Human Rights Promotion (8): Human Rights in the U.S.A.

The United States is far from the worst violator of human rights, but neither is it the Shining City on the Hill that many take it to be. See what you make if this:

  • America, where people get into a frenzy about personal freedom when someone wants to limit the maximum size of soda cups, and yet consistently accept world record incarceration rates.
  • America, where felons can more quickly recover their right to bear arms than their right to vote.
  • America, where white people with a criminal record are more likely to get a callback after a job interview than black people without a criminal record.
  • America, where the depiction of naked people making love is less a matter of free speech than the depiction of people killing each other.
  • America, where the right to life of the unborn is more important than the right to life of the living.
  • America, where the courts express themselves on issues such as the appropriate hotness of coffee but remain strangely silent about the extra-judicial execution or torture of U.S. citizens.
  • America, the “land of opportunity”, has less social mobility than many of the so-called “socialist” countries of Europe.
  • America, where the Supreme Court has decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offence whatsoever – this is the same Supreme Court that doesn’t allow its proceedings to be televized.
  • Etc.

And then remember that a large majority of countries is even worse than this. Have a nice day.

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10 thoughts on “Human Rights Promotion (8): Human Rights in the U.S.A.

  1. 1) Incarceration rates and incarcerations are not human rights violations.

    Crimes and crime rates are, now, at 40-50 year lows in there US, not in small part due to incarceration rates.

    Many more innocents are being protected from known criminals – an obvious protection of human rights.

    2) Felons should not regain the right to vote or to bear arms. It is a human rights victory that those rights are forfeit, due to their commission of a felony.

    3) What is the re-hiring rate of white vs black criminals, not the call back rate? Then you must look at the total criminal record, the education rates, the previous employment record, etc., etc., etc. But, you look at the “call back: rate? Ridiculous. This is not a human rights issue. Employers must have discretion in not hiring known criminals. This is obvious and expected.

    4) I am with you on the naked vs the killing issue, also not a human rights issue.

    5) There is a very big difference between killing an innocent, in utero, and executing a known murderer. I suspect you might be aware of that. That is where that debate exists.

    No one has shown that judicial executions are a human rights violation.

    “The Death Penalty: Not a Human Rights Violation”
    http://homicidesurvivors.com/2006/03/20/the-death-penalty-not-a-human-rights-violation.aspx

    6) There is an ongoing debate about both extra-judicial execution and/or torture of U.S. citizens. This debate will continue, both in the courts and in the public square, not only of those actions, but the actual definition of those terms, as well.

    7) There is no country with more possible social mobility, based upon the individuals efforts, as opposed to government re distributing the funds of some to others.

    8) Strip searching upon arrest is based upon protection of law enforcement as well as other prisoners. This is obvious and is based upon protecting human lives.

  2. “2) Felons should not regain the right to vote or to bear arms. It is a human rights victory that those rights are forfeit, due to their commission of a felony.”
    Hi Dudley,
    I would like to respond to several of your posts, but I have to hurry and get a mug of coffee. My position is that first we have to agree that “felon” is and can be a label for a man or woman who NOT committed an alleged crime. The Innocence Project is evidence to this. You can agree with me that in the US, many people were found innocent after by executed for crimes they did not commit. This individual by your standards would fit the label of a felon and therefore barred from participating in his or her community even though we learn from the post mortem that he or she should not have been incarcerated to start.
    Perhaps it would help if you or someone you knew had endured harsh penalties for crimes they did not commit.
    In the end, I think that a felon who has paid back all dues is ready to participate in democracy.

    1. Obvioulsy, I am speaking of the truly guilty. Anyone exonerated from a legal guilty finding, will have those rights returned.

      Of course,some actually innocent felons will be caught in the system. but that doesn’t undermine the justification for taking away voting and gun rights for all found guilty of felonies.

      1. It was not obvious in your post that you were talking about the “truly guilty”.But Dudley, we do not know who the “truly guilty” until they are killed by accident..lol and we find that had they returned back to society they would have unfairly classified them as felons. That is precisely what the innocence project is telling us: “Here are people whom you thought are ‘truly guilty’ who turn out to be truly innocent.” Please help me understand the notion of restitution when those who owe and have paid are still expected to pay and pay and pay!
        When you are barred from buying merchandise because of bad credit and fix the score, do you expect to be allowed to buy? If you say “No”, I smile. If you say “Yes”, then why shouldn’t the felon?

  3. Dudley, you say, “1) Incarceration rates and incarcerations are not human rights violations.”
    Incarceration and incarcerations are a metre of human rights violations. Who is being incarcerated and for what reasons. For the same crime committed does the US impose same penalties across say, for example, race lines? The answer is “NO”. Studies at the New Jersey Turnpike and others connected with “Driving While Black” indicated that speeding was speeding when it was a dark person driving and therefore these drivers got an abnormally high number of citations relative to the overall population drivers traversing the Turnpike at any given point.
    This of course is not an incarceration example but it shows a significant bias and disparity in allocation of human rights at the most basic level.

    1. Victoria:

      No one doubts there are cases of rights viilations within arrests and incarcerations, My point was that incarceration rates, per se, don’t equate to human rights violations.

      Please review race/ethnicity and crimes.

      For the White–Black comparisons, the Black level is 12.7 times greater for homicide, 15.6 times greater for robbery, 6.7 times greater for rape, and 4.5 times greater for aggravated assault.

      For the Hispanic- White comparison, the Hispanic level is 4.0 times greater than the White level for homicide, 3.8 times greater for robbery, 2.8 times greater for rape, and 2.3 times greater for aggravated assault.

      For the Hispanic–Black comparison, the Black level is 3.1 times greater than the Hispanic level for homicide, 4.1 times greater for robbery, 2.4 times greater for rape, and 1.9 times greater for aggravated assault.

      From

      REASSESSING TRENDS IN BLACK VIOLENT CRIME, 1980.2008: SORTING OUT THE “HISPANIC EFFECT” IN UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS ARRESTS, NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMIZATION SURVEY OFFENDER ESTIMATES, AND U.S. PRISONER COUNTS, DARRELL STEFFENSMEIER, BEN FELDMEYER, CASEY T. HARRIS, JEFFERY T. ULMER, Criminology, Volume 49, Issue 1, Article first published online: 24 FEB 2011
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2010.00222.x/pdf

  4. .Hey, Dudley. I had to laugh at myself on this one because the argument I made was a little too far fetched the way I presented it. I will try again. The post is arguing that there is concern about the freedom commodities such as soda enjoy and less concern for increasing numbers in limited mobility of US citizens who are incarcerated.

    In other words you and I would have a higher guarantee for concern re: infringement of our rights if we were soda. I will be Fanta. Which one will you be?

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