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The Morality of Punishment for Long Past Crimes

124

Posts

  • AustralopitenicoAustralopitenico Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    This all depends on the purpose of the system. If the purpose is rehabilitation and the former criminal is clearly rehabilitated, throwing him in jail will accomplish nothing except giving revenge-orgasms to all people still interested in the case. I can sympathize with victims or the victim's relatives in their desire to see the offender punished, but if 30 years have gone by, jailing the guy would be counterproductive. The money spent on the trial and his imprisonment would be better spent on help (psychological and otherwise) for the victims.



    Australopitenico on
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    I am pleasantly surprised to see the views people have in this thread. I had thought most people on this board thought Javert was a villain.

    Crime and punishment of early 17th-century France isn't really applicable to this discussion.

    What could be more relevant to this discussion than the story of a man who commits and is convicted of a crime and flees before his sentence is completed and is chased to the ends of the earth for it (becoming a good man in the process)?

    Javert is a villain because, as the honest trailer for Les Mis points out, he's pretty much willing to let Paris burn to the ground while he hunts for the least dangerous criminal in the country.

    His job description is 'cop' not 'guy who must bring that one other guy to justice at all costs'

    I don't think most people are pleased at the prospect of a cop who pursues personal grudges, even if the object of the grudge is a law breaker. The badge is a public trust, not a personal tool for self-fulfillment.

    Or are you so jaded that madness and obsession are qualities you just accept in cops?

    JuliusAndy Joe
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    Or to put it another way:

    If a cop decided, totally on his own accord, that he was just going to personally follow SKFM around because he is a known, admitted, unrepentant speeder so he could write him a ticket every time he inched one mile over the speed limit, SKFM would find this the greatest injustice on Earth, and this cop would be literally Hitler.

    Because that's not what we pay cops to do.

  • Rhan9Rhan9 Registered User regular
    galdon wrote: »
    There is a real problem with making it policg to let a person go because the crime is old; it implies that if you avoid getting caught, justice will never catch up to you.

    as bad as "making an example" sounds, considering only villains in movies use the phrase, if you find a murderer and let them go because they were able to evade arrest for long enough to raise a family, it tells other potential criminals that its fine to commit any crime if they can avoid arrest for 10 years.

    The funny thing is, that this view is bandied by people for some crimes, while for some others(perhaps comparable crimes only discernibly different due to semantics) statutes of limitations are presented as necessary due to evidence loss and other factors contributing to a more likely erroneous punishment of innocent people.

    Personally, I think it should be one or the other, not an arbitrary choice based on emotional decision making.

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    The tangent about excessive punishments and life sentences for graffiti and what not is stupid and off-topic and disruptive and we will speak no more of it. People who continue to speak of it will be booted from the thread.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    You know, it is possible to break a law by accident. Or to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get falsely accused.

    Just wanted to touch on this briefly. It is exceedingly difficult to commit a crime by accident. For almost any crime, a prosecutor must prove that you acted either with intent or reckless disregard in order to convict you. Think of it this way: if you were to run over your boss with your car in the parking lot on your way out of work, the difference between a murder charge and an insurance claim is whether or not you did it on purpose.

    There are a handful of crimes that you can be held accountable for without proving intent or reckless disregard; the overwhelming majority of these are simple traffic infractions, mainly to prevent everyone and his brother from saying "I didn't see the speed limit sign" to get out of a moving violation.

    Three strikes laws are a stupid way to approach sentencing guidelines, though, much the same way that mandatory probation for all first offenses regardless of the nature of the crime would be a stupid idea. Each crime should be considered within the circumstances specific to that incident and adjudicated according to due process and precedent. Treating all crimes equally is a dumb idea.

    Edit - sorry ElJeffe, was typing on my phone while you posted the above.

    SammyF on
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Sorry, Sammy. Posters here are broken down into rule-breakers and their victims, and apparently you are one of the former. The Liberty Wagon will arrive shortly to escort you to your execution.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
    zagdrobHarry DresdenspacekungfumanAndy JoeLoveIsUnityKalkinoAustralopitenico
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    galdon wrote: »
    There is a real problem with making it policg to let a person go because the crime is old; it implies that if you avoid getting caught, justice will never catch up to you.

    as bad as "making an example" sounds, considering only villains in movies use the phrase, if you find a murderer and let them go because they were able to evade arrest for long enough to raise a family, it tells other potential criminals that its fine to commit any crime if they can avoid arrest for 10 years.

    The funny thing is, that this view is bandied by people for some crimes, while for some others(perhaps comparable crimes only discernibly different due to semantics) statutes of limitations are presented as necessary due to evidence loss and other factors contributing to a more likely erroneous punishment of innocent people.

    Personally, I think it should be one or the other, not an arbitrary choice based on emotional decision making.

    Personally I don't. I don't see the problem with having a statute of limitations based on the severity of the crime. It seems silly to say that any criminal act is something that can come back to haunt a person his entire life but on the other hand it also seems weird to claim some criminal acts (like systematically killing an entire group of people) can be something you can no longer be punished for. I think there is nothing wrong with having a system of a statute of limitations on criminal acts based on whether or not it's fair to punish people years after a fact.

    There is a solid argument for a statute of limitations. I shall copy wikipedia here:
    The purpose and effect of Statutes of Limitation is to protect defendants. There are three reasons that support the existence of Statutes of Limitation, namely: (a) that a plaintiff with good causes of actions should pursue them with reasonable diligence; (b) that a defendant might have lost evidence to disprove a stale claim; and (c) that long dormant claims have more of cruelty than justice in them (Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th edition).

    So obviously we should have one But as with any law we have figured that there are some exceptions to this rule. Those being mostly of the "holy shit that is some fucked up shit that you did" variety. In the US for example, contrary to all the weird examples everyone keeps bringing up, there is no statute of limitations for murder. Because murder is a heinous act that violates another in such a fundamental way that time can't really be a mitigating factor in it. Whereas me stealing your bike is something you'll probably get over quick enough.

