Video: MKH and O’Reilly go after each other on mandatory sentencing

posted at 8:38 pm on August 7, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

I won’t make a habit of posting my own video clips, but this made some news on other sites today, to my mild surprise.

I guess the disagreement among right-leaning figures on the drug war and mandatory sentencing is counterintuitive enough and the shouting lively enough that it caught people’s attention.

The seed of this discussion is a NYT editorial on mandatory sentencing requirements. Their argument is that mandatory sentencing, along with other federal prison programs, should be examined and reformed as part of cost savings, preventing overpopulation, and keeping the system sustainable. Would that the NYT (or any liberal) could look at every federal program with this in mind.

This segment doesn’t encompass my entire philosophy on the drug war, but I do tend to think mandatory sentencing requirements can get overzealous, ensnaring people as “drug traffickers” who might otherwise be helped instead of put in federal prison. I don’t want drug kingpins gaming the system any more than anyone else, but I would like to allow for flexibility for judges to prevent some of mandatory sentencing’s unintended consequences. For instance, a state law in Florida makes the possession of as few as seven pills of Oxy the trigger for a mandatory sentence of three years for drug trafficking, which could easily scoop up a non-violent user of Oxy whom society isn’t best served by throwing in prison.

I also think approaching lawmaking from the position of having recently lost a relative to drugs doesn’t make for the soundest public policy, which becomes relevant in this clip.

Anyway, figured y’all could hash it out in comments. The response I got on Twitter last night was more positive than I expected, with Tea Party folks almost uniformly showing their libertarian streaks on this issue, but the law-and-order crowd can take me to task below. I’m interested where our audience stands on this.


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trigon on August 7, 2012 at 10:03 PM

What O’Reilly was too obtuse to understand was her point that a person holding as few as 7 oxycodone was considered a dealer in Florida irregardless if that person sold any. This is what she felt was wrong.
pat on August 7, 2012 at 9:59 PM

What amount of drugs should meet that qualification then? And why that amount and not the tiniest smidgeon more or less?

whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 10:05 PM

What two consenting adults do that does not harm another person, is not the the goverments business.

newportmike on August 7, 2012 at 10:09 PM

What two consenting adults do that does not harm another person, is not the the goverments business.
newportmike on August 7, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Unless everyone else has up pick up the tab for it.

whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Let people buy, sell, and use drugs as much or as little as they wish. People should be free to make their own choices without the tyranny of government dictating acceptable behavior.

Dante on August 7, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Hard to check the penal code on an iPhone: is there a mandatory sentence for aiding and abetting via government-sanctioned gunwalking?

affenhauer on August 7, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Unless everyone else has up pick up the tab for it.

whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Pick up the tab for what, exactly?

What amount of drugs should meet that qualification then? And why that amount and not the tiniest smidgeon more or less?

whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Qualification for what? Are you in favor of these laws?

Dante on August 7, 2012 at 10:18 PM

If O’Reilly is turning up the volume and going shrieking drama-queen tonight, he’s getting creamed by the Olympics. Tomorrow’s big O’Reilly story will be O’Reilly the shrieking drama queen.

Marcus on August 7, 2012 at 10:18 PM

So does this idiot think that if a liquor store owner sells him a couple fifth’s of JD and his daughter gets into it and dies of alcohol poisoning, he and the liquor store owner are guilty of conspiracy to commit murder?

Whiskey can kill her just as dead.

MKH is pretty smart. She made ole luffa man look stupid anyway. Go Girl-Power!

honeybadger on August 7, 2012 at 10:20 PM

What size of a drug cache should be punishable by imprisonment (if any)? And if it’s 4 crates of bottled pills, if a dealer is short of that number by one bottle does he still qualify as the “real victim”?

whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 9:05 PM

It shouldn’t be punishable at all.

Dante on August 7, 2012 at 10:21 PM

I’ll sign on for that just as soon as we dismantle all of LBJ’s great society support for addicts and let “fail” mean “fail” not “rest on the safety hammock”…..

’til then the Pushers are stealing from my taxes I pay.

harlekwin15 on August 7, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Especially this. Help should come from local charity where accountability is measured. Not from automatically deposited govt. check in your bank account. By our current system not only are we taking away the obligation of the local communities to “help” we are taking away the obligation of the “needer” to resolve their situation or better yet avoid it in the first place.

Punishing life’s loser does nothing to make them winners.

