Jump to content
Callie

The Human Rights Poll

Human Rights  

55 members have voted

  1. 1. Is access to healthcare a human right?

    • Yes
      42
    • No
      9
    • Other
      4
  2. 2. Is access to education a human right?

    • Yes
      41
    • No
      10
    • Other
      4
  3. 3. Is access to the internet a human right?

    • Yes
      21
    • No
      27
    • Other
      7
  4. 4. Do humans have a right to reproduce?

    • Yes
      33
    • It depends
      15
    • No
      4
    • Other
      3
  5. 5. Torture should be...

    • Prohibited under all circumstances
      36
    • Permissible in some circumstances
      13
    • Other
      6
  6. 6. Do humans have a right to voluntary euthanasia?

    • Yes (under any or most circumstances)
      29
    • Yes (in the event of terminal illness)
      19
    • Yes (other)
      1
    • No
      4
    • Other
      2
  7. 7. The death penalty should be permissible for the following offenses:

    • Treason
      10
    • Terrorism
      15
    • Espionage
      7
    • Other crimes against the state
      2
    • Crimes against humanity
      19
    • Murder
      20
    • Rape
      13
    • Torture
      13
    • Child molestation
      12
    • Armed robbery
      3
    • Kidnapping
      7
    • Other violent offenses
      4
    • Drug trafficking
      2
    • Human trafficking
      12
    • Desertion
      5
    • Perjury leading to wrongful execution
      11
    • Other nonviolent offenses
      0
    • Never
      23
    • Other
      6
  8. 8. Abortion should be permissible in the following circumstances:

    • Upon request
      33
    • Rape
      38
    • Incest
      32
    • Fetal defects
      32
    • Fetus endangers mental health of mother
      34
    • Fetus endangers physical health of mother
      39
    • Socioeconomic factors (i.e. poverty)
      24
    • Never
      6
    • Other
      5
  9. 9. Humans begin to gain rights at what point?

    • Conception
      7
    • During the first trimester of pregnancy
      6
    • During the second trimester of pregnancy
      4
    • During the third trimester of pregnancy
      5
    • Birth
      24
    • After birth
      3
    • Other
      6
  10. 10. Is it ever ethical to use nuclear weapons in warfare?

    • Yes
      4
    • Yes (but only in extenuating circumstances)
      17
    • No
      28
    • Other
      6


Recommended Posts

The internet is a luxury, a nice thing to have. While it may make some things easier, it by no means is necessary for day to day living. Civilisation survived for a very long time without it. Food, water and shelter are absolute necessites, and then you have basic personal rights like culture, faith, orientation etc. While the internet may or may not make these things easier in some fashion, it is not needed.

 

civilisation survived for a long time without electrical power and household plumbing too, but it's going to be pretty dang hard to maintain a normal life in a western country if you don't have access to running water and electricity at home. i mean it's not literally impossible, some people do manage to live out of their cars long-term, but it's not a way that anyone should have to live. and nowadays the internet is starting to rise to the same level of importance in daily life: there are a lot of jobs that effectively require home internet access

 

some office jobs nowadays expect you to be on call to answer email 24/7 if an emergency comes up, which requires not just internet access but a device with internet access that you keep on your person at all times. if you work in IT support, for example, being able to log in remotely to computer systems from home when someone calls you at 3 o'clock in the morning may well be an expected part of the job from time to time. and my girlfriend wouldn't be able to even physically get to work reliably without using the internet: the city she lives in has an unreliable public transport service that frequently delays or cancels buses with little advance warning, and the only practical way to find out what routes have been affected on a particular day is to check their website, so she needs a smartphone with internet access just to plan her route to work every morning

 

basically the issue is that now that more and more people have access to the internet, organisations have started cutting off other ways of doing things or making them impossibly inconvenient, under the assumption that there'll be a way for people to get internet access and do things that way. so depending on where and how you live, the fact that other people in other places and times were able to survive without internet access doesn't mean it's always feasible to get by without it here and now

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That merely states it's common use amongst (mostly western) civilisation. While it has it's uses, it isn't life critical. It can be quite easily ditched and most peoples lives won't be for the worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's become part and parcel of the social fabric for many people; "won't be for the worse" is a serious judgement call, and if you can make that judgement call for people, why can't you also make judgement calls about what opinions they can be exposed to and what they can do with their bodies? Is the internet life critical? Of course not; neither are most things that have been discussed as "rights" in this thread. We think that "rights" are things that are that critical; actually, it's a somewhat arbitrary list that we simply label that way. It's a cultural norm that we mistake for a natural order.

 

I suggest we all take a step back and ask ourselves what a "right" is actually supposed to be, and precisely how we ought to delimit the border between what we consider human rights and what we consider hopes for how things might be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, sure. It was a fairly easy call, although I was over generalising a bit, but comparing the internet to other things that have been brought up made the call easier. Something like plumbing, like Thuryl mentioned, although we survived without it for so long, is related to our survival, and our rights. Having fresh water available and having sewerage disposed of? I'd call that important. Take that away, and a lot of large towns and cities will be rather messy. On the other hand, the internet being temporarily inactive will be more like a toddler losing a toy for most of those people. They won't be happy about it, they'll be inconvenienced. The most physical harm that will come to them is inconvenience.

 

 

EDIT: Also, is it just me, or does the internet question seem rather frivolous mixed in with questions about euthanasia, torture, the death penalty and so forth?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How in the world is plumbing any more directly related to our survival than the internet is?