    I mean, we could also make the statute of limitations something like 200 years for murder, sure. But why would we?

  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    I am pleasantly surprised to see the views people have in this thread. I had thought most people on this board thought Javert was a villain.

    Crime and punishment of early 17th-century France isn't really applicable to this discussion.

    What could be more relevant to this discussion than the story of a man who commits and is convicted of a crime and flees before his sentence is completed and is chased to the ends of the earth for it (becoming a good man in the process)?

    Javert is a villain because, as the honest trailer for Les Mis points out, he's pretty much willing to let Paris burn to the ground while he hunts for the least dangerous criminal in the country.

    His job description is 'cop' not 'guy who must bring that one other guy to justice at all costs'

    I don't think most people are pleased at the prospect of a cop who pursues personal grudges, even if the object of the grudge is a law breaker. The badge is a public trust, not a personal tool for self-fulfillment.

    Or are you so jaded that madness and obsession are qualities you just accept in cops?

    I think the description of him from the novel (per wiki. I have only seen the play) is pretty much perfect for this discussion (and quite frankly, may be a fair encapsulation of people's views on my general philosophy of punishment):

    Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand: their majesty, the majesty peculiar to the human conscience, clings to them in the midst of horror; they are virtues which have one vice, – error. The honest, pitiless joy of a fanatic in the full flood of his atrocity preserves a certain lugubriously venerable radiance. Without himself suspecting the fact, Javert in his formidable happiness was to be pitied, as is every ignorant man who triumphs. Nothing could be so poignant and so terrible as this face, wherein was displayed all that may be designated as the evil of the good.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    I am pleasantly surprised to see the views people have in this thread. I had thought most people on this board thought Javert was a villain.

    Crime and punishment of early 17th-century France isn't really applicable to this discussion.

    What could be more relevant to this discussion than the story of a man who commits and is convicted of a crime and flees before his sentence is completed and is chased to the ends of the earth for it (becoming a good man in the process)?

    Javert is a villain because, as the honest trailer for Les Mis points out, he's pretty much willing to let Paris burn to the ground while he hunts for the least dangerous criminal in the country.

    His job description is 'cop' not 'guy who must bring that one other guy to justice at all costs'

    I don't think most people are pleased at the prospect of a cop who pursues personal grudges, even if the object of the grudge is a law breaker. The badge is a public trust, not a personal tool for self-fulfillment.

    Or are you so jaded that madness and obsession are qualities you just accept in cops?

    I think the description of him from the novel (per wiki. I have only seen the play) is pretty much perfect for this discussion (and quite frankly, may be a fair encapsulation of people's views on my general philosophy of punishment):

    Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand: their majesty, the majesty peculiar to the human conscience, clings to them in the midst of horror; they are virtues which have one vice, – error. The honest, pitiless joy of a fanatic in the full flood of his atrocity preserves a certain lugubriously venerable radiance. Without himself suspecting the fact, Javert in his formidable happiness was to be pitied, as is every ignorant man who triumphs. Nothing could be so poignant and so terrible as this face, wherein was displayed all that may be designated as the evil of the good.

    How is that not describing a villain?

  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Julius wrote: »
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    I am pleasantly surprised to see the views people have in this thread. I had thought most people on this board thought Javert was a villain.

    Crime and punishment of early 17th-century France isn't really applicable to this discussion.

    What could be more relevant to this discussion than the story of a man who commits and is convicted of a crime and flees before his sentence is completed and is chased to the ends of the earth for it (becoming a good man in the process)?

    Javert is a villain because, as the honest trailer for Les Mis points out, he's pretty much willing to let Paris burn to the ground while he hunts for the least dangerous criminal in the country.

    His job description is 'cop' not 'guy who must bring that one other guy to justice at all costs'

    I don't think most people are pleased at the prospect of a cop who pursues personal grudges, even if the object of the grudge is a law breaker. The badge is a public trust, not a personal tool for self-fulfillment.

    Or are you so jaded that madness and obsession are qualities you just accept in cops?

    I think the description of him from the novel (per wiki. I have only seen the play) is pretty much perfect for this discussion (and quite frankly, may be a fair encapsulation of people's views on my general philosophy of punishment):

    Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand: their majesty, the majesty peculiar to the human conscience, clings to them in the midst of horror; they are virtues which have one vice, – error. The honest, pitiless joy of a fanatic in the full flood of his atrocity preserves a certain lugubriously venerable radiance. Without himself suspecting the fact, Javert in his formidable happiness was to be pitied, as is every ignorant man who triumphs. Nothing could be so poignant and so terrible as this face, wherein was displayed all that may be designated as the evil of the good.

    How is that not describing a villain?

    Javert is a good man. Everyone in the story even acknowledges this, including ValJean. Hugo just happens to also take the view that he is "wrong" in that he can't see until the end that ValJean has redeemed himself (although, to be fair he never had reason to think Valjean did redeem himself), but the pursuit of the criminal is never shown as a villainous act. At worst, he is misguided, but that is not even something that can be definitively said, since it hinges on the relative weight one puts on adhering to the law vs good deeds. That Valjean did good after his crimes may make him a good person, but it does not erase his criminality, and that is what Javert pursues him for.

    Also, Javert does not neglect his duties to pursue Javert. He just keeps happening across him in the course of other work.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • galdongaldon Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    galdon wrote: »
    There is a real problem with making it policg to let a person go because the crime is old; it implies that if you avoid getting caught, justice will never catch up to you.

    as bad as "making an example" sounds, considering only villains in movies use the phrase, if you find a murderer and let them go because they were able to evade arrest for long enough to raise a family, it tells other potential criminals that its fine to commit any crime if they can avoid arrest for 10 years.

