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A real-world ethics question that is not especially hard

In New York Times, John Leland asks,

Real-world ethics question: In a well-used city park, a man with a history of erratic behavior attacks a dog and its owner with a stick; five days later, the dog dies. The man is Black, the dog owner white; the adjoining neighborhood is famously progressive, often critical of the police and jail system. At the same time, crime is up in the neighborhood, with attacks by emotionally disturbed people around the city putting some residents on edge.

In a dog-loving, progressive enclave, where pushing law and order can clash with calls for social justice, what’s the right thing to do? How do you protect the public without furthering injustice against this man?

The question is not theoretical. On August 3rd, Jessica Chrustic and her dog Moose were attacked in Prospect Park, Brooklyn by a homeless man.

According to Ms. Chrustic, he started yelling about immigrants taking over the park,

Had he not been black, that detail would have answered Mr Leland’s question in short order.

then grabbed a bottle of what she later concluded was urine and sloshed it at her and her dog. She tried to run away, but Moose, her 80-pound golden retriever mix, was straining toward the man, trying to protect her.

The man started swinging the stick, she said. One blow hit her, not seriously. Another connected solidly with the dog’s snout. Mary Rowland, 56, a hospital manager who was walking her dog nearby, said she heard the crack of wood on bone and came running toward them, screaming at the man to get away.

The man fled, but the next weekend, Moose developed sepsis from a perforated intestine. Emergency surgery was not enough to save him.

What was done about this unprovoked attack on a woman and her dog? Nothing.

She was especially frustrated that the man, who was well known to people in the park, had not been arrested. “You have a person who is walking around the park who is violent and needs to be removed,” she said. “He’s known by the community. It’s disheartening.”

It was a random incident that might once have been discussed by a group of dog owners. But now it had a forum for a much wider community, with arguments about policing, vigilantism, homelessness, mental health care and progressive obstinacy all feeding into a conversation that evolved beyond the crime that set it off.

“It’s complicated,” said S. Matthew Liao, a professor of bioethics, philosophy and public health at New York University. “It’s a conflict of values, between wanting security and social justice. Everybody has a responsibility in some ways.

All together now… WE ARE ALL GUILTY! Dr Heinz Kiosk has been reborn, but not as funny this time.

I disagree with Professor Liao. It is not complicated at all.

Regarding Mr Leland’s question, “In a dog-loving, progressive enclave, where pushing law and order can clash with calls for social justice, what’s the right thing to do?”, Suzy Weiss of the New York Post described what some of the residents of this dog-loving, progressive enclave did do: “Bizarre meeting of Park Slopers over how to handle murdered pooch”.

75 comments to A real-world ethics question that is not especially hard

  • george m weinberg

    When discussing cases like this it is counterproductive to ask pointless hypothetical questions like “what if the races of the participants were reversed?” Obviously in such a case pretty much everyone would agree that the violent crazy guy ought to be involuntarily committed, but that is completely beside the point, and asking such questions just makes people angry.

    I do think, though, that it is worth asking how leaving a particular violent crazy guy who happens to be black on the loose is supposed to benefit black people in general. Also, given that he was raving about immigrants, it’s likely that his next victim will be a person of color.

  • Paul Marks

    I have a friend in Brooklyn – but he is not a rich Progressive and cannot afford to leave.

    This started in the 1960s when the Supreme Court (then at peak madness – delivering lunatic judgements almost every session) declared that centuries of vagrancy laws were void.

    However, whilst one cannot lock someone up for vagrancy – one can lock them up for violent attacks.

    New York City was not the violent mess it is now when Rudy Giuliani was Mayor – when violent criminals were arrested and locked up.

    “But Rudy said the 2020 Presidential Election was rigged” – IT WAS RIGGED, and till “moderates” have the basic courage to actually say that (to forget about supporting “the system” whatever-it-does) they will not have the courage to challenge the left on anything else.

    Violent criminals must be locked up.

    Presently they get to walk – if they are arrested at all.

    Because the “anti-bail” movement in many American cities – “anti-bail” does not mean that people are denied bail and locked up, it means that violent criminals get put back on the street (without bail).

    This will have to change – or people, who can, are going to have to leave cities such as New York.

    No city has a divine right to exist – cities such as New York are not good places to manufacture goods, and they are increasingly not good places to produce services, or to LIVE.

    As for race – stop crawling, just stop it.

    There have been anti-discrimination laws in New York State for 70 years (since Tom Dewey was Governor) – if people, of any skin colour, are still whining, then nothing will satisfy them.

    Mr George Floyd died of fentanyl – and that was in ultra-leftist Minneapolis, not New York City.

    As for real inter racial killings (as opposed to juries finding someone guilty because they know their homes will be burned to the ground if they do not) – they do exist, but a lot more white people are killed by black people than the other way round. And that has been true for many decades.

    That does not mean that most black people are criminals (of course not), but nor are they “victims”, “exploited and oppressed”, that idea is “Woke”, Frankfurt School of Marxism, nonsense.

  • Katy Hibbert

    Obviously in such a case pretty much everyone would agree that the violent crazy guy ought to be involuntarily committed, but that is completely beside the point, and asking such questions just makes people angry.

    So what? Those questions are very much to the point, as there is clearly a two-tier justice system, whereby blacks, who commit proportionately far more crimes than whites, are very disproportionately let off.

  • Steven R

    Let’s take race out of the question and it boils down to this:

    We have the Social Contract, we we have collectively agreed to let the police and courts and metal illness facilities deal with these kinds of problems, ostensibly so that normal people don’t take the law into their own hands.

    And when the government end of the Social Contract simply cannot or will not uphold its end of the bargain? Our options pretty much are reduced to:

    A) elect new leaders who will take care of the problem
    B) Take care of the problem ourselves via violence (be it a beating in the street, a burning house, up to and including disappearing someone) and rely on jury nullification because our peers are just as sick of the situation as we are
    C) Do nothing and just continue to live in that state of criminal and mentally ill anarchy and bemoan that fact to reporters and online message boards and blogs.

    If the system fails to protect the normal law-abiding citizen at the expense of protecting predators because of the optics, why keep the system at all?

  • he tried to run away, but Moose, her 80-pound golden retriever mix, was straining toward the man, trying to protect her.

    Moose might have been able to defend himself if his owner had let him.

  • Steven R

    Moose might have been able to defend himself if his owner had let him.

    Can you imagine the headlines? “White Woman Sics Dog on Unfortunate Black Man in City Park”

  • Given how they reported Kyle Rittenhouse, no doubt that would be the headline in some outlets, Stephen R, but “White woman attacked by black man was unable to hold onto dog lead” should be a legally valid defence.

    That said, in today’s New York, remembering how hard they tried to prosecute Jose Alba for the terrible crime of trying to resist being the victim of one, merely having a legally valid defence might not have helped her. And even if it did, the state might have insisted on having the dog put down, leaving poor Moose just as dead as before.

  • bobby b

    This is not so simple a legal situation as some might think. If the dog is straining against its leash trying to reach the man, the man has a right to defend himself. There’s only small legal difference between bringing a gun to a crowd, and bringing an 80-pound protective dog.

    That the man – who suffers from mental illness – swung a stick at the dog, or threw whatever happened to be in his hands at the dog and owner, would likely be allowable self defense, no matter how alarming his behavior had been to that point. Certainly, this would not be sufficient to form a basis for civil commitment.

    If the man, through his illness, is placing people at imminent risk of serious bodily harm, he can be taken into custody and then committed to some medical institution. But that usually will not include the harm of being yelled at, or even having urine poured on you. If the man’s illness is causing him to harm himself, he may also be taken into custody – but provoking his own attack by yelling at people probably doesn’t rise to this level.

    This is caused by the same social contradiction that brings about the new “no cash bail” controversy. We all want security – but our Constitution arguably values our freedoms over our feelings of safety. And I can’t say that I disagree with that root idea.

    But we are going to need to work on some new compromise between the two. We’ve fudged on the bail issue and the civil commitment issues for some time, but we’re not going to be able to do that anymore. It used to work because proponents of each value were usually willing to bend a bit. If no one is willing to bend in the face of contradictory rules, then the situation finally needs to be addressed.

    I think it’s easy to say how we would each address this one specific situation. But it’s harder to write a law that comports with constitutional protections and provides security in ALL such situations. And that’s the problem here.

  • Lee Moore

    I found it interesting that – despite my being very suspicious of organs like the NYT – the phrasing of the first extract successfully manipulated my perception of the incident.

    Failing to appreciate that the “dog owner” was a gal, and not being a dog lover devastated by the death of the creature, I mentally recorded the incident as minor. When I read on and discovered the sex of the human victim I upgraded the incident a couple of notches.

    Seeing that, of course, when one goes back to reread the first NYT extract, one sees how carefully Mr Leland has avoided mentioning the sex of the human victim, while making sure we know the race of the unfortunate fellow with the stick.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    bobby b, I respect you for looking at it with an open mind. But there was other information in the NYT story that suggests that it wasn’t a case of the man feeling threatened himself and hitting out in panic, but a pattern of behaviour:

    She [Jessica Chrustic] worked with a police artist to create a sketch of the man, even though part of his face had been covered during the attack. The sketch went up on Nextdoor, and police officers posted it in the park, prompting more reports of sightings.

