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Essex Police Arrest Man Over Blackberry Water Fight Plan

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the watch-how-you-play dept.

Security 158

An anonymous reader writes "Under the banner headline 'Police reassure residents they are working to keep county safe,' Essex police proudly proclaimed that they arrested a 20-year-old man from Colchester who 'allegedly sent messages from a Blackberry encouraging people to join in a water fight.' Having also made a number of arrests of people sitting at home on Facebook, Acting Assistant Chief Constable Mason wrote: 'Police will continue to monitor social networking sites for unlawful activity.'" That's some good police work there, Lou.

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Just Protecting Him From Himself (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098774)

The police are just looking out for the man's interests. If he took his Blackberry to a water fight it could get wet and be ruined and it would just end in tears (which he would hide by getting wet again). They saved his Blackberry to tweet/text/post another day.

Re:Just Protecting Him From Himself (2)

discord5 (798235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098934)

They saved his Blackberry to tweet/text/post another day.

Just found this on twitter:

Currently in jail for planning aquatic mayhem. Now my cellmate is planning aquatic mayhem in the shower.

Re:Just Protecting Him From Himself (2)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100768)

OMG, so we're like doing that now? And it's being modded up?

The end days are here indeed.

Re:Just Protecting Him From Himself (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099996)

I'm sure it was just meant to be a fun water-pistol 'fight' - it's taken place in nearby Chelmsford in the park in the past.

It's totally fun, and from what I hear; people are pretty respectful of those who don't want to be involved.

Presumably this this dangerous terrorist [allevents.in] will be next. [events site, so much for hacking BBM]

Re:Just Protecting Him From Himself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37100492)

Waterfights are always totally safe, apart from that time when that girl got punched [thisislondon.co.uk] hard in the face because she squirted a guy with her fizzy drink and the police were called in.

Nine people were later arrested after gangs of youths ran amok, threatening the public, flashing knives and causing riding school children as young as five to be thrown from their horses.

The terrifying scenes came two weeks after teenager Frederick Moody-Boateng was murdered having attended a similar water pistol fight in Holland Park.

Given the fact that the police have just finished dealing with country-wide rioting and looting organised via BBM and that they're already investigating messages, maybe they are just being overly sensitive/cautious rather than out-and-out draconian?

Re:Just Protecting Him From Himself (1)

BreazySpeculation (1802162) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101374)

Gee, you think they are being overly cautious? kind of an understatement. I wish any law enforcement personnel that had anything to do with this should be fired on the spot. This world is now officially out of control now that people can be arrested for planning a water fight. I am planning a pillow fight tonight and only hot babes are allowed to join in. I hope they are not monitoring slashdot right no.

Re:Just Protecting Him From Himself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37100978)

Yes, water is much too dangerous [dhmo.org] . Better to use pies, jello, or pillows.

England (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37098810)

They're really determined to become Airstrip One, aren't they?

Hyperbole much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099068)

The problem with the original riots was soft policing. Moving gangs on, instead of arresting them.
I'm sure in the US they would have got a good tazering, or just skip to the live ammo.

Re:Hyperbole much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099260)

I'm sure in the US they would have got a good tazering, or just skip to the live ammo.

Look at the G20 in Canada. Police left empty cruisers parked for convenient torching. They neglected to arrest or stop any actual thugs that were vandalizing local businesses even when officers were nearby. The police chief then went to his alibi, hobnobbing with world leaders, as somehow (nobody will admit responsibility) the police's tactics then changed. Large groups of police went to other sections of the city, where peaceful protesters were protesting peacefully in areas set aside for them. The officers brutalized these people and arrested over a thousand, held them in inhumane conditions, and dropped nearly all the charges a day or two later. Even in London, with cameras everywhere, less than a thousand people had been arrested four days after the riots.

Re:England (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099154)

The debate in the British Parliament was scary. It was endless calls for more police officers, more cameras, allowing police to use tactics like water cannons, more cameras, sending everyone even tangentially involved to jail for the absolute maximum possible, and more cameras. The sadly few occasions an MP would mention looking for the root causes of this social unrest, the British PM would ignore that part of the question.

Airstrip One now has telescreens everywhere with MPs crying out for even more of them, and an incestuously close relationship between government, law enforcement, and the media. (News of the World scandal? What News of the World scandal??)

Re:England (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099928)

Of course it's scary. It's also highly predictable. I'd just sigh whenever someone mentioned support for the rioters because they had some grievances because it was obvious that the rioting would only reduce freedoms. Just like the anonymous bozos, who claim to fight for freedoms but who will only end up hurting them in the long run.

