Author Topic: Remind me to stay out of Texas  (Read 3740 times)

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Offline rumborak

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Remind me to stay out of Texas
« on: June 12, 2013, 09:58:11 AM »
Guy gets 50 years in jail for stealing $35 rack of ribs:

http://www.sott.net/article/262338-Man-in-Waco-Texas-gets-50-years-in-prison-for-stealing-a-35-rack-of-ribs

Guy gets acquitted of killing prostitute in attempt to "retrieve stolen property":

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/jilted-john-acquitted-texas-prostitute-death-article-1.1365975

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Offline lonestar

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2013, 10:24:29 AM »
From what I see, as long as you pay for your ribs and your hookers put out as promised, you should be fine.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2013, 10:47:44 AM »
Because injustices never happen anywhere else...?

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Offline rumborak

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2013, 10:50:55 AM »
Falsely arresting someone != getting away with murder (literally).

But, I'm not particularly defending other places. I'm just saying that Texas' "defend to right property at all costs" is ludicrous.
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Offline j

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2013, 11:18:25 AM »
But, I'm not particularly defending other places. I'm just saying that Texas' "defend to right property at all costs" is ludicrous.

I agree, that notion is taken to a crazy extreme at times.  Personally, the lack of a state income tax is enough for me to offset some of the ridiculous political tendencies (although those are not nearly as widespread here as much of the country seems to think) and continue living here for the time being. :hat

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Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2013, 11:40:49 AM »
This is absolutely ridiculous.  I get that he's a repeat offender and all, but 50 years for stealing a rack of ribs?   :facepalm:


Reminds me of those horribly misguided "Three Strikes" laws like the one they used to have in CA  Just imagine getting LIFE in prison for stealing a pair of $2.50 tube socks. 

Offline bosk1

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2013, 11:49:06 AM »
Well, yes, but...tube socks.  As far as I'm concerned, you should get life for stealing tube socks even if it's a first offense. 
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Offline rumborak

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2013, 11:55:47 AM »
But, I'm not particularly defending other places. I'm just saying that Texas' "defend to right property at all costs" is ludicrous.

I agree, that notion is taken to a crazy extreme at times.  Personally, the lack of a state income tax is enough for me to offset some of the ridiculous political tendencies (although those are not nearly as widespread here as much of the country seems to think) and continue living here for the time being. :hat

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When the whole secession talk was big right after Obama's reelection, we were joking that we would have to instate a Berlin-like air bridge to Austin, TX. :lol
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2013, 12:24:47 PM »
Those are both extreme examples, but honestly, they don't trouble me too much. I wouldn't personally shoot somebody for steeling $150, but I don't really have any problem with a law that says you can. There are specific circumstances that have to be met for it to be lawful, and under those circumstance a thief is really making a pretty big mistake. Bottom line is you have to be able to protect your property. If it were possible to convict the guy for being an asshole, I'd be all for it, but that's about it.

As for rib thief, he fucked up. He was offered a plea deal which he refused to accept. He would have done five years. Now, we can all agree that 50, meaning 12,  for what he did is excessive, but does anybody really think 5 years is too much for a guy already convicted of: burglary, attempted robbery, aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident and possession of cocaine?

And aside from the no state income tax that J mentioned, I'd really miss the courtesy if I had to live elsewhere. As long as you don't steal cash or ribs, people down here treat each other quite nicely.
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Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2013, 12:46:16 PM »
As long as you don't steal cash or ribs, people down here treat each other quite nicely.

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Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2013, 01:10:22 PM »

As for rib thief, he fucked up. He was offered a plea deal which he refused to accept. He would have done five years. Now, we can all agree that 50, meaning 12,  for what he did is excessive, but does anybody really think 5 years is too much for a guy already convicted of: burglary, attempted robbery, aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident and possession of cocaine?



Couple of corrections.  He would have qualified for parole in 5 years.  Qualifying =/= Making.  Secondly, he now qualifies for parole after 12 years.  Again, Qualifying =/= Making


And yes, I think 5 years is excessive for a non-violent crime against property.   