    For Nicole Haddad, who stopped going to the park with her pitbull-vizsla mix, Kingsley, after he was the victim of a similar attack three years ago, Ms. Chrustic’s posts hit home. Since then, Ms. Haddad said, Kingsley has been fearful and sometimes aggressive and has needed expensive behavioral specialists and anti-anxiety medication.

    “When I read Jessica’s post, I got really, really triggered,” she said. “I just knew the journey that Jessica was going to be in for, because it’s caused me emotional and financial duress. I reached out to her immediately.” The two women compared information and concluded that their dogs were attacked by the same man.

  • Steven R

    I’m all for liberty, but I also think we need to accept that there are some people who should not be on the streets. Most of them are criminals, but a large number of them are mentally ill. One of the worst things we did for them was to have judges say people have a right to be crazy, we can’t force them to get help, and then defund the mental health system to the point that if effectively no longer exists.

    I’m sure at one time some of the psych hospitals were run like the one in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. My mom worked in the state hospital here in WV for a while and she said it was a little community. The patients got their meds and treatment, they had a library, parks, went on outings, etc. The point is the patients got the help they needed and were safe. Fast forward forty years and the mentally ill are on the streets, self-medicating with illegal drugs, vulnerable to criminals, hurt by police who don’t know how to deal with crazy people because their training is really all about dealing with criminals, homeless, and can’t be compelled to get treatment. My mom told me once that when the courts and state started shutting down the state hospital and patients were being sent into the world, one of them asked her “where will I go?” and she didn’t have an answer for him.

  • bobby b

    NS: I’m looking at it with a defense lawyer’s mind, which might not fit well with the “open mind” concept. 😉

    But . . . even though I can’t access your NYT article, anyone who looks at bail and commitment issues these days is well aware of the Park Slope Panther story. At the root of the story is a guy – a mentally ill guy – who reacts very badly to large dogs. He’s been accused in two other cases much like this one – both involving dogs.

    The cops are hesitant to charge him in these cases because they know that a drunk trainee public defender could probably get him cleared of assault charges in each of those cases. No close witnesses, the presence of the dogs, the dogs being the primary target of his stick-swinging . . . Cops are realists. This has been a tough case for them.

    What to do? These women all say that they tried to avoid the man, in a large park, but all ended up right next to him – stick-swinging range – with their large dogs. (One was a pit bull.)

    The Park Slope Panthers – the people forming up to “guard” their park – is a hilarious story in itself. But they’re a microcosm of the legal and societal issues involved. Woke versus very woke versus ridiculously woke . . .

    This isn’t a cop story. They’re just victimized bit players in this mess. The real problem is, we can’t decide when “safety” trumps the Constitution. (Which is also the root of the bail problems.)

  • bobby b

    “I’m all for liberty, but I also think we need to accept that there are some people who should not be on the streets.”

    I know for a fact that there are people who think I should not be on the streets – some for political reasons, some for personal ones. I’m thankful for the constitutional protections that hold that I can be on the streets unless and until someone proves I did something illegal enough to call for imprisonment – not just that I “am” something.

    Unless someone makes a legally substantiated case that this guy is an imminent threat to himself or others because of his illness, he gets to stay free. Yes, there are downsides to this. The downsides to allowing for an easier path to imprison people are worse. It’s all a tradeoff.

    Likewise, if someone can make a legal case that this guy committed assault – and deal with his self-defense claims – he will be jailed. But that hasn’t happened yet. And the cops know that chances aren’t high that that will happen.

  • Steven R

    I’m not talking about a Soviet -style mental health system where one is committed because one must be crazy to be against Communism, or even as a tool against political enemies. I’m saying there needs to be a system in place to get people who are threats to themselves or others the help they need before they do something like attack a woman and her dog or become a junkie because they are self-medicating. Our politicians will buy votes all day every day via welfare, but cut expenses by gutting the mental health budgets. And that’s even before we get to the issue at hand of a revolving door justice system, DAs who don’t want to do anything, and a citizenry that is either wanting something done or is afraid to demand it because it looks bad in the press.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Sincere thanks to bobby for making me look at this from another angle.

    Still, i think that there is an important issue that bobby does not deal with: The people who (justifiably) feel endangered by this crazy* character, still do not want him jailed, not on the basis of constitutional guarantees, but on the basis of “social justice”. THEY seem to be the real problem.

    * and as you know, i blame his craziness on his diet.

  • bobby b

    “Still, i think that there is an important issue that bobby does not deal with: The people who (justifiably) feel endangered by this crazy* character, still do not want him jailed, not on the basis of constitutional guarantees, but on the basis of “social justice”. THEY seem to be the real problem.”

    Those are the afore-mentioned Park Slope Panthers. Modeled on the Guardian Angels, they were going to be the citizen guardians of the park. They got taken over on their first meeting by a group who actively wanted to thwart them, who wanted no consequences for the stick-guy. Like I said, it was a hilarious situation. Unless you live there, I suppose, and then it was just sad.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . there needs to be a system in place to get people who are threats to themselves or others the help they need before they do something . . . “

    And there’s the rub. The evidentiary standard required for “proof” that someone might do something in the future is very very high. It’s hard to prove. Rightly. And it can’t be done simply because someone makes us uncomfortable, or even scared.

  • Steven R

    I’m not talking about putting someone away simply because they are creepy. But someone who has been before doctors who can clearly illustrate that a person is a clear threat and is then adjudicated as mentally incapable of being able to make rational decisions is a different story.

    I am just as cognizant of the risks to liberty when it comes to compelling someone to get treatment for mental illness and/or putting them in a hospital against their will as you are. I don’t say it lightly, but there are times when we have to say “that guy needs off the streets before he cause real harm to himself or others.”

  • bobby b

    “I don’t say it lightly, but there are times when we have to say “that guy needs off the streets before he cause real harm to himself or others.””

    I’m not disagreeing with this at all. But we really don’t have a failure of will in this regard. We have a failure of expertise.

    For every guy who hurts someone, and who exhibited signs of mental instability and anger and danger beforehand – the kind of situation where everyone says “how could no one have noticed this and taken action?” – there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of guys who exhibited the exact same signs and then never did anything. The hindsight is never as valid as it sounds.

    Some times it’s more clear than other times. But in the case dealt with in the OP, this guy isn’t acting any worse than hundreds of drugged-out guys tenting it in Los Angeles or Seattle every day.

  • sonny wayz

    Mr b – I enjoy your comments, but this needs clarification:

    But that usually will not include the harm of being yelled at, or even having urine poured on you.

    How does one know, *at the time*, that the liquid is ‘merely’ urine? Seems like an assault no matter what, much like brandishing a replica pistol while commiting a crime.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . this needs clarification . . . “

    Yeah, I’ve conflated a lot of issues here.

    First, in terms of, did the guy’s actions constitute the immediate criminal offense of assault when he poured urine on the woman and her dog – I agree that it did. But as a practical matter, it would be a problematic case to prosecute. If he testified that he felt threatened by the large dog with its woman coming close to him, he sets up a valid argument for defensive actions, and if he happened to be carrying an open jar of his urine with him (as so many of us do), it would be natural to throw whatever he had on hand at the threat.

    But we were mostly discussing whether these actions would trigger some sort of mental commitment threshold. Even if he had been tried and found guilty of urine assault, I doubt that would justify imprisonment – commitment – for any longer than his criminal sentence contemplated. Yes, at that point they will have proved he did it once, and then imposed a punishment on him for that act – but the urine really caused no damage (meaning, there’s no serious danger to be prevented such as death or GBH by urine, and the harm to be prevented by commitment must really rise to that level of severity), and having done it once doesn’t imply a future second instance. We jail wifebeaters and car thieves not for their predilection to beat their wife or steal a car tomorrow but for the specific act they committed yesterday.

    Finally, as to whether the woman reasonably felt a justified fear at his act of tossing urine at her: sure, it could have been acid, or something else that was dangerous, and, yes, I think that at that point the woman could have reacted defensively had she had the tools or the ability. But that’s really the only way the idea of her reasonable fear of the urine comes into play in this drama. It wouldn’t affect the saneness of his acts, or the likelihood that he could be committed or arrested.

    Hope this all makes sense.

  • sonny wayz

    Mr b,

    Clearer now – thanks

  • Xylourgos

    Social Justice is not justice.

  • Bobby b, I would be interested to know your views on the legal possibilities of the original alternative I raised.

    – The man yells / waves stick / acts threateningly.

    – Jessica Chrustic drops dog lead.

    – Man throws urine, attacks dog with stick.

    – Moose, being able to reach the man instead of just snap at the stick, inflicts death / severe injury / minor injury, and also receives some injury but survives (in this hypothetical situation, it is not of course knowable that he would have died otherwise).

