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You have got to be kidding me series ...
February 11, 2003 6:24 AM   Subscribe

Is forcing a prisoner on death row to take antipsychotic medication to make him sane enough to execute cruel and unusual punishment? (NYT link) A federal appeals court ruled that officials in Arkansas can force a prisoner on death row to take antipsychotic medication to make him sane enough to execute. The problem is that the American Medical Association's ethical guidelines prohibits precisely that. To make the case more surreal, a representative of the Arkansas attorney general's office who argued for the state later said: "The ethical decisions involving doctors are difficult ones, but they are not ones for the courts". Does this mean that COs -Correction Officers- are to figure out for themselves which medication to administer? Do they also call the shots when deciding if the "waiting" patient is sane enough???
posted by magullo (58 comments total)

 
I've always thought it was particularly odd that they wait until a death row inmate is "completely healthy" to kill them. I've heard they can't even execute if the inmate has a broken leg or arm. Another strange aspect of our justice system.
posted by agregoli at 6:53 AM on February 11, 2003


I don't get it. If a person isn't taking anti-psycotic medications when they commit a crime, they can hardly be treated the same later in court when they are. If a jealous husband kills his wife in a crime of passion, do they get a lighter sentence when they appear calm and collected in court? Hell, the fact that the courts would even force medication could be considered an act of admission that the person isn't sane, and thus can't be executed.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:57 AM on February 11, 2003


"I call my philosophy and approach "compassionate conservatism." It is compassionate to actively help our fellow citizens in need. It is conservative to insist on responsibility and on results. And with this hopeful approach, we can make a real difference in people's lives."
-- http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/04/20020430-5.html

OK, now I get it.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:00 AM on February 11, 2003


I don't get it. If a person isn't taking anti-psycotic medications when they commit a crime, they can hardly be treated the same later in court when they are.

In this case, the guy wasn't "crazy" until 1987. The trial was in 1979 (according to the article).
posted by stifford at 7:05 AM on February 11, 2003


In other news, victim still dead forever.
posted by UncleFes at 7:16 AM on February 11, 2003


Victim or no victim, it still has to be decided how to deal with the person on death row. This article only scratched the surface of the issues involved with crazy/not crazy inmates and the idea of medicating in order to execute.
posted by agregoli at 7:24 AM on February 11, 2003


The AMA changed their ethical guidelines to allow for Euthanasia once, why can't they change them agauin? I've read some of the AMA's Ethical writings in class, and theyb don'te exactly have the most clear-cut ethics in the world the way it is.
posted by jmd82 at 7:27 AM on February 11, 2003


In other news, victim still dead forever. Heaven forbid we forget about the feelings of the dead.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:29 AM on February 11, 2003


Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.

posted by vraxoin at 7:31 AM on February 11, 2003


Damn, vraxoin, you beat me to it.
posted by me3dia at 7:37 AM on February 11, 2003


Heaven forbid we forget about the feelings of the dead.

That's funny! :D
posted by UncleFes at 7:40 AM on February 11, 2003


Just another example of the twisted mindset behind the death penalty. Revenge at any cost, right?
posted by callmejay at 7:43 AM on February 11, 2003


this is so Catch-22 it's -- well it fits right in with the zeitgeist.
posted by condour75 at 7:49 AM on February 11, 2003


Seriously, for those who would challenge the institution of capital punishment, I ask:

(a) How do you reconcile that, no matter how heinous the crime, no matter how terrible the affront, the absolute worst punishment the state can render on the criminal is life imprisonment? Can you say that there is NO crime that is so horrible that the only truly just punishment is death?

(b) Assuming the answer to (a) includes the caveat that life actually equals life, how do you guarantee that the prisoner serves the time? Because as we all know, if one lives one has hope - and time. Time to foment appeals, time to plan and execute escapes and, most of all, time to let the memories on one's crime die away in the minds of the populace. Once a crime is reduced to reports and court records, the willingness to parole becomes stronger.

(c) Assuming that the guarantee of life imprisonment can be made, how do you keep the criminal from victimizing other prisoners?

Until these questions can be answered, I will continue to support the death penalty, and in fact call for wider application (example: rape should be a death penalty crime). I acknowledge that capital punishment as priacticed today is flawed, but it can be - and is being - repaired.