Socmodfiscon on August 7, 2012 at 10:23 PM

’til then the Pushers are stealing from my taxes I pay.

harlekwin15 on August 7, 2012 at 9:20 PM

The government is stealing your money at the point of a gun to begin with.

Dante on August 7, 2012 at 10:25 PM

I’ll watch the BOR, but only because of MKH.

Bmore on August 7, 2012 at 10:26 PM

Unless everyone else has up pick up the tab for it.
whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Pick up the tab for what, exactly?

Drug treatment costs, welfare for their families, secondary crime costs (e.g. robbery for drug money).

What amount of drugs should meet that qualification then? And why that amount and not the tiniest smidgeon more or less?
whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Qualification for what? Are you in favor of these laws?
Dante on August 7, 2012 at 10:18 PM

Actually, it’s a question for those , such as MKH, who would say “X amount of illegal drugs isn’t wrong”. Then what exact amount is good and what exact amount is bad & should be prosecuted – and why? And who gets to decide? It’s like when somebody says the minimum wage should be 1 dollar more – I ask, why only $1? Wouldn’t 10 dollars more be better and more “fair”?

whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 10:28 PM

Stop the stupditiy..De-criminalize pot.

theblacksheepwasright on August 7, 2012 at 10:29 PM

I saw that segment last night. I wanted to throw a shoe at the TV when O’Reilly tried to smack down M-Kat for a “theoretical” (for stating a fact!) then throws out his own “theorical”!(or as I call it…BO-BS)

Great Job Ms. Ham

soundingboard on August 7, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Juan Williams: “I want the guy killed”

plus Bill O’Blowhard things the intensity of his voice is consistent with the weight of his argument.

williampeck1958 on August 7, 2012 at 10:34 PM

Actually, it’s a question for those , such as MKH, who would say “X amount of illegal drugs isn’t wrong”. Then what exact amount is good and what exact amount is bad & should be prosecuted – and why?

“Illegal” drugs shouldn’t be illegal at all. They should be treated exactly the same as other addictive, destructive, legal substances: tobacco and alcohol.

AngusMc on August 7, 2012 at 10:37 PM

MKH — I can’t say it enough. You are the best thing that’s happened to hot gas in a long time.

Timin203 on August 7, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Alright, I made it through that, just for you Mary Katherine. Here is a theory non theory for BOR. Is goobly-gook the same as I’m loosing this argument and being unreasonable so let me talk over my guests points some more. Of course I readily admit to being bias here. I find BOR to be an a s s. And of course I just love you Mary Katherine. Keep after him, good job, he looked a fool. ; )

Bmore on August 7, 2012 at 10:40 PM

I’m sorry Mary Katharine, its late , I’m tired, of course I know its Mary Katharine. ; )

Bmore on August 7, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Unless everyone else has up pick up the tab for it.

whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Careful….that is the liberal justification for Obamacare.

ChrisL on August 7, 2012 at 10:43 PM

I guess the disagreement among right-leaning figures on the drug war and mandatory sentencing is counter intuitive enough and the shouting lively enough that it caught people’s attention.

SHOUTING MATCH?

SHOUTING MATCH?

..MKH, this was practically a make-out fest.

Come over to The Spacious War Planner Arms on a Friday evening and watch me and Mrs War Planner engage in a shouting match: over the last bottle of beer in the house.

The War Planner on August 7, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Mary 1
Juan 1
Bill 0

AshleyTKing on August 7, 2012 at 10:47 PM

MKH,

You were right. O’Reilly was being a hard-headed ass. He was beyond reason to the point where he was essentially misrepresenting your point or purposely misunderstanding it for effect because he had his rant on and nothing would dissuade his righteousness.

But that’s normal for O’Reilly and especially (curiously) with you. He tends to cut you off before you can make a point pretty much every time you are invited to do a segment. Notice that he even laid off Juan Williams this time when both of you opposed his fixed, no judicial discretion sentencing.

Frankly, O’Reilly doesn’t deserve your patience. I can’t wait until the day you tell him to blow his bloviating where the sun don’t shine.

AnonymousDrivel on August 7, 2012 at 10:50 PM

This is why I can’t watch O’Reilly. He’s not a conservative — he’s a contrarian who has an unhealthy, narcissistic view of himself. He’s absolutely wrong here. To the point where I wanted to yell at the TV. Mandatory minimums are absolutely stupid. A drug dealer is no more responsible for the death of someone who intentionally and willfully bought drugs from him as tobacco companies are for people getting lung cancer. Or Smith & Wesson being blamed for gun violence. Prohibition — whether it be on alcohol or drugs — is immoral and STUPID policy.

