The Morality of Capital Punishment

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Chris Tidwell

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May 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/17/99
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Allow me to toss my cap into the ring, I'm sure my very good friend Johan
will share some different views and perhaps along the way we can learn a
thing or two :-)

My post deals with the morality of Capital Punishment, that is to say, "Is
it moral to kill someone for killing another?" Here goes ....


"It is by exacting the highest penalty for the taking of human life that
we affirm the highest value of human life." ---- Mayor Edward Koch, New
York City

Lord Justice Denning, Master of the Rolls of the Court of Appeals in
England said to the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment in 1950:

"Punishment is the way in which society expresses its denunciation
of wrong doing; and, in order to maintain respect for the law, it is
essential that the punishment inflicted for grave crimes should
adequately reflect the revulsion felt by the great majority of citizens
for them. It is a mistake to consider the objects of punishments as
being a deterrent or reformative or preventive and nothing else... The
truth is that some crimes are so outrageous that society insists on
adequate punishment, because the wrong doer deserves it, irrespective of
whether it is a deterrent or not."

In J.J. Rousseau's The Social Contract written in 1762, he says the
following:

Again, every rogue who criminously attacks social rights becomes, by
his wrong, a rebel and a traitor to his fatherland. By contravening its laws,
he ceases to be one of its citizens: he even wages war against it. In such
circumstances, the State and he cannot both be saved: one or the other must
perish. In killing the criminal, we destroy not so much a citizen as an enemy.
The trial and judgements are proofs that he has broken the Social Contract,
and so is no longer a member of the State.

National Party MP Sheila Camerer, for example, who as deputy justice
minister in the pre-1994 South African government voted against
lifting a moratorium on what she described as the "barbaric" death
penalty, told the House that the crime rate has become so much worse,
that she would NOT vote against the reintroduction of the death penalty
under the present "terrible circumstances."

As aptly pointed out by Donald Atwell Zoll, Professor of Political Science
at Arizona State University:

"Capital punishment ought not to be abolished solely because it
is...repulsive, if infinitely less repulsive than the acts which invoke
it...If we are to preserve a humane society we will have to retain
sufficient strength of character and will to do the unpleasant in order
that tranquillity and civility may rule comprehensively. It seems
very likely that capital punishment is a...necessary, if limited, factor
in that maintenance of social tranquillity and ought to be retained on
this ground. To do otherwise is to indulge in the luxury of permitting
a sense of false delicacy to reign over the necessity of social
survival."

Leo Tolstoy referred to capital punishment's morality to criticize warfare
when he said:

"For the executioner only holds himself in readiness to kill those
who have been adjudged to be harmful and criminal, while a soldier
promises to kill all who he is told to kill, even though they may be
the dearest to him or the best of men."

These icons of intellect have presented an argument for the death penalty
being moral far better than I ever could have .... I support the death
penalty, I believe it is a necessity for the democratic society. The basis
for my belief is derived in part to reading and studying the following
authors as well as many others.

This post deals with the morality of the issue. Such topics as deterrence,
racism, risk of wrongful innocents, etc. can be adressed at a later time.
Let's chew on this one for awhile and see where it goes.

I respectfully ask Jeroen to stay out of this thread. I have found his
contributions to be counterproductive and burdensome.

Thanks for reading.

------

Keep The Rage,

Chris

"If guns kill people, pencils misspell words"

Chris Tidwell

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
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On Tue, 18 May 1999, Abdiel wrote:

> Is it possible to discuss the "morality" of the issue without addressing
> these concerns?

Absolutely and its imperative.

"Morality" is not an external norm that exists separate and
> independent from all other systems. It is created within and defined by the
> system in which it exists and in which it is analyzed.

No it's not. Like it or not, there is such a thing as an issue being black
or white, ie, there is a difference between right and wrong .... there are
absolutes:

Don't kill
Don't steal
Don't spread lies about others

remember those?

Morality is derived from a code, one of the oldest of them all. Some look
to Moses, other Hammurabi .... morality is NOT defined by a system.


Depending on the
> framework used to address the "morality" of it, the considerations you list
> above may inherently be part of the "morality" of capital punishment.

Absolutely not. This smells like "situational ethics".


>
> To cite just one example, if we define "morality" within a utilitarian
> framework (i.e., the greatest good for the greatest number {put crudely})
> then the deterrence issue becomes central--if we can deter future deaths by
> putting murderers to death, then perhaps the social utility derived is great
> enough to excuse the loss of human life involved. Hence, the degree of
> deterrence is central to the "morality" of the structure.
>

Your definition of morality is misplaced and misapplied. Morality has
nothing to do with utilitarianism ..... it concerns how we treat each
other and ourselves. J.S. Mill is brilliant, but you misapplied his ideas
within the context of morality.

I'll deal with deterrence in a minute, after I address the race element
that you brought up.


> Again, it seems to me to be impossible to address the capital punishment
> system as it exists in the U.S.A. without acknowledging and addressing the
> fact that it has a terribly disparate impact on minorities, particularly
> African-Americans.
>

Really? What do you base this on? It's easy to regurgitate some media
soundbyte or some phrase coined by a welfare pimp (Jesse Jackson, Al
Sharpton, et al.). It's harder to actually think about and support an
issue.

Have you bothered to investigate as to whether there's any validity to
your hypothesis? Allow me to add this to the discussion:

A 1997 Rand Corporation study by Stephen Klein found that white murderers
received the death penalty slightly more often (32%) than non-white murderers
(27%). And while the study found murderers of white victims received the
death penalty more often (32%) than murderers of non-white victims (23%),
when controlled for variables such as severity and number of crimes committed,
there is no disparity between those sentenced to death for killing white or
black victims.

Patrick A. Lanagan, senior statistician at the Dept. of Justice Bureau of
Justice Statistics has studied the system in its entirety, and reports:
"I don't find evidence that the justice system is treating blacks and
whites differently."

So here we have 2 scientists (one working for the government, one working
in a thinktank ..... both neither liberal nor conservatative) saying the
exact same thing: There are no racial inequities with capital punishment
and the science supports it.

Do some research and try to support your hypothesis. It would be helpful
if you used non-political sources.


> Sorry to jump on this small section of your post, but I feel that to
> ignore the issues that you list would seriously circumscribe the ability of
> a discussion to address this important issue.
>


Let's address deterrence now, I had wanted to talk about it another thread
and will do so at greater length later.

During the temporary suspension on capital punishment from 1972-1976,
researchers gathered murder statistics across the country. Researcher Karl
Spence of Texas A&M University came up with these statistics, in 1960,
there were 56 executions in the USA and 9,140 murders. By 1964, when there
were only 15 executions, the number of murders had risen to 9,250. In 1969,
there were no executions and 14,590 murders, and 1975, after six more years
without executions, 20,510 murders occurred. So the number of murders grew as
the number of executions shrank. Spence said:

"While some [death penalty] abolitionists try to face down the results of
their disastrous experiment and still argue to the contrary, the...[data]
concludes that a substantial deterrent effect has been observed...In six months,
more Americans are murdered than have killed by execution in this
entire century...Until we begin to fight crime in earnest [by using the
death penalty], every person who dies at a criminal's hands is a victim of our
inaction."

And in Texas, the highest murder rate in Houston (Harris County) occurred
in 1981 with 701 murders. Since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1982,
Harris County has executed more murderers than any other city or state in the
union and has seen the greatest reduction in murder from 701 in 1982 down
to 261 in 1996 - a 63% reduction, representing a 270% differential!

Also, in the 1920s and 30s, Death penalty advocates were known to refer to
England as a means of proving capital punishment's deterrent effect. Back then,
at least 120 murderers were executed every year in the US and sometimes
the number reached 200. Even then, England used the death penalty far more
consistently than we did and their overall murder rate was smaller than any
one of our major cities at the time. Now, since England abolished capital
punishment about thirty years ago, the murder rate has subsequently
doubled there.

Capital punishment:

is moral
has tangible and demonstrative deterrent effects
is colorblind


Your move.

StrangeBrew

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
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synthuser <bns...@sonic.net> wrote in message
news:374186...@sonic.net...

> Chris Tidwell wrote:
>
> > This post deals with the morality of the issue. Such topics as
deterrence,
> > racism, risk of wrongful innocents, etc. can be adressed at a later
time.
> > Let's chew on this one for awhile and see where it goes.
<snippage of some quite interesting stuff>
> I have no idea if there is a God or a judgment day or whatever.
> I live in the now, sometimes the past, and can only hope for the
> future. I do my best to obey the rules of a civilized society,
> even though I laugh at the arrogance *we* offer in uttering such
> a meaningless term. IMO, we are NOT civilized, we are still
> the violent cave dwellers and basically little has changed.

This brings to mind a comment I made in the not too distant past regarding a
country or people being "more evolved" simply because there was less violent
crime. That's the irony I see. We haven't evolved worth a damn. "Brother
killing brother for the profit of another. Game point, nobody wins." Each
society just channels its baser instincts in a different way. I'd much
rather ours go towards taking out those that are detrimental to society
rather than taking other societies out.

> Take away all the technology and we are the Romans, sitting
> in the arena giving thumbs up and thumbs down and calling it
> sport.

Exactly. Our technology keeps getting better, but we still use it for the
same thing. Admittedly with its theatrics and fakery, pro wrestling isn't
the Roman Colliseum, but is the average soap opera any better?

> I am one of 280 million people in country where Pro-wrestling
> is one of the highest rated cable shows, where guys with sticks
> "check" each other to hell, where over 200 acts of violence
> are perpetrated throughout the television day, where we have a
> president who is a liar.

Actually according to some numbers in a news article recently, pro wrestling
is something like 7 out of the top ten cable shows.

> I am not looking for Witchfinder General's to rule the day, but
> I am looking for self-accountability in all of us. There are many
> who try to live by the rules in a society that is breaking down
> each and every day all around us. The idea that we do not hand out
> the harshest punishment for the most heinous of crimes is an insult
> to those that do not commit them, that play by the rules, that try to
> deal with all the bullshit without resorting to murder/violence
> as a way to reslove conflicts or better themselves.

I'm not sure if you read the post I previously mentioned a tidbit of local
news in regarding a recent atrocity, but I heard on the radio this morning
that the aforementioned scumbag is going to be lit up like a Christmas tree
sometime in the future. The newspaper yesterday was splashed with the words
of his parents saying that "their boy wasn't the person who committed those
deeds" and asking for his life to be spared. Well, I've got news for them.
That *WAS* their boy. Those events were not new. My wife went to school
with him and had to get the teacher to move her away from him in a class
because of the comments he was making sitting right behind her. The time
for making excuses for criminals must come to an end soon.

