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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Ariel Castro and the kidnapping of three young women for ten years (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Ariel Castro and the kidnapping of three young women for ten years
Jeff C.
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I was surprised there wasn't already a topic about this, so here's one. I know it's a bit of a dark subject, but I think we can manage it. This has made national news, after all.

For those who don't know, Ariel Castro is responsible for kidnapping three young women ten years ago and holding them in his house. He impregnated them several times and gave them abortions by starving them and punching them repeatedly. One of them gave birth and he adopted the child (who is now six years old). The women escaped and called 911 and that's how they caught the guy. It wasn't just him, either. He did this with the help of two of his brothers, I believe.

Anyway, I am truly appauled by this and I don't even know how to react. They're pushing for the death penalty, charging him with every individual sexual assault charge, which could number in the thousands, as well as the manslaughter charges against the unborn children.

Part of me thinks it would be better to keep him alive, just because dying is so easy and it only takes a few seconds. Living is the hard part. Make his life miserable for as long as possible, and while you're at it, hire a team of psychologists to figure out exactly what's going on in his head.

Anyway, what do you guys think about this? Do you think he should get the death penalty or do you disagree with it?

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Stephan
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I oppose the death penalty. I would have no problem putting a bullet in his head myself, I just don't believe 12 jurors or a judge representing a government that says killing is wrong should have the right to do it. I guess I sort of subscribe to Ned Stark's morality on the subject.
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BlackBlade
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The two brothers were cleared of any involvement by prosecutors. The dude did it all on his own.
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Rakeesh
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I oppose the death penalty, not (much) because I would have a problem with the state exercising lethal force on this man...if it were proven with total reliability that he and everyone else executed actually *was* 'that man'. That's by far my own biggest stumbling block on the death penalty, and until and unless we get much more reliable on questions of guilt or innocence and proper procedure, I can't really answer whether the other roadblock-discomfort with government executions-would really be enough.

On a semi-related note, a day before the story broke, fundamentalist jackass coworker (with a history of adultery and various petty crime convictions) and I were talking about questions of consent-such as how much 'responsibility', say, a woman who gets drunk in a bar and then 'has sex' (that is, potentially raped) later while she is completely intoxicated.

I pointed out that this attitude has much of its roots in the notion that if a woman gets really drunk, it's permissible and acceptable to many people that men will try and have sex with them. He even said outright that 'she knew what could happen', and that knowledge should be a factor in determining how much 'responsibility' (blame) she carried.

After the story broke, I asked him how much responsibility these three girls should have to carry for accepting dubiously justified car rides from this man, and ha, the dirty look he gave me. Did not at all like the comparison.

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Samprimary
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I oppose the death penalty because there's no goddamned point to it outside of satiating a primitive monkey vindictiveness that civilized systems should be above and not play into, especially when it so often results in bloated costs to the systems and avoidable tragedy due to circumspect profiling and discrimination in our legal systems. Still having a death penalty is an unforced moral error of civilization that we can be rid of.

I won't shed any tears for this obviously completely broken and terrible human being if he gets killed by the system, because at least in this case he's obviously guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Yet I'd rather have him in a supermax for the rest of his miserable life for a quarter to a twelfth the cost to us. As with most all people this deranged and demented in life, he is not only a perpetrator of evil, but a product of it as well. Only the least among us care about indulging some primitive bloodlust on this husk, after all the damage has been done.

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Thesifer
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I oppose the death penalty. And in this case, still oppose it. I think it's a lot worse punishment to force someone to live in captivity for the rest of their lives, than to kill them and end their suffering. He imprisoned those girls for ~10 years, he owes a minimum of 35 years imprisonment just for that + all other related crimes, he can spend the rest of his natural life in prison.
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AchillesHeel
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I'm iffy on the death penalty. A man like Ariel cannot be rehabilitated, he was not framed and this is not just an unfortunate coincidence that he happened to be near. He is of no benefit to humanity, it is impossible for him to do anything more considerate for society than to either die or spend the rest of his life imprisoned and doped to the nines to truly ensure that he can never hurt another person.

I don't care whether or not he suffers, I just don't see a point in valuing his right to live. So kill him, putting him in an isolated cell for the next fifteen to forty years that he can survive in prison is no more humane than putting the monster down permanently. I don't care to know that he is being raped and beaten by men who did plenty of raping and beating themselves for reasons no less disgusting than his, it doesn't solve anything. Killing him will never fix anything either, but I'd rather save society money.

His victims may find solace in his death. He would be gone, it would be completely over. Twenty-five years from they won't have to see his face on the news as a reporter "gets the real story about what happened all those years ago." He has more than proven that he does not deserve a right to live, I fail to see why society should be held responsible for his life after what he has done.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I used to be very pro death penalty...but as far broken as our legal system is, I'm not any more.

Give me a fool proof 100% accurate brain scan to prove guilt, and I'd be back on board faster then you could say " ride the lighting".

Plus given the above I'd be totally down for torture...not to get info, cause brain scan and all, but as a punishment. For instance, rapists can die from bloodloss after having their wangs pulled off by a pair of pliers...whereas a serial murderer can spend a day per victim being tortured.

The more heinous the crime, the more gruesome the death. Ala the short story by OSC "1000 Deaths" or similar.