I understand the impetus to mercy. Capital punishment is ugly and brutish. And final. But I also know that we owe each other the absolute certainty that, once caught, the people who commit these sorts of crimes must never again be allowed to commit them. Capital punishment provides that certainty.
posted by UncleFes at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2003


How does the pro-choice saying go ... if you don't like the death penalty, then don't have one for the killer of your loved ones, but don't you dare take it away from me!
posted by MattD at 8:04 AM on February 11, 2003


Can you say that there is NO crime that is so horrible that the only truly just punishment is death?

Of course not. There are lots of people I could personally pull the switch on. The real question for me is "Can you trust the state not to abuse this power?" I think the history of the system speaks for itself, and the cumulative effect of that abuse outweighs the benefit of applying the most "just punishment" in some cases.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:13 AM on February 11, 2003


How does the pro-barbarian saying go... if you don't like the ritual disemboweling of killers, then don't have one for the killer of your loved ones, but don't you dare take it away from me!
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:20 AM on February 11, 2003


Once again, Life imitates Oz. (All roads lead to HBO)
posted by BentPenguin at 8:25 AM on February 11, 2003


yes..there is something Soprano-like in all this.
posted by clavdivs at 8:40 AM on February 11, 2003


So, is it also legal to give a prisoner drugs to make him too crazy to execute?
posted by nicwolff at 8:50 AM on February 11, 2003


So, is it also legal to give a prisoner drugs to make him too crazy to execute?

Those pills sound interesting (and fun)...do they come non-perscription?
posted by stifford at 8:52 AM on February 11, 2003


How do you reconcile that, no matter how heinous the crime, no matter how terrible the affront, the absolute worst punishment the state can render on the criminal is life imprisonment?

How do you reconcile the fact that any human endevor is, by design, error-prone with your support for a permanent solution?

But I also know that we owe each other the absolute certainty that, once caught, the people who commit these sorts of crimes must never again be allowed to commit them. Capital punishment provides that certainty.

How do you reconcile the above with the fact that the U.S., despite harsher crime measures than most countries of similar standing, has seen its incercerations rates soar to the top of the world pile. Maybe what we owe each other is a society free of crime, not a society bent on revenge.
posted by magullo at 8:54 AM on February 11, 2003


Can you say that there is NO crime that is so horrible that the only truly just punishment is death?

Of course you can. I am now.

how do you guarantee that the prisoner serves the time?

By keeping him in prison. I'm not at all sure that there's really any crime such that life in prison forever with no possibility of release under any circumstance whatsoever is just, though.

how do you keep the criminal from victimizing other prisoners?

By keeping the rule of law in prisons instead of allowing prisoners to effectively run prisons.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:58 AM on February 11, 2003


Considering how many prisoners on death row are now being released due to DNA evidence clearing them of the crime for which they supposedly committed, is there a reason why we're rushing them along?

I agree with Armitage - those in government who seek to apply the death penalty often do so for reasons other than justice. Look at Ashcroft's recent declarations if you don't believe that the death penalty has political and economic (yes, economic) considerations. If you don't believe economics plays a factor, ask the Menendez brothers or O. J. Simpson how their financial influence bought a favorable decision, then ask the many African-American men currently on death row for crimes they didn't commit how they got convicted on much less evidence than blood spatters in a Bronco and a bloody glove at the site.

Don't get me wrong - I am all for the death penalty for those who warrant it. As far as I'm concerned, it's not being applied enough to those who deserve it. However, it's also being applied to those who don't deserve it - before we decide to kill a person, we should be sure they deserve to die.

Ah, well, back to the point, I guess.

If this person was indeed convicted and found guilty of killing a grocery clerk in 1979, and he was sane at the time of the crime, who gives a rat's ass that he went insane over his guilt and imprisonment 8 years later? I don't see a problem with forcing enough medication down his gullet to kill him.

Hell, I think it'd be a mercy to let him remain psychotic; no sense letting him know he's about to die, after all. Drug his ass, drag it to a gurney, and shoot him up with a Kervorkian highball - let's not lose sight that he did kill someone, after all. If he was sane at the time of the crime, then he deserves to die. Period.

