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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Ebert vs. Margera (R.I.P. Ryan Dunn) (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Ebert vs. Margera (R.I.P. Ryan Dunn)
Speed
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I'm not quite sure what to make of the latest celebrity feud.

On one hand, seeing anyone die so young is tragic, regardless of the cause. On the other hand, it looks pretty clear that his death (and the death of the passenger in his car) was caused by some irresponsible behavior. Is it too soon to try to turn this into a PSA?

Should Ebert have waited? Should he have not said it at all? Or is this something that people need to hear, even if it is painful?

This might take some pondering. What do you all think?

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TomDavidson
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I think it's a non-issue. Ebert was completely right, but people close to the dead guy probably don't want to hear valid criticisms. End of story.
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AchillesHeel
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The man just died, and rather tactlessly Ebert points out the obvious fact that Dunn was the victim of his own poor choice. I get it, but there are much more intelligent ways to make a point. I am by no stretch of the imagination religous or spiritual but I do mind my manners when speaking about the deceased, its just rude to make jokes about the dead. Ebert saw that a man had died and he immediatly makes a witty remark, its just insensitive and smarmy.
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hef
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I've been wondering about the players in this matter. Why Ebert? It seems so random.

My best guess is that Ebert had seen the movies where the guys do really stupid and dangerous things and had been offended or outraged by this behavior. Then when he sees real life imitating the, uh, art, he broadcasts an "I told you so."

Insensitive? Sure. On the money? Yup, that too.

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Juxtapose
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This seems like a classic case of both sides being right.
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Threads
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
I am by no stretch of the imagination religous or spiritual but I do mind my manners when speaking about the deceased, its just rude to make jokes about the dead.

I think Ebert was making a serious comment first and a joke second.

I'm not a fan of dancing on people's graves but I do think that we (as a society) should be more straightforward when it comes to talking about people who have died. I think that most (if not all) of use can agree that death is a tragedy. If someone dies because of reckless or ignorant behavior then we should not hesitate to point that out because it might help save the lives of others.

On the other hand, a person shouldn't be judged entirely by their actions in moments of weakness.

It would be nice if we had true Speakers for the Dead.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by hef:
I've been wondering about the players in this matter. Why Ebert? It seems so random.

My best guess is that Ebert had seen the movies where the guys do really stupid and dangerous things and had been offended or outraged by this behavior. Then when he sees real life imitating the, uh, art, he broadcasts an "I told you so."

I doubt that supposition. Ebert is a decades long adherent of Alcoholics Anonymous, and has written essays on the topic of substance abuse and sobriety in the past. Likely, he sympathizes with the guy and the problems that led to his death, and wished to admonish his friends for letting it happen.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I can understand why he would say such a thing, but come on...we are not exactly ignorant of the concept that drinking and driving is bad, and I doubt highly that his witty snark actually helped anyone, while I am very sure that it greatly offended friends of the deceased.

He smarted off and now he looks the fool for it.

The deceased already suffered the ultimate price for their stupidity, to publicly mock them is unnecessary and in poor taste, even if he meant it as a warning.

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Orincoro
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I don't think he was mocking the dead. You're entitled to think otherwise, I suppose. But having read a great deal of his writing, it is my view that Ebert is a thoughtful and sensitive man, and not prone to "smarting off."
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Stone_Wolf_
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I don't understand how you think this isn't on some level a mocking statement:

quote:
Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.
Although I imagine it is hard to explain a negative. While I understand your wanting to judge Ebert on his past writing/behavior, even thoughtful sensitive men stick their feet in their mouths at times.