    Under questioning and/or in court, the woman testifies either

    a) “Being startled by the yell, I was not attentive to gripping hard on Moose’ lead. He is strong and, in his eagerness to get between me and the threat, easily pulled it out of my hand.”

    or

    b) “Knowing that Moose could better defend himself and me if he were unimpeded, I followed my SOP in any threat situation and dropped his lead, trusting in Moose’ training to do the right thing.”

    Precisely because some other analysis has raised issues, I think it well worth asking what happens if we switch these cautions around and put the lady in the dock and give her the dock’s protections.

    Also, what happens to the dog?

    [By all means assume a park camera provides clear confirmation of the course of events if that avoids tedious confusing qualifications. And by all means pass over my request if you have get-a-life stuff to do and (justly) feel you’ve contributed greatly to this thread already.]

  • llamas

    I read ‘trusting in Moose’s training’ and immediately alarm bells went off. There’s a big difference in how one views this case depending on whether Moose was ‘trained’ to attack aggressors or not. If Moose is shown to be just another cuddly family pet, that’s one thing. But if Moose has been ‘trained’ to attack, presumably on command, that’s something else.

    The other thing that leaps out at me is the gigantic ‘ick’ factor that’s brought out by the Park Slope residents at the thought of having poor people’s urine thrown at them. If he had thrown Evian water instead, I suspect far-more of the West Side wokies would have been far-more inclined to sympathy -yet there’s no real difference as far as the actual incident goes.

  • If he had thrown Evian water instead, I suspect far-more of the West Side wokies would have been far-more inclined to sympathy -yet there’s no real difference as far as the actual incident goes.

    Unknown liquid” is all any lawyer worth his crust should say.

  • Ferox

    Discussions of law, discussions of propriety, etc are all very pretty and entertaining. Gee, aren’t we all so civilized.

    But this is the sort of thing that happens when a community as a whole forgets how to defend itself (and that it should do so), and the virtue of doing so, and also the value of violence when it is called for.

    Any community (or nation for that matter) which supposes that it can talk its way to stability and peace is in for a lot of victimization. Weakness provokes just exactly this sort of thing, and there isn’t any virtue in it.

  • NickM

    Why was he carrying a bottle (of I assume) his own urine in a park? I can think of no good answer to that question. In the age of diseases like AIDS and Covid bodily fluids could be construed as a potentially lethal weapon. Certainly an utterly disgusting one. He carried out an assault. Now, he might be mentally ill and in that case for sure it’s more of a medical matter but… Just letting go? I have lived in big cities and parks are vital and he was certainly deterring ordinary folk that facility. I wouldn’t fancy going to a place where there was a reasonable chance of being piss-bombed.

  • Paul Marks

    It is difficult to take race out of these matters when the left, including the media and the education system, insist on making it central.

    Most of what people “know” about race relations in the United States is a tissue of lies. For example, Mr George Floyd was not murdered by a racist police officer, the accused policeman, Derick Chauvin, was certainly no saint (22 complaints against him – indeed Mr Chauvin was a similar sort of man to Mr Floyd, they had even worked together on security jobs) – but what actually happened (and what Mr Floyd actually died of) is laid out on pages of David Horowitz’s book “I Can’t Breathe” (which Mr Floyd was saying over-and-over again before Derick Chauvin even got there – it had nothing to do with a knee holding him down, because he was saying it before that, as the drugs he had consumed, and his weak heart, killed him) pages 49 to 60.

    The murder trial was a farce – with the Federal government planning to arrest Mr Chauvin if he was found innocent (“Double Jeopardy” the Federal Government HATES the Constitution of the United States), although that was never real possibility of that as the jury would have been killed had they not returned a guilty verdict. Large areas of American cities had been looted and burned by the BLM Marxists, and many people murdered (all cheered on by “Biden/Harris” – K. Harris especially).

    If one cannot have an honest murder trial in the United States, and it is clear that one can NOT (not in a case such as this), then what is the point of discussing anything else?

    “We need more non-white police officers” of the two police officers who arrested Mr Floyd (neither of whom was Derek Chauvan – he turned up later) one was black (and one was white) – then Mr Chauvin with an Asian officer (yes one black police officer and one Asian police officer), Mr Chauvin’s wife is also Asian – this was never about RACE.

    As for the general issues of crime and punishment – the Attorney General of Minnesota covered up a lot of the film coverage (releasing only those parts of the filming that showed Mr Chauvin in a bad light – not the parts of the film that showed that the first two police officers were unable to control Mr Floyd – by the way, knee restraint is what they were all taught by the Police Officer).

    Who is the Attorney General of Minnesota? Mr Keith Ellison is Attorney General of Minnesota – a similar sort of person to the District Attorney of Manhattan – and so many other cities.

    In a sane society Mr Ellison would be standing on a soap box in a public part – ranting to no one in particular. But in our world, he is the ex-Chairman of the Democrat National Committee (the DNC).

    Mr Ellison mixes Islam and Marxism in a weird way (they are not really compatible – but he refuses to accept that), he was elected Attorney General of Minnesota because he is a leftist (which should disqualify him for the post – leftists do not believe in private property rights and so should not be in the “justice system” other than as the defendant) and because his skin happens to be dark – which should be utterly irrelevant, but sadly is not.

    Again, in a sane society – Mr Keith Ellison would not have any public position at all, but in our world people like him (many other people who reject the private property foundations of civilisation) are in key positions – with the support of the media and the education system.

    Think about all this – are we really talking about the danger of American society falling, or is it already in the process of falling?

    “Agent of Putin!”

    I opposed Mr Putin long before it was fashionable to do so – but I refuse to accept the choices are the Frankfurt School of Marxism West (Keith Ellison and the Legion of Devils like him – including the Marxists in control of “Justice” in New York) or Mr Putin.

    I support NEITHER.

  • Paul Marks

    Correcting an error of mine above.

    Neither the District Attorney of Manhattan or the District Attorney of Brooklyn are as bad as Attorney General of Minnesota Keith Ellison – I must not let the passions of rage and despair lead me into making unjust statements.

  • NickM

    Paul,
    Playing the race card is playing from the bottom of the deck… My view here is that having urine thrown over me (basically being pissed on) would equally piss me off whatever the race of the perp. As to Islam and Marxism… The odd thing is whilst they may not be theoretically compatible (depending on your views of either system – and both are complete belief systems) the combo has been tried many times invariably with catastrophic results. I’m thinking of you Colonel Gadaffi. Dragged from a storm drain, de-trousered, violated with a stick and then shot. I suspect nobody in recent history has had a much worse day.

    But the race thing really pisses me off. I have had a relationship with a Jewish woman. Never an issue either way. Yeah, we split-up but that was due to her being American and immigration issues and it being much harder than either of us expected to live on the same continent. My brother is in a long term relationship with a Japanese woman. A very large number of my extended family in Birmingham are mixed race going back to WWII when my Great Uncle Harry married an Indian WAAF. When he was de-mobbed in ’45 he and his new bride (married in Calcutta Cathedral!) pitched-up back in County Durham. He had sent a telegram saying he’d be coming home and had got married and his wife was “slightly coffee-coloured”. Apparently on his arrival back in Blighty my Great Grandfather, “Said damn strong coffee, Harry!” and that was it. No more said and welcomed into the family. Actually thinking about it now… that quip might have been partially motivated by rationing and the quality of coffee in just post-war Britain. Any way the couple moved to Brum, had ten kids! Those kids then partook of the West Midlands melting pot which is why at a family wedding or whatever there’s a damn good chance I’ll wind-up talking to a lad with naturally ginger dreadlocks. Do I have an issue with any of this… Yes, the Brummie accent can be difficult*.

    So, I’m Psittaciformally sick of being told about “white privilege”. And it isn’t just me. Actually it isn’t really me at all – I’m doing OK. It is when I hear things like this…

    https://www.thejc.com/lets-talk/all/no-anne-frank-did-not-have-%27white-privilege%27-388ZHhzlp6sYZc8UJgWqj4

    *Yeah, I know I’m a Geordie but living elsewhere for most of the last 30 years has knocked the edges off.

  • lucklucky

    Note how for New York Times black have a upper case but white have a lower case.

  • Alex

    Note how for New York Times black have a upper case but white have a lower case.

    Yes, noticed that straight away. How despicably racist of the New York Times to treat being black as the primary characteristic, and draw the readers attention to it by placing undue emphasis with that capital letter. 🙂

  • sonny wayz

    Derick Chauvin, was certainly no saint (22 complaints against him – indeed Mr Chauvin was a similar sort of man to Mr Floyd, they had even worked together on security jobs)

    As I understand it, it is now SOP to lay a complaint against an arresting officer. “If you arrest me, I’ll file a complaint which will go on your record, so do you want to go there”?

    Again, from memory, they had worked security at the same place, but not at the same time.

  • Fraser Orr

    This is one of the most interesting discussion threads I have read here in a while. @BobbyB I often say that nobody changes their mind based on an internet argument, but FWIW your arguments have entirely changed my opinion on this incident. I had heard of this incident before this thread and had the usual — “lock him up” or “sic the dog on him” reaction. But your sober reflection definitely puts a whole different perspective on in. So I appreciate your commentary.