(BTW, what's this crap about the feelings of the dead? They don't have feelings - it's the grief of the living they leave behind that concerns me.)
posted by FormlessOne at 9:02 AM on February 11, 2003


Maybe what we owe each other is a society free of crime, not a society bent on revenge.

If that was attainable, I would fully support it. But along with a propensity toward higher crime rates, we Americans also have a propensity toward pragmatism. And unless the historical capacity for predation suddenly departs humankind, I doubt that a crime-free society is possible. The best we can do is punish those who commit crimes, and protect those who are powerless. It is NOT revenge. It is applying a punishment appropriate to the crime.
posted by UncleFes at 9:13 AM on February 11, 2003


By keeping the rule of law in prisons instead of allowing prisoners to effectively run prisons.

Exactly. Why would you trust the government to use the death penalty judiciously when they don't even care what goes on in prisons?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:19 AM on February 11, 2003


UncleFes, how do you decide what crimes are punishable by death and those that are not?
posted by ajbattrick at 9:21 AM on February 11, 2003


ajbattrick,

The holy texts provide the answer. :)

UncleFes,

I suspect we aren't going to change each other's minds, but I would say that "maximum punishment" is always going to provide disatisfaction. If life in prison doesn't seem bad enough for a murderer, is death bad enough for, say, Timothy McVeigh, as opposed to a drunken (guilty) idiot killing one person?

As to your b) Dead is dead, sure, so that's a "guarantee." But how many prison escapes are there these days? And as to appeals, others have pointed out that these have resulted in innocent convicts' lives being spared.

c) Solitary.
posted by hackly_fracture at 9:28 AM on February 11, 2003


dear america,

what happened to you?

signed,
(no return address)
posted by mcsweetie at 9:39 AM on February 11, 2003


(a) I don't believe in punishment, but I do believe in prevention. Sure, you can always use one bullet to get rid of two criminals if economising is your goal, but it's nicer to lock them away.

(b) I can't guarantee that the prisoner serves the time, but I would feel happier about the risk of them escaping than the risk of killing the wrong person.

(c) Lock them up tighter.
posted by walrus at 10:02 AM on February 11, 2003


But along with a propensity toward higher crime rates, we Americans also have a propensity toward pragmatism

America, land of the free, where the pragmatic view on freedom is to jail and kill more citizens than anywhere else in the world. Makes complete sense to me now, thank you.
posted by magullo at 10:06 AM on February 11, 2003


As far as sacred texts, the one I am most familiar with requires at least two witnesses to the crime to enforce a death penalty. Sounds reasonable to me.
posted by konolia at 10:14 AM on February 11, 2003


The best we can do is punish those who commit crimes, and protect those who are powerless.

working well so far

posted by larry_darrell at 10:31 AM on February 11, 2003


Hmmm. So if a guy was a paranoid schizophrenic on death-row...

...would you leave him unmedicated because someone really is out to get him, and so his delusional thinking is appropriate;

...or medicate him, so that he can rationally understand that someone really is out to get him?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:31 AM on February 11, 2003


Formless One: The reasoning for the "cruel and unusual" decision is that the criminal must be able to understand the punishment and how it relates to the crime. (How well that works with the death penalty, I don't know -- it's not like the criminal learns a lesson to apply to the future.)

The AMA is drawing a fine line in this case. They will not refuse life-saving treatment to a death row inmate suffering a heart attack because to do so would be to play God and decide who lives or dies. Yet they will withhold treatment (and possibly doom the patient to a life of mental agony) if that treatment renders the patient fit for execution
posted by joaquim at 10:38 AM on February 11, 2003


"It might be a long time," said O'Brien. "You are a difficult case. But don't give up hope. Everyone is cured sooner or later. In the end we shall shoot you."

— George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

posted by kirkaracha at 10:45 AM on February 11, 2003


There was a tongue in my cheek, FormlessOne.

Can you say that there is NO crime that is so horrible that the only truly just punishment is death?

Who's to say which crimes those are, UF? The ones that consist of the devastation of hundreds or thousands of lives or the exploitation of vast populations? The ones in which white women are murdered? Frankly, I don't trust a government to appropriately make such a grave decision. Especially not the government whose nonviolent prisoner population is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska due to its war on drugs. Not the government who has imprisoned a mentally retarded 18 year-old boy for 17 years because of a blow job. Not the government who put a man in jail for 10 years for selling light bulbs.