That's why anarchy at the beginning of last century didn't work. The "theory" that the government would look incompetent due to random violence and be weakened didn't work and instead governments just cracked down harder. In one hundred years it seems the only thing that does get democratic governments to relax is nonviolent civil disobedience. That is you shame the government and the people because they see police hitting peaceful people with batons and arresting non-violent chanters who are not blocking anyone, as opposed to seeing them hit violent mobs with batons and arresting people during a time of crisis.

Re:England (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37100090)

Unfortunately the police have figured out how to deal with peaceful protests. All they have to do is surround a small group of protesters, force them into a corner, and keep them there until someone does something stupid. Then wait for the media to get a few juicy shots of the "violence" which can be repeated over and over on TV.

This is partly the reason why the riots got so out of hand: These tactics don't work *at all* if everyone shows up looking for trouble.

Memes are newspeak - the enemy of thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099982)

Aren't there any good books about any other countries becoming totalitarian dictatorships that people can lazily reference in lieu of saying anything worthwhile?

Conspiracy theories aside, the UK still has a free press and a functioning democracy. I don't know what kind of utopia you're dreaming of but I'm afraid to say that we in the West may not be far off having it as good as it gets, civil liberties-wise - at least until our attitude towards crime evolves beyond police and prisons, something I'm not convinced will ever happen.

asking undefined amount of people to meet (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098822)

asking undefined amount of people to meet in public is illegal in increasing number of countries.
because that's a riot. or unlawful assembly. or whatever.

he should've sold something and advertised for people to come buy it - at least that's still legal almost everywhere.

next up, banning using post office to invite people. commercial spam's going to be ok though.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098866)

Right to peaceably assemble sound like something you have heard of ?

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37098916)

as long as you have approval from the government yes you are allowed to peaceably assemble citizen

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37098924)

Essex isn't in the US.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099198)

And the right to peaceably assemble isn't confined to the U.S. it just happens to be specifically codified here.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099348)

No, but it is in the UK, where "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, [legislation.gov.uk] " - and people wonder why the government doesn't like the Human Rights Act...

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099474)

Now look at the exceptions: "No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others." Can you think of a large public assembly that doesn't fall within of those exception?

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099566)

State organized propaganda spectacles of course.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099724)

Mmm, the restrictions are rather broad; but then there's the bit about being "prescribed by law" and "necessary in a democratic society", which tends to mean "proportionate" or "no more than is necessary." However, most of us can't afford the lawyers needed to argue these things out and the lower courts seem to just do whatever the police ask of them.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098978)

He might have. I don't think the government has, though. Seriously, I'd bet quite a few of them don't even know about that right, having never actually read whatever equates to the Constitution in England. Assuming that is a right in the UK, maybe it isn't.

Either that or they just don't care anymore. I'll give most of them the benefit of the doubt and call them ignorant rather than willfully tyrannical. This is the government we're talking about here, and not the competent branches like MI-6 either.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099082)

asking undefined amount of people to meet in public is illegal in increasing number of countries.

GP was not talking only about the UK.

Evidence for MI6 being competent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099150)

I thought they were the British CIA-equivalent.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099528)

"Whatever equates to the Constitution in England" would be our constitution [wikipedia.org] . And in the case of the Human Rights Act 1998 most politicians will be well aware of it, and aware that it contains enough exemptions that they can still do pretty much what they like.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099102)

What exactly is a water fight anyway? Just a protest involving water guns + balloons or what?

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099162)

Not a protest. Just a bit of fun.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

SecurityTheatre (2427858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100836)

Their argument is that these water fights have devolved into fist or knife fights several times during the last few years, with a number of injuries and at least one death.

It doesn't necessarily make organizing one illegal, but it does make it questionably wise in light of recent calls for increased police presence.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

neo8750 (566137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101096)

Guess this is the one time bringing a knife to a gunfight would work out.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100098)

Right to peaceably assemble sound like something you have heard of ?

I vaguely remember it from somewhere. History class, I think.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099120)

Indeed. It seems to me that the police have violated this fellow's rights under article 20 of the UN's universal declaration of human rights.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (1)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099382)

Iirc the UNDHR isn't binding in the UK. However, the police are bound by the Human Rights Act which protects freedom of association (Art. 11). Unfortunately, like freedom of speech and privacy it comes with the annoying qualifications about doing things "in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others".

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099436)

asking undefined amount of people to meet in public is illegal in increasing number of countries.

I'm declaring this now: any meeting of any type I call for, in public or in private, the maximum number of participants I'm asking for shall forthwith be defined as "seven billion." If there is no obvious defined number in my call to meet, know that number is not undefined, and thus not illegal, the number is seven billion.

That is all.

