investigations to be made, causes serious expense, causes serious disruption and causes serious preventive steps to be taken on the off chance that it is a real threat. The joker should be penalized to dissuade future jokers.

    So the question then is how to penalize and what the penalty should be. I believe people should be held accountable for their actions, not allowed to slide or to dump the costs of their actions onto someone else. Jailing the joker does not cover the costs, so to me the penalty should simply be to hold him responsible for ALL the extra expense his joke caused, which is likely thousands of dollars. Knowing that they would be forced to pay for the expenses caused by such jokes, future jokers would be likely to think a little more before shooting off their mouths (including their "online mouths") in this way, unwittingly aiding and abetting terrorism, and either deliberately or unintentionally causing disruption and expense.

     

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    Paul Hobbs (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 5:30am

    Re: Where is the joke Mike ??

    Dude - if people could be fined for being stupid, you'd be broke by now. And no less stupid for the experience.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 6:00am

    Re:

    I don't think that anyone denies that the tweet was a really dumb idea. The fact that he is getting charged for it is the point of contention here.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 6:06am

    Re: The Joker Should be Fined, not Jailed

    So basically what you said is that the TSA is not capable of distinguishing a frustrated person from a terrorist which means the TSA don't take context into account and is forced to expend billions is that it?

    See kids don't ever say these things in public anymore "I will murder you", "I'll kill ya", "I'll blow a casket", "I'll blow you away" or anything like that ever because the TSA isn't capable of distinguishing you from a real threat.

     

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    imbrucy (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 6:09am

    Re: Another "what kind"

    Happened in the UK so it was probably aimed for MI6/James Bond.

    You know he's always ready for an evil plot.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 6:46am

    Re: The Joker Should be Fined, not Jailed

    Thought police! Pull over!

    Seriously? Get a shovel an dig up Spike Milligan and/or sue his estate - he once theatened a major railway station

    You really want to start bankrupting people every time they say something that gets taken out of context? You might want to think that through before you get all Rambo'd up about it.

    People say what they think and it's not always smart. It's called being human. Not being punished for being dumb is called "living in a free country". I understand that was what you claim to have thrown off that "crushing yoke" of us Brits for, remember?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Another "what kind"

    Happened in the UK so it was probably aimed for MI6/James Bond.
    :-) I'm sorry competitor number 24 you're out - you failed to complete the Obscure Film Reference round and so won't be moving on to the "What have the Romans ever done for us?" round.

     

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    DS, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 7:09am

    Re: Re:

    Ah, the good old days when terrorists knew respect...

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re:

    Why is it a dumb idea? Because he can be charged?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why is it a dumb idea? Because he can be charged?
    If I understand the thrust of your question I agree - the idea wasn't dumb, the comment was thoughtless (i.e. made without consideration of the possible concequence).

    In a free country it's supposed to be up to the government (justice system, whatever) to prove malicious intent, rather than invent it to make a point. It is not (or shouldn't be) their job to scare people into double-thinking everything that comes out of their mouths for fear it might "offend" or "threaten" someone it wasn't intended for. Start that and everyone will end up locked up.

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 8:10am

    Re: Tweeted threat

    The guy didn't ask to be investigated, therefore he should not be charged the costs.

    By that logic, anyone who's a suspect of a police investigation (murder, etc) should be charged for the cost, because they're making them waste time when they could be looking for the actual criminal. (they had a motive and/or said something in public that made them a suspect).

    Hey, anyone who ever says "I'm going to kill you" to anyone should be billed for the costs of a preventive murder investigation by the police.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It already is like that.

    Rapist: "Tell the cops and I will kill you!"

    Maybe the rapist means it, maybe they don't, but I am sure the victim believed it.

    You do not make a threat unless you plan on carrying it through(I think most people learn this in kindergarten). If you do not plan on following through, then it is useless and pointless to make it.

    If police could not draw their firearms under any circumstances, what would be the point of carrying them?

    If a robber enters your home and you pull a gun on them, you better be prepared to pull the trigger, else it will be taken from you and likely used against you.

    Rapist at court: "It was only a joke. If I had meant to kill her, wouldn't I have done it already?"

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 8:39am

    Re: Another "what kind"

    Surely you meant "frickin' lasers".

     

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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 8:43am

    Re:

    Holy shit, stop giving them ideas!!!