I also don't believe that death is any more just a disposition for the life of a murderer than life in prison. You're worried about prison escapes? Why don't we stop clogging prisons with pot smokers then, and use our resources more wisely?

When death is so final and so unfairly applied, what makes it any more just a punishment than lifelong incarceration?
posted by grrarrgh00 at 10:55 AM on February 11, 2003


As much as we might like it to, the act of raping or murdering another human being does not cause the perpetrator to suddenly cease to be human. Invariably, the point where evil creeps into us is the exact moment when we look at another human being and consider him to be less than human. (See also: Nazi Germany, the Antebellum South)

The cornerstone of American governance is the belief that the rights of life and liberty are self-evident and inalienable. We deny our prisoners liberty only when their liberty might infringe upon the liberty of others. There is no analogous relationship with life. Taking away one person's life does not restore another's.

The atavist in us may demand such a final judgment, but there is no moral or ethical argument that allows it, unless we assert that there's a price tag on human life. I, for one, would not care to live in a place that acknowledges such a thing.
posted by vraxoin at 12:35 PM on February 11, 2003


In other news, victim still dead forever. Heaven forbid we forget about the feelings of the dead.

Dead people don't have feelings.
posted by Satapher at 12:47 PM on February 11, 2003


In other news, tongue still in cheek.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 12:54 PM on February 11, 2003


When death is so final and so unfairly applied, what makes it any more just a punishment than lifelong incarceration?

getting elected
posted by larry_darrell at 12:56 PM on February 11, 2003


it's the grief of the living they leave behind that concerns me.

the emotional state of the victim's family shouldn't be considered at all when meting out justice.
posted by tolkhan at 1:33 PM on February 11, 2003


If this person was indeed convicted and found guilty of killing a grocery clerk in 1979, and he was sane at the time of the crime, who gives a rat's ass that he went insane over his guilt and imprisonment 8 years later

I think this really depends on what you think the purpose of the death penalty is. If the death penalty exists solely for deterence (specific or general) then there is no need for the prisoner to be lucid. However, I really doubt that we'd have the death penalty if these were our only rationales. Life imprisonment with no chance of parole takes care of the specific deterence and there is pretty overwhelming evidence that there is no measurable general deterent effect to the death penalty. The two remaining rationales are vengence and retribution. Vengence is basically an emotional impulse driven by our desire to see the prisoner suffer. Retribution is more principled and more morally defensible -- it's a notion that the prisoner has to pay for his crime somehow. If we allowed insane people to be executed, we are basically conceding that the process is driven by an irrational desire for vengence rather than a principled policy of retribution. The prisoner can't realistically be seen as "paying for" his crimes if he has no idea what is happening to him.

Not that I support the death penalty, mind you.
posted by boltman at 1:39 PM on February 11, 2003


UncleFes, how do you decide what crimes are punishable by death and those that are not?

My duly elected representatives do this for me, as they do for every american citizen. Ideally speaking, of course.

And as to appeals, others have pointed out that these have resulted in innocent convicts' lives being spared.


True. However, admitting that this is a guess on my part, I would say that the incidence of truly innocent people being wrongly convicted and then released on appeal is dwarfed by guilty people who are released on appeal due to procedural error or various other aspects. And that includes those released from death row.

Makes complete sense to me now, thank you.


Magullo, even you must admit that your culture and American culture are far different. Does the tolerance you would extend t convicted murderers stop at the Statue of Liberty?

Frankly, I don't trust a government to appropriately make such a grave decision.

They are the only ones that can, since the alternative is to have one person, or a small group of peiople, who are not beholden to the citizenry do so, and that monarchism and, ultimately, tyranny.

Why don't we stop clogging prisons with pot smokers then, and use our resources more wisely?

I couldn't agree with you more. Any prisoner convicted solely on charges of marijuana posssession and delivery should be released today. By five. With some cash for dinner.

When death is so final and so unfairly applied, what makes it any more just a punishment than lifelong incarceration?

Honestly, my contention as to unfair is that the death penalty is not applied often enough. it IS unjust that a badly represented African American gets the death penalty, where a well-represented White American can plea bargain away the death penalty for the same crime.