> I won't even get into endless appeals, legalese manuverings
> and abuse of the judicial system. That is another post.

Agreed...hopefully the appeals system will not allow justice to be derailed
in the case I just mentioned.

L8r,
--
StrangeBrew

http://www.cajunnet.com/~tobyg

"If at first you don't succeed, try try again. And then quit. No sense
being a damn fool about it." - A.Nonymous

StrangeBrew

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
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Jagerball <jage...@aol.comnospam> wrote in message
news:19990518120201...@ngol08.aol.com...
> <snipped, but read>
>
> I'm not disagreeing with you, but we have to start somewhere. Don't we?

Agreed.

> Maybe this is as good as anyplace to start. Maybe not. Though I haven't
sat
> down and rationalized all my beliefs, so some may be conflicting; and
others
> may seem out of place when put in context with the world, they are what I
> believe.

heh...maybe we can help you come up with some rationalizations. ;)

> I believe in the death penalty, and think it should have the intended
effect
> (lowered violent crimes) when properly enforced. IIRC this view matches
> several other posters here. My stance is only partially for moral reasons
> (even if that position seems ironic).

Moral reasons enter into my beliefs about the death penalty, but the
structure of society, the social contract we have with each other, is a
bigger part. This could be called a moral structure as well, I suppose.
Any society must have some basic rules and consequences for breaking those
rules. This has been so throughout history.

> Regarding Kosovo, etc. : I agree with the objectives of NATO, but believe
we
> should have gone about it differently. Bombing is not going to work, and
will
> have lingering effects for a long time. But BTW I find our moral high
ground
> stance here laughable. If we are so shocked by the ethnic cleansing, how
come
> we didn't do anything in Sierra Leone or Angola? The atrocities there
have
> been far worse, at least until we started bombing.

"Ethnic cleansing" is a convenient excuse. There are many possible "real"
reasons other than that. One that a friend of mine is supposed to be
sending a paper from his doctoral work to me deals with economic reasons,
namely oil. I'm going off of memory unfortunately, so I may accidentally
leave out a few things. The overall argument dealt with one of the major
tributaries of the Danube passing through Yugoslavia and not wanting to let
a main artery to the oil processing plants in Germany get closed off by
hostilities. When I receive the details, I'll try to post them if this is
still being discussed.

> If we are going to be the New Moral Crusaders of the World, we should at
least
> be consistent. If military force was an option in Kosovo, why not other
> places? And if we're going to use it, use it to win- quickly. Not just
for
> show. In the end we just hurt ourselves, our "moral" position, more
innocents,
> global stability, and never accomplish our goal.

Agreed.

L8r,
--
StrangeBrew

http://www.cajunnet.com/~tobyg

"Whether they ever find life there or not, I think Jupiter should be
considered an enemy planet." - Jack Handey

synthuser

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
Jagerball wrote:
>
> <snipped, but read>
>
> I'm not disagreeing with you, but we have to start somewhere. Don't we?
>
> Maybe this is as good as anyplace to start. Maybe not. Though I haven't sat
> down and rationalized all my beliefs, so some may be conflicting; and others
> may seem out of place when put in context with the world, they are what I
> believe.

Understood. :)

> I believe in the death penalty, and think it should have the intended effect
> (lowered violent crimes) when properly enforced. IIRC this view matches
> several other posters here. My stance is only partially for moral reasons
> (even if that position seems ironic).

I guess the crux of my post was trying to illustrate
that I believe in the death penalty. That if we can so
easily kill in many circumstances and justify it, why
is it so hard to justify it when it is soley based on
the willful actions of an individual who chose to
disregard the "laws" and ideas many of us agree
we need to co-exist.

> Regarding Kosovo, etc. : I agree with the objectives of NATO, but believe we
> should have gone about it differently. Bombing is not going to work, and will
> have lingering effects for a long time. But BTW I find our moral high ground
> stance here laughable. If we are so shocked by the ethnic cleansing, how come
> we didn't do anything in Sierra Leone or Angola? The atrocities there have
> been far worse, at least until we started bombing.

Agreed. The Rawandan killings, totaling at best estimates
800,000(?) would be another example of atrocities which did
not elicit a real response from the civilized world. I
only raised the Kosovo issue to show that killing is often
easily justified as a means to deter/and or save lives,
so why is it not applicable as a form of judicial punishment
when mortal crimes are commited? That was my question/point.

> If we are going to be the New Moral Crusaders of the World, we should at least
> be consistent. If military force was an option in Kosovo, why not other
> places? And if we're going to use it, use it to win- quickly. Not just for
> show. In the end we just hurt ourselves, our "moral" position, more innocents,
> global stability, and never accomplish our goal.
>

> Relinquishing the soap box,

You raise points I totally agree with Bob. :)
BTW, I didn't mean to turn it into a Kosovo issue, I was
just using some recent war examples in an effort to make
my case as to why the "killing is morally wrong" debate
doesn't sway me as an argument against the death penalty.

Anyway, good discussion.
Synthuser

--
"This film can not be shown within the city of Flint.
All the movie theaters have been closed."
http://www.sonic.net/~bnsdias

Jagerball

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
In article <3741BD...@sonic.net>, synthuser <bns...@sonic.net> writes:

>I guess the crux of my post was trying to illustrate
>that I believe in the death penalty. That if we can so
>easily kill in many circumstances and justify it, why
>is it so hard to justify it when it is soley based on
>the willful actions of an individual who chose to
>disregard the "laws" and ideas many of us agree
>we need to co-exist.

It took me until the end of the post, but I got it. :-0 It did seem to me,
however, that your post raised some other (much larger) issues; I (for the time
being) skipped those (except for the aside).

>
>> Regarding Kosovo, etc. : I agree with the objectives of NATO, but believe
>we
>> should have gone about it differently. Bombing is not going to work, and
>will
>> have lingering effects for a long time. But BTW I find our moral high
>ground
>> stance here laughable. If we are so shocked by the ethnic cleansing, how
>come
>> we didn't do anything in Sierra Leone or Angola? The atrocities there have
>> been far worse, at least until we started bombing.
>
>Agreed. The Rawandan killings, totaling at best estimates
>800,000(?) would be another example of atrocities which did
>not elicit a real response from the civilized world. I
>only raised the Kosovo issue to show that killing is often
>easily justified as a means to deter/and or save lives,
>so why is it not applicable as a form of judicial punishment
>when mortal crimes are commited? That was my question/point.

Yes. :-) I guess I didn't skip those other issues as much as I thought,
given my above response. :)


>
>> If we are going to be the New Moral Crusaders of the World, we should at
>least
>> be consistent. If military force was an option in Kosovo, why not other
>> places? And if we're going to use it, use it to win- quickly. Not just
>for
>> show. In the end we just hurt ourselves, our "moral" position, more
>innocents,
>> global stability, and never accomplish our goal.
>>
>> Relinquishing the soap box,
>
>You raise points I totally agree with Bob. :)
>BTW, I didn't mean to turn it into a Kosovo issue, I was
>just using some recent war examples in an effort to make
>my case as to why the "killing is morally wrong" debate
>doesn't sway me as an argument against the death penalty.

Yeah, I kinda got off on the larger morality issue, than just as applied to the
death penalty. Oh well, we'll see if a subthread has formed. :-)
>
>Anyway, good discussion.

Thanks.

>Synthuser
>

(ex-).BoogieWoogieBugleBoy.
--------
"The reason people blame things on the previous generations is that there's
only one other choice." -Doug Larson

"The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid."
-In a Yugoslavian Hotel

Jagerball

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
In article <7hsbq8$6od$1...@news.ametro.net>, "StrangeBrew"
<stra...@REMOVETHIScajunnet.com> writes:

>> I believe in the death penalty, and think it should have the intended
>effect
>> (lowered violent crimes) when properly enforced. IIRC this view matches
>> several other posters here. My stance is only partially for moral reasons
>> (even if that position seems ironic).
>

>Moral reasons enter into my beliefs about the death penalty, but the
>structure of society, the social contract we have with each other, is a
>bigger part. This could be called a moral structure as well, I suppose.
>Any society must have some basic rules and consequences for breaking those
>rules.

Yeah, I neglected to flesh out where the other part of my belief comes from;
but you did so quite nicely.

.B.

LdySimetra

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
Ya know, this is gonna help me out where this issue is concerned. This is one
of those things that I am very unsure about.
There are still a lot of variables to take into consideration. This is not a
"black and white" issue at all. I have a child that is mentally unstable.
Some mental illnesses take a _long_ time to address and treat properly. The
average time to stabilize a child with bipolar disorder is 2-3 yrs. Refractory
bipolar goes through short spurts of stability and then it seems as though a
monkey wrench were thrown into all of it and you have to start all over again.
Add to that the fact that bipolar, schizophrenia, and the like are controllable
but, they are not curable. What do you do in an instance where a mentally ill
person kills someone due to some feature of their illness, an ignorant doc
putting them on the wrong meds. (Antidepressants, SSRI's, and some herbal meds
are proven to induce mania) Studies show that a very large part of the prison
population is made up of un'dxed and untreated mentally ill. That is the
absolutely worst place for any of them to be.
Then of course the general pop also fears that it is being used as a scapegoat
to "get people off" for what they did. These are illnesses that cannot be
faked, believe it or not. Kenneth Bianchi tried and failed miserably. The
interviews are rather amusing actually. If he only knew how stupid he looked.

People who are truly mentally ill do not grasp the concept of reality. Trust
me, I know. Sociopathy is listed as a mental illness. I really do believe that
my 2nd husband was a sociopath. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised to find
that he had killed or raped someone and never gotten caught. He should be put
away. Sociopathic personalities cannot be treated, controlled, or cured.
However, sociopathy can be the result of other untreated undx'ed mental
illnesses.

See? I am so confused on this issue. I know there is a such thing as mental
illness but, many people perceive it as just another excuse bc, it can't be
"seen". (i.e., The lack of a physical manifestation of symptomalogy.) However,
if u know what to look for it can be seen. the best ex that I can think of
right now is pupils. When my son is manic, the entire room can be lit up like
a summer day at noon. His pupils are _completely_ dilated. When I pointed it
out to the doctor, he explained that it was caused by the messed up chemical
reaction in his brain. I have a lot more to ask but, I am gonna shut up now.
THis post is way too long already.

Diane )0(

synthuser

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
StrangeBrew wrote:

> Moral reasons enter into my beliefs about the death penalty, but the
> structure of society, the social contract we have with each other, is a
> bigger part.

For me it is the bigger part as well.

> This could be called a moral structure as well, I suppose.

Morality is too vague IMO.

