How a bizarre 1970s Arctic killing could help set a legal precedent for space murder

Originally published at: How a bizarre 1970s Arctic killing could help set a legal precedent for space murder | Boing Boing


By creating a robust set of international laws that can apply to non-national spaces, like space? :woman_shrugging:

Isn’t this, at it’s heart, the problem with the current system of nation-states? In fact, this seems like a fascinating look at just those failures.

I’d argue this also points to another major problem with our current world - that far too often, we are playing catch up rather than being proactive on various kinds of problems. Of course, you can’t anticipate everything, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we could have already figured out that this kind of thing would be a problem, since we’ve been dealing with overlapping jurisdictions for a while now already in the case of international waters. It’s not a one to one comparision, but it seems to me that with a little creativity (or maybe looking at sci-fi literature, where there are hundreds of competing solutions to these problems), we can work on a set of international laws with some teeth that address these issues before we send hundreds of people into LEO, and then tinker from there.


The link is to the wrong case. You’ve linked to a Nebraska stabbing case. It should link to:
United States of America, Appellee, v. Mario Jaime Escamilla, Appellant, 467 F.2d 341 (4th Cir. 1972) :: Justia


To me it seems that if one is in international space, or outer space, the nationalities of the people involved should factor into what territories are responsible for arbitrating and judging. Though i would presume that it would be more beneficial to set up a sort of international org responsible for these kinds of situations

Growing up there was a legal doctrine in our family, that as long as we could close our bedroom doors, we’d only be disciplined for making messes in the public spaces.

Earth’s gravity well should be the defining boundery for a similar legal doctrine for all future space activity, since there’s no accounting for what sort of legal doctrines apply once we eventually encounter the neighbors.

It may not happen for thousands of years yet, and we might find ourselves “owning” all the space around sol up to the interstellar medium. Yet despite the low risk, the stakes are high enough that it seems insanely reckless to assume that murders off-planet are somehow inevitable.

Unregulated corporate litter in space so far, only is an inconvenience to other humans. If we clutter up another planets’ orbit with our trash, it might trigger a fumigation, with no more legal recourse available to us, than we’d afford an ant colony or bedbug infestation. It seems stupid to assume we can misbehave out there with the same abandon as we’ve done down here…

Glad someone posted this, cuz I was about to! I need to rewatch Outland.

The legal no-man’s-land aspect of space, especially with so much commercial space development happening right now, just seems to reinforce the notion that like here on Earth, space is going to continue to get more Gibsonianly cyberpunk over the coming years.

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“For music, they had two eight tracks. One was Jefferson Airplane.”

I think I see the problem.

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LEOs in LEO?

That’s some strong astrological vibes, there - they’re gonna be nicknamed Lions, aren’t they?



Where do we ‘plant’ our respective flags in space… and will they flap in a vacuum?

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That’s a good question! Maaaaybe?

We don’t. No one nation, people, whatever, should claim space.


Spoiler, it’s already settled: 18 U.S. Code § 7 - Special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States defined | U.S. Code | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

This reminds me of the Zone of Death in Yellowstone National Park.

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