I don't mind him making a fool of himself, but I find it unrealistic that he claims otherwise.

quote:
...saying that he regrets that his tweet was considered cruel, explaining that he wasn’t trying to call Dunn a jackass—merely alluding to his association with Jackass—and saying that he believes he was “probably too quick to tweet. That was unseemly.” However, Ebert also reiterates that he stands by his original sentiments...
This is not the '50s...drinking and driving is a widely known evil with many social and legal consequences, of course, death is a pretty irrefutable consequence. Had Ebert said something like "Even people who do risky things for a living on a show like Jackass need friends who will take their keys away from them when they drink." no one would have raised an eyebrow, but instead he went for the witty line.
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jebus202
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How sympathetic would people be towards Dunn if he'd wiped out an innocent person while drunkenly racing his Porsche? Dunn wasn't just risking his life when he drove the car and it was good seeing someone willing to call out what he did.
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Speed
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
I can understand why he would say such a thing, but come on...we are not exactly ignorant of the concept that drinking and driving is bad, and I doubt highly that his witty snark actually helped anyone, while I am very sure that it greatly offended friends of the deceased.

I can see your point of view. But on the other hand, I know several people who are a little ignorant of the dangers of drinking and driving. Or at least somehow think they're immune.

Personally I think driving sober is a terrifying enough responsibility that I've never compounded it by impairing my senses. But I'm surprised how many regular people I know who have driven drunk at some point, and don't seem too bothered by it.

This may not have been the most tasteful way to get the point across. But I think there are more people out there than we'd like to admit who could use a reminder that they're not invincible, and that even for "professional idiots" irresponsible behavior can have irreversibly tragic results.

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Speed
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quote:
Originally posted by jebus202:
How sympathetic would people be towards Dunn if he'd wiped out an innocent person while drunkenly racing his Porsche? Dunn wasn't just risking his life when he drove the car and it was good seeing someone willing to call out what he did.

There was an episode of This American Life about a guy who ran over and killed a biker. He was totally sober, found not at fault legally, and even forgiven by her family. But he was still haunted by it for the rest of his life. I think about that episode almost every time I get behind the wheel of a car.

Honestly, if I had to choose I think I'd rather kill myself driving drunk than kill someone else. In a way, I guess Dunn got off easy. But don't tell Bam Margera I said that.

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Emreecheek
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I don't think Ebert looks a fool.

I liked his comment. I think he looks mean, but certainly not foolish. Nothing in his sentiment strikes me as foolish in the least.

Furthermore, I'm rather surprised that people mourning his death have time for a twitter-war. Unless this argument, for Magara, is somehow carthetic. Perhaps Ebert is providing an emotional outlet for their anger at the world (For being so cruel as to allow a drunk driver to die... It's like there's no God at all.)

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Samprimary
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The only thing about this event that surprises me is that Ebert at all acknowledged that his statement was ill-timed and unseemly. I would have expected him to stand by the statement full-bore with no apologies.

Besides that, yeah, drinking and driving. Congratulations. That's what happens. Dunn was driving, right? In which case, to some extent, he DID kill someone else, even if that person bears some responsibility for getting in the car with a drunk driver (assuming they knew).

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Xavier
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quote:
Honestly, if I had to choose I think I'd rather kill myself driving drunk than kill someone else. In a way, I guess Dunn got off easy.
But he did kill someone else. His passenger, Zachary Hartwell.

If he'd survived the crash, he'd have been arrested for vehicular manslaughter at the very least.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by jebus202:
How sympathetic would people be towards Dunn if he'd wiped out an innocent person while drunkenly racing his Porsche? Dunn wasn't just risking his life when he drove the car and it was good seeing someone willing to call out what he did.

I'm not sympathetic to him at all. I'm sympathetic to their friends and family who no doubt are filled with equal amounts of grief at their loss and anger at the manor of their death.

Ebert's comment wasn't insensitive to the dead, they are dead...they are incapable of hearing it (of course some believe otherwise)...it was insensitive to the living, those mourning.

Personally, the only emotion I feel towards the driver is a sense of gratefulness...that he didn't kill anyone else beyond his passenger.

quote:
I don't think Ebert looks a fool.

I liked his comment. I think he looks mean, but certainly not foolish. Nothing in his sentiment strikes me as foolish in the least.

Mean is a better word then fool...agreed.

(edited for clarity)

[ June 22, 2011, 12:46 PM: Message edited by: Stone_Wolf_ ]

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shadowland
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
...it was insensitive to the living, those mourning.

