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Why are there monsters like this?
August 20, 2002 6:03 AM   Subscribe

Why are there monsters like this? and perhaps more to the point, why as a society are we so ill-equipped to deal with them effectively?
posted by Pressed Rat (128 comments total)

 
There are monsters like this because our society has chosen to coddle criminals rather than punish them.

No fear of consequence on the part of criminals.

Too many lawyers. Too many "activists" looking out for the rights of the wrong people.

Criminals should not have rights. Case in point, this article. When you rape and beat an 11 yr old girl, how can anyone possibly be concerned with protecting the rights of the attacker? WRONG PERSON TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT !!
Think about the little girl, forever scarred by this POS.

Now, I know, I am a bit of an extremist, when it comes to this type thing, so I am sure I will be hammered quite a bit by others. Especially for my next statement.

The cops should have earned their pay and put a bullet in that guy on the spot. Or, let her dad do it. An individual like this has NO REDEEMING QUALITIES. Nor would it be worth our effort to try and "rehabilitate" him.

Caught red handed like this, he should have been dealt with on the spot.

But, that is just my opinion.
posted by a3matrix at 6:24 AM on August 20, 2002


Jesus... I'm only religious in a very liberal sense, but hearing something like this makes me want to fall to my knees and pray. Just knowing something like this could happen...

In this case, I have to agree with the first comment. The only real priority is that the victim gets as much care and attention as possible, and that this person never does this to anyone again...

I'm going to have a cup of coffee and shut my eyes for a few minutes now...
posted by Shane at 6:30 AM on August 20, 2002


Criminals should not have rights.

he's not a criminal until he's convicted.
posted by tolkhan at 6:35 AM on August 20, 2002


I think western society is ill-equipped to deal with such an aberration because of its humanistic and individualistic underpinnings. A society that worships the individual is not quite sure what to do with a sadistic raper. In a totalitarian regime, this person would have been executed without making too much fuss over niceties such as a trial.

The price we pay for our freedoms is the 'fair treatment' of people like this Salazar. I doubt if western society as it exists today will ever learn how to comfortably deal with its violent deviants.
posted by sid at 6:37 AM on August 20, 2002


Anyone else gag when they read how the rapist entered the house through an unlocked door?
posted by Beholder at 6:37 AM on August 20, 2002


and dealing with him on the spot is vigilantism. we have laws that define the way we do things for a reason.
posted by tolkhan at 6:37 AM on August 20, 2002


The criminal deserves his due process rights a3matrix, but he ought to be executed if convicted. It's too bad the father didn't shoot the man to death or something before the cops got there. Self-defense, case closed.
posted by insomnyuk at 6:38 AM on August 20, 2002


Oh, and the real miscarriage of justice will occur when this bastard is let out of jail after ten years for good behavior, on the false assumption that people like this can be successfully 'rehabilitated'.
posted by insomnyuk at 6:39 AM on August 20, 2002


Why are there monsters like this? and perhaps more to the point, why as a society are we so ill-equipped to deal with them effectively?
i think if we're ill-equipped to deal with them, it's because we call them "monsters". this guy was extremely sick. shooting a person in the head on the spot is not helping anyone reveal or treat the sicknesses in our society. not that i don't understand the rage this inspires. I would completely lose it and murder the bastard myself. but that's exactly my point. this is disturbing.
posted by aLienated at 6:41 AM on August 20, 2002


Too many lawyers. Too many "activists" looking out for the rights of the wrong people.

There are numerous countries where this isn't a problem, a3matrix. I'm guessing that you don't live in one of them, or you wouldn't be able to so cavalierly dismiss principles such as the presumption of innocence, the right to an attorney, and the right to a trial by a jury of your peers.
posted by rcade at 6:42 AM on August 20, 2002


a3matrix, there are places in the world where retribution is dealt right on the spot: Pakistan, for example; even better, Afghanistan. As fucked up as this is, do we need to follow their examples?
posted by TskTsk at 6:42 AM on August 20, 2002


but he ought to be executed if convicted

A government that institutionalizes killing is no better than the murderers and rapists it passes judgment over. Death is irrevocable and the justice system is far from infallible. The death penalty is never justified or necessary.
posted by sid at 6:43 AM on August 20, 2002


Death is irrevocable and the justice system is far from infallible. The death penalty is never justified or necessary.

By that logic we shouldn't throw people in jail either, because they might be innocent. When there is literally incontrovertible evidence, I think the death penalty is appropriate.
posted by insomnyuk at 6:45 AM on August 20, 2002


Insomnyuk: feed not the trolls, else they come back each night to your door to sup.
posted by UncleFes at 6:49 AM on August 20, 2002


By that logic we shouldn't throw people in jail either, because they might be innocent. When there is literally incontrovertible evidence, I think the death penalty is appropriate.


Throwing someone in jail and giving them an appeals process is very different from putting them to death. In many cases the evidence is without question convincing, but the justice system is not that infallible and the granting of the power to execute has and always will lead to the execution of the innocent by the state. In theory, you may be right, but in practice it hasn't worked.
posted by aLienated at 6:52 AM on August 20, 2002


As for the monster: trial, conviction, mandatory appeal, needle. Anything less is injustice.
posted by UncleFes at 6:53 AM on August 20, 2002


These predators should be shot into space without protective clothing.

The "blackout" excuse is too easy. Why would anyone even think to believe or accept that one?
posted by john_lustig at 6:54 AM on August 20, 2002


If talking about shooting a sick criminal in the head makes you feel better, you're part of the problem. You howl for a less civil society, and your fervent wish for the father or the cop to become a mankiller would only further debase our society if it came true.

Forget about how the crime makes you feel and focus on giving the girl what she needs to heal. But the mob does not call for that, because that would mean higher taxes. The mob only wants to spend 25 cents, for a bullet in the head.
posted by sacre_bleu at 6:55 AM on August 20, 2002


Throwing someone in jail and giving them an appeals process is very different from putting them to death.

Except that many of the people on Death Row actively participate in the appeals process too. Or is that only in the movies?
posted by insomnyuk at 6:55 AM on August 20, 2002


I heard on the radio yesterday about a county in Ohio where a guy was on trial for aggravated murder "with death penalty specifications" but where the judge had ruled the death penalty out of consideration because the county could not afford the cost of the trial plus manadatory appeals. The DA is appealing the judges ruling.

Then again you have the case recently posted around about the man who admits murdering sefveral women and threatens to murder again if released, the prison psych says he's a timebomb, but the system will be required to release him. The system is broken.

I believe that this man has constitutional rights no matter how heinous the crime, but I also believe that when guilt of a crime like this is unambiguously clear, the perp should get a fair trial & fast-tracked appeals and then, like any defective unit, should be returned to the manufacturer. It is indeed a pity that her dad didn't wake up in time to prevent this crime by shooting this bastard.
posted by Pressed Rat at 6:56 AM on August 20, 2002


You're only protecting future victims when you catch people who do these things. Shoot, lock up, whatever doesn't stop the crime in the first place. I want to know why can't we see these nuts a mile off and stop them doing what they do before they do it?

I'm not talking about "Minority Report" type psychic prediction. I mean psychological diagnosis. Obviously, the father in this case couldn't detect he was a threat, why?

That's what I want to know, because I want them to stop these people before there are victims, not after.
posted by stephencummins at 6:57 AM on August 20, 2002


As for the monster: trial, conviction, mandatory appeal, needle. Anything less is injustice.

UncleFes - the child has already been violated and will probably be scarred for life. Killing the rapist isn't going to do anything but salve society's guilt for letting such an atrocity occur.
posted by sid at 6:57 AM on August 20, 2002


That wasn't my point, which I'm glad you glossed over. Executing this man may be considered just, but the institutionalization of the state's power to execute is often abused and violated, especially when equal representation isn't available.
posted by aLienated at 6:58 AM on August 20, 2002


Killing the rapist isn't going to do anything but salve society's guilt for letting such an atrocity occur.

reason enough.
posted by UncleFes at 7:01 AM on August 20, 2002


If talking about shooting a sick criminal in the head makes you feel better.

By saying he's sick, you remove responsibility from the person who committed the deed. It's not his fault, he couldn't help it, he was sick. Tell that to the family whose little girl was raped. Oh yeah, he was sick, sick and vile. He deserves punishment, not sympathy. He can go to whatever God he believes in for that.

The notion that anything other than rehabilitation for the poor sick bastards is uncivilized, is well, sick.

Killing the rapist isn't going to do anything

Except give someone what they deserve. There is a component to justice called punishment. Maybe you've heard of it. Killing Jailing the rapist isn't going to do anything because the deed's already been done.

In Ohio, a gangbanger and his brother who shot to death a 17 year old and a 2 year old girl were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. We may not be as enlightened as some of you, but we know real injustice when we see it. Letting them live would have been the greatest injustice of all.
posted by insomnyuk at 7:02 AM on August 20, 2002


Oh, and prevent him from ever doing it again or enjoying a moment's freedom. There's that too.

Honestly, I don't feel guilty that such an atrocity occurred. We're not psychics. IF, however, we shirk our duties to this little girl - and the other little girls out there - afterwards by allowing even the slightest chance that this man may do this again....? THAT would make me feel guilty.
posted by UncleFes at 7:03 AM on August 20, 2002


A government that institutionalizes killing is no better than the murderers and rapists it passes judgment over.