     

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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re:

    *** them meaning the TSA, sorry for ambiguity ;)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    because we all know...

    if it's on the INTARWEBS, it must be true!!!!


    way to pull the heart strings in that scenario

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Another "what kind"

    Surely you meant "frickin' lasers".
    :-) And Groove Tiger is the winner of our "Obscure Film References" round and gets to move on to the "What have the Romans ever done for us?" round.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I guess it was inevitable someone was going to come up with an analogy like that.

    Please do continue and elaborate on how actually physically threatening someone with death whilst in the middle of a violent situation is similar to a comment suggesting a possible threat with no evidence of the means to commit it made to a number of parties not directly connected with the object of the "threat".

    I'd love to hear the reasoning.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 9:37am

    Re: The Joker Should be Fined, not Jailed

    "What terrorist tells in advance of their plans to blow up an airport."
    Oh.. and a grammatical point (and a courtesy point too): You don't put quote marks around something that isn't a quote.
    The actual quote was
    "I'm still wondering what kind of terrorists first Tweet that they're actually going to blow up an airport..."
    Trying to put your words in someone elses mouth and pretend they belong there isn't nice.

    There's a bit of a difference between phoning or even emailing in a threat to an airport or to police and "tweeting" a threat to someone unconnected wouldn't you say?

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    One is a threat, the other is conspiracy.

    Be a man and take responsibility for what you say and do.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Where is the joke Mike ??

    Don't feed the troll!!!

     

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    nasch (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 1:16pm

    Re:

    What are you trying to deter, tasteless jokes?

     

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    nasch (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Tweeted threat

    What does it say about the requirement for due process if someone can be punished without even being charged with a crime? Think of the potential for abuse if the police could open an investigation at their discretion and then charge the target for the expenses.

     

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    nasch (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Another "what kind"

    Fail. That reference was anything but obscure.

     

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    nasch (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If it was really a threat, then why didn't they charge him with the law covering bomb threats?

     

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    nasch (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 2:47pm

    Re: The Joker Should be Fined, not Jailed

    Knowing that they would be forced to pay for the expenses caused by such jokes, future jokers would be likely to think a little more before shooting off their mouths

    Do you not see the Orwellian aspect of this? That that is exactly why people object? We should not have to think about whether the government would approve of what we want to say before we say it. If it comes to that point, then we no longer truly have freedom of speech.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah... wasn't really expecting a response to that one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    One is a threat, the other is conspiracy.
    Wow! A conspiracy now? This is getting exciting.

    So... let's see. If I say here that I'm going to blow something up then you are also part of my conspiracy and are going to turn yourself in to the police for immediate incarceration like a good citizen? That might almost be worth it.....

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I can't speak for them.

    Is it common to go around threatening people/things for fun?

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: The Joker Should be Fined, not Jailed

    In Canada, you only have freedom of speech so long as it doesn't infringe on another's rights'.

    Slander, libel...so yes, you are supposed to think before you speak/publish.

    Is there really that many people here saying we should not be accountable for what we say or do?

    As already asked @ 7:37am
    "Why is it a dumb idea?"

     

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    nasch (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Are we judging whether to allow speech based on how common it is now?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Another "what kind"

    Fail. That reference was anything but obscure.
    Bzzzzt! I'm sorry contestant you missed the sarcasm bonus round so I'm afraid we're going to have to lose you. But that's OK you don't go away empty handed you take with you this magnificant solid tin plate blankety blank chequebook and pen!

    For those of you playing the home game there'll be another chance to win after this message from our sponsor... :-)

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I was asking a question.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 1:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I was asking a question.
    Then in answer to your question:
    Is it common to go around threatening people/things for fun?
    For fun, no I wouldn't say so, though I do wonder based for example on some of the comments here. On the other hand hyperbole and exaggeration especially when frustrated is very common indeed and entirely human. As is the allegorical use of a "threat" as appears to be the case of the MP with the stoning.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 3:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    OK you lost me. I don't know how to answer that except how many people have: dumb != illegal hyberbole != stupid smartass comment != threat So let's turn it round a bit. Do you consider it a moral imperative that every parent who ever says "God! I could throttle you sometimes!" to their incredibly frustrating offspring should be incarcerated and their children removed from their care? If your answer is yes, what benefits do you see for society in that happening?

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 3:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I could" is not the same as "I am" or "I will."

    The way society is going these days, I wouldn't advise anyone to say what you said in public unless they did want to lose their child.

    What about bullies who think they are being funny, is that alright? Because it is just a joke, right? When do we stop the bullying? After the first "joke" or the last "joke?"