    The funny thing is, that this view is bandied by people for some crimes, while for some others(perhaps comparable crimes only discernibly different due to semantics) statutes of limitations are presented as necessary due to evidence loss and other factors contributing to a more likely erroneous punishment of innocent people.

    Personally, I think it should be one or the other, not an arbitrary choice based on emotional decision making.

    some crimes leave more evidence than others. stealing a pencil from a walmart would be literally impossible to prove 5 years later if you had gotten away with it. people likely would never miss the pencil, so it would never be looked for.

    but for more serious crimes, letting a murderer or some such go because it took a while to find him/her merely rewards those who can skillfully evade the law.

    galdon on
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  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2013
    galdon wrote: »
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    galdon wrote: »
    There is a real problem with making it policg to let a person go because the crime is old; it implies that if you avoid getting caught, justice will never catch up to you.

    as bad as "making an example" sounds, considering only villains in movies use the phrase, if you find a murderer and let them go because they were able to evade arrest for long enough to raise a family, it tells other potential criminals that its fine to commit any crime if they can avoid arrest for 10 years.

    The funny thing is, that this view is bandied by people for some crimes, while for some others(perhaps comparable crimes only discernibly different due to semantics) statutes of limitations are presented as necessary due to evidence loss and other factors contributing to a more likely erroneous punishment of innocent people.

    Personally, I think it should be one or the other, not an arbitrary choice based on emotional decision making.

    some crimes leave more evidence than others. stealing a pencil from a walmart would be literally impossible to prove 5 years later if you had gotten away with it. people likely would never miss the pencil, so it would never be looked for.

    but for more serious crimes, letting a murderer or some such go because it took a while to find him/her merely rewards those who can skillfully evade the law.

    Wow. What an interesting thread. I just agreed with Galdon.

    spacekungfuman on
    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    So you're a hardliner on crime unless the person is a "good man"

    Julius
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Part if the reason for the statute of limitations is also because as was said before we all break laws all the damn time. Having no time limit on prosecution opens to door to ridiculous witch hunts.

  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    Also the truth of the matter is that many crimes simply don't create injustices that need to be righted 10 or 20 years down the road.

    You sold pot 20 years ago.

    What justice is served by prosecuting that crime now?

    Julius
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    It's also the sort of thing that tends to come up primarily with respect to civil filings anyway. Loss of evidence over time would theoretically impact the prosecution more than the defense in a criminal case, I would think, because the burden of proof is entirely on the prosecution, and the standard of proof is high. Plaintiffs in civil cases aren't quite so hampered, and nobody wants plaintiffs waiting years for defendants to inherit money or whatever.

    So It Goes
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Also the truth of the matter is that many crimes simply don't create injustices that need to be righted 10 or 20 years down the road.

    You sold pot 20 years ago.

    What justice is served by prosecuting that crime now?

    It depends on what you mean by justice, right? You could say that they are paying their debt to society which was incurred by the crime, thus balancing the scales.
    So you're a hardliner on crime unless the person is a "good man"

    I did not say that. Javert commits no crime.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2013
    I did not say that. Javert commits no crime.

    The thread, as I understand it, is about morality, not legality.

    Those are different things.

    Edit: Javert may be acting immorally, despite the legality of his actions.

    _J_ on
    Gnome-Interruptus
  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    When discussing statutes of limitations, it's revealing to look at the types of crimes that don't tend to have them or have extended statutes of limitations.

    Crimes like murder, kidnapping, and war crimes generally don't have a statute of limitation. Murder and kidnapping can reasonably be covered up for years or decades (look at the three women in Cleveland, or the body found behind the wall in New York), but irrefutable evidence becomes available it's absolutely prosecutable beyond reasonable doubt. Since the victim wouldn't be expected to be capable of contacting the authorities and reporting the crime (either dead or kidnapped) in any definite timeline, having a statute of limitations simply protects a criminal who is good at covering up evidence or constructed a good prison. War crimes, for obvious reasons, can take decades to prosecute between obtaining records and capturing the criminal responsible (both because they are on the run, and because they can be in an untouchable position of power).

    Financial fraud, tax evasion, and crimes like art theft tend to also have extended or no statutes of limitations. That's because financial crimes could be well documented with sufficient evidence, but not untangled or even discovered in the typical statute of limitations time frame. Art theft is similar because unlike most stolen items, valuable works of art tend to be unique and stolen works have been known to be hidden for decades before being sold / transferred.

    In all the above cases, it becomes clear that the reason most crimes have a statute of limitations is not because someone should get a 'freebie' after a set amount of time, but rather to force prosecutors to do their jobs and prevent abuses of position.

    Also, it's important to note that Javert was derelict in his duty, left his post, and abused his position. It's been a long ass time since I read the story, but I recall a few of the things he did were violations of...whatever we would today call his code of conduct. Not sure what they called it in 17th century France, but I recall he had to conceal some of his actions from his superiors and violated orders.

    zagdrob on
    Julius
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    i concede that is true. Nazi soldiers fulfilling their legal duties acted immorally in operating the death camps, imo. The interesting thing about Javert though is that even ValJean acknowledges that Javert is in the right in basically every sense, and submits to arrest once he has accomplished all that he believes he had to for the people he cared about. But by then Javert is already no more. . .

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    zagdrob wrote: »
    In all the above cases, it becomes clear that the reason most crimes have a statute of limitations is not because someone should get a 'freebie' after a set amount of time, but rather to force prosecutors to do their jobs and prevent abuses of position.

    That may not be the only interpretation.

    Perhaps some acts merit punishment long after they occur, while the wrongness of other acts fades over time.

    Or maybe not. We won't be able to figure that out until we clearly articulate a moral system. I have not found one in these first four pages.

  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    @spacekungfuman do you find Javert to be an admirable character?

    wpyz0Y5.png
    Gamertag: PrimusD | Rock Band DLC | GW:OttW - arrcd | WLD - Thortar
  • BSoBBSoB Registered User regular
    Also the truth of the matter is that many crimes simply don't create injustices that need to be righted 10 or 20 years down the road.