Re:asking undefined amount of people to meet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099574)

The whole thing is kind of silly though. If the internet is that dangerous, what's to stop people in one country from inciting riots in another. e.g. Can I get into trouble if I incite riots in London (I'm in the U.S.)?

Compensation (5, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098868)

This is an age-old debate but in my opinion there needs to be significant compensation for arrests that don't lead to convictions. Even more so if the arrest doesn't even lead to a charge.

The way things are at the moment, people who are wrongly arrested are expected to see their eventual release as a "relief" and be thankful for it. That's not how it should be. Otherwise the police had might as well arrest and hold everyone, take their time investigating all of them, and then release everyone who didn't do anything wrong.

In the venn diagram of arrests and convictions the target intersection is 100%. Currently it is nowhere near 100% and that is not entirely due to a flawed court system, it is partially due to too many innocent people being arrested.

Re:Compensation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099116)

That would just add more incentive to fudge the evidence/facts.

Re:Compensation (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100700)

Laws prescribing much harsher penalties for such things might help. For instance, if someone is found guilty for murder, but later DNA evidence exonerates him, then the prosecutor, and anyone found to have fudged evidence or ignored critical evidence, should be executed. In fact, prosecuting attorneys should always be automatically executed any time an innocent person is convicted.

Re:Compensation (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101214)

Executed? The death penalty is an appeal to the ignorant. "Oh look at how hard we are on crime!"
If you support the death penalty you're either ignorant of how the law works and the cost of killing innocent people, or you are aware and are just an immoral shit who doesn't mind people being murdered by the state "as long as it's not me".

Re:Compensation (1)

BreazySpeculation (1802162) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101520)

You know, i just wrote a big long reply that would not have been very well received about you. so I deleted it.

Re:Compensation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099194)

With the number of laws on the books in any country, there is no such thing as innocence anymore.

Re:Compensation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099494)

You can be innocent of the crime arrested or charged with if not innocent of breaking the law.

Re:Compensation (1)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099322)

They also need some controls on how long they can keep people on bail for (currently indefinitely thanks to our incompetent, reactionary Parliament - in practice this can be years, then a few more years in prison between being charged and tried), and restrictions on what they can do with seized property, i.e. having to give it back quickly, and in good condition.

Rather than just arrests and convictions, it might be worth comparing investigations (or stop-and-searches), arrests, charges and convictions (the Home Office probably has stats somewhere) and seeing how terrible it is. [I found some stats on Terrorism laws, particularly the s44 stop-and-search powers - where in 2009-10, they had arrest rate. Oh, and not one was related to terrorism.]

Re:Compensation (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099698)

> This is an age-old debate but in my opinion there needs to be significant compensation for arrests
> that don't lead to convictions. Even more so if the arrest doesn't even lead to a charge.

Won't that just lead to an increase in people being arrested and charged - say, for 'wasting police time' or whatever - and then released and the charges dropped, just so the police won't have to pay out?

Re:Compensation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37100110)

no, that sould be an "arrest that doesn't lead to an conviction."

Re:Compensation (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100094)

I think there is a large difference between just arresting a random person on the street for no reason and arresting someone in the middle of a huge angry crowd at the same time that there are violent riots going on. Maybe there's no reason to arrest the second person but it is a much more effective strategy; arrest a chunk of people and others will be less likely to come out and "support" the violent rioters; arrest the loudest voices that seem to be crowd leaders and it does make a difference in breaking up the crowd.

Yes it is an erosion of rights but you really can't compare this to "arrest and hold everyone". You can make an argument that there's no need to break up a peaceful crowd but there are extremely violent and murderous crowds in many cities in England currently. What would have been appropriate last summer is not necessarily appropriate this summer.

If you allow significant compensation for this sort of arrest I can guarantee you that people will be out in greater numbers trying to get arrested and doing their best to piss off a cop as their chance to get some cash. Did you see the famous civil rights marchers in the US south whining when they got arrested or demanding compensation?

Re:Compensation (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100760)

Did you see the famous civil rights marchers in the US south whining when they got arrested or demanding compensation?

No, but they should have. They deserved compensation for the terrible treatment they endured under color of authority.

If you allow significant compensation for this sort of arrest I can guarantee you that people will be out in greater numbers trying to get arrested and doing their best to piss off a cop as their chance to get some cash.

With today's technology, this isn't such a problem. Cops should wear helmets with cameras at all times; what the cop sees, the camera sees. If some hooligans are out causing trouble, and the cops arrest them, no problem: they have video evidence against them, placing them at the scene and showing their actions. If there's thousands of people rioting, video showing a person in the rioting crowd, and that same person being whacked by cops with batons and arrested, is sufficient to show that the cops acted properly. If they just bring in some random guy with bruises and claim he was rioting, but have no video of his actions or his takedown and arrest, then the cops have done something wrong.