    Though I think the thing that hasn’t bee discussed much here is that certain schadenfreude that we all feel when the woke feel the consequences of their wokeness and tie themselves into pretzels trying to justify their perfectly normal but unwoke reactions into wokeness. I guess kind of like that sanctuary city on Martha’s Vineyard.

  • Martin

    Though I think the thing that hasn’t bee discussed much here is that certain schadenfreude that we all feel when the woke feel the consequences of their wokeness and tie themselves into pretzels trying to justify their perfectly normal but unwoke reactions into wokeness. I guess kind of like that sanctuary city on Martha’s Vineyard.

    Indeed, New Yorkers deserve everything they get. They voted for this.More buses from Texas please, thousands of them!

  • J

    The basis of “Progressivism” is illogical, anti-intellectual emotionalism ‘progressing’ towards madness. The goal of the Left is to sow chaos. Understand that and everything is clear and simple.

    “Social Justice” means “No Justice”.

  • Paul Marks

    Nick M – it is not me who is playing the race card. I could not care less if the violent criminal is black or white or pink or blue – as long as they are off the streets. But the Frankfurt School Marxists who dominate the Democrats do not agree – they hold racial “Equity” to be more important than private property and preventing murder.

    This is why the line that there is “no real difference between the parties” is such nonsense – the Democrats have sold their souls to the “Diversity, Inclusion and Equity” (DIE) agenda of tyranny and chaos (not opposites – they are close kin), of looting, burning and murder. Such an agenda is making the cities, unliveable – and it is NOT confined to the United States.

    Steven R – Hollywood is responsible for the lunatics one sees dominating the streets of so many American cities. Indeed, one film is essentially responsible – “One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest” which pushed the myth that most of the people in lunatic asylums were perfectly sane and should be out on the streets.

    It was not true, it was a myth, but, so often, policy is made by myths.

    For example, how many people know the real story of the Detroit riot of 1967 – and how many base their “knowledge” on Hollywood films, television shows, and the endless lies of the official “history” books?

    How many people know that the black community in Detroit in 1967 was the best off on the entire planet – and that both the Mayor and the State Governor were Big Spending types who bent over backwards to be their friends? If anyone gets angry over me stating the truth (for this is the truth) – well “the truth hurts”.

    One can see the lies everywhere today – for example the international media stations (from the United States to France) keep saying that “Lula” was “the first leftist President in the history of Brazil”.

    The claim is a lie – President Vargas in the 1930s was a leftist, and there have many been many leftist Presidents of Brazil since then.

    The media, including internet search engines, lie endlessly – they will have you believe that Social Security (introduced in Brazil in the 1930s) was introduced in “2015” and-on-and-on.

  • bobby b

    Niall Kilmartin
    October 9, 2022 at 8:47 am

    “Bobby b, I would be interested to know your views on the legal possibilities of the original alternative I raised.”

    I think it’s important to remember that a dog doesn’t get the benefit of being considered a separate and independent legal entity from the woman. If you bring a large dog into a public area, it is much the same as bringing a gun or a knife. You are responsible for whatever damage that gun or knife or dog causes. If stick-man waves his stick at her and she releases the dog and it kills him, it is the same as if she had shot him. IF (big IF) she were able to make a legally-sufficient case that she could have simply legally shot the man at that point, then her dog-releasing would also be a protected act. Given the racial issues here, good luck with that. He’d be dead, and she’d be in a cell with Officer Chauvin.

    Ferox
    October 9, 2022 at 11:07 am

    “But this is the sort of thing that happens when a community as a whole forgets how to defend itself . . .”

    But wasn’t stick-guy a part of that “community as a whole”? Wasn’t the only difference setting him apart the fact that he’s broke and ill? It would be better if that community finds some solution that also works for stick-guy, as well as for the rich townhouse residents. Such as decent mental health treatment opportunities? (I don’t know the answer. But I doubt it includes allowing them to simply cast him away. He was someone’s little boy once. Here’s where I really strain against the libertarian drug-freedom thing.)

    Fraser Orr
    October 9, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    “I guess kind of like that sanctuary city on Martha’s Vineyard.”

    That, along with the buses to Chicago, DC, and NYC, were the most brilliant and effective protest against Biden’s Border that I’ve seen. It was wonderful! I’ve been in enough of those small southern border towns lately to know that they’re absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of jumpers living on their streets and alleys, and this was the most effective way to get that across. More like this, please. And, thanks, FO.

    NickM
    October 9, 2022 at 11:29 am

    “Why was he carrying a bottle (of I assume) his own urine in a park?”

    Two reasons. (I’ve had tent-city clients back when.) One, because if you pee into a jar and carry it with you, the cops won’t bust you for public urination – you haven’t sullied anyone’s doorstep with urine – and, two, these guys are virtually all mentally ill and paranoid, and it’s the only weapon they can carry without getting busted for it. Throw your urine at someone, they leave you alone. Knives and guns are a big no-no when the cops are always watching you. I’m surprised he also had a stick. That gets cop attention too.

  • John

    You can be sure every single one of the Park Slope Panthers voted democrat. They got exactly what they voted for.

    The only innocent party was Moose and he ended up dead.

    P.s. A violent, mentally disturbed black man shouting about immigrants. Chances are his next victim will be Asian or Hasidic with two legs rather than four.

  • bobby b

    Niall K: Sorry, I forgot one point.

    You mentioned a distinction between her releasing the dog purposely, and the dog escaping from her grip.

    If she releases the dog purposely, and if she can satisfy the legal burden of self-defense that would have also excused her shooting him, she would be in the clear if the dog hurts him.

    But, if she released the dog unintentionally – if the dog she was responsible for controlling in public escaped from her – it would be more akin to her having brandished a gun to scare stick-man away, but then accidentally pulled the trigger and shot him. She would lose whatever benefit a self-defense claim might have brought her. Granted, she would not be guilty of intentional murder (if her self-defense claim failed), but she would be guilty of manslaughter – i.e., criminally negligent homicide. She couldn’t even claim self-defense at that point, as she made no decision to defend herself.

    And at this point I need to apologize for my wall-of-text commenting. 😉

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Dare we conclude that, while the much-touted concept of ‘white privilege’ is essentially a myth (read the link), ‘Black privilege’ is a very real thing in woke-dominated societies, encompassing everything from the upper-case ‘B’ to escaping being held responsible for one’s own actions even when those actions result in a death (albeit of a family pet)?

  • And at this point I need to apologize for my wall-of-text commenting. (bobby b, October 9, 2022 at 6:58 pm)

    No need to apologise for providing information, bobby b, especially when requested.

    I was not imagining the woman making a full-on self-defence claim beyond, “I could reasonably feel alarmed.” An impulsive unforeseen act by a dog can often be too strong for the human holding it – my very mildly-disabled neighbour only avoided being dragged into loch Lomond one fine day by instantly dropping the lead of her labrador who no sooner saw the loch than decided to leap into it.

    In my scenario, it is the yelling, threatening man, not a loch, that at the same startling moment both distracts the lady and causes abrupt movement in the dog. Thereafter, the man initiates an attack on the dog (with urine and a stick), not vice versa. Unable (in his canine mind) to run away because of his commitment to stay between the man and the lady, the dog therefore accepts the battle the man imposes on him.

    If I understand your discussion correctly (I may well not) the law doesn’t seem to be capturing this well, even before we note its perversion in today’s New York City – which, of course, is not a reason for my doubting your analysis.

  • NickM

    Paul, I wasn’t accussing you of playing the race card. Sorry if it sounded that way. I was acussing the NYC authorities of using it….

  • Paul Marks

    NickM – yes, they are, but it is the Democrat Party in general, not just in New York City.

    They, the Democrat Party, are an abomination – but these ideas are not confined to the United States, they are plague around the Western world.

  • Ferox

    But wasn’t stick-guy a part of that “community as a whole”? Wasn’t the only difference setting him apart the fact that he’s broke and ill?

    Yes, he is part of their community. No, his broke-ness and illness are not the only things setting him apart from the rest of the community. His repeated acts of violence are what sets him apart from the rest of the community.

    Communities have to be able to protect themselves, and they have to have the willingness to do so in the first place. The police are only there to help the community do this; they were never intended to be the only line of defense against chaos.

    The irony, of course, is that if the community were willing to act in its own defense, it would almost never have to do so. You will notice that this man doesn’t attack the dog of some young male gangbanger strolling through the park. Why not? Because he would get his teeth pushed in, and he knows it. If crazy immigrant-hating woman-abusing dog-killing park guy knew that the community would not tolerate his acting out, and would sanction him for it, he would either find a way to behave or else he would find someplace else to be.

    And in the rare instances where he didn’t do either of those things, he would cease to terrorize the community in short order, one way or the other.

    But in the modern world, his situation and his behavior just go on and on and on and on, piling up victims and depriving everyone else of the use of the park … because gee, we are all so compassionate and civilized.

  • Fraser Orr

    I came across this recent story that I think offers a sobering “look at it from the other side” as Bobby has been so effectively doing.

