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[P]
why we don't care

By turmeric in Culture
Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 07:38:14 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

I saw that the '15 years for one bullet' story got shoved into the 'sections' ghetto. On the other hand some belly-button pondering rambling incoherence by some australian dad got posted to the front page.


Now, I'm not saying that I care more than anyone else. In fact I am probably among the laziest SOBs on the entire internet. But I did take 5 seconds on google and I went to find the website of the 'US Attorneys Office' in Iowa to give them a piece of my citizen-mind, but guess what? The site was in that vague state between 'down' and 'this site will be updated shortly' which can last from 1 hour to 5 years. . I don't really feel like finding their 'snail mail' address. I just chalk it up to another faceless heartless soulless bureacracy, obsessed only with 'doing its job' and being flippantly slashdottish about anyone that wanted to tell it that it was doing its job wrong. So much for democracy, I think, and I am off to do something else.

Actually, wait, another 5 minutes on google gives me this

Iowa - Northern District

Charles W. Larson, Sr., United States Attorney
Post Office Box 74950, Cedar Rapids 52407-4950
PHONE (319) 363-6333 FAX (319) 363-1990

*320 6th Street, Room 203, Sioux City 51101
(712) 255-6011 (712) 258-1821
OK, so ... what does that mean? Why are there two addresses? What is that little * by the second one? Damned If I know. See what I mean, inaccessible bureaucracy. If I wrote, I bet they would send me to a different department of the government, probably 'complaints' or something.

Meanwhile, our country is drowning in debt caused by imprisoning 1 to 2 million people for paltry meaningless reasons. You want to know why so many high tech jobs have to import people from India and China? Mostly it is because there are really smart people there ( i mean you are drawing from a pool of 2 billion people rather than 300 million...) who went to good schools and want to live better in the US and perhaps be free of tyranny and oppression. But it is also becuase we take most of the people in the US, put them in shitty public schools with no books, and then hope they will be our slaves making injection molded plastic or getting our happy meal assembled properly. Our supposed freedom slips into something resembling communist china, where people are routinely murdered or made slaves in factories and farms for simply disagreeing with the government. No, we are not there yet, but since 1. we are headed that way and 2. nobody seems to give a shit, the end result to me seems pretty logically inveitable.

In History class we supposedly learn how the US is full of people fleeing tyranny and oppression, and that over time the US fought to rid itself of slavery, bigotry, etc, and today we are the 'leader of the free world', we protect freedom and democracy and accountable and fair government across the planet.

However from the news and from attempting to participate in the last elections, I have come to see that America doesn't really seem to care that much about freedom or democracy. The Green Party the Reform Party and other parties didn't even get on the ballot in several states, not because they didnt gather tens of thousands of signatures, but because the entrenched political system denied them (and millions of voters like me) a voice in the process. They did this sometimes by restrictive ballot access laws and sometimes due to police and government harassment of people attempting to gather signatures.

Hundreds of thousands of poor people are in jail for doing things that rich kids in college do every weekend, ie using and selling drugs. People can get locked up for 15 years on meaningless technicalities and the general populace could care less, preferring to say 'he deserved it'. In fact, I bet alot of people would think twice before telling the government how wrong this was, because they fear the corrupt government will put them on some kind of 'black list' and make their life a living hell. Is this what freedom and democracy are all about?

I have heard alot of people say 'freedom does not mean the freedom to spray shit all over my web forum.' but now I have my own retort: freedom does not mean the freedom to let the government murder and enslave people for no reason.

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Poll
shut up you
o whiny liberal 11%
o pot head 14%
o whiny libertarian 16%
o dirty hippy 20%
o good for nothing 1%
o luser 2%
o troll 13%
o brat, and dont give me none of your sass nor lip. 19%

Votes: 68
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Google
o I went to find the website of the 'US Attorneys Office' in Iowa
o which can last from 1 hour to 5 years. .
o I am off to do something else.
o Iowa - Northern District Charles W. Larson, Sr., United States Attorney Post Office Box 74950, Cedar Rapids 52407-4950 PHONE (319) 363-6333 FAX (319) 363-1990 *320 6th Street, Room 203, Sioux City 51101 (712) 255-6011 (712) 258-1821
o drowning in debt caused by imprisoning 1 to 2 million people for paltry meaningless reasons
o where people are routinely murdered or made slaves in factories and farms
o The Green Party the Reform Party and other parties didn't even get on the ballot in several states
o restrictive
o access laws
o sometimes due to police and government harassment of people attempting to gather signatures.
o the corrupt government will put them on some kind of 'black list' and make their life a living hell.
o Also by turmeric