This video evidence should also be made immediately available to the public as soon as technically possible (e.g. when the cop gets to the station and turns in his memory card for the day), in case any interested citizens want to keep a watch on the cops. This type of system can serve to protect both the cops from false allegations, and potential victims of police abuse, and also to repair the public's distrust of cops.

Re:Compensation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37101292)

Actually the Civil Rights Marchers in the US South _were_ breaking the law. They didn't whine about it and instead were willing to take the consequences of breaking the law. That's what made it so effective.

One thing people today tend to forget is that part of Civil Disobedience is doing what the law says you are not supposed to do, and then calmly accepting being arrested for doing so.

Re:Compensation (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101146)

First point is that police are not lawyers. Police just need to be reasonably sure an offence has or will be committed for an arrest to occur. Someone can be arrested for purpose of verifying identity.

What if someone matches the description of a suspect that just committed a crime. They get arrested and when seen by the victim they are released.
What about the drunk friends who fight in the street? They both get arrested and when sober refuse to press charges.
What about the alcoholic who is so inebriated that he can not talk? He gets arrested and released when sober.

There are many valid reasons arrests that do not lead to charges or convictions. There are many petty crimes, usually alcohol related, that need not be prosecuted.

Re:Compensation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37101488)

How about the arresting officers be fined instead? Take it out of their paychecks instead of the justice system. That way there is no incentive for the justice system to do all that is possible to convict the wrongfully arrested.

If it has been determined the person was wrongfully arrested, that is, no crime occurred, then have the officer lose all pay for the day that the incident happened.

What was illegal here? (3, Interesting)

dbc (135354) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098898)

Does he not have the freedom of assembly? Does he not have the freedom to call for an assembly? What part of a water fight is not legal? If he was planning a non-crime, then what is the pre-crime? Can you be arrested for a pre-crime in England?

Re:What was illegal here? (1)

aesiamun (862627) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098992)

Probably not, he's British.

Re:What was illegal here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099046)

Well, in Germany you can. I have no idea what it's called in English, but they can arrest you in order to prevent crimes from happening. It's only used to protect the public, of course.

Sarcasm (1)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099838)

It's only used to protect the public, of course.

That was sarcasm, right?

Re:What was illegal here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099112)

Water conservation measures?

Re:What was illegal here? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099286)

Does he not have the freedom of assembly? Does he not have the freedom to call for an assembly? What part of a water fight is not legal?

It comes usually down to when, where and how many people?

Re:What was illegal here? (1)

jfmiller (119037) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099336)

I bet your one of those who answered "D) Slavery" when asked what caused the American Revolution.

Re:What was illegal here? (3)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099486)

Does he not have the freedom of assembly?

Yep, he has that [legislation.gov.uk] . Although it can be restricted.

Does he not have the freedom to call for an assembly?

Probably covered by the above.

What part of a water fight is not legal?

Well, it could be some sort of offence against the person (would certainly be battery, if there was no consent). Then you have all those lovely "breach of the peace" or "affray" things that the police love to (often incorrectly) apply when they want to round someone up. They could also go with s127 Communications Act 2003 (as with the Twitter Joke Trial [wikimedia.org] ) if they can show that calling for a water fight is "menacing".

Can you be arrested for a pre-crime in England?

Of course you can - planning, or conspiracy to do a crime is arrestable most places.

Times like this I wish I was a lawyer already....

welcome to 1984! (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098974)

welcome to 1984!

Intelligence gathering on the police themselves (3, Interesting)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099136)

So this storiy is basically a tacit admission either that:---

Blackberry and Facebook are doing realtime or near-realtime surveillance of users and sending suspicious information to the British police; or

The British police are capable of, and are, listening in on Blackberry or Facebook* without the co-operation of these corporationsi i.e., they're surveilling network traffic or similar. Facebook is entirely conducted through HTTPS nowadays, so if this be the case, that the bobbies can listen in is an even more significant revelation.

* This conclusion wouldn't hold of course if the police are merely trolling through what people post in public on Facebook, which is entirely a possibility considering how ignorant many people are about discretion and privacy.

Re:Intelligence gathering on the police themselves (4, Insightful)

rocket rancher (447670) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099304)

So this storiy is basically a tacit admission either that:---

Blackberry and Facebook are doing realtime or near-realtime surveillance of users and sending suspicious information to the British police; or

The British police are capable of, and are, listening in on Blackberry or Facebook* without the co-operation of these corporationsi i.e., they're surveilling network traffic or similar. Facebook is entirely conducted through HTTPS nowadays, so if this be the case, that the bobbies can listen in is an even more significant revelation.

