Headscratchers Minority Report Discussion

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07:53:20 AM Oct 28th 2013
  • Conspiracy requires a second party and at least active talking, not just thinking. And if it's true the premeditated murder can be seen days in advance, and usually the person can be arrested within a few hours of that, then no, there will usually be no crime of conspiracy or attempt in the traditional sense. And don't forget, they never said that the reason premeditated murder was easy to see in advance was that the intent was formed that far in advance. As we see from Anderton's case, it need not be. And even if the intent is formed by the time the arrest is made, that still doesn't mean any crime has been committed.
  • It's not about intent being formed—it's about actions being taken. The Precogs don't read someone's mind to determine their intent, they sense the future outcome of actions taken now. Someone deciding in their head, "I'm going to murder my wife," wouldn't set them off—but him taking actions like creating an alibi, researching places to get rid of a body, buying/finding a gun, that is what sets the Precogs off. It's about things being set in motion—like the analogy Anderton does with the ball. Witwer didn't move to catch it when Anderton was thinking of throwing the ball, he only moved to catch it once the ball had been set in motion. Also, Anderton's case can't be taken as normal. It was completely unique—the short story says it more explicitly, but he was the only person on the planet who could have had his murder predicted before he could even consider doing it because of his position in Precrime.
    • Not true at all. I don't know where you got that idea but it's not from the movie. The Precogs don't read either someone's mind or any actions that they're taking in the present. They literally read the future. (See some other Headscratchers on this point.) Which means it's entirely possible, and in fact the typical case, that their predictions would lead to Precrime arresting someone who either hadn't formed any intent yet at all, or had formed intent but hadn't taken any physical actions whatsoever in furtherance of their crime. In either of those cases, the person hasn't committed any crime as of the time of the arrest. And plus, creating alibis or researching places to dump a body are not in themselves crimes either. And the only way Anderton's situation was unique is that he was a member of Precrime, so he knows how they work and has the skill to get away from them with enough time to commit his crime. It has nothing to do with when the precogs can predict his crime, which was days before just because that's how premeditated murder works.
  • If they could just read "the future," then it wouldn't matter whether it was premeditated or a crime of passion. Clearly, they read some kind of probability—they can assess things over a large enough scale and with enough precision that they can see how someone's present actions are going to play out. If they were just reading "the future," then presumably they'd see all murders happening more or less the same distance in advance. Anderton's position is unique because he sees the previsions, therefore knows his own fate, and therefore will try to change it. It's a classic self-fulfilling prophecy. It's the kind of situation that will only happen to the person who sees the previsions.
    • If so, this is WMG territory. There's no direct textual or other evidence for that in the movie. (Maybe in the story, I haven't read it, but this article isn't about that.) Besides, you can't really apply real-world logic (about the most reasonable way the predictions could be happening) to a universe where a drug can cause mutations that allow you to see murders that are happening beyond your direct observation. However they know it, it's plainly seen that the Precogs have access to information that should be physically impossible for them to acquire, at least spatially. Even if it's based on present actions, it's remote vision of those actions through solid walls. It doesn't seem that big a leap that in this universe, the information travels through time as well. Now why a distance radius or premeditation should matter then is not explained, but that doesn't change the fact that the movie gives no direct evidence that the predictions are based on observations of the present. The same goes for the role of Anderton's experience with Precrime in his own red ball.
  • No direct evidence except for how it consistently works and is shown to work throughout the movie. They have extra-spacial awareness, clearly, but they're never shown to read minds or read someone's intent. Look at the murders we see predicted. The guy at the start? They only start predicting it when he starts walking back toward his house—i.e., taking the action that will lead to him killing his wife. In Anderton's case, well, it's a chicken and egg thing, but his prediction happens when he learns of his prediction—i.e., the thing that makes him start taking action that will lead to him killing Leo Crow. (As I said, Anderton's position is unique—there is nobody else on the planet whose impetus for murdering someone would be finding out they're going to murder someone). The last, again, the prediction only takes form when he learns that Anderton is there—i.e., when he begins to take action that will lead to the murder. Every time we see a prediction happen, it happens at the same time that the culprit begins to take actions that will directly lead to the murder.
