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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Content notes for "Every Man's Business"
Here are the content notes for "Every Man's Business."


Pips likes the Japanese style of business suit, as it is easier to find his size there.

Terramagne-America tends to distinguish between misbehavior like "unwelcome roughhousing" or "inappropriate touch" that does not cause injury, then crimes like "battery" which do cause injury, and "battery causing serious bodily injury" or "grievous harm" that can have permanent effects. Anything that can be treated with a typical first aid kit may get counted as misbehavior, while anything that requires actual medical attention (like Pips needing prescription medication and a hospital visit) counts as a crime. Mental injuries count as well as physical injuries, if they require treatment; in this case, it counts because of Pips needing to talk with the police counselor about how to handle getting blindsided while off duty.

Mark's actions would usually be classified as misbehavior and handled through community court, but causing injury changes them to crimes. T-America permits people to resolve disputes within the legal system but without taking a case to court, which is one way they minimize the court traffic. Also, a juvenile record is customarily sealed after reaching adulthood, but both Pips and Joshua insist that Mark's remain visible unless actually cleared. This is because Mark has a long history of slipping out of charges so that people can't easily see how much trouble he has gotten into over the years, and they want that warning to be clearly visible now.

In any case, the offender may be required to pay for all bills incurred due to the offense (such as medical bills) in addition to the fines owed to the justice system. The victim typically receives money or other resources to restore damaged property, pay bills, etc.; and may also receive additional payments or services to compensate for the upset.

Notably, in T-America battery on a peace officer includes personnel who are off duty, out of uniform, and/or outside the performance of their duty, if the attacker knows their profession. It's one of the extra protections they get for being more meshed in the community. They're always setting a good example, and usually will step in to handle an emergency that happens in front of them, and sometimes those things just generally irritate someone who decides to take it out on them.

Another distinction regards battery on a person with a disability, in that actions which cause a disability to flare up (in this case, Pips getting a migraine) get charged at a higher level than those which cause only typical harm, because the harm (causing a flare) relates directly to the category (disability) which makes the crime more serious. It's a worse crime to attack a disabled person than an abled person, but worse yet again if it causes harm specific to their disability. As Pips has pointed out, punching him in the shoulder would have been irritating but not temporarily crippling. Although Mark neither knew nor was motivated by the fact that Pips has a migraine disorder, he did fixate on the glasses (required due to the disorder) and was motivated by them, as proven by his "four-eyes" slur. That makes it also a hate crime.

Provocation of a supervillain is a newly recognized crime, based on a law passed after the Tanner incident. It is related to a patchy set of other laws providing some protection for people with flickering or reflexive superpowers that can be activated by outside causes and/or whose nature makes control difficult. Most superpowers are harder to control under stress, making it important to avoid pushing soups to a point where their control snaps. Pips waives this charge because Mark neither knew nor was motivated by the fact that Pips is a supervillain.

Assault refers to the attempted use of force, and battery to the actual use of force.

Statutes California Penal Code Section 240 (Simple Assault)
California Penal Code Section 242 (Battery)
Battery: Either a misdemeanor up to six months in county jail, and/or maximum fine $2,000, probation [...]
Related Charge California Penal Code Section 243: (Battery on a Peace Officer): Up to three years county jail or state prison, fine up to $10,000, probation

Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury California Penal Code 243(d) PC
[...]
For felony aggravated battery, the potential penalties include:
• Two (2), three (3) or four (4) years in county jail, and/or
• A fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).5

§ 14-32.1. Assaults on individuals with a disability; punishments

Section 13K: Assault and battery upon an elderly or disabled person; definitions; penalties
[...]
(b) Whoever commits an assault and battery upon an elder or person with a disability and by such assault and battery causes bodily injury shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Battery on a Peace Officer / Battery on a Police Officer: California Penal Code 243(b) & Penal Code 243(c) PC
Generally, battery against a peace officer is a misdemeanor in California. However, if you cause injury in the course of battering a peace officer, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted of misdemeanor battery against a peace officer, you face up to 364 days in county jail, a $2,000 fine, or both ...

