Wednesday, November 21, 2007

when is a crime not a crime?

Walking home from work today I crossed the road while the little man was red.

Hey, come on. I'm sure you've done it too! I needed to get home as quickly as possible so I could clean the bathroom before visitors came for tea. In the end they didn't come so I didn't clean the bathroom, but at the time when I crossed against the red light I thought I needed to get home fast.

Technically this is against the law - one should wait for the little green man to appear so as to avoid being knocked down by a car. But I checked the road each way and scuttled across without getting in anyone's way. (For the record, I don't do this if children are also waiting at the pedestrian crossing. For someone who has no children I am amazed that I even think to remember to set a good example)

So I crossed on the red... I committed a crime. A bit like a white lie... kind of a lie but an innocent one that does no harm. Kind of a crime but an innocent one that did no harm. A white crime. (For the record I don't tell white lies, though I sometimes manipulate information to make it sound better... which if you read carefully, I've done just now)

I suppose the police might have booked me if they had seen me. Then again, they might have more important, real crimes to investigate. My white crime might not have bothered them at all.

This semantics of crime or not crimes is all very interesting but inconsequential. Except that by coincidence my white crime was committed on a day when three young men were in court for another crime that many people don't consider a crime.

In the middle of October these blokes climbed a local landmark bridge and hoisted protest banners against the pulp mill. They were concerned for the future of their children and climbed the bridge with the intention of remaining perched up there for a week or so. The police had other ideas, and managed to climb up inside the bridge and forcibly remove the protestors. The three men were charged with trespass and willfully obstructing a police officer.

I'm not sure about the trespass thing - bridges on public roads are public property aren't they? Their taxes paid for it so technically they co-own it and have a right to climb it. I suppose that refusing to budge through eight hours of negotiation could be considered willfully obstructing a police officer... at a push. The judge doesn't seem so sure how to rule here either - he's retired for a week to think about it.

Whatever decision the judge hands down, these men have the people on their side. Outside the court was a crowd supporting them with banners and chants. Crime or no crime, most of us are delighted with their actions.

So if we're all glad they did it - was it really a crime? Was this a crime that wasn't a crime?

I'm not really sure I care - if it helps to stop the pulp mill it's all good in my books.

If you want to read about another crime that may not have been a crime, check this link for the weld angel.

She was charged and fined $2000 or so, but again I say bravo. (What I really want to know is if she had a catheter for the duration. I am such a nurse)

So when is a crime not a crime? When the people want it of course! (Is this a recipe for anarchy?)

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At 11:56 pm, November 21, 2007, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

You are still posting about interesting things. I think I'm running out. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I had to laugh about you crossing on the red man, were you thinking you were breaking the law when you were crossing? Did you actually say to yourself, I'm breaking the law and I could get in trouble for this, but I'm doing it anyway?

Perhaps the people on the bridge did. If they were breaking the law and knew it, then they probably said to themselves, I don't care if I'm breaking the law, this is more important to me and I'll pay the consequences for what I'm about to do. I think the judge will feel that way too, and they will probably get some punishment for doing what they believed was right. Good for them though, we need more people out there with integrity!

The angel, was she real? I can't see if she was actually a person or not. Very curious.

At 12:15 pm, November 22, 2007, Anonymous Lyndsay said...

I am glad you posted this. I had to come on and just check.

At 7:15 pm, November 22, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

Pretty angel! I'm choosing to think that she just didn't drink much in the preceding hours.

At 8:04 pm, November 22, 2007, Blogger Mike S said...

They should all get medals in my opinion. And here I thought the little green and red guys came from too much single malt.


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