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Corwin
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Huh... I wouldn't want people administering torture who might actually like doing it because of the pain it inflicts. Talk about creating a monster to kill a monster! I understand wanting to use torture to gain information when lives are on the line, although since it has proven a very unreliable method I'd rather it wasn't used. But for revenge?! Meh, I think we need to outgrow that... As for the death penalty, what Samp so well said.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Nothing to do with revenge...simply a deterrent. I can understand why the death penalty isn't a good one with this system, but with a brain scan technology and a horrible painful death...

And anyway, we could program robots to do it...no danger there.

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Rakeesh
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It's difficult to credit your advocacy for serial torture as simply a matter of deterrence when you speak so enthusiastically about it. I don't insist that you *are*, only that it sounds as though you are. Might be something to consider, or it might not.

Anyway, as for the idea of robots programmed to torture...well. That presumes a few things. Two of them are that programmers and engineers would be immune from sadism and another is that there would not be those who wouldn't get a thrill simply from watching.

As for the broader theme of finding the place where we as a society can do whatever we like-the 'whatever' as usual in such discussions always being very, very bad-I am proud and grateful to live in a society that takes that question and concludes 'there are things we won't do to human beings', not so much from a specific moral concern for the individual but for our own fundamental humanity.

Put another way, even a bunch of late 18th century idealists, pragmatists, philosophers, lawyers, soldiers and revolutionary farmers recognized that we shouldn't torture people we recognize as human beings. They had plenty of stumbling blocks, it's true, but even back then they could see trouble in permitting government that sort of power.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I have a real question:

What is the difference between justice and revenge?

Let's use the pulling off of a rapist's ding dangle as an example. The idea behind it would be to implant the idea that if one uses their willy without permission, they will lose it...and their life. Consider that rape victims are never the same again, that the person they were is gone and changed forever, because of that wang, it strikes me as -fair-. Also, the death by castration is helping to prevent the next lad with big dreams and no charms and an inflated sense of entitlement.

I can see what you mean about torturing humans is dehumanizing to society, and creating monsters to destroy monsters is self defeating. Assuming that it does that is.

And when there is even a shadow of doubt that you have the right person, I can see erring on the side of non permanent consequence. As you pointed out years ago, you can let an innocent man go from jail, but you can't resurrect him.

But if you -know- that someone is guilty, for a cold hard fact, indisputable, 100% for sure, is it not worth while to give them a swift torture instead of an (expensive) prolonged torture, by the means of imprisonment? I mean, how is locking someone up with a bunch of other criminals where violence, rape and no real control of their life not torture? At least if you torture someone to death they are then free.

Also, if you lock up someone, they can still rape or kill inside prison, or even escape. So killing them is a preventative measure much more thorough then incarceration.

Here is what dictionary.com has to say:
quote:
revenge
1. to exact punishment or expiation for a wrong on behalf of, especially in a resentful or vindictive spirit: He revenged his murdered brother.
2. to take vengeance for; inflict punishment for; avenge: He revenged his brother's murder.
3. to take revenge.
4. the act of revenging; retaliation for injuries or wrongs; vengeance.
5. something done in vengeance.
6. the desire to revenge; vindictiveness.
7. an opportunity to retaliate or gain satisfaction.

quote:
justice
1. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause.
2. rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice.
3. the moral principle determining just conduct.
4. conformity to this principle, as manifested in conduct; just conduct, dealing, or treatment.
5. the administering of deserved punishment or reward.

Sounds like the main difference is if you have an attitude while delivering the punishment or not.
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TomDavidson
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Justice is, quite simply, fictional.
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Stone_Wolf_
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You mean the sheriff, Buford T. Justice from Smokey and the Bandit? Cause, yea, of course he is fictional. Only Bo "Bandit" Darville was really real.
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Rakeesh
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Stone_Wolf,

quote:
Let's use the pulling off of a rapist's ding dangle as an example. The idea behind it would be to implant the idea that if one uses their willy without permission, they will lose it...and their life. Consider that rape victims are never the same again, that the person they were is gone and changed forever, because of that wang, it strikes me as -fair-. Also, the death by castration is helping to prevent the next lad with big dreams and no charms and an inflated sense of entitlement.

First, if we're going to seriously consider whether or not we should torture someone to death for various crimes, well I have to wonder why we can't just say 'penis' instead of various silly euphamisms. I mean, squeamishness about saying a 'dirty' word but not squeamish about (someone else) torturing a human being to death strikes me as strange.

Second, that paragraph is packed with mistaken beliefs about rape. It's not clear how much sexual violence has to do with hormones such as testosterone and how much is caused by other factors. Not all rapists are charmless schmucks, although it's safe to say at least that the sense of entitlement is there.

As for the fairness of the punishment, well as terrible as the crime is, the victim is alive at the end of it. Terribly changed, yes. Something they'll carry forever, it's true. But this 'never the same person again' isn't the same as dead. In this scenario, the victim is 'gone' metaphorically speaking but the perpetrator is gone quite literally. I'm not sure by what metric that could be considered fair. Killing someone (much less by torturing them to death) is by definition as far as we can, as human beings, go when it comes to inflicting harm on someone.

Then there's the question of what sort of deterrent value this would have. Well, I think it's safe to say that if we started torturing rapists to death by ripping their penises off tomorrow that would have some deterrent effect. How much, though? You appear to be assuming that the effect would be brisk and universal, but you don't actually have evidence to back that up, do you? It just feels very likely.