    TL;DR — a family dog or two killed two young children and injured their mother (who now probably wishes she were dead). As you contemplate the scene of nice townhouse lady and nasty smelly guy and cute pooch dying after fifty thousand dollars of surgery, perhaps also look at the picture of these two babies who died in a horrible way, and picture in your mind the mom desperately lying on top of them having her body torn to shreds to try to protect her babies.

    Story is a bit short on details, but it is a sobering alternative view of our often adorable canine friends. Who knows what sort of fear crazy guy had in face of a big barking dog.

    When I was a kid walking home from school I had to walk past this big dog that growed and scared the pants off me every single day. So I’m beginning to feel a bit sorry for crazy guy.

  • bobby b

    “So I’m beginning to feel a bit sorry for crazy guy.”

    If I’m his lawyer, the story we’re working on is, here are these rich white Karens who see this dirty black guy rummaging through the dumpster, and they’re intentionally bringing their dangerous dogs close to him in an attempt to scare him out of “their” park.

    They all had large scary dogs; they all complained that they tried to avoid him but somehow ended up feet away from him in a park at the dumpster that attracted him; and, most of his efforts with his stick were aimed at the dogs.

    I think we win. (ETA: and, if he suffered any bites, I think the Karens are about to personally fund his treatment program.)

    Niall K: your scenario (of the affray causing the woman to lose control of her dog, to stick-guy’s detriment) is very much like someone with a gun pointed at stick-guy, who accidentally pulls the hair-trigger when stick-guy yells out loudly. Dog-woman isn’t going to get much legal comfort from that situation. If she cannot hold on to her large dog in public when things get exciting, she has no business subjecting the public to such a threat. Liability for your dog’s acts are normally going to be imputed to you. Again, criminally negligent manslaughter, or, if the case is more sympathetic, at least civil (i.e., non-criminal) negligent wrongful death and a huge damages award to stick-guy or his heirs.

  • Fraser Orr

    bobby b
    I think we win. (ETA: and, if he suffered any bites, I think the Karens are about to personally fund his treatment program.)

    “But Mr. Crazy why did you throw pee at them? That is disgusting and plainly plays into the narrative that you are a nasty piece of antisocial refuse.”

    “Well sir, in this neighborhood they took away all the public toilets to try to exclude people like me. So I have to pee in a bottle. I was trying to find a place to dispose of it in a sanitary manner. I was so scared by the dog I just splashed what was in my hand, I figured better some pee than hurting it with a stick, which was my only other option.”

    Yeah, I’d vote to acquit and hope that that nasty lady was willing to spend as much on rehabilitating Mr Crazy as she did on her dog’s treatment.

    BTW, I really hate that designation “Karen”. There are lots of nice people called Karen, and it is really a type of bullying. I know many women who are basically afraid to complain about even the most serious infractions lest they be designated “Karen”. It is an unwashable stain, almost like being called a pedophile. (Though I hear they are now becoming acceptable as MAPs — minor attracted persons. It says something that views that are almost commonplace now would have been considered literally insane just three years ago. One wonders what things will be like in 2025.)

  • bobby b

    “I know many women who are basically afraid to complain about even the most serious infractions lest they be designated “Karen”.”

    I’ve known several Karens, and disliked them all. But you’re right, it’s lazy and unfair.

    (Funny, I cut my teeth on the whole “preventative detention” issue years ago on behalf of some pedophiles who served their entire prison terms for possession of KP, and then, a few months before their release date, were served with motions by the prosecutors to keep them locked away indefinitely on a civil-commitment basis because they were always going to be a danger to society. Left me with strong views on the topic.)

  • Paul Marks

    Criminals, of all races, will always be with us – but it is the weakness, the almost insane cowardice, of “liberal” or “Progressive” people in response to attacks that is the real problem.

    I remember the media trotting on the father of a young women who had been raped and murdered by an illegal immigrant in the United States – the wretched man (he was an Anglo – and utterly pathetic) kept apologising for his own existence and saying how much he loved “tacos” (some form of Mexican food) – dealing out justice for his murdered daughter seemed to have no place in the thoughts of this wretched excuse for a man. His only concern was that he not be considered a “racist” and get “cancelled”.

    In Germany a man went one step further. – in response to the rape and murder of his daughter by an immigrant, he gave money (and made a great show of doing so) to bring in MORE immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa. “Look I am not a racist” was his only concern – his murdered child did not matter to him at all.

    I am reminded of a former Social Democrat Prime Minister of Sweden – who blamed the endless rapes and bombings in Sweden on insufficient government welfare benefits and “public services” (no I am not making this up – he really was that moronic).

    When communities are dominated by “men” such as the above (produced by the endless indoctrination of the education system and the “mainstream” media), it is a Green Light to criminals to rob, rape and murder as they please.

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    pedophiles who served their entire prison terms for possession of KP, and then

    Although obviously KP is absolutely horrible, there is a huge difference between looking at pictures of kids being abused and actually abusing them. The argument against KP seems to be twofold: firstly that a person who does this is pretty sick in the head and might go on to act on his fantasies, and second that consumers of it produce a market for it, which leads directly to actual abuse of children to satisfy the market. I think both arguments have merit, and let me be clear I think people who abuse children should be hung by their gonads in public until they are dead.

    However, something that has always struck me about the consumer/producer argument is its broad applicability. To give one pressing example: children and women illegally crossing the US/Mexican border are sexually abused at an astonishingly high rate, 80% I have heard. Little girls raped multiple times on the journey. Rape trees at the border are a thing where women transported by the coyotes are raped when they cross the border and their underwear hung on a tree as some kind of trophy. Not to mention the terrifying number of women and teenage girls forced into brothels to “pay off their debt” to the coyotes, or young boys forced into violent gangs for the same reason. Desperate, poor women, girls and boys who have no power to protect themselves, and no police to help them.

    Does not an open border produce a market for the coyotes? By the KP argument are not the government officials who make it possible for the coyotes to operate just as responsible for all this horrendous abuse as the KP watching freak is responsible for the abuse of the children he is watching? If the border were properly closed — as the law requires it to be — then the vast majority of this human suffering would not be happening. So the people who made the decision to open the border are at the very least proximately responsible for it.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . consumers of it produce a market for it, which leads directly to actual abuse of children to satisfy the market.”

    That’s the part that baffled me back then. Working the cases, talking to the clients, I learned that 99% of KP is free, readily available on the internet, given away to like-minded people for nothing.

    I had always believed the market-making theory – if you will buy it, they will supply it, so buying it drives the production. But these guy all merely went onto Usenet, into the alt/binaries hierarchy, and if you knew the funny little site code names, you’d find sites with tens of thousands of files ready for download. No charge, no memberships, no gain that I could see to the suppliers at all.

    I ended up with a lot of pity for these guys. I was born, like most guys, hardwired to be sexually attracted to post-adolescent females. A smaller portion of us were born hardwired to be attracted to post-adolescent guys. A much much smaller portion of us were born hardwired to be sexually attracted to pre-adolescent girls or boys. They couldn’t change this any more than I could simply decide to be gay. But they could decide to never act on it.

    None of these guys had ever been accused of touching or bothering any actual kids. They downloaded their porn and lived quiet desperate celibate lives, until they all separately logged on to another Usenet site that was a Fed honeytrap. They then all served five or six years in nasty places, with other inmates looking to hurt them, and just before their nightmare was to end they were told that they might have to spend the rest of their lives in similar places – because of who they were, not because of what they had done.

  • Fred the Fourth

    bobby b, you are writing in a context that includes Mr. Marks. I think you have a long way to go before anyone complains about your walls of text.

  • Richard Thomas

    “Community” is a funny word. (Funny weird, not funny “haha”). Is this homeless man a part of the community? It depends on how you look at it, I suppose. Is it basically similar to Thatcher’s view on “society”?

    I’m seeing a lot of “ideology over practical realities” in these posts.

  • bobby b

    Richard Thomas
    October 10, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    “Community” is a funny word.”

    When I use it here, it’s almost an ironic use. In Galt’s Gultch, no one lives for anyone else’s benefit, and so there’s arguably no “community” in this sense.

    But when you take a portion of my income – a portion of everyone’s income – and build a “public” park next to some of the other, wealthier taxpayers, you’re going to get a community whether you like it or not. Stick-guy was a part of dog-lady’s “community” because she took the benefits of other people’s money – i.e., the park.

    She wants the public park to be her private preserve, just for “her” kind of people. Hoist by her own woke petard, I guess.

  • Steven R

    If the expectation of “her kind of people” is sane and law-abiding, then yeah, I’d say she, and the community as a whole, want the same. The problem comes down to not wanting to crack down on criminals and drug users and the homeless and the mentally ill because we feel bad for them and then are shocked when one day we realize the park is no longer accessible to the sane and law-abiding citizen.

    If you subsidize something, you get more of it.

