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February 26, 2007

Cavalry Sword Wielder Charged with ... Vigilance?

A lot of folks have seen this story by now, and -- at first blush -- we generally notice the humorous elements to it: Guy who lives with his mom hears a rape taking place upstairs, charges in with a sword, and confronts a neighbor who is ... watching a pornographic movie. So police charge Sword Guy. But, even as I can see the humor in it, I have to say that I’ll be annoyed if James Van Iveren (Sword Guy) gets any time for his actions, for two reasons: (1) As if we haven’t witnessed enough decline of chivalry and heroism, we are now going to imprison someone who genuinely thought he was helping an imperiled victim, and (2) if Porn Guy is loudly playing a recording of something that sounds like rape, then too-darned-bad if people hear it and logically conclude that he’s assaulting someone.

I can only hope that there is something else here unreported that resulted in the police properly charging Van Iveren. Otherwise, it just seems wrong. Remember, police officers do not have to actually charge someone for actions which are technically in violation of criminal law. They have "discretion," because, often, offenses are inadvertent or otherwise unworthy of prosecution. Sometimes, prosecution would actually create an injustice.

Is that what is going on here? I don't know. Perhaps the police officers are letting the complainant call the shots, which would be equally unfortunate. If Porn Guy wants Van Iveren charged, let him trudge down to the magistrate’s office and see if he can get a warrant issued himself.

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Comments

Christy

Yeah wow! I hadn't heard about this yet - it's starting to feel like we live in the twilight zone. Based on the recent "good Samaritan" law on the books in most towns, had "Sword Guy" been right in his assumption that an assault was taking place and NOT charged up the stairs to assist - he STILL would have been charged, but with a different crime. Maybe he should accuse "Porn Guy" of entrapment - it would round the whole thing out nicely or at least get "Porn Guy" to drop the charges.

Allen

Ha! Entrapment! I like that thinking Christy. Perhaps you should start your own non-profit: Devious Thinkers for Justice.

jason taylor

Maybe it was the seeming bizarreness of using a sword for such a thing though a sword would in fact be a handy weapon in such cases. It is easier to subdue the target without doing much damage. The possibility of close combat with edged weapons has historically been unusually intimidating, a slash at the ribs will probably only leave minor scars, and one can always use the flat. A most amuseing story though-like that one about accidently Patton "rescueing" a bride from his fiance.

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