Thursday, September 21, 2006

Michael Smerconish: Get The Habeus Out Of Corpus

From the Huffington Post/Michael Smerconish - Roger Waters: The Pink in Floyd (hat tip to Echidne of the snakes)

This is Waters' ridiculous ode to some guy who gave him a lift and a meal when he was thumbing it in Beirut at aged 17. According to the logic of his lyrics, because he was extended this courtesy, we're supposed to overlook the murder of innocents at the hands of radical Islam, including the close to 3,000 who died almost five years to the day, and just blocks from where I was now hearing him sing.

I couldn't take it any more. "Go visit Ground Zero" I shouted at him from the front row. He heard me, and proceeded to avoid our corner of the stage for the rest of the night except to oblige some hottie who wanted to take his picture with her cell phone.

Then the pig came out.

I refer to a giant, inflatable pig, a hallmark of many Floyd shows, and the symbol of my
aforementioned favorite album. Only this time the pig was a billboard for Waters' twisted priorities. "Habeus Corpus Matters", it said, among other things. How appalling.

I found this post fascinating in the way that the climax of Water's sins is "Habeus Corpus Matters." I have no idea if the parts of the show before the pig came out were truly offensive or if they merely triggered Mr. Smerconish into experiencing them that way.

As a rape survivor, I understand being triggered and have great sympathy for anyone caught in that unexpected rush of intense emotion. I also understand how the rush of latent emotions can make people lash out, sometimes in ways that don't match the current situation and instead correspond to the memories that are evoked.

We couldn't give the monsters what they deserved, but we can give it to those who seem to be siding with monsters, and we can give it to them with both barrels.

This emotional backlash, in this case against habeus corpus, has been echoed by any number of people who were either involved or supportive of atrocities we now view as so extreme that we can't understand how ordinary or sane people cheered.

Lynch mobs, for example.

I'm sure many of the cheering throng felt just as strongly that those being lynched didn't deserve any of the rights reserved for good, decent people. The lynchees were linked, in the mob's minds at least, to real gruesome murders. And murderers deserve their punishment, the sooner the better. Therefore lynching was justice in action.

Yet innocent men died and people looked on and said it was good.

So what is this horrid Habeas Corpus that the now horrid Roger Waters thinks matters enough to emblazon it on the sacred Pink Floyd pig?

A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate to a prison official ordering that an inmate be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he should be released from custody. A habeas corpus petition is a petition filed with a court by a person who objects to his own or another's detention or imprisonment. The petition must show that the court ordering the detention or imprisonment made a legal or factual error.
Since Mr. Smerconish objects so viscerally to the statement "Habeus Corpus Matters" he has turned himself into an advocate for allowing unlawful imprisonment. Once someone puts you in prison no one has to prove you belong there without habeus corpus.

Innocent detainees held without a shred of evidence must continue to be held without question, possibly in conditions we would never want to face, simply because 3,000 innocent people died?

Now that's appalling.

Rather than an eye for an eye, it is an injustice for an injustice.

When revenge is all that matters, we begin to think like those we detest. In Mr. Smerconish's case, he now sounds like his old principal as described in the introduction.

I wrote about my experience. My glowing review earned me an invitation to the principal's office. There I was encouraged to write a retraction on the grounds that I had promoted a band whose lyrics the principal believed to be associated with drug usage.

It was a moment straight out of Another Brick in the Wall, part 2. "We don't need no education", indeed. I told the principal to pound sand. I may have even called it a matter of 'free speech'.

Welcome home to extreme reactionism, Principal Smerconish, welcome home!

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:28 AM   2 comments links to this post


At September 27, 2006 1:06 PM, Blogger Gracchi said...

I've come across from the carnival of liberals- this is a fantastic post. You have put so many of my feelings about the law and the fact that it is fundamental that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and guarenteed a fair trial into print. Thanks very much.

At September 27, 2006 3:11 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


You are welcome.


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