  • george m weinberg

    bobby makes some valid points and on reflection I think I was too quick to take the “history of violence” claims at face value. I wasn’t there, and for all I know it could be that the homeless guy was being menaced by the dogs. Or it could be that he was going out of his way to confront them. It doesn’t make any sense to me that a guy who is afraid of dogs and people who would rather avoid a creepy looking homeless guy keep finding themselves in close proximity to each other by accident. But I shouldn’t make assumptions about what did happen.
    Really what I object to is making this about race. There’s no reason race should have anything to do with it. Mentally unstable people come in all colors. People who can’t or won’t properly control their dogs do also. Both sexes too, for that matter. But whether you’re talking about potentially violent mentally ill people or people who fail to control aggressive dogs, giving them a pass (or coming down on them extra hard) because of the demographic they belong to isn’t doing anyone any good, and does considerable societal harm.

  • Fan Of Slackwire Clowns

    I am that friend of Paul Marks who lives in Brooklyn. I live far enough away from Prospect Park and the restaurants of Park Slope and near enough to a parks and restaurants as adequate to my needs to not have been near Prospect Park since before Covid was even a fevered dream being contemplated in Wuhan and in Anthony Fauci’s office.

    That woman and her like-thinking friends allowed that homeless man to have free range of Prospect Park. That woman killed her dog long before that homeless man even picked up that stick (covered in whatever triggered the sepsis – I think the Mongols used that same trick on their arrows). The homeless man was the instrument of sticky death she wittingly and unwittingly unleashed on her leashed dog.

    Until that woman realizes that she ensured that her dog would die that horrible way, she should not get another dog, because she will only kill that dog, possibly as horribly. That woman is a greater danger to the world than that homeless man will ever be.

    That woman and her friends will allow people like that homeless man to roam freely when he should be locked up and medicated. That woman and her friends will kill many more dogs. Maybe that woman and her friends need to be the ones to die, so that people understand that people like that homeless people need to be humanely hospitalized, perhaps even for the rest of their lives, to save the lives of dogs like the one that died and did not deserve to die, and of people like that woman, who probably is too stupid to deserve to live.

    I would like to think that the time when it is necessary to be Brutal and Cold is not yet upon us. But I think that only God can save us from such times, and God did chose to let the last king of Judea watch all of his sons be slaughtered before he was mercifully blinded and carried off into exile along with the rest of the people he failed to properly take care of.

  • Lots of people seem eager to pile in on the woman. Shall we check what we know, and what we conjecture.

    In one picture, these women (plural) have a cunning plan to get rid of crazy guy while preserving their woke bonafides by taking care to walk their dogs to the dumpster for the purpose of colliding with crazy guy and setting him off. Poor crazy guy is the victim of the repeated aggressions of these coordinating Karens.

    In another picture, women from time to time take their dogs walking in the park (they must walk them somewhere and the park may be convenient). The dogs from time to time naturally do their business in said park. Their owners, as requested or possibly mandated, to keep the park clean, then pick up their dog’s doings in the little plastic bags they carry for the purpose, and then as naturally go over to the dumpster to dispose of said bags – whereupon they are repeatedly confronted by crazy guy who attacks the dog, in this case fatally. Here, crazy guy is the aggressor and the suggestion of Karen-esque behaviour by these women is unjust. It is no fault of theirs that they and their dogs repeatedly come into crazy guy’s range and experience aggression from him. (No immediate fault of theirs – the community’s wokeness enables crazy guy but do we actually know if Jessica Chrustic, or any others with whom he collided, were explicit perpetrators of it.)

    The story, despite the NYT spinning for crazy guy because he is black, and against Jessica Chrustic because she isn’t, seemed very compatible with the second interpretation whereas the first offended Occam’s razor if all you had was the story.

    Bobby b (October 8, 2022 at 11:38 pm) mentioned an earlier park event, where some would-be Park Slope Panthers were, at their first attempt, taken over by a group determined to protect and enable crazy guy. This slightly weakened Occam’s Razor against postulating group action in the complaints against crazy guy (but FWIW I note that he compares the original Park Slope Panthers to the Angels, not to sly conspirators). However it does so only at the cost of indicating that another group bent on enabling him also existed, and had the upper hand, and (it at first glance appears), were sly conspirators in how they took over their rivals.

    So bobby b, I’m not understanding why (it seems) you are finding the several encounters reasons to suspect the women rather than crazy guy being willing to seek them. Do you know something we don’t (yet) that makes the first picture more likely, and the second less?

  • That’s the part that baffled me back then. Working the cases, talking to the clients, I learned that 99% of KP is free, readily available on the internet, given away to like-minded people for nothing. (bobby b, October 10, 2022 at 5:44 pm)

    I see nothing baffling in some of those who indulge desire of kids creating their own porn – more satisfying to them perhaps than stuff produced by others (over and above the satisfaction of making it). And I see nothing baffling in those who do so wanting to (anonymise it and) supply it to others, to recruit others.

    – This can be for a very practical reason. That woman I blogged about whom the Scottish government appointed the first Named Person and then had to sack was circulating her free KP to carefully selected adults with a view to forming a group who could assist each other to lead lives that were less “quiet”, less “desperate” and less “celibate”.

    – I do not know of any case where KP providers were both unpaid and not looking to form a group for mutual unrestraint, but I can imagine (‘fantasise’ isn’t quite the word here, plus there are examples of this phenomenon) that someone leading a “quiet, desperate, celibate” life might vary their fantasies – might fantasise about creating others out there, about meeting them, and then return to their fantasies about kids enriched with fantasies about how such ‘friend(s)’ would enable them to be realised.

  • bobby b

    Niall Kilmartin
    October 11, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    “So bobby b, I’m not understanding why (it seems) you are finding the several encounters reasons to suspect the women rather than crazy guy being willing to seek them. Do you know something we don’t (yet) that makes the first picture more likely, and the second less?”

    I’ve read quite a few articles about this whole mess over the past few weeks, including one by a NYC cop who was trying to explain the lack of action towards stick-guy. He had no personal role, but he understood that the complaints against stick-guy would be very tough to prosecute, because “the women were not blameless at all.” That’s all he said.

    All of the “facts” and opinions I read – especially how the women and dogs kept ending up next to him – combined with my experiences working with such guys in the past, led me to interpolate the rest. Remember, as I phrased it, “were I his lawyer, here’s the story we’re working on.” Not so much “I know he’s innocent!” as “here’s how I easily get him acquitted”, which explains why he’s not been arrested or civilly committed.

    Niall Kilmartin
    October 11, 2022 at 3:21 pm

    “And I see nothing baffling in those who do so wanting to (anonymise it and) supply it to others, to recruit others.”

    But, recruit others to what? If you put files on those Usenet sites, you’ll never even know if someone has downloaded them, so there would never be any personal interaction. And “recruit” sounds as if you think that pedophilia is something that can be chosen, or that infects otherwise normal people at some point. I’d argue that point, just as I would argue if you said someone chooses to be gay (as opposed to having gay sex, which, yes, is a choice.)

    Perhaps to simply make sure there are others like you out there somehow? Maybe that’s of some comfort. But none of the guys I dealt with ever expressed to me any idea that they’d like to meet more pedophiles. Everything was internal, private, hidden. And, as I said, none of them had ever been accused of doing anything in person.

    It was like meeting someone who has carried some dangerous disease since birth. They didn’t choose it, they can’t affect its course – they are really morally blameless – but the dangers to society are obvious. If they can remain completely celibate – and most do, I’m told – I don’t know that we can ask more of them.

    (And I have to add that, for those who do NOT remain celibate, I’d go along with Fraser Orr’s choice of attachment points for hanging them up.)

  • bobby b (October 11, 2022 at 7:59 pm), we’re getting a bit off-topic and I don’t mind dropping it if you feel you’ve written enough in this thread – but FWIW your bafflement is only getting the more baffling to me.

    none of the guys I dealt with ever expressed to me any idea that they’d like to meet more pedophiles.

    I believe you. I’m not at all baffled that none of your public-defender-days pedo-porn-consuming clients expressed that desire to you. Any who indulged that desire would be intensely aware of what that desire implied and so aware of how little it would help their case to reveal its existence. And any who rejected that desire would similarly know why they rejected it and have no wish to suggest otherwise to you. (You met these people and may have your opinion as to the ratios.)

    But all that is irrelevant. IIUC, all these people were solely consumers of pedo-porn, not creators of it (as far as the evidence the state had went). They were the ones downloading the files, not the ones uploading them. The more true what they told you (and what they did not tell you) about themselves was, the less it would inform you about the uploaders.

    recruit others to what? If you put files on those Usenet sites, you’ll never even know if someone has downloaded them (bobby b,, October 11, 2022 at 7:59 pm)

    When I write a post, I usually never even know if anyone beyond those who comment on it have read it (if you do not reply, bobby b, I may never know if anyone but Natalie has ever read this lengthening screed 🙂 ). When the army put up a recruiting poster, they’ll usually never even know if anyone stopped to examine it. Those who spend their private lives indulging pedophile fantasies in a culture that hasn’t normalised it must needs endure these same limitations at least – and can also reasonably be imagined fantasising about their uploads’ effects fully as much as I can be imagined fantasising that someone I don’t know, deciding the fate of someone else I don’t know, will one day face a moral choice between protecting freedom and conforming to the enforcement of conformity, and will be tipped to the side of right because long ago they read a post of mine.