 

On a macro scale (i.e., long-term loss for a large area), plumbing is essential for urban living without disease, to water availability, et cetera; but on a macro scale, the internet is also essential due not just to its use, but to the efficiency it adds, in dealing with logistics and supply chains that have a material impact on a number of 'essential' items -- including drinkable water supply in some parts of the world. (In theory, could our society be set up so that the internet is unnecessary? Absolutely. But it's not. We could also be set up so we don't need plumbing, but that hasn't been a thing for thousands of years. There's no turning back the clock on embedded and unsheddable technologies.)

 

On a micro scale (individual loss only), it's true that even people who use the internet for their livelihood could adapt to an internetless world if they had to. But on a micro scale, it's also true that any one individual without plumbing could live their life with relatively few adjustments: they would be inconvenienced and would pay more for quotidian needs, just like someone without internet.

 

Water utilities, like most utilities, can be labelled as 'public accommodations' -- a borrowed term that I think is useful here. But they aren't really a human right; that's why, like most utilities, we pay for them. Internet access is similar; if it's less embedded in our way of life than plumbing is, I think that's adequately captured by the order-of-magnitude price difference between the cost of household water utilities and household internet access.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How in the world is plumbing any more directly related to our survival than the internet is?.

 

...plumbing is essential for urban living without disease, to water availability, et cetera;

 

 

On a micro scale (individual loss only), it's true that even people who use the internet for their livelihood could adapt to an internetless world if they had to. But on a micro scale, it's also true that any one individual without plumbing could live their life with relatively few adjustments: they would be inconvenienced and would pay more for quotidian needs, just like someone without internet.

 

 

I was trying to bring across something along these lines, but struggled to word it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, you chose to crop my sentence to include the part that says "water is related to our survival" but to exclude the part that says "the internet is related to our survival". Maybe you just didn't notice the word "more" in my question, but it's a pretty key part of the question. Either way, the quotes above do not reflect my argument.

 

To attempt another phrasing: my assertion is that plumbing and internet access are similarly (but not identically) related to our survival. There may be a difference in degree of embeddedness within our ways of surviving, but both have the same type of relationship to our survival -- useful, but not essential, technologies -- so either both are rights or neither is a right.

 

"Plumbing", btw, != "access to clean water", just like "internet access" != "membership in one's existing social communities"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Water utilities, like most utilities, can be labelled as 'public accommodations' -- a borrowed term that I think is useful here. But they aren't really a human right; that's why, like most utilities, we pay for them. Internet access is similar; if it's less embedded in our way of life than plumbing is, I think that's adequately captured by the order-of-magnitude price difference between the cost of household water utilities and household internet access.

 

wait, what price difference are we talking about? in australia i pay about $50 a month for internet access and about $130 every three months for water. are water prices drastically different elsewhere?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say something like $30-$50 per month is about standard for US water prices.

 

 

For me, the question of whether the internet is a "right" is more a question of whether it is a public good that should be provided to everyone. And my answer there is an unequivocal yes. Comparing internet to water is a bit apples to oranges; you absolutely need water to live. You can obviously live without the internet. But compare the internet to education. Do you need education to live? No. Can you in fact live a first-world life with minimal education? Yes. Does it get a lot harder and dramatically increase your risk of grinding poverty? Absolutely.

 

The internet isn't fundamental like public education yet, but it's still important. Just finding and applying for jobs, even with all the qualifications, becomes far more challenging without internet access. Do you need that access at home? No; there are other public resources to provide access, notably libraries. But I think access really is critical, and just like we no longer have water pumps and expect bathing at home rather than have a system of public bathhouses, we're near the tipping point of giving everyone internet access at home so we're not requiring libraries and schools to pick up all the slack and the poor to eat the inconvenience. Or phones; how many forms require a phone number? Yes, you could have messages left at a kind of public phone, but that's not how we operate. Every household, at least, has to have a phone number.

 

Of course, as wireless data becomes ever cheaper and more ubiquitous, we may skip universal home internet in favor of universal smart devices.

 

—Alorael, who will maybe get around to telling the story of his friend who could not get a job interview because he had no smart phone. If your job requires constant availability and interaction your job can provide you with the device and data plan, but what happens when that's something you're just expected to have as a prerequisite? Eventually you can fall off the tech curve and out of the workforce. After all, you don't need to be literate to live either, but good luck on finding income.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are similar to the US, but depending upon where you live water is lumped in with sewage and trash costs if they are all done by the same company. Water usage is metered like electricity and for apartments you get charged an average fee based upon past demand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not (just) for economic purposes, though I certainly agree that the Internet is essential for those purposes. I'd argue, more so than phones used to be, though I don't have a lot of experience with that so I can't say for sure. The Internet is essential for civic participation. Print newspapers are dying out and increasingly inaccessible, so being an informed citizen requires the Internet for news. Political participation is less often manifest and more often digital these days. Petitions and forums for political discussions have moved in large part to the Internet; twitter has shown remarkable potential for political organization, as seen in the Egyptian protests of 2011. Of course, physical sit-ins, campaign offices, and other areas of civil society are still extremely viable options, though often used in tandem with the Internet. All in all, we see an increasing digital creep as a foundation for political life.

 

And in any vibrant and functioning political democracy, participation in political life is a right that must be held sacrosanct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Is access to healthcare a human right?

 

Yes. If someone's answer to this is "no", they are a danger to themselves and everyone in their society.

 

2. Is access to education a human right?

 

Yes. As above, if someone's answer to this is a "no", they are a danger to themselves and others, but - this logic is true much more so for the issue of access to education than access to healthcare. Think about it: what is healthcare? I feel it is overly simplified, but also fairly accurate to say it's life and death, for the individual and for society in general.

