Friday, January 20, 2012

Diplomatic Immunity Abuse

We've all seen it on the TV shows, a diplomat commits some crime, but nothing can be done because of their diplomatic immunity. Well it happens in reality quite often. Most of the time it's for violation traffic laws, sometimes theft, other times abusing domestic employees, and at times more serious crimes are gotten away with because of diplomatic immunity.

Last Sunday, it was Si Hong Ri, North Korean ambassador to Germany who committed a crime that would mean fines and up to two years in jail. The ambassador was caught fishing without a license. When police first found him they asked him to stop he simply smiled, claimed to be the ambassador but stated that he didn't have papers proving who he was, and continued his fishing. Not wanting to get themselves in trouble the polezi called it in and asked for a picture of the ambassador to be sent to them. One was and it showed him to be telling the truth. The officers again asked him to stop, but he simply smiled and continued once again.

Now illegal fishing of this nature is not that big of a crime, and diplomatic immunity is definitely a time honored tradition. However, diplomats do in actuality get away with series things, including violent crimes like murder, simply because they can flash credentials and walk away. Worse case scenario for most of them, is being barred from the country they were in, and being sent home. It is a shame and a travesty that they can get away with such things. It is along the same lines of people who simply buy their way out of trouble. The rules of diplomatic immunity must be changed to allow for criminal persecution, especially when people were harmed, when the laws were broken.

In Ambassador Si Hong Ri's case, hopefully he really was hungry and went without catching anything.

Etta James, Dead at 73

Early Friday, Etta James passed on at the age of 73. Born Jamesette Hawkins on January 25, 1938 she was discovered singing on a street corner in San Fransisco. Her life as a star was a constant struggle, due to various addictions that she eventually over came, but she will always be remembered for her voice. Without a doubt one of the greatest American singers, and likely the greatest soul singer. She had many hits over the years, bringing her four Grammy awards, but none so famous as a song that came out before she was known, which she made her own in 1961, "At Last".