Timin203 on August 7, 2012 at 10:53 PM

O’Rielly is a complete moron, and a liar. Hi entire show is nothing but spin. I don’t know why anyone watches him.

woodNfish on August 7, 2012 at 10:57 PM

I imagine doctors are going to feel the same way the judges do once Obamacare is enforced. They’ll just look at a chart to decide what treatment someone is entitled to, no experience or judgement required. I agree that the legislature has to make the laws, and I think they could do things in a much less knee-jerk fashion than they do now.

I know people who take drugs and function just fine. I know people who drink a lot and do the same thing. It depends on the person, but I don’t think that someone should be arrested just because they have drugs on them if they haven’t broken any other laws. People who steal or abuse other people are criminals and should be treated as such, whether taking drugs or drinking too much is the cause is irrelevant to me. They need to be in the system, whether it’s rehab or jail should be up to the judge. I think people who are on public assistance should all be drug tested, since they are a burden to the rest of us. They should be forced into rehab as a condition of receiving assistance.

I don’t know what to do about dealers. I’m sure they commit other crimes related to drug dealing, so I would have to say they are just plain criminals and need to be treated as such. I do not think that someone who buys drugs and then dies is a victim unless they are underage. I don’t know enough about illegal drugs to answer the question, but would people who had access to whatever they wanted ever choose meth? It seems like that one really screws people up. So there you go MKH, that’s what I think.

Night Owl on August 7, 2012 at 10:58 PM

O’Reilly kicks ass, which is why MKH also kicks ass for giving as good as she gets against the best in the business. I’ve seen her edge him out, like here, and even flat out beat him more than once. That’s why she’s there, and here.

csmats on August 7, 2012 at 11:01 PM

BO is an idiot. Thanks for fighting the good fight with him MK. It’s his type of thinking that’s gotten us stupid things like the zero tolerance policies in schools. All they do is remove common sense from the system.

The fact is the drug war was lost a long time ago. It’s done nothing but line the pockets of certain government entities. It’s an excuse for big brother to invade our privacy, seize our property, and then make us fight to get it back.

Legalize it, tax it, profit.

Benaiah on August 7, 2012 at 11:04 PM

I don’t know what to do about dealers. I’m sure they commit other crimes related to drug dealing, so I would have to say they are just plain criminals and need to be treated as such. I do not think that someone who buys drugs and then dies is a victim unless they are underage. I don’t know enough about illegal drugs to answer the question, but would people who had access to whatever they wanted ever choose meth? It seems like that one really screws people up. So there you go MKH, that’s what I think.

Night Owl on August 7, 2012 at 10:58 PM

To the rest of your post: right on! To this part… I agree mostly, but what about the college kid reselling 20 bags to his buddies to pay for his own 20 bag? Or what about the guy at work supplying the office with coke to make a few bucks on the side? Are they really dangerous criminals? Or are they entrepreneurs filling a need?

Mandatory minimums are immoral. The drug war has failed. The best course of action is remove the federal government ban on drugs, and let this be dealt with on the state level. That should allow the best solution to play out (you’d figure different states would pass different laws). My suspicion would be that legalizing drugs does not increase the number of addicts, but quickly decreases the amount of crime surrounding the drug trade.

As for the addicts… Through private charity we should try to help them to kick the habit. It’s a sad state of affairs, and drug addiction is usually just a symptom of deeper issues. We should feel mercy for the people afflicted with this terrible misery of a life, and pray / hope for the best for them. Unless they commit other crimes (whether drunk on drugs or sober), they should not be sent to jail.

Timin203 on August 7, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Lol O Reilly argued for gun control after Aurora. Conservative my ass. He’s a populist

flawedskull on August 7, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Unless everyone else has up pick up the tab for it.
whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Careful….that is the liberal justification for Obamacare.
ChrisL on August 7, 2012 at 10:43 PM

Not really, we’ve always been stuck with picking up the tab for the druggies.

whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 11:18 PM

With almost 28 years of Recovery – I know a little bit about addiction and enabling.

Perhaps the primary reason that alcoholics and addicts is the network of Enablers that help maintain integrity in their system of using.

Enablers like O’Reilly help Murder thousands of people a year.

