Report: Killing the Poor for Sport Still Illegal
Scarsdale, NY (AP) – A report in the journal The Economist is sending ripples through the nation’s elite strata by noting that despite the worthlessness of the destitute, the law does not permit hunting them down and killing them just for fun. The study looked at the statutes in all fifty U.S. states, and did not find a single instance of homicide legality shifting with the income level of the victim.
Already, teams of lawyers have begun conferring on the best approach to shield their wealthy clients in case the latter have run afoul of the law in this regard. The situation is made more complex by the fact that many of the lawyers themselves might be in the same predicament.
At the same time, a nascent lobbying effort has taken shape that will press for amendments to existing state codes. The lobbyists are expected to focus initially on states with large concentrations of both poor and ultra-rich, such as New York, California, Texas, Florida, Connecticut and Massachusetts, with secondary efforts homing in on Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland.
A search of the Lexis-Nexis database did not turn up any recent cases in which the poverty of the homicide victim was invoked in a defense, but legal scholar Ivory Towers cautions against inferring too much from that datum. “The fact is the vast majority of the wealthy’s indiscretions or brushes with the law never make it into official records,” she said, “so the formal legal databases are not going to be helpful.”
Towers did note that even within the official legal framework the poor tend to be seen as worth less, despite not officially being fair game. In practice, she explained, courts tend to sentence the poor disproportionately to the death sentence when it is an option, all the more so if the perpetrator is black. If there does exist a distinction among victims, it is that murderers of whites are sentenced to death at a much higher rate than murderers of blacks and other minorities. But that is a far cry from the assumption that it is lawful to simply treat the lower classes as cannon fodder, as entertaining as the prospect may seem, Towers added.
What’s more, the Economist study points out that beyond the legal question, hunting the poor for sport is no longer the safe pursuit it once was. As the ranks of the poor swell, the temptation to cull the herd can lead to disastrous consequences: the sheer number of poor people threatens to overwhelm even the superior culture and firepower of the ruling classes, and provoking the rage of the proletariat and welfare demographic runs the risk of fomenting unwelcome instability.
The danger that the ever-richer will misstep in that regard has increased, says Cal Igula, who teaches economics and sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles. “The obscenely wealthy get more and more out-of-touch as their wealth increases, and they become ever blinder to the risks inherent in exploiting the poor beyond a certain point,” he said.
The study authors did offer the consolation that it is still perfectly legal to pretend not to be a bigot.
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