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Zharth's Forum • View topic - Love Thine Enemy

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 Post subject: Love Thine Enemy
PostPosted: 090606 23:19 
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One of the supposed teachings of Christ that I really respect (regardless of whether or not I follow it fully and completely) is the concept of loving one's enemies. The reason I bring this up is that every time a salacious story turns up in the headlines (which happens quite a lot), all sorts of normal, well-adjusted people turn up in arms against the criminal involved - in cases such as rape, murder, and the like - and publicly denounce that criminal, spouting all sorts of hatred against him, as if it was their civic duty and that in doing so they are proving their own honor and good-nature to the rest of the community.

Now, I understand being disgusted by a person who does disgusting things. I understand denouncing that person, and I understand the purpose of punishment. However, it bugs me when a community starts wishing ill and violent things on a person they don't even know. Somebody commits rape, okay, that's despicable. But wishing such a person to be gangraped in prison, or torn apart by wild dogs, or any sort of the things these people come up with - how is this normal, appropriate reactionary behavior? This is the kind of extreme thinking that leads to great and atrocious injustices being committed. Granted, it's just a little reaction here or there, but throw these people into a specific situation and allow their hysteria to rule the day, and you can imagine what might happen. If you think the victim deserves it anyway, what if it turns out that he was misrepresented by the media? What if a supposed case of "child" molestation turns out to be consensual statutory "rape"?

Maybe these are all just words anyway, but I still find it disturbing when people react in this manner. It makes me feel worse about the common public than about the criminals committing the actual crimes. I, for one, think that criminals deserve rights, and I don't agree with the philosophy of "an eye for an eye". Victimization begets victimization. Criminals deserve to be punished according to their crime, but the only way to break out of this cycle of injustice is to practice a little care and forgiveness. That doesn't mean we should forgive everyone who does wrong, but that we should still treat them as human beings. Seriously. Is there not already enough violence in this world that we have to create even more?

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 Post subject: Re: Love Thine Enemy
PostPosted: 090607 05:42 
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zharth wrote:
how is this normal, appropriate reactionary behavior?

I think you answered your own question. People react to it. We're not emotionless automatons. Well, not all of us, at least. Some people react because they can't fathom how someone can commit X or Y atrocity. Some people react because it's happened to someone they know or maybe even themselves and they know the pain it causes. I would be more scared about people not reacting at all versus reacting strongly.

zharth wrote:
I don't agree with the philosophy of "an eye for an eye". Victimization begets victimization.
I do agree with "an eye for an eye" but usually for the most serious of crimes. And I think the victimization thing is bogus on some counts. Look what humanely treating our prisoners gets us: Jails full of people often with a living condition better than others. Clean cells, carpeting, cable TV, libraries, exercise, computers, A/C... the list goes on. Did you know some criminals purposely commit crimes to get caught again because they like it in jail? What if we *did* cut off a finger or a hand for someone who stole from a store or home? I do think it's a little too much, but what a deterrent!

You probably remember when we were a little younger about some rich American kid in Singapore (was it?) who graffiti-ed something. He got caned, what, two dozen times? And when they cane people, they end up easily breaking the skin. I'm pretty sure he learned his lesson. Publicly humiliated and wounded. Pertaining to drugs, some countries have absolutely zero tolerance for drugs and will simply off dealers when they grab them. These methods work in other places.

One last thing that happens when you pussyfoot around punishment for people that really deserve it: You end up with guilty criminals back on the streets due to corruption or a bogged down legal system. When you start dishing out the hurt without the need for appeal after appeal after appeal, or buyable judges, or ways to play the loopholes in the system, then you lessen the load on the system and simultaneously deter other criminals.

I guess if I tried to sum up this post, I'd probably say:
A nicety-nice happy rainbow super kawaii correctional process that treats prisoners nicely, rehabilitates them, then pats them on ass with a kind word as they put them back on the streets is all well and good in ideal-land. However, in the real world people are ruthless, cruel, and sadistic. Some are rich. Some know how to play the system. Sometimes the system itself is corrupt. As long as there's some sick fuck that takes people or kids then tortures, rapes, and mutilates their body, or a person who locks his daughter in his basement for more than a decade and a half while constantly raping her, we should probably have a equally brutal response.