Meanwhile in the realm of things we can actually examine in the world, we find what is probably the strongest factor in reducing rape: that is, empowering women. Work to eliminate the varying assumptions in society that women are there to have sex with, in that idea's various shades and costumes, and when we look at societies that have managed this-that have reduced the degree to which women are viewed as sex objects-and we also find less rape.

That might be more effective than tearing someone's genitalia off and then killing them, or it might not. But I do know one thing: doing the one is an almost certain benefit with no drawbacks at all, while doing the other may not work at all and even if it does changes us as a society quite seriously. I also mistrust any solution which presents itself as satisfying bloodlust-and let's not kid ourselves, Stone_Wolf, that's a big component.

quote:
I can see what you mean about torturing humans is dehumanizing to society, and creating monsters to destroy monsters is self defeating. Assuming that it does that is.

Is that last sentence a serious objection? Do you think torturers can stroll out of the prison cell or the operating room or the secluded stretch of nowhere and not have suffered a cost to themselves?

quote:
And when there is even a shadow of doubt that you have the right person, I can see erring on the side of non permanent consequence. As you pointed out years ago, you can let an innocent man go from jail, but you can't resurrect him.

This would seem to be at odds with what you were saying before. On the one hand, it's fair to kill someone for rape. On the other hand, you view killing someone as irrevocable and the most serious thing.

quote:
But if you -know- that someone is guilty, for a cold hard fact, indisputable, 100% for sure, is it not worth while to give them a swift torture instead of an (expensive) prolonged torture, by the means of imprisonment? I mean, how is locking someone up with a bunch of other criminals where violence, rape and no real control of their life not torture? At least if you torture someone to death they are then free.

First of all, that sort of certainty is almost impossible. It's not a serious consideration in terms of the criminal justice system. Second, you're offering a false choice here. The choice isn't between 'long, expensive imprisonment where rape and violent crime are common', 'do nothing', or 'swift brutal torture'. You do recognize that, right? That the current prison conditions in the US aren't some sort of immutable circumstance of imprisoning criminals? That we could, as a society, take some quick and very meaningful steps to change that if we actually cared to? But we don't. Far more often than a serious concern for our society, prison rape is used as a punchline to a joke.

quote:
Also, if you lock up someone, they can still rape or kill inside prison, or even escape. So killing them is a preventative measure much more thorough then incarceration.

It is certainly more thorough. As for the rest, though, let's take off the table that you're concerned about other prisoners they might kill since you're advocating torture and execution as punishment. There are of course the corrections officers. I suspect if we actually reformed our prisons instead of cramming them ever more full and overworking the facilities and the staff, though, that concern would drop sharply. As for escape...well, that's about as serious a concern as the question of absolute ironclad certainty.

quote:
Here is what dictionary.com has to say:
We can't just look to the dictionary to answer questions such as these. We might as well look to the dictionary after asking the question, "What is love?" and then consider the case closed.
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Dogbreath
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I always thought the point of prisons and executions in general is (or at least, should be) first, to protect society from dangerous people and, second, to rehabilitate said dangerous people and return them to society as productive citizens. Our prison system is a massive failure as far as point two goes (though there are educational opportunities and therapists, and the boredom and ennui of prison life should at least theoretically be a deterrent from future crimes), and is failing somewhat miserably with the first point, seeing that the prisons are so overpopulated with perpetrators of victimless crimes. But I don't see any place for "revenge" in any of that. In fact, I'd argue the 8th Amendment was designed to avoid the justice system being used as a means of revenge.

In theory, I have no problem with the concept of the death penalty. The idea that "this person is too dangerous to ever be free in society" or "this person is incapable of rehabilitation", so simply end his life. My main concern is I don't really believe it's a good thing to give government the power to end the lives of it's own citizens, or initiate violence against them. I've already seen far too much police brutality as it is, and too many police shootings that had no real justification. As soon as you give a man with a badge or a gavel the power to, more or less, indiscriminately exercise violence against his fellow citizens with little or no repercussions, you can bet some of those men will abuse that power. I don't just mean by killing, either - when I lived in a mostly black neighborhood in college, my friends and I were harassed numerous times by white police officers, and at one point were assaulted. But this harassment and assault was perfectly legal, by virtue of us being "suspicious persons."

So right now, locking people away in cages for the rest of their lives is, while not humane, the best option we have. Also, due to the numerous appeals involved and the lengthy time frame, executions generally cost the government somewhat more than the cost of feeding and housing a man for the rest of his life. If this system was reformed so that, say, 2 weeks after being proven guilty he was taken out back and hanged, it could be made drastically cheaper.

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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Justice is, quite simply, fictional.

Agreed. Justice and fairness are impossible to measure or deliver, in any absolute sense.

Protecting the public is a much easier goal to achieve. Certainly not trivially easy (at this point in time, anyway), but at least you can measure it.

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Jeff C.
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quote:
If this system was reformed so that, say, 2 weeks after being proven guilty he was taken out back and hanged, it could be made drastically cheaper.
If we had the technology to look at someone's brain and recall memories, thus proving their guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt, I think the death penalty would work and it wouldn't cost so much. Unfortunately, we're not there yet, but maybe one day.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
...why we can't just say 'penis' instead of various silly euphamisms.