    You sold pot 20 years ago.

    What justice is served by prosecuting that crime now?

    This isn't a fair example, since most people on these boards don't think you should be punished for selling pot now.


  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    BSoB wrote: »
    Also the truth of the matter is that many crimes simply don't create injustices that need to be righted 10 or 20 years down the road.

    You sold pot 20 years ago.

    What justice is served by prosecuting that crime now?

    This isn't a fair example, since most people on these boards don't think you should be punished for selling pot now.

    The War on Drugs and the related penalties for possessing/selling them would be a great topic for a thread all its own.

    wpyz0Y5.png
    Gamertag: PrimusD | Rock Band DLC | GW:OttW - arrcd | WLD - Thortar
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    zagdrob wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    The Polanski case is a done thing in mind. The victim is no longer interested in the matter, Polanski is not a position to re-offend, and frankly, I think there needs to be a small token of leeway granted for anyone who has their pregnant spouse murdered with a barbecue fork during a home invasion. Like, if that happens to anyone, I think maybe we offer a pass when they do something criminal, given how atrociously they've been failed.

    Do crimes have an expiry date? Well, not really. Is there a point in chasing down derelict war criminals or other fugitives 60-70 years past the day they committed their crime? I can't really see one. Cancer and heart disease will do more to tear a pound of flesh off than any pitiful cell, if that's what you're into.

    I'd say put it to the jury if Polanski had attacked the Manson family, 'A Time to Kill' style. If they let him walk, that's up to them, I definitely wouldn't fault them. But - this is very important - no amount of tragedy in your own life - even having your pregnant spouse murdered - 'earns' you a freebie 'drug and rape a teenager'. Fuck. That. Bullshit.

    The 'unrelated personal tragedy calculus' is definitely a consideration, but far from the only one and mostly for sentencing. I can guarantee you that there are thousands of people locked up in prisons across America who have experienced great personal tragedy and hardship comparable to Polanski. The primary difference is they weren't rich enough to buy a ticket to France and have an army of lawyers fight off extradition, then famous enough to get a bunch of celebrities advocating for them.

    I personally think that if Polanski were to turn himself in, he should be required to serve the original plea deal, plus a slap on the wrist (30 days or something) for fleeing and eluding capture. If he were to get extradited and brought to the US against his will, he should get the book thrown at him with maximum sentences in both cases.

    With respect to the victim, there is a very good and important reason that the US justice system is 'The State' vs. (whomever), not 'The Victim' vs. (whomever). Simply because someone can flee justice for so long the victim would prefer it just go away, and had to find closure outside of justice doesn't mean the state wasn't harmed by the crime and doesn't have an obligation to each and every one of their citizens to attempt to prosecute that crime.

    The only cases I could make for the state not prosecuting a crime would be if the state and individual were not aware a crime was committed until a much later date. I'm struggling to think of a case where this would be true outside of a statutory-type crime, like someone being in possession of an unregistered / illegal firearm that was in a box of random crap they inherited or something like that. I mostly agree with what Sammy wrote earlier...

    When it comes to ancient war criminals, I agree it's more a retribution thing...but I really have trouble generating any sympathy for them. They ran and knowingly hid - usually lied on their visa / nationalization / citizenship documents. If they get tracked down later and prosecuted for their crimes, tough shit. However long it takes. The guys who are getting run down 70 years later don't tend to be the guy who was just trying to feed his family and happened to be cleaning toilets at a concentration camp - those guys were active participants, administrators, leaders who knew exactly what they were doing or the notoriously brutal guys who went over and above making people suffer.

    I don't even care what the Millgram and Zimbardo told us, those guys are welcome to try the 'following orders' defense and see what traction that gets at their trial.

    I really think it's something that - humanity as a whole - owes as justice to the victims of anything horrible like the Holocaust. The people who were responsible and actively participated / enjoyed the suffering will be hunted like dogs to the end of the earth and the end of their days. I wish we were more consistent and did a better job hunting all those kinds of guys down, even if it does take decades.

    It's not 'bullshit'. The law exist as a social contract as much as it exists as a state-protected contract: you obey the law, you aspire to be a good person, in return the state is supposed to protect you and your community should, to some degree, reciprocate what you've put in.

    Someone who has a serial murderer (or a team of them) barge into their home and callously murder their family hasn't had their end of the contract held-up. The state failed to protect them, and their community proved to be not only unsafe, but lethally dangerous. If that happens to you, I can hardly blame you for deciding that the law can go fuck itself and considering your social contract null and void.

    There is zero doubt in my mind that Polanski's victim wouldn't have been raped if Sharon Tate hadn't been torn to bits in her own living room. So, fuck it, in my opinion: we failed, we don't get to cast judgement. Appeals to other people being thrown in jail despite hardships doesn't really move me, given that I'd make exactly the same case for them if they were in a similar situation.

    With Love and Courage
  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    The Ender wrote: »
    It's not 'bullshit'. The law exist as a social contract as much as it exists as a state-protected contract: you obey the law, you aspire to be a good person, in return the state is supposed to protect you and your community should, to some degree, reciprocate what you've put in.

    Someone who has a serial murderer (or a team of them) barge into their home and callously murder their family hasn't had their end of the contract held-up. The state failed to protect them, and their community proved to be not only unsafe, but lethally dangerous. If that happens to you, I can hardly blame you for deciding that the law can go fuck itself and considering your social contract null and void.

    The State isn't omniscient and there are limits to how far it can go to stop crime. The Manson Family was a cult that lived off the grid in an age where law enforcement didn't have the technology or lawful capabilities they do now and had it taken place now it was still be possible for those murders to be committed. It was the Manson Family that broke their end of social contract not the State.
    There is zero doubt in my mind that Polanski's victim wouldn't have been raped if Sharon Tate hadn't been torn to bits in her own living room. So, fuck it, in my opinion: we failed, we don't get to cast judgement. Appeals to other people being thrown in jail despite hardships doesn't really move me, given that I'd make exactly the same case for them if they were in a similar situation.

