2009
04.30

Let me begin tackling this complex issue by saying I am not against the death penalty.  However, I believe it is used far too often.  Executions should be extremely rare and only in the most dire of circumstances.  However, I can't touch on solely the death penalty without exploring other issues to support my position.

When is Killing Someone Okay?

This is actually a very simple question to answer.  In truth, all killing is inherently wrong.  This is not a Biblical argument.  The moment you interfere with someone's life – interfere implies that the subject is not willingly allowing you to interact – you are committing a wrongdoing.  You basically are interfering with that person's natural course of life.  The gravest wrong, obviously, is to end that other life, because you are completely cutting off that course.  All life is designed in such a way that even in 100% ideal circumstances, it will eventually end.  No form of life is immortal.

Therefore, the best we can hope to do is have mitigating circumstances that make committing that wrong a little more bearable.  Really, there is only one relevant "mitigating circumstance": when it is far more dangerous for you to allow that life to go on, it is better for you to end the other life.  Basically, that's what war or shooting a burglar who breaks into your house is all about.  If someone is putting your life in danger, you have to defend yourself.  No one should have a problem with this.  However, you are still committing a wrongdoing.  You are still ending a life: it's just you are being put into a sticky situation and that's really the best you can do.

You do not have that kind of authority over someone else's life.  No one does.  That's why killing, no matter the circumstance, is wrong.  Yet routinely, we pretend like we have that authority and pass lethal judgment on prisoners.  What people don't realize, I think, is that the death penalty is still killing.  Someone still has to kill the person.  It doesn't matter the method.  Whether it's the guy who flips a switch, a guy who sticks a needle into someone, or a guy who removes the support to allow a hanging person to fall, someone still killed that person.  Quite frankly, we haven't the right.  We may have a government that says we have that right, but killing criminals out of punishment is not a mitigating factor.  After all, how can you teach a dead person a lesson? A prisoner is someone who is almost always completely defenseless: usually shackled and kept under guard.  This is not a person who is actively threatening your life, or anyone else's life.  Therefore, it is not right to kill him.  Only in the most extreme cases, where keeping someone alive is truly dangerous, should the death penalty be employed.

Prisons: Built for Useless Punishment

I think this is something that most people simply don't think about.  Simply punishing people is almost always useless.  If you really want to help somebody, you have to teach them how to overcome whatever obstacle is in the way.  Think of this in a war context: the truth of the matter is that military force is not what resolves the conflict.  It's how you rebuild afterward that is the real resolution.  The Allies fought Germany, Italy, and Japan not too long ago.  The war was especially horrific due to genocide and scale.  If we had simply bombed Germany, nuked Japan, and left, the Allies may still have won in a military sense.  But that is not enough.  You do not win the war until you can convince everyone to put down their arms and stop fighting.  This is why all three nations are on friendly terms with the Allies these days.  This is the problem with the War on Terror.  It's very easy to say that we should just turn the Middle East into a parking lot.  But in truth, that would not stop the war.  Someone, somewhere, would pick up the cause and resume the fight.  It's not until you stop fighting and convince everyone that it's stupid that you truly win.

Come on, guys.  Think.  When someone beats your ass, are you more or less likely to turn and help that person? The only time I've ever seen the "beat someone to gain that person's help" method work out is in video games.

This brings us to One of the Great Problems that Plagues Us Today.  That problem is the U.S. prison system.  The current system basically amounts to a big "screw you" as we dump people into some box and leave them to rot for an arbitrary amount of time.  In the mean time – in most cases – those people are further beaten, neglected, or tortured.  Most learn few, if any, useful skills that would allow them to become productive members of society once the term is up.  Not surprisingly, when people face long prison terms, they go right back to crime upon release.

Doesn't this make sense to you? I honestly think most people just really don't think about it in that way.  One example? Take Rush Limbaugh.  The windbag used to blast drug users and criminals as failures who should just be locked up forever.  Ironically enough, the guy turns out to be a drug user himself.  Once he had it, it was a serious disease and he needed care and the prayers of his adoring fans to get him through.  Elliot Spitzer blasted the Grand Theft Auto games for having prostitutes, then gets nailed in a prostitution ring himself.  Priests preach about how wrong homosexuality is, and yet a large number of them were caught molesting boys.