Display: Sort:
why we don't care | 64 comments (38 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
"we don't care" (3.23 / 13) (#7)
by gibichung on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 12:42:28 PM EST

We don't care because things are better than they ever have been, in America, and the world over. You talk about peace and justice like they are the natural state of the world -- hardly. The world as it exists today is less than 60 years old (or many parts, less than 15). While you complain about the punishment not fitting the crime, or selective enforcement, you neglect to mention that in the past, or even in most of the world as it exists today, the rich could buy exemption from the law outright. Is the world perfect? Should we stop trying to make it better? No, of course not. But
Our supposed freedom slips into something resembling communist china, where people are routinely murdered or made slaves in factories and farms for simply disagreeing with the government. No, we are not there yet, but since 1. we are headed that way and 2. nobody seems to give a shit, the end result to me seems pretty logically inveitable.
is not the logical conclusion. Does it sound outrageous, 15 years for one bullet? Yes, but don't expect the world to get up in arms when a criminal is punished to the full extent of the law. I'm reminded of any of a number of cases in which a suspect was a acquitted of a murder, then later evidence proves them guilty. They are given the harshest possible sentence for perjury. Is it right? Maybe, maybe not -- but there are plenty of more worthy causes today.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
Depends on the "criminal" (5.00 / 2) (#17)
by dennis on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 01:59:28 PM EST

Yes, but don't expect the world to get up in arms when a criminal is punished to the full extent of the law.

Real criminals being punished for doing actual bad things, I don't mind. People's lived ruined for stupid technicalities I do mind, and it doesn't make any difference to me that a bunch of dumbass legislators passed a law saying it's okay.

I'm reminded of any of a number of cases in which a suspect was a acquitted of a murder, then later evidence proves them guilty.

So what? Are you saying we should apply unreasonable punishments for things we know about, just in case the person did something we don't know about? Or that we should just not worry about it, because the overall numbers balance out? Feh.

[ Parent ]

clarification and explanation (2.66 / 3) (#20)
by gibichung on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 02:15:48 PM EST

So what? Are you saying we should apply unreasonable punishments for things we know about, just in case the person did something we don't know about? Or that we should just not worry about it, because the overall numbers balance out?
All I said that was that a DA throwing the book at a convicted criminal for an offense he is guilty of (regardless of how insignifigant it sounds) does not equate to
Our supposed freedom slips into something resembling communist china, where people are routinely murdered or made slaves in factories and farms for simply disagreeing with the government. No, we are not there yet, but since 1. we are headed that way and 2. nobody seems to give a shit, the end result to me seems pretty logically inveitable.
And, frankly, the original story did not impress me, as its only references were an editoral and a letter from a criminal. Without any evidence to the contrary, I'm unconvinced that a DA would ask for such a sentence without good reason.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
The DA didn't ask for anything (none / 0) (#54)
by EricLivingston on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 08:53:41 AM EST

I'm unconvinced that a DA would ask for such a sentence without good reason.

My understanding from the article is the sentencing was automatic - not even the judge had any say in the matter. And that is the true horror to this story: the new world in which people convicted of crimes are "processed" by a completely non-human algorithm, with no ability for human compassion and intellect to intervene. Automatic sentencing falsely assumes that crime and punishment are rudimentary - that it's so simple a single chart can determine appropriate punishment in all cases, which is ludicrous. With that kind of process you'll find more and more cases of this type of "justice" where the judge, jury, and event the DA feel the punishment is unjustified and unfair.

All I said that was that a DA throwing the book at a convicted criminal for an offense he is guilty of

This is a scary attitude to have. This type of attitude is exactly why this stuff happens, because folks apparently feel the law-makers can do no wrong and whatever laws and punishments they come up with are right on target. So, this theory goes, as long as the punishment is "correct" by the system, it must be ok. I suppose this means that if they wind up making j-walking a capital offense and someone is executed for it, folks like you will say "What's the big deal? This was simply the DA doing his job!".