As much as we might like it to, the act of raping or murdering another human being does not cause the perpetrator to suddenly cease to be human.

No, but you presuppose that being human is some sort of magic ring, when it is not, and this stems from what I see as your flawed view of what "rights" are. There are no such thing as god given, inalienable rights (that was T. Jefferson waxing rhapsodic). Rights are political constructs; moreover, they are part of the social contract - WE allow each other certain rights IN EXCHANGE for the others tacit agreement to certain responsibilities (not murdering and raping people being one of the more important responsibilities). Now, a good bit of the Constitution deals with the rights we all agree people should have regardless of whether they have abrogated their responsibilities (the Bill of Rights), but realistically, you give me my rights, and I give you my word not to infringe on your rights in return. That is, I believe, the underlying premise of the Constitution. Invisible magical overlords who live in the sky have nothing to do with it.

but there is no moral or ethical argument that allows it, unless we assert that there's a price tag on human life. I, for one, would not care to live in a place that acknowledges such a thing.

Human life is assessed a "price tag" every day, in that we value it, to greater or lesser degrees. In light of that, does not the murderer, then - having already assessed a lesser value on the life of someone else - automatically devalue his own life?

The two remaining rationales are vengence and retribution.

I agree with Boltman on the the deterrent effect - there is none, and death penalty advocates would be wise, imo, to stop trying to convince a skeptical public there is. By retirbution I take you to mean appropriate punishment for violating society's rules, and I think that in itself is justification. But I think additionally we have the justification of making sure that a person - sick or well - can never repeat his crime.

I will seriously reconsider my support for the death penalty when I can be guaranteed that certain life imprisonment can be achieved. Until then, I must support capital punishment as, to use Lt. Ripley's words under similar duress, "... the only way to be sure."
posted by UncleFes at 2:27 PM on February 11, 2003


I always thought of capital punishment as similar in purpose and operation to removing a cancerous tumor.

Granted, it's good for everyone if we make sure it's as fairly applied as possible.

I can't help but fail to feel pity for anyone on death row facing a painless (but for a needle's prick) lethal injection who has violently and painfully taken another person's life.

Or another angle: when a person makes the decision to kill someone else, they have *voluntarily* chosen to be part of a morality where the taking of life is fair game. It's only fair to turn their morality back on them - they were the ones who stepped across that line first, after all.

But then again, I think we should take out their organs and give several non-criminals a chance at life while we're at it. All in the interests of efficiency and best use of resources, mind you.
posted by beth at 8:01 PM on February 11, 2003


I always thought of capital punishment as similar in purpose and operation to removing a cancerous tumor.

Life in prison accomplishes this just as effectively, and it's far cheaper -- thus better utilizing scarce resources.

I can't help but fail to feel pity for anyone on death row...

Whether we pity them or not is somewhat besides the point, no? It's a question of whether we have a good reason to kill them. In the case of someone that has no idea what he has done, the only reason to kill him would be to satisfy our irrational urge to see him suffer and die. As I argued above, this is not principled retribution, but mere vengence.

It's only fair to turn their morality back on them

So are you arguing that our moral beliefs ought to change to reflect those of the people we are forced to deal with? We should have rapists raped or torturers tortured? Or, more to the point, should we only deal justly with people who are just themselves? Presumably not. Using the morality of the killer as a baseline for our own moral beliefs, while certainly tempting, would pretty much bring us down to the level of killers ourselves. If we do execute people, we need a better reason than "well, he did it--why can't we do it too?
posted by boltman at 9:03 PM on February 11, 2003


Life in prison isn't any cheaper than killing. Killing is damn cheap. It's the legal system that's expensive.

On what possible ethical grounds can you justify imprisoning someone for life? Now that Australia no longer takes our unwanted, the only practical method of imprisonment involves keeping human beings caged in small holding cells.

That's supposed to be more humane than revoking their life? I don't think so.

Some people aren't worth keeping around. They are a net negative for our society, with no redeeming characteristics at all.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:26 PM on February 11, 2003


FFF, your right of course. * heart rate goes up, eyes shift warily, checks gun cabinet, takes atlas from shelf, realizes some key information is missing, goes back to reading pronouncements which may sound okay in the abstract but should probably never be recorded *
posted by Dick Paris at 10:03 PM on February 11, 2003


Vraxoin, bravo. One of the best posts I've ever read on these hallowed blue pages.