Problems can overcome anybody, from the very wealthy to the very poor.

Let me give you another example.  I was just in a discussion with my mom's fiance the other day.  He was watching the news and there was a story about some guy who got a fairly lengthy sentence for drug use.  He was very happy about the jail time.  I happened to overhear this and decided to chime in.  The dialogue is from my memory, so while it's not 100% accurate, the meaning is still there.

"Why are you happy about that?" I asked.

"All these druggies need to be locked away," he replied.  "They'll never amount to anything."

"Right," I replied.  "Because they're in jail.  Jail doesn't work.  All research on successful drug policy shows that treatment needs to be increased."

"Do you know how many people still relapse even when they go to treatment?" he shot back.

"Quite a few.  But still way less than those who go to jail," I replied.  "You know how I know that? Because you, in fact, are in treatment right now."

He looked shocked, but nothing came out of his mouth.  Then, finally, it came out.  "Wow…you're right.  I never thought of it that way."

My mom's fiance, you see, has been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for over twenty years.  Keep in mind that although he is definitely not as intelligent as I am, he is far from stupid.  He's certainly smarter than most people I meet.  But it really never occurred to him to think of it that way.  His story is a classic alcohol story: he was powerless over alcohol.  He would drink, wake up hours later with his family gone, and not know where he was, how he got there, or why his family was gone.  But almost every person who successfully gets over an addiction will tell you that it is almost impossible to do it alone.  Instead, he's a regular member of a very supportive group.  The whole group, after all, is in exactly the same boat he's in: people who took alcohol to the extreme and let it control their lives.  Do many – maybe even most – people still relapse and never truly conquer their shortcomings? Sure.  But is treatment more effective? Absolutely.  If AA didn't work, AA wouldn't exist.

That's the problem with jail.  Making a man serve jail time for rape or robbery isn't going to teach him anything.  It's just going to make him angrier and angrier and put him further and further into the hole.  Years later, when society has moved on and he can't get a job anywhere, what do you think he's going to do? The job thing is no exaggeration, either.  I don't exactly work in a high class place, and although our application specifically states that criminal convictions will not necessarily bar you from employment, I can definitively tell you that it does.  That application is just the bullshit and chips necessary for the store to conform to the useless standards the government employs to somehow making everything some arbitrary definition of fair.  And again, I don't work in a high-profile place.  Imagine if you tried to work at a real job, with a real future? If you're convicted of a crime, they're not gonna help you!

At that point, society has failed.  If you can't get the help that you need, you might as well be dead.  You're never going to amount to anything: society is going to make sure of that.  Really, the prison system should be changed to one of two things: either the perfectly reasonable, logical standard I suggest, or make any sentence of longer than a year or two automatically warrant the death penalty.  Either or.

Society: Proof that I'm Right

Personal responsibility only goes so far.  Mind you, I'm a big advocate of personal responsibility.  I think parents should monitor what their kids do.  I think parents should decide for themselves what their kids can and can't watch or play.  I absolutely hate when some blowhard tells me that I can't do this or watch that.  But it only goes so far.

How do I know? There is a certain form of society where the only rule is personal responsibility.  No one answers to anyone, and everyone fends for themselves.  It's called anarchy.  Stupid teenagers may not understand it, but society realized that anarchy doesn't work centuries ago.

Quick.  Which countries are the most successful? The ones that help each other out the most and treat people the fairest.  This is the difference between the United States and, say, North Korea.  We're successful because we all decided that we needed to work together to get anything done and that expecting each person to take care of every single thing by themselves is ridiculous.  Of course, some people still cling to the latter belief, but that doesn't make them right.  I don't assume it's malice on their part.  I just assume that it's just the simple case of people not taking the time to think.  It certainly seems like people don't do that too often anymore, wouldn't you say? And yet, the United States hasn't been doing too well in the last, oh, seven or eight years.  The economy hasn't been doing well.  Lots of people hate us.  Jobs are leaving the country.  Anyone would tell you that those are signs that the nation is not too successful right now.  And look what else has happened.  Civil rights have been compromised.  We torture prisoners.  You can legally be spied on any occasion for any reason at all without your consent.  Basically, we're doing all those wrong things that we usually condemn others for doing.  We already know it doesn't work: we have centuries of human history to look at for evidence!

