What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
NOTE: This blog is being published on several different platforms, so there will be a distinct departure from this blog’s usual rantery about sports. It won’t take you long to figure out why.
I’m a blogger. I’ve written not only for my own blog, but I’ve contributed to several others. On top of that, I’ve written several articles relating to a home-based small business. Through those efforts, I have published hundreds of pieces, almost all of which can still be found on the web. During that time, I have made several friends, writing partners, and associates. I’ve also received many words of support for my opinions. Conversely, I’ve also received plenty of criticism.
Granted, I get that’s part of the deal; you can’t expect bouquets without getting some brickbats. That’s not what this is about. Rather, this is about people who misconstrue the law to make factually incorrect arguments, or better yet, make silly threats about suing me or my fellow bloggers. One the sites to which I contribute coined a good term for them: “Internet Lawyers.”
“Internet Lawyers” are not actually lawyers; they’re windbags who think they know something about the law, when in fact, they do not. They make that fact obvious with some of the hilariously deluded things they say. So, as a public service to the readers of whichever blog where you are reading this, I’m going to clear up a few of the common misconceptions held by so many “Internet Lawyers.”
1) Know Your Audience
A cardinal rule of blogging is either to know who is actually reading your stuff, or who you want reading your stuff. Similarly, if you are going to criticize a blog, know who the blogger is. Since my own blog is one about sports, I’ve got some really fun hate-mail spanning the sports universe. But nobody does it like the fans of Florida State University. the following example landed in my inbox in response to an article I wrote about Jamies Winston.
Dear Floreda [sic] Gay-tor,
On one hand, it is unusual for hate-mail to come with such a formal salutation. But the misspelling aside, this managed to shoe-horn two factual inaccuracies into only three words. First of all I am not an alum of the University of Florida, nor was I ever a student there. However, it is a common assumption amongst FSU fans that ALL people who may be naysayers of anything Florida State once got their mail in Gainesville. On the other hand, while that homophobic “shot across the bow” exhibits a level of pseudo-cleverness not usually seen in Seminole Nation, it also demonstrates yet another violation of point #1…largely because I’m not gay. Making such false claims makes you look like an idiot, which tends to kill your credibility. But wait, there’s more…
2) Know Your Crimes
I have notified local law enforcement about your blog. They are currently investigating you for slander and racism.
First of all, read the article this numbnut is complaining about. Tell me ANYTHING you find that is either slanderous or racist. You can’t, because you won’t find anything that meets the definition of either term. Not to mention, even if you did, slander and racism are not issues for law enforcement. How awesome would it be if we found out this idiot got arrested for calling 911 over a blog post?
Here’s the best part. This genius says he’s notified “local” law enforcement. So, even if I had committed a crime, which I didn’t, and even if local cops wold listen to this, which they wouldn’t, I don’t live in the same town as this moron…which means “local” cops would be powerless to do anything anyway.
3) Phony Claims Will Get You Nowhere
I know you are being criminally investigated because I am a law student at Floreda State.
This one seems pretty obvious, but there’s so much here…
I’ll start with something you can’t see. The author failed to include his real name, so it wasn’t possible to call the admissions office at FSU to verify that claim. It’s not like I need to do so; the quote I used in point #2 does that rather nicely. Not to mention, I’ve never been on the FSU campus, but I’m willing to bet that in order to get to the law building, you have to walk past at least one thing which has the correctly-spelled word “Florida” on it. If this clown is actually in law school, it would officially confirm every suspicion I’ve ever had about Florida State.
The inference is also rather curious. Am I supposed to read that line to mean there’s a strong working relationship between Florida State and the Tallahassee Police Department? The white-wash job they did on the Jamies Winston rape case already told me that.
4) Know Your Constitution
Another fun type of “Internet Lawyer” are what I like to call the “Constitutionalists.” These are the ones who know EVERYTHING about their rights being violated. TurtleBoy Sports gets a lot of these; these are the people who threaten to initiate with legal action because somehow their “right to privacy” was violated. They usually claim this is being done by posting screenshots of stuff they’ve said on Facebook or Twitter as proof of something they said which they are trying to deny.
You probably won’t be shocked to learn that most “Internet Lawyers” are dumb-founded when they find out there is no mention of the “right to privacy” in the U.S. Constitution. Part of how this perceived “right” came about is a twisting of the concept of “expectation of privacy,” a term which usually arises in the determining the legality of a search conducted by police. That’s not the only reason, but in any event, “right to privacy” is an abstract concept at best. At worst it’s totally not applicable in cases like the ones I’ve mentioned. Here’s why.
Services like Facebook and Twitter have things called “Terms and Conditions” which you must agree to before are allowed to use the service. This is in those pesky “End User License Agreements” you have to click “Yes” before you can do anything…you know, the stuff nobody ever reads. If you did read it, you would know there’s a clause in almost all of them that says something to the effect of “once you hit ‘Send,’ you’re on your own.” Not to mention, how brain-dead do you have to be to have ANY expectation of privacy for anything you post on the internet?
5) Cops Know More About The Law Than You Do
There’s actually a incredibly simple reason for this: Because it’s their job. That may be a difficult concept for many “Internet Lawyers” to grasp fully since a large number of them don’t have real jobs. Classic examples abound over at TurtleBoy Sports; the best example is a guy I like to call “Grocery bag guy.” GBG is a sidewalk-based expert on what does and does not constitute “police harassment.” In other words, he’s likely a scumbag whose depth of “Internet Lawyer” experience comes from the fact he’s spent more time in handcuffs than Harry Houdini.