 

What is education? Education is not something so easily boiled down, but my point here is not about its nature, but, rather, what it symbolizes. While not its totality, education embodies the bequeathing of knowledge to those who have not learned it.

 

Therein lies its true importance: within knowledge lies history, memories, thoughts, feelings, all on a societal scale. If healthcare is a matter of life and death for all living people, education is a matter of life and death for all living people, all people who have died before us, and also the very identities - or "spirit", or "soul", or whatever you like - of all people who exist, have existed, and will exist.

 

To deny others their history, to squander the countless lifetimes spent painstakingly, agonizingly, methodically, desperately gathering and compiling that knowledge - monstrous. Absurd, disgusting, vile; evil so utterly wrong it defies imagination - literally, it is an act that is against, that limits the horizons of the human imagination.

 

3. Is access to the internet a human right?

 

Yes.

 

The internet is a means of communication and a store of knowledge. Access must be free and equal.

 

4. Do humans have a right to reproduce?

 

Yes.

 

There is simply no other answer to this question. Any other answer, and things start to go wrong. When we ask ourselves, "who doesn't get to reproduce and why?" we have already caved in to prejuidice and oppression. This remains true no matter how objective we try to be about answering this question, because objectivity is impossible - the exercise of determining which things are "objective", which things are "scientific", and which things are not is already an exercise of power influenced by the subjectivity of those who make the decision.

 

5. Torture should be...

 

Prohibited under all circumstances.

 

Torture is a tool of domination and oppression. It is sometimes used on an individual level in order to inflict trauma. More horrifically, it is a tool used to suppress political dissent and crush the will of entire populations. As such, it should be categorically opposed.

 

6. Do humans have a right to voluntary euthanasia?

 

Yes.

 

We do not live in a utopia. Sometimes, some people have problems that simply won't be fixed, even though they should be "easy" or at least "possible" to fix in a reasonable timeframe. People have a right to choose when to die, and the kneejerk fear that they might be choosing to do so when they shouldn't is irrelevant. Consider: it is impossible to prevent suicide. Things can be done to make it less likely, and if someone is for example in a mental hospital, it can be delayed for a very long time. Most of society isn't going to be in facilities like this - therefore, we should facilitate this process so it is as painless as possible while ensuring the people persuing this option have access to the best health professionals and counsel possible.

 

My one categorical exception to this is those who suffer from depression. Severe depression, by its very nature twists the individual's rationality such that life is not only not worth living, it strips away the indivudals ability to imagine life could ever be worth living. As such, it makes informed consent to euthanasia exceedingly difficult.

 

7. The death penalty should be permissible for the following offenses:

 

Never.

 

Ah, the death pentalty: the refuge of cowards and cynics. It begs the question, what if someone deserves to die? I ask, so what? Why does punishment matter when we seek justice?

 

It doesn't. Two things matter: first, the safety of society, and then the safety of the criminal.

 

Support of the death penalty is also the implicit assumption that people can never or will never change. Such cynicism is as stupid as it is petty. People do not reach some arbitrary point in their life after which there is utter stasis. Moreover, such notions are also useless. The belief that people are to be discarded, simply cast aside and thrown out like so much refuse once they meet your arbitrary criteria... useless. F-, try again and at least put in some effort this time!

 

8. Abortion should be permissible in the following circumstances:

 

In all cases until birth.

 

Bodily autonomy is a fundamental necessity of human existence. A fetus is part of its hosts body, and as such, its importance as a lifeform is determined by its host.

 

Concerned handwringing regarding when it stops being okay to terminate the fetus is irrelevant. Such concerns do not supercede the necessity of bodily autonomy.

 

9. Humans begin to gain rights at what point?

 

When an institution of sufficient power bequeaths those rights.

 

"Rights", as a concept, is inadequate, misleading, and ultimately pointless. Rather, there are universal truths that constitute the things necessary for healthy human life. These are a true universal constant.

 

The current concept of "rights" is merely a question of access: the right to education, the right to healthcare, the right to freeom... in other words, access to education, access to healthcare, access to institutions powerful enough to protect one's autonomy. This concept is very limited, stifling when we are discussing ethics. It's great for purely material discussions - someone knows they have the rights of a US citizen when they're naturalized, for example. But we we start speaking of philosophy and ethics, why are we limiting the discussion to access to institutional power? For an issue of such gravity, the scope should be broadened.

 

10. Is it ever ethical to use nuclear weapons in warfare?

 

No.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My answers, in order, are "other", "other", "no", "other", "prohibited under all circumstances", "Yes, in the event of terminal illness", "other", "upon rape, incest and defects that endanger the health of the moth (physical or mental)", "conception" and other.

 

As a general commentary, either people here do not know the particulars of what "human rights" mean, or did not think it through. "Human right" carries with it a connotation of inalienability - an inherent right that cannot be revoked, sold or transferred. It should be obvious how some of the rights discussed cannot be inalienable, but I'll detail them later on. As a note, though, I'm not a big believer of human rights in the first place. I adhere to a secular version of dependent origination: nothing is the way it is by its own virtue, all things are emergent. A corollary would be that nothing and no-one can have rights based on what they are; instead, rights are granted and revoked based on what a creature has done, is doing and can do. Human rights are, to me, an useful heuristic, a default starting point for the discussion of rights of a creature when it emerges.

