At what point does the law cross that line where earlier, it protected its citizens but now it appears to be shaping up to oppress them? You’ll hear such things from one side of politics all the time but when the voices come from other side as well, then something is surely going on.
There’ll be some incidents mentioned below which you can judge for yourself. It would be good to be able still to ask Captain Ranty that question and also Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII’s Chancellor, at least from Robert Bolt’s A Man for all Seasons:
Roper is appalled at the idea of granting the Devil the benefit of law, but More is adamant.
“What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? … And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s, and if you cut them down – and you’re just the man to do it – do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”
This notion is supported by a contributor/commenter at my place, Wolfie:
Sorry but we do need it. Very bad people need to be stopped and they are using the internet and communications technology to help them with their crimes.
What we do need to do is keep it in military hands and out of the civil servants grasping clutches. The future is asymmetric warfare and we need to be on the winning team.
Internet and communications technology like this [via contributor/commenter haiku]?
A computer security expert was pulled from his United Airlines flight in Syracuse on Wednesday afternoon, after the FBI feared he had hacked the plane.
All it took was a tweet to raise the FBI’s suspicion.
It sounded like Chris Roberts, a cybersecurity professional from Denver, was about to use his laptop to force the plane to deploy the emergency oxygen masks.
In a tweet, Roberts referenced the plane’s satellite communications and the aircraft’s engine-indicating and crew-alerting system.
The new climate of fear and thuggery? Everyone running around scared of being hit? And actually being so? Or was it legit for that man to be taken from the plane?
He was referring to the things Pat Condell speaks on YouTube about.
Tomorrow, about this time, they are coming to me but at least I’ve been forewarned. They’ll find no rats down any holes because they’re ain’t none. I am a law-abiding citizen for the very reason that, blogging as I do, on such matters, I should think I’m a prime target at low, local level.
Reasonable people would accept a certain amount of law intrusion in order to keep the peace and catch the crims. And the crims, of course, have all the advantages these days from the courts [see the Ranty chronicles].
What would yous say in this case, via Chuckles?
In 2012, occupiers at the University of Sussex were served with an injunction and five of the leaders were expelled following an occupation in protest at the privatisation of campus services. At Warwick last December, police, armed with tear gas and tasers, were called to break up an anti-fees protest.
This is a troubling development. The freedom to protest, on campus or elsewhere, is not absolute. One person’s right to express his or her political convictions through physical action does, necessarily, have to be weighed against the rights of other citizens, or students, to go about their business and access certain spaces. Nevertheless, this balancing act is one which UAL and others have all but refused to strike – setting a dangerous precedent for the future of student protest.
But before we join in the chorus of hashtag solidarity, it’s important to note that these students have done nothing to help themselves. After a brief flurry in 2010, recent anti-cuts movements have completely failed to gain any meaningful support from the vast majority of students.
The ongoing LSE occupation only consists of around 10 regular protesters, out of an enrolment of over 10,000. The fact that only 15 protesters were the subject of UAL’s injunction paints a similarly paltry picture. If you flout the rules to make a political point, you should expect consequences.
But, with a little more student muscle and moral support behind the occupiers, UAL would not have been able to call in the authorities with such ease – and to so little protest.
Julia M, at her site and at OoL, has been going on for years about those who bring it upon themselves and then cross a line which brings in the authorities, they immediately claim oppression and it’s a tricky one to adjudicate on. In some of Ranty’s incidents, his manner was not friendly but he was well within the law. Where’s the fine line or better – where’s the Rubicon?
Katie Hopkins has had a lot to say of late about such matters too, though not about those thugs who descended [in comic costumes to make it all OK] on that pub and drove Farage and family out from their Sunday Lunch. Where is the line there?
Can we perhaps formulate a working rule of thumb here that if the citizen has no record of illegality, is in fact a peaceful person and their activism is confined to Twitter and blogs or maybe handing out leaflets pre General election – then there should be an expectation that the law not indulge in the same dawn raids they would visit upon suspected terrorists?
Because if the law does not make such a distinction, it is crossing into highly dangerous territory, both for its relationship with the constitution [in the States] plus for the ordinary citizen within society.