California "Hate Crimes" Laws
Penal Code sections 422.55, 422.6, 422.7, and 422.75 PC
2.1. Penal Code 422.6 PC – stand-alone hate crimes
If you violate Penal Code 422.6 PC by interfering with someone's legal or constitutional rights . . . or damaging or destroying their property . . . because they have one of the protected characteristics listed above . . ., then you will be charged with a California misdemeanor.
[...]
As a felony, the potential penalties for the offense might include:
• Felony (formal) probation,
• Sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years in prison, and/or
• A fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).20

T-America adds aggravated charges for vandalism of adaptive equipment, and more so for equipment that is prescription or otherwise customized (like Pips' glasses) than for standard equipment (like a regular crutch). This reflects the degree of distress and disruption caused by the damage. Anything customarily worn on the body, such as glasses, becomes part of the person's self-image and so damaging it is more distressing than damaging a separate item such as a table. Prescription or customized equipment is not only more expensive to replace, it takes longer and may require specialized assistance to calibrate, which is exactly what happened with Pips' glasses: he was unable to function normally for several days until the new glasses were produced, calibrated, and his body adapted. Standard equipment can be replaced quickly and easily with any equivalent item. The aggravated charge of vandalism of adaptive equipment adds a fine equal to 25% of the equipment's cost when new, on top of any other fines, to be paid as restitution to the victim. For prescription or other customized equipment, that goes up to 50% of the cost to replace.

Vandalism Punishment & Sentencing – California Penal Code Section 594
[...]
A felony conviction of vandalism can result in imprisonment for up to three years in state prison and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both fine and imprisonment.
If the damage from vandalism is ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, the fine can increase to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

Under California law, there is a mandatory one year driver’s license suspension of anyone who is convicted of vandalism. This suspension also applies in cases where a person pleads guilty to vandalism in a negotiated plea.

Note that T-America has much closer adherence to "make the punishment fit the crime." A driver's license may only be revoked if the person commits a driving-related offense; in regard to vandalism, for example, purposely driving over someone else's property. Because driving is an important part of everyday life for most citizens, it cannot be infringed unless it has been misused or the crime is so severe it requires a general reduction of freedoms -- and persons who are legally forbidden to drive must be provided with alternative means of travel to avoid impacting their access to survival needs like food and health care.

Pips
If charged as misdemeanors, the low end of penalties would be up to 6 months jail, up to $2,000 in fines, and probation. But most of the aggravated charges and some other factors push these toward felonies for which the high end would be up to 12 years in jail and up to $76,000 in fines.

Misdemeanor battery: Either a misdemeanor up to six months in county jail, and/or maximum fine $2,000, probation

Felony aggravated battery: Two (2), three (3) or four (4) years in county jail, and/or a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Assault and battery upon an elderly or disabled person: imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by both such fine and imprisonment.

California hate crimes: Sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years in prison, and/or a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).20

Vandalism: If the damage from vandalism is ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, the fine can increase to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

The aggravated charge of vandalism of adaptive equipment adds a fine equal to 25% of the equipment's cost when new, on top of any other fines, to be paid as restitution to the victim. For prescription or other customized equipment, that goes up to 50% of the cost to replace. (+ $5,000)

Joshua
Battery on a Peace Officer: If convicted of misdemeanor battery against a peace officer, you face up to 364 days in county jail, a $2,000 fine, or both.

Terramagne-America recognizes that children and adolescents have different physical and psychological qualities than adults. Development typically does not mature until the early-to-mid-twenties. The defense of infancy recognizes that children take time to develop the capacity to distinguish right from wrong, and to follow rules with some consistency. Therefore, children aged 7 years and younger cannot be charged with crimes, because they are not responsible for their own actions. Adults responsible for them may be charged with crimes relating to poor supervision instead, and obliged to pay damages. Children prone to severe misbehavior may be referred to specialized care. Children and adolescents aged 8-12 may or may not have developed enough to understand moral obligations and commit crimes. The presumption of immaturity remains, but at this stage it can be challenged if there is evidence of understanding. Adolescents aged 13-17 are presumed responsible, but at this stage it can be challenged if there is evidence of incapacity. This is similar to the parameters for people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and other impairments. Proving incapacity in adults 18+ is harder.