The fact is we, the people, must remain diligent and watch for abuses by the government, such as imposing ridiculous mandatory sentencing guidelines that leave no leeway for judges to inject common sense and compassion.

Please see www.fija.org to at least learn about how the people can retain some control of the system (although the government is working hard to remove even this power of the people).

[ Parent ]

I don't buy that first statement (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by pyramid termite on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 08:11:59 AM EST

We don't care because things are better than they ever have been, in America, and the world over.

Do you seriously expect me to believe that things are better now than they were 2 years ago? I don't mean to nitpick, but that's not a true statement - our economy was better, our country wasn't at war, and our government wasn't as hellbent on constraining our liberties. I'll agree with you that we have more important things to worry about than that guy that got 15 years, and there certainly is such a thing as compassion fatigue, but please don't say that things are better, because they aren't.

The reason that people don't care is - 1) as humans, we aren't wired to recognize more than 500 to 1000 people, much less care about them; 2) things are tolerable or better for most of us; 3) the middle to upper classea are able to isolate themselves from seeing much of the mundane day to day strife the "others" go through. The day that things get worse, or we become less isolated, then more people will start demanding change. I don't forsee it happening for awhile, barring more upheavals.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Take a longer view (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by Stickerboy on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 12:50:29 PM EST

The status of citizens in the United States, in this post-Cold War time period (1990s-) has been better, with regards to economics, freedoms, and luxuries than in any other time or any other civilization.

Yes, you can argue things can be better and there are abuses - there will always be abuses, and there will always be room to improve - hence the idea of perfection being an ideal, and not an obtainable goal.

As for your statements,

Do you seriously expect me to believe that things are better now than they were 2 years ago? I don't mean to nitpick, but that's not a true statement - our economy was better, our country wasn't at war, and our government wasn't as hellbent on constraining our liberties.

you refer to an illusion caused by nostalgia. The economy two years ago was booming because of illusions created by grand, unfulfillable expectations (the dot.com boom) and management sleight-of-hand (Enron) that have been recently exposed. I would argue that the economy today has been corrected. There is no longer an irrationally exuberant stock market setting us up for a fall, and the fall didn't create a panic. The economy is stabilizing (the economy is growing slowly (0.7%) instead of contracting or expanding wildly) and unemployment is falling again. Corporate directors and senior officers find it harder to get away with subverting truth to create short-term and personal profit than 2 years ago.

If you don't recall, we were at war two years ago. Around that timeframe, two of our African embassies were bombed and the USS Cole was attacked by suicide bombers. US armed forces were involved in the Kosovo round of the Balkan Wars. Those incidents are just easily forgettable by most Americans because, as the original poster noted, they didn't interfere with their (comfortable) daily lives.

As for our government being hellbent on constraining our liberties, I would argue that too-lax enforcement of laws governing immigration and visitation of two years ago were exploited by the terrorists who took questionable flight classes, overstayed visas, and easily evaded APBs at entry points to the US. The DMCA existed 2 years ago, Echelon and Carnivore were online or in the works. I don't see any change in the civil liberties of US citizens that wasn't already in place or in motion 2 years ago.

[ Parent ]
actually, it's true (4.62 / 8) (#9)
by speek on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 12:51:44 PM EST

I don't care. I can't conclude anything else from my lack of, well, caring. Sorry 'bout that. Really, I am. I used to care. That was painful, I remember. Now I just sort of exist in a half-depressed haze most the time. I care about my wife, dogs, cats, and fish mostly. Not much else. K5 is entertaining, particularly when I have nothing else to do at work (like all this friggin month, oh well).

Course, not caring doesn't stop me from having ideas on how to improve things. And, I actually enjoy thinking about these things, and even working on them. But, do I care? No.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees

what makes you think we care whether you care? (5.00 / 5) (#33)
by eLuddite on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 04:21:06 PM EST

Thanks for sharing your uncaring as if we're supposed to care, but if you want us to care as much as you expect us to care, try to be interesting. Feed your cats to your dogs and see if some of us dont care. (I wont care, but I bet spaceghotti will.)

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

I care (4.00 / 1) (#48)
by Ender Ryan on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:04:33 PM EST

About his cats that is. I really like cats, they're cute furry little creatures. I really hope he doesn't feed them to his dogs.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

The purpose of government (4.00 / 9) (#13)
by UncleMikey on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 01:10:58 PM EST

Thomas Jefferson and his ilk believed that "...To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...".

