human wrongs.
February 25, 2002 9:07 AM   Subscribe

human wrongs. With the downfall of the taliban, maybe restoration of human rights should focus closer to home.
posted by johnnyboy (18 comments total)
While I agreed with some of the author's basic positions, there's a huge difference between "executing children" and trying a teenager as an adult. The author didn't cite an example of a "child" tried as an adult and executed for the same crime. Anybody know of one?

What's the big deal about making a someone do some productive work while behind bars? Making license plates is not torture.
posted by groundhog at 9:38 AM on February 25, 2002

I don't know, John. The value of linking to sites with a particular point-of-view is dubious. I think on almost any issue, we could find a site taking the "liberal" perspective, and another airing the "conservative" perspective. That's not to say this isn't a topic worth discussing -- just that I think the link itself should be more than just a jumping-off point. (Also note that I don't disagree with many of the points made on this site).

Just my 2 ¢
posted by pardonyou? at 9:41 AM on February 25, 2002

"Executing children...." Ah, such a rationale, measured way to start an essay. Sheesh, no matter how you cut it, we are a ridiculously priveleged nation. Steal a loaf of bread in Saudi Arabia? Get publicly beheaded. I'd like to see the author of this article last for one year in less-priveleged country and see how his opinion changes regarding freedom and civil rights. It's like the guy is reading from an angry-young-student's textbook of America-bashing. Zzzz.
posted by Karl at 9:48 AM on February 25, 2002

Groundhog - I bet you'd love to know that most ericsson phones and most Ikea funtiture parts are made in Kumla - Sweden's alcatraz.

This is a good thing for the prisoners, they'll have some saved up salary and a workskill (woodshop or electronics) when they get out. I see nothing wrong with that. Though I doubt any american ex-prisoner could have any use of "i can make licence plates" on their resume out in the free world.

since I saw this post I've been trying to find some information (in english so you guys could read it) about them P.O.W's (I guess they are) the u.s. have kept behind bars these past two months. At least one of them is swedish ands one is Danish, yet state officials here have no idea what they are arrested for or charged with despite continously asking. Whats up with that? Anyone heard anything new? Or have you guys heard anything at all - I find english speaking sites very dry on this info.. (perhaps im missing something)
posted by dabitch at 9:49 AM on February 25, 2002

Karl: Of course the US comes off well in a comparison with Saudi Arabia. But if you even have to make that comparison it shows that something's wrong. It's as if someone criticises your car and you say, "At least it's not a Lada." Shouldn't you aspire to have the best justice system?

And as for 'executing children', obviously an exaggeration. But is there any serious defence of the practice of executing people for crimes committed whilst they were children? Here's an example.
posted by Gaz at 10:13 AM on February 25, 2002

to Dabitch: I had seen on TV this morning that some British families were going to bring a lawsuit claiming that their sons, British citizens, were held in Cuba in Taliban rouondup and that the British govt was not following standard procedures but instead going along with the US. Procedures, it seems, means stating why someone is being held (charges) and when there is to be a trial etc etc.
posted by Postroad at 10:20 AM on February 25, 2002

I think this is what Postroad is referring to.
posted by Gaz at 10:26 AM on February 25, 2002

Thanks Gaz and Postroad - yes, the swedes and danes situation is precisly that of the Brits. And it really suprises me that they still haven't stated neither to the brits danes nor swedes why these people are being held, when the trial might be and so on, .. you know, while were on the issue of human rights..
After two months, at least the Dane was allowed to write home to his family and tell them he was ok, all things considered.
posted by dabitch at 10:35 AM on February 25, 2002

In the catagory of 'having no answers but wishing to obfuscate the question', some of the problems in prisoner care are rooted in the results you wish to achieve rather than the atmosphere you wish to engender. "Steel cages" as the article impugns, are horrible. Yet allowing prisoners access to each other increases violence and sexual abuse alarmingly.

Some countries reduce (reported) inmate violence to very low figures, yet the conditions that bring this about are hideous.

