Strange Law

Six recent samples of strange law:

  1. Newly released video … shows police officers … beating a University of Maryland student with nightsticks on March 3 after a basketball game. … Paperwork filed by police that contradicts what the video shows. (more)
  2. [Journalist] Michael Yon continues to question why he was arrested upon arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for his refusal to answer a question about how much money he makes. (more)
  3. You are a police officer on traffic patrol and you pull over an irate driver who refuses to admit she was doing 32 mph in a 20-mph zone. She won’t sign the speeding ticket, … she is pregnant. What do you do? … Grab the keys from the ignition, tase her three times, force her out of her car, and arrest her.  In the minds of three Seattle police officers in 2004, [this] was the reasonable course of action … and last week, a federal appeals court agreed. (more)
  4. WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff. … The U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own “Rules of Engagement”. (more)
  5. Something else we [soldiers in Iraq] were encouraged to do, almost with a wink and nudge, was to carry ‘drop weapons’. …  If we accidentally shot a civilian, we could just toss the weapon on the body, and make them look like an insurgent. … One time they said to fire on all taxicabs because the enemy was using them for transportation. …  After that, the town lit up, with all the units firing on cars. … Carrying a shovel, or standing on a rooftop talking on a cell phone, or being out after curfew [meant those people] were to be killed. I can’t tell you how many people died because of this. By my third tour, we were told to just shoot people, and the officers would take care of us. (more)
  6. House M.D. and Grey’s Anatomy … He watched a total of 46 episodes from the two series and tallied up bioethical and professional breaches. … Half of the time informed consent came up, the show’s doctors failed the ethics test. … Grey’s Anatomy … included 58 instances of sexual misconduct between doctors or nurses and 27 between these professionals and their patients. (more)
  7. Last year, Maryland hunters killed 100,663.  Now, the deer eat almost everything, and almost nothing eats them. … When the tall trees age and fall, there may be no next generation to shoot up in their place. …  One idea is to reintroduce the cougars and wolves that kept deer populations in check before. …  So far, government officials are leery of that approach. (more)

It would be nice to think these are rare exceptions that prove the rule, but I fear such large differences between what we say the law does, and what it actually does, are common.  It seems there are many laws we have little intention of enforcing, and others we intend to enforce even if the consequences are dire.

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