This story is interesting. A Dallas Cowboys football player, Josh Brent, murdered a teammate in a drunk driving accident.
I say “murder” and not “manslaughter”. It makes no difference if you kill someone on purpose, or through your own incompetence. That’s a defect of the “justice” system, that a person’s intentions matter. That loophole enables insiders to get away with many crimes, because they would never do something bad on purpose.
The move Wednesday came a day after a memorial service for practice squad player Jerry Brown, Brent’s close friend who was killed in a car accident when Brent was driving. Brent is facing an intoxicated manslaughter charge related to the accident Saturday morning, and is free on bond.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones says the team wants to be able to stay in contact with Brent, and for the player to stay in contact with teammates. Jones says those things are important.
Surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones even paid for his bail, when he was arrested after the accident.
Brent’s attorney called the bond amount excessive and beyond what the team had authorized him to post.
I don’t understand that at all. He just killed a teammate, and his team is paying for his bail? He was placed on the “non-football injury list”, which makes him ineligible for the rest of the season. He should spend some time in jail. It is offensive, that the NFL commissioner didn’t hand down a harsh suspension for Josh Brent.
Josh Brent should get a harsher sentence than Plaxico Burress and Michael Vick. Plaxico Burress only hurt himself. “Possession of a gun” is not a real crime. Michael Vick hurt/killed dogs, which is much less serious than killing a person.
The penalty for drunk driving is generally much lower than it should be. It is offensive that someone can go to jail longer for “possession of (certain) drugs” than for killing someone in a drunk driving accident. I’m surprised that the Cowboys are still supporting Josh Brent, especially when he isn’t playing again this season and maybe not for a few years. It depends on what kind of plea bargain deal he gets, and if the NFL commissioner gives a harsh suspension.
I went to the cinema lately. I won’t mention the name of the film, just in case the vague messages I recount may act as spoilers (they won’t).
1) A man is told to stop stealing and instead get a job, perhaps a government job. The man is derisive. I thought the film was saying all government jobs are paid for by theft or at the least taking from other people.
2) If you stand up to someone or are not afraid, then you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. The aggressor will back down.
3) Nobody can make you do anything. If someone threatens you with violence, then they still can’t make you do anything.
A person’s intentions *DO* matter.
You have so lost your moral compass that I must stop following this blog now. I have persevered due to my interest in the different thinking of people with autistic spectrum disorders, but this is too much for me.
Following “intentions matter”, it was OK for Jon Corzine to steal $1.6B from his customers, because it was an accident and he didn’t do it on purpose.
A drunk driving accident isn’t different from pulling out a gun and killing someone on purpose. Either way, the victim is dead.
Also, the drunk driver made the decision to get drunk and drive. It’s completely different from a regular accident. A loss due to a regular accident should be covered by insurance. If you’re a drunk driver, you should be personally responsible. For a drunk driver, insurance should still reimburse the victim, but then collect from the criminal.
“Intentions matter” is used as a “get out of jail free” card for insiders.
Every time someone says “You suck! I’m not reading anymore!”, that’s how I know it’s an important subject.
Re. Jon Corzine, wasn’t saying the “unintentional” crime was not a crime. I would argue that an action with the same outcome may have a graduated degree of culpability – imagine (all other things being equal) pulling the trigger on a revolver and shooting someone in the head: if the person is in plain sight and you have done it deliberately that’s very very bad and evil, if the person is on the other side of a wall and you have just fired carelessly into the wall that is very bad and negligent, if you are on a shooting range and the person is hiding behind a target that’s bad but accidental.
Pure accidents, by definition, are not crimes. Crimes include both those where the criminal is simply evil and those where s/he is negligent.
Re. ‘ “Intentions matter” is used as a “get out of jail free” card for insiders ‘, that may be true *some* of the time, but that is not to say that evil intent is not an aggravating factor in criminal responsibility.
Re. ‘ “You suck!” ‘, to be fair I did not say any such thing, and I certainly agree that this stuff *does* matter.
You use English (or rather American English, I guess), in a very striking way, and you use the phrase “it offends me that…” a good deal. Well, I’d not go so far to say that it offends me, but I can say that it makes me feel icky to think that there are people walking around who genuinely feel that a premeditated, intentional crime is no worse than the same crime committed out of negligence. Who, to my simple way of thinking, can look evil in the face and not be able to tell the difference between it and it and criminal negligence. I’ve enjoyed reading you blog – your way of thinking and expressing yourself is very striking, we share many concerns, and whilst I strongly disagree with much of what you say, I agree equally strongly with some of it.