 

Commentary of specific questions:

 

Question 1: healthcare is a ridiculously broad term. Some basic level of healthcare could properly be considered a duty rather than a right; the difference being that right is something I should allow (and maybe help) you to do, where as a duty is something I can demand you to do under threat of sanctions. For example, vaccination against common diseases should fall within health duties, to upkeep herd immunity. So should a health check-up at the start and during pregnancy, upon taking an insurance etc.. Some other facets of healthcare could be considered positive rights, meaning they should be provided by the state free or nearly free-of-charge. Emergency health care, like in case of traffic accidents, falls within this category. Positive rights like this primarily derive from RIght to Life.

 

But beyond emergency care and means to retain a level of societal balance, right to healthcare is primarily a negative right - meaning no-one should stop you from seeking care, but no-one is obliged to provide it either. And most of these are not inalienable. If you cause yourself injury, I shouldn't be obliged to help you without fair compensation. If you are a threat to me or someone else, I should have the right to withhold treatment from you and sometimes even kill you. The specific examples of euthanasia and abortion, both of which fall under the broad term of "healthcare", will get better treatment below.

 

Question 2: Here too, the answer varies depending on the type of education. Primary education, the sort that is administered in Finland between ages 7 and 17 and which includes skills like reading, writing, basic etiquette and knowledge of law, isn't a right - it is, once again, a duty, because without this education, a person can't reasonably be part of the social contracts that make up society. It is also a positive right, because a society that fails to provide primary education to its residents is doing harm to both them and itself. Secondary education, though? Highschool, vocational training and up (universities, polytechnics etc.) exist to allow for specialization and prepare for a joblife. Unless we also make the (frankly, insane) statement that having a job is positive right, these can't be positive rights. They also can't be inalienable. Why should an institution of learning accept a student that is dangerous to other students and perhaps the institution as a whole, for example? There's also the fact that with certain jobs and certain sorts of information, a person will become increasingly dangerous if they go haywire; hence, those jobs come with extra duties and obligations, and failure to adhere to those extras should lead to banning from those topics of education.

 

Question 3: This really should be a no-brainer. Internet is a tool. Like any tool, it can be used for weal and woe. If you cannot think of a single case where a person's access to internet should be restricted or revoked alltogether, you haven't thought about it long enough. Or go read Elizier Yudkowsky's papers about the "Friendship problem" in strong AIs.

 

Questions 4 & 8: These go together like a horse and carriage. Let me preface my commentary with something that will upset and potentially enrage a lot of you: if you unironically answered "yes" to question 4 and "upon request" to question 8, you are a moron at best and a hypocrite at worst. I will neither amend nor revoke this statement until someone invents an artificial womb that can be made available to all.

 

To understand this, we have to look at the actual declaration of human rights and what it says about reproductive rights. It says: "no person should be forced to parenthood."

 

So under the current imagining of human rights, a person has the negative right to not reproduce. There is no positive right to reproduce, nor has there ever been.

 

You could go and say there's a negative right to reproduce, meaning people should abstain from stopping you from trying, but this falls apart when we look at reality and notice that only (somewhat below) half of the human population are capable of bearing children. If you go ahead and say the demographic in question, healthy women of fertile age, have inalienable bodily autonomy that trumps the right to reproduce, then it logically follows that they can stop you from trying. Consequently, the demographics that cannot bear children on their own can have neither positive nor negative rights to reproduce. To all people that are not healthy women of fertile age, reproduction is not a right, it is a privilege that they have to earn by adhering to and satisfying the standards set by the child-bearing demographic.

 

Consequently, reproduction can no longer be considered a human right. It is neither universal, inalienable nor inherent to humanity.

 

On the flipside, a right to reproduce would by necessity have to be a positive right for everyone who cannot bear children - meaning that for every such person, there should be a member of the child-bearing demographic who is obligated to produce at least one child for them upon request. Consequently, abortion could no longer be inalienable - it would be conditional on the consent of the non-childbearing parent. Consequently, abortion could no longer be considered a human right.

 

This should be enough to prove that right to reproduce and right to abortion "upon request" (read: "without further justification") are mutually exclusive as human rights in practice. If one is a human right, the other cannot be. You cannot have two rights occupying the same priority order when their implementations directly contradict each other.

 

The sanest answer, as far as I'm concerned, would be to consider neither reproduction nor abortion as human rights. The choice to have or not have children should be a contract law issue, not a human rights one. The laws concerning it should be subservient to right to life and right to avert cruelty. I consider the "bodily autonomy" argument for giving the sole right on these issues to the childbearing demographic to be void of any merit. Bodily autonomy is already restricted along multiple axises, because without restricting it we couldn't actually enforce the very same rights restricting it is supposed to harm. Non-violence can't help you when harming you is a goal.

 

Question 5: This one was easy to answer, because "torture" means causing excess pain is the means towards a goal or even the goal itself, rather than just a side-effect. Sometimes, we can't avoid causing someone undue suffering (such as when we employ incarceration to isolate known antisocials, or when we hunt for food), but in those cases measures are typically taken to minimize it (or rather, the ethicality of such endeavors is contingent on such efforts). Torture, as a method, doesn't have many merits to it. The only things it serves well are to satisfy primal urges of sadism and vengeance. As a means of interrogation and coercion, it has been proven to be inefficient. Classifying forms of torture as "enhanced interrogation methods" is on the same level as labeling homeopathy and hypnosis as "enhanced medical treatment". It doesn't achieve the things it's claimed to achieve, so it shouldn't be done.