    That's a slippery slope argument. One crime or horrid circumstances do not give their victim a license to hurt someone else. Raping a young girl is a serious matter which shouldn't be ignored because his wife was viciously murdered. Manson's life was terrible, as well. He was abused, neglected, abandoned and spent his adult life inside prisons before he became a cult leader - should we have let him be free?

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    zagdrob wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    The Polanski case is a done thing in mind. The victim is no longer interested in the matter, Polanski is not a position to re-offend, and frankly, I think there needs to be a small token of leeway granted for anyone who has their pregnant spouse murdered with a barbecue fork during a home invasion. Like, if that happens to anyone, I think maybe we offer a pass when they do something criminal, given how atrociously they've been failed.

    Do crimes have an expiry date? Well, not really. Is there a point in chasing down derelict war criminals or other fugitives 60-70 years past the day they committed their crime? I can't really see one. Cancer and heart disease will do more to tear a pound of flesh off than any pitiful cell, if that's what you're into.

    I'd say put it to the jury if Polanski had attacked the Manson family, 'A Time to Kill' style. If they let him walk, that's up to them, I definitely wouldn't fault them. But - this is very important - no amount of tragedy in your own life - even having your pregnant spouse murdered - 'earns' you a freebie 'drug and rape a teenager'. Fuck. That. Bullshit.

    The 'unrelated personal tragedy calculus' is definitely a consideration, but far from the only one and mostly for sentencing. I can guarantee you that there are thousands of people locked up in prisons across America who have experienced great personal tragedy and hardship comparable to Polanski. The primary difference is they weren't rich enough to buy a ticket to France and have an army of lawyers fight off extradition, then famous enough to get a bunch of celebrities advocating for them.

    I personally think that if Polanski were to turn himself in, he should be required to serve the original plea deal, plus a slap on the wrist (30 days or something) for fleeing and eluding capture. If he were to get extradited and brought to the US against his will, he should get the book thrown at him with maximum sentences in both cases.

    With respect to the victim, there is a very good and important reason that the US justice system is 'The State' vs. (whomever), not 'The Victim' vs. (whomever). Simply because someone can flee justice for so long the victim would prefer it just go away, and had to find closure outside of justice doesn't mean the state wasn't harmed by the crime and doesn't have an obligation to each and every one of their citizens to attempt to prosecute that crime.

    The only cases I could make for the state not prosecuting a crime would be if the state and individual were not aware a crime was committed until a much later date. I'm struggling to think of a case where this would be true outside of a statutory-type crime, like someone being in possession of an unregistered / illegal firearm that was in a box of random crap they inherited or something like that. I mostly agree with what Sammy wrote earlier...

    When it comes to ancient war criminals, I agree it's more a retribution thing...but I really have trouble generating any sympathy for them. They ran and knowingly hid - usually lied on their visa / nationalization / citizenship documents. If they get tracked down later and prosecuted for their crimes, tough shit. However long it takes. The guys who are getting run down 70 years later don't tend to be the guy who was just trying to feed his family and happened to be cleaning toilets at a concentration camp - those guys were active participants, administrators, leaders who knew exactly what they were doing or the notoriously brutal guys who went over and above making people suffer.

    I don't even care what the Millgram and Zimbardo told us, those guys are welcome to try the 'following orders' defense and see what traction that gets at their trial.

    I really think it's something that - humanity as a whole - owes as justice to the victims of anything horrible like the Holocaust. The people who were responsible and actively participated / enjoyed the suffering will be hunted like dogs to the end of the earth and the end of their days. I wish we were more consistent and did a better job hunting all those kinds of guys down, even if it does take decades.

    It's not 'bullshit'. The law exist as a social contract as much as it exists as a state-protected contract: you obey the law, you aspire to be a good person, in return the state is supposed to protect you and your community should, to some degree, reciprocate what you've put in.

    Someone who has a serial murderer (or a team of them) barge into their home and callously murder their family hasn't had their end of the contract held-up. The state failed to protect them, and their community proved to be not only unsafe, but lethally dangerous. If that happens to you, I can hardly blame you for deciding that the law can go fuck itself and considering your social contract null and void.

    There is zero doubt in my mind that Polanski's victim wouldn't have been raped if Sharon Tate hadn't been torn to bits in her own living room. So, fuck it, in my opinion: we failed, we don't get to cast judgement. Appeals to other people being thrown in jail despite hardships doesn't really move me, given that I'd make exactly the same case for them if they were in a similar situation.

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  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    Also the truth of the matter is that many crimes simply don't create injustices that need to be righted 10 or 20 years down the road.

    You sold pot 20 years ago.

    What justice is served by prosecuting that crime now?

    It depends on what you mean by justice, right? You could say that they are paying their debt to society which was incurred by the crime, thus balancing the scales.

    It does depend. And I didn't mean restoring karmic balance to the force, so no.

    Incenjucar
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    @spacekungfuman do you find Javert to be an admirable character?

    I think Javert is admirable, yes. He is very diligent and devoted, and has incredible clarity of purpose. He is also a man of supreme integrity. Its easy to fault him because you see all the good ValJean does, but Javert does not. To Javert, ValJean is a thief who violated parole, lies about his identity, commits fraud, and flees justice multiple times. To make matters worse, at the end of the story ValJean appears to be part of a group of rebels. Once he sees that ValJean is a good man, he finally breaks in his pursuit, and we all know what happens next.

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  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    zagdrob wrote: »
    In all the above cases, it becomes clear that the reason most crimes have a statute of limitations is not because someone should get a 'freebie' after a set amount of time, but rather to force prosecutors to do their jobs and prevent abuses of position.