I don't know why if I choose to say tally wacker or John Thomas it in anyway shape or form limits others from saying "penis".

quote:
I mean, squeamishness about saying a 'dirty' word but not squeamish about (someone else) torturing a human being to death strikes me as strange.
Well, that's an assumption that turns out to be wrong. I have no problem with using clinical terminology and only say things like "dip stick" because they amuse me.

quote:
Second, that paragraph is packed with mistaken beliefs about rape. It's not clear how much sexual violence has to do with hormones such as testosterone and how much is caused by other factors. Not all rapists are charmless schmucks, although it's safe to say at least that the sense of entitlement is there.
Ah, but my point was that having their trouser trout ripped off with a pair of pliers would be an effective deterrent to those kind of rapists, not that all were.

quote:
As for the fairness of the punishment, well as terrible as the crime is, the victim is alive at the end of it. Terribly changed, yes. Something they'll carry forever, it's true. But this 'never the same person again' isn't the same as dead. In this scenario, the victim is 'gone' metaphorically speaking but the perpetrator is gone quite literally. I'm not sure by what metric that could be considered fair. Killing someone (much less by torturing them to death) is by definition as far as we can, as human beings, go when it comes to inflicting harm on someone.
So, to be fair rapists should be raped and sent on their way? And if someone leaks missile plans to the North Koreans, we should not hang them for treason, but give their personal enemies some secret which will level the playing field? One can not govern by perfect symmetry.

quote:
Then there's the question of what sort of deterrent value this would have. Well, I think it's safe to say that if we started torturing rapists to death by ripping their penises off tomorrow that would have some deterrent effect. How much, though? You appear to be assuming that the effect would be brisk and universal, but you don't actually have evidence to back that up, do you? It just feels very likely.
How can one have a theoretical discussion based on a technology that does not exist and bring evidence to the table? That it would have some deterrent effect you agree, but you disagree with what you assume is how much I think it would have? Um...I think it would have...some. So, we agree. One impact that it would make is on recidivism.
quote:
Within 3 years, 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide.
Which is -very- low compared to other recidivism. But let's punch those numbers anyway.
quote:
In 2007, the estimated number of forcible rapes (90,427) decreased 2.5 percent from the 2006 estimate.
So, 90,427 times 2.5% is 2,260. Approximately, over two thousand women a year are the victims of rape by a convicted rapist.

quote:
That might be more effective than tearing someone's genitalia off and then killing them, or it might not. But I do know one thing: doing the one is an almost certain benefit with no drawbacks at all, while doing the other may not work at all and even if it does changes us as a society quite seriously. I also mistrust any solution which presents itself as satisfying bloodlust-and let's not kid ourselves, Stone_Wolf, that's a big component.
Bloodlust...*shrug* Likely. But it just isn't my point. It isn't about revenge or bloodlust, it's about trying to defeat wolves by treating them like sheep. It just doesn't work. The wolves choose to raise the stakes, then society must be able to protect itself. We can't just humanly kill the rapists, because what do you do to someone who rapes ten or twenty, or kills his victims, or tortures -and- kills their victims. Escalation is the problem. And that is the beauty of this system. The more heinous the crime, the horrible the punishment.

quote:
Do you think torturers can stroll out of the prison cell or the operating room or the secluded stretch of nowhere and not have suffered a cost to themselves?
That's why ya use robots! Unless (until?) they turn loose and start torturing random citizens no one's soul has to carry that weight.

quote:
This would seem to be at odds with what you were saying before. On the one hand, it's fair to kill someone for rape. On the other hand, you view killing someone as irrevocable and the most serious thing.
Na! It's an "if, then" statement. "If you -don't- know for a certainty the guilt of the person, then death should be avoided as you can't take it back if you wrong." In this theoretical discussion, the starting "if" statement is certainty of guilt. Say what you like about the likelihood of that happening, but for the purposes of my statements it -is the assumption-.

quote:
First of all, that sort of certainty is almost impossible. It's not a serious consideration in terms of the criminal justice system.
See above. Also, it is not inconceivable that such a technology as remote memory retrieval will be discovered...sometime.

quote:
Second, you're offering a false choice here. The choice isn't between 'long, expensive imprisonment where rape and violent crime are common', 'do nothing', or 'swift brutal torture'. You do recognize that, right? That the current prison conditions in the US aren't some sort of immutable circumstance of imprisoning criminals? That we could, as a society, take some quick and very meaningful steps to change that if we actually cared to? But we don't. Far more often than a serious concern for our society, prison rape is used as a punchline to a joke.
Not at all! I am not advocating for -our society- to adopt torturing convicts to death! I was having a theoretical discussion about a future society using an undiscovered technology.

quote:
It is certainly more thorough. As for the rest, though, let's take off the table that you're concerned about other prisoners they might kill since you're advocating torture and execution as punishment. There are of course the corrections officers.
Not at all! People are in prison for tax evasion and drug possession.

quote:
We can't just look to the dictionary to answer questions such as these. We might as well look to the dictionary after asking the question, "What is love?" and then consider the case closed.
Not at all! I was merely pointing out that "revenge" and "justice" have a lot of overlap on in a venn diagram, and that simply assigning the motive of "revenge" isn't a good argument.

quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
I always thought the point of prisons and executions in general is (or at least, should be) first, to protect society from dangerous people...

