Archive for the ‘European Convention on Human Rights’ Category

What I want for Christmas

My European Union Citizenship Rights returned to me.

Ouaip, Je reste en place pour l’instant.

One reason I really hate the “mesures sanitaires” is that they cut down somewhat on my movement. I still am able to get around more than the average person, but there are still limits. At least, I’m not like my friends who were given a few days to pack up, find a flight, and go back to the US after a year long course. Still, it looks as if travel is limited as I prepare to visit my mother.

My wife said this to me in an e-mail this morning:

You indeed have led a very privileged life in comparison to my very humble upbringing…..I was never even on an airplane until my mid-twenties……….

To which I responded:

And I was on one when I was a couple of months old. Prop plane, so not a jet setter.

Yep, my first trip was to my dad’s family on a prop plane. I grew up speaking three languages: English, German, and French. Toss in phrases of others with the fact that Spanish and Italian are similar to French. But, I will admit to usually speaking English whenever possible.

Anyway, it looks like movement is going to be cut back for a while longer until the “crise sanitaire” is “resolved.”

Love-Hate about the US-Europe

I have a long post simmering where I get into some of the things I don’t like about the US. Some apply to Europe as well, but that’s easy since Europe is basically a bunch of countries which have banded together because they finally figured out trying to kill each other made no sense. Although, there are a few people who still think it does. Part of this is due to watching (wasting a couple of hours) the first two episodes of something called “Tribes of Europe”. Europe has survived serious destruction without ending up like that series.

Portrait de la contesse Fouler de Relingue

Anyway, it sort of comes down to four things: food, culture, distance, caring for cities and countryside, and transport. We could get into the Oxford comma as well, but that is francophony-anglophony. The French will eat Grandma, but prefer their lovers….

I’m not sure I should make “head” jokes, but I am very certain some of my ancestors made it through the Terror. They were able to enjoy the bals des victimes, but they exited stage right when it came to Les Mis. I’m posting the cleaned up version of coiffure à la Titus which was popular post-terror. My race memory clicked on the painting by Guérin in the Louvre.

I don’t relate to US history and always thought that the Civil War monuments commemorated the Franco-Prussian War, which was the Civil War for me. My relations fought on both sides. A direct result was that my great-great-grandfather shipped his son off to the States to avoid Bismarck’s Army. It also set off a chain reaction of events which would lead to my being born in the US. The Second World War led to my father coming to the States.

The thing is that I can get the things I like in Europe in the States/North America, and some of the things I hate about the States exist in Europe. Although, it’s hard to get something vaguely like Europe’s history in North America. People in the US prefer the myth and have done a great job of wrecking the real history, but that is changing. Just not fast enough for my taste.

Still, I would prefer Europe to the States even if there were TGVs, the cities ended at defined boundaries, and there were really cool small towns out there that had restaurants that served exciting local food. As opposed to restaurants that are exciting because everyone is carrying guns–that’s not they type of excitement I mean. I left out more obvous old settlements. Places like Cahokia and Cahawba don’t do it for me since they were ethnically cleansed from history.

I didn’t get the Hudson Valley School of Painting and the concept behind it until I spent a lot of time on the ground (can’t make a good pun of “sur-le-champ”). But no matter what the appearance is, natural resources are limited. While the Americas have been populated for millenia, the cultures that populated them have been ethnically cleansed. Or are seen as a quaint. This quotation about the “First Thanksgiving” gets to the point:

One is that history doesn’t begin for Native people until Europeans arrive. People had been in the Americas for least 12,000 years and according to some Native traditions, since the beginning of time. And having history start with the English is a way of dismissing all that. The second is that the arrival of the Mayflower is some kind of first-contact episode. It’s not. Wampanoags had a century of contact with Europeans–it was bloody and it involved slave raiding by Europeans. At least two and maybe more Wampanoags, when the Pilgrims arrived, spoke English, had already been to Europe and back and knew the very organizers of the Pilgrims’ venture.