* This conclusion wouldn't hold of course if the police are merely trolling through what people post in public on Facebook, which is entirely a possibility considering how ignorant many people are about discretion and privacy.

Well, there is a third possibility. It is entirely possible a friend of a friend got invited to the water fight, and decided to fuck over his mate by showing the local constable selected bits of the original invitation. No need to postulate that level of surveillance by the police when simple human maliciousness is available...

Re:Intelligence gathering on the police themselves (1)

Sinthet (2081954) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099388)

I agree that people generally don't care about privacy and/or security, but I would never have expected being arrested for inviting people to come to a water fight. Unless this "water fight" was supposed to be a large coordinated attack on civilians via water balloons, the arrest is totally unwarranted.

Re:Intelligence gathering on the police themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099394)

shhhhhh.....

Re:Intelligence gathering on the police themselves (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099870)

Or, it's an admission that people receiving BBN broadcasts are reporting the broadcasts to the police/are the police. I find this significantly more likely -- especially as this would explain the screwups due to actual content being lost in translation.

Re:Intelligence gathering on the police themselves (2)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100902)

1. AFAICT: The police are already investigating Blackberry messages (with RIM's co-operation) as part of the riot/looting investigation.
2a. Facebook is not entirely conducted through HTTPS. There is an option to always connect through https, but as far as I know it is turned off by default.
2b. Where it is turned on, many Facebook games/applications don't support https and you will be prompted to "turn it off." We all know how well security fares in the face of "You have to do this to click the dancing monkey. Do it now or you won't get to click the dancing monkey"
2c. As you say, who gives a pig's trotter if it is "conducted through HTTPS", if it's a status message. It doesn't matter one jot that "I think we should loot some TVs from Dixons" was encrypted end-to-end because it's now right there as your status. Hell, even if it's a Facebook message, there is now nothing to stop a recipient of the message forwarding it to the police.

Water fight deaths in 2008? (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099328)

I don't know if this is over reaching or not, but there was at least one death and a number of serious injuries back in 2008 in these mass water fight events.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1499810.ece [thesun.co.uk]

If every time one of these events happened, there were serious injuries, I can see the logic behind trying to prevent the gatherings in the first place.

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099490)

Argh, you made me visit the Sun's "news" site. Bastard!

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099538)

I don't know if this is over reaching or not, but there was at least one death and a number of serious injuries back in 2008 in these mass water fight events.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1499810.ece [thesun.co.uk]

If every time one of these events happened, there were serious injuries, I can see the logic behind trying to prevent the gatherings in the first place.

Well then by that logic you must be in favour of banning sports clubs, churches, mother's clubs, and schools for that matter. How often do interactions in those places lead to violence?

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099756)

I don't think you get it. *Those* things won't be banned because traditional people like them. Only things mainstream traditional people hate will be banned using this logic. This logic is not about actually banning dangerous meeting places, it's about finally having an excuse to ban things traditional people do not like.

Unless you're using "Us vs them" logic, you're not understanding how selectively it will be applied. You can detect this logic by asking a traditional person the same question. Their answer will contain the words "us" and "them" or "people like us" or something similar when describing how *their* holier than thou people would *never* contribute to something at one of *their* gatherings.

Each one of them is recalling some vandal movie character who generally does nothing but look for ways to rob and steal.

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099554)

If every time one of these events happened, there were serious injuries, I can see the logic behind trying to prevent the gatherings in the first place.

Why? Do you think people aren't mature enough to evaluate the risks for themselves, or that they are incapable of finding ways to make these events safer?

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099604)

How many deaths were caused by people crossing the street at appropriate crosswalks and with the traffic lights? Better make that illegal. How many deaths playing football in after work leagues? Better make that illegal. How many deaths falling out of bed? Better make that illegal!

I don't say this often, because I try to be generally polite even on the internet, but your logic is retarded. It is what leads to kids not being able to play tag during recess. It is the levels of paranoia that makes an adult male hesitate to help a terrified child because someone might think that they are trying to kidnap them. It is a significant portion of what is wrong with our society: the idea that everything and everyone can, and should, be made as completely safe as possible, regardless of the consequences.

And just so we're absolutely clear, I'd rather live in a world where one or two people die having a water fight than live in a world where someone can arrest an adult for planning a water fight.

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100180)

Go and procreate. We need more people like you! :)

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (2)

iceaxe (18903) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100734)

And just so we're absolutely clear, I'd rather live in a world where one or two people die having a water fight than live in a world where someone can arrest an adult for planning a water fight.

As a corollary I'd like to go on record preferring a country (or world) where there is a small risk of being blown up by a terrorist nutjob to one where I am made "safe" from insignificant risks by the loss of significant freedoms, while things that pose much larger actual risks are allowed to go on, largely because someone is making a pile of money off of those larger risks.