And that's the death part. The torture comes in to prevent escalation.

Since we are talking theoretical sci-fi stuff here, I'd like to get on record that a prison planet...for violent crimes is also a great idea, one which doesn't have the draw back of having to torture and kill your own citizens.

[ May 12, 2013, 04:23 AM: Message edited by: Stone_Wolf_ ]

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Teshi
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Humane imprisonment. We are not not Ariel Castro. We are better than him.

I realise the US prisons are not necessarily humane, but hopefully one day that will be changed.

quote:
The idea behind it would be to implant the idea that if one uses their penis* without permission
It is clear that no such deterrent exists. The US prison system is widely known to be terrible and horrific in terms of quality of life. It doesn't stop crime. Back when torture was legal, it didn't stop crime. You have no evidence of such a thing being useful or reliable. Without that excuse, it's just bloodlust.

*Agreed with Rakeesh. If you can't use the proper words to describe a man's penis when you're describing torture, you should absolutely NOT be pronouncing on what you want to do to him or what you think the state should be empowered to do to him on your behalf.

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Teshi
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Humane imprisonment. We are not not Ariel Castro. We are better than him.

I realise the US prisons are not necessarily humane, but hopefully one day that will be changed.

quote:
The idea behind it would be to implant the idea that if one uses their penis* without permission
It is clear that no such deterrent exists. The US prison system is widely known to be terrible and horrific in terms of quality of life. It doesn't stop crime. Back when torture was legal, it didn't stop crime. You have no evidence of such a thing being useful or reliable. Without that excuse, it's just bloodlust.

*Agreed with Rakeesh. If you can't use the proper words to describe a man's penis when you're describing torture, you should absolutely NOT be pronouncing on what you want to do to him or what you think the state should be empowered to do to him on your behalf.

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Teshi
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As the universe would have it, here is a creepy article about criminality revealed in brainscans and a man who seems to think telling young people they are criminals and feeding them Omega-3 would help them to not become criminals (at the bottom).

I think that if this isn't complete nonsense in terms of determining future (which it appears to be, since the man found that he had a criminalesque brain scan and apparently isn't a criminal or at least doesn't act on his criminal impulses) the only use it would have would be to see how people's brains are working post-crime, if there's some question about how genuine they are.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
quote:
If this system was reformed so that, say, 2 weeks after being proven guilty he was taken out back and hanged, it could be made drastically cheaper.
If we had the technology to look at someone's brain and recall memories, thus proving their guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt, I think the death penalty would work and it wouldn't cost so much. Unfortunately, we're not there yet, but maybe one day.
Yep, but if you're in favor of the death penalty right now, then it's the only option you have that makes any sense. The current system we have in place for executions is takes up so much time and so many resources that it actually costs us more to kill someone than it does to lock them up for life. And seeing as the impact either action has on society is exactly the same (a dangerous person has been permenantly removed), what justification do we have for executions?

I'm not in favor of executions, for other reasons. But if you're going to do it, then do it efficiently and across the board.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
As the universe would have it, here is a creepy article about criminality revealed in brainscans and a man who seems to think telling young people they are criminals and feeding them Omega-3 would help them to not become criminals (at the bottom).

I think that if this isn't complete nonsense in terms of determining future (which it appears to be, since the man found that he had a criminalesque brain scan and apparently isn't a criminal or at least doesn't act on his criminal impulses) the only use it would have would be to see how people's brains are working post-crime, if there's some question about how genuine they are.

One more in a very long list of ways that science is twisted into a psuedoscience, where we "suddenly discover" that we can find the basis for human potential and worth based on some aspect of their nature, other than their experiences. Phrenology, eugenics, then the "criminal gene," and now the criminal brain. As we get more data about how the brain works, we just apply that information to our pre-existing biases about the nature of people. Namely that we can define them based on a comfortably narrow set of parameters.
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Samprimary
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Can we stop talking about hypothetical sci-fi future perfect brain scan robot-administered grotesque and creepy torture fantasies done to various childish euphamisms for a man's penis? The entire argument is so useless and concerningly immature, brainscan perfect 100% guilt indicators don't exist, and even if they did they should not be used as a reason to excuse giving in to the practice of barbarous death-by-torture practices.

quote:
I mean, how is locking someone up with a bunch of other criminals where violence, rape and no real control of their life not torture? At least if you torture someone to death they are then free.
This is morally concerning not least just for being a false dilemma.
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Rakeesh
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I don't think many people (consciously) mean it this way, but the way it so often comes across is really a question of, "OK, so when can we torture someone we really, really hate who has it coming, without feeling squeamish about it?"

Also, Teshi hits it right on the money: there is *no evidence* that torture would serve as a deterrent, and quite a lot of history which seems to point in the other direction. In which case the torture wouldn't be at all for the protection of society, but suited only to the vengeance of victims and the bloodlust of eager third parties.

Which if we want to advocate, alright, let's have that discussion, but I think we can set aside the notion that it would deter future criminals.

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JonHecht
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My undergrad mentor wrote a book on retributive justice in which he advocated a torture machine (he called it a rape machine because he was actually opposed to torture, a la Kant, as it vilifies the state.) . This machine would replicate whatever it was that was done to the victims. (Why this isn't torture, I don't know.)