    That may not be the only interpretation.

    Perhaps some acts merit punishment long after they occur, while the wrongness of other acts fades over time.

    Or maybe not. We won't be able to figure that out until we clearly articulate a moral system. I have not found one in these first four pages.

    I don't think that one can be articulated, @_J_ and even if it could, its extremely dangerous to try and base legal constructs or the interpretation thereof on notions of morality, as opposed to the words written on the page. At most, morality can inform the laws we write. I think I am the only person here to express a moral system re: punishment. @zagdrob has also set out one to an extent, based on the importance of proportionality in his view. So we have (1) morality requires that the innocent be protected at all costs, with no regard to the guilty and (2) morality requires that the sentence suit the crime.

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  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    zagdrob wrote: »
    In all the above cases, it becomes clear that the reason most crimes have a statute of limitations is not because someone should get a 'freebie' after a set amount of time, but rather to force prosecutors to do their jobs and prevent abuses of position.

    That may not be the only interpretation.

    Perhaps some acts merit punishment long after they occur, while the wrongness of other acts fades over time.

    Or maybe not. We won't be able to figure that out until we clearly articulate a moral system. I have not found one in these first four pages.

    Well it is obviously because one wants to press all the parties who claim damage to be a bit speedy about it but your remark also is a factor. However I think the wrongness of the act can be seen as societal. Or the statute of limitations can be seen as more personal. It is basically about asking the question of whether any party at the time the act occurred has any reasonable claim of damage. Some acts can be just said as never going away because of such a thing never being reasonable. Someone who was killed would always have the point that their life would be better if they had not been killed. The damage remains where other damage may eventually cease to matter.

  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    I am pleasantly surprised to see the views people have in this thread. I had thought most people on this board thought Javert was a villain.

    Crime and punishment of early 17th-century France isn't really applicable to this discussion.

    What could be more relevant to this discussion than the story of a man who commits and is convicted of a crime and flees before his sentence is completed and is chased to the ends of the earth for it (becoming a good man in the process)?

    Javert is a villain because, as the honest trailer for Les Mis points out, he's pretty much willing to let Paris burn to the ground while he hunts for the least dangerous criminal in the country.

    His job description is 'cop' not 'guy who must bring that one other guy to justice at all costs'

    I don't think most people are pleased at the prospect of a cop who pursues personal grudges, even if the object of the grudge is a law breaker. The badge is a public trust, not a personal tool for self-fulfillment.

    Or are you so jaded that madness and obsession are qualities you just accept in cops?

    I think the description of him from the novel (per wiki. I have only seen the play) is pretty much perfect for this discussion (and quite frankly, may be a fair encapsulation of people's views on my general philosophy of punishment):

    Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand: their majesty, the majesty peculiar to the human conscience, clings to them in the midst of horror; they are virtues which have one vice, – error. The honest, pitiless joy of a fanatic in the full flood of his atrocity preserves a certain lugubriously venerable radiance. Without himself suspecting the fact, Javert in his formidable happiness was to be pitied, as is every ignorant man who triumphs. Nothing could be so poignant and so terrible as this face, wherein was displayed all that may be designated as the evil of the good.

    How is that not describing a villain?

    Javert is a good man. Everyone in the story even acknowledges this, including ValJean. Hugo just happens to also take the view that he is "wrong" in that he can't see until the end that ValJean has redeemed himself (although, to be fair he never had reason to think Valjean did redeem himself), but the pursuit of the criminal is never shown as a villainous act. At worst, he is misguided, but that is not even something that can be definitively said, since it hinges on the relative weight one puts on adhering to the law vs good deeds. That Valjean did good after his crimes may make him a good person, but it does not erase his criminality, and that is what Javert pursues him for.

    Also, Javert does not neglect his duties to pursue Javert. He just keeps happening across him in the course of other work.

    Javert is a good man according to his own principles. And he also commits suicide because he cannot live with his belief in the law=good and admitting that Valjean is a good person. Did you even read your quote about him?

    The majesty of a virtue always shines through, even when atrocities happen. It is grand, but not good. Beautiful, not beauty. Evil shit done because of evil shit is basic and low, evil shit done because of an ideal can be more evil but doesn't become low.

  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    I am pleasantly surprised to see the views people have in this thread. I had thought most people on this board thought Javert was a villain.

    Crime and punishment of early 17th-century France isn't really applicable to this discussion.

    What could be more relevant to this discussion than the story of a man who commits and is convicted of a crime and flees before his sentence is completed and is chased to the ends of the earth for it (becoming a good man in the process)?

    Javert is a villain because, as the honest trailer for Les Mis points out, he's pretty much willing to let Paris burn to the ground while he hunts for the least dangerous criminal in the country.

    His job description is 'cop' not 'guy who must bring that one other guy to justice at all costs'

    I don't think most people are pleased at the prospect of a cop who pursues personal grudges, even if the object of the grudge is a law breaker. The badge is a public trust, not a personal tool for self-fulfillment.

    Or are you so jaded that madness and obsession are qualities you just accept in cops?

    I think the description of him from the novel (per wiki. I have only seen the play) is pretty much perfect for this discussion (and quite frankly, may be a fair encapsulation of people's views on my general philosophy of punishment):

    Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand: their majesty, the majesty peculiar to the human conscience, clings to them in the midst of horror; they are virtues which have one vice, – error. The honest, pitiless joy of a fanatic in the full flood of his atrocity preserves a certain lugubriously venerable radiance. Without himself suspecting the fact, Javert in his formidable happiness was to be pitied, as is every ignorant man who triumphs. Nothing could be so poignant and so terrible as this face, wherein was displayed all that may be designated as the evil of the good.

    How is that not describing a villain?