Offline El Barto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2013, 01:39:07 PM »
Fair enough on the qualification part. I just assume that they don't keep people around longer than necessary down here.

I disagree on the second part, though. For one thing, it's not a crime against property. It's a crime against a business. Second, if he hadn't threatened the parking lot attendant, it would have been a petty theft and he'd have gotten a year or two of probation. It was menacing a guy who dared to stop him that bumped it up to a felony. Lastly, I don't think I'd look at is as the robbery that got him sent up, rather than the fifth felony conviction. Important distinction. And let's keep in mind that a jury determined this sentence, presumably based on their opinion on the guy which we aren't privy to. If this had been a three strikes scenario, I'd be concerned about it as there's nothing but arbitrary law making that determination. This was 12 people who felt he deserved the maximum punishment available to them, and I'm not really inclined to argue with them based on 3 paragraphs of sensationalist hype.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2013, 01:40:46 PM »
Those are both extreme examples, but honestly, they don't trouble me too much. I wouldn't personally shoot somebody for steeling $150, but I don't really have any problem with a law that says you can. There are specific circumstances that have to be met for it to be lawful, and under those circumstance a thief is really making a pretty big mistake.

One day I will fathom you, EB. You're usually up in arms about the slightest infraction from a cop, but you think it's ok for a guy to shoot somebody in the back while they're leaving with a small amount of money they arguably even earned? That is to say, you think it's legally sound for someone to decide on the spot that a monetary transaction wasn't valid, and when the other party leaves with said money to grab the gun and mow them over, in order to keep them from leaving?
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2013, 02:00:43 PM »
I didn't say it was OK. I said it was excessive and the guy was an asshole. Yet, Texas gives people the right to use deadly force to defend their property under certain circumstances, which I tend to agree with. Unfortunately, sometimes peoples' actions fall under the letter of the law even if we think it sucks. That's the case here.

Quote from: The Man
9.41. PROTECTION OF ONE'S OWN PROPERTY.  (a) A person in
lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is
justified in using force against another when and to the degree the
actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to
prevent or terminate the other's trespass on the land or unlawful
interference with the property.
   (b)  A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible,
movable property by another is justified in using force against the
other when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force
is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the
property if the actor uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit
after the dispossession and:
      (1)  the actor reasonably believes the other had no
claim of right when he dispossessed the actor;  or
      (2)  the other accomplished the dispossession by using
force, threat, or fraud against the actor.

9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY.  A person is
justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or
tangible, movable property:
      (1)  if he would be justified in using force against the
other under Section 9.41;  and
      (2)  when and to the degree he reasonably believes the
deadly force is immediately necessary:
         (A)  to prevent the other's imminent commission of
arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the
nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime;  or
         (B)  to prevent the other who is fleeing
immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated
robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the
property;  and
      (3)  he reasonably believes that:                                             
         (A)  the land or property cannot be protected or
recovered by any other means;  or
         (B)  the use of force other than deadly force to
protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or
another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

If I were on his jury, I'd think pretty poorly of a person who killed a whore over $150, but I wouldn't find him guilty of this law.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2013, 02:34:27 PM »
I honestly find you're right now hiding behind the technicality. Did the jury follow the law correctly? Yes.
However, the bigger question is: What kind of law is it, supposedly from a conservative/arch-Christian state, that so clearly puts $150 above the life of a person? The guy was never in personal danger, not in a single instant. In fact he could have knocked down the prostitute and be done with it. He instead took his gun and made Swiss cheese out of her and her car.

How, in any kind of view of justice, be it secular or Christians, is that an acceptable law?
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Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2013, 03:02:25 PM »
Or that it's acceptable that a guy has an AK-47 on hand lest someone cheat him of $150?
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2013, 03:13:10 PM »
I'm not hiding behind it, in fact I don't like it. I accept that it's a consequence of society that sometimes people can do shitty things and it not be a criminal act based on the letter of the law.