Really, Sid? So motive is irrelevant? Killing the murderer of one's child is morally equivalent to murder for the purpose of silencing the witness/victim of rape? Give me a fucking break.

Reasonable people can disagree on whether a death penalty is good or necessary but equating it with the crimes it punishes just makes your opinion the ranting of a thoughtless idiot.

The death penalty should be used as a method to permanently remove people from society who pose a serious threat to the social well-being of society. Generally, this would be incorrigable murders, and (in my mind) rapists and molesters, too. It should not be used for revenge, it should not be used as deterrent, it should not be considered punishment either. It should be a simple, practical and permanent way to remove certain people from society.

I don't support the current form of the death penalty because "severity" of a murder is relevant (revenge), because first time murderers can be executed (how do we know they are incorrigable?), and because it does not extend to much more socially destructive types of crimes like rape and child molesting.
posted by plaino at 7:04 AM on August 20, 2002


else they come back each night to your door to sup.

corollary? Healer - heal thyself. Man that hook stings :)
posted by UncleFes at 7:08 AM on August 20, 2002


It blows my mind that we consider death the worst possible punishment to give, but at least by killing them we can rid society of one of these fuckers. In the end it seems that we do them a favor.
posted by bmxGirl at 7:15 AM on August 20, 2002


By saying he's sick, you remove responsibility from the person who committed the deed.

No, you don't implicitly remove responsibility by calling him "sick" and I have no sympathy for this guy. But our society has to work to recognize and prevent these things from happening. He's got something deeply wrong with him. You figure out what condition he has (other than being a "monster" who naturally must be possessed by the devil) that led him to do this. You share that information (assuming he didn't do this out of vengenace and is actually deranged) with policy makers, psychiatrists, criminologists while the man rots and dies in a jail cell or a white room. This is how America works. It seems many of us prefer the method they employ in arab countries where a police state will immediately punish or execute for these types of actions, no questions asked. As a result, the violent crime rates in those nations is among the lowest in the world. But we have a more democratic and lenient justice system here, for better or worse, and different methods we must employ to deal with our criminals.
posted by aLienated at 7:27 AM on August 20, 2002


Oh the same old "Death penalty: right or wrong?" debate! We've heard it all before. Listen: It's too late to punish them now, they have to be committed/locked up/killed/given therapy/whatever before they can harm another human being! Am I getting through to anyone here? All other debate is pointless because it's after the fact! Prevention is much better than cure, we need to be more far-sighted. Stop trying to put spilled milk back in the bottle, shut the gate after the horse has bolted etc.
posted by stephencummins at 7:30 AM on August 20, 2002


Obviously, the father in this case couldn't detect he was a threat, why?
posted by stephencummins at 6:57 AM PST on August 20


How about locking your fecking house up before going to bed? There are all sorts of threats in the modern world - you don't need to know all their names first.
How come the personal responsibility freaks/libertarians aren't admitting the lack of judgement that was shown by the parents?
I am appalled by this - and by the abductions and murders that we have in the UK too. I am coming more and more round to understanding, maybe even supporting, capital punishment. This crime is almost a case study in it's application... horrific crime + underage victim + caught red-handed + low chances of rehab. ?....
[/another liberal bites the dust]
posted by dash_slot- at 7:33 AM on August 20, 2002


Point of fact: Countries with severe punishments for a range of crimes don't have less insidence of that crime. America has the worlds biggest prison population, executes the most people and has the highest crime rate too! This is not a simple problem to solve. More severe punishment won't stop this happening. Why? these people are either clever/crazy and think they won't be caught, or stupid/crazy and don't think about the consequences at all.
posted by stephencummins at 7:36 AM on August 20, 2002


while the man rots and dies in a jail cell or a white room.

An excellent point; but the problem is that these people so rarely just rot and die! The victimize other inmates; they foment appeals; they plan and try to enact escapes and, worst of all, they get paroled. One of the policy makers, psychiatrists, criminologists signs a form that says he's fixed, and the justice system lets them out.

When the justice system can absolutely guarantee that these people, once imprisoned, will never victimize another person and will never walk among us again, I will reconsider my support for the death penalty. Until that day, well... the death penalty truly is the ONLY way to be sure.

And damn straight - the father deserves some blame, for letting the freak into his house and not locking the damn door. His punishment will be to look at his daughter's face and know he is at fault for the rest of his miserable life. I don't envy him.
posted by UncleFes at 7:38 AM on August 20, 2002


First, I have to agree that going to bed at night and leaving doors unlocked, especially when you have small children in the house, is reckless and irresponsible.

Who's at fault? How can we know that until we know why the guy did this? And as long as he's pretending he has amnesia, we'll never know.

I submit that it matters little or nothing why this happened, except in the larger sense of trying to prevent future occurrences. I see no reason that this guy should not pay in full for his crime.

The death penalty is a very tricky subject and a punishment I think should be meted out very cautiously, but in a case of a man who was caught in the act of committing this heinous crime, I think it's appropriate.
posted by AnneZo at 7:40 AM on August 20, 2002


"How about locking your fecking house up before going to bed?" you say.

True, that was dumb, but then what? Keep the child locked up forever? While there are obvious sensible precautions, there is also the fact that children need to be let out at some stage, even if always under adult supervision! Be realistic. There's no use blaming the family. It was the nutcases fault this happened, and we as a society have to stop it happening in the future.
posted by stephencummins at 7:44 AM on August 20, 2002


I'm wondering, again, in horrific cases like this where the perp is caught "red-handed," why we persist in engaging in the self-flagellation of agonizing over whether the death penalty is a deterrent or not, or if human nature so fundamentally flawed can be rehabilitated? What does society owe these people under such circumstances? Or alternatively, why should society have to bear the burden of their continued upkeep for long incarceration when schools, social services and other needy causes are competing for the same limited funds? Don't we need to prioritize our spending on what can have the greatest beneficial effect for the largest segment of society? Isn't ensuring that there's no recidivism in and of itself an arguable case?
posted by Pressed Rat at 7:49 AM on August 20, 2002


we as a society have to stop it happening in the future.

Laudable goal, but how? We have studied these types of people - we know their backgrounds (sexual abuse during childhood, torturing animals, escalating petty crimes through adolescence, a damped emotional system). We know who these people are! My wife's a teacher, and she sees kids every year that scare the bejeebus out of her, and she sees kids every year that are on the road to a more mundane hell. But in a free society, you can't stop someone from doing something you think they might do. Our justice system is inherently reactionary.

The only way I can think of is to institute a set of specific guidelines to preclude exactly the types of environments that foster (for lack of a better word) monsterhood. But that also means taking children away from bad parents; punishing child abusers far more harshly, taking direct action when confronted with activity like animal abuse, and conducting psychological testing at early ages.

Sensible? Absolutely. Will people totally fight against all of these? Already are.
posted by UncleFes at 7:53 AM on August 20, 2002


If the asshole would've been arrested for marijuana he would've been locked up, the priorities in this country are so screwed up that drug users (mainly marijuana) are considered more of a risk to society than real criminals.
How many more innocents suffer because society doesn't have enough guts to demand OUR public servants do the job they are supposed to do instead of grandstanding?
posted by joemeek at 7:54 AM on August 20, 2002


Pro-Death Penalty / Anti-Death Penalty...

I don't know.

But, by executing a man like this, look at the message we give the victim, and everyone else:

"This is not acceptible behavior in a human world. There was no reason for this crime to happen and it must not happen again."

Of course, once it hits the courts, I understand it is a more complex matter. In this case it is my opinion that the best case scenario would have been: Caught in the act/killed quickly in defense. That didn't happen and now it's a totally different ballgame.
posted by Shane at 8:07 AM on August 20, 2002


Things are so much easier in the animal world... Kick a lion's cub and you know what the lion does to you. No one questions why, no one needs to...
posted by Shane at 8:09 AM on August 20, 2002


the priorities in this country are so screwed up that drug users (mainly marijuana) are considered more of a risk to society than real criminals.

I agree. Too many poor minority communities (DC is a perfect example) are punished excessively for activities that involve absolutely no criminal malice. The poor are really being kept down with this bullshit.

The only way I can think of is to institute a set of specific guidelines to preclude exactly the types of environments that foster (for lack of a better word) monsterhood.

We are caught pretty helpless but what else can we do but study the criminals, reform our justice system and try to punish or set straight criminal elements (and environments that foster them) in our society? Self-righteousness is easier than activism. Our justice system seems like its failing its citizens, but principles of due process, progressive solutions, and honest assessments of failures in the system are possible. We need to look at the people we're electing very carefully, take an active role in our communities, tutor prisoners and help them get their ged's..... this has nothing to do with that little girl getting mauled, of course. Heinous crimes don't have simple solutions.
posted by aLienated at 8:14 AM on August 20, 2002


No society is totally free, otherwise we'd have to have no prisons! Society locks up/kills/otherwise takes the freedom away from LOTS of people. Let's not forget that.

It is a tough problem, you can't convict a child that pulls the wings off flies because you think he'll grow into a sociopath!

Still, a better criminal justice system with more trained and experienced psychiatrists involved not just cops and lawers, would make the system better in my opinion.

marijuana is no worse than nicotine, smoke at your own risk I say. The fact that the government bans one and makes a fortune in taxes on the other is a joke.
posted by stephencummins at 8:15 AM on August 20, 2002


Self-righteousness is easier than activism.