    “recruit” sounds as if you think that pedophilia is something that can be chosen, or that infects otherwise normal people at some point.

    This reads strangely in several ways.

    On the one hand, groomers assume that kids can indeed be influenced (‘infected’ if you will) in ways that will enable the groomer’s sexual exploitation of them. Sadly, there is evidence they are not wrong. (As I quoted in my first post on the trans phenomenon, one reason groomers target kids is because they know it’s a lot harder to groom a sexually mature adult who was left alone as a kid – more on that below.)

    On the other hand, consider the joke British Army recruiting ad of my youth: “Travel to exiting foreign countries, meet interesting people, and kill them.” Would this recruiting ad persuade previously peaceable young men to adopt violent interests, or would it only recruit those who already had such desires? Since both are examples of recruitment, why would that point matter? Similarly, even if your (apparent) belief that grooming adults is not merely much harder but impossible were true, that would be no argument against the latter kind of ‘recruitment’ – and it is well verified that pedos of the non-celibate variety do seek to form rings, and at times succeed.

    There is a third path between mere finding and ‘infecting’, Jung Chang’s biography of Mao descries him as skilled at detecting the secret desires of certain of his communist colleagues, and, by arranging their gratification, forging alliances to his political benefit. Was Mao grooming his adult colleagues (‘infecting’ them) or was he merely overcoming whatever fearful or moral restraint had previously either restrained them from indulgence or kept the amount they indulged much lower than they wished? (You met your clients, so may have an opinion whether it would have been harder to groom them into surfacing their particular inclinations than it was for Mao to groom high-ranking Chinese communists, and if so how much harder.)

    So much for my comment on your previous comment. (What follows is relevant to my last paragraph above but also of separate interest in itself.) For all that your clients said they’d never actually do it, there is a moral question about their possessing pedo-porn which occurs to me. In our culture, pictures of pretty poster children are everywhere and very accepted (the clue is in the term ‘poster-child’). Now, I’ve known cases of overzealousness all the way up to absurdity in alleging child abuse, so if poster-child-style pictures were all your clients ever collected, you can ignore what follows. But these people (IIUC your explanation of how they first got sent to jail, before, five or six years later, they came to need a public defender to ensure they got out again on completion of sentence) had collections downloaded from free pedo-porn sites, and this was verified after they chanced to do the same from an FBI sting site.

    – Did the FBI sting site pictures/videos come with a “No actual child was victimised or groomed in the making of this material.” assurance? (Was that even true, or did they use material they had seized whose victims were dead or whatever?)

    – Did the free, non-commercial pedo-porn sites come with any such assurance and would it have been the height of absurdity for anyone to believe them if they did?

    In other words, could these “we-only-look” people clear themselves from the accusation of being very OK with becoming an accomplice after the fact (speaking morally, not legally) in acts of pedophilia, or was their not-restricting-themselves to collecting only poster-children a choice they made despite knowing beyond-reasonable-doubt, or by balance-of-probability, that the originators of their freely-acquired material did not practice the restraint these viewers-of-it professed? A key feature of what I would call pedo-porn is the presence of releasers – explicit creation of an atmosphere of ‘yes, you can do this to kids’ – and it is this that the poster-children-piccies do not provide.

  • bobby b

    Niall K, I’m struggling to discern the nugget of, where do you and I disagree? So, just a few statements of belief:

    – Society says (and I agree) that we ought never consider kids – esp. pre-pubescent kids – to be of sexual interest or activity. (14 + years old, I think we leave out of this discussion for now. Too complex. Too many societies consider them adultish.)

    – It is my view that pedophiles are born, not made – just like heterosexuals.

    – “Grooming” has always been described (or rationalized) as the helping of kids to discover what they really are and would have discovered had not society quashed such exploration – NOT the conversion of kids to some other set of sexual preferences. In my own view, much grooming happens because a groomer sees a young person who they consider sexually attractive and they use persuasion to get that person to play along, whether that person is gay or not. You don’t end up with more gay people through grooming – you end up with a few kids who truly do decide they are really gay*, and a lot of kids who are just completely confused about sex, and some groomers who got to have a lot of their own sick version of kiddie-fun.

    (* – I use the word “gay” here hesitantly. In truth, most pedophiles are guys, and most pedophilic targets are girls. So, the pedo relationship is more likely to be hetero- than homo-.)

    – The big difference to me is between a pedophile, and a practicing pedophile – i.e., one who does go after kids instead of just yearning for them. The first can’t help what they are, or what triggers their limbic system, but they understand that society says NO, and they can comply. The second group ignores the prohibition and molests kids.

    – I’d punish the second group harshly, and try to help the first group in maintaining their celibacy. I cannot see group 1 as “evil”.

    – I do agree that the millions of photos of naked kids out there are their own kind of evil. Those represent millions of kids who were used and abused. They ought not exist.

    But how about cartoon naked kids? “Pictures” generated by AI? Pictures of adults who really look like kids? We know why pedophiles want these pics, what they use them for. If pedophiles could be satisfied by those, and threatened with such dire consequences if they do touch a live kid that it causes them to stop and just stick with fake pictures, do we then need to imprison them forever? I suppose we can shoot them full of Depo Provera and chemically neuter them if need be.

    “Doing something” is always a choice, and we can and do punish people for their choices. “Being something” is, I think, different.

    It’s been decades since I worked on this project/case, and I still haven’t a good clue as to how to handle the issue. So, to make up for it, I write long Off Topic comments. 😉

  • Bobby b (October 13, 2022 at 12:25 am), specifically what I was puzzled by was your professed ‘bafflement’ at the existence of free-pedo-porn websites (something I thought I had repeatedly stated so plainly that now I’m also baffled at your “struggling to discern the nugget of” where we disagree 🙂 ).

    I have offered an explanation (or, one might call it, a spectrum of explanation) for that. It would of course be perfectly legitimate for you to reply that you find my explanation unpersuasive despite having no rival explanation, but it would also be normal to proffer some explanation of why my explanation of the free porn sites did not leave you less baffled – and I’m certainly “struggling to discern the nugget of” why you see anything unlikely in mine.

    In the course of discussion, other areas of actual or potential philosophic disagreement have emerged, but I see little value in our trying to debate them to a finish this far down a personal debate to which they are only tangential in an OP to which they are pretty off-topic. (Also, FWIW, I think we can rely on a less OT chance of debating them appearing soon enough. Some fresh woke absurdity will presently prompt a more-relevant post.)

    That said, you showed me your list so I’ll show you mine, but more for completeness than a challenge to immediate OT debate.

    1) ? Born that way ?

    – The existence of grooming makes it irrational to see born-that-way as a sole explanation.

    – The PC push born-that-way for ideological reasons, and censor debate about it as about other things. This makes it rational to suppose there is more evidence against it and less for it than the public domain reveals – sufficiently so that modesty suggests there may still be more evidence against it and less for it than we know, even after our individual stocks of knowledge are added to the mix. (Even now, I still sometimes come across things the PC had me fooled about for years.)

    – In my first post on the trans phenomenon I quoted (amongst many) Moira Grayland, whose lifetime experience of the circle of “aggressive gay pagans” into which she was born left her convinced that grooming was almost everything and ‘born that way’ almost nothing. She was very convincing that their behaviour was wholly based on that belief, though they professed the other. In the post and in a footnote, I indicated the statistical nature of my use of her information. I may well be reading your list and prior comments over-harshly, but at first glance it’s not clear to me that your apparently strong belief in born-that-way is less excessive in one direction than her scepticism is in the other.

    – Your clients had motives like the woke’s to insist they were simply born-that-way and never helped it along. The viability of grooming once granted, it’s absurd to doubt the occurrence of self-grooming. One might discover things about one’s sexuality, or one might “explore one’s sexuality” (creating as much as one discovers by the decision to look for it, as others do not just ‘discover’ the ability to be a great scientist or a brave soldier – they make themselves so). Or there can be collusion between the two processes. For example, do I have it within the full range of potentials with which I was born to become a sadist? I would gladly think not – but I have certainly not researched the matter with vigour. If I had been in the shoes of that North Korean defector I once saw interviewed, whose assignments included state torturer for a couple of years, I might have not have found the will (as he did not) to resist discovering and exploring the limits of my capacities in that regard.

    2) ? Born what way ?

    – In another post, I quoted Jan (born John) Morris about “the misguided homosexuals” who (to their own harm) misunderstood themselves as people born into a body of the wrong sex. Recent LGB-Eff-off-T groups offer reasons I think rational for claiming many classified-as-trans are not born that way at all, over and above their understandable annoyance that the latest woke fashion is not increasing their pool of potential partners, as it once did, but diminishing it.

    – Though even some of the LGB-Eff-off-T types might be less keen to acknowledge it, gay detransitioners are likewise very much a thing, for all that they have to do it without therapy these days. Some were indeed groomed and wish to escape feelings that were literally forced on them, but others just grew up slower than a fool-around-in-early-teens youth yet do eventually grow up enough to discover they were in fact not born-that-way.

