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Thursday 07 March 2002

Police State!

The following two paragraphs show up in a Minneapolis Star-Tribune article about a visit G.W. Bush made to Minneapolis recently. While he was making a speech, protesters were gathered a couple of blocks away.

The protests produced one odd piece of street theater. A few demonstrators tossed pretzels into the air, mocking Bush’s awkward encounter with one in January as he watched a football game on TV. Minneapolis police arrested two of the pretzel wielders. When a police supervisor was asked what charges would be brought against the pair, he cracked, “It’s got to be a felony. You could have called it attempted murder.”

Never mind that you can get arrested for throwing pretzels in the air. It’s far worse that the police are arresting people, and then joking about charging them with crimes that they didn’t even come close to committing.

It I tell a joke about committing a crime, the FBI will come and charge me with making “terroristic threats”. If the police tell a joke about becoming even more authoritarian, well, I suppose we should all just laugh nervously, and hope that they actually are joking.

Incidentally, if you look up felony in the dictionary, you find this:

felony fel·o·ny Law 1. One of several grave crimes, such as murder, rape, or burglary, punishable by a more stringent sentence than that given for a misdemeanor. 2. Any of several crimes in early English law that were punishable by forfeiture of land or goods and by possible loss of life or a bodily part.

But, according to the police in Minnesota, throwing pretzels in the air has “got to be a felony”. Pretzel-throwing is more like, say, murder and rape, and other crimes more serious than kicking and punching people — after a car accident — for which Mike Tyson was charged with misdemeanor assault in Maryland in 1998.

Posted by tino at 14:30 7.03.02
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