Cory Maye

I suppose I could just do an update, but here it is, the order from Judge Michael Eubanks that keeps Cory Maye in prison for the time being, most probably for the rest of his life. Here's Balko's thoughts on the matter.

Do you understand why a few of those who are wrongly convicted of serious crimes are later exonerated and released? It's always due to factual material evidence, i.e., undeniable evidence, such as DNA and so forth. Even still, the state, via its prosecutors and district attorneys, never stands in accordance with the interpretation and obvious conclusion rendered from such evidence, recommending release. No, they do their best to keep the wrongly accused convicts behind bars and/or condemned to die in the state's death-execution chamber. They do this by obfuscating facts, introducing out-of-context assertions, pleas to "hard work" on the part of the state to get the conviction in the first place, and a host of other things.

And they sometimes succeed. They sometimes succeed even when the evidence is clear and objective. If they can use a technicality within the law to keep an innocent man convicted, then they easily ignore the whisper from their consciences, assuming it whispers to them even still.

But sometimes, the evidence is so great, so convincing, so clear that even Genghis Khan would blush to keep someone locked up.

Cory Maye remains in prison and will likely remain in prison for life because there is no question as to the basic facts of the case. The question is whether you have the right to shoot at intruders breaking into your house in the middle of the night in self-defense. The law generally holds that you do have such right. But not if its the state and its agents breaking into your house. Even if you don't know its the police -- indeed even if you believe it is a life-threatening intrusion -- you still have no right to fire on cops. There is no material fact that will ever exonerate you, save the cops themselves admitting to a wrongful break in; and that's only so because the cop's stories will always be given all possible weight, no matter any other fact. Of course, given what is known about cops generally, just from what's posted here, they will never say anything but that they clearly announced their presence.

Cory Maye sat on death row for five years and will now sit for life because he is a morally innocent man and the state is morally guilty. Shooting and killing a cop, an agent of the state is everything to this case.

Granting Cory Maye a new trial is to indict the state and put it on trial. To free Cory Maye is to convict the state. Cory Maye's life, according to Judge Michael Eubanks, the prosecutors, many residents of Prentiss, Mississippi, and others is a very small price to pay to keep Big Lies propped up and maintained.

Althouse

This is the sort of entry where you kinda have to know the players for it to make any sense, but whatever...

I used to read Ann Althouse regularly; as in, queued up in my RSS reader. I may have even had her on my blogroll at one time. She is a good blogger, really, and I often wished I had more time to read some of her entries. She's pretty prolific. Takes really good photos too.

But c'mon, people. Did anyone really think she was anywhere near "libertarian" at a principled level? She's a Reynolds clone. That is, her entire life has been invested in the legal profession, and just as with Reynolds, "libertarian" means something along the lines of "Efficient Minds and Efficient Markets (through Efficient Law)," if you catch the reference to the Reason tagline, though Reason certainly has that very same problem, and often.

I just can't believe anyone finds this the least bit surprising. Virginia Postrel notes:

"Althouse was clearly out of her intellectual depth during the discussions..."

Uh, no shit??? Have you guys even read her blog for any length of time? Can you point to any post of hers, ever, where she elucidated an individualist or purely libertarian view with reference to freedom and liberty, as opposed to a more logical legal scheme? I dunno, I haven't read her with any regularity in a long time, but I'd certainly be surprised to be pointed to anything that would even come close to my own standards.

Hell, if I want to read a conservative blog, I've got Kim du Toit and if I want to read pragmatic, consequentialist libertarianism, I've got Hit & Run. I'm certainly not getting any special insight on either front from Althouse that I'm not getting there, and certainly never any sense that she has the slightest clue as to what a moral principle is and how it would apply to politics.

Update: Althouse has posted a reply to Ron Bailey's post linked above. You can read it, if you like, but when I see something like this...

"I came away surprised that some people, especially the libertarians, were hardcore, true believers, wedded to an abstract version of idea and unwilling to look at how it played out in the real world."

...such person has just disqualified themselves from any discussion or comment that would take place at my level. Hey, Ann? How about a principled opposition to racism, which apparently was your whole bugaboo, here? Are you "hardcore?" A "true believer?" "Wedded" to it? Can such principled opposition exist as an "abstract?" (note to readers: "abstract version of idea" is redundant, superfluous, and betrays an ignorance of what ideas really are.). Are you willing to be principally opposed to racism without having to "look at how it played out in the real world?"

Althouse is smart. Very smart. It just goes to show you how that's not nearly enough.