> Any society must have some basic rules and consequences for breaking those

> rules. This has been so throughout history.

Yes.

> "Ethnic cleansing" is a convenient excuse. There are many possible "real"
> reasons other than that. One that a friend of mine is supposed to be
> sending a paper from his doctoral work to me deals with economic reasons,
> namely oil.

Interesting I remember something similar last year.
The local SF paper did a weeks worth of articles about the
vast oil reserves of the Black Sea area, and the future
of the entire area, based on oil reserves said to be 3x
the amount of oil in the middle east. IIRC, the Danube
river eventually ends in the Black Sea.

> I'm going off of memory unfortunately, so I may accidentally
> leave out a few things. The overall argument dealt with one of the major
> tributaries of the Danube passing through Yugoslavia and not wanting to let
> a main artery to the oil processing plants in Germany get closed off by
> hostilities. When I receive the details, I'll try to post them if this is
> still being discussed.

Hehe.. I read the same thing last year Toby, long before there was
any war or talk of cleansing blah blah. The Danube IIRC flows right
through Belgrade and has been refered to in more than one article
I remember reading as a vital waterway.



> > If we are going to be the New Moral Crusaders of the World, we should at
> least
> > be consistent. If military force was an option in Kosovo, why not other
> > places? And if we're going to use it, use it to win- quickly. Not just
> for
> > show. In the end we just hurt ourselves, our "moral" position, more
> innocents,
> > global stability, and never accomplish our goal.
>

> Agreed.

Yep.

--
"This film can not be shown within the city of Flint.
All the movie theaters have been closed"

http://www.sonic.net/~bnsdias

Shag

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
synthuser <bns...@sonic.net> wrote:

> if we can so easily kill in many circumstances and justify it, why
> is it so hard to justify it when it is soley based on the willful
> actions of an individual who chose to disregard the "laws" and ideas
> many of us agree we need to co-exist.

On the flipside, if it is so hard to justify killing or violence when
it is solely based on the willful actions of an individual who chose
to disregard the "laws" and ideas many of us agree we need to co-exist,
why can we so easily kill in many circumstances and justify it?

Two sides of the same coin.

One says "if killing is okay in most cases, why isn't it okay in all?"

One says "if killing isn't okay in some cases, why is it okay in any?"

Personally I lean toward the latter. I don't particularly think the
death penalty is the neatest thing since sliced bread, particularly in
light of the recent highly publicized cases in Chicago where people
have been on death row for years, and have then been found to be
totally innocent of the crimes that sent them there.

But I tend not to think that it's a good thing to kill other people in
general. Or to do them harm. So I don't run into a conflict there.

-Shag

--
Dan 'Shag' Birchall - Screaming in Digital - http://www.scream.org/
Spreading the Disease of Queensryche fandom on Internet since 1991.
Also see http://maisha.scream.org/ and http://chocolate.scream.org/

synthuser

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
Jagerball wrote:
>
> In article <3741BD...@sonic.net>, synthuser <bns...@sonic.net> writes:
>
> >I guess the crux of my post was trying to illustrate
> >that I believe in the death penalty. That if we can so

> >easily kill in many circumstances and justify it, why
> >is it so hard to justify it when it is soley based on
> >the willful actions of an individual who chose to
> >disregard the "laws" and ideas many of us agree
> >we need to co-exist.
>
> It took me until the end of the post, but I got it. :-0

Yikes! Sorry.

> It did seem to me,
> however, that your post raised some other (much larger) issues; I (for the time
> being) skipped those (except for the aside).

Wow I must have missed the boat on that post sorry LOL!
I am usually pretty lucent early in the morning. ;^)

> >Agreed. The Rawandan killings, totaling at best estimates
> >800,000(?) would be another example of atrocities which did
> >not elicit a real response from the civilized world. I
> >only raised the Kosovo issue to show that killing is often
> >easily justified as a means to deter/and or save lives,
> >so why is it not applicable as a form of judicial punishment
> >when mortal crimes are commited? That was my question/point.
>
> Yes. :-) I guess I didn't skip those other issues as much as I thought,
> given my above response. :)
> >

> >> If we are going to be the New Moral Crusaders of the World, we should at
> >least
> >> be consistent. If military force was an option in Kosovo, why not other
> >> places? And if we're going to use it, use it to win- quickly. Not just
> >for
> >> show. In the end we just hurt ourselves, our "moral" position, more
> >innocents,
> >> global stability, and never accomplish our goal.
> >>

> >> Relinquishing the soap box,
> >
> >You raise points I totally agree with Bob. :)
> >BTW, I didn't mean to turn it into a Kosovo issue, I was
> >just using some recent war examples in an effort to make
> >my case as to why the "killing is morally wrong" debate
> >doesn't sway me as an argument against the death penalty.
>
> Yeah, I kinda got off on the larger morality issue, than just as applied to the
> death penalty. Oh well, we'll see if a subthread has formed. :-)

There are many roads to detour about on this one I think. :)

> >Anyway, good discussion.
>
> Thanks.
>
> >Synthuser
> >
>
> (ex-).BoogieWoogieBugleBoy.

Nah, once a musician, always a musician.
It's a disease. ;^)

--
"This film can not be shown within the city of Flint.

All the movie theaters have been closed."
http://www.sonic.net/~bnsdias

blackd...@mindspamring.com

unread,
May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
synthuser <bns...@sonic.net> wrote:

<snipped but read & pondered deeply>

>I am not looking for Witchfinder General's to rule the day, but
>I am looking for self-accountability in all of us. There are many
>who try to live by the rules in a society that is breaking down
>each and every day all around us. The idea that we do not hand out
>the harshest punishment for the most heinous of crimes is an insult
>to those that do not commit them, that play by the rules, that try to
>deal with all the bullshit without resorting to murder/violence
>as a way to reslove conflicts or better themselves.

Wow. you put taht last sentence much better than I could. thanks.

>I won't even get into endless appeals, legalese manuverings
>and abuse of the judicial system. That is another post.

... or two... or two hundred... :)

Shaye

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"Not all girls are sugar & spice & everything nice.
Some of us are whips & chains & things that bring pain."
-March '99 Playboy

StrangeBrew

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
synthuser <bns...@sonic.net> wrote in message
news:3741CA...@sonic.net...
> StrangeBrew wrote:
<snip>

> > "Ethnic cleansing" is a convenient excuse. There are many possible
"real"
> > reasons other than that. One that a friend of mine is supposed to be
> > sending a paper from his doctoral work to me deals with economic
reasons,
> > namely oil.
>
> Interesting I remember something similar last year.
> The local SF paper did a weeks worth of articles about the
> vast oil reserves of the Black Sea area, and the future
> of the entire area, based on oil reserves said to be 3x
> the amount of oil in the middle east.

Second only to the untapped potential of Siberia if I understand correctly.

> IIRC, the Danube
> river eventually ends in the Black Sea.

Why yes it does. Imagine that...the US engaging in a war over oil. Who'da
thunk?

> > I'm going off of memory unfortunately, so I may accidentally
> > leave out a few things. The overall argument dealt with one of the
major
> > tributaries of the Danube passing through Yugoslavia and not wanting to
let
> > a main artery to the oil processing plants in Germany get closed off by
> > hostilities. When I receive the details, I'll try to post them if this
is
> > still being discussed.
>
> Hehe.. I read the same thing last year Toby, long before there was
> any war or talk of cleansing blah blah. The Danube IIRC flows right
> through Belgrade and has been refered to in more than one article
> I remember reading as a vital waterway.

<snippage>

Damn...I'm going to have to check with my bud and see if he came to his
conclusions independently or if he saw it elsewhere and just fleshed it out.
That's exactly what he and I were discussing. It also fills in the
reasoning as to why the Brits and Germans are even more gung ho about this
thing than the U.S. is.

L8r,
--
StrangeBrew

http://www.cajunnet.com/~tobyg

"You can't be a Real Country unless you have a BEER and an airline - it
helps if you have some kind of a football team or some nuclear weapons, but
at the very least you need a BEER." - Frank Zappa

Chris Tidwell

unread,
May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to LdySimetra
On 18 May 1999, LdySimetra wrote:

> Ya know, this is gonna help me out where this issue is concerned. This is one
> of those things that I am very unsure about.

Excellent .... glad you're participating in the thread.


> There are still a lot of variables to take into consideration. This is not a
> "black and white" issue at all.


It is .... with a few exceptions.


I have a child that is mentally unstable.

wow ..... here's two birds with one stone: kids and mental illness. my
heart just breaks for you and your family. mental illness is hell .... a
child with mental illness? i don't have the words to explain that type of
agaony.


> Some mental illnesses take a _long_ time to address and treat properly. The
> average time to stabilize a child with bipolar disorder is 2-3 yrs. Refractory
> bipolar goes through short spurts of stability and then it seems as though a
> monkey wrench were thrown into all of it and you have to start all over again

very, very well said. I wish our Psyc Professors could have been as
succint.

.
> Add to that the fact that bipolar, schizophrenia, and the like are controllable
> but, they are not curable. What do you do in an instance where a mentally ill
> person kills someone due to some feature of their illness, an ignorant doc
> putting them on the wrong meds. (Antidepressants, SSRI's, and some herbal meds
> are proven to induce mania)


What do you do? Being a medical student, I'm biased towards the "ignorant
docs", i'll admit that freely. How can a physician, say a primary care
doc, be expected to understand the neurobiology of mental illness when the
experts in the field don't?

Finding the right mix of meds is in large measure trial and error. There
is no other way right now. Sorry, had to get that off of my chest.

Now what to do with the patient who has injured others? Admit them to a
mental health facility until the right combo of meds can be determined.
Should they be held accountable for their actions?

HELL NO. They're victims of a horrible diesase. They didn't know the
difference between right and wrong or were so looped out, they weren't
aware of their actions. The victims and their families won't like it but
there's no other alternative when dealing with kids who suffer from mental
illness.


Studies show that a very large part of the prison
> population is made up of un'dxed and untreated mentally ill. That is the
> absolutely worst place for any of them to be.


Would like to see the study, can you post the reference please? I believe
that if a prisoner is diagnosed with a mental illness, they should be
removed from the general prison population and receive the best care that
they can in a different part of the prison system.


> Then of course the general pop also fears that it is being used as a scapegoat
> to "get people off" for what they did. These are illnesses that cannot be
> faked, believe it or not.


The DSRM and the guidelines for mental illness are rather strict, it's
tough to fake it.


>
> People who are truly mentally ill do not grasp the concept of reality.


agreed ..... they're in a different dimension. the science has shown as
much.