Sometimes, they are the same thing. Just read MetaFilter long enough.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:17 AM on August 20, 2002


insomnyuk: Indeed...
posted by i_cola at 8:23 AM on August 20, 2002


Maybe we can't deal with these kinds of terrors very well because we view them through the eyes of crime and punishment, rather than something gone horribly wrong with a person's mind. Viewing through the frame of C&P demands that we can understand the motives and actions and judge accordingly. A lot of the comments here seem to follow the line that harder punishment = fewer crimes of this sort. After centuries of killing and maiming in response to terrible crimes, we still have terrible crimes, so maybe crime is the wrong frame to set around such awful acts. Having said that, I admit that I can barely quell my own anger and desire for an immediate and final response when this sort of thing happens. But when I calm down, I just can't find it in me to believe that such crimes can be committed by a person in reasonable control of their faculties, that such things can be done by a person who is not horribly ill and in dire need of restraint and, if at all possible, treatment. But a bigger stick? Thanks, but Bedlam is in the past, and there it should stay.
posted by holycola at 8:27 AM on August 20, 2002


that harder punishment = fewer crimes of this sort

Some people don't care about the punishment, but I'm sure there are people that way the consequences of their actions in light of civil penalties.

I just can't find it in me to believe that such crimes can be committed by a person in reasonable control of their faculties

You give people too much credit. Ted Bundy seems perfectly 'reasonable'.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:31 AM on August 20, 2002


To be honest, I believe that locking your doors would really not be so much of a deterrent. If you are planning such a horrific act, would anything truly keep you from committing the it? I guess the question is whether it was pre-meditated or not.

Does anyone know more information about this "blacking out" thing? I know that Ed Gein claimed the same thing. I also know that John Wayne Gacy claimed to suffer from a nervous paralysis when he would encounter extreme stress. This was called "Psycho Motor Epilepsy", and it will be the name of my first album if I ever decide to make music. So you can't have it.

I'll research this "blacking out" occurrence and maybe post info later.

And for the record, I agree with stephencummings on most of his points. However, I just have no easy solution. Perhaps some kind of therapy or mentor program.
posted by Rattmouth at 8:35 AM on August 20, 2002


I mean psychological diagnosis. Obviously, the father in this case couldn't detect he was a threat, why?

and we as a society have to stop it happening in the future

It's too late to punish them now, they have to be committed/locked up/killed/given therapy/whatever before they can harm another human being!

So what DO you propose, stephen? That we take anyone who shows signs of any kind of mental disorder and put them in an institution? Pump them full of psychiatric drugs so that they become virtual vegetables? Better yet, let's just banish them to an island where they can only harm themselves! We'll start the process by checking out stephen's family and friends.

Am I getting through to anyone here?

Not me.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:42 AM on August 20, 2002


Well, unfortunately for many of you, the death penalty was found to be unconstitutional in cases of rape back in 1977.

"Although rape deserves serious punishment, the death penalty, which is unique in its severity and irrevocability, is an excessive penalty for the rapist who, as such and as opposed to the murderer, does not unjustifiably take human life."
posted by pitchblende at 8:48 AM on August 20, 2002


This might have been lost in all the debate about capital punishment, but imagine how the little brother is going to grow up, always knowing that had he gone and woken his parents, this might not have happened. Or the parent who left the door unlocked. Or the people involved in not having the bastard convicted for the previous rape.

Or the little girl, obviously.

My gut instinct in cases like this where a horrific crime has been committed and the perpetrator has been caught in the act is that these people should be executed, plain and simple. If you have a problem with the death penalty, then what about this? Keep them locked up in a 7x7x7 cell cube. No windows. No view outside. Bucket in the corner. Basic sustainence brought twice a day. No contact with anyone else for the rest of their life. Minimal cost to the taxpayers and maximum punishment (save execution). But no, this won't happen, because it's "cruel".

Another minor point, thank goodness for the neighbor reporting the noise. For years I've whined and moaned about my wife reporting anything strange outside because I "don't want to bother anybody" or "it's none of our business" (aka The British Way). I'm not going to do that anymore.
posted by SiW at 8:51 AM on August 20, 2002


Me and my family and friends? Yes! fine, we need to know the difference between people who have enough empathy with their fellow human beings not to attack children with hammers. I'm not qualified to judge myself or my friends and family, but I would be willing to appoint an expert to assess me or anyone else. With checks to ensure I (or anyone I know) will be assessed impartially and professionally, I'd submit to that, sure, if it'll help stop crimes like this! Who wouldn't?

My point is simply this: more prevention! Figure these nutcases out so they can be identified and children are safe, and a father doesn't have to spend his life regretting he left a door/window/catflap open!
posted by stephencummins at 8:54 AM on August 20, 2002


I admit, I'm a bit of a vigilante at heart...although, recently I've been reexamining my views on the death penalty as it's assessed by the state where I live. (Texas)

That being said, I wish someone..cop, dad, grandma, anyone had shot this bastard. I know that rape isn't a capital crime and they can't get the death penalty, no matter how much I think they deserve it. But ya know, with mandatory releases, we can expect to see him back out on the streets in a few years.

As an example, I give you this guy: a convicted serial killer who took so much joy in killing women that he clapped and danced around while doing it. The police have said, "Everybody knows he is going to kill again," said Houston police Sgt. Tom Ladd, who interrogated Watts after his arrest in 1982. "His last statement to me was: 'You know, Tom, if I get out, I'm going to do it again.'"

So, yeah...rather than have this maniac who attacked a little girl get back out on the streets because of mandatory releases, which are just as common in other states as they are Texas, I really wish the someone had just killed the bastard.
posted by dejah420 at 9:08 AM on August 20, 2002


Well, unfortunately for many of you, the death penalty was found to be unconstitutional in cases of rape back in 1977.

Many of you = the people that rapist rape when they get out of jail. Rather fortunate for serial rapists, however.

It is these sorts of injustices that prompt vigilantism, and it is a tribute to the peacefulness of man that there aren't far more cases of freed criminals being hung from the nearest tree... or simply disappearing. America is a big place, with many deep holes, and one can buy large rolls of black waterproof plastic at any Home Depot.
posted by UncleFes at 9:10 AM on August 20, 2002


When there is literally incontrovertible evidence, I think the death penalty is appropriate.

incontrovertible evidence of what? capital punishment only applies in some murder cases, and at the federal level for treason and terrorism. The victim in this case was not murdered (though she might still die, she is so gravely injured). if the death penalty were meted out for "incontrovertible" cases of horror, death row would be filled to the brim: rapists, kidnappers, arsonists, corporate thieves, you name it.

i am not defending the actions of a man who abducts and assaults a child in her own backyard. yes he deserves punishment, and yes jail is too good for him (not that i think he'd last long). i don't completely defend the system because it is about as flawed as it can be. but there IS a system, and without it how would punishment work? i wish i could find that quote about the law as a forest and if we start chopping down the trees how will we stand in the winds that would howl then?

the most chilling thing about this story to me is the fact that if the neighbor hadn't called the police, the guy could have escaped...the fact that he was caught red-handed makes us even angrier, but what if he hadn't been and some other man were arrested? what then?
posted by serafinapekkala at 9:22 AM on August 20, 2002


Unclefes

Really, Sid? So motive is irrelevant? Killing the murderer of one's child is morally equivalent to murder for the purpose of silencing the witness/victim of rape? Give me a fucking break.

I've never been in the situation you describe. Perhaps you have. I'm sure it is a horrible fate, one that I would not wish anyone to suffer. Nevertheless, killing in the spirit of anger and revenge is no better or worse than killing for lust or pleasure or necessity. You are abandoning your humanity for the ethics and passions of an animal.

Reasonable people can disagree on whether a death penalty is good or necessary but equating it with the crimes it punishes just makes your opinion the ranting of a thoughtless idiot.

It's a pity you're cheapening this discussion with personal insults. I'm not quite sure why my comments are thoughtless. I actually put quite a bit of thought into them before posting. Perhaps you should check your spelling before you refer to an "incorrigable murder". I understand that incorrigible is a big word, perhaps one that you are unaccustomed to using. But really, if you are unsure of its meaning or spelling, it is only polite to check before posting to a public message board and calling someone a thoughtless idiot for a perfectly reasonable viewpoint. Next time, stick to smaller words, and maybe you won't make such a fool of yourself.
posted by sid at 9:26 AM on August 20, 2002


Some people are sick. And some people are evil. There's a difference.
posted by Cyrano at 9:29 AM on August 20, 2002


As UncleFes so rightly points out, and dejah420 emphasizes, it is precisely because of society's inability to deal with these crimes/criminals that vigilantism is spawned. The nature of our political/legal systems may be such that no/little effective preventive action can be taken. While stephencummins approach would be preferable, it's not practical - we can't really effectively predict this behavior, and more importantly, even if we thought we could we can't intervene to take steps against it without the spectre of violating the potential perps civil rights. To assume so is at this point, utopian.

This doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to study the problem and look for answers - but we probably know much of what we need to know generally to profile these types. The fact is, in a real sense we can only be reactive - having stepped over the line in such a fashion, and having violated another's individual rights and society's norms in such a way, hasn't the guilty party abrogated his rights to making further demands on society?
posted by Pressed Rat at 9:29 AM on August 20, 2002


More hot air from Hilfy! Yay! :)

Well for one, kids being abducted, raped and murdered is nothing new. This just happens to be the media frenzy de jour. Last year it was sharks, this year it's abductions..it's good ratings! Being snatched out of ones home from under the noses of parents seems to be a fairly new phenomenon, however. When I was a kid you would hear, now and then, about a girl disappearing while walking down the street and then turning up dead. What you didn't did hear about was someone cutting the phone lines, killing the parents, and abducting their child. (I.E. The case in Virginia) Of course kids are not as easy to get to these days, and forensic science is amazing. Perhaps the sickos are having to resort to these new tactics...?

The media is partly to blame I think. The internet contributes as well. It's become a haven for anything and everything that's outlawed, letting people with these tendencies indulge themselves until the virtual world no longer does the trick. This stuff is then plastered all over the front page and CNN and other sickos out there go "Hmmm...that's a good idea!" Viola! We have copycats! At least that's what I hope it is. If this is a trend that is popping up by itself, without help from the press coverage, it's a scary thought indeed.

Another contributing factor: Our laws here protect those who commit these crimes. The worst a murdering pedophile has to worry about these days is lethal injection in some states, in others it's a life in prison. I wonder what the effect would be if we allowed cruel and unusual punishment.

Mr. Wiggin: This is a 12-story block combining classical neo-Georgian features with the efficiency of modern techniques. The guilty arrive here and are carried along the corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme comfort, past murals depicting Mediterranean scenes, towards the rotating knives. The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily soundproofed. The blood pours down these chutes and the mangled flesh slurps into these...

Client 1: Excuse me.

Mr. Wiggin: Yes?

Client 1: Did you say 'knives'?

Mr. Wiggin: Rotating knives, yes.


BUT...killing people, even in horrible ways, would not work. People who get to the point of murder are usually way past thinking about the consequences. Death as a deterrent to crime has never really been that effective.

What needs to be done is addressing the underlying issue. Society, especially those based on some crazy organized religion *coughcoughjudeochristians!*, has this huge hang up on sex. Ooo, it's bad! It's dirty! Don't touch that, you'll go to HELL! What bullshit. This just leads to repressing instincts and desires from an early age and laying the seeds of potential future evil.

Some people say "Well, if you're under 18 you shouldn't be having sex!" Never mind the fact that kids bodies start telling them to go at it between 10-15, even younger now for the girls thanks to the hormones we're pumping into cattle and the environment. Younger kids even poke, prod and play given the chance..until someone catches them and freaks out, scaring them for life and beginning the cycle all over again. I mean how many of our parents actually did the birds and bees bit with us? Not many I bet. Parents these days seem to either ignore talking about sex with their kids or hope the woefully inept public schools will do a decent job with an impersonal sex ed class. Repressive, Laissez Faire, or Taboo attitude towards sex has never lead to anything good. Eventually something will give and you have things like what this guy did happen.

Stop teaching kids that sex is something bad and they will grow up to be more well adjusted adults. Am I saying that this is the end all solution? No, there's other factors. There will always be those who do these horrible things with no apparent rhyme or reason. If we just took sex for what it is, the main driving force of life itself, and stopped treating it like something dirty to be ashamed of we would not have anywhere near number the sex crimes we do today. We would all be better off.

We're ill equipped to deal with things this guy did because the people who do these things are usually acting on their own. The quiet guy next door no body ever sees. You never know when or where someone will snap and decide to take his private fantasies to the next level. Also, they are getting smarter. The Westerfield guy had the 'right' idea but screwed it up. The person in Virginia, assuming it was the girl they were after, went even farther and looks like he's going to get away with it at this point. How long before we're all are living in "Exclusive" communities with guards armed to the teeth? Ahh, the price we pay for 'civilization'.
posted by Hilfy at 9:29 AM on August 20, 2002


Great contributing post, Cyrano.....
posted by Pressed Rat at 9:37 AM on August 20, 2002


some people seem to be advocating on-the-spot justice for this guy, delivered by the cop or the victim's dad, yet separated from ideas "vigilante" or "mob" justice. or for "calmly removing this guy from society, since we know he did it." i'm struck by two examples: first, the scenario from the movie "In The Bedroom." (SPOILER ALERT) This is like UncleFes' suggestion of murder-by-Home Depot. The father abducts and kills the man who shot his son because the justice system could only deliver a short sentence. He knew the man was guilty, but would not be "appropriately" punished, so he meted out punishment himself, and at the end of the movie it seems he will get away with it...or will he? The second example is the recent mob killing of the two men who crashed their van into a crowd of people sitting on a stoop in Chicago. It turned out that the driver was old and drunk and it was an accident, and none of the injured people died, but the crowd dragged the men out of the van and beat them to death because they caught them "redhanded." cases of people overreacting and carrying out "justified" killings are everywhere...look at the "gay come-on" Jenny Jones murder...

so...which do we prefer? eyewitness justice, or a blind justice system? how about neither?
posted by serafinapekkala at 9:46 AM on August 20, 2002


Part of the problem is too much respect for human life... and, at the same time, too little respect.

Too little, in that every day the general public acts like assholes. Common courtesy is dead, and we pay for that through increased stress and decreasing tolerance.

Too much, in that we care to give the incontrovertibly guilty the opportunity to continue living. Common sense is dead, and we pay for that whenever we release one of those sub-human nutjobs into the public.

There are 285 million people in the USA. The greatest majority of them are productive, contributing members of society. There is 1 nutjob who's sole mission in life is apparently to rape and murder little girls in Salt Lake City. Why is he so important to this society that we want to keep him around?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:53 AM on August 20, 2002


cruel and unusual punishment.

The death penalty is not cruel and unusual for someone who raped an 11 year old girl and then proceded to severely beat her with a hammer. The death penalty would be cruel and unusual if it were applied to involuntary manslaughter, not deliberate rape and attempted murder.

Stop teaching kids that sex is something bad and they will grow up to be more well adjusted adults.

The man who did this, John Sickler, was 28. He was not a child. Like everyone else, he is ultimately the one responsible for the choices he makes. No amount of environmental circumstances or social conditioning can possibly justify what he did. Stop trying to take the blame off of the criminal and place it somewhere else.

Perhaps next we'll see people in this thread blame the little girl for not screaming loudly enough. Give me a fucking break already. You call this guy's actions sick. I call his deeds evil (yes, I'm such a simplistic moralist). I believe that he is responsible. No excuses, no prevarications, no more psychobabble bullshit.

incontrovertible evidence of what?

The man was caught in the act. There is absolutely no way it was someone else, his guilt is clear and he will most likely be convicted fairly swiftly. What part of that don't you understand.

I'm not advocating swift vigilante justice (but if the father had shot this man in the act, it would be self-defense, not vigilantism), I'm advocating that he be tried in a court of law, and if found guilty, summarily executed, after his appeals have been exhausted. I'm willing to wait a few years for justice to be done.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:55 AM on August 20, 2002


I think the discussion in Cyrano's post about the difference between sickness and evil is particularly powerful in this context. Our system attempts to address sickness, but we are sometimes confronted by evil, but we're not equipped to address it in the uncompromising manner required. Evil shouldn't be tolerated - it should be rooted out and removed so it can't do more harm. Part of the general sickness of society comes from tolerating the evil within it as if it's to be accepted as part of life, rather than eliminated. Perhaps collectively we've lost the moral compass to make these distinctions and therefore suffer accordingly.
posted by Pressed Rat at 10:00 AM on August 20, 2002


Well, unfortunately for many of you, the death penalty was found to be unconstitutional in cases of rape back in 1977.

He's also being charged with attempted murder. However, neither that nor rape appears to be a capital offense in Utah, so all of this discussion about executing the offender is moot.
posted by rcade at 10:02 AM on August 20, 2002


Insomnyuk:

cruel and unusual punishment.

The death penalty is not cruel and unusual for someone who raped an 11 year old girl and then proceded to severely beat her with a hammer. The death penalty would be cruel and unusual if it were applied to involuntary manslaughter, not deliberate rape and attempted murder


Out of context.

Stop teaching kids that sex is something bad and they will grow up to be more well adjusted adults.

The man who did this, John Sickler, was 28. He was not a child. Like everyone else, he is ultimately the one responsible for the choices he makes. No amount of environmental circumstances or social conditioning can possibly justify what he did. Stop trying to take the blame off of the criminal and place it somewhere else.


Also out of context and completely missing the point.
posted by Hilfy at 10:07 AM on August 20, 2002


How is what I said out of context? What was your point, by the way, because after re-reading your post, I didn't really see an overall theme, just scattered observations.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:13 AM on August 20, 2002


Let's try this bit of allegory:

One evening I hear my daughter screaming in the garage and run down to find a snake has slithered behind a crate full of motorcycle parts under my workbench. When I coax it out it turns out it's a copperhead. I have two choices:

1) Kill it, preemptively, thereby ensuring no harm comes to my family;
2) Respect its right to life and release it in the lot below our house to go on its way.

I choose #2. A few weeks later my daughter is playing around the flowerbed in the back yard and gets bit by the snake, which has returned from the woods. Fully envenomated, my daughter falls near death. Although saved with antivenin, she suffers permanent nerve damage.

If I had chosen #1, my daughter would in all likelihood, never have been injured and had to suffer. Am I to blame? At least partially, yes, in that through my decision I set in motion a chain of events that ultimately led to her being hurt. Thus my action, while seemingly thoughtful at the time, could reasonably be viewed as irresponsible in hind sight.

