July 11, 2016

Extremely Careless

A couple of lads from Alabama, whose mug-shots do little to dispel stereotypes of my Father's birthplace, were -- it seems -- extremely careless with their campfire. And this being Colorado in July:

ColdSpringsFire.jpg

We must someday open the topic of mens rea. Harvey Silverglate and I are quite concerned that we now commit "Three Felonies a Day" [Review Corner], not only without criminal intent, but without knowledge. Gibson guitars had no criminal intent in importing half-finished fretboards from India, yet they faced the cold steel of the Fish & Game SWAT Team (I wince every time I type that). Because they violated "The Lacy Act."

Stossel and Reason have shown numerous egregious examples. One guy goes to prison for importing lobsters in plastic instead of cardboard. Prison -- for something he had done as a business for may years. The answer is mens rea reform: no jail for some stupid law you had no idea existed.

Yet, there must be exceptions. The two lads from Alabama are in the clink. They face not only my specious ridicule, but severe charges -- especially if life is lost in the blaze. I'm not sure I agree with that. I'd offer them mens non rea leniency.

But they were "Extremely Careless." And even the bad kids in the back know where I am heading. Sec. Clinton was negligent in an area that was her job to understand. I don't know about the Alabama Arson Squad, but her malfeasance included the desire to shield or conceal public information.

Lock up the stupid campers if you must, but not if Sec. Clinton skates.

2016 Colorado Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at July 11, 2016 12:59 PM

"Extremely careless" seems to be your characterization. More likely the authorities will find they were "grossly negligent."

Just as seriously but less political, this is one of the reasons that mountain life ain't for me. I'll take my chances with the odd tornado or hail storm.

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2016 11:36 PM | What do you think? [1]