     

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  57.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 4:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Most agree the tweet was stupid to do. Why was it a stupid thing to do?

     

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  58.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 4:25am

    "The friend playfully pushed Rachelle into the swimming pool, something they'd done to each other many times before, but this time the bride-to-be landed on her head, paralyzing her from her chest down."
    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/yahoocanada/101123/canada/bride_to_be_moves_on_after_tragic_prank

    The "jokester" in this case is lucky. Could have been three lives directly ruined instead of just the two.

    Here is a real funny prank.
    http://www.break.com/index/hulk-hands-sucker-punch-prank-1953279

    No one lost an eye, so both are funny, right?

    Definition of PRACTICAL JOKE
    : a prank intended to trick or embarrass someone or cause physical discomfort
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/practical+joke?show=0&t=1290601226

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 4:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That didn't answer either question and in the last bit you seem to be again confusing what someone says with intent.

     

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  60.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 4:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When people answer my questions, I will answer theirs.
    I asked my question yesterday morning.
    "Why is it a dumb idea?"

    And we are back to people not having to be responsible for what they say and do.

    A man is only as good as his word.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 5:08am

    Re:

    Again... you're confusing physical action with words and seem to be suggesting the idea that tighter legislation and more arrests for all ill-conceived or thoughtless acts and words is a good thing but have yet to suggest how that might be.

     

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  62.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 5:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "...he stated that if the airport didn't "get [its] shit together" he was going to "[blow] the airport sky high!!""
    Could you please clarify what the intent is?

    If they didn't get their fudge packed he was going to give them all blowjobs?

    He needed them all to shit in one place to gather all the cocaine they had swallowed?

    What do you really mean when you say "...again confusing what someone says with intent."?

    This is going to be very hard for us to communicate as I do not know if what you are saying is the same as what you intended to say.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 5:55am

    "get [its] shit together" he was going to "[blow] the airport sky high!!""
    •Hyperbole (, from ancient Greek 'exaggeration') is a rhetorical device in which statements are exaggerated. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally.
    What do you really mean when you say "...again confusing what someone says with intent."?
    I mean, as if it wasn't plain the first 3000 or so times I said it (note the hyberbole there), that for those words to be considered a threat in any meaningful sense they must be:
    A/ Backed with an intent to follow up the words with action

    B/ Shown that he may have the physical means and knowledge to carry out such an action
    and
    C/ Be directed in some way towards the "object" of the words rather than to a random group of unconnected people

    As Mike said, to investigate such a statement is acceptable, but to arrest following determination that the statement fails not 1 but all 3 of those measures is absurd.

    You suggest that it is the responsibility of the speaker to guard their words and to some extent that may be true but are you seriously suggesting that there is not a concurrent responsibility on the receiver of those words to consider motive, context and intent when hearing or reading them?
    (and in case you missed it that's the answer to your question "Why is it a dumb idea?")

    Or have you simply had a sense of humour bypass and are incapable of perceiving words to convey anything other than the litteral dictionary meaning?

    Oh, and by the way, such meaning can still be multiple and also cultural as well as changing with time. Example? How would you react if I called you a "Berk"? You may well be confused as a non-brit as the word is colloquial. If you were a brit you might be mildly offended as it is a mild swear word that generally translates as something like "one who has acted or spoken in a non-sensible way". If on the other hand you were a Londoner of perhaps 40-odd years ago you might start making threats of your own as the entomology is from the cockney rhyming slang "Berkshire Hunt" meaning a highly insulting word for a woman's vagina.
    Conclusion: Words mean very little without context, motive and intent.

     

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  64.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re:

    A joke is a joke. Where is it said all jokes have no physical properties?

     

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  65.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re:

    In case you missed it the first 3 times I said it, I don't agree with the charges/sentence. But I do believe people should be responsible for their actions and words. If not, why do we have slander and libel laws?

    Jokes aren't funny the same way to everyone. Take sexist jokes for example. I might see humour in it, my wife may not.
    I see Andrew Dice Clay is still a raging success.

    Are you seriously suggesting you can say wtf you like because YOU think it is funny?

     

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  66.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 6:41am

    Re:

    "Why is it a dumb idea?" because it must be
    Backed with an intent to follow up the words with action

    "Why is it a dumb idea?" because it must be
    Shown that he may have the physical means and knowledge to carry out such an action

    "Why is it a dumb idea?" because it must
    Be directed in some way towards the "object" of the words rather than to a random group of unconnected people

    "Why is it a dumb idea?" because it must be
    a concurrent responsibility on the receiver of those words to consider motive, context and intent when hearing or reading them?