In general I prefer freedom to safety, though I will accept a certain amount of restriction where it makes reasonable sense. But for Crom's sake, do it for real reasons, not for political expediency.

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101618)

Except that there are 10s or 100s of 1000s of after work football matches every year. How many result in a woman being punched to the ground by a man? How many end with someone being stabbed to death? How many end with 9 arrests and "children as young as 5" at a riding school being thrown from their horses?

And these water-fight events aren't the same as children in the back-yard playing, they're 100s of "adults" getting together to have a water-fight so please don't try and conflate the two to argue that similarly high numbers of water-fights take place compared to football matches.

Your logic is just as faulty as the grandparent's. You're comparing apples with oranges. Getting run over crossing the road and falling out of bed result from necessary activities. Moreover, millions of instances of "crossing the road" occur harmlessly every day (hour? minute?) and 100s of millions of people go to bed every night without falling out of bed and dying.

You're right, it would be great if 100s of people could get together and have an innocent water-fight where no-one gets hurt and nothing gets damaged. You're right, but they demonstrably can't. It is a sad state of affairs when an adult is arrested for planning a water fight. You're right and I completely agree!

However:
  • This takes place barely one week after 4 major cities in England suffered some of the worst rioting the country's ever seen resulting in 1000s of arrests.
  • The London riots started after a "peaceful protest".
  • The riots were organised by people using BlackBerry messenger
  • Previous large "organised" water-fights (disproportionately so, compared with other organised events) have led to criminal damage, violence and death.

Taken in context, the police force's reaction is a little more understandable than the title suggests: "Police arrest man over blackberry water fight plan". It's still bloody ridiculous, and should never have happened, but if you insist on ignoring history, and the context of the news, you're not much better than the people who think this arrest was entirely appropriate.

Oh, and as an aside, to all the people whining about Rupert Murdoch and The Sun, just shut the fuck up. As much as I hate The Sun, and I hate them enough that I won't visit that link, someone was stabbed at one of these events, people were assaulted and people were arrested. Those are, what I call, "facts". It's almost completely irrelevant to the discussion to harp on and on about The Sun as if you're the first person to realise what a shit paper it is when you can get the same facts (albeit with considerably less bias and bile) from any number of other newspapers.

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101914)

How many deaths were caused by people crossing the street at appropriate crosswalks and with the traffic lights? Better make that illegal. How many deaths playing football in after work leagues? Better make that illegal. How many deaths falling out of bed? Better make that illegal!

Neither you nor I know the stats for dangers associated with this type of mob event. In general I agree with you, but it seems like there is at least the potential that this type of event could be orders of magnitude more likely to result in injury or death than the examples you site. We already do have laws prohibiting crossing against the light - do we perhaps need laws to address the dangers associated with "open invite" style of "fun" events? Will our existing laws against bad behaviour be sufficient if this type of event becomes common? Frankly I don't know.

I don't say this often, because I try to be generally polite even on the internet, but your logic is retarded. It is what leads to kids not being able to play tag during recess. It is the levels of paranoia that makes an adult male hesitate to help a terrified child because someone might think that they are trying to kidnap them. It is a significant portion of what is wrong with our society: the idea that everything and everyone can, and should, be made as completely safe as possible, regardless of the consequences.

And just so we're absolutely clear, I'd rather live in a world where one or two people die having a water fight than live in a world where someone can arrest an adult for planning a water fight.

Is there any level of death rates where you would be willing to do something more than go with the "hey, shit happens" type of attitude? Does it make a difference if the deaths are participants or "innocent" bystanders?

In general I do agree with your assessment that as a society we have become overly risk averse, to our detriment. However, I will restate: "If every time one of these events happened, there were serious injuries, I can see the logic behind trying to prevent the gatherings in the first place." Personally I would give more support to less draconian measures than "making water fights illegal", but to deny that there are certain levels of danger that should be addressed through legislation is at least as "retarded" as the logic that I claim to be able to see.

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099646)

A "newspaper" owned by the (then) owner of Myspace blames a civil disturbance on Facebook? Have a look at this [dontbuythesun.co.uk] if you think The Sun is a reliable news source.

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099700)

Yes, you're over reaching. We're talking about a freaking WATER FIGHT. Yes, when people congregate there could be trouble. How many people have been killed in bars, football games, or concerts? Should people who plan those be arrested as well?

The activity itself is legal, and harmless. There's always certain people that'll cause trouble no matter what the event is.

Definite Overreach: Thugs w/Knives not Kids w/H2O (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099744)

nuff said

Re:Definite Overreach: Thugs w/Knives not Kids w/H (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100148)

nuff said

If I were a cop, and had a choice to arrest one of two potential criminals -- one that had a knife and one that had a water balloon -- well I think I'd take the safer choice, too.