Trust
> me, I know. Sociopathy is listed as a mental illness. I really do believe that
> my 2nd husband was a sociopath. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised to find
> that he had killed or raped someone and never gotten caught. He should be put
> away. Sociopathic personalities cannot be treated, controlled, or cured.
> However, sociopathy can be the result of other untreated undx'ed mental
> illnesses.


Hmmm ..... you have shared some very personal and painful experiences, my
heart really goes out to you and your family. Technically, there are
treatments for sociopaths and meds as well. The success rate is horrible
though. Compliance is a big problem though. I'm not going to nickle and
dime your assertions regarding sociopaths, you're on the money on several
issues. The big picture is this: sociopaths are some of the most
diabolical and difficult mentally ill patients.

>
> See? I am so confused on this issue. I know there is a such thing as mental
> illness but, many people perceive it as just another excuse bc, it can't be
> "seen". (i.e., The lack of a physical manifestation of symptomalogy.)

Those who espouse that are either misinformed or just plain wrong.


However,
> if u know what to look for it can be seen. the best ex that I can think of
> right now is pupils. When my son is manic, the entire room can be lit up like
> a summer day at noon. His pupils are _completely_ dilated.

yeah ..... that's his sympathetic nervous system just melting down and
going into overdrive. His receptors are just getting blasted and are
stimulating the entire network.


When I pointed it
> out to the doctor, he explained that it was caused by the messed up chemical
> reaction in his brain. I have a lot more to ask but, I am gonna shut up now.
> THis post is way too long already.


thanks for contributing to the thread. if you have any questions regarding
mental illness, please feel free to email me. I will be glad to answer any
question, if I don't know the answer ..... I'll find it and get it back to
you.

take care

Abdiel

unread,
May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
hey all:

Chris Tidwell <ctid...@hsc.unt.edu> wrote in message
news:Pine.SOL.4.05.990517...@molly.hsc.unt.edu...


> This post deals with the morality of the issue. Such topics as deterrence,
> racism, risk of wrongful innocents, etc. can be adressed at a later time.
> Let's chew on this one for awhile and see where it goes.

Is it possible to discuss the "morality" of the issue without addressing
these concerns? "Morality" is not an external norm that exists separate and


independent from all other systems. It is created within and defined by the

system in which it exists and in which it is analyzed. Depending on the


framework used to address the "morality" of it, the considerations you list
above may inherently be part of the "morality" of capital punishment.

To cite just one example, if we define "morality" within a utilitarian


framework (i.e., the greatest good for the greatest number {put crudely})
then the deterrence issue becomes central--if we can deter future deaths by
putting murderers to death, then perhaps the social utility derived is great
enough to excuse the loss of human life involved. Hence, the degree of
deterrence is central to the "morality" of the structure.

Again, it seems to me to be impossible to address the capital punishment


system as it exists in the U.S.A. without acknowledging and addressing the
fact that it has a terribly disparate impact on minorities, particularly
African-Americans.

Sorry to jump on this small section of your post, but I feel that to


ignore the issues that you list would seriously circumscribe the ability of
a discussion to address this important issue.

take care

Abdiel
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ICQ: Abdiel (UIN 1536740)
"The joy of life consists in the exercise of one's energies, continual
growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To
stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set
up an attainable ideal." - A. Crowley
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

synthuser

unread,
May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
LdySimetra wrote:
>
> In article <374186...@sonic.net>, synthuser <bns...@sonic.net> writes:
>
> >From: synthuser <bns...@sonic.net>
> >Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 08:24:08 -0700
> >
>
> Whisper drops of silent rain,
> Light upon this window pain,
> Rolling slowly down the glass,
> Becoming part of nature's past.
> Are the raindrops angels tears?
> Sad - lamenting all the years.
> Vanishing without a sound.
> Into this lonely battleground.
> No love is lost between each other.
> Mother and daughter, sister and brother.
> Children here must raise themselves,
> Their guidance comes in ebbs and swells.
> Morality is lost amidst,
> The chances taken - souls at risk.
> Hate and fear rule o'er the lives,
> Of those whose love and faith has died.
> The teardrops of the angels fall.
> Are we the answer to their call?
> We can stop their mourning tears,
> And lay to rest these burning years.
>
> Diane )0(

Oh mighty Sorceress!
Your words bewitch me,
Conjuring both vivid image
And enchanting melody
Within my heart and mind.

synthuser

unread,
May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
Chris Tidwell wrote:

> This post deals with the morality of the issue. Such topics as deterrence,
> racism, risk of wrongful innocents, etc. can be adressed at a later time.
> Let's chew on this one for awhile and see where it goes.

Morality

<Disclaimer: *We* is used in a general sense>

I have read accounts where a liquor store owner was killed over like $9,
where a drunk driver killed an entire family in a head on collision,
where the son of a rock star given all the privledges in the world
still killed himself with an over-dose of heroin, where in the span of
90 minutes the city of Rotterdam was flattened, and 30,000 were killed
in WWII, where 2 angry students went on a shooting spree killing 13
and finally themselves, where the US government and NATO bombed another
country's embassy by mistake, etc, etc, etc, on and on, blah blah blah.

So "where" is this intinsic breast beating "value" regarding life?
History is full of examples of man killing man killing man, yet we
labor today, in 1999, on the verge of a new millenium, about a form of
punishment that simply says if you kill another person you will suffer
the same consequence. Why do we labor so?

Is it because *we* abhor killing? We abhor violence?
Is it our belief in God? Morality?

*We* have no problem killing animals for sport, (and yet ironically
the killing of animals that we eat for food has become far removed
from the act, and conveniantly wrapped in plastic and marked "fresh").

*We* seem to have no problems killing the innocent unborn.
Abortions are legal.

*We* have no problems killing the planet on a daily basis?
The fact that less than 10 percent of the North American forests
are left, makes me much sadder than the possible death penalty
for some drunk driver who had 2 prior DUI's and a revoked license
but this night while driving drunk yet again, he hits another car
head on, killing the entire family. Yet, while he is rushed to
the local hospital, sheets are placed over ther father, mother,
the 10 year old boy and the 7 year old daughter all dead, all killed
by the actions an individual who gave up his "civility" the moment
he turned the key in the ignition.

*We* have no problems putting on a uniform and shooting people we
don't even know. We have no problems flying 30 missions a day,
bombing a country that has never commited an act of agression towards
us. Yet, we can "accidentally" kill civilians. Yet we can drop 2 atomic
bombs that killed 2 entire cities to stop a war...hmmm we can drop
bombs on people in an effort to ...save people? Translation: We can
kill people to save people. Yes?

But some asshole who knowingly gave up his rights to a civilized
co-existence kills *my* Grandfather while robbing his liquor store
for a total of 9 fucking dollars and all of the sudden *we* get
religion? Morality?

I have no idea if there is a God or a judgment day or whatever.
I live in the now, sometimes the past, and can only hope for the
future. I do my best to obey the rules of a civilized society,
even though I laugh at the arrogance *we* offer in uttering such
a meaningless term. IMO, we are NOT civilized, we are still
the violent cave dwellers and basically little has changed.

Take away all the technology and we are the Romans, sitting
in the arena giving thumbs up and thumbs down and calling it
sport.

I am one of 280 million people in country where Pro-wrestling

is one of the highest rated cable shows, where guys with sticks
"check" each other to hell, where over 200 acts of violence
are perpetrated throughout the television day, where we have a
president who is a liar.

I am not looking for Witchfinder General's to rule the day, but

I am looking for self-accountability in all of us. There are many
who try to live by the rules in a society that is breaking down
each and every day all around us. The idea that we do not hand out
the harshest punishment for the most heinous of crimes is an insult
to those that do not commit them, that play by the rules, that try to
deal with all the bullshit without resorting to murder/violence
as a way to reslove conflicts or better themselves.

I won't even get into endless appeals, legalese manuverings


and abuse of the judicial system. That is another post.

(JMO's.)

--
http://www.sonic.net/~bnsdias

Jagerball

unread,
May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
<snipped, but read>

I'm not disagreeing with you, but we have to start somewhere. Don't we?

Maybe this is as good as anyplace to start. Maybe not. Though I haven't sat
down and rationalized all my beliefs, so some may be conflicting; and others
may seem out of place when put in context with the world, they are what I
believe.

I believe in the death penalty, and think it should have the intended effect


(lowered violent crimes) when properly enforced. IIRC this view matches
several other posters here. My stance is only partially for moral reasons
(even if that position seems ironic).

Regarding Kosovo, etc. : I agree with the objectives of NATO, but believe we
should have gone about it differently. Bombing is not going to work, and will
have lingering effects for a long time. But BTW I find our moral high ground
stance here laughable. If we are so shocked by the ethnic cleansing, how come
we didn't do anything in Sierra Leone or Angola? The atrocities there have
been far worse, at least until we started bombing.

If we are going to be the New Moral Crusaders of the World, we should at least


be consistent. If military force was an option in Kosovo, why not other
places? And if we're going to use it, use it to win- quickly. Not just for
show. In the end we just hurt ourselves, our "moral" position, more innocents,
global stability, and never accomplish our goal.


Relinquishing the soap box,

.B.

LdySimetra

unread,
May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
In article <374186...@sonic.net>, synthuser <bns...@sonic.net> writes:

>From: synthuser <bns...@sonic.net>
>Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 08:24:08 -0700
>

Whisper drops of silent rain,
Light upon this window pain,
Rolling slowly down the glass,
Becoming part of nature's past.
Are the raindrops angels tears?
Sad - lamenting all the years.
Vanishing without a sound.
Into this lonely battleground.
No love is lost between each other.
Mother and daughter, sister and brother.
Children here must raise themselves,
Their guidance comes in ebbs and swells.
Morality is lost amidst,
The chances taken - souls at risk.
Hate and fear rule o'er the lives,
Of those whose love and faith has died.
The teardrops of the angels fall.
Are we the answer to their call?
We can stop their mourning tears,
And lay to rest these burning years.

Diane )0(

"And for a time they shall prevail against us, and we shall seemingly vanish
from the world. Yet we shall always remain. For we shall be reborn, and we
shall remember, though they kill us a thousand times. And my words shall be
spoke again and again. And my teachings shall be restored. For there are none
upon the earth who have the power to slay the Spirit."
Raven Grimassi, The Gospels of Aradia, 1990


Spawn

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
Well, that finally puts the entire yugoslavian picture together for me.

I was always perplexed... there was one element missing as to why America
got involved, and this was it.