 

Question 6: it kinda undermines the idea of "inalienable right to life" if you can, you know, alienate (as in: surrender) your life to any person for any petty reason you wish. Euthanisia implies someone else has to do the killing. Tell me, why the Hell should a person with two working hands have the positive right to ask me to kill them? Why should others be obligated to kill those who wish to die? Juan Carlo, Nalyd and others who amended "euthanasia" to "suicide" are in the right here. The right to kill yourself is a much saner thing to grant as a negative human right, and "right to die" is perhaps the only natural "right" that fulfills all the criteria for one even in my books. Death is, all things granted, pretty inalienable aspect of life in the long run. A conditional right to being mercy killed is a valid topic of discussion when a person is in pain but unable to commit suicide, but a human right it cannot be.

 

Question 7: I don't believe in death penalty as a punishment for certain types of crimes. I consider it a means to remove proven resource sinks from the human population. If I were to implement a death penalty, it would not be attached to any specific crime (or even group of crimes), but rather, to a life of habitiual crime. It shouldn't be considered part of the justice system, but rather filed under human resources. Crime roughly follows the Pareto Principle: majority of events are caused by minority of actors. 80% of crimes are committed by 20% of people, and 50% of crimes are committed by 1% of people. This "hard core" of crime, as cops put it, consists of people who have been proven (or can be proven) to resists all known means of rehabilitation. They can never be reintegrated into the mainstream population without them resuming their criminal actions, and so they have to be kept incarcerated practically always, which is a resource drain to everyone else. It could be said that their continued existence is a burden and a rights violation towards both non-criminals, and particularly those criminals who can be rehabilitated, but have to put up with being put in an enclosed spaced with them in order to do that.

 

Even if death penalty's general prevention rate is 0% (meaning the concept of being killed does nothing to prevent emergence of new criminals), its special prevention rate is 100% unless proven otherwise (meaning an executed criminal will not commit the same crimes again due to an acute case of death). Now, there are problems with implementation, especially in ensuring that these people would be killed swiftly enough once the pattern of crime has been verified. If it takes 20-something years from being sentenced to being executed, the executioner isn't doing it right. The habitual criminal is costing resources for all that time and often there won't be a meaningful difference to just keeping them locked up until they die of old age or decide to commit suicide. Seriously. If there's to be a death penalty, it has to be implementable fast. Otherwise, the point is lost.

 

Question 9: Any imagining of human rights that purports to be inherent, inalienable and universal kinda fails its intended purpose if it doesn't cover the first 9 months of a human's natural lifecycle. Seriously here. We're talking a subset of natural rights here. Humans are a mammalian species genetically encoded for sexual, in utero reproduction. That's the default, natural way for humans to come into being. If you argue the fetus has no rights at conception, that's practically equivalent to saying no human has the right to exist, because that step is necessary for natural human life. If that's your starting point and you still argue there are such things as human rights, I want to know what you're smoking.

 

Question 10: I consider this a strange non sequitur in contrast to all the other questions. To understand this, you have to understand my opinion of war: war is what happens when the rights of two organizations conflict, and that conflict cannot be solved without violating rights of both. Because of this, "just war" is a paradox, and no moral truths can be derived from observing people at war; war is amoral. An ethical choice in war, if there even is such a thing, is whatever makes it end quickly. To that end, nuclear weapons could be useful... in some hypothetical scenario that hasn't provenly occurred in known history. I do not believe in MAD - rather, I believe anyone smart enough to acquire nuclear weapons acknowledges that their interests are better served by annexing the land and resources of their enemy, rather than blowing them all to Hell. Even without MAD, victory by nuclear weapons would be a Pyrrhic one at best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My answers tended toward the right on these. Err. Not as it is used in the poll, however. Right leaning, but mostly because the questions were very poorly executed. "Is access to the internet a human right?" is my favorite. As written, it makes me think there are some internet police that check ID at the keyboard, refusing internet (but perhaps allowing intranet) to certain ne'er do wells. (They do this, you know...) Now, if you actually meant that there is some moral prerogative to create internet kiosks in every location that a person could possibly need one, I guffaw. We have the "right" to individually or collectively seek that which promotes life and liberty, but only in that it is something we have to do for ourselves, and we should not be prevented from doing this by government action. It's like saying everyone can be a millionaire. Whoopdie do. Anyhow, I found most of the questions to be quivering in their moral indignation, and answered in turn. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not going to detail my answers because those who know me already know I go counter current to most of the people on this board. And the rest of you can probably figure out where I stand based on my last statement.

 

I find it curious how the list of "rights" keeps expanding. I grew up with only thirteen. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No guarantee I would succeed in finding happiness, but at least I had a shot at it.

 

And then their is the bill of rights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Harehunter: I would consider it less an expansion of rights, and more an increase in coverage of those rights.

 

No guarantee I would succeed in finding happiness, but at least I had a shot at it.

 

That's... kind of the point. You can't guarantee that people will be happy, but you can give everyone a roughly equal shot at it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it curious how the list of "rights" keeps expanding. I grew up with only thirteen. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No guarantee I would succeed in finding happiness, but at least I had a shot at it.

 

And then their is the bill of rights.

That's cute, but not even slightly accurate. You've forgotten, among others, the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, which guarantee your right not to be a slave and your right to equal protection under the law.

 

If you paid any attention to the Bill of Rights, you'd know that the Ninth Amendment protects unenumerated rights, too, which is a good reason for the list to expand. (They tend to expand the list under the Due Process Clauses rather than the Ninth Amendment, but that's more for historical reasons.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Consider that those first three rights start with "all men are created equal" but the intent of the framers was very much not actually all men (that Thirteenth again!), and that now we've very much clarified that it's not all men but all people. The Ninth Amendment is perhaps the most important part of the Constitution. We have rights that the Framers not only didn't imagine but didn't believe in. That's a good thing.