    Good answers!

     

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  67.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think it was dumb because it could lend itself to misinterpretation, as it obviously did. And as to your question about whether this is common, I just can't see how that is at all relevant to him getting charged with a crime.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, for example, marijuana is illegal here in Canada. But so many people use it the laws are getting lax and people aren't charged for the crime like they were say 20 years ago. Lots of laws relate to public acceptance. Prohibition. Was not accepted, everyone did it, laws were changed to reflect this.

     

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    nasch (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 7:29am

    Re:

    And who got maimed from this guy's joke? Or are those completely irrelevant examples?

     

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  70.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re:

    Just examples of how jokes go bad, like in the post, and how what one finds humorous is not necessarily funny to others or to the person(s) the supposed joke is played on.

    Surely my intent was clear, taken in context, yes?


    Are racial jokes okay? No one is getting maimed. Nor, generally(I doubt I have heard them all), according to MY sense of humor, can they be misconstrued as a threat.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Are racial jokes okay?
    No, I find them distasteful so as far as I am concerned they are not OK. On the other hand I do not believe they should be illegal. It's called free speech, which says that I should within reason support someone else's right to say something even if I detest what they are saying.

    I'll give you a clue: What someone says doesn't hurt unless you choose to take offense at it, making it different from a fist in the face which always hurts.

    Clearly there's a line that society as a whole draws on what is acceptable, but such a line should not be rigidly enforced by laws and by common sense application such a line is and should be a LONG way north of where you seem to be.

     

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  72.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Just examples of how jokes go bad, like in the post

    Yes, jokes go bad, but where are you going with that? In your examples, there were external measurable consequences of the joke, and the joker should at least potentially face the consequences of them. In the joke in this story, there were no such consequences.

    what one finds humorous is not necessarily funny to others or to the person(s) the supposed joke is played on.

    Of course, but I again don't see the relevance. How funny a joke is has no bearing on its legal ramifications.

    Are racial jokes okay?

    Whether they're OK or not, nobody should go to jail for them.

     

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  73.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "What about bullies who think they are being funny, is that alright? Because it is just a joke, right? When do we stop the bullying? After the first "joke" or the last "joke?""

    People sometimes bully because they think it is funny. Does your right to free speech trump all others rights?
    "What someone says doesn't hurt unless you choose to take offense at it, making it different from a fist in the face which always hurts."
    So there is no problem with bullying then so long as there is nothing physical right?

    Read how far north I am:
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101122/13002411972/paul-chambers-planning-to-blow-his-twitte r-joke-trial-sky-high.shtml#c227

    I am so far North of you probably because I am in Canada.

    I believe you should be responsible for your actions and words*. You feel we shouldn't be responsible at all. Fine. No reason for anyone to be upset at Obama or any other politician when they do not keep their promises either then is there?

    *Note that I put a name to my posts. Unlike all the ms. cowards who just want to antagonize and flip sides in debate at will.
    Note to self¹ "Do not argue/debate with the coward trolls as they can't/won't take responsibility for their posts."
    ²"I can say whatever I want and flip sides at will because no one is responsible for what they say."

     

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  74.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Yes, jokes go bad, but where are you going with that?"

    Same thing I've stated since the beginning.
    "I don't agree with the charge, but think before you txt ppl."
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101122/13002411972/paul-chambers-planning-to-blow-his-twit ter-joke-trial-sky-high.shtml#c227

    It was a dumb idea because he could be charged and fined with possible imprisonment. Your grandmother has to get groped to get on a plane, and he's trying to be funny about blowing up an airport?

    When/if I break a law, I don't go looking for a cop to do it in front of. If a 27yr. old of today does not understand how posts on the net work, I feel we and himself are all safer with him in jail.

    So all anyone is arguing with me about is that they feel they should be able to do and say whatever they want and there should be no consequences. They are not responsible.

    I am very happy I am very far north of that type of person.




    Forget everything I said, I am not taking responsibility for it. I was just joking with you guys.

     

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  75.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

     

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  76.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 12:40pm

    This guy should use the joke defense.
    Seriously. How big of a threat is a 77 yr. old guy to Obama with all the secret service/security around?
    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/stupid/vet-77-busted-obama-death-threat

     

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  77.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I don't agree with the charge, but think before you txt ppl."

    Oh, I missed that, I thought all along you were in favor of this and thought he should go to jail.

