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Meandering thoughts of a Bay Area college student… be prepared for some bipolar vocabulary

Today I learned

It just occurred to me that I could have used TIL, but an inner conflict is currently brewing in my mind about whether or not I should give in to being a new Redditor and begin using its vernacular while giving away a piece of my own identity by sacrificing some vocabulary to affirm my membership with this website. (Is this a run on? Don’t think so…?)

But NO. My identity and my personality shall remain whole, and I shan’t use acronyms or words such as “fuckery” or TIL or whatever words the clever minds that inhabit Reddit should concoct with next! But believe me, my mind is already starting to use Reddit’s language on a daily basis. Nevertheless, my blogging skills should hopefully remain unscathed. Ah Reddit, aren’t you a blessing and a curse all rolled into one? Indeed, when I actually get an extra night to finish my accounting homework, I spend this especially rare reprieve exploring subreddits and blogging. It’ll be fine.

Ironically, the class that I was taking… “for extra credit,” my business law class, is actually the most interesting class I have and the one I look forward to the most. Though reputed as my most difficult class according to my law professor, I’m finding it to be a bundle of fun filled sprinkled with mind fuckeries. (DAMMIT!)

So today we learned about libel and slander. What interests me more is the oral side of defamation: slander. So check this out.

In order to have successfully committed slander, one must fulfill four requirements according to our legal system.

First, the sentence in question must have been stated as a fact.

Second, the statement must be false.

Third, the statement has been communicated to someone other than the person that the statement was about.

Fourth, there must be proof of injury, such as embarrassment, loss of reputation, etc.

For example, let’s assume you tell your friend:

“Bao regularly flies on combat sorties drunk.” If I do not regularly fly in my F-16C drunk, than the person who says it has committed slander because:

The statement was stated as a fact, it was false, it was communicated to somebody other than me, and it caused me injury because now the United States Air Force is after my ass and I could lose my job and my reputation has already been shot down in flames.

Now, what if you had truly believed that this statement is true? You actually truly believed that I fly combat sorties while under the influence of alcohol. In the end, it doesn’t matter. All four requirements are met whether or not you truly believed in this statement.

Now, assume this is gossip and you heard through your friend that this happened and you simply passed the word.

“Susan told me that Bao regularly flies on combat sorties drunk!”

Can I still sue you for slander?? You did state the sentence as a fact… but! The second requirement is unfulfilled! You were NOT giving out a false statement because you said “Susan told me…” if Susan really did tell you this information. Therefore, I would not be able to sue you successfully, but I can still sue Susan.

Now, what if you were a fellow pilot in my squadron and you report this to our base commander? Can I still sue you for slander?

I can’t.

The law protects you through what’s called “qualified privilege.” This is between two people, when there is legitimate need to exchange information. Good faith is required. There is a legitimate need to report this because it endangers myself, the plane, and the squadron. Even if this isn’t true, I still can’t sue you.

Likewise, if you see somebody cheating during an exam and you stop to tell the professor one on one afterwards, the person who you thought was cheating can’t sue even if what you reported was false (this is only if you’ve done so by accident.) BUT if you raise your hand hella fast during class and yell, “Hey, Susan is cheating! Everybody look!” Qualified privilege no longer applies (classroom of people > you plus professor) and if what you said was false, Susan can sue you for slander and could probably win.

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