You don't have to agree with me.  But it doesn't make what I'm saying any less right.

(TE)DC

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23 comments so far

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  1. Your logic is astoundingly awful. Some of the assertions you make, based seemingly on nothing but observation, are even more so.

    “You do not have that kind of authority over someone else’s life. No one does. That’s why killing, no matter the circumstance, is wrong. ”

    Incorrect. You have full authority over your own life. If someone presents a clear and real threat to it, as in pulling a gun, you have every right to protect it. If the means to do so is by killing the other person then this can only be seen as right. The consider it wrong places blame on the victim where it should never exist.

    In regards to the death penalty: A person who has murdered not killed, not an accidental situation, but one who has murdered another person, has no further right to life. They have violated the most basic principle you have so dramatically outlined regarding people working together in a society.

    The only reason to not have the death penalty is in the cases where there is doubt. If there is NO doubt, kill them.

    Go read more.

  2. “If someone presents a clear and real threat to it, as in pulling a gun, you have every right to protect it. ”

    It’s almost like I say exactly that in the paragraph before! Here are my words:

    “If someone is putting your life in danger, you have to defend yourself.”

    Also, I note that you try to correct me on saying that one has no authority over someone else’s life, but full authority over his or her own. Notice how I never said, anywhere, that you don’t have authority over your own life. Unless you’re telling me that I am myself and someone else at the same time, I’m not entirely sure how what you said makes sense.

    You do say that a murderer has no right to life, but you don’t really go into any analysis as to why other than a short sentence explaining that they violate the principle of cooperation that I espouse as being so important. What you are forgetting, though, is that when you put that person to death, there is a net loss. You’ll note – should you read what I wrote – that I am not entirely against the death penalty. But if there is a way to rehabilitate someone so that they do positively contribute to society, that is clearly the best option. If there is no way to rehabilitate but they are no danger to anyone else, you might as well leave them in jail, if for no other reason than putting people to death actually does cost a lot of money. If they are a danger, then you put them to death as I say.

    In closing, I would also advise that you follow your own advice and read more because obviously, you did not entirely read my post. That having been said, thank you for contributing here: I just think that with a little more care, there could have been more.

  3. The idea here is that you said it’s always wrong. That’s clearly not the case. Had you asserted that it’s always sad I would at least be sympathetic, but still disagree… at least to some extent. Some people simply deserve to die because they have made decisions, again and again, which prove them to be a detriment to life.

    Your “net loss” theory is missing a substantial factor, pointedly, what is the worth of the life in the first place. You’re attempting to say that all, intelligent and rational life I assume, is worth the same. Or so it appears. I think it’s degrading to the victims of a murderer–to people who truly respect life–to suggest that the murderer has the same right to life or worth as they do.

    • Killing someone still is wrong, though. You are still interfering with someone else’s life to the extreme. It’s a very, very gray area in morality. Just because you kill someone in self defense, for example, doesn’t automatically make the act “good”. It just makes the act “less evil” and better than the alternative (plain ol’ murder). You are still making the final say in someone else’s life, and ideally, that’s never going to be your call to make.

      What I mean by a net loss is not that all life is worth the same, but that life is worth something, and almost always worth more than death. For example, prisoners are known to make license plates. Even if that’s the only thing Charles Manson does while in prison, he is still being more useful in life than he would ever be in death. Someone has to make the license plates, right? If at all possible – as in, this person simply does his or her job and doesn’t, say, try to escape or kill guards and inmates – you have to get the most that you can out of people. If that person can be rehabilitated – and since people murder for all sorts of reasons, this is possible – then so much the better. Wouldn’t you agree that getting some use out of someone like that is better than just putting them to death? It’s far more cost-effective, too, so it ends up being less of a burden on the people who aren’t in jail. Granted, I just looked this up and found it on a MyFox page, but according to it, it costs about $1.26 million to put an inmate to death and “only” $740,000 to keep an inmate incarcerated for life in the state of Kansas. Think of what could be done with that extra $500K, and in the mean time, maybe that inmate can do something that contributes to society in some way while he or she is on the inside.