Most poignantly, using a shared dinner as a symbol for colonialism really has it backward. No question about it, Wampanoag leader Ousamequin reached out to the English at Plymouth and wanted an alliance with them. But it’s not because he was innately friendly. It’s because his people have been decimated by an epidemic disease, and Ousamequin sees the English as an opportunity to fend off his tribal rebels. That’s not the stuff of Thanksgiving pageants. The Thanksgiving myth doesn’t address the deterioration of this relationship culminating in one of the most horrific colonial Indian wars on record, King Philip’s War, and also doesn’t address Wampanoag survival and adaptation over the centuries, which is why they’re still here, despite the odds.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/thanksgiving-myth-and-what-we-should-be-teaching-kids-180973655/

I found that while looking for this clip. I saw it when I went to the Smithsonian Museum of the Native American the day my application for European residency came through. The speaker is Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche).

Unfortunately, the westward expansion of the English Colonies meant ethnic cleansing of the Native Americans.

Anyway, Paul, my family is supposed to have been there for that First Thanksgiving, but it’s a lot more difficult for a European to move back than most people realise. And changing North America for the better is tough with monied interests blocking the way.

Just curious about the “get away with murder” laws

Yet another wrinkle in the assertion that the Second Amendment in some way allows for “self-Defence”:

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution each contain a Due Process Clause. Due process deals with the administration of justice and thus the Due Process Clause acts as a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the Government outside the sanction of law.

The general common law principle is that the law allows only reasonable force to be used in the circumstances and, what is reasonable is to be judged in the light of the circumstances as the accused believed them to be (whether reasonably or not). The jury should be directed to look at the particular facts and circumstances of the case in deciding whether a defendant had used only reasonable force.  After all, the defendant will always be of the opinion he used reasonable force.

Only reasonable force may be used.  Despite a common belief to the contrary, one is not at liberty to shoot dead a burglar wandering around one’s house if one does not fear for one’s own life in common law.

Anyway, historically Clause 39 of Magna Carta provided:

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.

This came into US law via the Due Process guarantees of the US Constitution found in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides:

[N]or shall any person . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law .

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides:

[N]or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law .

The issue here is that these laws allow for summary justice and vigilantism outside of the legal process.  One should not take the law into his/her own hands for the purposes of revenge, retribution, or sheer vigilantism.  The rule of law must be maintained and violence discouraged by a proper legal system for it to have any authority.

Of course, this is just a musing, but perhaps it will be taken up by someone else who is offended by the allowance of murder by an out of whack US legal system.

Additional thoughts on this topic:

I should have mentioned the concept of wergild, which was a value placed on every human being and every piece of property in the Salic Code. If property was stolen, or someone was injured or killed, the guilty person would have to pay weregild as restitution to the victim’s family or to the owner of the property.

The important aspect of this was that the payment of weregild performed an important legal mechanism in early Germanic society since the other common form of legal reparation at this time was blood revenge.

The foundation of the American legal system rests on the Rule of Law, a concept embodied in the notion that the United States is a nation of laws and not of men. Under the rule of law, laws are thought to exist independent of, and separate from, human will. Even when the human element factors into legal decision making, the decision maker is expected to be constrained by the law in making his or her decision. In other words, police officers, judges, and juries should act according to the law and not according to their personal preferences or private agendas.

Vigilantism is the people’s complete disregard for the rule of law. The problem is that vigilantes risk starting a cycle of violence and lawlessness in which the victims of vigilantism take the law into their own hands to exact pay-back.

There is a reason that Clause 29 of Magna Charta provided that:

NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.

These laws are a denial of justice and right which has been sanctioned by the state.

There is a reason that the force used for self-defence is that which is reasonable to stop the threat yet respecting life.

And justice.    There is a long case line that works to promote the rule of law and discourage vigilantism in the Common Law (and other legal systems)

Further clarification:

Another statement of the concept of due process guaranteed by the US Constitution’s  Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates into English law Article 2 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which defines the right to life as follows:

“1. Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.
2. Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this Article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:
(a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence;
(b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;
(c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.”

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Convention_on_Human_Rights#Article_2_-_life