 

—Alorael, who will also point out that the Bill of Rights is never, ever considered to enumerate exactly ten narrowly-defined rights. It protects a whole lot of rights. For one thing, take a look at the First Amendment: it is, itself, a list of protected rights. But speech and press are just two forms of communication; one could argue that, say, writing on the internet isn't protected. No one can successfully argue that. Freedom for all kinds of expressions has been derived.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Bill of Rights are not the guideline for the world. Just for us. I had hoped the poll was more about worldviewpoints on the listed ideals and not an opportunity for folks to castigate those with a different border between right and privilege.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wanted top say how impressed I am with the replies here. I may have some slight disagreement with a sentence or two said by a person or two but even then that person has (for the most part?) presented his/her case in an informative and thought-provoking way which drives me to think more about the issues rather than simply reacting to them (I know, I know...we should all be thinking more than reacting about these issues...).

 

As for myself, most of my views and poll answers are probably not very controversial here (my answers lined up with most on most questions) but I do have a different take I think on the death penalty I guess. I tend not to put as much import on human life in general as others do, which sounds really bad if I don't clarify. What I mean is not that I am any less civil or any more wanting of delivering death unto humans or animals of any kind for that matter, but in the grand scheme I think that some humans very effectively decide they do not want to be a part of the human race and actively seek to have their rights as human beings taken from them by performing the most atrocious acts imaginable.

 

MOD EDIT: Spoiler tags added. Content contained therein is disturbing. Click at your own risk.

 

For example there was a case in Wisconsin several years ago where two brothers decided to walk up to a house after a major snowfall, knock on the door where two couples were living/visiting and claim they needed to use the phone because their car got stuck or some such. When they were allowed into the house to use the phone and get out of the cold they quickly drew guns and tied up all 5 of the people there. They then decided to take turns raping each of the women, forcing the women to rape each other while they watched, raped the women again and again, forcing each of the men to rape each other's girlfriend/fiancee, robbing them and ultimately driving them out to an open field and shooting each of them in the head, then running over one girl (who should have already been dead but ended up surviving and running to a house for help, barefoot and naked through winter snow which is how the brothers were caught).

During the trial the brothers never stopped smiling and laughing, even as they tried to pin all of the crimes on each other (to try and create doubt somehow about who did what) and were sentenced to death.

 

 

That is a degree of evil that warrants us removing them from population permanently. Even if it were possible to somehow fix them what would be the point and why should be deny the very human condition of wanting justice which the victim(s) will have? To me vengeance is a large part of what justice is and not putting such people to death is akin to letting a thief not only keep stolen items but to parade around in front of his victim's house wearing the clothes he stole or driving their stolen car. Of course I could be wrong on this and may change my mind at any time if given reason to but that is my position as of this moment.

 

Then again I was a few years ago an advocate for the 'Torture is fine if we have a terrorist with the location of a nuclear bomb...' (aka the 24 argument) position but am now opposed to torture under any circumstance, so...*shrug*

Edited by Kelandon
Spoiler tags.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. This was unexpected.

 

I kind of wish I could explain my responses, but I feel like that would start a flamefest and get the thread locked... So I'll hold off for now.

 

I wonder in which way you found it unexpected. It went pretty much exactly as I thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, at risk of being flamed...

 

[soapbox]

 

No offense, but re abortion I'm more than a bit sickened by the idea of male-bodied people having any say in it at all. Our bodies cannot host a fetus, and we don't get to dictate anything to those whose bodies can.

 

[/soapbox]

 

I interpreted the question as just what people's opinions are. This is not the same as having someone enforce the opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surprised by how many people support Euthanasia in any case, as opposed to just terminal illness.

 

That's basically advocating that doctors aid otherwise healthy depressed people in killing themselves, which is pretty extreme.

 

Plus, there's a difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide. I'm morally uncomfortable with euthanasia (which usually implies that the doctor administers the killing agent himself, as opposed to assisted suicide where he just provides the means and the instruction and it's up to the patient to do it themselves), but don't have as much problem with assisted suicide in cases where the patient is terminally ill.

 

I don't personally see the difference between the 2. This difference would only matter to the doctor involved. No doctor would be forced to do something they don't want anyways, so it is self correcting.

 

It doesn't matter why someone would choose to end their life, depressed or otherwise. It should be their choice, and is no different to any other personal choice they make. Euthanasia would just make it easier on all involved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The internet is a luxury, a nice thing to have. While it may make some things easier, it by no means is necessary for day to day living. Civilisation survived for a very long time without it. Food, water and shelter are absolute necessites, and then you have basic personal rights like culture, faith, orientation etc. While the internet may or may not make these things easier in some fashion, it is not needed.

 

I'd argue that in comparison to grades 1-12, the internet has more of an effect on education, communication, and freedom than the traditional "education" system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip> most atrocious acts imaginable </snip>

 

Hi SkeleTony,

 

just FYI I've reported the post above. I understand where you're coming from but IMHO this is not the sort of board where such things should be posted, at least not without some sort of warning for readers... I'll see what the moderators have to say on it though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Healthcare is a service, not a right. Either buy it or don't. It's very wrong to force someone else to pay for your own medical wants if you would prefer other investments. There are numerous programs, both state and private, that prevents the poor from being priced out and provides discounted medicines for those that cannot afford regular treatment for illnesses. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions in R&D and that needs to be made up. Telling them that they must give it up for nothing will only hurt us all as they cease researching advances at the same rate. The last thing we need is to give the state even greater power of the people and more financial commitments.