Keeping the “Justice” Coming

How Very Unsurprising.

Something is being protected. I'll leave you to discern just what that is.

A Quick Read

It's been a while since I've sat down and read a book in essentially a single sitting -- excepting, of course, the brewing and drinking of coffee and its consequences.

Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris, really is an excellent little book that ought to be passed out to every Christian you know and care about. It's 90 pages. Two hours, max.

What's it about?

Samharris_book_ltacn

"Thousands of people have written to tell me that I am wrong not to believe in God. The most hostile of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians generally imagine that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own. The truth is that many who claim to be transformed by Christ's love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism. While we may want to ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that such hatred draws considerable support from the Bible. How do I know this? The most disturbed of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse."

I have spent quite a lot of time over the past few weeks and days familiarizing myself with the work of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Some of that I've posted here in the form of videos and such. What's becoming clear is that non-belief, or atheism, if you will, is beginning to have a forum for discussion here in America. There's a whole lot of ways that can go, so it will be interesting. Over the past month or so I've heard both Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins interviewed on local talk shows, and I've also recently heard both numerous times on NPR.

I have become persuaded of at least one thing that is in direct contradiction to what I have believed for a long time. I had always reasoned that super technology was its own safeguard against mass destruction. In other words, the cultural evolution necessary to, say, gain the scientific and technological prowess to build an atomic bomb ensures that a society is rational enough to organize themselves such that wanton destruction does not take place.

But this only accounts for the first ones to come up with it. The copycats who come along later pass through no such evolution and so we are on the verge of 14th-century primitives having nukes (which, if you count Pakistan, they already do). As Sam Harris puts it:

"I don't know how many more engineers and architects need to fly planes into our buildings before we realize that this is not merely a matter of lack of education or economic despair.

"In the year 2006, a person can have sufficient intellectual and material resources to build a nuclear bomb and still believe that he will get seventy-two virgins in Paradise. Western secularists, liberals, and moderates have been very slow to understand this. The cause of their confusion is simple: they don’t know what it is like to really believe in God."

You all are already perfectly familiar with what it's like to be an atheist. If you're a Christian, consider Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, Shintoism, Judaism, or any of the hundreds of others. You know perfectly well what atheism is, and how it's arrived at. For most of you Christians, especially conservative, fundamentalist ones, the tenets of those other religions, faiths, or traditions seem to you as preposterous; ridiculous, laughable -- and most certainly worthy of no respect whatsoever.

Welcome to my world.

Environmentalism

People who know me know that I have nearly zero concern for environmentalist "issues." For instance, I'm fond of announcing to people that I do not go out of my way to recycle. I don't object if it costs me nothing extra in dollars, time, or trouble to recycle, but I absolutely will not go an inch out of my way to do it. At the same time, I love nature, the animal kingdom, and support rational conservation efforts. I also recognize that most real environmental issues, to include the risk of extinction of important species (not all are), are fundamentally known problems with known solutions.

I have never, ever seen the environmentalist movement as anything more than a slightly more sophisticated and organized version of the Luddite movement. Of course, they're all watermelons, now, so that's something to be concerned about.

I've been saying it for two decades, at least. Over and over. To get from 'A' to 'C,' one must go via 'B.' Here, here, and here is one tiny example of why I'm thoroughly and completely unconcerned with the environmentalist movement, and will remain so. You "environmentalists" would do well to invest your time and effort on real problems, beginning first of with your sense of perspective and ability to think.

Morning Laf

"Jokes about polonium 210 will be half as funny 138 days from now"

I mean, that's funny, right? Who doesn't know that it's 138.376 days. Jeez.

(Samizdata)

Wikipedia-ing

Strolling through Wikipedia this morning, doing a bit of research for the wife, I stumble upon an interesting "variation:"

Common modern usage which variates on the Nuremberg defense is the Yuppie  Nuremberg defense, used when justifying immoral actions. Common Yuppie versions include "I do it to pay the mortgage", "I did it to pay the bills", or "I have a family to feed".

It's from their entry on the Nuremberg defense. Now, given that Wikipedia is a user-created encyclopedia and not necessarily authoritative, or even correct, in all matters, one has to wonder whether that variation has been in popular or common usage, anywhere, or whether someone in his pajamas just came up with it.

Nonetheless, I like it, and intend to use it henceforth.

Radley, Please!

If Ron Jones had been "an honest, decent police officer," then Ron Jones would still be alive.