  4. There is a very basic problem with the argument that killing people is always wrong, and that it is okay to defend yourself with deadly force. That problem is that such a declaration defines committing a wrong as acceptable if you have a sufficiently compelling reason.

    You get into problems there with many plausible moral quandaries. As example, can I kill healthy prisoners and harvest their organs in order to save the lives of children in need of transplants? If I can kill one guy sitting in prison for twenty years because of a habitual tendency to break into people’s homes/steal their stuff and save five kids suffering with illnesses that will be terminal without healthy organ transplants, why isn’t this an acceptable wrong?

    You are after all saying I can/should kill someone for breaking into my home to protect myself, even if it is wrong to do so. Why can I not kill a person sitting in jail who has broken into many people’s homes to protect the life of a handful of innocent children? Surely making plates is a far lesser good then ending the suffering of multiple children?

    This logic can be used to turn prisons into organ farms, expanding the death penalty almost universally.

    Either defending your life isn’t wrong, or it is acceptable to end life immorally for a greater good. The second option makes for a very dangerous view of the world.

    • Don’t twist what I’m saying like a balloon animal.

      “That problem is that such a declaration defines committing a wrong as acceptable if you have a sufficiently compelling reason.”

      Could have been worded better unless you use one of the least used definitions of acceptable:

      4. capable of being endured; tolerable; bearable

      Which is a lot different than one of the more common definitions:

      pleasing to the receiver; satisfactory; agreeable; welcome.

      Also, I gave one (1) example as to when killing someone is, as you put it, “acceptable”. Do your examples below fall into that singular example? No? Then that’s not what I’m saying at all.

      Why is that not “acceptable”? Because I told you that, too. You don’t have ultimate authority over anyone else’s life, you don’t deserve that ultimate authority over anyone else’s life, and unless we put a greater focus on rehabilitation and trying to make it so people can contribute to society somehow, we may as well put even 12-year-old shoplifters to death because obviously, they’re not going to learn any other way.

      To answer your final ultimatum, you’re saying that either defending your life isn’t wrong (and via double negative, is right), or it’s acceptable to end a life immorally for a greater good. Basically, to take what you’re saying literally, either killing someone can never be for a greater good and is therefore wrong, or you can kill someone for a greater good…but it’s wrong to do so.

      Ouch.

  5. I didn't twist your words around. I twisted your logic back upon the case you claimed it supported. Big difference.

    As for the quibbling over the word acceptable, who cares? By any definition of acceptable, society isn't going to punish someone who defends themselves with lethal force. They are not going to prevent them from doing it again in anyway. I highly doubt that you would advocate government telling people they should choose to die rather then defend themselves. Practically speaking, if society accepts such things with joy joy cheers or reluctant trepidation is completely irrelevant. The results are nearly identical.

    As for you giving one (1) example, you may wish to go back and reread your post. You gave two (2) examples. War, and shooting someone who breaks into your home is two (2) examples. Two (2) examples is not at all singular. Additionally, that paragraph argument was kind of silly.

    Is anyone else thinking of the Count from Sesame Street? Ah-Ah-Ah

    As for your comments about rehabilitation of children, I actually sort of agree, but they are irrelevant. I am questioning the logic you use to rationalize your position, not your agenda. Your goals can be correct while your logic is dangerous.

    As for your comments on my final ultimatum, I would argue that you are being a little obtuse. Morality or Right and Wrong is defined by the situation that surround an action. As example, it may or may not be wrong for me to get in a friend's car and drive away. In order to decide if that action is wrong, we must look at the situation.

    Did I steal the keys or obtain permission? Was I honest about my plans? Will I take responsibility if I wreck the car?

    One set of answers can make the act of climbing into a car and driving away right/moral, another will make it wrong/immoral.

    So it is with killing. One must look at circumstance to decide if it is moral or not. Killing an innocent because you enjoy it would be wrong. Killing someone who was spraying automatic weapons fire at your friends/family would not be wrong.

    Additionally, if defending your self with lethal force is wrong, but acceptable, what is the right thing to do in such a situation? Use an invasion by a hostile nation that refuses to be appeased as an example. Must we capture the entire army without using lethal force and rehabilitate them in order to avoid being wrong?

  6. Having a great vocabulary didn’t save the Thesaurus from Extinction / Eradication / Extirpation

    So if I can understand what you guys are saying, is that because someone is capable of murder it makes it perfectly alright to take theres? That certainly isn’t so.

    Certainly if your life is in danger, you have every right to protect your life, that does not mean though that if it gives you the right to take a life. If of course your attacker pushes to the very point where if you do not kill them, they will kill you, and you have no other recourse, it is still not acceptable to take a life, but you were left with no other option.

    Someone who has commited murder still has the basic right to life, regardless of their actions. We all do. We are not to judge. As Zot has stated, every life still has value, and there is nothing in this world that is equally as valuable, not even another life. Murder for Murder does not fix the problem.

    “An eye for an eye, leaves the whole world blind.”
    – Mahatma Gandhi

    That quote speaks volumes in this situation.

    • Quotable quotes do not say anything. Trying to kill someone who is trying to kill you is eye for an eye by very definition. Someone is trying to kill you, thus you try to kill them right back. Referencing Mahatma Gandhi’s statement can be used just as easily to ‘prove’ your position false.

      A question Cactuar, if it is wrong to take a life to preserve your own, why do you not advocate abject pacifism? Why isn’t the right answer to hold to your moral standard even in the face of death?

  7. Pardon me for a potentially silly question, but if “we are not to judge” then who the hell is? In fact, that’s what both of you are suggesting. You’re suggesting that you have judged and found the best situation to be rehabilitation.

    If it’s not acceptable, and still wrong to take another’s life, then you do have another recourse. You can die. Or let your loved one’s and family be killed. Or both even. What you’re suggesting is that this is somehow more acceptable because you wouldn’t have committed a wrong act. Either it’s wrong and unacceptable or right and acceptable. Contradictions don’t exist.

    Further, no one said because someone is capable of murder. We’re talking about a situation where they committed murder. Huge difference.

  8. If you actually read Zotmaster’s post, he doesn’t say that we aren’t to judge, but that we do judge and we really don’t have the right.

    We don’t have the right to judge, but we do anyway. Who is anyone else to tell me whether or not I deserve to live or die? That’s one reason why killing is wrong.

    You know that “two wrongs don’t make a right” thing? That’s kind of what applies here. Attempted murder is wrong. Actual murder is wrong. Retaliatory murder? Still wrong. Added together, that doesn’t equal a right.

    And again, for those who read the original post, he is basically saying that self-defense killing is necessary as opposed to the alternative. Not that it’s great, fantastic or preferred…but the best option in a really bad scenario. By letting others die, you’re doing something wrong. By killing someone, you’re doing something wrong. However, one is clearly a better option.

  9. I find it interesting how condemning you are of people killing each other for any reason including self-defence (you basically said it’s an allowable or excusable wrong) and then, in another entry about Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, said the following:

    “Honestly, I think at that point, there ought to be a law that states people with the intelligence of zombies ought to be disposed of as any good zombie should be: shotgun blast to the chest.”

    I mean I know you’re just stating your frustration with what you perceive to be a clear issue, but that’s not a healthy attitude to take towards something. Everything you have argued about killing people and the death penalty just kind of put a very twisted light on this little doozy quoted above.

    Kudos.

    • You’re right. Because I totally believe we should shotgun people in the chest because that’s how I deal with the zombies who come into my house and try to eat my brains.

      Zombies are totally real. Valve’s hit title Left 4 Dead is actually based on real events in my life. True story. They had to edit out the part where I gave it to Zoey doggy style…after she turned into a zombie. I just wanted to see if she was still warm. It turns out that some things really are too awesome for Valve.

      • Gee Zot… you’d think from your sarcastic response that I didn’t say something in my post to the effect of “I mean I know you’re just stating your frustration” which in effect would act as my acknowledgement that you were not being literal.

        But literal or not, a statement is a statement and a hypocrite is a hypocrite. It’s just nice to know that you want to argue for a really positive and pacifist take on human life and then completely condescend towards how the vast majority of people in your society because of television shows you don’t personally like. Grade A man, just grade A. The view from your high horse must be very colouring.

        • Because again, I totally advocate killing people I judge to be intellectually devoid.

          I’ll do my best to never say anything sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek, lest it automatically be considered part of my serious business message.

          (Hey kids. Do drugs.)

          • It seems your sarcasm complex is over large and blocks your ability to understand a simple point.

            I’m not talking about your assertion as mattering in it’s literal implication – i.e., that you really want to kill people you judge to be intellectually devoid. I’m talking about you trumpetting the value of life in this entry here, and then in the other one completely condemning the choices or preferences in regards to television shows.

            The fact that you dislike it does not mean that others who do are stupid. For all you know there could be a lot of people who watch it and like it who are more intelligent than you are. Your typecast and blanket generalizations are, quite simply, ignorant.

            But as you’re still on your high horse I see.

  10. Enfilade5, if you actually read the comments you’ll see that Mr. Cactus did say “we are not to judge.” Let’s continue this thought though as you then go on to support it and say “We don’t have the right to judge, but we do anyway. Who is anyone else to tell me whether or not I deserve to live or die?” Golly, I’m not sure, but it seems to me that people tell you what you can and can’t do all the time. These restraints are generally based on some principle. We call them laws in society, but I don’t think you want to go down that path as it can only lead to the mentality that mob rule is correct or right. Something you’re already arguing against.

    Self-defense resulting in death is not “retaliatory murder”. People far smarter than you all, for hundreds of years, have understood the difference.

    But back to my primary point: contradictions don’t exist. Something cannot be right and wrong. Something can be distasteful and right, but not wrong but right. What you’re suggesting by saying that all actions in a scenario are wrong is to suggest that there is no right recourse. That no action you can take is the right action. Only a furtherance of wrong. Only damage control. This, again, suggests that the best course is to remove yourself from the situation so that you won’t be doing anything wrong. Oh, but leaving someone to die is wrong to? Oh, why is it wrong not to save someone? Do you owe something to them?

    There are not shades of gray. There is only black and white. Right and wrong.

  11. You yourself said: “Pardon me for a potentially silly question, but if “we are not to judge” then who the hell is? In fact, that’s what both of you are suggesting.”

    Both of you. Obviously, that means two people, and Cactus was one of them. However, that still leaves a second person and, since it obviously wasn’t Kassikas (who I am guessing, based on what I’ve read is someone from your forums who you called to “attack” Zotmaster, which is kind of funny), it couldn’t have been me (since I hadn’t even replied yet), it had to have been Zotmaster.

    Zotmaster’s post is the reason why we’re here, and that’s why I chose to respond as I did.

    I don’t think there’s too much else to say here other than that calling morality black and white is really, really sad. Do you know who views the world and morality as black and white? Fictional characters.

    Have you seen Watchmen? What better example than Rorschach? Everything he does is black and white: what he’s doing is right, what society’s doing is wrong. He’s breaking the law to deal with criminals according to his own definition of justice.

    Now, here’s the million dollar question: according to your logic, he has to be either right or wrong. Which is he? True, he ensures that criminals can never commit crimes again. However, he takes all three roles – judge, jury, and executioner – and goes against society’s own laws to do that.

    Which is it? Right or wrong? According to you, it has to be one or the other because there are no shades of gray.

    You see, there’s a reason why we confine such characters to movies, video games and books. That reason is the simple fact that if you were to try to apply that logic to the real world, the real world would pretty much fall apart. Imagine people breaking laws all over the place just to do what they think is right.