Violent people, locked together, are going to be violent. Leaving the whole execution issue aside, there is a damned if you do and damned if you don't mentality in some arenas with regard to confinement issues. Amnesty Int'l, for example both decries the use of any kind of restraint on prisoners who may be violent, and isolating prisoners from each other.

Personally, I think if they would just give inmates books or games or freakin' toys or something, isolation would be a great idea. But the punitive notion of locking someone up with nothing to do at all seems like it is just a breeding ground for violent insanity.
posted by umberto at 11:13 AM on February 25, 2002

I always love how these articles treat prisoners as just happy go lucky people who happen to be behind bars. People are in prison for a reason, and I'm sorry but it shouldn't be nice - it should probably be the worst experience one can have. I saw a documentary on Sean Sellers, and still think he should have been executed. If everyone in prison that "found God" was released, the place would be empty. Doesn't change the fact that there are victims to these crimes.
posted by owillis at 11:20 AM on February 25, 2002

Owillis you don't want to create two victims though. The punishment should fit the crime, and to go overboard is to commit another crime.

Also it's important to remember that vast numbers of people are in prison for crimes that are non-violent and impacted other people only secondarily.
posted by cell divide at 11:31 AM on February 25, 2002

Back in the sixties & seventies there was a movement toward the 'rehabilitation/attack the root causes of crime' ethos in this country, and what we see now is the 180 degree frankensteinization of that thought. It is reactionary frustration with the states inability to prevent crime. Rather than attacking root causes such as poverty, unemployment, undereducation, it has been decided that drugs are the root cause, and mandatory sentences are a preemptive strike in preventing crime. I'm not saying that crime can be stopped by sociology; Just that if you make enough things illegal, everyone is going to be doing time, sooner or later.
posted by Mack Twain at 12:52 PM on February 25, 2002

Oliver, i rate what you say here - usually. But the facts seem to show that Sean Sellars was (i)a mentally ill; (ii) a juvenile at the time of his crimes. What happened to him, including (iii)inadequate funding for defence lawyers, seems to be a travesty of justice. The guy needed treatment in a secure hospital, not execution. That distinguishes the US from most other Western societies - and it is (one of?) the most violent... My question is: do US punishments work?
() = reasons to reject execution.

- john
posted by dash_slot- at 5:56 PM on February 25, 2002

does any sort of punishment work?, there is evidence both for and against.

however you may contrast the approach to law enforcement which prevails in london at the moment where possession of cannabis is not strictly an arrestable offence. However street crime has gone through the roof with carjacking increasingly prevalent. Whether any of this is connected is anyones guess, what is evident is the attitude that the police have become an irritation to a section of the criminal fraternity, who no longer seem to take them wholly seriously. What to do is anyone's guess. What is apparent to me is that the law functions at its best as a deterrent which clearly I think the death penalty does not anymore.
posted by johnnyboy at 1:37 AM on February 26, 2002

Johhnyboy - you're not saying that car jacking is happening because people don't take the (non existant) british death penalty seriously, now are you?
posted by dabitch at 3:32 AM on February 26, 2002

thats exactly what I am saying.....

yes, the truth the whole truth and the literal interpretation.
posted by johnnyboy at 6:46 AM on February 26, 2002

ps, for british please read english. The scots can get a bit pedantic about this type of thing.
posted by johnnyboy at 6:51 AM on February 26, 2002

Johnnyboy: thats exactly what I am saying.....yes, the truth the whole truth and the literal interpretation.
1. You cannot be serious! Where in the western world would car-jacking be a capital offence?
2. Only in one ( Lambeth? ) police district is the relaxation of the drug enforcement currently being trialled: car-jacking is not exclusive to this area.
3. Non-violent, victimless crimes: the new frontier for Human Rights? :)

- john.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:52 PM on February 26, 2002

« Older Hey, it's beautiful here in San Dieg . . . I mean...   |   Transparent aluminum is here. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments