Tuesday, May 22, 2007

News about the rapist who they turned loose yesterday: His victims were girls between 9 and 16 years old, which I did not know when I posted before. This makes it even worse, of course.

The problem here is that the old law, under which the rapist was convicted, says he's served his sentence and they have to release him; of course, they can't increase your prison sentence when they change sentencing laws, that's ex post facto. But there's just no way this guy should be out on the streets, just like there was no way the schizophrenic who the cops shot a couple of weeks ago should have been running around loose, either. Dangerous people need to be locked up to protect the rest of us.

Yeah, I know, locking crazy people up in the nuthouse is pretty harsh, and it's been greatly abused over the years, back when they sterilized the insane all over Europe and the US, or when promiscuous women were occasionally deemed insane and locked away, or when the Soviets threw anyone they didn't like into alleged "mental hospitals," where they were confined and drugged. And I don't like the government messing around with individual freedom, either, since we all agree that free citizens have the right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Being locked up sort of interferes with a few of these rights, and we most certainly cannot lock up a person who is an oddball but has always obeyed the law in the past, just because we think he might do something illegal in the future. (Example: the Virginia Tech shooter, who as far as I know had done nothing illegal before he actually started shooting people.)

However, if you have actually raped and sodomized and assaulted a dozen young girls, I think society has the right to say you're nuts and a public danger and you're not walking around on our streets. Or if you've committed assault and battery twenty times, most recently with a knife just a few days ago, as the schizo did, and you can't control your own actions. That wouldn't be locking up citizens because of what they might do but haven't done yet; it would be locking up citizens who have already proven that they rape girls and stab people. Repeatedly.

Other law enforcement news: The squatters had them a big old demonstration downtown a couple of days ago. Of course, they didn't have a municipal permit or anything, they just took over the Via Laietana and screwed up traffic all over the metropolitan area. They were very angry that large numbers of riot police blocked them off from the Plaza Sant Jaume and prevented them from destroying other people's property, so angry that they decided to take on the cops. One thug popped a cop right in the face and broke his nose. Now the squatters are pitching a fit because some cops use a kubotan for self-defense when attacked by rioters. Ooh, those bad cops with their plastic sticks the size of ballpoint pens.

Now get TV3's version of the events.

One thousand persons from the assembly of the Barcelona squatters' movement demonstrated on the downtown streets of the city against real estate speculation and to ask for more housing for everybody. They began their march on Portal de l'Angel street, in order to show that commercial areas like this, where many shops belong to large real estate companies, must be prevented, and spaces created for the citizens.

a) "Assembly"? "Movement"? That makes it sound legitimate or something, rather than a bunch of middle-class punks with bad attitudes playing at political radicalism. b) One man's speculation is another man's investment. What do they want, the government to nationalize all real estate? Well, actually, they haven't thought it through that far. c) More housing for everybody? As if they cared. All they want is to be allowed to squat everywhere they feel like, and to hell with everybody else. d) Of course large real estate companies own shops on main shopping streets. That's because shops on main streets are very desirable rental property and so very expensive, and only big companies can afford them. So what's the problem?

e) Of course, Portal de l'Angel is one of the most interesting streets in Barcelona for people-watching, because it's always crowded with citizens strolling (it's pedestrian-only), looking in windows, actually buying things, and the like. It's precisely what all American urban planners dream of, a downtown pedestrian street with some attractive buildings and lots of successful businesses that employ lots of people and attract lots of customers, 90% of whom use public transport to get there. However, the squatters are against businesses making money and providing people with the products they need and employing workers and investing their profits. This is why they smash those shops' windows and loot them every time they get the chance.

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