He also recognized that there were tons of mitigating factors that would lessen the degree of punishment, so I'm not really sure how it's supposed to work out, but this does solve the problem you guys mentioned of having a torturer.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Can we stop talking about hypothetical sci-fi future perfect brain scan robot-administered grotesque and creepy torture fantasies done to various childish euphemisms for a man's penis?

Feel free to not participate, but again, calling for an end of discussion is not something I feel is your right.

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Also, Teshi hits it right on the money: there is *no evidence* that torture would serve as a deterrent, and quite a lot of history which seems to point in the other direction. In which case the torture wouldn't be at all for the protection of society, but suited only to the vengeance of victims and the bloodlust of eager third parties.

Which if we want to advocate, alright, let's have that discussion, but I think we can set aside the notion that it would deter future criminals.

But you just said you thought it would be effective...to some degree. I'm afraid I can't agree to this.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
You mean the sheriff, Buford T. Justice from Smokey and the Bandit?
No. I mean the concept of justice. It's a complete fiction.

Here are the things you can do in the event of wrongdoing:

1) Satisfy the wronged parties by harming the wrongdoer in a way that avenges the wrong;
2) Deter wrongdoers by harming them in a way that it scares others away from committing similar wrongs;
3) Educate and repair wrongdoers so they become a net asset to society;
4) Repair and redress the wronged parties so that the wrong done to them is compensated or negated;
5) Isolate, cripple or kill wrongdoers so they cannot commit further harm.

Obviously, depending on the wrong, some of these are easier than others. But which is "just?" It gets even harder when you realize that some of these actions actively impede the success of the others.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Justice is a goal to strive for, even if it is hard (impossible?) to achieve.

Good list btw. [Smile]

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Rakeesh
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quote:
But you just said you thought it would be effective...to some degree. I'm afraid I can't agree to this.
I believe I used the word 'thorough'. But sure, just about any punishment will serve as some form of deterrent, particularly with people unlikely to commit the crime anyway. But why should the bar for brutal torture be 'deters anyone, anywhere?'

As for being unable to agree...well, by all means, present your evidence that torture and execution would serve as an effective deterrent. A few notes, though-presenting the false choice of prison conditions and expense isn't evidence, nor are vague assertions that it would teach would be rapists a lesson in advance, and if you have any evidence it would need to contend with history. For most of human history, torture and execution were frequent, yet in the modern world where they aren't violent crime is less common. Given this, why was the great deterrent value of torture and execution so ineffective in the past?

As for Samprimary not having a 'right' to call for an end of discussion...well, earlier you just pointed out that your use of whimsical euphemisms in the discussion of torture didn't stop anyone else from not using them. Samprimary's 'call' doesn't stop you from continuing the eager yearning for a likely-impossible utterly-perfect brainscan guilt detector.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Justice is a goal to strive for, even if it is hard (impossible?) to achieve.

Good list btw. [Smile]

It is not a goal to strive for if you cannot define its parameters. This is the point of the list: "justice" as a concept includes conflicting needs and interests. Why would you strive for justice, if the concept, as you understand it, includes the need for retribution, *and* the rehabilitation of the offender, when those two interests may directly oppose each other? It is only by narrowly defining what you consider to be just, that you can achieve any particular brand of "justice."
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Justice is a goal to strive for, even if it is hard (impossible?) to achieve.

Good list btw. [Smile]

It is not a goal to strive for if you cannot define its parameters. This is the point of the list: "justice" as a concept includes conflicting needs and interests. Why would you strive for justice, if the concept, as you understand it, includes the need for retribution, *and* the rehabilitation of the offender, when those two interests may directly oppose each other? It is only by narrowly defining what you consider to be just, that you can achieve any particular brand of "justice."
Well put. You too, TomD.
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Tuukka
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Even if there would be a 100% reliable crime-memory-brain-scan, the results still wouldn't be 100% reliable.

For example, the person doing the scanning could cheat the results. Or you could hack the computer.

Just recently it was revealed that a forensic expert in N.Y had made a lot of evidence up, simply because she was too lazy to do the actual work. And she did this for over 10 years.

Right now hundreds of cases are being re-investigated. It's likely that some people who went to prison are going to be set free.

There is always room for human error.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
But why should the bar for brutal torture be 'deters anyone, anywhere?'

Well it should be -a- bar, likely not -the- bar. But you went from "it would be effective some" to "it's not effective so let's not even discuss it", and that's what I don't agree to.

quote:
by all means, present your evidence that torture and execution would serve as an effective deterrent.
Evidence in a discussion is fine and dandy, but demanding evidence seems more like a cop out when it is a theoretical discussion and even the simplest of claims must be substantiated. It's okay that we just talk about stuff and have an opinion. Everyone is wound up so tight, holding on to their world view like it's precious, and that anything that even slightly goes against it is a threat to their self value. That even discussing moral issues is the same as doing the thing that people find immoral.

quote:
As for Samprimary not having a 'right' to call for an end of discussion...well, earlier you just pointed out that your use of whimsical euphemisms in the discussion of torture didn't stop anyone else from not using them.
Me using whimsical euphemisms and you asking "we" not to is not at the same as Samp openly calling for the end of discussion. All I was doing was speaking in my own voice. It was both you and Samp who were acting the censor, asking other people to change their behavior.

quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
It is not a goal to strive for if you cannot define its parameters. This is the point of the list: "justice" as a concept includes conflicting needs and interests.Why would you strive for justice, if the concept, as you understand it, includes the need for retribution, *and* the rehabilitation of the offender, when those two interests may directly oppose each other?

I don't think rehabilitation is really a part of justice...I mean it is a great thing and all, but I think it's more under the heading prevention of repeat offenses or simply straight up improvement. My grandmother is famous for saying "Life is a conflict of interests." And why must everything fit under one heading? And why must we only strive for things that are easily defined? Justice is hard to define and harder to actualize, but all the more worthy of striving for for all that.

quote:
Originally posted by Tuukka:
Even if there would be a 100% reliable crime-memory-brain-scan, the results still wouldn't be 100% reliable.

For example, the person doing the scanning could cheat the results. Or you could hack the computer...

...There is always room for human error.

True that.

[ May 14, 2013, 01:48 AM: Message edited by: Stone_Wolf_ ]

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Well it should be -a- bar, likely not -the- bar. But you went from "it would be effective some" to "it's not effective so let's not even discuss it", and that's what I don't agree to.

Execution for all crimes would have a deterrent value. Given this, it should be up for serious discussion.

The bar needs to be higher.

quote:
Evidence in a theoretical discussion is like a parka in the tropics...out of place.


So is it that you don't have any, or that you're not actually suggesting torture would he acceptable if we could reliably prove guilt?
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Stone_Wolf_
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Not every crime...what am I a writer for Star Trek? -Violent- crime.

What evidence would convince you?

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Rakeesh
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Well for starters evidence that any society, past or present, that practices torture has a lower rate of crime for that particular branch of criminal activity. It would be a start towards the status of 'anyone ought to consider this possibility', actually. Right now all you've got is that they've got it coming.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I disagree that that's all I've got. It might be all you heard but certainly not all I said.
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Teshi
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quote:
Evidence in a theoretical discussion is like a parka in the tropics...out of place.
Well in that case, I think we should involve unicorns and elves in this justice system. We can judge who is pure of heart with the unicorns and use the elves to read minds.

Hey, if we need to, we can contact the dead and ask them who killed them.

Evidence has just as much place in a theoretical discussion as is does in a practical one or what's the point.

For the record, I oppose the use of torture even if it was a perfect deterrent.

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Hobbes
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quote:
Feel free to not participate, but again, calling for an end of discussion is not something I feel is your right.
It's your "right" to talk about whatever you want (in general, on an Internet board someone else is paying for that's a dubious claim but this hardly violates the ToS). That said, talking about a scenario in which you can have 100% perfect knowledge of a person's guilt, the crime's context, the motive, etc... isn't really pertinent to anything. It's like having a meeting with your family to determine how you're going to make ends meet now that you lost your job, and then spending the whole time talking about what you'd do with with a million dollars. Just because both conversations involve money doesn't mean you're talking about the same thing.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
I don't think rehabilitation is really a part of justice...I mean it is a great thing and all, but I think it's more under the heading prevention of repeat offenses or simply straight up improvement. My grandmother is famous for saying "Life is a conflict of interests." And why must everything fit under one heading? And why must we only strive for things that are easily defined? Justice is hard to define and harder to actualize, but all the more worthy of striving for for all that.

Well, again, and I don't ask this is a practical question, like: "why bother?" I am asking this is in the rhetorical sense: why would you strive for something that you cannot define? Of what benefit is it to you, or to society, to attempt to achieve something which is not defined? How would you knew when it was achieved? It is an important question to ask yourself, before polling others, whether you can define the term or set of terms that are meant to identify your goals. If you can't, then what effect can this have on the way that you approach those goals? Do you compromise in order to achieve them? If so, how much? Can the goal be reached by sacrificing certain other interests? If so, is that to the good?

You see, it is in "striving" for justice of one kind or another that people are able to carry out very monstrous acts. It is the goal of justice that allows us, or convinces us, to do what we do as a society, and to ignore the reality of consequences that result. To go to war, to drop a nuclear weapon, to execute someone, to commit torture, and to lie. These are steps people take to achieve some brand of justice- and they could be taken because justice was defined in certain ways, and sacrifices to moral principles and ideals were made in sake of that goal. Not right, not wrong. Just the way it is.

I'm not saying, in a practical sense, that we shouldn't try to do what we think is right. But we also shouldn't be "striving" for something that doesn't exist. Your comment is case and point: according to you, justice doesn't involve rehabilitation. But justice for whom? For society? Because a society that is just, in my view, spends its energy better itself by caring for its individual parts. We wouldn't throw people away, or at least we shouldn't, if we wanted to be a just society.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
I disagree that that's all I've got. It might be all you heard but certainly not all I said.
Other things you've got: that it would be fair to torture a rapist, tear his genitalia off, and then execute him. This because the victim would never be the same and was effectively 'gone', and because it would serve as a deterrent to othe would-be rapists. The latter ties into your claims of deterrence and the former is, pardon me for saying so this plainly, simply nonsense.

You've said we could use robots to torture particular offenders, although this stands at odds with your remarks about letting a serial murderer be tortured by family members of multiple victims. This would mitigate the dangers involved in having actual human beings be mentally affected by engaging in torture. In this bizarre scenario, it might actually be right that this would be the case, although I don't quite see how sadists might someday gravitate towards becoming robotics engineers for such a purpose. Call that one a wash.