Following her being bit, I again recaptured the snake. I have two options:

3) Kill the snake;
4) Release it again, telling my daughter to be more careful next time.

In light of harm already done, and given my civic and parental duty to act in a manner protective of those around me when I am able do so, how could I ethically choose an option other than #3? Is it my responsibility to find/create an environment for the snake, removed from my family and the rest of humanity, to protect us from it's exercising it's natural instincts? Why?

How, in essence, is this materially different from the discussion at hand?
posted by Pressed Rat at 10:28 AM on August 20, 2002


insomnyuk:

Let's look at the original question:

Why are there monsters like this? and perhaps more to the point, why as a society are we so ill-equipped to deal with them effectively?

Does that help?

What I said about cruel and unusual punishment was not referring to the current form of capitol punishment or about this man in particular.

Putting someone to sleep with a mix of chemicals isn't plastically cruel is it? Some would say that death is death but what if someone had to think about: "Well, if I get caught they'll give me a lethal injection." vs. "Well, if I get caught they will painfully and horribly kill me." I bet the latter would give someone more pause but in the end it's more likely to do only that, just give them pause.

It may stop someone from trying to murder for the sake or robbery or revenge etc, but in the case of sex crimes the drive to commit is often stronger then the deterrent, regardless of what it is. Wether or not this man deserves to die is not at issue, although I think he does. I support the death penalty as a way of getting rid of those commit such horrific crimes. My point was answering the first question: Why are there monsters like this?

Better?
posted by Hilfy at 10:38 AM on August 20, 2002


Bleh...PARTICULARLY cruel. :) Never trust the spell check!
posted by Hilfy at 10:39 AM on August 20, 2002


I don't offer answers, merely opinions. Sometimes my opinions go way beyond what we know to be legal, morally acceptable, responsible. I can accept being corrected at times, happens often.

Reading a story like that makes me want to be the vigilante in that case. I know, that wouldn't make anything right, and I know it is wrong, legally, the little girl would still be scarred for life, and other pieces of crap would take up where this guy left off. I sometimes think society has started to tolerate crimes like this to an extent. I still say that people that perpetrate such acts, are not people, and in no way should be afforded the same rights as others.
A guy who steals a car, is not the same as a guy who rapes an 11 year old girl and then clubs her with a hammer. One is guilty of a criminal act, the other is a worthless animal that should be put down ASAP.
But, that is only my opinion.
posted by a3matrix at 10:42 AM on August 20, 2002


HERE HERE!! Gold star for FFF

There are 285 million people in the USA. The greatest majority of them are productive, contributing members of society. There is 1 nutjob who's sole mission in life is apparently to rape and murder little girls in Salt Lake City. Why is he so important to this society that we want to keep him around?

I absolutely agree with that statement.
posted by a3matrix at 10:46 AM on August 20, 2002


Thanks for the explanation Hilfy.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:56 AM on August 20, 2002


"Why are there monsters like this?"

Study it all you want. But I can assure you that if we would take a few more of these abominations OUT, there should would be less of them to worry about.

This crap about how the death penalty only lowers ourselves to the level of the criminal is so fluffy and lame. It sounds pretty, but this isn't the playground at the elementary school.

No one is any better off making some half-assed attempt at rehabilitating creeps like this. What? Is it good for my karma or something? Will I look better in the eyes of God?Do we all get to have a group hug because we're now better people than the criminal. I already am a better person.

This guy no longer has any value to society... it's over. He blew it. Good business practice tells you to rid yourself of anything that carries no value.

I don't care if the death penalty isn't a deterrent. IT isn't meant to be. It's a punishment. Anyone willing to risk the death penalty to commit a crime worthy of such a punishment probably deserves to go anyway.

On preview... what FFF said.
posted by Witty at 10:57 AM on August 20, 2002


Stop putting people in jail for silly crimes like smoking pot and getting their rocks off with the local prostitute (if she/he is over 18), then kill bastards like this after a fair trial.
posted by owillis at 11:05 AM on August 20, 2002


Why are there monsters like this? Read the book Why They Kill for some insight. The author goes into detail about the process he calls "violentization", which can turn just about anybody into a person who uses violence.

The book is very good, imho, and rather disturbing (the whole subject matter is), but I'm convinced that looking at this stuff logically is the only way we'll get anywhere.

That said, first I think of prevention: lock the freakin doors and the windows, and better yet sleep with your interior doors open so you can hear things, or even better co-sleep with your kids right next to you.

Other ideas: burglar alarm, yappy dog, ankle bracelet on the kids that sets off a loud battery-powered alarm if cut or removed from the house. And a sign on the window that says "Anyone harming a dweller of this home will be tortured."

Because that's what I'd do if someone hurt my daughter. They'd better *pray* that the cops got to them before I did. The Spanish Inquisition would look like a picnic compared to what the person would endure at my hands. It's my job to feel this way about my kid.

The poor brother is going to be tortured every day of his life, in the worst possible way, no matter what the outcome. I would be surprised if he manages to avoid suicide.

At any rate, I think that removing someone like this from society by death is no more inappropriate than cutting out a cancerous tumor from one's body.

Yes, the death penalty needs to be carried out with the utmost care and only when we are as certain as we can possibly be that we have the right person. It's not being done this way now and needs serious massive reform.

I still think that gas, bullets, the chair, or a needle is too good for this guy. Too bad they didn't have a big snarling dog that tore him to pieces before he got to the girl.

nitpicks: Viola is a large violin. "Voila" is the French term. Capitol is the city or building that's the seat of government - think of the "o" rhyming with the "o" in "rotunda", often found in such a building. "Hear, hear" is the correct form when you strenuously agree with someone.
posted by beth at 11:05 AM on August 20, 2002


insomnyuk:

*Blinks* Thank you? *looks back and forth* Am I in the right place? ;)

Whitty:

Study it all you want. But I can assure you that if we would take a few more of these abominations OUT, there should would be less of them to worry about.

Oh I agree with you, but again I point to the original question. Would it not be nice if we did not have to 'take a few more' of these people out? People are eager to, again, take the easy way out and kill the perp but ignore why he became a perp in the first place. A pinch of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Again my post is not about this man but about the possible how and why we have men like him.

And the death penalty is a deterrent. Killing someone isn't a punishment, it's a warning to others not to do the same thing. Punishment assumes that you are trying to correct a persons behavior in hopes that they will not do it again.

beth:

Tricky i and o..I know how it's spelled, actually, but my fingers tend to be dyslexic when my typing is up to speed. Capital and Capitol I tend to confuse more often than not. I associate Capitol with government and thusly......
posted by Hilfy at 11:21 AM on August 20, 2002


Too bad they didn't have a big snarling dog that tore him to pieces before he got to the girl.

But then they'd be gassing the dog.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:25 AM on August 20, 2002


Hilfy: It's Witty... no H. Common error. Anyway, I agree with what you say about the death penalty being a deterrent. My comments were directed, mainly, to those people who argue that there shouldn't be a death penalty because it isn't a deterrent. To those people I say, "Who cares?"

I also agree that we should try to figure out why these things happens so that we can execute less people (ideally zero).

Pressed Rat touched on the idea of sickness and evil. I would expect anyone deemed evil (for committing evil acts) would also show up as being sick. With that in mind, I don't think we should therefore excuse every act of evil as just a symptom of some sickness (that is then, somehow, treatable).

A sickness that results in harmful behavior toward other people should be dealt with in the same manor that polio was. Polio kills... so were exterminated it. Evil doers kill... so we should exterminate them.
posted by Witty at 11:37 AM on August 20, 2002


"should be dealt with in the same manor"

Manor? ...Ah, never mind.

With the Elizabeth Smart thing, and now this, there are a lot of people in Utah who are extremely worried about their kids right now. Mine wanted to sleep out in their tent last night, and my wife vetoed the idea, even though our bedroom window opens into the back yard and we'd be able to hear the tiniest noise.

I'm just concerned that with the prevalence of guns in this state someone's going to shoot a neighbor or their own kid when they hear an unusual sound from the yard.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:51 AM on August 20, 2002


witty--

Cyrano raised the question of sickness vs. evil, Check that link. I'd agree with what you say re: the deterrent value of a death penalty. I don't view that as the argument for one, whether or not it has such affect. Nor am I for indiscriminant executions. Those who are sick should receive treatment & it's in society's interest to study that sickness and the causes of it in a search to understand and perhaps effect a cure. There is, however, real evil in the world. It should be everyone's mission to uncover it and eliminate it - not to shirk away from it & allow it's influence to sicken the rest of society.
posted by Pressed Rat at 11:56 AM on August 20, 2002


As long as we're figuring out why these things happen, let's think about how often they happen.

Now, while that article refers to stranger abductions, in particular, the fact remains that violent crimes against children of any sort are the rarest of crimes. We can't stop talking about these crimes, however, which is a much more interesting topic in itself.

Another interesting topic would be the effect on children and their personal experience of childhood by our continuing national obsession with recounting the last gory details of these very rare crimes. At what point does our collective wallowing in these stories of attacks upon children become our collective attack on children and childhood?
posted by y2karl at 12:20 PM on August 20, 2002


It turned out that the driver was old and drunk and it was an accident, and none of the injured people died

Sorry, driving drunk isn't an excuse for anything. Thats no accident.
posted by jbelshaw at 12:37 PM on August 20, 2002


As long as we're figuring out why these things happen, let's think about how often they happen.

