Notes from around the Human Experience…
Author’s Note: We’ve read Judge Timothy Wilson’s verdict and we encourage you to do the same. It is very readable, accessible even to self-educated misfits like us and is worth the time of every concerned citizen. It can be read here.
USA! USA!: Blacks, of course, have a lot to protest in this country. The Jason Stockley verdict isn’t one of them. What they should be protesting is the prosecutor that set them up for this heartache by trying Jason Stockley for first-degree murder in the first place.
This was a very high mountain climb, and ultimately it proved too steep. Murder one involves intent (you wanted to do it), premeditation (you planned on doing it) and malice aforethought (you planned on doing harm). These three elements are difficult to prove when the killer had known his victim for only a few minutes, especially in the context of the heated interaction that led to the shooting.
Fly In The Ointment: We believe the fact the federal government, always ready for action in these circumstances, declined to charge Stockley with anything bears this out. The people of St Louis were not served well by the decision to charge Stockley with first-degree murder.
Dry, Technical Matter: Blacks in St Louis aren’t the only ones who should be protesting. Everyone else in America should be protesting, too. This shooting should never have happened.
Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: This case is a nice microcosm of the points we made on the campaign trail for the United States Senate and House of Representatives: legalize drugs and the violence associated with them goes away. This shooting is no different than any of the other violence associated with drug war:
None of this happens if drugs are legal. A drug purchase in a fast food joint would have drawn no more interest than the purchase of a side order.
Criminalizing drugs is not stopping anyone from using them and it is certainly not stopping their importation. All drug laws do is cause death, broken hearts and broken lives, making criminals out of everyone involved in a country that hardly needs more criminals.
One More Thing: Look, we don’t use heroin and we don’t particularly like hanging around those who do but, honestly, was this the Crime of the Century? Did a two-bit heroin deal in a fried chicken joint demand the immediate attention of Officer Stockley and his partner?
Honestly, it probably didn’t. If they ignore it and continue their patrol the neighborhood would survive. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other drug deals that weren’t broken up that night testify to that. All they really did was disrupt a transaction between a willing buyer and a willing seller and if they ignore it the sun still rises in the east the next day.
There’s is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Of course, we applaud a vigorous attempt by law enforcement to uphold establish federal, state and municipal laws. You probably do, too. But was Smith selling something someone wanted to buy from him hurting anyone? No, not really.
The Bottom Line: We cannot be afraid of the lessons History has to teach us. If either drugs are legal or the officers decide to ignore this incident, Anthony Smith is probably still alive and Jason Stockley is probably passing a routine law enforcement career and none of this ever happens.
“MY FEELINGS DO NOT PERMIT ME TO SUSPEND THE DEEP ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THAT DEBT OF GRATITUDE, WHICH I OWE TO MY BELOVED COUNTRY…”: President George Washington’s farewell message to his country is published in newspapers around the country on this date in 1796. The third United States presidential election was later that year and Washington, who really wanted to retire after his first term, had made it clear he would not be a candidate for a third term.
How Quaint: Among other things, Washington urges Americans to avoid war and unnecessary borrowing.
FunFact: Washington’s farewell is still read annually in the United States Senate. The rascals in the House of Representatives discontinued the practice in the 1980’s.
More Exciting US Presidential Action: Chester Arthur becomes the 21st president of the United States on this date in 1881, following the death of James Garfield due to injuries suffered after he was shot on July 2.
Arthur is primarily remembered for his federal civil service reform and while highly regarded back then, is not particularly remembered today. He wasn’t in the best of health and retired after his term.
Get Out Your History Books: Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees records his 602nd career save on this date in 2011, breaking the record of Trevor Hoffman. Rivera would retire with 652 saves, a record that still stands. It was Rivera’s 43rd save of the season and preserved a 6-4 win over the Minnesota Twins.
The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: With the win, the Yankees remained five games in front of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Twin remained safely out of it, in last place in the American League Central.
Quotebook: Fighting against destiny seemed impossible for the moment.– Jules Verne, Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: After George Washington, the president of the Constitutional Convention, signed the Constitution, the document was signed by the state’s delegates in north to south order.
Today’s Stumper: How many games did Mariano Rivera start in his major league career? – Answer next time!