    Time to try and stop this comment getting longer still. Summary:

    – The statistics of born-that-way is an empirical question. My guess at what they are appears to differ from yours.

    – Over and above my earlier point about their moral indifference to how their porn was made, I suspect some of your clients of self-grooming, using born-that-way to deny their moral agency wholly, whereas the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth might not justify that much.

    – Free speech wisely demands clear and present danger to justify exceptions – so there can be dangers it is perfectly rational to see and discuss that are yet not clear enough or present enough. My analysis of your clients’ complicity in how their beloved kiddie-porn was created raises a straightforward possibility of crossing that line (IMNSHO, but of course, I am not a lawyer). By contrast, I think the concept of “self-grooming” does not (and anyway, could a court reliably determine its role?) – but it yet opens the door to feeling less than sorry for them, over and above their indifference to how their porn was made. You met them – and let me confess I’d be more inclined to trust your assessment of a given one of them if your general philosophical readiness to assume born-that-way appeared less.

    – The thought of the attorney-general of Minnesota having the power to inform a prisoner at the end of their sentence that a few more years were being added to it by his sole ipse dixit is alarming; I think you did right to resist that precedent being set.

  • bobby b

    Niall Kilmartin
    October 13, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    ” . . . I’m also baffled at your “struggling to discern the nugget of” where we disagree 🙂 ).”

    Ha! I’ll end our OT volumes here by saying that I honestly didn’t see that, but now that you’ve specified, I went back and re-read, and am now puzzled why I didn’t see that in the first place. Reading for what I wanted or expected to see, I suspect.

  • Paul Marks

    bobby b and Fan of Slackwire Clowns.

    London did not use to have this problem (but then neither did New York) because a “public park” was either really a private park, given as a charitable gift (given under certain conditions – such as no vagrants – “oh my God, Paul Marks used the “V word” – expel him!” it was the legal word at the time), or the park was a Royal park – and everyone using it was, technically, a guest of the King or Queen, and could be thrown out if they were a bad guest.

    This 1960s idea that parks, libraries and-son-on “belong to the people – ALL the people” is the root of the problem.

    Sorry – but sharing parks and libraries (and so on) with drug abusers and lunatics, is not going to work.

  • Paul Marks

    In English law a council park belongs to the council – a memory of when local councils were closed corporations (which they all were before 1834 – and the City of London, the square mile, still is), the council is NOT “the people” – and does not claim to be in law. “This belongs to the council” does NOT mean “this belongs to the people” although most people, these days, have the vote.

    The council is NOT the people – any more than Paul Marks is Jean-Jacques Rousseau. You have no right, whatever, to defecate or “shoot up” in a council park, and if we think you are a problem to the park or to people legitimately using the park, we will remove you.

  • Kirk

    At the end of the day, I think a lot of the problem with these incidents and their underlying issues stem from a fundamental confusion about what, precisely, the entire judicial/law enforcement complex is supposed to be doing for society.

    This is similar to the confusion you see with companies that fail to adapt to changing conditions; they don’t grasp the fundamental nature of their business. Kodak thought it was a film company; reality was that it was an imaging company. When the market changed over to digital, there went Kodak because it wasn’t actually answering the market’s needs.

    In a similar confusion, the majority of the people involved in what we could term “the justice industry” fail to comprehend the actual role they fulfill for their market, which is society at large.

    It ain’t providing capital-J “Justice”. It isn’t meant to serve out comprehensive “Retribution” for criminal acts. It isn’t to serve as “Punishment”, either. All of those things are essentially so much BS.

    So, what role is our “justice industry” supposed to be fulfilling?

    Think about it: What is it that everyone really wants? They want the criminal to modify his behavior towards others, potentially they themselves.

    When you ask people what they object to about the effect of what the “justice industry” is doing, what are they really most angry about? The fact that the criminal may commit another crime. Their behavior was not successfully modified by the encounter that they had with the justice industry.

    This is what leads to the potential for vigilantism. If the state and the official justice system fail to successfully modify the behavior of criminal offenders, then the public will route around them to obtain what they perceive as more effective behavioral modification. In a lot of cases, that’s going to mean extinction of the behavior through improvised means, inhumane ones most likely. Once you convince enough people that calling emergency services phone numbers means that they won’t obtain satisfactory results in terms of modifying the behavior of the subject of those calls, well… Yeah. Watch out, because you will really not like what happens when the general public starts taking matters into their own hands.

    Allowing the general public to develop the perception that the legal system does not work, and isn’t a viable means of modifying criminal behavior is not a good thing; stuffing that genie back into the bottle is going to be the work of generations. Again. We did this once before, and it wasn’t pretty.

  • bobby b

    “Once you convince enough people that calling emergency services phone numbers means that they won’t obtain satisfactory results in terms of modifying the behavior of the subject of those calls, well… Yeah. Watch out, because you will really not like what happens when the general public starts taking matters into their own hands.”

    What happens is, we now have over 400,000,000 firearms in America – a country of about 340,000,000 people – and very few of them were bought for hunting.

    So, we’re already there. If I carry a gun specifically so that I can shoot back – which I do – isn’t that vigilantism of sorts? I’m all for defensive vigilantism.

  • Steven R

    If I carry a gun specifically so that I can shoot back – which I do – isn’t that vigilantism of sorts?

    No, because you’re not trying to sidestep or prevent the police or courts doing their jobs in favor of the result you want. Carrying a gun for your protection is just acknowledging that the police aren’t in your back pocket, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.

    If you were to carry a gun and go looking for trouble, or carry a gun to kill people who weren’t convicted or who weren’t given enough punishment, or punishment to your satisfaction, then in that case it would be carrying to be a vigilante.

  • Kirk

    Vigilantism is defined as “the act of preventing, investigating and punishing perceived offenses and crimes without legal authority” by the various dictionaries. I’d say that the critical part of that is the “…without legal authority” bit.

    If you act without being formally “legal”, yet have the support of the community? You’ve essentially supplanted or replaced a dysfunctional existing system or mechanism. To me, that’s the essence of vigilantism, when you consider it as a social phenomenon: Members of the citizenry acting without duly constituted and conferred authority, yet still within the bounds of the community values and mores.

    The existing system is in grave danger of convincing a significant fraction of the community that they are justified in not taking things through the duly constituted system of legalisms and legalities. After a certain inflection point, when a critical mass is reached, then the whole thing gets junked and we start over with a new paradigm, one that I suspect is going to be a lot less concerned with the welfare of the criminal, and far more concerned with putting an end to their activities.

    Whereupon the usual bleeding hearts will whine and complain about the inhumanity of it all, completely oblivious to their own complicity with destroying the current system in the name of “criminal rights”.

    It will be interesting to see what develops, that’s for sure. I doubt that anyone will like it, especially at first.

  • Fan Of Slackwire Clowns

    This is a Broad Theory, broad enough to be invalid if I push it too far out, but I do believe that we, all of us have weaknesses in us that are or have become so dominant that we need to restrict our freedom of movement and action or allow them to be restricted by others for our safety (and perhaps just ease of mind ) and the safety of others.

    Alcoholics may need to not be around booze. They may need to have other people hide and even lock up their booze.

    The Paul Marks I knew at the University of York was someone I would want very much to be around for his intelligence, but who I would probably want to have a personal assistant to help him navigate some of the day to day challenges.

    I need to be reminded of what good manners are and when I am starting to talk through other people’s part of the conversation. I also need to be reminded to not be openly scornful of people who might not actually be fools.

    People who find children to be sexually attractive and cannot stop doing so probably need at the very least constant chaperones, and maybe close supervision (and to live in facilities where they can be watched carefully). They might need to live in discretely run Group Homes. They are afflicted with something far worse than a Learning Disability.

    We need to live in cohesive Communities, and acknowledge that everyone needs some help, even forceful help, from the people around them, some time.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I too, like Niall, am skeptical about the “born that way” theories. Leaving aside homosexuality and transgenderism (to avoid going even further OT), i’ll just discuss pedophilia, very briefly.

    When i got my hands on Martin Seligman’s excellent book, What You Can Change…And What You Can’t, I of course went straight to the chapter on sex.
    There are section on transgenderism and homosexuality, but what is relevant here is the section on fetishes. The most important lesson in that section is that women usually have the fetishes of their la(te)st boyfriend (assuming that they were satisfied with it, i presume). But men have a problem: we tend to acquire a fetish early in puberty, or even earlier, and then it becomes almost impossible to get rid of it. (Or such is the consensus, according to Seligman.) Such a fetish is not necessarily acquired from experience: it can even be acquired from a wet dream.

    Most fetishes are neither unethical nor illegal, but some are, and i submit that pedophilia might be a fetish of this kind: pedophiles might not be ‘born that way’, but unable all the same to change their fetish in adulthood. Or, if there is a way to do so, it hasn’t been discovered yet.

    I don’t have an opinion on the psychiatric and criminological implications of this hypothesis, except to say that it is prudent to make sure that your children do not consume brain-damaging foods while growing up.

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