He is not just an Enabler – he is responsible for Murdering thousands.

williamg on August 7, 2012 at 11:35 PM

I saw that segment last night. I wanted to throw a shoe at the TV when O’Reilly tried to smack down M-Kat for a “theoretical” (for stating a fact!) then throws out his own “theorical”!(or as I call it…BO-BS)

Great Job Ms. Ham

soundingboard on August 7, 2012 at 10:31 PM

I wholeheartedly concur. I watched it last night (and commented earlier today on another thread) that MKH demolished BOR.

And I noted the same thing to my wife that you mentioned above. BOR is a lousy debater. Of course, that’s probably because he doesn’t actually debate much, he just shouts people down and cuts them off.

UltimateBob on August 7, 2012 at 11:40 PM

The response I got on Twitter last night was more positive than I expected, with Tea Party folks almost uniformly showing their libertarian streaks on this issue, but the law-and-order crowd can take me to task below. I’m interested where our audience stands on this.

Since you asked…..

I am of the opinion that the “war on drugs” has done more harm than good, I am generally opposed to government prohibition of most substances.

And, I consider myself a (fiscal) conservative, socially liberal…. OK, I’m going to come out and say it, libertarian. And yes, I am a TEA Partyer.

This view does not make one a leftist. On the contrary, it is an issue of personal liberty – and personal responsibility, neither of which can or should be legislated. More and more, I think true conservatives are coming around to this view.

Bill O’Reilly is no conservative. John Stossel is much more of a clear thinker.

UltimateBob on August 7, 2012 at 11:50 PM

As others have said, a judge’s task should be to discern the truth, along with all the factors (no pun intended) that make up that truth, evaluate any extenuating circumstances, and come to a reasonable conclusion for sentencing. You know… sorta ‘punishment fits the crime’. Sure, we’re going to get judges that make poor decisions, but the alternative of a too-rigid set of sentencing guidelines will inevitably cause more harm to society.

O’Reilly is way too overbearing when his guests disagree with him; part of the reason I don’t watch him.

You’re spot on MKH.

dalewalt on August 7, 2012 at 11:53 PM

End the War on Drugs and legalize pot. The War on Drugs is a failure, just like Prohibition and makes criminals out of recreational drug users. Are we a free people or not?

Pot is far less dangerous than alcohol. No one has ever died of a pot overdose, something you can’t say about alcohol. Pot doesn’t alter the senses like alcohol either, making driving under the influence far less dangerous. Pot users aren’t violent when using like alcohol users.

Legalize it, tax it, reduce the criminal element, and free up prison space for violent offenders.

The War on Drugs is fueling the drug cartels and murders in South America and Mexico.

We also have the militarization of the police thanks to the War on Drugs. Failed no knock raids on the wrong house, killing innocent people, unarmed people, and dogs.

Common Sense on August 7, 2012 at 11:55 PM

Good job MKH. BO can be effective but about as often he turns into a blowhard.

DaMav on August 8, 2012 at 12:07 AM

Lol O Reilly argued for gun control after Aurora. Conservative my ass. He’s a populist
flawedskull on August 7, 2012 at 11:11 PM

This is true.

Sherman1864 on August 8, 2012 at 12:44 AM

I vote MKH on this one. My best friend was on jury duty last year and basically had to help give a woman a life sentence over a bottle of pills. It was not technically life, but it was a something like 35 years mandatory. on a 40 year old.I vote legalize pot and use common sense on the others. We don’t need to be throwing people away who may just have a drug problem. Now if somebody is caught with major amounts that is different.

Southernblogger on August 7, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Too bad he or she couldn’t have lectured the jury on nullification.

slickwillie2001 on August 8, 2012 at 12:49 AM

freaking idiot

Extreme cases make bad law.

SgtSVJones on August 8, 2012 at 12:58 AM

Way to go MKH!!!! You stood your ground against that asswipe bully BOR. I am so tired of him bullying his guest and not letting them finish their thoughts. You did a great job and if you are lucky you won’t have to go back again! Drug dealers smug dealers. Who cares? both the buyer and sellers are killing themselves so let them go to it.

inspectorudy on August 8, 2012 at 1:08 AM

I’d just like to see you smack him on general principle. He is a misogynist.