As always, I remain...
Spawn.
--
"We are following the will of the One
Through the Dark Gates and into the storm..."
- Blind Guardian, "Into the Storm"

synthuser <bns...@sonic.net> wrote in article <3741CA...@sonic.net>...
> StrangeBrew wrote:

> Interesting I remember something similar last year.
> The local SF paper did a weeks worth of articles about the
> vast oil reserves of the Black Sea area, and the future
> of the entire area, based on oil reserves said to be 3x

> the amount of oil in the middle east. IIRC, the Danube

LdySimetra

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
In article <Pine.SOL.4.05.990518...@molly.hsc.unt.edu>, Chris
Tidwell <ctid...@hsc.unt.edu> writes:

> mental illness is hell .... a
>child with mental illness? i don't have the words to explain that type of
>agaony.

I wish that I could find sufficient words. Maybe if I could, I could convince
some of the people around here that Keith is _not_ a "bad seed." It is
horrible to see your own child ostracized bc, he seems to be "eccentric."

>What do you do? Being a medical student, I'm biased towards the >"ignorant
>docs", i'll admit that freely. How can a physician, say a primary care
>doc, be expected to understand the neurobiology of mental illness >when the
>experts in the field don't?

Unfortunately, I know this all too well. I can't expect that much out of
anyone. Ignorant was a poor choice of words on my part. I guess those who
think they need to learn nothing and know all are my main problem. I am pretty
sure that you probably know this already but, I have walked into many pdoc
offices to be seen with my son. Much of the time, within 10 minutes of our
arrival, they are asking questions that indicate a suspicion of child abuse or
neglect. For the most part, people who abuse or neglect their kids don't seek
psych help for them and themselves. I have been investigated by social
services, NIS, and all but accused by anyone and everyone, including my family.
Thanks to this kind of history, I now have panic disorder, PTSD, and
agoraphobia. Mostly from experiences with my son but, also from my 2nd husband
who was abusive.

>Finding the right mix of meds is in large measure trial and error. >There
>is no other way right now. Sorry, had to get that off of my chest.

Medicine is far from an exact science. Psychiatry is even farther. Mania can
resemble, in most children, super hyperactivity. The distinguishing features
are what determine the dx. Keith's _most distinguishing_ feature is
nightmares. They are horrible and extremely graphic. I have an article
written by Dr. Charles Popper that goes into more detail. They seem to be
exclusive to bipolar pts. Mostly kids.
There is _no_ need to apologize. I am sorry for choosing such an inappropriate
word in a flurry of disorganized thinking.

>Now what to do with the patient who has injured others? Admit them >to a
>mental health facility until the right combo of meds can be determined.
>Should they be held accountable for their actions?

>HELL NO. They're victims of a horrible diesase. They didn't know the
>difference between right and wrong or were so looped out, they >weren't
>aware of their actions. The victims and their families won't like it but
>there's no other alternative when dealing with kids who suffer from >mental
>illness.

Keith should be hospitalized rt now. He is no longer on a mood stabilizer due
to "disinhibition" reaction to Depakote. He had the same kind of reaction to
Tegretol. Makes me wonder if, for some reason, he can't tolerate the
neuro-epileptics. It is starting to look like kids under about age 12 may
respond better to anti-psychotics (Mellaril, Resperidal, etc) than to mood
stabilizers anyway.
You are right. Keith was hosp at age 3. It was then that he was dx with ADHD.
I felt absolutely horrible. I cried all day for 2 wks and the guilt ate me
alive. I know now that when he gets to that point (he has some psychotic
featuresw/mania and OCD features w/depression + rapid cycling thanks to the
stimulant) that it is best for my girls and for him too. He is the most
grandiose, narcissistic individual that I have ever seen when he is manic.

>Would like to see the study, can you post the reference please? I >believe
>that if a prisoner is diagnosed with a mental illness, they should be
>removed from the general prison population and receive the best >care that
>they can in a different part of the prison system.

The stats are much worse for youth facilities. According to one article I read
it is suspected that 1 out of 4 kids in youth detention centers are not ODD or
CD but, have a neurobiological disorder. I may not be able to find it very
quickly but, when I do I would be more than happy to send you what I have.
Very interesting stuff.

>People who are truly mentally ill do not grasp the concept of reality.
>agreed ..... they're in a different dimension. the science has shown as
>much.

Before my son's dx I used to constantly joke about his "warped perception of
reality." I thought he might be schizophrenic, MPD, or borderline personality
disorder.

>The big picture is this: sociopaths are some of the most
>diabolical and difficult mentally ill patients.

2nd husband: alcoholic, habitual gambler/liar, abusive to me and HIS kids.
(Never laid a hand on mine - to my knoweldge). Obsessive jealousy but, cheated
like nothing doing. February 1997: Followed me all over the house screaming
and berating me in front of 5 kids. (ages 6mos - 15yrs.) Grabbed me by my
upper arms and pushed me about 20 feet through the kitchen and slammed me into
the cast iron storm door. His fifteen yr olds called the police. I fought to
get way. He held my head by placing his thumbs on my cheeks and his hands on
the sides of my neck. I had bruises for about two weeks following. Lets me
go. I walked to the sink and p/u a knife to cut up an onion with. He
mistakenly thought that I was gonna "use it" on him and pulled it outta my
hand. He made a very supreficial cut in his upper pec and said, as calmy as I
have ever seen, "Now I can get you for aggravated assault." He put the knife
back in my hand. I threw it down on the floor. WHen the police arrived, they
arrested the both of us. He was charged with simple assault. Me -aggravated
assault ( a class c felony) He was in jail for about 12 hours. Me for three
days. THis is the kicker. He was in the courtroom the day I was arraigned to
"pick me up." Sounds like a sociopath to me.

>please feel free to email me. I will be glad to answer any
>question, if I don't know the answer ..... I'll find it and get it back to
>you.

Thank you. It is nice to know there is someone out there who gets it. Not
many people do and it can make for a sometimes lonely existence. I have way
too much time to think about all the mistakes that I've made (where he is
concerned) and no way to get it off my chest much of the time.

Diane )0(

Abdiel

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
hey all:

Chris Tidwell <ctid...@hsc.unt.edu> wrote in message

news:Pine.SOL.4.05.99051...@molly.hsc.unt.edu...


> Don't kill
> Don't steal
> Don't spread lies about others

Is it really that simple? In terms of stealing, let's posit the starving man
who steals some bread from a supermarket to feed his family..... is this
*wrong?* What about a mother who kills someone to defend the lives of her
children.... is this *wrong?* In fact, your whole post argues for the
morality of capital punishment, so your second statement above can't be
universally true.

> Your definition of morality is misplaced and misapplied. Morality has
> nothing to do with utilitarianism

Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. My point was that you can't just cry
"morality" without defining it and giving support for your definition.
Depending on the definintion one settles on, the issues that you seek to
exclude may become relevant.

> Really? What do you base this on? It's easy to regurgitate some media
> soundbyte or some phrase coined by a welfare pimp (Jesse Jackson, Al
> Sharpton, et al.). It's harder to actually think about and support an
> issue.
>
> Have you bothered to investigate as to whether there's any validity to
> your hypothesis? Allow me to add this to the discussion:

<snip>


> Do some research and try to support your hypothesis. It would be helpful
> if you used non-political sources.

<snip>


> Let's address deterrence now, I had wanted to talk about it another thread
> and will do so at greater length later.

<snip>

I will readily admit that you have obviously done a commendable amount of
research. I responded to your post on a philosophical level because the
framework of your inquiry had systemic flaws--my point was not to argue the
morality of the death penalty one way or the other. Since you seem so keen
on trading statistics, however, I will post some regarding the racially
biased nature of capital punishment in the U.S.A. You'll have to given me a
day or so to go through the academic journals.

> Capital punishment:
>
> is moral

You haven't even defined morality yet! How can you say that something is or
isn't moral?

Flar

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
Chris Tidwell wrote:

Just addressing a few points:


>
> "Morality" is not an external norm that exists separate and
> > independent from all other systems. It is created within and defined by the
> > system in which it exists and in which it is analyzed.
>
> No it's not. Like it or not, there is such a thing as an issue being black
> or white, ie, there is a difference between right and wrong .... there are
> absolutes:
>
> Don't kill
> Don't steal
> Don't spread lies about others
>
> remember those?
>
> Morality is derived from a code, one of the oldest of them all. Some look
> to Moses, other Hammurabi .... morality is NOT defined by a system.

I think it is. Morality changes. The reason that those rules you mention
are still alive doesn't mean they are 'true'. just that they are still
...erm... 'applicable' [maybe a bad choice of word, but I hope you catch
my drift]. I could imagine a society where it is allowed to steal, kill
and lie, yes, even is considered 'good'. Of course such a society would
be a hell to live in (for us). But I think 'good' and 'bad' is in the
eye of the beholder, not absolute truth. That doesn't mean that I reject
this set of rules...

"All we wanted was a chance to see the world
in black or white instead of hundred shades of grey"
New Model Army, 'The Cause'

[snip]


>
> And in Texas, the highest murder rate in Houston (Harris County) occurred
> in 1981 with 701 murders. Since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1982,
> Harris County has executed more murderers than any other city or state in the
> union and has seen the greatest reduction in murder from 701 in 1982 down
> to 261 in 1996 - a 63% reduction, representing a 270% differential!
>
> Also, in the 1920s and 30s, Death penalty advocates were known to refer to
> England as a means of proving capital punishment's deterrent effect. Back then,
> at least 120 murderers were executed every year in the US and sometimes
> the number reached 200. Even then, England used the death penalty far more
> consistently than we did and their overall murder rate was smaller than any
> one of our major cities at the time. Now, since England abolished capital
> punishment about thirty years ago, the murder rate has subsequently
> doubled there.

Can we compare these two cases? The first is a rather short term effect
(14 years) and the second long term if I read it right (doubled since
the 1930's or since about 30 years ago?). And even then, there may be
other factors at work. such as population balances (baby boom),
hooliganism (which has become a great problem in England). I would like
to see more information on this (absolute numbers of murder and number
of murder per head of population) before I consider this connection
proven.
>
> Capital punishment:
>
> is moral

Yes. But not absolute.

> has tangible and demonstrative deterrent effects

This is still to be proven.

> is colorblind

Yes. As is proven.
>
> Your move.
>
Cheers,

Flar.
--
"You say that life is a miracle - I don't believe one word
Forgive me for being so cynical - From down here you all look absurd"
Skyclad, 'Halo of Flies' (1995)
(replace 'spam' by 'klft' in email-address to reply)

StrangeBrew

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
LdySimetra <ldysi...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:19990518234522...@ngol03.aol.com...
<snippage>
> Medicine is far from an exact science. Psychiatry is even farther. [...]