Unfortunately, over the years, I've come increasingly to agree with Frank Herbert. Governments (and bureaucracies of all kinds) are predators. They exist to absorb the energy (time and money) of their prey (their subjects). The fact that the prey get some say in who the predators will be this year doesn't change a thing. No government is happy unless it has significant control over how the energies of its populace are directed.
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]

this is thoroughly unexpected! (1.33 / 3) (#34)
by eLuddite on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 04:29:53 PM EST

an unsophisticated usian who thinks in cartoons and trades in the reputation of a dead guy who cannot defend himself from anachronisms. Fear; no caricature is safe from you guys.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

A dead guy? (none / 0) (#55)
by UncleMikey on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 11:03:08 AM EST

Two dead guys, thank you very much. Neither Mr Jefferson nor Mr Herbert are still with us.
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]
Conversations (4.20 / 10) (#19)
by Pseudoephedrine on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 02:04:41 PM EST

I had a conversation with a fellow yesterday that started out being about gun-control and eventually went to government control in general. What amazed me was when he used the line 'Government is supposed to take care of people'. I quickly shot back that I'd like him to find a single piece of legislation that explicitly said as much.

The argument itself shows an interesting mindset on the part of my fellow inhabitants of Canmerico, that government is somehow obliged to do anything for the people and that not only that, but that it does.

We live in an age where people want cradle to grave protection, and anyone who doesn't is a child-hating neo-nazi monster who wants to kick pregnant welfare mothers in the stomach. People don't care because the system either benefits them, or threatens/harasses them into doing nothing about it.


"We who have passed through their hands feel suffocated when we think of that legion, which is stripped bare of human ideals" -Alexander Solzhenitsyn
It's a common attitude. (4.80 / 5) (#23)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 03:00:28 PM EST

The idea that government is supposed to take care of people is common because that, in fact, is what government is for. What other purpose does it serve? The philosophical argument comes in over where the line falls between what the government is supposed to do for us and what we are supposed to do for ourselves.

But I do understand what you meant (or, what your friend meant) which is that "government is supposed to be our great national mommy that makes all the hurts go away." That attitude is, frankly, in defiance of all history and human nature. Government is a Mother, all right, just not a loving one.


------
When ruling an evil empire, if you discover that there exists an artifact that can bring certain ruination to all you scheming, do not send your
[ Parent ]

So simple! (4.00 / 3) (#38)
by losthalo on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 06:59:29 PM EST

"Congress shall make no law."

We could have just stopped with that alone, when defining Congress, and figured that any law which got past the ban on making laws was important enough to let it live. Think of how much simpler law might be (you might even be able to learn it without an interpreter!) if people had to be inventive just to get one on the books...

Losthalo
"The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club."

[ Parent ]
welfare! (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by Ender Ryan on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:00:12 PM EST

Ya know, I wouldn't mind kicking some welfare mothers in the stomach, or anywhere else that would hurt.

I'm only kidding, I don't actually enjoy inflicting pain on people. I work next to a grocery store. At least every other day I stop in the store to buy chocolate milk or something to eat. Out of those days, at least 1 out of 5 I notice someone buying food with food stamps and such. Of those, at least 1 out of 2 is the rudest person in the store at the time. Out of those, at least 1 out of 2 is a crazy bitch who is getting pissed at the cashier and other people around because the line is taking too long.

In summary, at least 1 out of 2 persons on welfare is a lazy SOB who should be thrown out on the street and left to fend for him/herself like everyone else.

I say this not as someone who thinks he knows what people on welfare are like from seeing them in the grocery store, but as someone who, unfortuneately, personally knows way too many of these people.

Welfare is a huge drain on society, and it breeds generations of laziness. It needs to be reformed to force people who can work to get off their bums and make an honest living.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

The point of welfare (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by FredBloggs on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 11:48:07 AM EST

is that theres a choice between given certain people welfare, or not giving them welfare and dealing with the effects (increased crime, them bringing up children into a shitty home etc). Iin the long term, whether you like it or not, society is better off WITH welfare.
The `crazy bitch` may actually have a genuine mental health problem.

[ Parent ]
reread my post! (3.00 / 1) (#62)
by Ender Ryan on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 09:50:52 PM EST

I never said welfare shouldn't exist, I implied that it is abused to an absurd extent and needs work.