    • Like I said, no direct evidence. None of that qualifies as direct. The characters explain that premeditated murder can be predicted earlier than crimes of passion. They don't say why. And in both cases, we've seen predictions happen before intent was formed. The guy at the beginning had not yet formed the intent at the time of the prediction. Yes, he walked toward his house; that's a crime now? By your logic, as long as a person will someday commit a crime, every action they take in their lives up to that point is an action that will lead to that crime. And as for Anderton, he's the only premeditated murder prediction that we see play out (we don't see how far in advance the Burgess ball came up), so we really can't form any conclusions from that on the relation between intent, action, and prediction. His situation is unique, but we have no evidence whether that uniqueness matters to the Precogs or not.
  • How is "this is how it's shown to work" not direct evidence? And no, walking toward the house isn't a crime, and that's not what I said. Don't twist my words and logic. I'm saying the Precogs are warned by the actions that precipitate the crime. And how do you know the guy walking back didn't suspect something? That he didn't walk back toward the house thinking, "If that guy's there, I'm going to kill him"? Shockingly, murderous intent is not always announced out loud. A crime of passion is predicted closer to the event because those actions leading to it happen immediately before. Premeditated murder is predicted further in advance because the actions leading to it start sooner. And a crime of passion happens faster—even if the first action is seemingly innocuous, unless the develop teleportation, by the time anyone in Precrime gets there, the murder will be about to take place, as happens with the guy at the start. As I said, we see three murders predicted and either prevented or carried out—and yes, we do know when the Burgiss ball drops for Anderton, because we see it happen. You can't just dismiss them as "not direct evidence" because they don't agree with your interpretation. And of course the uniqueness matters. Anderton only goes on out because he learns he will go on out and kill Leo Crow. Someone whose job it is to review the previsions is the only person who could be spurred to murder by reviewing a prevision.
    • No, I can dismiss it as "not direct evidence" precisely because multiple interpretations of that evidence are consistent with the facts that we see. That alone means that it's not direct evidence for your position. It is not "shown to work" in any particular way. We see three cases, hardly enough to figure out exactly how the predictions work. There is no evidence whatsoever that the precogs do their thing by observing actions in the present. The facts are consistent with other ways prediction could work, such as direct observation of the future. And: crimes of passion do not necessarily happen faster. A premeditated murder's actions do *not* necessarily happen sooner. All that is required for premeditation is a calm, conscious decision to commit the murder; it could happen in a split second, just as fast as a crime of passion. This is just basic law. And as for walking toward the house being a crime, since this whole thread is about whether it is just for Precrime to arrest people when they do, the only way it could be is if walking home is a crime, since that's the only thing the guy had done by the time they decided to arrest him. Finally, "of course" is not an argument.
  • Yes, a crime of passion by definition is something that happens from a sudden strong impulse. It is a crime that happens in the heat of a moment. A crime of passion is clearly something that happens quickly. In each of the three cases, we see the prediction come concurrently with the actions that will lead to the murder. If they could just read "the future" it shouldn't matter if it's premeditated or not—"the future" is going to happen either way. Ergo, they are reading something happening now that is leading to the future. There is no plausible reason for there to be different time intervals between a crime of passion and a premeditated murder if they're just reading "the future." The way the movie plays out and how the previsions are shown forming clearly indicates that there is something that triggers the vision in the present. And, again, yes, being that Anderton's unique position and circumstances are the premise of the whole story, it should be flatly obvious that it's going to make a difference.
    • A crime of passion has to happen quickly, but a premeditated murder can be just as quick. As, again, is Anderton's, who doesn't even form an intent until moments before he would have killed his victim. No, it doesn't make that much sense that premeditation should matter, but there's a lot about the precogs that aren't explained. Various other unrevealed factors could cause the difference. And your theory, while suggestive, doesn't work, because for both crimes of passion and premeditated murder, the precogs can predict the murder long before the intent as been formed, and hence long before any actions are taken that could plausibly be said to "lead up to" the crime. So on the whole, your theory doesn't explain the facts any better than one where the future is directly observed, and it has other problems that that theory doesn't have. As for Anderton's unique position, yes, that's the point of the story, but nothing in the movie suggests that that leads to a unique situation specifically for how the precogs make their predictions.
  • If it's premeditated, that means you're taking some kind of action and making some kind of decision well before you get to the point of actually killing someone—you're rearranging your schedule, or figuring out theirs, or something. Again, Anderton's case is completely unique, so please stop using it as an example of how all kinds of premeditated murders happen without the person ever intending to murder. It is literally the one and only time a situation like taht could ever possibly happen. It's an exception to the rule. You've said nothing to disprove my theory beyond, "Well, there's other things we don't know, so you're probably not right either." The movie makes it pretty damn clear from what I can tell, no matter how many times you want to deny it.
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