Yes, let's. And let's ask someone besides the New Republic what the answer is, some people who might actually have a clue. "In general, the younger the person, the more likely they were to experience a violent crime."(links 1, 2). And here's a putrid little child abuse roundup for you.

One is too many. The head in the sand approach, successful as it has been for so many years, assumes an acceptable baseline number of victims. I think that is absolutely foul. So yes, the media might be hyping the crap out of these things - but that does not mean we should ignore it. Not at all.
posted by UncleFes at 12:43 PM on August 20, 2002


mr_crash_davis: Sorry for the vocabulary slip. Indeed, it should be manner. No idea how manor slipped out. Spell check doesn't help out in those cases.

Pressed Rat: What if evil manifests itself in ways we only see as a sickness? It's a damn shame that perhaps a few chemical imbalances can cause someone to explode into a violent rage and pound the face of an 11 year-old girl with hammer. But maybe that's what evil is.

Fortunately my imbalances only cause laziness and poor budgeting skills. My creditors don't seem to be taking that into consideration every time they slap on a punitive late fee though.

Anything less than death for this guy is pathetic. He a gangrenous limb on the torso of mankind and must be removed.
posted by Witty at 12:45 PM on August 20, 2002


Oops, sorry about that Witty :)

I agree with you. I think the way we currently use the death penalty is misguided. It should be used as a means of removal, not to deter. If we really want to make a deterrent to serious crime then I suggest we make our prisons a bit more...unpleasant, or dare I say brutal to live in? We have old homeless guys on the streets but Joe Schmuck who raped grandma is getting three squares a day and a roof over his head at my expense. Oh yeah, that makes sense. I wonder who's more worried about going back to prison, the guy who just got out of a Turkish prison or the one just out of a new state of the art U.S. one?

I don't know if I buy the sick vs. evil thing, though. Evil is a concept made up by humans to describe the actions of other humans. Barring some genetic predisposition towards violence, 'evil' people are usually made that way by events in their life. It's not an excuse for them or their actions but people simply are not born as murderous raping bastards and it's not a choice people wake up one day and make. That aside, there are those who embrace being Evil...who even recognize that what they are doing is wrong and revel in it. That, I guess, is as close to true Evil there is.
posted by Hilfy at 12:46 PM on August 20, 2002


So yes, the media might be hyping the crap out of these things - but that does not mean we should ignore it. Not at all.

Yeah, let's hype the hell out of the one in a million crimes. So, how many kids died in auto accidents because they weren't wearing seatbelts or in properly attached child safety seats last year? Oh, you were too busy pinning a medal on your chest for being against the monsters--talk about hiding your head in the sand...
posted by y2karl at 1:06 PM on August 20, 2002


We need to be more considerate to the thousands of people we encounter daily who are generally good people, and a whole lot less considerate to those few sick bastards who deliberately set about to harm others.

Our attention is mis-focused.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:11 PM on August 20, 2002


So, how many kids died in auto accidents because they weren't wearing seatbelts or in properly attached child safety seats last year

Oh, you mean child murders = accidents? Pin a medal on yourself, one that says "I Think Child Murder is OK Because It's Rarer Than Car Crashes."

Nah, that's too long, just shorten it up to "Willfully Ignorant." You'll like it, it's a nice BIG medal. You'll impress the neighbors.
posted by UncleFes at 1:18 PM on August 20, 2002


wittu--

I guess that might depend in part on whether we had evidence of causation, linking specific aberrant behavior to an identifiable initiator, and whether the individual involved was able to exercise free will or was demonstrably incapable of self-control (also, whether such chemical state was freely self-induced). I'm not sure the current state of psychopharmacology is up to making such distinctions.

The dictinctions drawn in the Parade article linked by Cyrano, while focused on pedophile priests, seem to me extendable to the discussion at large: sickness can be likened to a state of being & may or may not respond to treatment; evil is a behavior and a matter of choice. Those who demonstrate a propensity for evil behavior have demonstrated lack of control along societal norms, and whether or not traceable to some "sickness" need to be removed from society. If the sickness can be objectively & verifyably treatable, do so. Otherwise, unless long-term self-contrl can be demonstrated, indefinite incarceration or permanent "removal" is called for.

That brings us to "cost-benefit" evaluations as to how much it costs in society's limited resources to maintain the individual in stir (at a guess $30K per year, assuming reasonable health - much greater than this as age & medical conditions increase) versus taking the chance of releasing them back to society. Or the cost of eliminating them (with mandatory appeal costs, etc.) versus life incarceration. All this to maintain nonproductive individuals while other programs of potentially more societal benefit go begging, in part of course because no one wants to raise taxes. The real question may just be, "What do we owe these people who have demonstrated such contempt for, or lack of willingness to adhere to, society's contract?"
posted by Pressed Rat at 1:18 PM on August 20, 2002


I'd like to make a small observation. Does it appear that there has been a marked increase in this type of crime in the past 20 years?
Setting aside the criminal/legal side of it, what if there is an environmental cause, namely disease or poisoning, that is causing such psychotic behavior?
What if something in the air or water can turn a marginally disturbed person into a maniac? Even a small amount of amphetamine can derange some people. How many other legal stimulants permeate our lives?
posted by kablam at 1:27 PM on August 20, 2002


Does it appear that there has been a marked increase in this type of crime in the past 20 years?

Yes, and that's wrong; in that, y2karl's correct - there is actually less child abuse/murder - indeed, all violent crimes - then there were in decades past (check the same links I posted above). The media has focused enough on this particular issue that it seems to a observer to be increasing. But it's just increased coverage.
posted by UncleFes at 1:31 PM on August 20, 2002


OK, you're right. Let's talk about the details of each horrible crime and how horrible a punishment the monsters deserve over and over and over and over. Let's terrorize all the 56,000,00 kids in the country over a handful of crimes. Let's give those kids a real good scare, make them realize the terrible dangers they could face at any moment, no matter how infinitesimally small, because it makes us feel good about how we're protecting the kids while we wallow in our self-righteousness and moral superiority to monsters. Let's focus on the rarest of the rare, impossible to prevent crimes and ignore the more common everyday dangers children face because we're the saviors of children (only if monsters are involved).
posted by y2karl at 1:35 PM on August 20, 2002


y2karl: I reread my earlier posts and I now admit they were, at least in part, personal attacks. Hot blood, etc. Please accept my apologies for those statements.

I remain, however, firmly behind my opinions regarding the subject at hand (capital punishment, my moral superiority to monsters, et al).
posted by UncleFes at 1:40 PM on August 20, 2002


An 11-year-old girl who was raped and beaten with a hammer after being snatched from her bedroom was in critical condition Tuesday following nine hours of surgery. Doctors said every bone in the middle of her face
had been broken.

The cops should have earned their pay and put a bullet in that guy on the spot. Or, let her dad do it.

It's too bad the father didn't shoot the man to death or something before the cops got there.

These predators should be shot into space without protective clothing.

...but at least by killing them we can rid society of one of these fuckers. In the end it seems that we do them a favor.

Things are so much easier in the animal world... Kick a lion's cub and you know what the lion does to you. No one questions why, no one needs to...

If we really want to make a deterrent to serious crime then I suggest we make our prisons a bit more...unpleasant, or dare I say brutal to live in?

Anything less than death for this guy is pathetic. He a gangrenous limb on the torso of mankind and must be removed.

Reading a story like that makes me want to be the vigilante in that case.

Evil doers kill... so we should exterminate them.

I still think that gas, bullets, the chair, or a needle is too good for this guy. Too bad they didn't have a big snarling dog that tore him to pieces before he got to the girl.

I wonder what the effect would be if we allowed cruel and unusual punishment.

America is a big place, with many deep holes, and one can buy large rolls of black waterproof plastic at any Home Depot.


Obviously there is a violence that lives within each heart, and the solution to the problem presented herein is to diminish the violence that lives within each heart.

Killing is always wrong - whether by hammer, or by intravenous needle.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:44 PM on August 20, 2002


y2karl

What the heck is your agenda that's got you so stirred up? I doubt seriously that many impressionable children are taking the time to participate in this discussion, so in what way are we terrorizing them? If your point is that the media are disproportionately reporting this stuff for ratings while auto deaths go unremarked, fair enough. How does that invalidate the discussion about those that do commit these heinous crimes and what should or shouldn't be done about them? If you're tied of reading it vote with your feet - no one's forcing you to participate. The vitreol of your posts would seem to me to indicate the type & degree of self-righteousness you blame others of. If it's all too exasperating, take your fit of pique elsewhere.
posted by Pressed Rat at 1:47 PM on August 20, 2002


Killing is always wrong

Where is it written that killing is always wrong? I hope you specifically mean humans, because unless you're a Jainist, you're not being very consistent.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:58 PM on August 20, 2002


I ok with folding and mutilating them, unless deemed cruel and unusual. Seconds?
posted by Witty at 1:59 PM on August 20, 2002


For Heaven's sake don't spindle them, however.
posted by Pressed Rat at 2:03 PM on August 20, 2002


insomnyuk -- f_and_m is very consistent. And I am so confused by your Jainism comment: you do know that plenty of other religions exist that revere all life, and that one does not have to draw a strong belief from a religion at all, right?
posted by emyd at 3:29 PM on August 20, 2002


Where is it written that killing is always wrong?