Hate to pick a nit, but do you mean Psychiatry there or Psychology? One of
my Psych professors in college was quick to point out a little tidbit from a
study done on the "cure" rates of Psychologists. The rate of people who
sought therapy and were "cured" was between 10 and 20% IIRC. The study
found that the rate of people who *didn't* seek therapy and "cured"
themselves through personal support groups or family was pratically
identical. Psychiatry on the other hand, should be just as (un?)reliable as
Medicine since Psychiatrists are just M.D.'s who picked a certain specialty.

<more major snippage>


> "pick me up." Sounds like a sociopath to me.

<snip>

Yeah, sounds that way here too.

L8r,
--
StrangeBrew

http://www.cajunnet.com/~tobyg

"If I was a father in a waiting room, and the nurse came out and said,
'Congratulations, it's a girl,' I think a good gag would be to get real mad
and yell, 'A girl!? You must have me mixed up with that dork!' and point to
another father." - Jack Handey

StrangeBrew

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
Spawn <s33...@student.uq.edu.au> wrote in message
news:01bea1a7$e39a4060$e55214ac@default...

> Well, that finally puts the entire yugoslavian picture together for me.
>
> I was always perplexed... there was one element missing as to why America
> got involved, and this was it.

Not to mention it conveniently pulled the media attention away from all of
the legal troubles of the Perjurer-in-Chief.

L8r,
--
StrangeBrew

http://www.cajunnet.com/~tobyg

"Love is not something that you can put chains on and throw into a lake.
That's called Houdini. Love is liking someone a lot." - Jack Handey

synthuser

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
Abdiel wrote:
>
> hey all:
>
> Chris Tidwell <ctid...@hsc.unt.edu> wrote in message
> news:Pine.SOL.4.05.99051...@molly.hsc.unt.edu...
> > Don't kill
> > Don't steal
> > Don't spread lies about others
>
> Is it really that simple? In terms of stealing, let's posit the starving man
> who steals some bread from a supermarket to feed his family..... is this
> *wrong?*

IMO, yes, the concept of stealing is always wrong. And
yes, there are "the starving man" scenarios, which play out
like a form of the George Bailey defense, but these are not
the norm are they? They are not the majority. Nor do these
"circumstances" make stealing right.

From what I have read thefts relating to drug related causes,
automobile and forcible entries have little to do with "the
starving man" stealing bread from the supermarket to feed his
family.

But let's forget the "supermarket." Let's say "starving man"
guy breaks into my house, cause he is hungry and has like
6 kids, so he breaks my window one night, he enters my
home and goes to the kitchen, he opens my refigerator and
steals every scrap of food I spent my last paycheck on to
feed MY starving family. Like Dr. Suess' Grinch, "Starving
Man," fills a big bag with all my food.

In another time in history, stealing that food could have
meant death for my children, if it was winter and the crops
had all been harvested, and "Starving Man" stole our much
needed stores of supplies for the winter months, how would I
feed MY children? Eat snow?

> What about a mother who kills someone to defend the lives of her
> children.... is this *wrong?*

There are self-defense laws that address this so I am
not going to argue this example.

But let's stick with my example. "Starving Man" is in my
kitchen, he broke a window and is now stealing my food.
Maybe he has a gun, or is on drugs, or after he steals my
food he will come upstairs and kill me and my family?

Just then "Starving Man" sees my wallet on the kitchen counter,
in it is about $300, the money I had left over after I went
grocery shopping. That $300 is going to be used to buy my 7
year old a wheel chair, cause she lost one of her legs due to
sarcoma cancer of the hip, but now "Starving Man," opens the
wallet and takes the $300. Meanwhile I hear some noises. I
get out of bed and go downstairs to the kitchen I see the
broken window, I see some total stranger in my kitchen, the
plastic bag loaded with MY food over his shoulder, my wallet
opened and the money gone. Who is this guy? Santa Claus?

> In fact, your whole post argues for the
> morality of capital punishment, so your second statement above can't be
> universally true.

The death penalty is not a moral issue IMO.
It is simply the harshest punishment for the most
heinous of crimes. It is clearly stated that certain
laws when broken, will result in quite possibly the
penalty of death. Pretty simple. Morals have little
to do with it IMO.

Man kills discriminantly and indiscriminantly every
hour, every day, everywhere. Our history is a tale
of barbarism, enslavement, species extinctions, genocide,
war-mongering and an insane path towards destruction of
the planet, all with a deluded sense of self-importance
that continually battles "guiltomaniacal" with our
supposed religous beliefs.

If we can so easily and so often kill for the wrong reasons,
then in terms of a well defined, communicated response to
clearly stated heinous acts, I find the "moral" issue
a non-factor.

> Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. My point was that you can't just cry
> "morality" without defining it and giving support for your definition.
> Depending on the definintion one settles on, the issues that you seek to
> exclude may become relevant.

Morality? What is morality? Is it moral when an Egyptian Cobra
while shedding it's skin and half blind slithers into a den
where 3 newborn cute little lion cubs are sleeping, and as a
result bites each of them and they die painful nervous system
related deaths?

What is morality? Just a human thing? How about killing buffalo
by the millions, then letting the meat rot on the plains because
the hides were where the big $ were, was that moral?

Morality is too vague.
Hammurabi or Moses or whoever, are 2 more "long dead and gone guys."

The church enslaved hundreds of thousands and killed countless more,
so religous morality is a crock. I don't need to read the Kuran(sp?),
the Bible, the whatever, to know how I should treat others. Most of
us know what is wrong and what is right every second of the day. :)

> I will readily admit that you have obviously done a commendable amount of
> research. I responded to your post on a philosophical level because the
> framework of your inquiry had systemic flaws--my point was not to argue the
> morality of the death penalty one way or the other.

IMO, morality has little to do with it. It is merely
the harshest punishment for the most heinous of crimes.
If it was indeed a moral issue then maybe it should be praised
as a means to send troubled souls to meet their maker ASAP,
for we(society) have obviously failed them right?

Pretend I have a "starving family" to feed and buy clothes
for and take care of and to teach the ways to exist in a
societal dynamic remember? I'm the one obeying the laws,
I don't kill people or steal from them.

I am not God. I try my best to live a good life, I bet
many of us do. :) If my biggest failing when and if I stand
before God is that I believed in the death penalty for those
who committed heinous acts of murder, then so be it.

> Since you seem so keen
> on trading statistics, however, I will post some regarding the racially
> biased nature of capital punishment in the U.S.A. You'll have to given me a
> day or so to go through the academic journals.

Looks like this is to become a discussion of class inequality,
or public defenders vs. rich guy lawyers, or how those
that can't pay for top legal defenses get screwed? ;^)

> Abdiel
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> ICQ: Abdiel (UIN 1536740)
> "The joy of life consists in the exercise of one's energies, continual
> growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To
> stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set
> up an attainable ideal." - A. Crowley
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read a book of Crowley verse the other day.
Can't remember the title. Bizarre stuff though.
Have you read any of Michael Slade's books?
He references Crowley quite a bit in his book Ripper.

Anyway, JMO's :)

--
"Unlike Man, Nature makes no excuses for her brutality."
http://www.sonic.net/~bnsdias

StrangeBrew

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
Abdiel <nos...@everywhere.net> wrote in message
news:7hthrq$c...@sjx-ixn10.ix.netcom.com...

> hey all:
>
> Chris Tidwell <ctid...@hsc.unt.edu> wrote in message
> news:Pine.SOL.4.05.99051...@molly.hsc.unt.edu...
> > Don't kill
> > Don't steal
> > Don't spread lies about others
>
> Is it really that simple? In terms of stealing, let's posit the starving
man
> who steals some bread from a supermarket to feed his family..... is this
> *wrong?*

Yes. He has taken something from someone else that did not belong to him.
Does he deserve the death penalty for it? No.

> What about a mother who kills someone to defend the lives of her
> children.... is this *wrong?*

Don't murder would be better way to phrase Chris's original statement if
this is going to go off on a tangent.

> In fact, your whole post argues for the
> morality of capital punishment, so your second statement above can't be
> universally true.

His post was speaking of the morality of the *concept*, not whether it
should be applied in certain cases. Are you saying that there are *no*
cases in which it would be considered moral?

> > Your definition of morality is misplaced and misapplied. Morality has
> > nothing to do with utilitarianism
>

> Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. My point was that you can't just cry
> "morality" without defining it and giving support for your definition.
> Depending on the definintion one settles on, the issues that you seek to
> exclude may become relevant.

<snippage>

So if I wish to discuss the "evil" in a certain act, and I wish to define
"evil" as "good," that would be acceptable? Has discourse reached the point
where one must define every term and reasoning as to one's definition? What
do you mean by "define?" What do you mean by "support?" What do you mean
by "cry?"

> I will readily admit that you have obviously done a commendable amount of
> research. I responded to your post on a philosophical level because the
> framework of your inquiry had systemic flaws--my point was not to argue
the

> morality of the death penalty one way or the other. Since you seem so


keen
> on trading statistics, however, I will post some regarding the racially
> biased nature of capital punishment in the U.S.A. You'll have to given me
a
> day or so to go through the academic journals.

If you wish to discuss it from a different standpoint, perhaps starting a
different thread would be more productive that pointing out "systemic
flaws." If you do post statistics, please be kind enough to cite your
sources.

> > Capital punishment:
> >
> > is moral
>
> You haven't even defined morality yet! How can you say that something is
or
> isn't moral?

Here's one:
Main Entry: mo斟al搏暗y
Pronunciation: m&-'ra-l&-tE, mo-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
Date: 14th century
1 a : a moral discourse, statement, or lesson b : a literary or other
imaginative work teaching a moral lesson
2 a : a doctrine or system of moral conduct b plural : particular moral
principles or rules of conduct
3 : conformity to ideals of right human conduct
4 : moral conduct : VIRTUE

Feel better?

My $ .02,
--
StrangeBrew

http://www.cajunnet.com/~tobyg

"It is not the critic who counts; nor the man who points out how the strong
man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit
belongs to the man who is actually in the arena." - T. Roosevelt


StrangeBrew

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
synthuser <bns...@sonic.net> wrote in message
news:3742E6...@sonic.net...
<snippage>
> [...] Kuran(sp?), [...]

Q'uran and Koran are the two most accepted spellings AFAIK.