Cindy Munford on August 7, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Thank you! I’ve long thought so but it’s nice to hear it from a woman whom I respect. When he did not defend Michelle Malkin years ago against the idiot, macho Geraldo I was done with O’Reilly.

yubley on August 8, 2012 at 1:28 AM

Some comments from theblaze article covering this:
[HistoryGuy48:] One thing Chairman Mao did correctly was end China’s drug problem. He accomplished this in about a year. How did he do it? He simply shot everyone involved. Users, pushers, suppliers, it didn’t matter they were all given a single permanent cure, a bullet in the back of the head. Isn’t Communism wonderful? Aren’t you glad we are almost there?
[RonBo51:] Like many, Bill is removed from the scene on the ground. If his son was caught growing a pot plant(1) in his closet, depending on the state, he would be charged with felony cultivation, intent to distribute, possession of a schedule1 drug. He would very likely face mandatory minimums and do HARD time.
Also, I know of several people who became injured, were prescribed pain opiates, became addicted, spent all their money, got caught trying to score pills on the black market, and did HARD time. One was a respected school teacher. So Bill, go educate yourself, you elitist hack.
[JayLew:] The entire war on drugs has simply turned into just another huge failed federal policy. I get the creeps just looking at SWAT garbed men and women storming into apartments and houses… The issue of drug abuse or drug use is for sure serious….but the current approach is not only a flailing one… it has actually just created another monster worse than the one it was meant to slay in the first place…
Do I think we should have a society that walks around in a stupor or a stoned state? Well it doesn’t matter what I think on that subject because we already have such a society. The way a society leads it’s citizens away from drug use is to amplify and nurture the notion on how nice life can be while straight. For those who choose to remain stoned or addicted to drugs….they will do what they will.
[Resme:] Could we solve this problem with more freedom? The answer is YES.
[JohnJamison:] Did we learn nothing form the prohibition era….You can’t regulate morality all you do is create an under world and counterculture. Fact is alcohol is every bit as deadly as cocaine and has caused as much death as all illegal drugs put together. Here an idea Let the states decide.
[Midwh:] …incarceration is a multi billion dollar industry…now we know which side BO is on…big FEDGOV establishment republican…
[Dorugremon:] Like all too many “conservatives”, O’Reilly’s a statist authoritarian. He’s not so much against state power, just those who are controlling it, and for purposes he doesn’t like. Otherwise, he‘s OK with intrusive gov’t. I gave up on O’Really years ago.

anotherJoe on August 8, 2012 at 4:17 AM

MKH,

Great segment from you. Thanks for trying to stick to a point.I’m not sure about Florida laws in particular… but to drive home your point even more… in many locals having an Oxy prescription for a legit reason… that expires by even 1 minute… sudden;y makes possession of those pills… felony intent to distribute.

So when Bill asks “would you would want to happen to the drug dealer that sold to your kid…when your kid overdoses…” well maybe he should be asked about how he’d feel about his kid that that tried to do keep from doing drugs and as a result had two pills left over and then was arrested a day later for being a drug dealer. Jus Sayin!

Cassandros

PS Personally… I can’t help but think the words “mandatory” and “America” should perhaps be kept to different paragraphs.

PPS What in the constitution gives the
Fed gov any jurisdiction over drugs?

Cassandros on August 8, 2012 at 4:28 AM

Once again I Disagree with Oreilly on this issue also. I dont like mandatory anything. It leaves out common sense and discretion where its needed. I’m no fan of long sentences for drug users.

However if judges are caught giving light sentences to violent criminals and actual drug dealers, then they should be exposed, embarrassed and removed from their position. We dont need a mandatory sentence scheme that can do more harm by placing people in prison for longer than is necessary, and for what makes sense given the circumstances of a case.

TX-96 on August 8, 2012 at 5:50 AM

No more legal intoxicants until our society can handle ALCOHOL first.

End the War on Drugs and legalize pot. The War on Drugs is a failure, just like Prohibition and makes criminals out of recreational drug users. Are we a free people or not?

Pot is far less dangerous than alcohol. No one has ever died of a pot overdose, something you can’t say about alcohol.

Common Sense on August 7, 2012 at 11:55 PM

TX-96 on August 8, 2012 at 5:54 AM

MKH wins but O’Reilly makes the big bucks.