The problem with this piece is not your choice of subject or your overall position, which I understand to be that the guy got away surprisingly and inappropriately lightly, both in terms of sentence and of his treatment by the team. The problem with this piece is a frankly frightening oversimplification of a complex distinction that casually discounts the difference between malice and negligence.
I can see both of your points. I think FSK has a point claiming that drunk driving is NOT negligence but taking a significant risk consciously.
We are missing some important information here though: How much drinking was involved and the particular circumstances. Also the guy decided to drive with a drunk driver which makes him partially guilty too in my opinion.
I believe with too little reliable information it is not possible to judge this particular case fairly.
However, it is easy to see how FSKs argument can be applied in many cases and would deserve some consideration / fixing.
FSK has an amazing ability to identify possible flaws in our society and explain the issue in simple terms and few words. I love reading his posts as he challenges my own critical thinking. What is better than critical thinking about critical thinking
Occasionally I find a flaw in his reasoning which makes me feel good and proves he is human and genuine.
I just wished be posts more often again and gets well, and finally decides to go independent (contractor).
To be fair, I think if the distinction between manslaughter and murder is to be removed we have a problem defining and determining the degree of negligence. I can see high degree of negligence in conscious (significantly) drunk driving and causing an accident. However, the accident could have also happened without alcohol – who determines this? What about accidents in martial arts, or encouraging someone to do a bungy jump without properly determining the safety record of the organizer first?
In practice it is probably easier and fairer to consider the intention than trying to fairly estimate the degree of negligence. However, the thought is great and I learned a lot reflecting on this. Thank you both
I favor compensation-based justice and not punishment-based justice. The financial compensation for murder is the same whether the murder was intentional, gross negligence, or an accident. For an accident, insurance will cover almost all of the loss. For murder and criminal negligence, insurance should never cover the loss (but the victim’s heirs still get paid). The insurer must collect from the criminal.
For an intentional murder or criminal negligence, punitive damages could be added in addition to compensation.
Drunk driving is criminal negligence.
There also is partial criminal negligence. For example, someone who was barely legally drunk might be 50% criminally negligent in a drunk driving accident. In that case, he has to pay 50% of the loss and insurance covers the remaining 50%.
Josh Brent was *REALLY* drunk. The victim was also partially responsible, being a passenger. This is different from a drunk driver killing someone in another car. However, someone else could have been seriously injured.
Even if you are an independent contractor, you’re still a type of employee. Ideally, I should have my own business.
My posting motivation has been less recently. I wonder if I’m still recovering from the hospitalization. I wonder if the new drugs affect my motivation to blog.
“I have persevered due to my interest in the different thinking of people with autistic spectrum disorders,”
What the fuck? “Autism” is a just a name that quacks call kids who don’t talk as much as society wants them to. It’s not even a real medical condition. If you think it is, show me your test results.
Egor, I agree with you. In the current growth paradigm, society will continue to come up with new diseases but it will be harder and the nonsense of it more obvious. Active kids need to take drugs to treat their “hyperactivity”, quiet kids against “autism”, loosing hair is a “disease”, so is having a non average breast size (free surgery for girls in the UK). Not being able to sleep more than 6-10 hours – no problem take sleeping pills (many elderly people)? Fear of public speaking – we have the pill!
I just wait for the pill to treat fear of terrorism – but that would treat a lot of other diseases based on fear and reduce the profit.
I am very much for free market – minarchism or – anarchism. At least there should be a serious public discussion (Stefan Moleneaux versus Chomsky versus Obama would be hot) and people like FSK or Toby Russel (econosophy.com) in the audience asking questions!
A real free market could solve many problems but I am not sure about planned obsolescence and the creation of new needs to sustain perpetual growth. Both democracy and a free market assume people have a near free will and can decide mostly in a rational way. Pharmacology, psychology, advertising and the hijacking of science and the media in general by profits are challenging this assumption today.
“Planned obsolescence” and “artifically creating new needs” is a symptom of a corrupt State economy. That problem might not occur in a really free market.
For example, when you have a monopoly, you maximize profits by making a product that breaks after a few years and needs to be replaced. If a competitor makes a higher quality product, you can borrow from banksters at negative real interest rates and buy them out, and a restricted market makes it hard for new competitors to enter the market. In a really free market, quality will be rewarded more.
With symptom-suppressing drugs, profits are maximized when the patient takes the drug for the rest of their life. It doesn’t matter if the underlying problem is cured or not.
What system better handles a mixture of intelligent people and fools? In a democracy, everyone is stuck with the majority choice. In a really free market, I can still get what I want if the majority makes bad choices.