Here’s Amfortas on “The ‘Process’ is the Punishment.”
“Sadly, it is America, as controlled by a liberal/progressive agenda that inanely believes that conservatives who “coordinate” their political messages are somehow subverting the democratic process (rather than actually furthering it).”
Anne also describes a new fear of the police: “I used to support the police, to believe they were here to protect us. Now, when I see an officer, I’ll cross the street. I’m afraid of them. I know what they’re capable of.”
Cindy says, “I lock my doors and I close my shades. I don’t answer the door unless I am expecting someone. My heart races when I see a police car sitting in front of my house or following me in the car. The raid was so public. I’ve been harassed. My house has been vandalized. [She did not identify suspects.] I no longer feel safe, and I don’t think I ever will.”
Rachel talks about the effect on her children. “I tried to create a home where the kids always feel safe. Now they know they’re not. They know men with guns can come in their house, and there’s nothing we can do.” Every knock on the door brings anxiety. Every call to the house is screened. In the back of her mind is a single, unsettling thought: These people will never stop.
Whole lot of reactions to that. My first is – hmmmm, I wonder what those three women were not telling us [see Wolfie’s comment above]. Second is, well let’s read the whole thing. Third is, oh my goodness, this does not look good.
The issue was over the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, known formally as 2011 Wisconsin Act 10. Those in the UK may not be interested but those in Wisconsin were very much interested.
There are the opening paragraphs where she describes the dawn raid and the effect on her family, then something which did make me pause and think:
“I told him this was my house and I could do what I wanted.” Wrong thing to say. “This made the agent in charge furious. He towered over me with his finger in my face and yelled like a drill sergeant that I either do it his way or he would handcuff me.” They wouldn’t let her speak to a lawyer. She looked outside and saw a person who appeared to be a reporter. Someone had tipped him off.
Then they left, carrying with them only a cellphone and a laptop.
Why were the police at Anne’s home? She had no answers. The police were treating them the way they’d seen police treat drug dealers on television. In fact, TV or movies were their only points of reference, because they weren’t criminals. They were law-abiding. They didn’t buy or sell drugs.
They weren’t violent. They weren’t a danger to anyone. Yet there were cops — surrounding their house on the outside, swarming the house on the inside. They even taunted the family as if they were mere “perps.”
As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings.
Don’t call your lawyer. Don’t tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends.
Now that, Laze and Gem, is not on. That crosses a line. It’s pure Obama/EU/Common Purpose. It’s Soviet Russia and don’t forget I’ve lived over there amid the legacy. And what was the suspected crime? Exercising their First Amendment rights to support Act 10 and other conservative causes in Wisconsin.
The cause of this situation we find ourselves in is that the State has now taken on all manner of authority, not voted upon by the citizenry in the least, plus there is no provision, in our system, for any comeback.
The politicians have not only rubber-stamped all this in the name of counter-terrorism but those behind the politicians, e.g. Common Purpose, have recklessly turned law enforcement into a form of nazism. I’ve seen this in Russia and now it’s coming to the States, Britain, Australia and so on.
So who enabled and encouraged Common Purpose? People like John Prescott and his henchwomen, including Julia Middleton and Cressida Dick and we saw this bully boy stuff in the pursuit of a certain Brazilian electrician.
And Prescott didn’t dream it up – it’s global. People like Geoff Mulgan, the Marxist co-founder of Demos did not do it all either. There are others behind the scenes, no?
But we find ourselves in a situation, Laze and Gem, where both the left and the right are being equally set upon by the law, directed from above and with the captured press tipped off. Even at this moment there is the issue of the Sun journos finally escaping the process. Cost to them? The State doesn’t care.
This, I would suggest or rather add one more small voice to the chorus of outrage, has nowt to do with illegality on the part of citizens, it’s nothing to do with potential subversives, seditionists or terrorists. It is [often middle-class, bourgeois] people speaking out in what they believe is still a free society and they are being selectively hit for their trouble by the increasingly lawless law.
The law has crossed the Rubicon in enabling the thugs to do as they will.