FALLACIOUS PROPERTY DAMAGE VERSUS HARM TO A PERSON
I was reminded again recently in court about the charade that passes for logical and objective propositions made by the brilliant legal minds that are the gatekeepers of society’s “justice” system.
The issue at hand was the attribution of bail for a political crime in which the entrance lobby area of a neighbourhood branch of a multi-national bank was set on fire in the middle of the night. No person was harmed and the fire did no damage to any personal property. 
The value of the so-called (see below) property damage was reported in the media first as three hundred thousand dollars, then as five hundred thousand dollars, then as one million dollars, and in court today as 1.2 million dollars. The value of the damage increases as more and more estimates are made. And these ballooning estimates of course are not questioned, in the media or elsewhere. It seems obvious to this observer that an entire new building could be erected with all its furnishings for far less than one million dollars, never mind an entrance lobby area and two cash dispensing machines?
In any case, the point is that the accused has no past criminal charges or convictions of any kind and that, as correctly stated by the defence, the relevant legal precedents show that alleged multiple murderers are regularly released on bail under the principle that one should be assumed innocent until proven guilty, except if there is compelling evidence of significant risk of danger to society (to people).
Next the defence lawyer is found arguing that, in terms of the severity of the charge, one should compare multiple murders to relatively less serious million-dollar property damage.
Hello? Does anyone in the courtroom recognize an error in argumentation? Nope – not a peep. Both sides and the judge appear to concur.
The problem is that “property damage” is a loaded term. No person wants his/her personal property to be damaged. And one million dollars worth of damage to one’s personal property would to most persons be an excessive amount of damage that would cause significant personal grief and suffering. But this is not personal property damage. It is insignificant financial liability to a multi-national bank with yearly profits which fluctuate by the billions depending on undemocratic decisions about interest rates and user fees.
To use the psychologically loaded term “property damage” in the proceedings should be disallowed in favour of a more accurate and objective term such as “corporate financial liability perturbation”. The corresponding damage to the bank clients is not detectable when superposed on the vagaries of bank policy regarding “user services”. So where is the damage to a person compared to murder? After all, this is about people being harmed, is it not?
And should we not compare the harm to bank clients from a fire to the harm to working persons when banks are allowed to merge and to monopolize national economies or to participate in mass financial fraud for which no one goes to jail?  (Not to mention the physical harm of keeping the “assumed innocent” accused in jail for months on end while the Crown and police “continue to investigate.” )
The fact that a just system would consider and evaluate the likely benefits to society (to persons) of the political action in question of course does not even arise. It cannot. This makes it quite plain that our brilliant legal minds are working for the corporations and the corporations’ undemocratically controlled interests. 
And of course the Crown characteristically argues that the term “property damage” unduly minimizes the severity of the crime. This despite the fact that it is a legal term and it is the legal charge in question… He argues that the “property damage” in question is a reckless and politically motivated crime rooted in anti-establishment and anti-oppression ideology steeped in disrespect for the law… a very serious offence… (to which no harm to a person can be attributed).
INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS VERSUS AUTHORITARIAN REPRESSION
And I want to end with a general example of a pervasive legal “argument” that is an obscene muddle intended on the face of it to project paternalism and authoritarian control over people’s lives: The accepted notion that one’s individual rights are limited by infringement of the rights of others.
It would be interesting to review the history of this concept, no doubt first put forth by some illustrious academic service intellectual (renowned philosopher).
How could such hogwash have passed for authentic ethical reasoning? How could it have been sucked up so organically by the entire legal establishment? The answer is that it so conveniently negates the concept of individual rights.
You have a right to life. When would your right to life interfere with the rights of others? In which circumstances would you need to be killed in order to preserve the rights of others? Given a high probability that you will kill others and as evaluated by whom? No. Your right to life is absolute. It does not interfere with the rights to life of others but your actual attempt to kill another does and is a crime which can be stopped and punished. But the punishment cannot violate your individual rights. A right is a right is a right or it is nothing.
You have a right to free expression. This right never negates the rights of free expression of others. If you are screaming loudly to prevent another from being heard you are both expressing yourself and preventing another from doing so. The first is absolutely protected whereas the latter is inadmissible and can be stopped and punished. But the punishment cannot violate your individual rights.
If you are an army general and you give an order to commit a war crime then you are both expressing yourself and committing a war crime. The first is absolutely protected but the latter can legitimately be stopped and punished.
Just punishment is justice, not a violation of the criminal’s rights. A punishment cannot be a violation of a criminal’s rights. The general can be demoted and discharged, and forced to provide reparation, but his/her right to life and his/her freedoms of expression, association, and movement must not be violated beyond the negotiated requirements of reparation.
Social status and class and hierarchical status are not rights and can be removed as punishments. Mass or disproportionate accumulation of wealth and power is not a right. Likewise, you have no right to hide your proven crimes from public knowledge.
However, freedom of movement and association are fundamental rights. Prisons are illegitimate violations of individual rights and negate the possibility of reparation and rehabilitation.
Personal property ownership is a right. Reparation for theft is immediate and need not involve negating rights. The thief keeps his/her right to personal property but must repair the damage caused and does not keep the illegally acquired property. Harm to persons is the reference.
Weapons are allowed for defence but cannot be used offensively. Rebellion is defence against an illegitimate master.
And so on. There is no need ever for a system to violate individual rights. The notion that criminals surrender their rights is barbaric. It only arises in hierarchical societies, which are violently oppressive by design.
The prison system is a system of mass torture and mass violations of human rights. It is a systemic symbol of hatred of humankind and a testament to a very sick society. The existence of a few pathological serial killers on the planet cannot begin to justify the crime against humanity that is the modern prison system.
And the entire genocidal prison system is enabled by exactly the kind of “brilliant legal mind” madness that is the concept that individual rights are constrained by the individual rights of others. This logic relativizes rights thereby negating them and simultaneously wrongly justifies removing the rights of criminals.
Rights are rights. Wrong is wrong. Lawyers and judges are sick; as sick as a society with prisons and that practices genocide. There is no need for the obvious class and racial analysis of the prison population to assert the latter conclusion. Sick, sick, sick.
 “Sacco and Vanzetti in Ottawa: How Media and Police are Politicizing the RBC Arson Case” by Jesse Freeston
 “Ottawa RBC firebombing – Terrorism seeded by the University of Ottawa?” by Denis G. Rancourt
 At the first failed bail appearance the Crown actually argued that the accused could not be granted bail because “the police investigation was ongoing”. The defence and the judge did not bat an eye at this preposterous position. The arrest had followed two months of intense police surveillance after the RBC fire and over a year of police agent infiltration and occurred days before G20 in Toronto.
 “G20-Toronto property damage is a good thing” by Denis G. Rancourt
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|William T. Hathaway|