PS - One last note that came to mind when I previewed the post. Maybe public humiliation would solve crimes that don't deserve a physically wounding sentence. You can shrug off a fine, or perhaps even some jailtime... but to bear the sheer humiliation in front of a large crowd... man. Put people on display wearing a sign or bright colors for the public to see while performing a menial or disgusting task. Imagine if you gathered up all the petty thieves you caught and had a day where they were on display. Now THAT might work! And yes, I know one particular jail in California does that to their inmates. The guy that ran that was on the Colbert Report. We need more guys like him. Jail's not supposed to be a cakewalk. It's supposed to be jail. It should be grueling, backbreaking work in shoddy conditions... not a fucking hotel. Ok I'm rambling.

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 Post subject: Re: Love Thine Enemy
PostPosted: 090607 06:24 
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Kashi wrote:
I would be more scared about people not reacting at all versus reacting strongly.

Well it's not like I expect people not to react at all. And if they have some kind of personal connection to the case, whether it happened to someone they know, or they have some history with a similar case, then I'll even grant them an overreaction because I know we're human and we need that sort of thing sometimes. But in reaction to a news story that has little to do with you directly, there's a difference between saying, "that's despicable, I hope he gets what he deserves", and describing in graphic detail the kind of torture you think the person should be subjected to, sometimes even before he's been proven guilty. The fact that people are so quick and casual to wish that sort of specific harm on someone they don't even know is what bothers me.

Kashi wrote:
Look what humanely treating our prisoners gets us: Jails full of people often with a living condition better than others. Clean cells, carpeting, cable TV, libraries, exercise, computers, A/C... the list goes on. Did you know some criminals purposely commit crimes to get caught again because they like it in jail?

As usual, there's a disconnect between what I meant and how you interpreted it. I didn't say prisoners should be treated "humanely", depending on what that means, but that they should be treated like humans. Nobody has a right to carpeting, cable TV, A/C, and things like that, and I don't necessarily think that prisoners deserve those sorts of luxuries. However, they should be treated like humans with certain basic rights (while keeping in mind that they are being punished). The type of thinking that bothers me is when people consider all criminals basically the same trash, and that anything that happens to them, including prison rape, is either of no concern, or something that they deserved.

Kashi wrote:
Pertaining to drugs, some countries have absolutely zero tolerance for drugs and will simply off dealers when they grab them. These methods work in other places.

Have you seen Midnight Express?

Kashi wrote:
Maybe public humiliation would solve crimes that don't deserve a physically wounding sentence. You can shrug off a fine, or perhaps even some jailtime... but to bear the sheer humiliation in front of a large crowd... man.

Have you read The Scarlet Letter?

I really can't agree with a lot of what you're saying (big surprise there). It's not that I don't think criminals should be punished. But I'd rather let one criminal and two innocents free than send two criminals and one innocent to jail. Some people are more concerned with serving justice, and others are more concerned with correcting injustice.

You can love someone and still hold them responsible for their actions. In fact, that's part of loving them. Loving is not the same thing as babying. But when we stop loving, that's when they turn their backs on us. That's how victimization begets victimization. You can punish someone responsibly, without necessarily victimizing them. But you have to love them, and they have to know it. And if you let somebody take advantage of you, then that's not really love either.

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 Post subject: Re: Love Thine Enemy
PostPosted: 090607 20:39 
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zharth wrote:
But in reaction to a news story that has little to do with you directly, there's a difference between saying, "that's despicable, I hope he gets what he deserves", and describing in graphic detail the kind of torture you think the person should be subjected to, sometimes even before he's been proven guilty.

Well how is that so different? What exactly does it mean for someone to "get what they deserve"? If Bob says he hopes the criminal gets what they deserve, and Joe explains in graphic detail what he thinks they deserve, how is one suddenly more acceptable than the other? Maybe Bob wants to see the same thing that Joe does, but he just didn't say it out loud. I would call that being PC, which I'm absolutely sick and tired of in this country. It's just censoring, and I know you're not a fan of censoring much of anything. So do you just want people to be PC about things?

The next thing I want to comment on is the "proven guilty" part, but the reply is better suited to one of your later comments.

zharth wrote:
As usual, there's a disconnect between what I meant and how you interpreted it. I didn't say prisoners should be treated "humanely", depending on what that means, but that they should be treated like humans.

As a rebuttal, I think I could say "As usual, you didn't write what you meant again" but why harp on it? You made mention to loving people. I generally tie the word love to a lot of positive feelings, positive thoughts, and positive conditions. I'm naturally going to have trouble connecting your desire to "love" someone who committed a heinous crime to where you have a problem with the existing system. Where is the issue? Do you simply dislike people whose reaction to a crime is to harm the criminal, or do you have some gripe with the justice system's treatment of prisoners? I responded to the first above, and as to the second, I don't think there's any problem with that in our jail system. People commit a crime, they get thrown in jail, and they live in hotel-like conditions. They don't get their limbs chopped off, and they don't live like animals. Where's the lack of love?