The overall rule is that somebody has to be responsible. If a person is not responsible, they must be in the care of someone else who is. So a key threshold is crossed when children begin to venture outside the immedate reach of their parents, a natural and necessary part of growing up. Young children first begin playing in another room or their own yard. It's around age 7 when most expand to riding their bike or walking to the closest park or a corner store. Between 8-12 is when T-America expects youth to learn how to behave in public, ride a bicycle longer distances, use public transportation, run minor errands, entertain themselves, stay home alone, babysit younger children, and so forth. In order to have the right to go around town on their own, they must be able to meet community expectations of behavior, and in return earn the freedom to travel without interference. Most youth earn a bicycle license, independent bus pass, and/or Junior Citizen certificate from malls or parks in this timeframe, and these documents constitute evidence of responsibility. Documentation is not required to enjoy those perks, but does convey a specific set of rights and responsibilities.

The tolerance for misbehavior decreases as age increases. Society expects older people to know how to behave properly. Mark is rapidly outgrowing the age when "youthful indiscretions" will hold any weight. His irresponsible actions mean that he will be stuck with tighter supervision, until or unless he can demonstrate that he has learned better.

Clearing a debt to society -- T-America has a legal concept of "clearing" a debt to society. After the perpetrator has made appropriate restitution, the case is marked as cleared. Passively completing a prison term doesn't count -- the perpetrator has to make amends in some active fashion. The symbol for it is the letters "CL" surrounded by a pair of arrows bent into a circle. Such records are customarily kept out of public view, although former offenders can choose to leave them open, as contrasted with unsettled debts to society which are more visible. Whereas L-America tends to discriminate against former offenders, T-America generally prefers to encourage those who have cleared the debt by giving them better opportunities.

Dit Da Jow is a popular type of bruise liniment which can be bought ($15 / 4 oz) or made at home.

Remedial education teaches things that students should have learned earlier but did not. T-America offers these in topics such as civics and citizen law. Note that T-America mandates that students get credit for all required classes; schools are not allowed to force students to take classes that cost money for no credit. No-credit classes may be offered just for fun, but in practice, most classes are recorded and do count.

A property assessor determines the fair market value of real estate. This may involve methods such as analyzing the features of the property, comparing it to recent sales of similar properties in the area, researching archives of property values, and so on.

Child abuse produces certain patterns in fractures that go from lower to higher probability, as shown in this chart.

Recreational injuries produce some similar patterns (e.g. injuries in different stages of healing) with differences in specific location. Sports and active play cause a variety of common injuries including fractures.

Gym chalk is typically white but also comes in other colors such as blue. Climbing chalks also come in colors such as gold or gray. These colored chalks are often used in live-action roleplaying and other games. Learn when to use chalk in the gym.

Among the most common sport injuries affect the wrist, hand, or fingers. Know the first aid for sports. The RICE protocol will fix a majority of minor to moderate sport injuries.

This page offers text and video instructions in several falling techniques. Martial arts typically teach students how to fall safely, but the skill is useful for other sports as well as everyday life. As Pips discovered, you should always ask if your intended sparring or roughhousing partner knows how to fall safely.

An incident report form documents altercations or injuries. Learn how to write one. Here is a sample form.

Lie detection is a fascinating but fraught field. One example is thermal imagery, observing changes in skin temperature. What it really measures is stress, not truth/falsehood or honesty/deception. An honest but distressed person may seem dishonest while a dishonest but calm one may seem honest. Pips layers heat vision with other types of super-sight and his own analytical skills to yield a pretty accurate reading. In game terms, he could use his Good (+2) Enhanced Vision, which means an opponent rolling against that with ordinary Qualities would rarely if ever succeed -- although another soup with an opposed ability like Body Control or Lie Like a Carpet might. Explore some ways to detect lies.

Apologies need several parts to be effective. Pips doesn't always use every one of those, but he does apologize without prompting when he feels that he violated his own standards or ones he respects. Things will inevitably go wrong between people, and you need to understand how to repair your relationships. Here is an example from the kink community. Follow the steps to earn back broken trust. However, understand that faking either and apology or forgiveness tends to make matters worse instead of better. Some people demand an apology even if obviously insincere, while others don't want to hear it unless it is genuine.

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