    If a 27yr. old of today does not understand how posts on the net work, I feel we and himself are all safer with him in jail.

    Not understanding the internet very well should be a criminal offense?

    So all anyone is arguing with me about is that they feel they should be able to do and say whatever they want and there should be no consequences.

    Then you have totally missed the argument. The argument is about when it's appropriate for the government to punish someone for something they said, not whether it's appropriate for someone to deal with the consequences of their actions.

    If I say a heinous insult to someone's face and he hits me, I have just paid the consequences of my actions. Perhaps my name will be publicly shamed for what I said - more consequeces I have to deal with. Nobody is arguing against this. However, that does not mean I should face jail time for saying something nasty.

     

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  78.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Then you have totally missed the argument. The argument is about when it's appropriate for the government to punish someone for something they said, not whether it's appropriate for someone to deal with the consequences of their actions."

    "It's called free speech, which says that I should within reason support someone else's right to say something even if I detest what they are saying."

    Here is some more pranksters. No physical violence. Just a good "joke."
    "Canadian military police are investigating fake calls to families of soldiers in Afghanistan claiming their relative has died in combat, authorities have said."
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11834985

    Real fucking funny. No one is hurt by the words. Over and out.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "In the joke in this story, there were no such consequences."
    Right on man! They should have waited the week and a bit to see if there was to be any consequences.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    *Note that I put a name to my posts. Unlike all the ms. cowards who just want to antagonize and flip sides in debate at will. Note to self¹ "Do not argue/debate with the coward trolls as they can't/won't take responsibility for their posts." ²"I can say whatever I want and flip sides at will because no one is responsible for what they say."
    I see and now having evaded questions all along you now resort to personal attacks and distorting the truth? Or are you assuming that every "AC" post is from the same person, because that's the only way I could see justifying the "flipping sides" comment. And for someone so intent on referring back to the same post staing an opinion you've constantly been asked to justify you sure don't seem to be reading the replies and questions too closely. Or indeed your own post that you keep referring back to, unless possibly we aren't reading the same language?

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You feel we shouldn't be responsible at all.
    Do I?
    Clearly there's a line that society as a whole draws on what is acceptable,
    Way to go with the reading there. You're not french canadian by any chance are you? That might explain the language gap

     

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  82.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 4:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you actually bother to read the story, you can see that the police investigated the statement and concluded there was no danger.

     

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  83.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Does over and out mean you're not talking about it anymore?

    I am again not seeing your point. Some people are terrible people and do things nobody should do? Of course. Did those people break any law? I can't think what criminal offense they would be guilty of, though this is in Canada so I don't know. The police claim the perpetrators could go to jail, but it doesn't say for what.

    Perhaps we're disagreeing about the role of government. You seem to find it very important that someone face the consequences for their actions, perhaps to the point of believing that government should make sure this happens every time. I think that leads to a government micromanaging its citizens lives, and to a lack of liberty.

    I feel it's more appropriate for the government to simply enforce (just) laws, and accept that some people are going to get away with some things. We don't have to be happy about that, but I think it's better than the side-effects of trying to make sure everyone pays for every crappy thing they do.

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 12:49am

    You seem to find it very important that someone face the consequences for their actions, perhaps to the point of believing that government should make sure this happens every time. I think that leads to a government micromanaging its citizens lives, and to a lack of liberty
    Thank you I was trying to think of a way to elegantly summarise that myself.
    I feel it's more appropriate for the government to simply enforce (just) laws, and accept that some people are going to get away with some things. We don't have to be happy about that, but I think it's better than the side-effects of trying to make sure everyone pays for every crappy thing they do.
    "Better a hundred guilty men go free than 1 innocent man be punished". Used to be a central tenet of British "justice" - wonder what happened to it?
    I'd agree though actually I think if everything is working correctly social pressure and reaction takes care some of the gray areas where you don't want definition anyway. Take the Cooks Source thing. Has a little bit too much flavour of mob justice for my taste, but it strikes me as an example of where society rather than the law decides what is and isn't acceptable to say.

     

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  85.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Does over and out mean you're not talking about it anymore?"

    Yes, I don't think I need to repeat myself and clarify every little detail that should supposedly be understood when taken in context, like the joke. But because you are polite I will summarize for you.

    I don't agree with what happened to him, but I don't think he should get off free either.

    We have laws regarding slander and libel, therefore you do not have free speech, regardless of what you or anyone else thinks.

    I break the law everyday. Do I think I should be hunted down and punished along with every other law breaker? No.

