Peter Watts Convicted

Peter Watts was convicted this past Friday of obstructing a border guard. His own post on the matter is so stoic as to verge on the heroic; I seriously doubt were I the one to be punched in the face by a border guard that I’d be as calm and dispassionate as Watts.  Worth noting, too, is that he wasn’t convicted of the assault charge, even though the press continues to report it in those terms. Given that members of the jury have written to Watts expressing their dismay at the wording of the statute under which they were forced to convict him, one can only hope that the judge sees reason, lectures the cops from the bench, and hands Watts a suspended sentence.

One thing I find fascinating about how all this has played out is that it’s very much a Rorshasch test for one’s own proclivities.  The law n’ order anger-management types out there are crowing about how Watts Got What He Deserved, while those who think Uncle Sam Sucks are damning the “stupid” jury for not engaging in jury nullification while they rant on about how awful and corrupt America has become.  I’m certainly not going to claim any special objectivity on this; Watts is a good friend of mine, not to mention the reason I’m in print.  But as the man’s noted in his work, we don’t make as many conscious decisions as we might like to think; we simply ratify decisions already made for us by our subconscious/hindbrains.  Much of the reaction to his own ordeal is a case in point.

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4 Responses to “Peter Watts Convicted”

  1. karen wester newton Says:

    I was impressed, too, with Peter’s write-up. Maybe it’s his scientific training, or maybe it’s that his analytical mind is the reason he’s a scientist. Anyway, I think he summed up the futility of his situation remarkably well. With a literal interpretation of the statute as it now exists, all it takes is for one border guard to order you to do one thing and another to order you to do something contradictory, and anyone is screwed. I have read many, many online comments that fall into the two categories your describe, but the one that sums it up best, I thought, was the one that said, “People want this to be Peter Watts’ fault because if it’s not his fault, it means they’re not safe either.”

  2. Brian Says:

    Why do I fear regardless of the number of battles we’ll fight (or have fought) to show how free we really aren’t, the war was lost long ago?

  3. David Williams Says:

    That’s a great quote Karen . ..

  4. Richard Nixon Says:

    The battle is, more-or-less, lost. We are headed into a corporate future. I’m sorry about Watts’ status, but think we’ll only see more of the same.

    I was involved in television for about ten years, and saw a hospital shut down a woman who was trying to save a store in her community (the hospital wanted the land.) by talking about what was happening. Thirty or so lawsuits can do that.

    At least you talk about it.