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099912)

If every time one of these events happened, there were serious injuries, I can see the logic behind trying to prevent the gatherings in the first place.

There have been injuries and deaths resulting from posts made to online web forums before too. Are you implying the activity we both just did should be illegal? By your logic, it sure seems so! I'll let you turn yourself in first however...

Granted, FAR more posts are made safely every day than those that result in injury or death, however the exact same is true of water fights.

Of course our water fights always involved just water, no asshole kids punching people in the face for being squirted with water at a water fight, like in the article you link to.

Perhaps what should be illegal is going to random unrelated events and punching people in the face! (Quite a bit to expect out of our current legal framework I know, but it's nice to dream)

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101340)

If every time one of these events happened, there were serious injuries, I can see the logic behind trying to prevent the gatherings in the first place.

There have been injuries and deaths resulting from posts made to online web forums before too. Are you implying the activity we both just did should be illegal? By your logic, it sure seems so! I'll let you turn yourself in first however...

Granted, FAR more posts are made safely every day than those that result in injury or death, however the exact same is true of water fights.

Sure, general water fights seldom result in any troubles, but what about "open call" water fights such as these? If 10% of them result in someone's death - probably we want to do something about it.

Hey, I think it is a bit over the top too, however I can understand at least some of the reasoning. It looks like back in 2008 there were at least a few instances of people calling for a great big waterfight and a bunch of thugs turned up and caused troubles for the water-people and "innocent" bystanders were also negatively impacted. If this becomes common, then it makes sense to try to do something to prevent the unwanted outcomes. In my opinion one should be using existing laws against the "troublemakers", but there is some justification in assigning some share of the responsibility for problems with the people who "organized" the event in the first place.

Freedom of speech and assembly are limited in a variety of situations where other people's safety are impacted for example. One might be charged with some sort of "public nuisance" type of offense if you started to throw money into the street, and there is the famous prohibition of shouting "Fire!" in crowded theaters if in fact no fire exists.

Re:Water fight deaths in 2008? (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101766)

Granted, FAR more posts are made safely every day than those that result in injury or death, however the exact same is true of water fights.

Millions of posts are written on the internet, every day. How many result in injury or death? Now, how many of these massive, "organised", water-fights among "adults" occur every year?

Oh, and please don't confuse "a few kids running around in the yard squirting each other" with "100s of adults in a public space squirting each other", it makes you look foolish.

HAAHAAA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099482)

That's what you get for giving up your gun right's you flippin fairies.

Re:HAAHAAA (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099864)

That's what you get for giving up your gun right's you flippin fairies.

Sure, because that could never have happened to gun owners ...
</sarcasm>

Re:HAAHAAA (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101216)

Probably not. That's why the statement of 4 boxes in liberty exist.

It's a good thing (1)

frogjimmy (1253756) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099488)

I'm glad they arrested him for attempting to organize this. They have to keep the momentum on BBM crackdowns after all of the arrests made from the rioting and looting earlier. You know what was started with a water fight? World War I. Archduke Ferdinand took a water balloon off the temple and there's your catalyst.

ha haw hah heh har ha! (0)

dawning (1532689) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099648)

Ha haw ha hah ha ha har ha ha ha phhhh ha ha ha ha ha hah ha ha ha ha ha hah lol ha ha heh ha ha ha ha heh ha ha ha ha ha hah ha ha ha hahe haw ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haw ha ha har ha ha ha har ha hah ha ha ha! Cute little trolly-piggies, they so funny!!! ;')

The ECHR protects freedom of Assembly in England (4, Informative)

vorlich (972710) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099750)

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Under article 11. Since there are two different systems of Law in The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the European Convention on Human Rights is the final adjudication on this. So he can go to a water fight - however the possibility that a water fight could affect the "peace" it could be restricted on the grounds of possible public safety. In Scotland, which is the country with a different legal system, the possibility that a "water fight" could get out of hand would be classed as "intent to commit a breach of the peace". However a regular water fight in a sensible location would be hardly fall into that category.

However this is all academic because it appears to come from a collection of stories in today's Colchester gazette where it reports that a man was arrested for trying to organise a thousand strong water fight in the town centre or 'inciting public disorder.'http://mobile.gazette-news.co.uk/news/9194795.Man_charged_after_allegedly_trying_to_organise_a_mass_water_fight/ [gazette-news.co.uk]
I'm reasonably certain that if their is any truth in the story, the local constabulary would have to take it seriously and avoid charges of complacency.The story appears to have been drawn from the Monday morning court calendar - the normal source of news on a Monday morning. The same report mentions another man, posting on facebook, one assumes he is the main feature of this post and he was released without charge.