Pertaining to treating people like humans, if you don't think we treat people like humans right now then I think you're sorely mistaken. If this whole exercise has been you trying to bring up Guantanomo (spelling?) and the treatment of people there, then why not come out and say it?

zharth wrote:
The type of thinking that bothers me is when people consider all criminals basically the same trash, and that anything that happens to them, including prison rape, is either of no concern, or something that they deserved.

A lot of criminals are trash. Why do you always feel the need to buck the system? What about murders, drug dealers, and rapists is there to like? They're fucking trash. Do they carry some mystique that appeals to you and simply because they're bad boys thrown in the slammer by "the man" (which I know you hate) you feel the need to defend them?

Criminals do deserve what happens to them. Prison rape has nothing to do with the justice system or jails and everything to do with the people inside them. Prison rape isn't something inflicted on inmates as some kind of punishment. It's men getting horny in a prison and realizing that their only options are other men. You robbed a bank, raped or killed someone, to sold drugs to people... You put yourself in jail. it truly is of no concern! Don't want to get raped? Don't want to get your ass beat? Don't go to fucking jail!

zharth wrote:
Have you seen Midnight Express?

I have not.

zharth wrote:
Have you read The Scarlet Letter?

I have not.

zharth wrote:
But I'd rather let one criminal and two innocents free than send two criminals and one innocent to jail.

I feel like this is what you were getting at the entire thread. In fact, I would venture to say that you could have made your initial post just this and we could have skipped right to the important part.

With that said, I would disagree on the pessimism with which you hold our justice system. I really don't think there are hordes of innocent people sent to jail or punished for actions they didn't commit. I know movies, TV shows, and fiction books love to craft stories of the wrong guy sent to the slammer and his struggle to be avenged, but they're just that... fiction. I think it has been quite rare that the wrong guy gets punished and later we all find out he's innocent. I believe we would be hearing about it way more often, because when it has happened in the past, the media jumps all over it like starving wolves on fresh meat.

I dislike traffic cops probably way more than the next guy, but I dislike traffic cops (because I have issues with vehicular laws), not investigators and government agents that nab the scum we've been talking about. They generally do a good job, and when they bring a guy before the court, it's generally the right guy. If you talked to prosecuting lawyers, I wonder how many times they would say in frustration that the evidence clearly pointed to the defendant and yet he walked on a loophole or bogus reason that shouldn't be there.

zharth wrote:
You can love someone and still hold them responsible for their actions. In fact, that's part of loving them. Loving is not the same thing as babying. But when we stop loving, that's when they turn their backs on us. That's how victimization begets victimization. You can punish someone responsibly, without necessarily victimizing them. But you have to love them, and they have to know it. And if you let somebody take advantage of you, then that's not really love either.

For someone who claims to have such an impossible time connecting with most anyone, I find it hard to see how you can talk so glibly about love. I know that sounds like a low blow, but I truly did not mean it that way. I'm just having trouble seeing the connection. And I also have trouble see this connection between love and punishment. I've always had that connection. In fact, it brings up a bigger issue. Do we love strangers? You talk about loving these people, but you don't know them. We don't even know who "these people" are! Men, women, children? Petty thieves, litterers, murderers, rapists, kids who use marijuana one time, jaywalkers, people who go 10mph over the speed limit? You seem to claim that you blindly love everyone, but how is that any better than the person who blindly wishes graphic torture upon criminals? Both are just extremes.

I disagree with your entire paragraph here. I find it hard to process. I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, but the entire thing does indeed sound like babying people. And I really don't agree with "victimizing" criminals. You do something wrong and you deserve punishment commensurate to the crime. When you start pussyfooting around the punishment because you worry about how it's going to affect the poor criminal's fragile mind, you let sickos and career crooks back on the streets. Some people are just bad, and I think maybe that's what you have an issue seeing. Props to you for having the optimism to see that there might be good in everyone, but I just find that hard to believe (I'm just pessimistic :? ).

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 Post subject: Re: Love Thine Enemy
PostPosted: 090607 23:56 
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Kashi wrote:
Well how is that so different? What exactly does it mean for someone to "get what they deserve"? If Bob says he hopes the criminal gets what they deserve, and Joe explains in graphic detail what he thinks they deserve, how is one suddenly more acceptable than the other?

Here's the difference: Bob is merely wishing justice to be served, whereas Joe has already, personally, convicted the criminal and subjected him to a sentence in his mind. Saying, "I hope he gets what he deserves" means that you hope he gets what he deserves, based on what he did (depending on whether or not he's guilty, and of what exactly), it does not mean "I hope he gets what I think he deserves based on the very little information I have about the case," followed by a graphic description of gratuitous violence.