Sherman1864 on August 8, 2012 at 6:11 AM

M-Kat was dead on. O’Reilly gets a notion in his head and refuses to hear another opinion. His recent rant about “heavy weapons”, lumping AR-15s in with bazookas, was the same. When she tried to explain her point about the threshold in which a “user” becomes a “peddler” he might have well put his hands over his ears and shouted “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you!” He wasn’t interested in a debate so much as a lecture. He should have put it in his Talking Points segment and left it there.

tpitman on August 8, 2012 at 6:12 AM

Once again I Disagree with Oreilly on this issue also. I dont like mandatory anything. It leaves out common sense and discretion where its needed. I’m no fan of long sentences for drug users.

However if judges are caught giving light sentences to violent criminals and actual drug dealers, then they should be exposed, embarrassed and removed from their position. We dont need a mandatory sentence scheme that can do more harm by placing people in prison for longer than is necessary, and for what makes sense given the circumstances of a case.

TX-96 on August 8, 2012 at 5:50 AM

My thoughts exactly. Mandatory sentencing takes the judgement out of being a judge, when they should be allowed to be held accountable to the people who put them there. In defense of O’Reilly, he has exposed several judges who lacked even basic judgement skills, mostly as it pertains to child predators.

I think separating marijuana from other “drugs” in the eyes of the law would make sentencing less of a problem. On the other hand, I think MKH is wrong about “Oxy” (listen to MKH with the street lingo). My cousin ruined his life with the help of that stuff, which is essentially synthetic heroin.

stout77 on August 8, 2012 at 6:14 AM

O’Reilly doesn’t trust prosecutors or judges, while MKH obviously does.

A friends child was recently raped by an acquaintance after a party, and the criminal confessed to the crime. He received his Miranda warning prior to confessing. Rape kit evidence was good. What happened? The judge decided in his discretion (as the defense lawyer is a friend) to sentence the bad guy to time served while waiting for trial, about three weeks, psychological counseling, and parole check-ins for a year.

The prosecutor didn’t want to irritate the judge by protesting the sentence. My friends pretty daughter? She lives fearfully, having moved back into her parents house, doesn’t have much of a social life (convinced that being alone with a guy is an invitation to rape) and is a cranky grump at work. While intellectually I would have agreed with MKH until this event, I guess now I don’t trust prosecutors or judges either.

Sentencing made mandatory by the legislature would have helped in this instance. Not that O’Reilly is correct, or anything…

MTF on August 8, 2012 at 6:44 AM

I am a pretty strict law-and-order type with no stomach for legalizing drugs but I also believe in courts having the flexibility to deal with offenders on a case-by-case basis and not applying cookie-cutter approaches just because it’s easier. We can do this intelligently. We just need the will to do so.

swinia sutki on August 8, 2012 at 7:46 AM

Not really, we’ve always been stuck with picking up the tab for the druggies.

whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 11:18 PM

I strongly disagree. Regardless, the problem isn’t the behavior, it’s in government interference.

Dante on August 8, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Self destructive behavior is part of our nature. Let’s quit kicking Darwin in the teeth, mankind will be better off in the end.

This herd, it needs culling.

FineasFinn on August 8, 2012 at 7:56 AM

No more legal intoxicants until our society can handle ALCOHOL first.
TX-96 on August 8, 2012 at 5:54 AM

Why are you opposed to freedom and arguing the collectivist position?

Dante on August 8, 2012 at 7:56 AM

First of all, I’m one of those who agrees with what any attractive woman has to say. It’s a weakness.

But on a more serious note, this is a more difficult issue than first appears on the surface.

A number of people in this thread argue the libertarian POV that “what’s the arm” as long as no one gets hurt.

The problem with that arguement is three fold.

First, innocent people do get hurt by those addicted to drugs from expensive (and usually publicly funded) treatment to broken/dysfunctional families, financial problems, and the list is long.

Second, the argument can apply equally to other types of crime. What’s the harm in a bank robbery that doesn’t result in anyone getting hurt? The bank is insured so no one loses their money. No harm; no foul? But people are harmed. People are tramatized. People pay higher bank fees to cover higher insurance. Banks invest more in security and charge more to their customers. There is a trickle down impact when crime is minimized for the sake that too few prisions have been built.

Third, we have an increasingly liberal judiciary. Mandatory sentencing has evolved precisely because judges and juries have not enforced the laws with equity and legislators have tried to counter that trend by limiting the juries and judges from issuing lite or meaningless sentences and/or judges/juries within the same jurisdiction handing down widely differing sentences for similar crimes.