I think there's a difference between saying it directly to his friends and family vs. saying it in a public space where his friends and family may come across his words.
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Stone_Wolf_
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shadowland: Different in intensity (by an order of magnitude), but not category.
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shadowland
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No, I do think it can be a different category. I'm not entirely sure where I fall on this particular matter, but in general, I do feel there are certain situations and environments where the sensitivities of people overhearing your conversation are irrelevant. <ETA> I would even go so far as to say that there are certain conversations where the sensitivities of the audience are irrelevant (though I'm not sure that I would lump Ebert's words into this category).

<eta 2> I should also add that I'm drawing a distinction between the word 'insensitivity' and 'sensitivity of others being irrelevant.' I grant that many may not make a distinction here.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Conversations yes, there are certain conversations where the the sensitivities of the audience are irrelevant, but I do not count a public figure on a public forum to be a conversation nor one of those certain conversations.

I don't disagree with his sentiment, just classify him as insensitive for the timing and wording. Often times the truth is insensitive.

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shadowland
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Actually, I'm OK with people perceiving his comments to be insensitive. I guess what I disagree with is the idea that he was being snarky, smarting off, or mocking the dead. If he were talking specifically to the friends and family, then I might grant the use of those descriptions, but this did not seem to be the case.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I'm still okay with those three...I don't think his primary goal was mockery, but to say there wasn't some involved is defiantly a stretch of the imagination to me.
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shadowland
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I think that people that are willing to drink and drive are being jackasses. Friends of those people should not let them drive. Sure, I suppose you could read that in a mocking tone, but I don't think it's a stretch of the imagination to read that without feeling that someone is being mocked.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Personally I don't think people who drink and drive are jackasses. I think people who fart in an elevator are jackasses, people who cut in line, people who have conversations in a movie theater are all jackasses.

I think people who drink and drive are...what's the proper word...evil?...dangerous?...criminals?...something like that. Jackass is way too mild.

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shadowland
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So Ebert's phrasing contained mockery because his description was way too . . . mild?
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Stone_Wolf_
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I hadn't connected the two thoughts, no. It contained mockery, replacing "friend" with "jackass" as a double entendre, one that Dunn was on the show Jackass, and two that he was an actual jackass (despite his saying otherwise after the fact) for drinking and driving.

I mean, the guy paid for his stupidity with his life and that of his friend. Having someone point out that he was "up to tom-foolery" is just unnecessary.

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kmbboots
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i don't think that mockery is always a sign of insensitivity. I think that it can be a reaction to anger or bitterness that are often an indication of being very sensitive to a situation.
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shadowland
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
It contained mockery, replacing "friend" with "jackass" as a double entendre...

Ah. See, I just viewed that as being witty and pithy, not snarky.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Boots: I don't doubt for a second that Bam is very sensitive right now, and some might say his reaction is over the top. But he is grieving, and to a certain extent that is to be expected.

Shadow: Perhaps I have my definitions switched about, but to me, witty/pithy and biting/insensitive = snarky.

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kmbboots
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I am not talking about Bam being sensitive. I am talking about Ebert being sensitive enough to the waste and stupidity and destruction of drunk driving to be angry and that anger manifesting as wit.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Fair enough.
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Emreecheek
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I think pithy is a really icky word.

I don't like it.

[/random]

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Kwea
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Non-issue for me. Ebert was right, and it was hardly a surprise to anyone familiar to this guy.

His friends have a right to grieve, but there are only 2 things about this that are shocking. First, that it didn't happen on camera shooting Jackass, and two that he only killed one other person.

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Stone_Wolf_
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That's sounds rather jaded Kwea...but on the other hand, I'm not very familiar with the day to day life style of Ryan Dunn.
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BlackBlade
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I should think that when a loss is sharp, that then is the time to make an important point. If you wait until people are largely over it I'm not sure you get the same penetrating effect.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Speed:
This may not have been the most tasteful way to get the point across. But I think there are more people out there than we'd like to admit who could use a reminder that they're not invincible, and that even for "professional idiots" irresponsible behavior can have irreversibly tragic results.

Agreed.

