No. Just no. You're incorrect. That's okay, because everyone is incorrect at some point in their lives.
The reason you're incorrect is that this was a 17 year old child making a joke with his friends, completely outside the bounds and rules of his school. Had this happened even 10 years ago, it would never have made the news because it would not have been a public thing. The CHILD (and I cannot emphasize enough that a 17 year is still very much a child) made a joke with other children. It might have become a rumor, but it would have been one any right thinking ADULT (the thing I am and you should be) would have ignored it. There's no cause of action here, because there is no connection to the school. Just being a part of an organization or group does not give that organization or group the right to step beyond their authority and take action for perceived wrongs that took place outside their sphere.
The fact that it was a semi public joke that people other than the jokesters could view does not change the fact that school have no authority to police the private lives of the children they oversee for a few hours during weekdays. The fact that a child was punished for actions thousands if not millions of children have undertaken over the years is only made possible by the seemingly unending desire for control our society has these days. This wasn't said or done at school. The principal had no place to act here. The fact that you seem to believe he was right tells me one of two things: you're either in some position of authority yourself and do not want to be questioned, or you've never found yourself in the remarkably unpleasant position this child's parents found themselves in. Either way, please stop speaking from a place of incorrectness. It makes you look foolish and forces me to respond.
Several other places I've read about Hersh's story point out something you glossed over: many are uncertain of the veracity of this set of events, since many if not all of his sources are anonymous. Apparently, he's had a habit in recent years of publishing sensational stories with little or no identified corroboration. So, it's not so much that some are questioning a few details so much as some are questioning the entire story.
I'm not saying I know for certain the events presented in Hersh's article are untrue, nor am I saying that torture is a good thing. But a slightly strong proviso about Hersh's more recent activities would lend credence to what you're saying. At least for me.
The basic assumption is that people like the individual looking at or judging a given situation are as likely as the individual to do something wrong. There's a very strong bias against The Other in modern culture. That's why cops will defend wife beaters despite evidence, attorneys will support perjury from other attorneys, and IP enforcement types think stuff like Total Wipes is no big deal.
As the popular saying goes, "No one is a villain in their own mind". Assuming someone in similar or near identical circumstances could be a villain brings things a little too close to home for many people. That's generally where this sort of bias springs from.
Prefaced by saying that I'm not apologizing for the insanity going on up there....BUT:
What this post is talking about is insane. We tend to have a stunted view of history, especially in America, where we don't learn much beyond the rather short span of time since our country came into existence. If you take a longer view, though, any time large nations "die" it tends to lead to widespread suffering. Saying that's something to be desired shows either a lack of knowledge, or mental illness. Just my two cents.
Something to realize about all this (that's remarkably important, honestly): We're never going to be able to have a conversation about this.
Let's take the basic facts presented in the original article: a (former) federal judge gave an interview in Wired (a tech friendly publication), where he pretty much gave the DOJ a slap in the face over their current actions. I think we can all agree those are the most basic bits of hard information in this situation (the stuff in parenthesis is to acknowledge the viewpoint opposite my own).
Now, here's why a real conversation can't take place: those of us who enjoy Techdirt and the views it represents hear confirmation of what we already think about the MU case, and stop thinking right there. Those who dislike Techdirt and come here to try to control the piracy advocates or provide their own viewpoint, they hear a piracy apologist (Mike) rebroadcasting what another apparent piracy apologist (the (former) federal judge) said to a magazine that is (in their opinion) highly sympathetic to the aims of pirates.
You see the problem? Instead of taking the basic facts (former employee of the government says the government is acting outside its purview) and having a discussion about THAT, we seem compelled to return to an argument that A] has been played out on this and similar sites a million times, and B] is only peripherally involved with the actual blog post.
Whether MU was used for infringement or not is beside the point in the discussion that should be going on. We shouldn't take away from this article that a federal judge thinks infringement is okay, BECAUSE THE MAN NEVER SAID THAT. The discussion that should be going on here should be about whether the US government is abusing power, if so to what extent, and if so how should US citizens react. There are enough intelligent, articulate people on this and similar sites that discussions like that should have legions of supports for both of the basic sides represented.
That isn't going to happen though, because like I said at the beginning, we can't have a conversation about this. Until we can all agree to set aside the issues of piracy and infringement and all the rest of that in discussions like this where they have no place (at least initially; I'm not a moron, and clearly those things would need to enter the conversation eventually) we're never going to be able to talk about anything but those things.
Quite honestly, that makes me sad. Because, again quite honestly, I'm ready to talk about something else. We've beaten the dead horse that is the piracy/infringement debate for so long, we've worn a hole right through it and are punching the ground now.
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