I also criticized lazy persons on welfare who are plenty capable of working, because I KNOW people like this personally.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

How express and admirable. (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by kitten on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 11:38:42 AM EST

he used the line 'Government is supposed to take care of people'. I quickly shot back that I'd like him to find a single piece of legislation that explicitly said as much.

Well..
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Don't misunderstand, I agree with you. The government is far too heavy-handed in legislating what we can and cannot do even when it is none of their business (or anyone else's), but the notion of "general welfare" is generally the battle cry of legislators who wish to make inane laws about things that are of not the legitimate concern of anyone.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Thomas Jefferson (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by Pseudoephedrine on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 12:37:28 PM EST

Thomas Jefferson, whom I'm sure you'll agree is probably _the_ man to consult on interpreting the Consitution, has the following to say about the phrase 'general welfare' and its use in the Constitution.

"... goes to the destruction of all limits prescribed to [the General Government's] power by the Constitution... Words meant by the instrument to be subsidiary only to the execution of limited powers ought not to be construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument."

"For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union."

"Aided by a little sophistry on the words "general welfare," [the federal branch claim] a right to do not only the acts to effect that which are specifically enumerated and permitted, but whatsoever they shall think or pretend will be for the general welfare."

"[If] it [were] assumed that the general government has a right to exercise all powers which may be for the 'general welfare,' that [would include] all the legitimate powers of government, since no government has a legitimate right to do what is not for the welfare of the governed."

"[We] disavow and declare to be most false and unfounded, the doctrine that the compact, in authorizing its federal branch to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States, has given them thereby a power to do whatever they may think or pretend would promote the general welfare, which construction would make that, of itself, a complete government, without limitation of powers; but that the plain sense and obvious meaning were, that they might levy the taxes necessary to provide for the general welfare by the various acts of power therein specified and delegated to them, and by no others."

In short, Jefferson claims that 'general welfare' simply means that the government must be forced to act only for the good of everyone, such as in defense of the nation, not that government is responsible for taking care of its citizens' quality of life or standard of living. But, thanks for bringing that to my attention :)

All quotations from http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeffcont.htm btw.


"We who have passed through their hands feel suffocated when we think of that legion, which is stripped bare of human ideals" -Alexander Solzhenitsyn
[ Parent ]
Heh. Yes. (none / 0) (#63)
by kitten on Fri Feb 15, 2002 at 09:33:13 AM EST

In short, Jefferson claims that 'general welfare' simply means that the government must be forced to act only for the good of everyone, such as in defense of the nation, not that government is responsible for taking care of its citizens' quality of life or standard of living.

Once again, I agree with you. However, we must realize that most people don't (assuming they even think about it). Most people are of the opinion that it is the government's job to control the life of it's citizenry, and the few who stray from this line of thought are quickly shepharded back into the mainstream by politicians and legislators espousing "general welfare", which sounds like a good argument on the surface. Hence, we end up with people like your friend who think the government should make everything illegal to 'protect' people from themselves.
Only a handful of the rest realize what a sham our government has become.

mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Wake up (4.16 / 6) (#21)
by varelse on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 02:42:47 PM EST

I'm sorry but this just made me laugh. I just find it funny that people actually believe that we are free in a democracy, especially this one. It's funny the way you laugh when just miss having a car accident. Ha ha ha, we could die any second.

"Fascism is capitalism in decay"
-- Lenin

"Fascism is capitalism plus murder"
-- Upton Sinclair

"Welcome to the real world"
-- Morpheus

+1 FP
-=-
I was the kid next doors imaginary friend.

in one of my trips to stannford... (4.40 / 5) (#26)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 03:21:37 PM EST

Hundreds of thousands of poor people are in jail for doing things that rich kids in college do every weekend, ie using and selling drugs.

I remember one day I pick up the student-run daily newspaper in Stanford University. They were running a story based on an interview with the chief of the Campus PD. He got asked about what were the most frequent complaints they received on the phone; among them, he said, were complaints that some students at a resident were using drugs. And more significantly, he revealed that their policy in these cases is to talk to the Residence Assistants (student volunteers) and have them bring it up in meetings.

Meanwhile, in adjacent Palo Alto, it is illegal to lie down in the street. A law which is applied selectively, i.e. only for homeless people.