UncleFes, I am puzzled. I agree with so much of what you have to say, yet find myself in complete disagreement with your bottom line.
posted by Dick Paris at 10:27 PM on February 11, 2003


UncleFes, I am puzzled. I agree with so much of what you have to say, yet find myself in complete disagreement with your bottom line.

I don't know that I can explain or justify my opinion any better than what I have. Perhaps we will simply have to disagree. If you can render my points into a different sum, I'd like to hear it.
posted by UncleFes at 10:49 PM on February 11, 2003


Killing is damn cheap. It's the legal system that's expensive.

Since you can't constitutionally kill someone without going through the legal process, this strikes me as a very moot point. It's never going to be cheap for the state to kill someone.
posted by boltman at 11:01 PM on February 11, 2003


If you can render my points into a different sum, I'd like to hear it.

Nope, not gonna do it. There is no one on the planet that I will find myself in complete agreement with (except maybe the missus as far as she knows). That's all. Nothing bigger there.
posted by Dick Paris at 1:55 AM on February 12, 2003


[...] the only practical method of imprisonment involves keeping human beings caged in small holding cells [...] That's supposed to be more humane than revoking their life? I don't think so.

Two points: incarceration does not have to mean bread and water and scratching initials onto walls with fingernails. And if your sole argument is that some people may prefer death to incarceration, then why not offer a choice?

Perhaps we will simply have to disagree.

I think you and I might have to, on this one. But I would ask you to take another look at the stats which larry_darrell linked above, which do appear to undermine the thrust of your argument (that death penalties work better than incarceration).
posted by walrus at 7:42 AM on February 12, 2003


Incarceration does, however, mean keeping them locked up in a small area, unable to participate in society, unable to contribute beneficially to society, and without the freedom that the rest of us have.

I don't see it as at all a long stretch between locking someone up for life -- and for the death-row lifers, this does mean a small isolated cell, because in a lot of cases, they'd be killed by fellow inmates -- and killing them.

In both cases we've chosen to revoke the privileges, freedoms, and rights that we grant normal members of society. The only difference is whether the criminal gets to continue breathing.

You, apparently, care about whether they get to continue living: there is no act so heinous that they don't deserve to live. (And, I should hope, are also therefore staunchly against the upcoming war, where the lives of innocent civilians are at stake.)

My, I don't care whether a death-row inmate continues to live. There lives hold no value to me at all. I'd rather see them removed from the ecosystem, and the resources they'd have consumed given, instead, to the homeless and disadvantaged.

Now, if we were to discuss whether our judicial system is at all accurate in identifying criminals worth placing on death row, we'd have an entirely other conversation. There've been so many mistakes made that I wouldn't want to see the death penalty implemented...
posted by five fresh fish at 9:23 AM on February 12, 2003


In both cases we've chosen to revoke the privileges, freedoms, and rights that we grant normal members of society. The only difference is whether the criminal gets to continue breathing.

I think rather that a scale of difference exists. We also make a choice of where to place (convicted) criminals, on that scale.

Yes, I care about life. I don't like to waste any. At the end of the day, though, this is not my central argument against the death sentence, which you summarise neatly in your final paragraph.

On the upcoming war I have no idea what belief to pick from the available morass of lies and invective. Morality comes on a sliding scale, but I am against war unless there is no other choice, in self-defence. This probably confirms that I am broadly against it.
posted by walrus at 9:55 AM on February 12, 2003


In self-defense you're allowed to kill someone else? Perhaps the death penalty, then, should be seen as self-defence for society.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:35 PM on February 12, 2003


As an exercise in reading comprehension, what six words did I immediately precede "in self-defence" with?
posted by walrus at 1:14 AM on February 13, 2003


You are for war in the name of self defense.

Society needs to defend itself against those that would destroy it. This is, in fact, the stated reason for the US going to war against Iraq: the US government believes Hussein is a threat to American society.

There are others who are a threat to society. Among them are those who are rightfully on death row. Their actions were unquestionably harmful to society.

In self defense, then, society can eliminate them.

Yadda yadda etc. We both know where we're going with our arguments, and both know this is pointless.

Truce?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:19 AM on February 13, 2003


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