L8r,
--
StrangeBrew

http://www.cajunnet.com/~tobyg

"I was at a stop light, behind a car with a bumper sticker that said 'Honk
if you love Jesus.' I honked. The driver leaned out his window, flipped me
the bird, and yelled 'Can't you see the light is still red, you moron?'" -
Scott Adams

Chris Tidwell

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
On Wed, 19 May 1999, StrangeBrew wrote:

> Hate to pick a nit, but do you mean Psychiatry there or Psychology? One of
> my Psych professors in college was quick to point out a little tidbit from a
> study done on the "cure" rates of Psychologists. The rate of people who
> sought therapy and were "cured" was between 10 and 20% IIRC. The study
> found that the rate of people who *didn't* seek therapy and "cured"
> themselves through personal support groups or family was pratically
> identical. Psychiatry on the other hand, should be just as (un?)reliable as
> Medicine since Psychiatrists are just M.D.'s who picked a certain specialty.

If someone has a metabolic disorder, ie, an organic basis for their mental
illness ... no amount of therapy will be curative.

Just M.D.'s who picked a certain specialty? Wow, that's quite a statement.
Gee .... they've had the Pharmacolgy, Physiology and Integrative Med in
medical school. They go through 5 years of specific training for the
treatment of mental illness and they're just M.D.'s who picked a certain
specialty. And oh by the way, they are board certified in Psychiatry ...
do you have any idea how much work that requires?

You might want to rethink your assertion.

Chris Tidwell

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
On Wed, 19 May 1999, StrangeBrew wrote:

> Not to mention it conveniently pulled the media attention away from all of
> the legal troubles of the Perjurer-in-Chief.

*Bingo* well done.

Chris Tidwell

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
On Wed, 19 May 1999, Abdiel wrote:

> Is it really that simple? In terms of stealing, let's posit the starving man
> who steals some bread from a supermarket to feed his family..... is this
> *wrong?*

yes it is, the next question is .... "what should a compassionate and
humane society do with this person?"

Should he be punished? *yes* is there flexibility in the sentencing
guidelines? *of course* a reasonable course of action might be to give the
guy deferred adjudication and give his family a referral to such social
services as the food bank, employment asssistance, food stamp assistance,
etc.

is his act still wrong? yes it is.

What about a mother who kills someone to defend the lives of her

> children.... is this *wrong?* In fact, your whole post argues for the


> morality of capital punishment, so your second statement above can't be
> universally true.


please ..... you're being intellectually lazy. self-defense and protection
of family is a moral and just act ..... it can't enter into the realm of
capital punishment.

>
> > Your definition of morality is misplaced and misapplied. Morality has
> > nothing to do with utilitarianism
>
> Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. My point was that you can't just cry
> "morality" without defining it and giving support for your definition.
> Depending on the definintion one settles on, the issues that you seek to
> exclude may become relevant.
>

My definition of morality is derived from Judeo-Christian teachings, that
is to say, from the teachings of God. Without a belief in God (no matter
what his/her/it name is), our civilization would not have progressed as
far as it has. We have a core set of values/laws/beliefs that appear in
the Koran, the Torah, the Old and New Testaments, etc. ..... ie, they are
universal.

How do I define morality?

I find the definition of morality in God's word, for what God
pronounces as moral cannot be questioned, although some have dared to
try. Humans are certainly not the standard, for they cannot even agree on
what is right and wrong.

There are three terms which must be discussed when dealing with
morality. The first is immorality:

it is committing that which is evil (sin). One of the best definitions of
immorality is found in 2 Samuel 13, in the sordid tale of Amnon and his
half-sister Tamar. As Amnon prepares to rape her, she says, "No, my brother, do
not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this
disgraceful thing! As for me, where could I get rid of my reproach? And as for
you, you will be like one of the fools in Israel" (vv. 12-13). Tamar
understands that Amnon's sin is 1) against God (such a thing is not done in
Israel), 2) against her (where could I get rid of my shame?), and 3) against
himself (you will be like one of the fools). Is there a better definition?

The second term to notice is amorality, or the absence of morality:

In the parable of the talents, the one talent man is a good
example of the amoral, for he does nothing to try to improve his situation.
He merely attempts to get by in doing nothing wrong. But he is condemned as
surely as if he had been evil (Matt. 25:14-30). Amorality is, plain and
simple, immorality, in that it refuses to support that which is good, and it
refuses to denounce that which is evil.

Finally, the term morality is important because it is the standard to
which we are held:

A moral man can be characterized three ways. First, he does
what is right. Joseph, despite the temptations of his
master's wife, did right at great personal cost (Gen. 39:7-20). Here is a young
man with the courage to refuse to sin against his God, even though
such refusal ultimately placed him in prison.

In addition, the moral man minds spiritual things. He devotes himself to
prayer (Jas. 5:16-18; 1 Thess. 5:17), because he
believes in its power. He devotes himself to the study of the scriptures (2 Tim.
2:15; 3:16-17), because he understands the great resource they are for
living as God would have him, and because he understands their power
in helping him to overcome Satan (Matt. 4:1-11). He devotes himself
to meditation (Phil. 4:8), because he understands the importance of a mind
focused on good and perfect things.

Finally, a moral man stands for what is right.


So what is morality? that which is devoid of immorality and ammorality.

So who is a moral person? The person that does what is right, who minds
spiritual things and who stands for what is right.



> I will readily admit that you have obviously done a commendable amount of
> research.

thank you, i try to support my positions with solid scientific data. what
are ideas without a concrete foundation? merely words.


I responded to your post on a philosophical level because the
> framework of your inquiry had systemic flaws--my point was not to argue the
> morality of the death penalty one way or the other. Since you seem so keen
> on trading statistics, however, I will post some regarding the racially
> biased nature of capital punishment in the U.S.A. You'll have to given me a
> day or so to go through the academic journals.
>

I welcome the debate. Let's keep the politics out of this shall we? It's
easy to slam a study that was funded/performed by folks with a political
agenda. I tried to cite studies from political scientists, not
politicians or political party.

I can see where this debate might be going, to the realm of subjective
ethics. Let's tie this one up first and then tackle that one, cool?

synthuser

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
Flar wrote:

> "All we wanted was a chance to see the world
> in black or white instead of hundred shades of grey"
> New Model Army, 'The Cause'

Cool quote :)

"Strong hearts soar through blindness
Tearing the fog, tearing the eyes to clarity
To a place where truth is seen."
Neurosis, "Under The Surface"

> > Capital punishment:
> >
> > is moral
>
> Yes. But not absolute.

JMO, but I don't think it's a moral issue.

> > has tangible and demonstrative deterrent effects
>
> This is still to be proven.

I am not a big believer in "scaring" people
as a way for them to NOT act a certain way.
I think that teaching people why they should
refrain from certain acts is a better form
of pedagogy in the long run, then teaching
through fear of punishment. A society that
acts accordingly, strictly as a result of
possible consequences and/or punishments as
opposed to merley doing the right things
because they *are* the right things,
seems an honorless society IMO.

> > is colorblind
>
> Yes. As is proven.

Agreed. The death penalty does not seek out
"certain people," on the contrary, "certain
people" seek out the death penalty by their
own actions.

PS- I am ready to share my thoughts on the tapes
you sent me. I'll post them to the NG as maybe
others might get some suggestions as well. :)

--
http://www.sonic.net/~bnsdias

StrangeBrew

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
Chris Tidwell <ctid...@hsc.unt.edu> wrote in message
news:Pine.SOL.4.05.990519...@molly.hsc.unt.edu...

> On Wed, 19 May 1999, StrangeBrew wrote:
>
> > Hate to pick a nit, but do you mean Psychiatry there or Psychology? One
of
> > my Psych professors in college was quick to point out a little tidbit
from a
> > study done on the "cure" rates of Psychologists. The rate of people who
> > sought therapy and were "cured" was between 10 and 20% IIRC. The study
> > found that the rate of people who *didn't* seek therapy and "cured"
> > themselves through personal support groups or family was pratically
> > identical. Psychiatry on the other hand, should be just as
(un?)reliable as
> > Medicine since Psychiatrists are just M.D.'s who picked a certain
specialty.
>
> If someone has a metabolic disorder, ie, an organic basis for their mental
> illness ... no amount of therapy will be curative.

I agree and that's basically the point. Psychology would fit being less of
a science than Medicine in general. Psychiatry doesn't really fit that mold
since it has just as much basis as does any other field of Medicine.

> Just M.D.'s who picked a certain specialty? Wow, that's quite a statement.

LOL...and you're taking it much more dismissively than intended. I wasn't
talking about General Practitioners, but more about specialists.

> Gee .... they've had the Pharmacolgy, Physiology and Integrative Med in
> medical school.

Do other M.D.'s not get that?

> They go through 5 years of specific training for the
> treatment of mental illness and they're just M.D.'s who picked a certain
> specialty.

Is that much more than an M.D. who picks neurosurgery as their specialty
goes through?

> And oh by the way, they are board certified in Psychiatry ...

Aren't specialists *supposed* to be board-certified in their particular
field?

> do you have any idea how much work that requires?

Pretty good idea. As much work as becoming an oncologist or a neuro-surgeon
probably. You're taking that statement way farther than you should.

> You might want to rethink your assertion.

You might want to rethink your interpretation.

L8r,
--
StrangeBrew

http://www.cajunnet.com/~tobyg

"To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp
with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is." -
Albert Einstein

Jeroen J.-W. Tiggelman

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
Chris Tidwell <ctid...@hsc.unt.edu> wrote:
>I'm sure my very good friend Johan will share some
>different views

Hmm.. thought he just pulled back from the NG a
few days ago? Do I misremember? Oh well..

>My post deals with the morality of Capital Punishment,

Define what you mean by "moral" somewhat more
elaborately, please!

I think that "capital punishment" itself from a "moral"
POV is a useless overgeneralization myself.

>"It is by exacting the highest penalty for the taking of
>human life that we affirm the highest value of human life."

That's a mere assertion, no analysis there.

>"Punishment is the way in which society expresses its
>denunciation of wrong doing; and, in order to maintain
>respect for the law, it is essential that the punishment
>inflicted for grave crimes should adequately reflect the
>revulsion felt by the great majority of citizens [..]

This takes as center that expression of revulsion is
somehow the basis of morality, or at least even
compatable with it. I don't really think so. Got any
argument for it?

>Again, every rogue who criminously attacks social rights [..]

Define "social rights". As for the rest of that quote, I think that
it presents a wholly fake dichotomy.

>"Capital punishment ought not to be abolished solely because it
>is...repulsive, [..] If we are to preserve a humane society we
>will have to retain sufficient strength of character [..]

This poor soul is confusing strength of spirit and will with strength
of measures taken in a physical sense, which is utterly ridiculous
rhetoric. Dismissed.

>"For the executioner only holds himself in readiness to kill those
>who have been adjudged to be harmful and criminal, while a soldier
>promises to kill all who he is told to kill, even though they may be
>the dearest to him or the best of men."

How does this apply?

>These icons of intellect

Credentials are irrelevant.

