When Evil Begins

     I’m not getting into the debate of when life begins because I don’t know. For all I know, it hasn’t begun yet.
     A more interesting question may be: When does moral turpitude begin?
     That was the question that immediately came to my mind when I heard the news story about Sergio Garcia’s quest to join the California bar.
     In case you missed it, the California Supreme Court decided to review a decision by the Committee of Bar Examiners to admit Garcia to the bar even though, technically, he’s an illegal immigrant.
     The court’s statement doesn’t say anything about moral turpitude – which was really disappointing to me because the story I heard on public radio did and it’s so much funnier that way.
     After all, Garcia’s crime was that he came to the U. S. when he was 17 months old. So can a baby be guilty of moral turpitude?
     Before you say no, remember that we see babies on TV trading stocks and dancing. If a toddler crawls past the Border Patrol – they’re pretty small so they can get away with it – is he or she doing that crawling with evil intent?
     I don’t feel strongly about this issue. I’ve had babies intentionally keep me up all night. They can be evil creatures. But I don’t like to paint with a broad brush. The baby could have been trying to feed his family.
     There are other issues that I worry about, though. First off, why would someone go through three years of law school and a bar exam if he knows he’s an illegal immigrant and might not be able to practice law?
     It’s not like he can take that American legal education back to Mexico to use there. It’s not a safe investment.
     And shouldn’t one of the law school classes have pointed out the potential problem?
     There’s also the public policy side to this. It makes sense for the country to welcome educated contributors to society.
     If the guy had gone to medical school or rocket science school, it would be a no-brainer. Welcome to America.
     But law school?
     We don’t exactly have a lack of lawyers.
     Maybe we could deport some moral turpitude guys to make room for better lawyers.
     
     Journalism. I worry less about the current state of journalism than most people because I think it was just as bad before.
     Everything old is new again.
     Maybe it seems new because we can read stuff on computer screens without paper.
     And, fortunately, we have investigative, muckraking lawyers to let us know how self-congratulatory and lazy news people are.
     This is from the introduction to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles last week against The Wrap, an online entertainment news site:
     “This action exposes the continuing demise of journalistic integrity as more and more online publications, purporting to be serious news outlets, race to be the first to post online sensational and inflammatory articles without the requisite research and with total disregard for the truth.”
     Bet you didn’t know this lawsuit over one story had exposed all that. Fortunately, the lawyer writing that was able to congratulate himself.
     Be that as it may, I too see problems with investigative reporters. Most of them seem to be unaware of mathematics.
     Case in point that I admit to having a personal interest in: after the Kentucky Derby this year, The New York Times ran a piece on winning trainer Doug O’Neill that contained this passage:
     “Over 14 years and in four different states, O’Neill received more than a dozen violations for giving his horses improper drugs. O’Neill’s horses also have had a tendency to break down. According to an analysis by The New York Times, the horses he trains break down or show signs of injury at more than twice the rate of the national average.”
     This has been the basis for all manner of outrage.
     Let’s see now, a dozen over 14 years – I think that’s less than once a year.
     This may be the laziest criminal ever.
     And the “violations” are mostly for medicine, not performance-enhancing drugs. Minor stuff that could easily be a vet or groom mistake in a large operation.
     Now factor in a couple of things not mentioned: O’Neill has the largest group of horses among West Coast trainers and has won about 1,600 races. The winners of races get routinely tested.
     Those dozen violations look smaller all the time.
     And some of his horses either break down or “show signs of injury?”
     Do you have any idea what that means? Hangnails maybe?
     The story doesn’t say.
     Yes, but it’s twice the national average. Do we know what the national average is?
     Hint: it’s not gigantic. They’re not dropping like flies.
     Yes, the guy seems to have made some mistakes – but if you analyze too much, you don’t have a news story.
     Sigh.
     At least we know why these reporters aren’t covering the economy.
     On to the Triple Crown!

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