BB also has a good point.

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Kwea
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The only positive is he didn't crash into oncoming traffic and kill a bunch of people.

He was going 110 mph, was legally drunk, and went through 40 YARDS of trees before stopping. He had over 10 speeding tickets, and had a history or DUI.

He also use to brag about being high or drunk before most of his Jackass stunts.

I wouldn't wish this on anyone, and feel sorry for his family and friends, or course. But this is hardly unexpected.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by jebus202:
How sympathetic would people be towards Dunn if he'd wiped out an innocent person while drunkenly racing his Porsche? Dunn wasn't just risking his life when he drove the car and it was good seeing someone willing to call out what he did.

He did kill an innocent person. There was a passenger in the car. Complicit, maybe. We can never know.
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Kwea
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If he was drinking with him, then got into the car with him, complicit for SURE, not maybe.

That being said, I still feel bad for his friends and family, and for the family and friends of his passenger. Even if there were indicators this might happen one day it still sucks, it still hurts, and nothing will ever make it better.

Trust me, I know.

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Orincoro
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This has happened to you? I've never know anyone who died in an accident. Well, save for one guy I went to grade school with who died on his motorcycle a few years ago, but we weren't friends, really.
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Kwea
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A few, actually. The very first accident I stopped at as an EMT was a bunch of people I knew, and they all died. All 5 of them. No one was drinking, either.

I knew 2 guys who died in the Army shortly after that. No drinking involved in the drivers part, he was picking up a drunk friend, took along one of my friends to help him stay awake as it was after 2 am, and they all fell asleep. The driver was the only one who survived.

And 3 kids I knew growing up in MI died in drunk driving accidents as well. 2 were drinking, and one was hit by a drunk driver. One was more of an acquaintance really, but I knew all 3.

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katharina
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I have known several, including my brother's mother-in-law.

I don't care what people do to themselves when they are adults, but getting in a car drunk is a deliberate murder just waiting to happen. The death is sad for his family, and it's all the worse because he killed someone else as well as himself doing something so utterly selfish.

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AchillesHeel
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Two classmates of mine were going on a family trip to Mexico after ending eighth grade when a drunk driver ended thier very young lives. They were two-thirds of three best friends, I went to school with the girl who didnt go on that particular trip and could never not think about it every time I saw her.

Again, shortly after eighth grade another classmate got drunk and high with a friend and stole one of thier mothers cars. After a cop lit them up they crashed, one dead.

A very good friend of mine who was well over six foot was going to someones house after school to hang out, problem was that there was only one car and alot of people. When the driver of the car began teasing two of the girls telling them that they were going to have ride in the trunk, my friend vollunteered because he took up so much room. The driver began swerving and speeding to scare my friend and ran off the road, David died slowly and some of the others were maimed, one girl who already had a little boy was severly scarred on her face and her kid will never remember his mother how she was.

An ex-girlfriend of my brother was hit and killed by a speeding driver in the middle of a small city, she was dressed in all black crossing agianst the light and the driver was never blamed. She is survived by her now five year old son, who is being raised by her parents who I can personally atest did a criminal job of raising her. Her friends regularly smoke weed and drink on her grave, leaving bottles cans and ciggarette butts, in honor of her.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
...but getting in a car drunk is a deliberate murder just waiting to happen.
Deliberate?
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rivka
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Yes, making the choice to drive drunk IS a deliberate choice to risk killing people.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Yes, making the choice to drive drunk IS a deliberate choice to risk killing people.
Sure, drinking and driving is deliberately doing something that has a risk, which might hurt or kill someone but it is not deliberate murder, say like shooting a sleeping person in the face twelve times.
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kmbboots
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How about playing Russian Roulette with a sleeping person? If someone did that, would you consider it murder?
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Stone_Wolf_
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It would really depend on if the gun when click or boom, wouldn't it.
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kmbboots
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Obviously. To make my questions clearer. If the gun went boom and killed the sleeping person, should the guy playing Russian Roulette be charged with murder?

He is, after all, only doing something that puts the sleeping person at risk of being killed.

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