    Javert is a good man. Everyone in the story even acknowledges this, including ValJean. Hugo just happens to also take the view that he is "wrong" in that he can't see until the end that ValJean has redeemed himself (although, to be fair he never had reason to think Valjean did redeem himself), but the pursuit of the criminal is never shown as a villainous act. At worst, he is misguided, but that is not even something that can be definitively said, since it hinges on the relative weight one puts on adhering to the law vs good deeds. That Valjean did good after his crimes may make him a good person, but it does not erase his criminality, and that is what Javert pursues him for.

    Also, Javert does not neglect his duties to pursue Javert. He just keeps happening across him in the course of other work.

    Javert is a good man according to his own principles. And he also commits suicide because he cannot live with his belief in the law=good and admitting that Valjean is a good person. Did you even read your quote about him?

    The majesty of a virtue always shines through, even when atrocities happen. It is grand, but not good. Beautiful, not beauty. Evil shit done because of evil shit is basic and low, evil shit done because of an ideal can be more evil but doesn't become low.

    But whether there is any evil there is a value judgement. He is a consummate lawman who upholds the law. What evil to be found there, other than the evil committed perhaps by those who make the laws he upholds? Again, ValJean does not dispute that he deserves to be returned to jail. All he ever wants at each turn is to fulfill his promises to others before being jailed.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
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    @chanus
  • Rhan9Rhan9 Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    galdon wrote: »
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    galdon wrote: »
    There is a real problem with making it policg to let a person go because the crime is old; it implies that if you avoid getting caught, justice will never catch up to you.

    as bad as "making an example" sounds, considering only villains in movies use the phrase, if you find a murderer and let them go because they were able to evade arrest for long enough to raise a family, it tells other potential criminals that its fine to commit any crime if they can avoid arrest for 10 years.

    The funny thing is, that this view is bandied by people for some crimes, while for some others(perhaps comparable crimes only discernibly different due to semantics) statutes of limitations are presented as necessary due to evidence loss and other factors contributing to a more likely erroneous punishment of innocent people.

    Personally, I think it should be one or the other, not an arbitrary choice based on emotional decision making.

    some crimes leave more evidence than others. stealing a pencil from a walmart would be literally impossible to prove 5 years later if you had gotten away with it. people likely would never miss the pencil, so it would never be looked for.

    but for more serious crimes, letting a murderer or some such go because it took a while to find him/her merely rewards those who can skillfully evade the law.

    Why does this "evasion" not apply to less severe crimes? Why is it that the statutes of limitations are used as a reason to protect from unfair prosecution for some crimes, when evidence might/would have been lost, when this same reasoning for some reason isn't applied for other crimes?

    I guess I'm trying to ask that what makes some crimes magical in their ability to preserve evidence as opposed to lose evidence over time, and hence allow infinite prosecution without fear of unfair sentencing?

    Or is it simply a case of "better prosecute anyway, and if an innocent gets bulldozed by the law, it's tough titties. Hard on crime!" for select offenses for PR reasons?

    Rhan9 on
  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    galdon wrote: »
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    galdon wrote: »
    There is a real problem with making it policg to let a person go because the crime is old; it implies that if you avoid getting caught, justice will never catch up to you.

    as bad as "making an example" sounds, considering only villains in movies use the phrase, if you find a murderer and let them go because they were able to evade arrest for long enough to raise a family, it tells other potential criminals that its fine to commit any crime if they can avoid arrest for 10 years.

    The funny thing is, that this view is bandied by people for some crimes, while for some others(perhaps comparable crimes only discernibly different due to semantics) statutes of limitations are presented as necessary due to evidence loss and other factors contributing to a more likely erroneous punishment of innocent people.

    Personally, I think it should be one or the other, not an arbitrary choice based on emotional decision making.

    some crimes leave more evidence than others. stealing a pencil from a walmart would be literally impossible to prove 5 years later if you had gotten away with it. people likely would never miss the pencil, so it would never be looked for.

    but for more serious crimes, letting a murderer or some such go because it took a while to find him/her merely rewards those who can skillfully evade the law.

    Why does this "evasion" not apply to less severe crimes? Why is it that the statutes of limitations are used as a reason to protect from unfair prosecution for some crimes, when evidence might/would have been lost, when this same reasoning for some reason isn't applied for other crimes?

    I guess I'm trying to ask that what makes some crimes magical in their ability to preserve evidence as opposed to lose evidence over time, and hence allow infinite prosecution without fear of unfair sentencing?

    Or is it simply a case of "better prosecute anyway, and if an innocent gets bulldozed by the law, it's tough titties. Hard on crime!" for select offenses for PR reasons?

    I commented on this topic above, when I discussed statutes of limitations and the few specific crimes that tend to have extended or no statutes of limitations.

    Crimes like murder and kidnapping are not only extremely severe crimes, but they are also crimes where there could easily be evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but the victim would lack the freedom to report the crime (dead or under control of kidnapper) in any specific time frame. You sometimes see something similar with child abuse (usually sexual) where the statute of limitations time frame only begins when the victim reaches the age of majority, not when the crime was committed, as it's reasonable to expect that child victims may not have the freedom to report a parent or other abuser if they are a minor.

    Now, you ask about some 'magical ability' to preserve evidence. In most normal crimes, proving years or decades down the line that a particular item was stolen, or even say the circumstances of an alleged assault or rape, is going to be unreasonably difficult for both the prosecutor and the defendant. It's going to come down to a matter of 'he said, she said'...was it rape or consensual? Was it an assault or self defense? Was the item stolen, borrowed, or purchased? That can be hard enough to show with fresh evidence and memories. Absent new techniques that make already collected evidence useful in entirely new ways - like DNA fingerprinting in the 90's, there is little chance that revolutionary new evidence will come to light years after the fact. Memories fade, records / receipts are often discarded, people move or die, etc.