And you're right, I don't want to censor anything. Though I'm bothered by people saying these things, since I wouldn't even know about them if they kept it to themselves, the thing that really bothers me is that people have these kinds of thoughts in the first place. It's one thing to indulge in fantasy, watching violent movies and games and whatnot, but as soon as you start applying that thinking to actual living people, whose specific situations you don't even really know, that's not very fair, or safe.

Kashi wrote:
Do you simply dislike people whose reaction to a crime is to harm the criminal, or do you have some gripe with the justice system's treatment of prisoners?

I may talk about various sides of the issue, but the concern that initially brought up this topic in my mind has very little to do with the behavior or treatment of the criminals themselves, what I was concerned about was the public, the people who are not criminals, and their ultraviolent gut reaction to horror stories in the media. Courts and prisons aside, the public seems to be quick to jump to conclusions and assume suspects are guilty until proven innocent, and when they think about what it is those people are guilty of, they seem to exaggerate it in their minds, so that no punishment imaginable could possibly be cruel enough to serve justice.

Kashi wrote:
A lot of criminals are trash. Why do you always feel the need to buck the system? What about murders, drug dealers, and rapists is there to like? They're fucking trash. Do they carry some mystique that appeals to you and simply because they're bad boys thrown in the slammer by "the man" (which I know you hate) you feel the need to defend them?

This is a good question, and an important issue. It's true that I feel some sort of unreasonable sympathy for the dregs of society. It's not that I think that murderers, drug dealers, rapists, and the like are deserving of better treatment, in general, but there are two things that concern me.

One, is the possibility of somebody basically good becoming one of those things under extreme or unusual conditions. Now, just because they made a mistake, they're gonna be treated like trash. It's not that they shouldn't still take responsibility for their actions, but the stigma is gonna haunt them forever, causing further injustice and quite possibly an inability for eventual forgiveness.

The other thing that bugs me is the possibility of a person's crimes being exaggerated by pop hysteria and reactionary behavior. Like in the hypothetical example I gave above, when an incident of statutory rape, which happens to have been completely consensual, turns a lover and romantic into a rapist and child molester who is then treated as such. That's the kind of injustice that gets my blood boiling.

The bottom line is, I'm no stranger to misunderstanding. I know that I have eccentric interests, and I'm not exactly the model of the average citizen. And you know what? I'm scared. I'm actually scared, because I know people can be unreasonable, and they can often react unfavorably to things they don't understand. I just don't want to find myself in a situation where, despite being what I'd like to think is a kind and compassionate individual, I'd end up being burned at the stake (figuratively speaking - I hope) just because people took something I said or did the wrong way.

So that's why I'm concerned about preventing injustice, and why it bugs me when people jump to conclusions about individuals they don't know, which result in thinking very strong negative and even violent thoughts about them. Can't we withhold judgement, think cooly, and learn about the case before casting our sentences on the accused?

Kashi wrote:
Don't go to fucking jail!

Well you make it sound like jail is some place you can just walk in and out of just because you want to. I guess it sounds like you have faith in the justice system. I, unfortunately, do not. And as reflected in what I wrote above, I'm afraid of people getting sent to jail who don't actually deserve it.

zharth wrote:
Midnight Express

zharth wrote:
The Scarlet Letter

To keep it short, while satisfying your potential curiosity, Midnight Express is a great movie, based on a true story, about a guy who was thrown in a Turkish prison for life, because he tried to smuggle a small amount of dope across the border. This is an example of a punishment vastly outweighing the crime.

The Scarlet Letter is a great story about a woman who commits adultery (it takes place sometime in the past), and she's forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" on the front of her clothing - essentially it's a brand. This is a shame punishment like you suggested. I don't endorse shame punishment, especially when it's used to enforce community standards at the price of stamping out fringe lifestyles. This woman didn't commit any crime other than loving a man outside of her marriage. But because of the standards of the time, she is reduced to trash. In modern terms, I would equate this to a person committing a minor offense (like skinny dipping in the wrong lake), and ending up being branded as a sex offender as a result, thus essentially ruining his life.

Kashi wrote:
For someone who claims to have such an impossible time connecting with most anyone, I find it hard to see how you can talk so glibly about love.

