Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Random Thoughts Blogging

I guess blogging has become somewhat passe', and where once everyone had a blog, now everyone just tweets or uses Instagram.  On one hand, I think that's a shame because the only way people get better at writing is to actually write.  On the other hand, writing is as much as skill as it is an obsession. My escape from writing legal papers is to write other stuff - and expecting other people to do the same is insane. 

Anyway, time for random thoughts blogging - my little foray into whatever has caught my attention over the past few weeks.  Here goes:

Woody Allen v. Dylan Farrow

First, let me admit that I'm not a big fan of Woody Allen. I've seen a few of his movies, but for the most part, his movies don't really interest me much. I should also mention that I am a fan of Roman Polanski, with "Chinatown" and "The Ninth Gate" being some of my favorite movies.  Heck, I read the book that the "Ninth Gate" was based on (and its not very good).  

I mention this because like Roman Polanski, Woody Allen has a history of sexual abuse allegations. Back in the 1990's, Allen broke up with Mia Farrow, his significant other, when she found Allen had naked pictures of one of Farrow's adopted daughters (who was either 17 or 19 at the time). Additionally, she alleged that Allen had molested another daughter, Dylan, who was seven at the time. Dylan Farrow (who apparently goes by a different name now for whatever its worth), wrote an open letter a couple of days ago slamming Woody Allen and directly accusing him of sexually abusing her when she was seven. Friends and family say that back then, Dylan would throw-up every time Allen came to visit, and the prosecutor decided not to prosecute because of the strain it would've put on Dylan.

I remember the allegations, but part of the problem with the whole affair was the intervention of Soon-Yi Previn, Dylan's adopted sister who was having an affair with Allen when she was an older teenager, which was discovered BEFORE Ms. Farrow alleged that Allen molested her.  So, at the time, it appeared that Mia Farrow convinced Dylan Farrow to make up allegations about Allen to get back at Allen for dumping Mia Farrow for Soon-Yi.  Nevermind that the relationship between Allen and Ms. Previn was RIDICULOUSLY inappropriate (he was, more or less, her adopted father), and that it might have begun before Ms. Previn hit 18. 

With Dylan Farrow repeating her allegations recently, it does appear that something happened between her and Allen.  Now, a complicating factor, possibly, is the fact that Mia Farrow's brother was convicted of molesting children around Dylan's age, although the children were both boys, and there's no indication that Mia Farrow's brother was ever around her children.

That said, most kids begin continuous memories around 7 years of age. So is it possible that Dylan Farrow could have been molested by her uncle and her allegations against Allen were transference?  I don't know, but she certainly doesn't think so.  And Allen had a history of dating underage girls (though more in the 16-17 age range).  So it is possible he is a child molester, but if you told me that there was evidence exonerating Allen, I wouldn't be surprised.  Then again, its not as if I actually watch any of his movies.

Polanski, in contrast, unquestionably raped a 13 year old girl. Actually, he drugged, raped, and sodomized a 13 year old girl.  He plead guilty to it and has been a fugitive from the law for thirty-something years.  Does that make me an asshole for loving his work (none of which, by the way, has anything to do with raping children)? I don't know.

The Candidacy of Sandra Fluke

Sandra Fluke, the young woman who was attacked by Rush Limbaugh for testifying about access to contraceptives in front of Congress (on behalf of other women, mind you), is looking to run for the Congressional seat opened up by the retirement of Henry Waxman.  While I wish her the best of luck, I would like to remind everyone that California is a Democratic state, that Waxman represents a heavily Democratic district (not even by gerrymandering), and that Congressional seats with no term limits come up for grabs almost never.  In other words, there will be A LOT of competition for that seat. If she can pull through, then good for her.

Anti-Abortion v. Anti-Choice

A recent study found that abortion rates are at the lowest rate since Roe v. Wade in large part because of expanded access to contraception.  This reminded me of a post I made awhile ago about the differences between being anti-abortion (abortion is bad because killing fetuses is bad) and being anti-choice (abortion is bad because it lets women be promiscuous without consequences).  I think this study illustrates my earlier point - there is a push right now to make contraception harder to come by.  If you are anti-abortion, this has to bother you because the key indicator of whether or not a woman has an abortion is whether or not she has an unwanted pregnancy.  Prevent the unwanted pregnancy, and you prevent the abortion - unless, of course, the pregnancy puts the woman's life in danger. 

If, on the other hand, you don't really care about the life of the fetus, but really believe that women should not be promiscuous, and that pregnancy is God's punishment (a la Rush Limbaugh), then you don't care about the abortion rate.  And that was my point earlier.  I know a fair number of pro-choicers such as Hillary Clinton, who believe that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.  That would be my hope as well.

Guns, Guns, Guns

Since Sandy Hook, there has been an increased focus on guns and gun control.  Included in that have been stories of people hurting themselves or others with guns in stupid ways.  And let's be clear, guns kill people because that's what WE DESIGNED THEM TO DO. So, my lawyer brain starts thinking, if states are bound by the 2nd Amendment (which they are not as this moment), what can we do to prevent gun violence? My mind turns to the old common law which says that a property owner who owns a wild animal is strictly liable for whatever damage the wild animal causes to other people and property.  For whatever reason, this isn't the rule anywhere.

Here's how the rule would work - if you own an gun, and that gun causes damage to anyone or anything, regardless of whether you meant the harm to be caused or not, you are strictly liable (no defense) for the damage caused. The only defenses allowable under the law would be justification - as in you were using the gun to defend yourself - and mistake - as in you reasonably thought you were in danger and used the gun to defend yourself.  Oh, and if the gun is stolen (and reported stolen) that would be a defense as well.  I would also require all gun owners to have insurance, the same way we require car owners to have insurance, so that we could guarantee that victims of gun violence are compensated.

This rule, in turn, would create pressure on gun manufacturers to produce guns that don't accidentally go off, and that pressure wouldn't be from legislators, but from gun owners (or their insurers) who would want to avoid as much liability as possible. It would be a good first step.

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