Where is it written that state-sanctioned killing is justified in the 21st century? Really, truly, the burden of proof's on the cheerleaders for state-sanctioned killing these days. And really, truly, the justification that 'killing people who I've classed as "monsters" makes me feel a hellava lot better about myself, boy-oh-boy' (I'm looking at you, UncleFes) stopped being a justification a long time ago in places not ruled by Wahhabist Muslims.
posted by riviera at 3:56 PM on August 20, 2002


"the solution to the problem presented herein is to diminish the violence that lives within each heart."

Not surprisingly, I have a problem with f&m's "solution", consistent though his beliefs may be. I hope he'll stick around long enough to reply.

I agree wholeheartedly that it would be wonderful if people were less violent. However, this generality applied to this specific situation is unsatisfactory. The violent act has already been committed. To say to this little girl, her family, and her community "You must diminish the violence that lives within your heart" does nothing to punish the offender for his act or to protect the community from any future acts this offender may commit.

So, here is my two-part question to you, fold_and_mutilate: What is the solution to dealing with the immediate problem of this specific individual who committed this specific violent act? What, in your opinion, would be a fair and just punishment for this violent act?

For the sake of argument, let's assume that being caught in the act by the police is sufficient evidence to convict, so we can toss out the "innocent until proven guilty" retort. Should that not prove to be the case, we can revisit this discussion at that time.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:00 PM on August 20, 2002


Where is it written that state-sanctioned killing is justified in the 21st century? Really, truly, the burden of proof's on the cheerleaders for state-sanctioned killing these days.

I'm no cultural relativist, but it seems silly to argue that simply because we are supposedly 'modern', that we should throw out just about anything done in the past, because it is antiquated. The 21st century indeed. Nothing makes us more special. We still have all the old vices and evils of every past century, sometimes in different forms. Also, it is the people within the state who are sanctioning the killing. The state bears the power of force because people believe wrongdoers ought to be punished (and defended against), and that the state is merely the tool for accomplishing this task. Do you think using violence in defense of one's life and property is barbaric, or "Wahabist"? The state can bring a sense of justice, and this is generally one of the few things which will prevent people from taking it upon themselves to enact justice, which usually only leads to an endless cycle of vengeance.

emyd: "Killing is always wrong." What about when he accidentally kills an insect simply by walking down the street? What about the rodents that get killed in farm fields when the plows go through? That is a blanket moral pronouncement that defies common sense, reason, and history. But for the sake of argument, maybe killing is always wrong. As a Christian, I think sin is inextricably linked to the human condition, but I would be forced to ask, what is the greater sin? Letting someone rape your child or killing them in order to get them to stop? Maybe lying is always a sin (I've heard this line). But if an armed, raving madman runs into your house and asks where your children are, is lying really a sin at all? I don't think so. To say "killing is always wrong" is only a sign of simplicity, not moral consistency. If he were more specific, i.e. "killing humans and sentient mammals is always wrong" then I would give him brownie points for consistency, but he didn't say that. I'm simply asking for him to be more specific. Do you really mean that killing, all killing, is always wrong?
posted by insomnyuk at 4:55 PM on August 20, 2002


For X'ians, Thou Shalt Not Kill seems relevant...
posted by dash_slot- at 5:16 PM on August 20, 2002


1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3

If you're going to use that line, dash, what then is the greater sin?
posted by insomnyuk at 5:34 PM on August 20, 2002


".......and the right to a trial by a jury of your peers"

So, we need to get 12 more total assholes to sit on this guys jury so he can be assurred of a just trial? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Yeah, ok, just keep on eating that acid and you will be fine.

As for the killing is always wrong statement: I have been looking at the sky since I got home, but still cannot find the cloud that you are floating around on.

Don't get offended by that, just accept that we are very, very different people. Pacifist I am not.

a3matrix's qoute of the day:

Some people are alive simply because it is illegal to kill them.

The world is getting full folks, no need to save the total write offs.

Next time this guy is in your town, why not run up and hug him, if you are lucky, you'll only feel the first blow of the hammer.
posted by a3matrix at 5:47 PM on August 20, 2002


If the father had set his alarm clock and followed the sound of his daughter's moaning, he would have been perfectly justified using deadly force removing that scum from atop his daughter. And we all could have publicly rejoiced in the fact that the man was dead and there was still hope for the little girl. But the police don't have the right to execute the man, even though they caught him red-handed. And now we, as a society, have this dilemma. What to do with such a man?

What does it mean to lock a man up behind bars? What have you taken from him as a means of punishment? His freedom? To an extent. Yet he is still free to breathe and think and learn and act. To eat, to move, to dance, to play, to talk, to remember. Does he deserve all that, and more? That's really not for me to decide. But I'll tell you what I believe, summed up nicely by Dennis Miller during one of his rants oh so many years ago: There are some evil motherfuckers roaming this planet and at some point in time we have a responsibility as a society of law and order to thin the herd.
posted by David Dark at 5:51 PM on August 20, 2002


I'm not a X'ian, insomnyuk, partly because that religion can play both sides: I can quote scriptures either way in this debate, so as far as I am concerned, they cancel out - therefore discrediting completely all arguments from scripture.
You asked: "Do you really mean that killing, all killing, is always wrong?"
The link i posted above gives one interpretation...THE 6TH COMMANDMENT IS : "thou shalt not kill" = MURDER
KILL: (HEB - verb) -Ratsach "to kill, murder or slay... human being"
( Cain & Abel ) ( David & Uriah )

HUMANITIES OLDEST TEMPTATION ---- TO BE LIKE GOD!

Romans 12:15-19 - Recompense to no man evil for evil. ... ... Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

X'ians need to make up their minds, and edit their holy book. Heavily.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:46 PM on August 20, 2002


*said
posted by dash_slot- at 6:51 PM on August 20, 2002


pressed rat--

The theologian Rene Giscard haas written extensively on sacrifice and violence, and I've linked to articles about him many times in the past. I'll forego the links (you can run a Search in MetaFilter for the name and find the links here) in lieu of a brief, shallow and incomplete synopsis of some of his thought.

Human beings are shot through with these irrational impulses towards violence. Living in groups intensifies these impulses to the point they must be vented. The time honored method of dealing with them has been to identify someone as the embodiment of all evil--scapegoat--and then torture and kill that person. This satisfies the collective need for violence and purges the body politic of evil... for a time.

In the past this person has been the Christian, the Jew, the heathen, the homosexual, the drinker, the drug user and so forth. Child molesters, rapist, child murderers are the incarnation of the most evil person du jour because, well, duh, they are the worst, most irredeemable of all criminals. No lobby is going to form to protect their rights.

However, it's not hard to notice that everyone seems to focus first on the details--the gory details of these incredibly rare crimes, then on the gory details of the punishment deserved. So, sometimes it seems as if the focus is not on saving the children but the juicy details of properly punishing the evildoer after chewing on all the juicy details of his crime.

Let's look at something else. In 1972, the Supreme Court legalized pornography. Immediately the interest groups against pornography started thumping on the drum of child pornography. Interestingly enough, there was no, nada, zippo child pornography in the 70s. But the saviors of children kept talking and talking about child pornography. And look where we are today.

Is it not possible that talking about sexual attacks on children not only sexualizes children more and more but is in fact, the only socially acceptable form of child pornography, a cautionary child pornography in which people can vicariously experience the rape and murder of children through the medium of stories about these designated monsters, then muse at length at the deaths and tortures these evil monsters deserve?

I have some news, by the way, about monsters--there is simply no scientific evidence that shows the difference between them and us. Monster is a moral construct. Some people commit incredibly brutal and cruel crimes and there is no explanation as to why. There is also no explanation as to why this doesn't happen more often, which I find even more shocking, given the bloodthirstiness of the average human being, as amply evidenced here.

I just want to point out, pressed rat, that our current obsession is a lot darker and more complex than the holier-than-thous like yourself here care to think about, and that the wallowing in details implies a certain societal addiction to stories about the rape and murder of children. And if this socially acceptable addiction to stories about the rape and murder of children tips even one borderline personality over the line into commiting such an act, then do all concerned share some responsibility?


And tell me, all this wallowing in the details of the crimes and fantasizing about the proper mode of execution protects and enhances the lives of children how?
posted by y2karl at 6:55 PM on August 20, 2002


Um, Rene Girard--not Rene Giscard. My bad...
Linked here, here and here.
posted by y2karl at 7:15 PM on August 20, 2002


Coherent & calming, thanks, y2k.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:23 PM on August 20, 2002


And I have oversimplified Girard way too much, so try this quote again:

At the heart of Girard's theory is the contention that violence undergirds the foundations of culture. According to Girard, human beings are mimetic by nature, that is, we imitate those we most love by desiring what the beloved desires, and now possesses. That is to say, human beings are deeply driven by the desire to possess what belongs to the beloved. Desire turns to envy; envy to rivalry; and rivalry creates an untenable conflict at the heart of our most intimate relationships, namely, the conflict generated by feelings of intense anger and rage directed at those we most love for possessing what we most desire. Such deep conflict, if left unresolved, undermines the stability of society and threatens its very preservation. Girard maintains that society attends to this conflict, and the destructive, violent impulses it generates, by creating the cultural myth of the scapegoatwho is arbitrarily identified and selected as the source of the conflict. Ridiculed, tortured, expelled, murdered, or sacrificed, the scapegoat both satisfies and discharges the violence embedded deeply in our psyches while simultaneously keeping safe society's most important relationships. Scapegoating thus prevents the chaos and disintegration that would otherwise follow when imitative violence is left unchecked, and spirals out of control.