As for the legitimacy of the law itself, it's a combination of reasonable factors that in toto can create something that doesn't look quite right. A person needs to be able to exercise some use of force to prevent the loss of their property to theft. That's a no brainer. At the same time, a person who's legally in the right in using force has to be able to protect himself from greater force. Put another way, if the law says I'm justified in exercising force, it can't limit me to force insufficient to prevent me from getting my ass kicked. The person with the legal standing has to be allowed to use greater force.

I have no problem with either of these components separately. However, when combined, it can lead to a situation like what we have here, which is unfortunate.


Or that it's acceptable that a guy has an AK-47 on hand lest someone cheat him of $150?
Irrelevant.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2013, 03:44:41 PM »
EB, you make it sound as if making laws is like solving quantum mechanics equations, where one has to throw up their hands and proclaim defeat because it's just too damn complex to do.
All the law needs to say is that it allows "reasonable force". The term reasonable is well-established and it's exactly what the jury is for. The guy's use of force was utterly excessive. With that slight modification in the law the jury could have done the morally correct judgment.
Problem is, legislation is so obviously hamstrung by lobby interests that the public will simply shrug away some lowly hooker's death before they could potentially be deprived of mowing over some dude in the future themselves.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2013, 04:01:48 PM »
When I first read it, I was immediately struck by (and confused by) the fact that it did not say "reasonable force."  That is the more typical standard, and I agree that it is the appropriate standard.  That being said, simply adding the term "reasonable" isn't quite the black-and-white fix-all that you make it out to be.  Juries don't rule consistently on what is or isn't reasonable, and there is tons and tons of often inconsistent case law on what is or is not reasonable under different circumstances.  Some of it comes down to community standards, so given a particular community, you might still get exactly the same result whether "reasonable" is included in the law or not.


On a completely unrelated tangent, this is yet another example of where I am completely baffled by the fact that some get completely up in arms (no pun intended) over the death of a "lowly hooker," as you put it (and nothing wrong with being up in arms--a life is a life, whether a person is involved in immoral behavior or not), but yet not bat an eye over the "right" to murder unborn babies.  That incongruity is just something I will never understand I guess.  But I digress...
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2013, 04:05:13 PM »
What lobby interest is it that you think wants the law this way?

Something you need to consider is that for every instance of a lawful citizen going overboard, like what we have here, there's an instance of a criminal scumbag getting the better end of the law. Those stories you hear about on the news where one of them sues a homeowner for shooting him while he was raping the wife and kids. Juries do weird shit sometimes. These are the same sorts of cases that prompted the slew of castle doctrine laws a few years ago. I'm not trying to say that necessarily justifies the law we have here, but what I can tell you that people will look at that when trying to work out a reasonable balance. Anything that protects the rights of criminals and lessens the options for the law abiding will not go over very well down here. Your solution might be a reasonable option, but in the end it does exactly what I just said, and people aren't going to go for it.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2013, 04:10:32 PM »
As for rib thief, he fucked up. He was offered a plea deal which he refused to accept. He would have done five years. Now, we can all agree that 50, meaning 12,  for what he did is excessive, but does anybody really think 5 years is too much for a guy already convicted of: burglary, attempted robbery, aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident and possession of cocaine?

I'm surprised to see you include that one.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2013, 04:33:21 PM »
Merely quoting the article. The sad truth, though, is that it was a felony charge he was convicted of. Hard to convince a jury to ignore one of the charges because you disagree with it.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2013, 05:56:00 PM »

Yee Ha!   :rollin


I gave this some more thought while I was driving home, and this might well be all on the prosecutor. Unfortunately, absolutely nobody cared about this case until the acquittal, so the only stories I can find about it are all "IT'S LEGAL TO KILL PROSTITUTES IN TEXAS" and other such sensational nonsense. I was eventually able to find that he was charged with murder, and if that was the only charge offered to the jury, it's not surprising he was acquitted. Texas has 6 varieties of homicide, based on the circumstances and the severity. This seems like a pretty good case for involuntary manslaughter, giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was shooting for the tires. I'll bet he'd have gotten convicted on that charge. I also can't tell if he was offered a deal or not.