You've pointed out that our current system of imprisonment is often a form of torture, which is actually true, although you offered a false choice by suggesting the options were: swift torture and prolonged torture, omitting the option 'prison reform'.

You've suggested that torturing someone to death ends in their 'freedom', which I suppose is at least consistent with your earlier remarks about a rape victim being effectively dead (in that it would be fair to render the rapist 'gone' as well).

You've suggested that since we cannot govern by perfect symmetry, it would be reasonable to kill a rapist to achieve a form of metaphorical symmetry with a rape victim who will never be the same.

Anyway, I think you get my point by now. You may not like my rebuttals to your arguments (or theoretical discussions, or whatever you'd like to call them), but please don't suggest I haven't read what you've said. I have, and have addressed it specifically and repeatedly.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I'm a bit busy (I just moved my family four counties away and our house is mostly boxes atm) so I will formulate a more thorough response soon, but I just wanted to out a few quick things:

I never said anything about family members of the victims doing the torture and think that is a horrible idea.

I never offered a false choice as prison reform is great, and I'm all for it. It just doesn't have to do with this specific conversation.

When it comes to rape, and other violent crime, there is also a simple principal at work, that it's just SO not okay, that once one has shown themselves to be capable of such acts, then society has a right to protect itself from that person. It is categorically unacceptable, it is a line in the sand, the one that if it is crossed costs the ultimate price. In past discussions you convinced me that our system is too imperfect to handle a permanent, irrevocable action like killing, let alone torture.

(Teshi)
"For the record, I oppose the use of torture even if it was a perfect deterrent."

Now this is interesting...so if torturing to death a single rapist ended rape forever (the perfect deterrent) you still wouldn't do it?

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Rakeesh
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quote:
I never said anything about family members of the victims doing the torture and think that is a horrible idea.

Well, you said, "...whereas a serial murderer can spend a day per victim being tortured," but perhaps you meant 'being tortured by future-robots after the impervious-to-all-errors-human-and-otherwise brainscanning machine'. If so then my mistake.

quote:
I never offered a false choice as prison reform is great, and I'm all for it. It just doesn't have to do with this specific conversation.

Well now this you did say. "...is it not worth while to give them a swift torture instead of an (expensive) prolonged torture, by the means of imprisonment? I mean, how is locking someone up with a bunch of other criminals where violence, rape and no real control of their life not torture?" You plainly stated that 'quick' torture would be preferable to the torture of prison as though that were an argument in favor of torture. You can't have it both ways-that is, you can't claim to be in favor of prison reform and then use prison conditions (which you would reform) as a reason why we should torture.

quote:
When it comes to rape, and other violent crime, there is also a simple principal at work, that it's just SO not okay, that once one has shown themselves to be capable of such acts, then society has a right to protect itself from that person. It is categorically unacceptable, it is a line in the sand, the one that if it is crossed costs the ultimate price. In past discussions you convinced me that our system is too imperfect to handle a permanent, irrevocable action like killing, let alone torture.

None of this has anything to do with a hypothetical series-of-miraculous-inventions-future where torture becomes acceptable. You're operating from the standpoint that once a certain line is crossed, society can-and should!-do the absolute worst that we can imagine to the line-crosser.

I hear such reasoning and shudder at the implications, because frankly for all your talk about lines we shouldn't cross and lines we shouldn't let other people cross (such as rape) somehow you've missed the line in the sand about human torture.

quote:
Now this is interesting...so if torturing to death a single rapist ended rape forever (the perfect deterrent) you still wouldn't do it?
Geeze, well I suppose you've already stated you're operating in a theoretical discussion. This really is right out there with heart-gauging unicorns and mind-reading elves.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Justice is a goal to strive for, even if it is hard (impossible?) to achieve.

Good list btw. [Smile]

It is not a goal to strive for if you cannot define its parameters. This is the point of the list: "justice" as a concept includes conflicting needs and interests. Why would you strive for justice, if the concept, as you understand it, includes the need for retribution, *and* the rehabilitation of the offender, when those two interests may directly oppose each other? It is only by narrowly defining what you consider to be just, that you can achieve any particular brand of "justice."
I find it interesting that when we (society, not Hatrack necessarily) talk about meting out justice, it is always about punishing wrongdoing. We very rarely talk about making sure that people are rewarded as they deserve.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:

(Teshi)
"For the record, I oppose the use of torture even if it was a perfect deterrent."

Now this is interesting...so if torturing to death a single rapist ended rape forever (the perfect deterrent) you still wouldn't do it?

That is a false analogy, and an ugly, ugly form of argument. I wish you knew better.
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Samprimary
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quote:
I never offered a false choice as prison reform is great
Yes, you did.

here:

quote:
is it not worth while to give them a swift torture instead of an (expensive) prolonged torture, by the means of imprisonment? I mean, how is locking someone up with a bunch of other criminals where violence, rape and no real control of their life not torture?
You were making an argument condoning torture on the basis of what it is preferable to, suggesting that the alternative is also torture.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Hey...everyone showed up! I think I'm good for now, don't really have the time or interest to play argument room right now....maybe later.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Hey...everyone showed up! I think I'm good for now, don't really have the time or interest to play argument room right now....maybe later.

Why would you? You said the ugly stuff- no need to stick around and defend it. Who needs that?
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