Again, there’s really simple logic in play here. Do you know who knows the most about “police harassment?” The people who spend the most time around the police, e.g. scumbag criminals. If you doubt that, a subsequent post on TBS really bears that out. Tiffany Johnson is the quintessential sidewalk-based expert in law enforcement techniques. After all, she hits ALL the “hot-buttons” for when you want to accuse the police of wrongdoing.
We don’t even get ten words in before are treated to Buzzword #1 – “Harrassed.” Let’s break that down, shall we? The word “harassment” covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behavior intended to disturb or upset, and it is characteristically repetitive. In the legal sense, it is intentional behavior which is found threatening or disturbing. By the very inference here, Johnson the Police Policy Expert wants you to believe that the cops in question here aren’t really trying to do their jobs; rather they are just “screwing” with people.
Well, there’s a problem with that belief. Cops record EVERYTHING they do because of situations exactly like this. The minute somebody files a complaint about an encounter with the police, one of the first things things which happens is the officers in question will need to explain why the encountered the complainant in the first place. There’s three concepts to remember at this point; “probable cause,” “reasonable suspicion,” and “exigent circumstances.”
“Probable cause” is often confused with “reasonable suspicion” by “Internet Lawyers” and “Police Policy Experts.” There’s a big difference between the two.
Under criminal law, “reasonable suspicion” is defined as “a lower level or standard of suspicion that can be understood;” in other words, any person with sound and reasonable thinking based on reasonable observation would come to suspect that a crime has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur.
Probable cause is different because it is a higher level of suspicion as being “more likely than not.” (Come on Patriots fans, I know you remember that term from the Wells report…) Like reasonable suspicion,” the underpinning here is that any reasonable and prudent individual based on reasonable observation would believe that a crime is, was, or will be committed. Probable cause must be met before a suspect can be arrested; to do so usually requires meeting two addition criteria above and beyond “reasonable suspicion:”
What this means is police a required to have a “reasonable suspicion” in order to legally detain or frisk somebody, but in order to perform a search, obtain a search arrant (if necessary), or execute an arrest, the standards for “probable cause” must be met.
The only exception to this is “exigent circumstances,” which can be simply defined as “emergency conditions.” Those would be further defined as circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry (or other relevant prompt action) was necessary to prevent physical harm to the officers or other persons, the destruction of relevant evidence, the escape of a suspect, or some other consequence improperly hampering legitimate law enforcement efforts.
Take all that back to the example of Tiffany Johnson and “Grocery bag guy.” Johnson’s use of the term “harrass” is pretty weak; her use of the term “stereotype” is the really telling part of this. I’ve always said that right or wrong, all stereotypes evolve from a kernel of truth. In terms of society, that becomes even more true, because the very term means a widely held, but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person.
Now, take that back to the concept of “reasonable suspicion.” The police in this case were investigating a gang-related shooting which occurred in a known “high-crime” area. That also means the cops were looking for somebody who might be affiliated with gang activity. Well, Tiffany, if the “stereotype” you are so concerned about just so happens to fit EXACTLY what to police are looking for, that says more about your choices than it does about the police. I know that everybody has the right to dress and speak in the manner they choose, but they also have the responsibilities to live with the consequences of those choices.
Moreover, how many people that were “harassed” have criminal records? I’m willing to bet it’s a sizable number. Do yo want to know why that matters? Like I said earlier, the cops know who the bad guys are. When they see a bunch of them in an area known to be a hang-out for gang members, and that’s PRECISELY who they are looking for, guess what is going to happen?
Let me make this simple for all you “Internet Lawyers” and “Police Policy Experts.” If you dress like a criminal, sound like a criminal, act like a criminal, and hang out with a bunch of criminals, even if you aren’t actually a criminal yourself, you can’t get upset because people (ESPECIALLY the police whose job it is to find criminals) think you might be a criminal.
In other words, before these police officers ever got out of their cars, they knew they had a legitimate reasons to stop that guy, despite whatever noise is coming out of “Grocery bag guy.” In fact, that’s one of my favorite parts of this video. While you can obviously tell it was edited to remove the part which would have proved the cops had “reasonable suspicion,” GBG gives it to us himself when you can clearly hear him say the police are at least questioning the guy by the cop’s car for “loitering.”
Well, guess what? That’s a crime, and it’s commission was witnessed by a police officer. There’s no better way to get to “probable cause” than that.
Finally, there’s that whole matter of #SuckADick. Now, I’m familiar with many Latin legal terms, and several that apply to this case. There’s Animus Furundi, which means “an intent to do wrong,” which is an important part of the reason behind loitering laws. There’s Audi Alteram Partem, which means “to hear both sides.” Cops aren’t courts, they aren’t required to do that. After all if we let everybody off who said either “the cops lied” or “I didn’t do it,” we’d have no need for jails. Finally, there’s Res Ipsa Loquitor, which is literally translated as “the thing speaks for itself,” but is most often taken to mean something like the old saying “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.” But I have no idea of the legal definition of #SuckADick.
But then again, I’m no “Internet Lawyer.”