This brings into question “equal protection under the law” and how that is administered. A minority person from dystopia gets a break from a lienent judge while an affluent non-minority goes to the slammer — or vice versa. A person doing the same crime should have close to the same sentence.

Even today we now have unelected bureaucrats deciding which illegal aliens will not be subject to the law of the land with insturctions to law enforcement to not apprehend certain classes of law-breakers. This is a very slippery slope. Laws should apply the same to everyone who violates them. Bureaucrats should not be deciding who is and isn’t subject to the laws.

On the other hand, MKH makes a reasonable point that there are at times mitigating circumstances when considering a sentence.

I guess my solution is that when a judge wants to issue a reduced sentence because of mitigating circumstances, then there should be a commission or panel to review the request to ensure that there are good and substantial reasons to deviate from sentensing guidelines. That way, reduced sentences could be possible but only upon review and in context with similar situations.

I live in the car theft capital of the US and I’m not at all happy with the city and county government letting these criminals loose a dozen or more times for the crimes they commit. But I get stopped for speeding and I get a hefty fine, points deducted on the point system they have here, mandatory attendance at a safe driving course run by the county, and possible increase in my insurance. But wait, I didn’t cause anyone any harm and “reckless” is a very subjective term. Is 11 MPH over the speedlimit reckless? And should car theft have a more severe sentence than speeding? Because of these kinds of disparities, mandatory sentencing has increased over the years.

Finally, I do have a problem with society being too lienent. If you don’t want to do the time, then don’t do the crime. There is a good argument for being responsible for the decisions you make.

Maybe a compromise is less time in prison but without prarole or early release. Repeat offenders receive increasingly severe sentences.

Sorry for the long post.

BMF on August 8, 2012 at 8:44 AM

I have been moving towards libertarianism on the drug thing, thinking that markets do a better job with the drug problem but. I have grown far stronger on the punishment for those caught DUI. I think 1 DUI and lost license for like 10 years, lifetime? is the way to go. Any behavior under the influence that CAN hurt others.. BAM the full weight of the law should crash down on your little ‘i don’t hurt no body’ world.

RutRoh on August 8, 2012 at 8:51 AM

I watch O’Reilly’s show only for the guests that he has on, but I record it on the DVR. That way, I can fast forward every time he filibuster’s his own guest by answering his own questions before they have a chance to. Also, whenever he has two liberals on at once, I can fly through the entire segment.

Since I stop long enough to listen to the commentary of the conservative guests, I can watch the entire 60 minute show in about 15 minutes. Less aggravation…less time wasted listening to idiots.

cajunpatriot on August 8, 2012 at 9:10 AM

A number of people in this thread argue the libertarian POV that “what’s the arm” as long as no one gets hurt.

The problem with that arguement is three fold.

There is no problem with the argument. Either you believe in individual choice and freedom, or you don’t.

Your ingestion of drugs does not interfere with my life, liberty, or property, and does not infringe upon my rights. Even if your family members have emotional trauma over it, your decision still does not infringe upon their rights (unless, of course, you are using drugs under their roof and they’ve told you not to).

The argument cannot be applied equally to other “crime,” such as your example of bank robbery. Robbery, as I’m sure you are aware, is theft of someone else’s property. In this example, someone’s rights are being infringed upon. No one has a right to someone else’s property. That you would use this as an example is pretty indicative that you don’t really know much about libertarianism, libertarian philosophy, or rights.

Dante on August 8, 2012 at 9:18 AM

The judge decided in his discretion (as the defense lawyer is a friend) to sentence the bad guy to time served while waiting for trial, about three weeks, psychological counseling, and parole check-ins for a year.

The prosecutor didn’t want to irritate the judge by protesting the sentence. My friends pretty daughter? She lives fearfully, having moved back into her parents house, doesn’t have much of a social life (convinced that being alone with a guy is an invitation to rape) and is a cranky grump at work. While intellectually I would have agreed with MKH until this event, I guess now I don’t trust prosecutors or judges either.

Sentencing made mandatory by the legislature would have helped in this instance. Not that O’Reilly is correct, or anything…

MTF on August 8, 2012 at 6:44 AM

Was the person incarcerated while waiting for a trial? And your friend could file a civil suit.

Dante on August 8, 2012 at 9:22 AM

What O’Reilly was too obtuse to understand was her point that a person holding as few as 7 oxycodone was considered a dealer in Florida irregardless if that person sold any. This is what she felt was wrong.
pat on August 7, 2012 at 9:59 PM

When a child is dead because someone sold them drugs I think it is time to become obtuse.

logicman_1998 on August 8, 2012 at 9:28 AM

When a child is dead because someone sold them drugs I think it is time to become obtuse.

logicman_1998 on August 8, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Oh, please.