In my opinion (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099868)

Just using facebook should be a crime.

Re:In my opinion (1)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101020)

We might get our wish. Let me wax poetic with this if I may.

Be care what we wish,
wish upon a star,
its on the satellite dish
on the road there is On Star.

God hears what we say,
but he is not alone.
Be careful little kids,
never leave without your phone.

When will my words be free to be said,
without wondering who will be poking in my trash.
Some say that freedom is dead,
but will know for sure when their backs feel the lash.

Dissident British Performance Artist Arrested (0)

iteyoidar (972700) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100112)

State censors arrested a dissident British performance artist for attempting to incite pro-democracy protests using a "Blackberry," a social networking device popular in his native country. The arrest comes just days after a wave of intense pro-democracy demonstrations among British peasants in the capital city of London and the subsequent crackdown by state security. David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has been quoted as saying the protests "brought great shame to the ancestors of all involved" and would be "severely punished in accordance with the Glorious United Kingdom's policies as prescribed by The Great March Towards Austerity"

Re:Dissident British Performance Artist Arrested (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37100420)

State censors arrested a dissident British performance artist for attempting to incite pro-democracy protests using a "Blackberry," a social networking device popular in his native country. The arrest comes just days after a wave of intense pro-democracy demonstrations among British peasants in the capital city of London and the subsequent crackdown by state security. David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has been quoted as saying the protests "brought great shame to the ancestors of all involved" and would be "severely punished in accordance with the Glorious United Kingdom's policies as prescribed by The Great March Towards Austerity"

You are not allowed to have thoughts that lead you to criticise Great Cameron Who Saved London and I am now guilty of pre-thought and
blatantly repressed hostility to The Great Cameron Who Saved London.

I will now organise a mass demonstration to condemn myself so that I can be arrested for wanting to be arrested..

I am Loyal !
I am Obey !

Re:Dissident British Performance Artist Arrested (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100952)

There was no "pro-democratic protests". Where were the banners? Where were the slogans? Where were the orderly marches and sit ins? Where were the calls to change the political landscape. None of that happened. There is nothing "pro-democratic" about a water fight.

What occurred was gang of people committing crimes of vandalism, theft, battery, destruction of public and private property and in one case murder. This was not "protest" it was pure anarchy.

huh? (0)

magnusrex1280 (1075361) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100240)

I'm confused. They say they're monitoring social networking sites for unlawful activity, but what exactly is unlawful about a water fight? They're defeating their own logic with their statements.

Re:huh? (3, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100912)

Any assembly over a certain number requires a permit because the following needs to be done;
1. Extra policing arranged in case things get out of hand.
2. Extra clean up to deal with the mass of garbage left behind by many people.
3. Extra paramedics to deal with injuries.
4. Restroom facilities for such a large number of people.
5. Blocking off streets so people do not get run over.

The article is also misleading in showing two people with small water pistols. What was being organized was hundreds, if not thousands, of people converging in downtown public streets to in effect take over the area and have a water fight. Any business in their right mind would close their doors to protect themselves from the mayhem. Don't the shops and business have a right to do business? Who will pay for the policing, Who will pay for the cleanup? Who will pay for damages?

A water fight is not illegal; hundreds of people taking over a city centre without proper planning and a permit for what ever reason, even a water fight, is illegal.

England and Iran now have something in common. (1)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100882)

They are both afraid of water fights in their streets apparently. I was just looking at an article just the other day on how the youth in Iran were gathering for water fights, and the article showed this beautiful Iranian girl with a squirt gun, (Super Soaker type) with a big smile on her face. It was talking about how the regime frowned on these water fights, but the youth of Iran would not be daunted and were out in the streets having fun. It's just a peaceful assembly of young people having fun.

Even in Iran, the crazy old men in charge there have had enough common sense to just back off and let the kids play. It's a water fight, if you can't let the kids play in the water, what kind of monster are you?

Behold the irony, a man gets arrested for communicating a water fight with friends in Britain. Fear, and Loathing in England. My attorney and I need plane tickets, a fast red convertible, some cash and a hotel room in London immediately. I need to cover this story.

No criminals left for the police to arrest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37101084)

Because, ye gods, lately there aren't enough real criminals in the UK to arrest and prosecute through the justice system rather than people planning water fights? Get a fricking sense of priorities, you incompetent morons.

First they came for the mass water fights... what next? Illegal pillow fights? Jello fights? Pie fights? Just how silly and harmless would it have to get before it wasn't cause for overly sensitive police state drones to arrest the people responsible? How about a mass stand-in where people stand an arms length apart on public property and do absolutely nothing for a while? Is that allowable?

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