My point is that, in these enlightened times, the witch, the heretic, the outsider, the disease-bearer, the Jew are not acceptable vessels for our communal violence. Child rapists and murderers are--which is why we pay such extraordinary attention--all out of proportion to the few times these crimes occur, or criminals perpetuating them exist--to them. Not because we need to pornographically relive their crimes, but because we need someone to be the embodiment of all that evil so we can talk and talk of all the violent things that need to be done to the evil ones. The pornographic reliving of their crimes is just the frosting on the cake. And both make us feel so good.
posted by y2karl at 7:55 PM on August 20, 2002


I am not sure what "ill-equipped to deal effectively with them" really means. But I do know that we are usually best equipped to deal with things that are common. Human monsters are very rare in our society. I am pretty sure that the combination of increasing population and improved (or maybe worse, depending on your POV) reporting makes them seem more common than they are.

If by "deal effectively with them" you mean "stop them doing it again", then life imprisonment or capital punishment will both do that. I don't find that very interesting to discuss, since there are at least two obvious solutions there.

Incidentally, in my jurisdiction (New Zealand) recidivist rapists can be sentenced to "preventive detention" which is essentially throw away the key - no parole, no early release for good behaviour, in fact no release at all, ever.

If you mean "stop monsters before they actually do something monstrous" this is much more interesting, and far more useful. But this would really amount to identifying proto-monsters, and either removing them from society or changing their character in some fundamental way. We are a long, long way from being able to do either of those things reliably, or in a way that doesn't pose big moral problems in punishing people who haven't done anything yet.

To use Pressed Rat's allegory above, how do you identify snakes? How do you tell venomous ones from harmless ones?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:23 PM on August 20, 2002


My point is that, in these enlightened times

Oh that's a hoot... We are anything but kiddo. :)

Sorry, could not resist.
posted by Hilfy at 8:38 PM on August 20, 2002


I_am_joe's_spleen:

We're not far away from predicting proto-monsters by genetic means. Actually, we can already do it.

Here's a quote:

The research group, led by UW-Madison psychology professor Avshalom Caspistudied 442 males living in New Zealand for 26 years beginning at their birth. The subjects were part of the longitudinal Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study started in 1972.

The group looked for variations in the MAO A genotype in all participants and also periodically assessed the subjects' history of abuse and criminal convictions, their penchant for violence and any symptoms of antisocial personality disorder.

Symptoms of this antisocial behavior include persistent fighting, bullying, lying, stealing and disobeying the rules during adolescence; as adults, the subjects may repeatedly violate the law, show no remorse for their actions and act impulsively and aggressively.

By age 11, 36 percent of the subjects had been maltreated (8 percent severely), as defined by frequent changes in primary caregiver, rejection by the mother and physical or sexual abuse. Although only 12 percent of the maltreated children had low activity levels of the MAO A, they accounted for 44 percent of their generation's total convictions for assault and other violent crimes.

"As adults, 85 percent of the severely maltreated children who also had the gene for low MAO A activity developed antisocial outcomes, such as violent criminal behavior," says Moffitt. "The combination of maltreatment and the genetic variation magnified the odds by nine times."

On the other hand, the group found that children who had been maltreated but who had higher levels of MAO A were unlikely to develop behavior problems, suggesting that the gene regulating the enzyme does serve a protective function. "The genotype of high MAO A activity," explains Moffitt, "may promote 'trauma resistance.'"

Based on these initial findings, Moffitt says, "The combination of the low-activity MAO A genotype and maltreatment predicts antisocial behaviors about as well as high cholesterol predicts heart disease."
posted by godlesscapitalist at 9:49 PM on August 20, 2002


Since fold_and_mutilate has not answered my question, I'll ask one more.

If killing is always wrong, are you anti-abortion?
posted by insomnyuk at 10:14 PM on August 20, 2002


So what would you do with that knowledge, godlesscapitalist?

(Actually, I think this is worth an FPP on its own for all the issues it raises).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:43 PM on August 20, 2002


An 1846 View on the death penalty.

From the linked article, 1846 reasons against the deathpenalty.


1) The death penalty is a relic of a barbarous age; 2) Juries often refuse to convict otherwise guilty persons when the penalty is death; 3) Public executions "harden" those who witness them, thus making them more susceptible to committing crimes; 4) Since juries are frequently unwilling to convict, or even indict, when the penalty is death, certain elements of the population are more likely to resort to lynching to ensure punishment; 5) The punishment falls disproportionately on the poor; 6) The Bible does not require the death penalty (example given: Cain was exiled, not executed, for the murder of Abel)


Interestingly, since it became a state, only one person has been executed in Wisconsin.
posted by drezdn at 11:09 PM on August 20, 2002


y2karl: Howard Bloom supports the ideas you talk about between pages 282-286 of The Lucifer Principle, in a way at least.
posted by drezdn at 11:18 PM on August 20, 2002


y2karl - thanks for an interlude of intelligence and humanity in an otherwise ugly, ugly, ugly thread.
posted by Summer at 1:50 AM on August 21, 2002


i_am_joe's_spleen:

I can't make an FPP yet as I'm new. I can give you a bunch of links on this topic, though, and you can post them.

As for what I'd do: I'd enlist the actuaries to make probabilistic decisions about whether to imprison a particular person before they committed a crime. If the probability of (say) rape for that individual was 99%, then a pre-emptive imprisonment would prevent 99/100 rapes in the long run.

They could periodically test this on a control group to make sure these probabilities accorded with reality - meaning that they'd *predict* the likelihood of rape, and keep an eye on the possible perp, and see whether the predictions were right. If not, then feed that back into the algorithm until stabilization was attained. Of course, the issue of surveillance itself raises questions, but IMO the rights of the potential victim trump those of the rights of the potential criminal.

Reasonable people may disagree on this issue. The main question is whether you watch the potential perp closely enough to stop him just before the rape (a la Minority Report) or whether you don't watch him, let him commit the crime and then feed the data back into your algorithm.

Civil libertarians can debate this topic endlessly, but from an engineering standpoint you'll either have a 1000-odd rapes or a 1000-odd surveillances of a potential rapist before your algorithm converges to a decent probability. After that point, you can just proceed on the assumption that your probability is about right for a duration of (say) 100x the calibration period. After this period has elapsed, you recalibrate and allow 1000 rapes/surveillances to occur to reassess the probabilities. This continual feedback means that the prediction system doesn't get out of wack.

The actuaries already decide about matters like who's likely to die and which groups are at higher risk for X, Y, and Z, so they're used to making dispassionate judgements about controversial topics.

Finally, I think this sort of thing will be pretty short term - maybe an interlude of 10 years at the most. We're going to hit human genetic engineering real soon, and so the functional markers that predispose people to criminality (like the monoamine oxidase promoter polymorphism mentioned above) will be weeded out in short order by the engineers of designer babies.
posted by godlesscapitalist at 3:01 AM on August 21, 2002


Where is it written that state-sanctioned killing is justified in the 21st century?

Guess you don't support retribution for the WTC attack, then.

Oh, wait. State-sanctioned killing of brown foreigners -- even civilians hapless enough to be in the line of fire -- is okay! It's the state-sanctioned killing of sick mofo's who live in your own nation that's not okay!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:42 AM on August 21, 2002


You lost me there--I rather doubt riviera's terribly in favor of the War on Terrorism ™--as a cursory review of his comments or a pitiful few days onsite would reveal--and since you surely know this, your point is?
posted by y2karl at 11:44 AM on August 21, 2002


At what point does our collective wallowing in these stories of attacks upon children become our collective attack on children and childhood?

Um, childhood has *always* been dangerous. Just because murder and being eaten by lions / wolves / other predators is rare now doesn't mean that our hardwired circuits for protecting our children suddenly disappear.

It's a timeworn formula - scare the bejeesus out of your kids so they don't run off with strangers, stay out alone after dark, etc. Why do we behave this way? Because people who didn't didn't leave as many kids, that's why.

The protection of children is often irrational. It's supposed to be. When I think of someone harming my daughter, my adrenaline goes up, my willingness to do violence goes up, and so on. Why? Because I may need that to protect her.

I'm thankful for these responses, frankly. If I had to rely only on my relatively wussy rational faculties, she would face much greater danger.

It's a parenthood thing, imho.
posted by beth at 11:45 AM on August 21, 2002


drezdn

I don't think you read far enough in Genesis:

5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. 6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Ge 9:6
posted by Pressed Rat at 1:00 PM on August 21, 2002


Thing about the 'scare the bejeesus out of your kids so they don't run off with strangers' schtick is it is supposed to protect our kids, and it fails.

Why? 'Cos most beatings, most neglect & most sexual abuse takes place in the home.
We need to empower kids: and that must include training and education outside the home (well, you don't expect Dr. Evil to provide assertiveness training, do you?)
posted by dash_slot- at 4:25 PM on August 21, 2002


Yes, empower children, because they naturally can do so very much themselves. Why couldn't you use a word like educate or train them to be safe?

"Empowering" (what does that mean, a children's bill of rights? before we know it little timmy will get to vote for real) a child won't do jack diddly poo for a kid who is being attacked because her parents were too stupid to keep the door locked at night.
posted by insomnyuk at 5:20 PM on August 21, 2002


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