Technology

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

Our first place winner on the insightful side this week is That One Guy with a response to our post about the Houston police officer who is facing felony murder charges over a botched raid:

‘What do you mean it didn’t work this time?!’

Gerald Goines, the ex-Houston police officer who led the controversial no-knock raid on Harding Street, has been charged with two counts of felony murder, as KHOU 11 Investigates reporter Jeremy Rogalski first reported.

His attorney, Nicole DeBorde, said Goines was surprised by the charges.

Given how often a badge acts as a ‘get out of personal responsibility’-free card for actions up to and including murder I bet they were surprised that they were actually facing potential consequences for their actions. Now, if the jury/judge will follow through and rightly nail them to the wall for killing two people that’ll make things all the better.

However, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo believes it’s not a department wide problem.

“We’ve been looking at a lot of cases and we have yet to see it again, any evidence of any systemic issues,” Acevedo said.

The only way I could see that possibly being true is if they are looking at literal cases, since last I checked most containers are lacking in the intelligence to commit crimes.

You do not get two cops falsifying reports based upon bogus reports by fictitious informants and supported by drugs that were pulled from a cop’s car unless things are really rotten and they are very sure that they’ll get away with it. If they were willing to do something that brazen it is almost literally impossible to believe that the rest of the department is squeaky clean, especially given what outside investigators have found and the fact that the department has had to be threatened with legal action to release information relating to the killer and his partner.

Given all that as the article notes if he’s not finding anything he’s not actually looking.

In second place, we’ve got Anonymous Anonymous Coward with some thoughts on the nature of property:

Yet another analogy…

I see property, and by that I mean real property (not limited to real estate) as having form, substance, and possibly function. Real property can be damaged by natural events such as hurricanes, fire, flood, hail, tornadoes, lightning, etc… Your copy of a book, sheet music, recording would be real property, the concepts expressed in those are not.

On the other hand, imaginary property cannot be damaged by natural events, like the song ‘borrowed (I thought ‘stolen’ as a bit strong) by Wilma above’, there was no actual loss to Betty, with the possible exception of attribution. The song itself is a bit ethereal, as it floats through the air, or even if it is written down or recorded. That is until we get to the monetization of imaginary property, which has since lead us to control, which then lead us to excessive control, and the mischaracterization of imaginary property as real property.

It is the monetization that brings us to the over protection, and lengthening protections, and rabid control, and the spread of such protections worldwide for the benefit of corporations rather than creators of imaginary property. The concept of having an idea and then living off it forever, or even getting rich off it is anathema to the original conception of imaginary property, at least in the United States…

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”

Which only allows Congress to do something about imaginary property, but does not require it to do so.

I like the reforms mentioned in the article above, but would add some. Imaginary property cannot be transferred from the creator, but may be licensed, loaned, or contracted to another entity for some limited times for some consideration. By limited times we should look to the copyright clause that is in the Constitution and quoted above for guidance. If the purpose is truly to promote creativity, then any protection dies with the creator, and not just limitations created by law, which should also be short enough to encourage creators to continue creating.

For example the original 14 years for copyright (too long in my mind, seven would be better) with a purchased extension for another 14 (or7) years if it is considered economically feasible.

And for patents, the current ten year limit is OK, but new patents should not be issued for small tweaks to existing patents creating the concept of ‘evergreening’. If a new idea is added to an existing patent, and that idea is worth it, it should be able to stand on its own without the underlying patent and be patentable by itself. Nor should patents be issued to anyone that is not in the process of bringing a product to market, and if, within a reasonable time, no product is produced the patent expires. The fact of not being able to transfer a patent should also help with the non-practicing entities (those without a product asserting imaginary patent rights).

These ideas should be taken into consideration along with those reforms mentioned in the article, and no, I am not claiming any imaginary rights to these ideas.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with bhull242 responding to the oft-repeated claim about gun violence that the solution lies in targeting the “few” mentally ill people:

“Few”? Those with diagnosed mental problems may be a minority, but they’re not that rare. Pretty much everyone in America has personally encountered someone with a mental illness.

Plus, there’s the question of where making 2A rights reasonable conflicts with 4A rights.

Also, please define “people who are known mentally unstable [sic]”. Not all mental illnesses are connected to violent behavior at all.

Then there’s the fact that statistics show that there is no significant correlation between mental illness and either gun violence in general or mass shootings specifically. One could argue that, by definition, anyone willing to kill a bunch of people must be mentally ill, but even setting aside that that would make every soldier who has been in active combat mentally ill, that doesn’t make them diagnosibly mentally ill, and it’s an entirely ad hoc definition which cannot be used to diagnose someone with a mental illness before a mass shooting, which makes it effectively worthless in this debate.

Finally, show me where Techdirt writers, specifically (not commenters), have been for “denying 2A rights for millions”. I’ve seen them questioning the scope and limitations of the 2A, recognizing the consequences that result, and being highly critical of many of the talking points used by pro-2A advocates—like blaming mental health issues, movies, and/or video games while completely ignoring any attempts at putting reasonable restrictions on gun ownership, like ammo limits, restrictions on the types of firearms permitted, better data on shooting incidents and who is restricted from possessing a firearm that are readily available to anyone who sells firearms or works for the government, restrictions on private sales, or banning certain accessories that make a firearm more deadly to larger numbers of people—whenever a mass shooting or talk of gun control pops up. I fail to see how any of that is denying 2A rights to anyone without reasonable due process.

It is possible to have a country with democracy, violent movies, violent video games, mentally ill people, and private gun ownership without mass shootings occurring multiple times a year. At least one developed nation does. We should look towards other developed nations that don’t have so many mass shootings but are considered democratic for ideas to fix our gun-violence problem. Not every idea is good, nor will every idea work here, but it’s worth looking into.

Next, we’ve got an anonymous comment about Australia’s efforts to censor all footage of the Christchurch shooting:

Remember when we jeered at China

… over censoring anything related to Tianeman Square and the protests there some 30 years ago? How it was akin to “harmful sensation“, “just letting people view this harms our society”?

It’s taken 30 years, but Australia has finally stepped up to the challenge. Well done, Free World. Well done.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Toom1275 commenting on a post that sparked a lot of debate:

Where’s the button to flag the article for trolling?

In second place, it’s blademan9999 taking note of the rather broad language in a college’s rules restricting students’ freedom of expression:

“Any student parade, serenade, demonstration, rally, and/or other meeting or gathering for any purpose ”

So if I’m understanding this right, you need 3 days notice to do things like go on a date, return a borrowed item or help someone else study, WTF!

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start with David neatly noting perhaps the most absurd result of Mississippi’s rules about labeling vegan and vegetarian food:

So to make this clear:

With the previous law in action, you were only allowed to call something a “veggie burger” if it contained beef. Because of consumer confusion.

And finally, we’ve got a handy anonymous one-liner in response to the Federal Courts computer system losing months of job applications in a power outage:

nothing like having a good back up system and this is nothing like having a good back up system!

That’s all for this week, folks!

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