Saturday, April 28, 2007

"All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

From your Chicago Sun-Times:
The U.S. Marines have dropped the 18-year-old Cary-Grove High School student whose controversial essay got him a disorderly conduct charge from McHenry County authorities.

Allen Lee, a straight-A honor student, had enlisted, passed all of the tests and was scheduled to start basic training in October in California.

He was "crestfallen" when his recruiter called him with the sad news Friday that Marine regulations say the criminal charge makes him ineligible, said his attorney, Dane Liozzo.
Although this kid's life has been completely upended, your Chicago Tribune editorial board says we shouldn't question the brain-wizards behind the decision to pursue Lee's alleged Thoughtcrime:
It's tempting to second-guess the authorities here. But the Cary-Grove administrators are experienced educators who don't fall to pieces every time a student acts surly.
According to the Sun-Times' account, the "experienced educator" who gave Lee this assignment -- and who set off the system-wide overreaction that culminated with Lee's arrest -- is "in her first year in the classroom."

But enough of the facts, lets go back to the wise Brahmans of the Trib editorial board:
And the prosecutors who filed the charges know they will face a heavy burden of proof to persuade a judge or a jury that an English paper amounted to a criminal offense rather than harmless adolescent trash talk.
It boggles the mind to consider that the very editorial page calling for citizens to bow-down to the better wisdom of prosecutors with regard to this student's offense of Thoughtcrime is the same editorial page that, on March 25th of this year, wrote the following with regards to wise prosecutors and the offense of Capital Murder:
The evidence of recent years argues that it is necessary to curb the government's power. ***

We have learned much *** about the criminal justice system's capacity to make terrible mistakes. Who gets a sentence *** is often a matter of random luck, of politics, of geography, even a matter of racism. Mistakes can occur at every level of the process. ***

The system is arbitrary, and the system just plain gets it wrong.
One would hope that a newspaper's editorial board would recognize the imperfections when it comes to the wheels of justice crushing a student for exercising his speech and expression -- but one would be disappointed by the Chicago Tribune:
Maybe he should have gotten off with a stern lecture and some time in detention. But after Blacksburg, he and other kids may find that the boundaries of acceptable behavior have changed for good.
And apparently the press' traditional concern for the freedoms of thought and expression embodied in the First Amendment of the Constitution has "changed for good" at the Tribune.


Jay Alt said...

Honor student who writes of stabbings, killing people, having sex with dead bodies and then threatens his class a week after 32 are massacred. The school may not miss him but the USMC is heartbroken. Supporting him is beyond sick.

So-Called Austin Mayor said...

Mr. Alt,

I am sorry you think that it is "beyond sick" to believe such writings are not a criminal offense.

I'm sorry I don't believe that all expression should be tailored to conform to the most paranoid and cowardly in our society.

I'm sorry that -- as indicated by your opening sentence[?] -- your high school writing classes failed you so.

And I'm sorry you chose my blog's comments to slander the men and women serving our nation in the United States Marine Corps.


Carl Nyberg said...

I haven't studied this case, but it seems like racial profiling could be part of the problem here.

hiramwurf said...

That thought has occurred to others Carl - see here.


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