Dante on August 8, 2012 at 9:54 AM

What everybody forgets is the reason for the Mandatory Sentencing Laws in the first place. The Mandatory Sentencing laws was a means to solve the problem of injustices in the sentencing of defendants for like crimes. The inner city minority defendant got the book thrown at them for a drug charge involving 1 kilogram of cocaine possibly ten years and the non minority suburban defendant would receive a year or less due to his families strong political/community influence.

This led to huge disparities in sentencing for like crimes that were indefensible and later deemed discriminatory.

Natebo on August 8, 2012 at 10:12 AM

What two consenting adults do that does not harm another person, is not the the goverments business.
newportmike on August 7, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Unless everyone else has up pick up the tab for it.

whatcat on August 7, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Here is the problem with socialism, in a nutshell.

You cannot have freedom in a socialist society, and it becomes a game of what actions are deemed socially acceptable, and which actions are not. Then you can use socialism to control the people’s thoughts and actions through this mechanism. This right here is why we see Europe suffering from such smothering political correctness and lack of freedoms, and why it’s so easy for them to do it to themselves.

KMC1 on August 8, 2012 at 10:32 AM

BO: “Let’s take it out of the theoretical realm…”

(proceeds to give theoretical example to support his point)

/oy!

roy_batty on August 8, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Sorry a little late to the thread. I don’t usually ride the fence on issues, but in this case MKH and Oreilly both have valid points. I would say the answer lies between their differences.

DDay on August 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM

There are reasons that we have judicial discretion, and these mandatory sentencing laws run contrary to the separation of powers.

hillbillyjim on August 8, 2012 at 1:18 PM

The Hammer is correct, as usual. Mandatory sentences for a small volumes of drugs basically pick one or two people out of a group of misguided fools to face hard time even if they were not distributing as a business and profit, but simply the buyer for their buddies.

Of course judges will make mistakes, but I’d rather risk having a few more potential drug dealers fighting over the same marketplace than ruining someone’s life who can demonstrate they were not making money off of drugs.

If we can justify mandatory sentences of 3, 5 or 10 years for the harm caused by illegal drugs being distributed in minor quantities, should we include similar penalties for alcohol illegally sold or distributed to minors (or maybe anyone for that matter) who dies from its use. Alcohol still is the number 1 killer.

Legalization is stupid for drugs, but we must not pretend that the current approach is working against drug trafficking.

doufree on August 8, 2012 at 1:54 PM

My name is Mike and I’m a Libertarian.

newportmike on August 8, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Mandatory sentencing tries to mitigate the effect of crappy judges, and in many cases ends up making the system even worse. The problem is crappy judges, not the existence of potential flexibility in sentencing.

Same with term limits, which try to legislatively mitigate the effects of stupid voters, but the problem is stupid voters.* (Which is particularly ironic when voters who re-elect a__clowns then turn around and support ballot initiatives to impose term limits.)

(* Manipulation of redistricing maps also plays into this, but term limits do nothing to mitigate said manipulation.)

Fire when ready.

ConservativeLA on August 8, 2012 at 3:08 PM

As is often the case with O’Reilly (and Hannity, and Savage, et al…), he has his point and won’t shut up long enough to hear another point of view. For the record, IMHO, Mary Katharine, you’re right.

It’s at least worth reviewing the efficacy and assuring that the policies abide within what we consider “fair”. Else the support those policies enjoy erodes. Enough of that and it spills over into other areas and the legitimacy of the entire structure becomes suspect. Unlikely? Sure. Possible? Entirely. Makes it worthwhile to look at, which is a low cost way to both avoid the doomsday scenario and ensure fairness on a personal level. I’d hate to sacrifice a few lifetimes for “good enough”, which I believe is at the core of your argument.

BTW, have really enjoyed watching you develop into a force to be reckoned with over the years! I’m thrilled that the Right has such a deep bench of incredible women, while the Left offers up Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer (snicker, snicker).

NeoCon_1 on August 8, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Legalization is stupid for drugs,

doufree on August 8, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Why?

Dante on August 8, 2012 at 5:42 PM

testing

Dire Straits on August 8, 2012 at 11:19 PM

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