Are we moving toward "Minority Report"

Was this kid planning to kill a bunch of classmates with homemade bombs? Probably. Is he a POS racist, bigot? Probably. But can you really arrest and charge someone with attempted assault when all they’ve done is written in their journal that they want to kill people and filled a few tobacco containers with “shrapnel”? The kid didn’t even have gunpowder or fuses yet.–abc-news-topstories.html

Yes, I think this is justified, if they have evidence of planning for an attack.

I don’t understand this “Minority Report” fear-mongering. Not aiming this at you, but I find it amusing that political conservatives that had no problem with the Patriot Act suddenly worry about overreach of government power and spying when the other political party is in charge.

The philosophical question in Minority Report was whether or free will exists. If actions are completely predetermined, then the PreCog system works, as it would be able to predict future crimes without any doubt. The movie was about Tom Cruise trying to prove that at least one PreCog prediction (that of his own crime) is false. Even one false PreCog prediction would prove that the whole system was invalid. That is, even 99.99999% accuracy is not enough - it has to be 100%.

Anyway, if we were to apply Minority Report logic to this case, he would have to go free, as there is no way to establish with complete certainty that he would have committed the crime. Maybe there should be a separate crime category for “being a douche bag” or something.

Incidentally, Tom Cruise never actually proved that free will exists. The “false” prediction was due to the old bad guy changing the image records. The prediction images themselves were never proved to be incorrect.

When the police try to catch terrorists, they give them some fake bombs, wait for them to gear up, and then arrest them. Why not wait for this kid to actually be in a position to do something before arresting him. Until he actually had some materials, he was just being a stupid, troubled kid.

What always bothered me about Minority Report (the movie) was they went, what, seven years without a murder and then shut the whole thing down because one guy that happened to design the entire system was able to manipulate it?

I think you chalk that up to bad luck and keep it going.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m thinking that people charged by the feds under the Patriot Act are generally surveilled for a long enough period of time to determine that they have the means and the will to commit an act of terrorism. I would wager that there are millions of kids who write in their journals about killing some of their classmates, but the vast, vast, vast majority will never do anything about it. I’m not saying authorities should ignore the kid thinking that kids will be kids, but why not get some real evidence. Imagine if Steven King’s house had been raided when he was a kid. Again, not saying this kid is the next Steven King, but what is there to stop police from charging the next Steven King or whoever with attempted assault?

BTW, since you brought politics into the discussion, every democratic senator except Russ Feingold voted for the original Patriot Act and Pres. Obama reauthorized it not that long ago, so it doesn’t just belong to one party.

The underlying assumption is that principal is more important than practical results. That is “better for 1000 guilty people to go free, than 1 innocent person be sentenced”. So, it depends on whether or not you agree with this statement.

I’ve been binging on Philip K. Dick books lately (in case you didn’t know that there are a lot of sci-fi movies based off his novels/novellas). I think that as it was with the post 9/11 collective tension, these mass shooting are also reach pandemonium levels by preventative faculties.

Just yesterday, after 3/4 into the Zero Dark Thirty movie, which was tense in itself, in a packed theater, the movie shut off, and the lights came on, and the entire theater was evacuated. Not just that single showing, but all movies that were showing (the Lincoln Center AMC Loews theater (which is very large)) No explanation was given, but you could figure it was highly probable that someone phoned or they collected some ‘threat’. The ended up shutting down the theater for the rest of the day(might even be closed now too), and that’s a sh-t ton of revenue for them to lose. But I felt a lot safer when I got out of there, before people started to stampede out.

Great movie

Well, you can’t charge him with the actual crime, but you can charge him for attempted I guess. I agree it’s a tough call and it doesn’t really mesh with what the constitution envisioned, but then again, I doubt Ben Franklin ever thought we’d have mass school shootings. It falls under the gray area in which police nab terrorists for bomb plots.

I (being mostly Libertarian) have long argued that we are going the way of “Minority Report.” (I’ve never seen the movie, but I know the premise.)

Just look at all the conversation regarding gun control these days. “Should mentally ill people have the right to carry a gun?” What seems like an innocent question has huge consequences!!! Who determines who is mentally ill? Is mentally ill like being pregnant? (Either you are or you aren’t pregnant–there’s no “maybe” or “halfway”.) What about those who are “potentially” mentally ill? What if you’re not mentally ill, just an idiot, like Honey Boo Boo’s family? Are political extremists (like Ann Coulter) “terrorists”? I got in a little bit of trouble by disagreeing with my superiors when I was in the Marines. Does that make me a threat to the country?

@ddrobinett - I am a Libertarian but I’ve never been a huge champion of the 2nd amendment. So, I’ll play devil’s advocate. Should private citizens be allowed to own nuclear weapons?

This argument was not originally about gun control and I hope it does not go that way. It was about the guy’s seeming intent to kill people.

On an unrelated note, anyone see the movie Looper?

No Looper, but, apparently, Sci-Fi is making a resurgence in 2013… There’s a Tom Cruise decimated Earth movie called Oblivion, and a Will Smith decimated Earth movie called After Earth… And I figure, there will be even more movies based on Philip K. Dick’s novels or short stories…

O yes! Bruce Willis is badass as always. Looking forward to ‘A good day to die hard’ cool

The criminality of the teen in the article derives from two things. One, he was making bombs; two, his intent. For the purposes of this thread I suppose I should have asked if charging people with hate crimes is constitutional. What difference does the “reason” someone wants to harm other matter?

Either making bombs is illegal or it isn’t. You shouldn’t be able to charge someone based on “why” they were making bombs. Just as courts shouldn’t be allowed to deal out harsher sentences for murder stemming from “hate.” Either it’s murder or it isn’t.

Now, when a plan is put into action it becomes a crime. Attempted murder is obviously illegal. Fantasizing about it is not.

Unless there is firm evidence that this guy is actually planning to act on fantasies of killing people, I don’t see that there is criminality here… it starts getting into the territory of arresting people for thought crimes, which is difficult for me to support. That opens up the question of what is the standard of proof to establish the intent to act on killing fantasies? I don’t know how lawyers establish that. Maybe someone here does.

This is actually why I think mental health is the underlying issue for the Newton shootings. Gun availability may be part of the answer, but I don’t think it’s the underlying problem, because the US is actually far more violent than would be predicted simply by the number of guns available. In addition, detecting and treating (or at least closely observing) unstable mental health doesn’t require a presumption of criminality, the way an arrest does, which means it doesn’t run afowl of due process considerations.

Nuclear weapons play no role in home defense and are beyond the scope of “militia” as defined by the second ammendment. C’mon, you’re better than this.

The current debate is one of degree as most gun advocates agree with the current levels of gun control (silencers, automatics, etc), where you’ve chosen to transfer it to a binary black or white issue. You could just as stupidly play devils advocate and say “Should private citizens be allowed to own pocket knives?” In both cases, no meaningful discussion is accomplished.

Punishments are typically designed around their negative impact on society. For instance, why does cocain carry a larger punishment than weed? Both are illegal on the federal level? The punishments are designed around the social costs associated with these crimes. Hate crimes and mass events carry a higher social cost and have a tendency to proliferate. As a result, higher deterrants are assigned to curve exceptionally unwanted behavior. Where you’ve chosen to draw the lines based upon definitions appears somewhat arbitrary.

Anyhow, you’re arguing that it may be unconstitutional, but haven’t really brought any part of the constitution into this. I’d be interested in hearing what specifically you think it violates.