Not that I want those kids (well, "spoiled brats" would be a better description) to get busted, but having them be above the law is just disgusting.

--em

Who's your daddy? (3.66 / 3) (#28)
by medham on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 03:31:40 PM EST

It is wrong to think that an individual citizen can effect change at this point in history.

Youthful idealism often compels many bright people to try to dam historical waves in which they are but shell-specks.

Once you accept that you don't matter, and that you cannot do anything anyway, you will understand that the only meaningful goal in life is pleasure-seeking.

If you did mattter, you couldn't understand how you did until after your death, in which case you wouldn't care any longer.

Accept that leaders and laws are themselves bowed to a greater Will. Your entertainment options are as plentiful as any human has ever known; enjoy life--don't agitate against it.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

Heh. (none / 0) (#44)
by sparky on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 09:04:56 PM EST

Rock on. Not really caring about these things really really made my life better. I realized that by not reading the damn newspaper, I can live a life of worry-free bliss and just make my money and get drunk. Heck yeah.
Bene qui latuit, bene vixit.
[ Parent ]
change (5.00 / 5) (#46)
by majcher on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 09:22:59 PM EST

It is wrong to think that an individual citizen can effect change at this point in history.

It is not wrong, but it is depressing and frustrating. That bitterness and frustration leads some misguided souls to a logical conlusion: one person can effect change, but it is much easier to effect change in a negative manner than it is in a positive one.

Which is easier? Devoting all your energy, your entire life, towards a goal, like Martin Luther King or Ghandi did, unsure whether you'll make a difference at all, or be written off as Yet Another Crackpot - and to be assassinated in the end for all your efforts? Or to be that assassin - to make your mark on history by attacking someone already in the public eye? It has always been easier to destroy than to create.

Who will be remembered in the next century - the already nameless workers trying to feed the poor and provide disaster relief, or the two dorks who killed a handful of highschool students? What was easier to accomplish - the uphill, and ongoing, fight for minority rights, or steering a couple of planes into the New York skyline?

This is what the moderately intelligent outcasts of today see - "It doesn't matter if I vote or not, because the election is already bought and won. But if I could settle the score with this rifle..." Obviously bad, twisted and wrong thinking, but that's history for you.
--
http://www.majcher.com/
Wrestling pigs since 1988!
[ Parent ]

Individuals matter (5.00 / 2) (#59)
by dennis on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 12:38:40 PM EST

It is wrong to think that an individual citizen can effect change at this point in history.

Not so impossible. For example, if you're a good computer programmer with a vision, and you don't care if you make money from that vision, you can have an amazing impact:

Phil Zimmerman made it possible for anyone to communicate securely, and forced a change in government encryption policy. His software is routinely used by human-rights organizations.

Shawn Fanning changed the way we all think about music.

Tim Berners-Lee dramatically increased the ability of individuals to have a public voice. Mass media corporations consolidate more every day, but low-cost independent sites will still be out there. Some, like Matt Drudge, have a large audience, and break stories that get picked up afterwards by the mass media.

And Linus and Stallman kicked off a process that gave us a free operating system that's now going head-to-head with the richest software company in the world. Microsoft can put all the digital-rights-management in the OS they want - if we want to keep our traditional fair-use capabilities, we have the technical means to do so.

I think there are other ways besides writing code to have an impact, as well. But given that this is my profession, these are the examples that immediately spring to mind.

[ Parent ]

true, but for one thing (none / 0) (#64)
by CodeWright on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 05:36:14 PM EST

What you say is entirely true (JSM) if you assume that the "difference" that one aspires to make is a creative one.

If, on the other hand, the "difference" is a monumentally destructive act (such as those occupying the public attention in the fall of last year), it is certainly feasible for even the microcephalic to divert or dam the course of history (in a context, arguably, appreciable during their lifetime).

[406@k5] NON ILLIGITIMI CARBORUNDUM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, yes. (none / 0) (#31)
by regeya on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 04:08:12 PM EST

In your opinion, the voting went wrong.

We got our opinions wrong. Sorry.

For the humor-impaired: AFAIK, that was sarcasm, in case your meter isn't going off.


[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

"* denotes staffed branch office" (4.66 / 9) (#35)
by mech9t8 on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 04:52:39 PM EST

OK, so ... what does that mean? Why are there two addresses? What is that little * by the second one?