>have presented an argument for the death penalty being moral
>far better than I ever could have .... [..]

I saw some loose quotes there, but no coherent argument
whatsoever. It must be me. (Then again, in religious discussions
I always get this feeling that the Bible quotes sans interpretation
or explanation usually signify nothing either...)

>This post deals with the morality of the issue. Such topics as
>deterrence, racism, risk of wrongful innocents, etc. can be
>adressed at a later time.

I disagree. "Morality" without considering these is a hollow
phrase to begin with. We should start out defining what
"morality" means, and by drawing the lines between "moral"
and "ethic" etc. before we embark on any serious analysis
here, IMO.

>I respectfully ask Jeroen to stay out of this thread.

Declined.

--
--Jeroen--------------------------------------------------
Tiggelman jtig...@casema.net (private)

Jeroen J.-W. Tiggelman

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
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"Abdiel" <nos...@everywhere.net> wrote:
>"Morality" is not an external norm that exists separate
>and independent from all other systems. It is created
>within and defined by the system in which it exists
>and in which it is analyzed. [..]

I disagree. That would make "morality" arbitrary and
thus pretty meaningless, wouldn't it?

>To cite just one example, if we define "morality" within
>a utilitarian framework (i.e., the greatest good for the
>greatest number {put crudely})

I don't see that that is what would be "utilitarian". I think
you should sum the values over the people, maybe, but
that's quite different from "the greatest good for the
greatest number" IMO, and suffers from the problems of
assigning values and comparing them.

>then the deterrence issue becomes central

I think that deterrence should not really be an issue at all.

>--if we can deter future deaths by putting murderers to death,
>then perhaps the social utility derived is great enough to
>excuse the loss of human life involved.

Since it is impossible to show that a reasonable benefit can
be expected from this at all, I am certainly not inclined to
buy that.

>Again, it seems to me to be impossible to address the capital
>punishment system as it exists in the U.S.A.

Why would we want to specifically address that particular
system?

Jeroen J.-W. Tiggelman

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
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synthuser <bns...@sonic.net> wrote:
>> > Don't kill
>> > Don't steal
>> > Don't spread lies about others
>> Is it really that simple? In terms of stealing, let's
>>posit the starving man who steals some bread
>>from a supermarket to feed his family..... is this
>> *wrong?*

Not necessarily.

>IMO, yes, the concept of stealing is always wrong.

We weren't evaluating "the concept of stealing",
we were evaluating an action that could be
phrased in those terms. We could consider whether
the action _had_ to be phrased in those terms.

I think that the underlying concept of "property" is
problematic itself, and declaring it as inviolate clearly
is as this example shows. So, the terms and the
absoluteness of our pronouncements about the
"concept" (read: doubtful generalization) are
confusing.

>And yes, there are "the starving man" scenarios, which
>play out like a form of the George Bailey defense, but
>these are not the norm are they?

I think we were looking at the issue from a philosophical
POV, and thus we weren't looking at whether it made
statistical sense, but whether it was an absolute. You
started out by saying it was, anr are now continuing
on a tack that says it's not. That is incongruous. I don't
think we are going to get anywhere unless we make
a very clear distinction between the statistically useful
(utilitarian) and the existential.

>They are not the majority. Nor do these "circumstances"
>make stealing right.

You have confused yourself by adopting the "concept"
without question now, interpreting the issue of one of
being either "for" or "against" stealing, while the actual
issue being raised was that reducing the entire matter
to the concept of stealing itself is a mistake and
precludes valid conclusions from being reached.

>Let's say "starving man" guy breaks into my house,

>cause he is hungry and [..] steals every scrap of food
>[..] In another time in history, stealing that food could
>have meant death for my children, [..]

In another time in history, easy generalizations might
have made sense from a likely survival POV, but this
consideration does not really apply now, does it? This
goes to show that the reduction of the event to
"stealing" and then judging based on the set rules for
that is unnecessarily conservative and really not
justified, showing us that this kind of thoughtless
literalist rule interpretation really isn't what "morality"
is about. (BTW, I think that the earlier "simple rule"
making sense would've made "ethic" rather than
"morality", too.)

>> What about a mother who kills someone to defend
>> the lives of her children.... is this *wrong?*
>There are self-defense laws that address this so I am
>not going to argue this example.

I think you miss the point, which is that the generalization
sans context is really meaningless, and arguing about
morality on that level is mostly an exercise in futility.

[..snip..]

I am personally looking at this from the existential
level, saying the generalization is false, so you need
no anecdote whatsoever to disprove any absolute
statement I would have made at all.

>The death penalty is not a moral issue IMO.

Agreed.

>It is simply the harshest punishment for the most
>heinous of crimes. It is clearly stated that certain
>laws when broken, will result in quite possibly the
>penalty of death. Pretty simple. Morals have little
>to do with it IMO.

Nothing at all. What you are talking about are the
ethics of a particular society. That's not "morality"
at all.

>If we can so easily and so often kill for the wrong

>reasons, then in terms of a well defined, [..]

I don't see how a wrong can be the basis for not
paying attention to what would be right. A second
wrong won't make one.

>What is morality? Just a human thing? How about killing buffalo
>by the millions, then letting the meat rot on the plains because
>the hides were where the big $ were, was that moral?

No, it wasn't.

>Morality is too vague.

What definition do you offer instead?

>The church enslaved hundreds of thousands and
>killed countless more, so religous morality is a crock.

That is a total fallacy. You've made several invalid
generalizations there, and deduced something that
is not truly what you would call "morality" either.

>I don't need to read the Kuran(sp?), the Bible, the
>whatever, to know how I should treat others.

Yes, morality comes in fact first. Immanuel Kant.

Chris Tidwell

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
On Wed, 19 May 1999, StrangeBrew wrote:

> > > identical. Psychiatry on the other hand, should be just as
> (un?)reliable as
> > > Medicine since Psychiatrists are just M.D.'s who picked a certain
> specialty.

>

> LOL...and you're taking it much more dismissively than intended. I wasn't
> talking about General Practitioners, but more about specialists.

What are you saying then? Specialists aren't really specialists? That
their post-graduate medical training doesn't mean that much?

I'm really confused as to who you were referring .... if you're implying
that specializing in a field isn't that big of a deal, then you're
absolutely mistaken.

Who's opinion would you value more for a differential diagnosis of bipolar
disorder, a GP or a Psychiatrist? If I'm reading you correctly, you're
saying that the GP is just as capable of getting the diagnosis as correct
and not misdiagnosing something else than the Psychiatrist ... yes?

You're absolutely wrong on this point.

>
> > Gee .... they've had the Pharmacolgy, Physiology and Integrative Med in
> > medical school.
>
> Do other M.D.'s not get that?


Yes they do. I was laying a foundation for their medical training.

>
> > They go through 5 years of specific training for the
> > treatment of mental illness and they're just M.D.'s who picked a certain
> > specialty.
>
> Is that much more than an M.D. who picks neurosurgery as their specialty
> goes through?


With regards to correctly diagnosing a mental illness, yes. Your premise
appeared to be that "specialists are just M.D.'s who specialized in a
particular field" ..... well, yes that is indeed the case but they are
considered vastly superior to GP's for correctly calling a diagnosis.

In this case, we werer discussing mental illness You stated that a
Psychologist is superior to a Psychiatrist in treating mental illness,
after all a Psychiatrist is only a M.D. who specicalized. Psychologists
have a role in the treatment of mental illness, a non-pharmacolgical role.

In the realm of possibilities, a Psychiatrist could do everything a
Psycholgist could ... if they took the time to get the proper training. A
Psycholgist can NEVER do everything a Psychiatrist can .... they don't
have the medical license, they don't have the training, nor are they
eligible to receive the training.


>
> > And oh by the way, they are board certified in Psychiatry ...
>
> Aren't specialists *supposed* to be board-certified in their particular
> field?
>


You missed the point here .... this was the culmination of the work
required for someone to be a Psychiatrist. It vastly exceeds what it takes
to be a Psychologist. Sorry but that's the way it worked out.

> > You might want to rethink your assertion.
>
> You might want to rethink your interpretation.


No I think I was on target. Your premise was, "a psychologist is better at
treating mental illness than a psychiatrist" .... that's simply incorrect.

Psychologist are treating one part of the disease, the non-pharmacological
side of the house. That's all they can do. Psychiatrists can and do in
many cases treat both sides of the house. I didn't say, "Psychiatrists are
better than the Psychologists with treating mental illness" .... I said
and am saying, with regards to mental illness a psychiatrist is better
trained than both a psychologist and a Primary Care Physician from the
organic perspective. I am also saying that a psychiatrist can do
everything a psychologist is eligible to do.

Jeroen J.-W. Tiggelman

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
"StrangeBrew" <stra...@REMOVETHIScajunnet.com> wrote:
>> In terms of stealing, let's posit the starving man who steals
>> some bread from a supermarket to feed his family..... is this
>> *wrong?*
>Yes. He has taken something from someone else that did not
>belong to him. [..]

So what? What kind of function is "belong to" anyway? Why
would this need to be deemed holy? If you think about it, this
is a typical generally useful idea that has ossified and is now
applied out of native context.

>His post was speaking of the morality of the *concept*,

Which is silly, unless the concept is properly defined in
such a way that it is inherently negative, which in this
case isn't true. This is your run-of-the-mill letter having
become more important than spirit kind of thing..

>not whether it should be applied in certain cases.

You agreed that "stealing" applied to the "starving man",
though.

>Are you saying that there are *no* cases in which it
>would be considered moral?

This is silly - if a _concept_ is inherently right or wrong
there is no point in talking about cases like this. You
are here indicating that because it _sometimes_
holds.. but from that sort of statement you cannot
possibly deduce an inherency..

>So if I wish to discuss the "evil" in a certain act, and I
>wish to define "evil" as "good," that would be acceptable?

As long as your meaning would be clear, it would be fine.

The problem here is that the meaning is _not_ clear.

[..silly rhetoric cut..]

>If you wish to discuss it from a different standpoint, perhaps
>starting a different thread would be more productive that

>pointing out "systemic flaws." [..]

Disagreed.

>Here's one:


>1 a : a moral discourse, statement, or lesson b : a literary or other
>imaginative work teaching a moral lesson
>2 a : a doctrine or system of moral conduct b plural : particular moral
>principles or rules of conduct
>3 : conformity to ideals of right human conduct
>4 : moral conduct : VIRTUE
>Feel better?

Whaddye mean "one"? You gave four and didn't indicate
what you meant.

Did you say anything about being counterproductive?

>My $ .02,

Exchange rate 1:0.

Jeroen J.-W. Tiggelman

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99