Also, I'm not real keen on the prosecutor's interpretation of the statute used to acquit him. "It's not intended for someone trying to force another person into an illegal act such as prostitution, they argued." This seems like a reach to me. Setting aside the "forced into prostitution part," either it was robbery or not. I don't think people are arguing for not.
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Offline jsem

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2013, 04:52:20 AM »
50 years for stealing a rack of ribs? Insanity.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2013, 08:16:43 AM »
Just out of curiosity, how many years would be appropriate punishment for a guy working on his fifth felony conviction? Should the guy have gotten any time, or would another round of probation been in order?
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2013, 09:16:18 AM »
How and why is stealing a rack of ribs a felony?

Offline rumborak

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2013, 09:56:39 AM »
You obviously want to take his previous convictions into account. But honestly, for a rack of ribs? 6 months tops.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2013, 10:02:25 AM »
Depends.  Where they Kansas City style, St. Louis style, Memphis style, Carolinas style, or Texas style?  Big difference, and I think the penalty should reflect that.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2013, 10:04:28 AM »
How and why is stealing a rack of ribs a felony?
It's a felony when you imply that you're going to stab the employee who tries to stop you from leaving. Like I said above, if it were simply shoplifting we wouldn't be having this discussion. He bumped it up to a felony by using the threat of force.
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Offline yeshaberto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2013, 10:15:04 AM »
Regarding thread title, if u r a criminal - that is exactly the point.  I used to teach a parolee class in texas and this guy came marching in yelling about how "he's moving to louisiana cause texas dont let u get away with nuthin"
I thought, that is the point

Offline jsem

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2013, 11:45:15 AM »
Honestly, for using the threat of force that way... maybe a few years tops, even if he was a serial criminal.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2013, 12:58:34 PM »
Honestly, for using the threat of force that way... maybe a few years tops, even if he was a serial criminal.
A couple of years seems reasonable to me. Something else we're not considering is whether or not he'd been in prison before for the other convictions. It's entirely possible he did 5 years each for a couple of them, and the jury understandably thought another 5 year hitch would be pointless.

In the end, the guy made some pretty stupid choices. When he threatened the employee he really screwed himself. "Now you just turned a ticket into a serious crime," followed by even more threats. Furthermore, he was offered a deal that would have gotten him [most likely] five years, and he opted to roll the dice. He crapped out.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2013, 01:03:10 PM »
Honestly, for using the threat of force that way... maybe a few years tops, even if he was a serial criminal.
A couple of years seems reasonable to me. Something else we're not considering is whether or not he'd been in prison before for the other convictions. It's entirely possible he did 5 years each for a couple of them, and the jury understandably thought another 5 year hitch would be pointless.

That's not how it works though. You can't just hike up the punishment based on what you feel will be effective. There are ranges for punishments, that's why it always says "punishable up to X years in jail").
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Offline jsem

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2013, 01:25:26 PM »
Yeah. We know. But we're trying to just judge this case from what we know and what we think would be reasonable. That's not how the law works though.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Remind me to stay out of Texas
« Reply #34 on: June 13, 2013, 01:37:09 PM »
Honestly, for using the threat of force that way... maybe a few years tops, even if he was a serial criminal.
A couple of years seems reasonable to me. Something else we're not considering is whether or not he'd been in prison before for the other convictions. It's entirely possible he did 5 years each for a couple of them, and the jury understandably thought another 5 year hitch would be pointless.

That's not how it works though. You can't just hike up the punishment based on what you feel will be effective. There are ranges for punishments, that's why it always says "punishable up to X years in jail").
That makes no sense. The reason there are ranges of punishments is so that you CAN hike up the punishment to something you feel would be effective. I suspect they had a penalty range of 2-50 years. They opted for 50 because they felt less would be pointless.
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