It's right at the top of the freakin' page. It's a branch office. There's a main office in Cedar Rapids and a branch office in Sioux City.

Not that complicated. ;)

And let's take a look at the original article: "...prosecutors in the U.S. District Attorney's office in Cedar Rapids..."

Hmm. What address could it possibly be?

I was going to continue on about how the main problem in this case isn't the government, but your own lazy-ass-ness, but that seems to be your point, anyway. So nevermind. ;)

--
"To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the s

Hello... MLP? (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by Talez on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 08:13:09 PM EST

I saw that the '15 years for one bullet' story got shoved into the 'sections' ghetto. On the other hand some belly-button pondering rambling incoherence by some australian dad got posted to the front page.

The 15 years for one bullet was also in the MLP section and MLPs rarely ever make it to the front page. I'm sure if someone had bothered to care enough to make a decent writeup, people would be happy to vote it to the front page.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
Yup, the land of freedom and individual choice (4.81 / 11) (#43)
by SIGFPE on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 08:58:06 PM EST

I go to a bar. I need to show ID documents before I can drink. Well that's better than being an adult for 3 years and not being allowed to drink at all. I want a cigarette with my beer. Nope. Not allowed. I'll go and see a movie. It's going to be a fun movie and I'd love to have a beer while watching it. No, not allowed. OK. So I'll do something harmless instead and watch the game on TV. It'd be more fun if I could wager a few bucks on the team I know will win. No, that's not allowed either. Oh, well. Maybe I'll watch a movie instead. WTF, it's been edited to remove a naked butt! Give that up. Maybe I'll smoke something a little stronger than tobacco. Not with a 3 strikes and your out policy.

Oh well, I'll get back to my Nazi propaganda web site. At least that's allowed.

Yup, the US knows all about freedom and individual choice.
SIGFPE

For beer with your movie: (none / 0) (#49)
by Bill Barth on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:13:54 PM EST

this place


Yes...I am a rocket scientist.
[ Parent ]

Or if you're a little farther north... (none / 0) (#52)
by tordia on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 12:55:25 AM EST

if you're in Chicago, try this place.

Or, if you're in La Crosse, WI, try here. I'm not positive it's the Rivoli, but I know there is a theater in La Crosse that serves beer and shows second run movies. The Rivoli shows second run movies and is downtown by the university, so that's my guess.

I believe the University Square Theaters in Madison, WI are trying to get a liquor license for their theater as well. I can't find a link, though.

[ Parent ]

lol (1.00 / 1) (#50)
by turmeric on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 11:26:45 PM EST

hahaha

[ Parent ]
True, true.. (2.00 / 6) (#45)
by freija crescent on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 09:20:50 PM EST

This is so true. America is going to hell. And quickly. I fear not quick enough.

Our government is stupid. How so? Simple. People don't commit crimes against people they love. Want to stop shoplifting? Lower your prices and be nicer in your stores. It's basic common sense. Want to increase violence and rebellion? Become a tyrant state.

I'm so proud of the US government for carrying out this experiment. Maybe I'll be able to come back here some day and say "I told you so". Unfortunately we will probably be stripped of all rights by then, and that won't be possible.

I see two possible solutions to the inevitable misery of my fellow americans.

1)I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

2)Buy only chinese goods, let them become strong enough.. then the government will impose trade sanctions against China, they will get pissed off, stomp all over our pathetic excuse for a military, and we will enjoy life under communist rule.

Alas, we cannot be so lucky.

-fc

And to think... (none / 0) (#61)
by Stickerboy on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 12:57:48 PM EST

I almost wasted effort on this troll.



[ Parent ]
Me neither (5.00 / 3) (#51)
by quartz on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 12:05:42 AM EST

My sociology prof, for whom I have the utmost respect, made me realize during a class discussion that I don't own my body. My body is owned by society at large which, by means of its superstructure, the Government, regulates what I can and can't do with it. The seatbelt law, the war on (some) drugs, the criminalization of attempted suicide and assisted suicide and many other things -- all society's successful attempts to tell me what to do with what I thought was my own body.

That's when I stopped caring completely. Now it's pretty much like good ol' Fyodor Mikhailovich put it: "the world can go to hell, so long as I can always have my tea". FTW.



--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
why we don't care | 64 comments (38 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
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