I'm not sure exactly how to explain myself here. On the one hand, the kind of love I was talking about is the kind of love I'd like to have. The kind of love I fantasize about. The people who love me...I don't want to put them down, but I often feel like they're not giving me what I need. They're letting me take advantage of them, and I'm becoming a worse, not better, person because of it. So it's easy for me to speculate about ideal love, not so easy for me to practice it.

And the whole thing about loving criminals. I'm not saying you have to smile and buy them an ice cream cone. In fact, the only reason I use the term 'love' is because it ties into the overarching theme of "loving thine enemy", which was the topic of this rant. My point is, I wish people wouldn't be so quick to judge people, and when they do judge people, they should judge them on the content of their character (whether or not they're genuinely a bad person), and not on impersonal labels like "criminal". Maybe it makes sense that most criminals are bad people, but not all of them are.

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 Post subject: Re: Love Thine Enemy
PostPosted: 120103 23:19 
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I wanted to post this because I feel it highlights so eloquently why some dive directly into how they will graphically and horribly torture and/or murder some criminals. You asked this question early in this thread.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45783310/

Read this article. A man died as a result of this fucking "game". People have come out seriously injured for the rest of their life. Groups of chickenshit punks seriously injure people because it makes them look tough. Tough?! To blindside someone with an entire group of people is tough? Oh, and they don't mention the skin color of the people involved (probably because they're trying to be oh-so-PC) but take a guess. Here's a clue: They mention that one of the beatings was recorded on a cell phone by one of the attackers and posted to a hip-hop site.

Now I know your initial post was really just inquiring as to why people freak out over child molestation or anything even remotely construed at pedophilia, but it did touch upon most other crimes (honestly your point applied to all crimes imo). So, I thought this was a perfect example of why a knee-jerk, graphic, ruthless answer is necessary sometimes. Read some of the comments.

There's no possible way you can advocate any of your utopian "love" or "understanding" on scumbags like these. Even the "children" or "kids" moniker doesn't apply. I'm pretty sure you, myself, and Panda were all fucking aware of basic right and wrong by a very early age, before these kids. Hell, I was planning out what I needed to do in life to get a good job and a nice car before 7th fucking grade. At some point the "aww but they're just stupid 'kids' with undeveloped frontal lobes" excuse has to stop. It's bullshit. While ever-critical good parenting is always needed, the individual must be growing and realizing and becoming their own person. These fucking punks deserve nothing but pain, retribution, and serious consequences for their actions. While the attacks are always surprise attacks and often leave the victim essentially no time to respond, even if there's one or two people that get a gun out in time to take some out, that counts as a victory in my book. Once these shits realize that death or extremely serious legal ramifications result from this "game", this shit should stop.

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 Post subject: Re: Love Thine Enemy
PostPosted: 120104 09:00 
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Kashi wrote:
I wanted to post this because I feel it highlights so eloquently why some dive directly into how they will graphically and horribly torture and/or murder some criminals.

Let me see if I'm interpreting this correctly. Your story is an example of how people are basically violent predators at heart, and that's why they so easily fantasize about maiming criminals - because it's the socially accepted way to express their violent desires?

I think the sort of activity this story describes is heinous. It is precisely for that reason that I refrain from imagining how I'd like to tear the perpetrators limb from limb. I don't revel in the thought of inflicting violence on other people, regardless of whether they deserve it or not. (And I don't believe anything I read in the media). I know that thinking about violence isn't necessarily correlated with conducting it, but I still don't see the point of reveling in it, except that it can be a cathartic release. But especially when the media loves to spin stories for sensational effect, it's dangerous to let our emotions cloud our reasoning faculties (which the media should hold some responsibility for encouraging) when it comes down to judging and punishing a person for committing a crime. The basic principles this country is founded on guarantees (not that anyone heeds the Constitution these days) fair and ethical punishments that are in proportion to the crime, proven in a court of law by a jury of one's peers - that's the definition of justice. Granted, it's the jury and/or the judge's job to judge the facts and rule with a clear head, but speaking purely superficially, I find the whole "feed his genitals to wild dogs" mentality very unbecoming.

Otherwise, I agree with you that kids, especially "kids" who aren't babies (you don't learn the difference between right and wrong the day you turn 18), in most cases do understand what they're doing, and while they ought to be judged based on the specifics of each individual case, I don't think that if a kid inflicts violence trivially, he should be pardoned for not "really meaning it", or understanding the repercussions of his actions. If anything, he should be punished more harshly for not heeding (or taking the time to learn) basic ethical principles.

Kashi wrote:
At some point the "aww but they're just stupid 'kids' with undeveloped frontal lobes" excuse has to stop. It's bullshit.

Absolutely.

