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Thread: This is a threat? Man threatens another on a Delta flight

  1. #1
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    This is a threat? Man threatens another on a Delta flight

    "If I have a knife, I would slit your throat."

    Sounds pretty threatening on the surface, doesn't it? Apparently, prosecutors thought so.

    However, that's a big "if," isn't it? It's not even correct grammar, which would be "If I had a knife, I would slit your throat." Furthermore, since the man didn't have a knife, how could he slit the other person's throat?

    Yeah, I know - the guy was acting like a bully and a jerk, actually assaulting his fellow passenger then further threatening FBI agents and police.

    So... Throw the book at him? Or should they confer with the 60-year-old's doctor and assess whatever meds he may be on, or rule out (perhaps factor in) understandable reasons as to why he was behaving as he was.
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    Regular Member John Canuck's Avatar
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    I would consider his actions and words as a threat. I don't see why the book should get thrown, but he should face the appropriate charges.

    I see no reason to make room for that behavior, even if he is medicated.

    You say the man didn't have a knife, yet the article says there was a knife in his bag? How would the person he was threatening know if he had a knife or not?
    Last edited by John Canuck; 09-21-2011 at 08:02 AM.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Let's start with the recommendation to confer with the guy's doctors. No. No. Never! If the cops think he might have a medical problem (reaction/response to Rx'd meds or a diagnosable condition) they can pay for their own docs to assess what's up. Trying to get the guy's doctor to violate the physician/patient privilege is just a symptom of willingness to go even further into jackbooted thiggery.

    Now, is saying "If I have [sic] a knife I'd slit your throat" a threat when he has no knife in hand? Common sense (What's that, daddy? I've never seen any.) tells you that there is no intent to carry out the action imminently.

    But of late (do not ask me how long unless you want to become really unhappy) the prevailing attitude has been one of zero tolerance and taking no chances. Does anyone remember when it first became unacceptable to use the word "bomb" in an airport, regardless of the circumstances? Anarchists (think late 19th/early 20th century, not today's mindless kids) have become jihadists. Grumpy old men are deranged psychopathic killers. Infants with a load in their diaper can destroy an aircraft. (OK, maybe that one is close to reality.)

    In a society that no longer expects anyone to exercise self control, any mention of behavior that is not absolutely non-threatening is presumed to be an actual and imminent threat. I suggest that quite a bit of the blame for that comes from folks who are truely and reasonably afraid that they would not be allowed to control their own behavior if it were not for outside forces. Thus, we find it harder and harder to express our disappointment and disapproval of other people, their behavior, and their views in a way which leaves no ambiguity about how we feel. I agree that stating that "if I have [sic] a knife I'd slit your throat" may be a bit extreme, but it certainly makes clear how one feels about the other person. I just do not see it as an overt and imminent threat. If it were, I'd probably end up in jail for saying that I'd vote for a dead dog before I'd vote for a specific candidate - either because someone was afraid I'd kill a dog in order to be able to vote for it or because it's almost (?) considered treason to vote for the opposition.

    stay safe.
    Last edited by skidmark; 09-21-2011 at 08:22 AM. Reason: correct some fuzzy thinking
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    Regular Member John Canuck's Avatar
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    You might be right Skid. I can live with being one of those guys who is not tolerant of a threat that is not imminent, but a possible prediction of an action to be taken in the future with the knife that was in his bag. Having said that, he would have been told what would happen if a knife were produced in my direction. Perhaps he would have calmed down when he realized that some aren't about to be a victim.

    At least he didn't point at the guy Congratulations by the way.

  5. #5
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    The first recorded case defining "assault" involved a man who said to another, "If it were not for the assizes, old man, I would run thee through!" - translation, "if the local lord weren't in town holding court, I'd kill you with my sword." Or a modern paraphrase, "If we whudn't in front of the PO-lice station, I'd bust a cap in yo'ass."

    Since there is no offer of an immediate battery, it was not assault. Conditional statements, threats of future activity, etc., cannot constitute assault. Mere words are not enough to constitute a crime. At least it used to be like that before the terrorists won and stimulated the reactionaries to come down on the rights of citizens as a threat against the security of the state.
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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    The first recorded case defining "assault" involved a man who said to another, "If it were not for the assizes, old man, I would run thee through!" - translation, "if the local lord weren't in town holding court, I'd kill you with my sword." Or a modern paraphrase, "If we whudn't in front of the PO-lice station, I'd bust a cap in yo'ass."

    Since there is no offer of an immediate battery, it was not assault. Conditional statements, threats of future activity, etc., cannot constitute assault. Mere words are not enough to constitute a crime. At least it used to be like that before the terrorists won and stimulated the reactionaries to come down on the rights of citizens as a threat against the security of the state.
    Wasn't that the charge that could warrant an extended Gulag vacation not so very many years ago?
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    On the other hand, it'd fit the definition of Disorderly Conduct in Alabama, through the use of "fighting words".

    I'd give you more information, but one needs a copy of Title 13A from Westlaw (annotated).
    Last edited by Kirbinator; 09-21-2011 at 10:54 AM.
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    Regular Member John Canuck's Avatar
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    Well there you go. I done learned something today.

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    The article below says that he did have a knife in his bag. Of course, they don't mention whether it's checked or carry-on, that would be too much useful information.

    So, if he had a knife in his carry-on bag, does that mean he's guilty of something other than boorish behavior, general jackassery, and not knowing when to keep his mouth shut?

    Quote Originally Posted by since9 View Post
    "If I have a knife, I would slit your throat."

    Sounds pretty threatening on the surface, doesn't it? Apparently, prosecutors thought so.

    However, that's a big "if," isn't it? It's not even correct grammar, which would be "If I had a knife, I would slit your throat." Furthermore, since the man didn't have a knife, how could he slit the other person's throat?

    Yeah, I know - the guy was acting like a bully and a jerk, actually assaulting his fellow passenger then further threatening FBI agents and police.

    So... Throw the book at him? Or should they confer with the 60-year-old's doctor and assess whatever meds he may be on, or rule out (perhaps factor in) understandable reasons as to why he was behaving as he was.

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