 

2. Education is also a service. Invest into it or don't. I paid for my own education without going into debt and whilst making approximately $11,000 a year. I don't want to hear people make excuses about how it isn't affordable to the poor. You just need to learn fiscal discipline and patience. I should not be forced to pay for the education of another who isn't taking it seriously.

 

3. The internet too. Buy the service or don't. Do not force others to pay your way.

 

4. Two consenting adults are the only authority on when they can reproduce. It is not an issue for anyone else to have a say in. If they reproduce recklessly and then apply for or continue to use services than they must be prepared to live with the consequences if they are cut-off.

 

5. It should be prohibited unless extraordinary conditions are met, but then everyone has their own idea of what torture actually is. To some torture goes as far as water-boarding, which personally I find ridiculous. The current definition of the UN is extremely vague and needs to be revised. Such an extraordinary condition may include an imminent chemical, biological, nuclear attack, or simular extreme situations.

 

6. If a person is of sound mental health, of a sufficient age, and their spouse agrees then I believe it should be permissible. Though I believe it should be heavily deterred for the sake of changing their mind.

 

7.

Treason, espionage, desertion, terrorism, murder, and crimes against humanity should be the only situations in which the death penalty should be an option. A military in which it’s permissible to desert, betray, or commit espionage will not win a single battle. There must be absolute punishments to ensure such situations are minimized. History has taught us this lesson as often as we have been at war.

 

Crimes against humanity should also be punishable by death, but only once judged by an international jury, As humanity itself is international.

 

8. The only situation when abortion should be legal is in the event of rape or the health of the mother is at risk. Otherwise take responsibility for creating life.

 

Excluding rape and father-abandonment, then at bare minimum both the mother and father must both agree to an abortion. I won't hear about the sexist policy of excluding the father from deciding whether or not his own child is killed or not. The child came from my eggs and his sperm. My body is only its protective house until it can survive outside of it. Both the mother and father should be equal in the decision.

 

9. A tricky question, but in my opinion Human life begins when the first brainwave forms inside the womb. I could be convinced that it begins at conception, but It would need to be a compelling argument.

 

10. Go to war or don't. Just because it's a bigger bomb changes nothing. Its a weapon designed to kill in the most efficient way possible, and the object of war is to force the other-side to concede in the most one-sided way possible. If people want to ensure that no-one but combatants are killed then give everyone swords again. I can't guarantee that the other side will agree to also use swords, but hey, at least you're guaranteed to only kill who you intend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

7. Treason, espionage, desertion, terrorism, murder, and crimes against humanity should be the only situations in which the death penalty should be an option. A military in which it’s permissible to desert, betray, or commit espionage will not win a single battle. There must be absolute punishments to ensure such situations are minimized. History has taught us this lesson as often as we have been at war.

 

Crimes against humanity should also be punishable by death, but only once judged by an international jury, As humanity itself is international.

 

I favor the death penalty and would add the crime of rape to the list. Speaking only for the US military, while the death penalty is on the books for all of those crimes listed, since 1866 we have executed one person for desertion. We have won lots of battles (the number of wars we have won is of course debatable) despite the fact that we have not executed deserters. The USSR and various German and French governments did make heavy use of the death penalty to deal with their desertion problems, in some cases applying it without any sort of judicial process. With the death penalty being the ultimate sanction, I prefer as rigourous (though not necessarily lengthy) a judicial process as possible.

 

The problems with International Courts deciding crimes against humanity is that there is not really any credibility there. The WWII allies (led by the US) tried numerous Japanese and German personnel after WWII, and while something close to all of the people executed needed killing as far as I am concerned, the decisions of who to try and for what was heavily influenced by issues that had nothing to do with justice. Since the establishment of the UN, the system has gotten even worse with countries with awful human rights records controlling committees on human rights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not really. The US was part of the problem with the post WWII crimes against humanity trials which were essentially military tribunals and the military tribunals in places like Iraq or Gitmo have not done enough or been publicized enough or been transparent enough to generate a positive impression.

 

In modern times, cases like Travyn Martin and Michael Brown have damaged the perception of the US civilian judicial system, irrespective of the possibility that the judicial system might have made the right call in either case. The riots in Ferguson generated extensive world wide publicity around the perception that an innocent bystander was unnecessarily shot, either in the back or while he had his hands up by a racist cop who was acquitted. Many elements of that perception differ from what the grand jury determined to be the facts of the case, but the perception is what the world "knows".

 

Of course I would rather be tried by a US court than a court composed of members of the UN Human Rights Council where 1/3 or more of the members seem to have little to no respect for things that I consider to be basic human rights. Since we get almost no international news in the US and since I have not studied it on my own, I do not have much of an opinion on EU courts, with the exception of Italian ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi SkeleTony,

 

just FYI I've reported the post above. I understand where you're coming from but IMHO this is not the sort of board where such things should be posted, at least not without some sort of warning for readers... I'll see what the moderators have to say on it though.

 

My apologies. I honestly did not think that the description I gave of the crimes of those two's crimes was inappropriate or I would not have posted it. I am probably guilty of the wrongful assumption that what seems perfectly fine at many other forums and in many other philosophical debate threads would be similarly fine here or at any debate thread about adult subject matters. I will make a better effort to consider such before posting in the future as this is a family friendly forum I am sure and it does sound like I botched things in this regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In modern times, cases like Travyn Martin and Michael Brown have damaged the perception of the US civilian judicial system, irrespective of the possibility that the judicial system might have made the right call in either case. The riots in Ferguson generated extensive world wide publicity around the perception that an innocent bystander was unnecessarily shot, either in the back or while he had his hands up by a racist cop who was acquitted. Many elements of that perception differ from what the grand jury determined to be the facts of the case, but the perception is what the world "knows".