    “Why did you kill that man, sir?”

    “He was a total prick. He absolutely deserved it.”

    “Why did you rob that politician?”

    “He was dishonest, he defrauded his old corporation out of most of that money, and he also advocated unhealthy causes. Better his money rest in my hands so that I may do some good with it.”

    Maybe you want to live in a land where that’s how things work, but I certainly don’t.

    So, no. Morality is not explicitly black and white, or right and wrong. You can make choices that are good choices, but that choice may not be fantastic, and certainly not perfect. There are wrongs you can commit that are nowhere near as bad as the wrongs that could have been committed.

  12. This is funny on a bunch of levels.

    You're basically up in arms about the fact that I can tell people that killing is wrong in one article, but approve of people being shotgunned in the chest in another. As you put it, a hypocrite is a hypocrite.

    However, you even admit that you are well aware of the fact that my "over large sarcasm complex" was in effect and I was not being literal, which implies that I was, in fact, being completely sarcastic about it. Were I to actually make a show of believing in both circumstances, you might have a point, but since even you realize that I don't believe in executing people who are of a low intelligence, you don't have a point at all! See how it works?

    Basically, that means I'm not being hypocritical at all because in one article I'm being serious and in one article I'm not. Also, I never said that other people who like the show are stupid. Can you find where I said that? I can't…and I wrote the article!

  13. You know, I haven't actually seen, or read, Watchmen. Most of my forum buddies would likely be in shock over this. However, I understand what you're talking about enough to form a repsonse.

    Do you know what else we quite often call those fictional characters? Heroes.

    Again, I haven't seen the movie or read the book, so I can't comment specifically on the character you reference. What I can say is that "society" and "law" can certainly be wrong. In the face of such wrong, and counter to society, can one then do what's right and be vilified for it? Sure. Does society alone mean someone is wrong? If society said it's OK to rape women, would that then be right? And then if you killed the people that were raping women would that be wrong?

    Yes, imagine people breaking laws to do what's right! OMG! That's… it's ridiculous! Do what's right even though there's a law against it? We can't do that, right? Do you have any idea how silly you sound? Seriously.

    Finally, do you believe your comments build any true support for your final state of declaring morality to not be black and white? You haven't proven anything there. Again, something either is or isn't. You know how to use logic, right? Just put your lobes together and think real hard. If you use logic, you can only come to the conclusion that something either is, is not, or you don't have enough information to truly pin it down. When you say that killing in self-defense is still wrong, it can only suggest that letting yourself be killed, or perhaps maimed and disabled, is right. What's being suggested is akin to the lie of original sin. You guys aren't foolishly religious as well, right?

    • I'll keep this short but sweet since I'm pretty sure neither of us is going to convince the other of anything at this point.

      One, as far as Watchmen goes…at best, you could call most of the characters anti-heroes or – this is kind of a stretch – tragic heroes. That's probably the nicest way you could describe them. By the way, not for the sake of this argument, but in a very general sense, you should read the comic and/or watch the movie…if you have any interest whatsoever in that sort of thing, you'll probably like it, and if you don't (I never liked comics) it may still be enjoyable. The characters actually aren't that bad of a reference in this case because what they do is basically vigilantism. In fiction, vigilantism is awesome, and I love playing similar characters in role-playing games…but it would be an awful world to live in if that's how real life went.

      As far as being foolishly religious goes…read the rest of the blog. Browse all my posts categorized under religion…you will find that I'm probably not that far off from where you stand on the topic.

  14. […] I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t an absolutely horrible story or anything. But as I’ve written before, even an arbitrary sentence of the death penalty may very well be a poor decision in the first […]

  15. […] A long time back, I tackled this particular subject myself. I find myself agreeing with a lot of what he said. I would also imagine that few families of the victims feel “victorious” after the execution of a perpetrator. Of course, plenty of people would immediately fly off the handle and claim that we were planning on simply letting killers back out of prison, but any person who can see reason can see what that really means. […]