    Murder is a bit different because hiding bodies - the key piece of evidence - is common. If a body is discovered years or decades after the fact, you have a new piece of evidence that, in concert with already recorded facts of the case can prove murder beyond a reasonable doubt. If some guy's wife disappears, there may be evidence he killed her but not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt with no body. That may not be prosecutable at the time, but even decades later when you find her body under a slab in his basement, you have proof that not only did he do it, but also his state of mind in that he concealed it.

    Same thing with a kidnapping - again, the three women in Cleveland - where the kidnapper was unknown but now you know who he is and have witnesses to testify about the crime. Evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, that was 'concealed' or unavailable to investigators and prosecutors for over a decade.

    Financial crimes and tax evasion are a bit different, but they have similar components where irrefutable evidence can exist, but take years or decades for authorities to discover a crime was even committed. Financial records are often concealed or unavailable to investigators. Once investigators have evidence of a crime, it can take lengthy periods of time to assemble the records necessary to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Since most of those types of crimes are strict liability, it's only necessary to prove the crime occurred (using documents that the must be retained) for prosecution, not a question of intent or circumstances...normally anyway.

    spacekungfumanFeralJulius
  • galdongaldon Registered User regular
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    galdon wrote: »
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    galdon wrote: »
    There is a real problem with making it policg to let a person go because the crime is old; it implies that if you avoid getting caught, justice will never catch up to you.

    as bad as "making an example" sounds, considering only villains in movies use the phrase, if you find a murderer and let them go because they were able to evade arrest for long enough to raise a family, it tells other potential criminals that its fine to commit any crime if they can avoid arrest for 10 years.

    The funny thing is, that this view is bandied by people for some crimes, while for some others(perhaps comparable crimes only discernibly different due to semantics) statutes of limitations are presented as necessary due to evidence loss and other factors contributing to a more likely erroneous punishment of innocent people.

    Personally, I think it should be one or the other, not an arbitrary choice based on emotional decision making.

    some crimes leave more evidence than others. stealing a pencil from a walmart would be literally impossible to prove 5 years later if you had gotten away with it. people likely would never miss the pencil, so it would never be looked for.

    but for more serious crimes, letting a murderer or some such go because it took a while to find him/her merely rewards those who can skillfully evade the law.

    Why does this "evasion" not apply to less severe crimes? Why is it that the statutes of limitations are used as a reason to protect from unfair prosecution for some crimes, when evidence might/would have been lost, when this same reasoning for some reason isn't applied for other crimes?

    I guess I'm trying to ask that what makes some crimes magical in their ability to preserve evidence as opposed to lose evidence over time, and hence allow infinite prosecution without fear of unfair sentencing?

    Or is it simply a case of "better prosecute anyway, and if an innocent gets bulldozed by the law, it's tough titties. Hard on crime!" for select offenses for PR reasons?

    Why should someone who aught to get life in prison get to live out his life free just because it took 30 years to find him?

    some crimes with lesser punishments MIGHT be forgivable over time depending on circumstance, but others are too atrocious to let slide.

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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »

    There is zero doubt in my mind that Polanski's victim wouldn't have been raped if Sharon Tate hadn't been torn to bits in her own living room. So, fuck it, in my opinion: we failed, we don't get to cast judgement. Appeals to other people being thrown in jail despite hardships doesn't really move me, given that I'd make exactly the same case for them if they were in a similar situation.

    In ancient Greece, when a community fell upon hard times and they felt that they must have done something to deserve it, they would metaphorically heap their sins upon someone's livestock before violently driving it out of town. This is the origin of the term "scapegoat." In other parts of the ancient world, when they felt especially cursed and thought their sins must be especially grievous, they would hire a homeless person to take the goat's place. They'd put the man up in a house, clothe him and feed him at the community's expense for some period of time, and then after he'd experienced some of the sinful luxury he hadn't enjoyed before, they'd hurl rocks at him while running him out of their city. It wasn't necessarily a bad deal for him, provided they didn't stone him to death. From the town's perspective, the element of sacrificing one's own (either to death or exile) along with the metaphorical repudiation of their failings was enough to make them feel square with the universe, and they could feel assured that whatever evils befell them going forward, it wasn't their fault.

    Sacrificing one person for the failings of the community isn't just a shitty thing to do to a teenage girl, it is literally barbaric.

    FeralspacekungfumanGnome-Interruptus
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Javert was symbolic of an antiquated obsolete system realizing it's own uselessness. He worked within the system but the point was the system was a tool of repression and evil. So whatever his intentions he was an agent of immorality.

    FeralJuliusRegina Fong
  • MorranMorran Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »

    There is zero doubt in my mind that Polanski's victim wouldn't have been raped if Sharon Tate hadn't been torn to bits in her own living room. So, fuck it, in my opinion: we failed, we don't get to cast judgement. Appeals to other people being thrown in jail despite hardships doesn't really move me, given that I'd make exactly the same case for them if they were in a similar situation.

    In ancient Greece, when a community fell upon hard times and they felt that they must have done something to deserve it, they would metaphorically heap their sins upon someone's livestock before violently driving it out of town. This is the origin of the term "scapegoat." In other parts of the ancient world, when they felt especially cursed and thought their sins must be especially grievous, they would hire a homeless person to take the goat's place. They'd put the man up in a house, clothe him and feed him at the community's expense for some period of time, and then after he'd experienced some of the sinful luxury he hadn't enjoyed before, they'd hurl rocks at him while running him out of their city. It wasn't necessarily a bad deal for him, provided they didn't stone him to death. From the town's perspective, the element of sacrificing one's own (either to death or exile) along with the metaphorical repudiation of their failings was enough to make them feel square with the universe, and they could feel assured that whatever evils befell them going forward, it wasn't their fault.

    Sacrificing one person for the failings of the community isn't just a shitty thing to do to a teenage girl, it is literally barbaric.

    Actually, the term "barbarian" originated in ancient Greece, and was used to describe people from not-greece.

    Which means that sacrificing one person for the failing of the community is literally not barbaric.

    FeralJuliusspacekungfuman_J_
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