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 Post subject: Re: Love Thine Enemy
PostPosted: 120105 01:52 
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Quote:
Let me see if I'm interpreting this correctly. Your story is an example of how people are basically violent predators at heart, and that's why they so easily fantasize about maiming criminals - because it's the socially accepted way to express their violent desires?


Hrm, no, I didn't intend to mean that. I just wanted to get across that sometimes folks see, read, or hear about news that involves actions so reprehensible that their only reaction is to respond with savage thoughts. One thing that I want to clear up is that while I may have made it appear so, I don't actually think that many people sit there and graphically imagine every bit of minutiae about how they're going to pull off a certain patch of ball hair on their immobilized torture victim before pulling the molars out and then moving on to cutting out exactly a 3"x3"x1" square of flesh on the lower left back. I was really supporting those that might advocate a simpler solution of just killing the fucker. Anyway, sorry for that little tangent.

So, let's see... only reaction... savage thoughts. Oh yes, so sometimes we are confronted with crimes against... hrm, sanity? Where the action is so illogical, so stupid, so heinous, so absurdly evil or cruel, such that rationality (almost) must be thrown out the window. I'm sure you keep a mental book of people you hate or think are astoundingly stupid (I hope I'm in neither :lol: ) because I can see that being something Zep would do, so think of a case where you were so hopelessly boggled that a calm, clear, logical thought process not only doesn't help you, but actually impairs your ability to process things.

As a result, and affronted by something so terrible, we "devolve" to our primal brain where we might lash out in protection, or perhaps a sense of justice, I don't know. Maybe it's a sense of justice thing. Maybe we feel empathy for the one wronged by the ridiculousness of the crime. I certainly wouldn't want to find out that a loved one was horribly injured by this "game". I would be full of unbridled rage and fury. I think people vicariously take a little piece of that, feel a sense of empathy, internalize it, and in their inherently good desire to want justice, vocally state that justice as some terrible retribution or injury upon the attacker (even though they're sitting comfortable on the couch hundreds of miles away!).

I'm sure you're right, and some people just like violence. Hell, I enjoy having a good mental session of morally right, hero-like violence (Mike saves the day by brutally defeating the bad guys holding up the restaurant/church/store/etc!) if I'm just hanging out and listening to some angry music and am in the mood. But I was mostly trying to put into words to help clarify for you why some jump to violence and/or violent thoughts. Sometimes it seems literally the only right thing to do. If you're confronted with a really terrible situation, trying to be cool-calm-academic isn't going to cut it.

And this just popped into my head: It's even more frustrating for those that have some grasp of their mental processes. We understand that devolving right to that isn't the best thing. It's not good to want to just up and kill people. But I think it's just an assault on a sane mind day in and out of literally mindless and senseless violence. We just encounter so much ridiculous shit like this that cannot be explained away nicely and neatly, despite what psychologists would try to say. So we solve the problem easily: Fuckin kill em. Beat em up. Teach em a damn good lesson. And you know, in cut-and-dry cases like this, perhaps that's really the best way. Coddling really just doesn't work on some folks. You must be strict to the point of possibly death. If all it takes is offing a few of these fucks to show other kids that society means business on this "game", I assure you it will stop. If they knew that no average citizen would fucking standby and watch it take place, it would stop.

It's just... Heck, even if you could explain why they're bad, they're past the point of redemption anyway! You can't go fix their fucked up childhood. And what if they had a perfectly normal, nice childhood? I read reddit a lot and occasionally I read some really good threads with some really good comments. I remember a few comments in one thread (forget the thread topic) spoke about problem children. Anecdotes, yes, but there were folks saying that X sibling was always a problem person. The others (including the commenter) grew up just fine, got good jobs, know right and wrong, are rational and reasonable people. The parents gave them leeway and freedom but were firm when necessary. The parents demonstrated love and attention, not too much, not too little. The family lived comfortably and the kids did not need to scrape to get by. And yet little shitfuck child #3 always felt the need to do something like steal money from the parents, crash the car while high and drunk and literally just walk away, make the parents cry and feel no remorse, flip the bird to a family that has done nothing but support the person, and turn out basically just as a rotten, evil, disgusting person. Even after attempts at therapy and rehabilitation, the person is still literally just scum on earth, a waste of oxygen.

How do you treat those people? And what if there are far more of them than you'd think there are? Pessimistic, yes, but I think there are a lot of those folks out there. That's why when I hear something like Casey Anthony acquitted I lose a little more faith in humanity. When I hear about Jerry Sandusky and just know that he's probably going to get away with little more than a slap on the wrist, I lose a little more faith in humanity. When someone is even finally properly punished, they live in a prison on the taxpayer's dime (fuck the prison complex btw) before getting out well ahead of schedule because of "good behavior". Just shoot the fuckers in the head and be done with it. To see these slam-dunk cases go down the drain is just soul-draining and saddening. Maybe you say Casey Anthony's case wasn't a slam-dunk if the broad walked, maybe you say it's a triumph of the justice system (lol as if we actually have a reasonable justice system), but I say that if your little girl goes missing and you do or say nothing about it for a fucking month while you're partying, you are as guilty as the sun is going to come up tomorrow.

I truly, as I type this, cannot put into words the anger, confusion, and hopelessness of trying to explain why a small group of kids would simply do the things they have done. It's not just a "stupid" thing, and I'm glad to see you agree that there is a required level of responsibility on the individual; that they cannot hide their intentional misdeeds behind "youth". The stupid things we did as a kid certainly weren't putting random people into critical care at the hospital or killing them. Maybe we hurt ourselves, and that's fine, because we only affected ourselves, but willfully and purposely going as far as potentially injuring someone for life (and then causing them lifelong financial problems) just didn't happen. Maybe you're younger and you don't really know how potent X alcohol is so you try some of your dad's when he's out of the house. You find out how strong it is, you get wasted, you throw up, and you get yelled at. That's stupid. You didn't know how strong it was. But you know that kicking someone in the head and seeing blood and seeing them crying/moaning/twitching means someone's really hurt.

I don't even know what I'm really typing anymore. As I said, I'm truly just at a loss for proper words to explain something so.... so insane? So mindless? The list can go on and on.

I'm sorry I wrote so much, by the way. I just ended up rambling a ton.

PS - You wrote about cathartic release and I agree. I think that a lot of it is that.

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 Post subject: Re: Love Thine Enemy
PostPosted: 120105 03:47 
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Kashi wrote:
Hrm, no, I didn't intend to mean that.

Didn't think so. ;)

Kashi wrote:
I don't actually think that many people sit there and graphically imagine every bit of minutiae about how they're going to...

Which you then proceed to do. Hm, are you one of those people who actually do? :P Yes, I know, you were probably just making a point.

Kashi wrote:
I'm sure you keep a mental book of people you hate or think are astoundingly stupid (I hope I'm in neither ) because I can see that being something Zep would do

O rly? I don't think that really sounds like the sort of thing I'd do. I don't keep a list of people I hate. I'm actually pretty forgiving, and the people I really don't like, I may not easily forget that I don't like them, but I try not to dwell on it. And most of all, my philosophy of dealing with people I don't like is to just stay away from them, and let them live their life so long as it doesn't interfere with my own. Live and let live, I guess. I'm not going to hunt them down just to spite them for bothering me, and that's not something I waste time fantasizing about either.

Kashi wrote:
so think of a case where you were so hopelessly boggled that a calm, clear, logical thought process not only doesn't help you, but actually impairs your ability to process things.

Actually, this does happen a lot to me. It happened to me just today, in fact. What I usually do is steam a bit, but I try to work out my thoughts by writing them down. But I don't focus on how much I hate the person who said or did the thing that upset me. I focus on trying to understand WHY it upset me, and how I could react to it in a way that could serve as a learning experience, not just for myself or the person who did the thing that upset me, but for others as well. I like to use it as an opportunity to enrich my understanding of myself and of the world. And to put my system of beliefs and ethics to the test. To see if I can remain consistent. I use the frustration, then, as a motivator, because it frequently leads me to great revelations - after all, if something upsets me that much, there has to be a reason for it. But it's only with a clear head (which sometimes takes time to develop), that I can then come back with a position that I'll be willing to stand behind after the heat has cooled off.

This is mainly with arguments of belief. But in terms of persons out there in the world committing atrocious acts that turn my stomach. Well I simply don't dwell on them. There's enough hatred in the world, and while I condemn those who commit violent, hateful acts, and hope that justice is served, I simply don't waste my time indulging the hateful revenge fantasies I might have if I allowed myself to indulge in them. As a result (or perhaps this is the cause), I'm generally a very peaceful, nonviolent person. And therefore I find I can relate less well to the type of people who do allow themselves to indulge those feelings. And tying this up to the original theme of the topic, one is less likely to be able to serve justice and treat one's enemies fairly if they are clouded with reactionary rage. It's the easy thing to do, I know. It's instinctual to want to meet violence with violence. Which is the whole point of Jesus' teachings - to work extra hard to be a better sort of person, who sees the good even in people who are bad, though that doesn't have to mean ignoring the bad they have done.

It's not that I don't actually understand why people react in this manner. I think it was mostly just the hypocrisy I was responding to, that so many people preach their faith in Jesus Christ, and then fail to live up to his teachings. I think they should try harder to be better people, and spend less time on the superficial trappings of their faith. I am an atheist, and you can call me a prideful fucker if you want, but I think I'm more in tune with Jesus' teachings than the majority of Christians in the world.

And in the end, I think it's this "do as I say, not as I do" kind of inconsistent attitude that just contributes to the sort of moral confusion that leads people to making bad ethical decisions, and valuing the worth of others' lives and health less than they deserve to be valued. We need more good role models, who are not hypocrites - I think that would do a hell of a lot more good in reducing violent crime than the reactionary "fuckin kill em" attitude that seems to only breed more resentment and hatred leading - maybe not in the ones merely reacting and fantasizing, but the ones who have already committed themselves to violence and are being verbally attacked - to further violent acts.

Kashi wrote:
Heck, even if you could explain why they're bad, they're past the point of redemption anyway! You can't go fix their fucked up childhood. And what if they had a perfectly normal, nice childhood?

Well, yes, but I don't see where emotion plays into that. Whether they're better off locked in prison than roaming the streets, or better off simply dead, that's a decision that should be made with a clear head, weighing the reasons and the ethical concerns of all. When you try to make those decisions with anger and hatred, you're more likely to make mistakes, and that's where innocent people are harmed - especially when the complex details of an individual case are simplified and even exaggerated for ratings.

It's the difference between saying, "you do more harm than good to society, and we can't afford to keep you around", and "you little shithead, you don't deserve to live." I know you'll probably disagree - I still remember you saying that shame is an appropriate method of punishment. But I don't think there's anything just or fair about stigma. Either you're good or bad, fine, but there's no reason for dehumanization. A man should take responsibility for his actions - forcibly, if that's what it takes - but I just don't see the productivity in crippling a person psychologically. Of course, that's the perspective coming from someone who is crippled psychologically (not by anyone except God, or whoever else made me), and knows just how terrible and unfair it is. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemies. (There are other punishments that will do, that are just and not excessively cruel or unusual).

Kashi wrote:
How do you treat those people? And what if there are far more of them than you'd think there are?

There are lots of shitheads out in the world, sure. But I'm of the opinion that they're not bad seeds so much as they're just doing what they can to get by. And the way the world works, and the way we treat each other in the world, encourages this kind of behavior. The solution isn't to eliminate anyone who steps out of line. Maybe it's not possible to rehabiliate many of these people who are too far gone. But what we can do is work on improving the world system, in order to bring it to a state in which more people are able to get what they want and need out of life without stepping on the toes of others. A fairer system, where good qualities are rewarded and bad qualities punished (not the kind of world where shithead criminals can get ahead farther and faster than honest folk). That's the solution. And it's not a short-term solution, so it's hard to motivate, because it doesn't provide inspiring results. But I think it's the right thing to do, and the alternative - ethical eugenics, essentially - isn't going to result in anything better. It's a dead end.

Kashi wrote:
When I hear about Jerry Sandusky and just know that he's probably going to get away with little more than a slap on the wrist, I lose a little more faith in humanity.

Of course, yeah. Everything we've heard in the media about Jerry Sandusky is all true. Yep. I don't know what will happen with him (and I don't know what he deserves because I don't have the facts of the case), but it's utterly ridiculous how many people are already being punished for his alleged crimes. This isn't the case of a sick man who hurt people and needs to be punished. (That may or may not be part of the case). It's a fucking circus, and no justice will be done because of that. (Regardless of what constitutes justice in this particular case).

Agreed, the whole prison thing is stupid, it's probably not the best way to deal with most criminals, and there are lots of people in prison who don't deserve to be in there, and for which society is not any better off.

If the cases you read about in the news increase your blood pressure, might I suggest not reading the news so often? Fucked up shit goes on around the world all the time. Did Casey Anthony kill your daughter? No. Was justice served? Maybe not. But does it really affect you? Treat the people in your life who you know and actually interact with well. Be a good role model for them. That's the greatest positive impact you can make in your life, and it'll do the most good in affecting other people, to reduce the sort of atrocities that occur in the world. Even if in the end, you can't prevent any stupid shit from ever happening. But you don't have to take the weight of the whole world on your shoulders either. And sometimes, expressing a little bit of mercy and forgiveness can do wonders for your heart and your soul. More than stewing in anonymous rage will ever do for you, or anyone else. WWJD, dude. (You know, I wore one of those bracelets when I was younger).

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