Category Archives: Courts

Failure of Net-Centric Policing (Super-Empowered Locals or Super-Empowered Courts)

Man grabs girl’s arm – now he’s a sex offender,” World Net Daily, 2 July 2005, (from Flit(tm)).

Netwar v. Net-Centric War, on America’s streets:

A man who grabbed a 14-year-old girl’s arm to chastise her after she walked in front of his car, causing him to swerve to avoid hitting her, must register as a “sex offender,” the Appellate Court of Illinois has ruled.

Fitzroy Barnaby, a 28-year-old Evanston, Illinois, man was prosecuted for attempted kidnapping and child abduction charges following a November 2002 incident in which he nearly hit the teen with his vehicle.

The girl testified Barnaby yelled, “Come here, little girl,” when he jumped out of his car and grabbed her arm. She broke away and called authorities. Barnaby says he was merely trying to lecture her for her carelessness.

The trial jury accepted Barnaby’s version of the story, but found him guilty of unlawful restraint of a minor – a sex offense under Illinois law. As a convicted sex offender, Barnaby is required to be listed on the state’s sex offender registry and must keep authorities informed of his place of residency. He also isn’t allowed to live near schools or parks. The Illinois Sex Offender Information website, operated by the Illinois State Police, lists those in the registry, along with their photographs and home addresses.

Trial Judge Patrick Morse ordered registration reluctantly, acknowledging it was “more likely than not” Barnaby only intended to chastise the girl. “I don’t really see the purpose of registration in this case. I really don’t,” Morse said. “But I feel that I am constrained by the statute.”

There are two main approaches to security in the world: “netstruggle” and “network-centric struggle.” Both rely on networks, both are built on the works of the late Colonel John Boyd, and both are summed up by Sun Microsystems’ tagline “The Network is the Computer.”

In netwar, in netpolitics, in netfaith, super-empowered individuals use social, economic, physical, and technological networks to come together and act as a group. Especially when these are combined into a tight human-internet, these nets are very powerful. In Iraq, Islamist terrorists use netwar to deny freedom to their fellows and kill Soldiers. In America, Christian Republicans use netpolitics to elect friendly politicians and steer the judicial branch of government. Netstruggle is summed up by America’s motto, E Pluribus Unum — Out of Many, One.

In network-centric war, politics, and faith, super-empowered leaders use technological networks to order subordinates around efficiently. Especially when the technological network is fast, secure, and everywhere, network-centric strivers can be very powerful. In Iraq, the American military removed Saddam from power in three weeks. Network-centric struggle is summed up by one word: faster.

But if a problem cannot be solved quickly, network-centric solutions are foolish. NCW was great for destroying Iraq in three weeks, but is unable to restore it in three years.

Network-centric solutions win wars, but not peaces.

When we give distant courts the ability to put someone’s name on a magic list, we are doing network-centric policing. We are super-empowering judges and juries to disempower individuals.

You want to end pedophile attacks on your children? Move society to netpolicing — give every man a gun, and make it clear that “honor killings” will not be prosecuted. Super-empower individuals.

You are ok with Barnaby’s fate? Stick to network-centric policing.

Update 27 October 2005: Courtesty Mark at Zen Pundit, Jeff at Caerdroia seems to agree:

The practical result of this is that, at least in the US, the State can fail utterly at some task without leading to dissolution — even at the task of defense against enemies, foreign or domestic. Let us say, for example, that the police make a total mess of fighting against a domestic 4GW threat. While it’s possible the government could turn to death squads, it is unlikely (again, at least in the US). What is far more likely is that the armed citizens would organize themselves into a group and go solve the problem. There is a name for this: a Committee of Vigilance. Perhaps better known as vigilantes. While not the best solution — such groups tend to get out of hand — it is certainly better than giving up to death or at least chaos.

It goes without saying that such a strategy works best in a culture with strong horizontal controls