    If I get caught, should I be responsible for what I have done? Yes.

    Can people call someone telling them their family member has died overseas in combat and get away with it, if caught, because it is a "joke?" According to people commenting here, yes. Jokes are harmless. After all, words only hurt if you choose to let them hurt. Plus, you have a right to free speech.

    You will not change my mind, nor I yours, further debate is futile. Besides, I am neither articulate or a typist, making it a pita to get my point across.

     

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  86.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    We have laws regarding slander and libel, therefore you do not have free speech, regardless of what you or anyone else thinks.

    Of course! Personally I'm not arguing for consequence-free speech, or that there are or should be no limits on speech.

    If I get caught, should I be responsible for what I have done? Yes.

    I agree, with the caveat that some laws are unjust and it is wrong for someone to be punished under them.

    Can people call someone telling them their family member has died overseas in combat and get away with it, if caught, because it is a "joke?" According to people commenting here, yes. Jokes are harmless.

    Just to be clear here, I am not saying someone should get away with it because it's harmless, I am arguing that there are some circumstances where someone should get away with something even if it's harmful. And that is because the consequences to society of making sure they can't get away with it are even more harmful.

    Plus, you have a right to free speech.

    I think it's one of the cornerstones of a free society. Even harmful, hateful speech must be protected, in general. I would almost always side in favor of free speech over other considerations (in case you haven't noticed).

    You will not change my mind, nor I yours, further debate is futile.

    I don't know about that, changing each others' minds is not the only purpose of debate. Others can see it and be prompted to examine the issue more thoughtfully. And we can understand each other better even if nobody changes positions. I don't feel I totally understand your position, but certainly better than when we started.

    Besides, I am neither articulate or a typist, making it a pita to get my point across.

    haha, well I appreciate you sticking with it, it's been a pleasure.

     

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  87.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I agree, with the caveat that some laws are unjust and it is wrong for someone to be punished under them."

    Which one(s)?

    Then, relating to who?
    American? Canadian? Chinese?

    Laws aren't about being just. It is about making money.

    If you believe otherwise, possibly you can explain why pot is illegal while alcohol and tobacco are not?



    "I don't know about that, changing each others' minds is not the only purpose of debate. Others can see it and be prompted to examine the issue more thoughtfully. And we can understand each other better even if nobody changes positions."
    Agreed. But I am not going to repeat myself. It is already there. I can't help it if you or others did not read my entire post. "Oh, I missed that..."

     

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  88.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which one(s)?

    Um... you want me to find all the laws I think are unjust? No, thanks.

    Then, relating to who?
    American? Canadian? Chinese?


    Humans.

    Laws aren't about being just. It is about making money.

    A cynical view, but there is some truth to it.

    Agreed. But I am not going to repeat myself. It is already there. I can't help it if you or others did not read my entire post. "Oh, I missed that..."

    That's fair.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 12:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Laws aren't about being just. It is about making money.

    If you believe otherwise, possibly you can explain why pot is illegal while alcohol and tobacco are not?
    The money thing is not wrong, but it's not that simple and the answer to your question would seem to be that the laws also respond the a publicly projected view of the "feelings" of the people about a subject. (The fact that that public projecttion is at odds with how many people might privately feel is a complication).

    If it were all about money then pot would be legal, as would most other drugs, and they would all be taxed.

     

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  90.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 5:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If it were all about money then pot would be legal, as would most other drugs, and they would all be taxed."
    I agree with most of your post. With an exception.

    Pot will be legal when they figure out how to tax it.

    It is easy to grow. Anyone can throw a few seeds in the ground and have a years supply. Tax free.

     

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  91.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You could be right there - I've always for example been amused by the idea of a government sponsored and provided spliff, which I believe already happens in the US
    It is easy to grow. Anyone can throw a few seeds in the ground and have a years supply. Tax free.
    Oh that's an easy one. We've already got such a good solution on the table. A blanket tax on anyone that owns land (well soil - we wouldnt want to miss window boxes and potted (sic) plants) just in case they use it to grow weed. Sounds fair to me I can't see why anyone would object *nods wisely*

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hydroponic.

    No soil needed.

     

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  93.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But that's a clear violation of the "correct" method of creating pot - the farmers and land owners said so and I believed them. Anyone using such subversive methods should be met with large fines and prison sentences. Allowing such things would produce inferior product anyway and support communism as well as having genuine and proven health hazards for babies. You clearly aren't thinking of the children and so I'm afraid you opinion counts for nothing.

     

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