Honest and decent people don't storm the home of a peaceful man and his young daughter in the middle of the night. It is precisely because Ron Jones was dishonest and despicable, as a person and as a police officer, that Cory May has sat for five years on death row in Mississippi, a convicted murderer; because he justly, and with all moral authority, defended his life and that of his daughter's. You know all these facts, Radley. You put them all together. It is because of you that Maye has a slim chance that a part of this injustice against him and his daughter is terminated.

And if Ron Jones were honest and decent, it would have been a reflection of the professionalism of law institutions he would willingly work for and carry out duties. Such an institution would never have tolerated any actual Ron Jones-types in its midst, and had a similar incident occurred, it would have prosecuted the "Ron Jones," exonerated Cory Maye, and left him to raise his daughter in peace; rather than turn wrong to "right," black to "white," dishonesty to "honesty," indecency to "decency," and injustice to "justice."

It's all baked in the cake; business as usual in the "Land of the Free."


It’s the Glass

Warren Meyer calls attention to a court case having to do with California's inability to get along in the global energy market -- and so requires judges to sanction people with guns and jails to help California "compete."

But that's just another day in the "Land of the Free" and not what I wanted to write about. Warren complains:

I don't think there is anything more depressing to a good anarcho-capitalist like myself than seeing the government rule that a price negotiated at arms length by the free will of consenting, and in this case well-informed adults enjoys "no presumption of legality."  If not, then what does?  Is that where we are heading, to a world where no voluntary actions enjoy a presumption of legality?

Well, as a Princeton grad and Harvard MBA, I'm certain Warren knows the answer to that question himself. But just to belabor the point, that is the whole point of law. The law holds context and asserts authority in every action and in every single moment of every person's life. When you are sleeping, you are presumed innocent, just as when you are charged with a crime. In other words: you are always in some "legal status" or the other.

It's the same thing for human action. What is not explicitly legal or illegal is "presumed legal" or, as was pointed out by these judges, not presumed legal, which covers all possible bases -- not only for present and future actions, but anything ever done in the past.

That people don't understand that we live under the general totality of political law, and always have, is beyond me. It's just becoming bolder and more explicit in America. And for the moment, at least, breathing, eating, sleeping, bodily functions...are all "presumed legal." Isn't that nice? Aren't you glad? Thankful?

There's another way to look at this. You have often heard the question: "is the glass half empty, or half full?" I've never in my life looked at it precisely in that way. When I first seriously pondered the question, which essentially goes to a person's existential or meta-outlook, I objected to the arbitrary constraint of the glass (metaphorically speaking, of course). In the same way, when people nit-pick back & forth about how something or other is legal, illegal, presumed or not presumed whatever, and to what degrees and exceptions, ad infinitum, all I see is the arbitrary constraint of the law.

Thank you very much. I'll stick with right and wrong, realizing that a good bit of existence and your life and mine isn't either. It simply is, there for you to gain and keep values in pursuit of your own happiness.

You do realize, don't you, that for some people and their particular values, values the gaining and keeping of which harm no one, that these people's pursuit of happiness "enjoys" no "presumption of legality?"

Dawkins vs. Jerry’s Kids in Lynchburg

What follows, below, is the Q&A session following a brief reading of excerpts from Richard Dawkins' new book, The God Delusion, which is one of the several books I'm currently reading. It's a good book; comprehensive, evidencing a lot of thought and organization. It goes a long way towards the plain old simple process of acclamation of America to atheists in an open way that has yet to be done.

The reading, performed by Dawkins himself, took place at Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, VA -- home to Jerry Falwell's Liberty Baptist Church and Liberty University. It used to be called Liberty Baptist Bible College, then Liberty Baptist University, in the late 70s, when I was contemplating going there, along with Bob Jones University, Pensacola Christian College, and Tennessee Temple University. I settled on Tennessee Temple and completed a year of study. Mostly bible, which later transferred to Oregon State as general humanities, as well I was able to transfer some history and math.

At any rate, at least a good 80% of this Q&A are students -- and even faculty -- from Liberty, who've obviously come thinking they were going to confound the atheist. It didn't happen. To say the least. Not even close. But Dawkins remains polite, even tender, throughout and does not lose composure one wit. He has clearly dealt with all this before.

I must admit I'm surprised that I didn't hear a single new argument from the Liberty crowd. It's been 25 years since I've been in the thick of this, and my high-school "science education," if you want to know it, is right there in those mostly inane questions. Every one of them. I've heard them a million times, thought they were bullet-proof at the age of 16, but found otherwise when I began thinking for myself.