How was --

 

You know, I'm not sure we can handle a discussion about Ferguson here, so I'm not going to push this forward, but I'll just say that a lot of the things you're implying above contradict what we actually know about what happened both in Ferguson and with the indictment.

 

Whatever your feelings about what happened, though, it would seem that having cameras on police officers would be in everyone's best interest, as they would protect law-abiding police officers and law-abiding citizens alike, as well as the reputation of the justice system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I definitely do not want to start a Ferguson thread here, unfortunately that was the best example I could come up with for how the US justice system is perceived. My point was not to state an opinion of either Officer Wilson is a murderer who escaped conviction or Officer Wilson did what he needed to do. My point is that the perception of what happened in the case was locked in everyone's mind and no amount of evidence is likely to change the perception that the US justice system failed, whether it did or not.

 

I do support the idea of having cameras on police officers. The dash cam video was very important in the case of the shooting of Levar Jones a couple of months ago in South Carolina. A combination of dash cams and body cams would certainly have been useful in the Ferguson case, but the trick is to get the video out early without interfering with the judicial process. It took around three weeks to release the video in the South Carolina case. In the case of Michael Brown, releasing the video to the public after three weeks would have been too late if the video had shown that Officer Wilson acted appropriately, and would have seemed like a deliberate delay if the video had shown Officer Wilson acting inappropriately.

 

While cameras on officers will help a lot, they will not capture everything that is going on in the area. I am not, nor have I ever been, a cop, but I have done some training in urban shoot and no-shoot scenarios and they are very difficult with a lot of split second judgement in an extremely high stress environment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the indictment hearing certainly did not proceed the way indictment hearings normally do. You can go either way on whether or not that was a failure, I guess, but it was certainly an inconsistency.

 

Definitely true that cameras can't provide 100% information about what's going on at the scene (or even close to 100%), but more information is generally better than less, right? I think that would only be a concern if there was more potential for either party to manipulate the available information _with_ cameras present, than without them... which I think probably isn't the case? Plus presumably cameras would gradually create a culture where both police officers and those who interact with them are more accustomed to acting with respect for others and their lives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely true that cameras can't provide 100% information about what's going on at the scene (or even close to 100%), but more information is generally better than less, right? I think that would only be a concern if there was more potential for either party to manipulate the available information _with_ cameras present, than without them... which I think probably isn't the case?

 

you'd be surprised. a number of states that have introduced personal cameras for police allow an officer involved in a shooting to view the camera footage before giving a statement, effectively giving them a chance to formulate a story consistent with what shows up on camera. if the footage is too damning for even that to work, it has a tendency to get mysteriously lost

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm. That does sound like something that would happen. I think there might still be benefits. Ultimately I agree with Edgwyn about the "split second judgement in an extremely high stress environment" factor, and I suspect that one the biggest factors in our current parade of overuse of force by police officers is related to it: a lack of training for how to handle those judgments in a way that protects everyone's safety and rights. I have to imagine that, even if the camera system wasn't foolproof, having it exist at all would be a real wake-up call for officer training.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said, I support cameras. I do believe that there needs to be some education for those viewing the footage. While there is certainly the possibility of the footage disappearing, that is risky to do, because a bunch more people loose if they get caught.

 

The officer in the Levar Jones shooting reacted to a potential threat (subject reached back into his car). In my opinion, based on the lead up in the tape he over reacted and he was in a situation to overreact because he had not properly asserted control over the situation which was his responsibility to do. Fortunately, the officer did not fire his pistol particularly accurately so Mr. Jones survived. Also fortunately, the officer has been fired and is facing charges.

 

The training Slartibus mentions needs to go both ways. The officer in the Levar Jones shooting should not have fired his weapon. As I was taught by a police officer in traffic school 20 something years ago, when stopped by a police officer I should always leave my hands visible and never move quickly. Again, the officer in the Jones case was totally at fault and should have instructed Mr. Jones differently (in my opinion) during the stop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Healthcare is a service, not a right. Either buy it or don't. It's very wrong to force someone else to pay for your own medical wants if you would prefer other investments. There are numerous programs, both state and private, that prevents the poor from being priced out and provides discounted medicines for those that cannot afford regular treatment for illnesses. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions in R&D and that needs to be made up. Telling them that they must give it up for nothing will only hurt us all as they cease researching advances at the same rate. The last thing we need is to give the state even greater power of the people and more financial commitments.

 

 

Health is all that we, as living beings have. Without it, nothing else matters. When we form a society, we don't just do what we each personally would prefer to invest in. We also help each other as a society. In reality, if money were a determining factor, you'd have people being denied care because it wasn't profitable enough and a group of haves and have nots. This is not a society that I would want to be a part of. Many people who think they are rugged individuals quickly change their tune when they actually experience what poor health of either oneself or a loved one would have to deal with in such a system.

 

2. Education is also a service. Invest into it or don't. I paid for my own education without going into debt and whilst making approximately $11,000 a year. I don't want to hear people make excuses about how it isn't affordable to the poor. You just need to learn fiscal discipline and patience. I should not be forced to pay for the education of another who isn't taking it seriously.

 

You paid for your own K-12 education? How exactly? As for college, what years did you go to school? Did you go to grad school?

 

4. Two consenting adults are the only authority on when they can reproduce. It is not an issue for anyone else to have a say in. If they reproduce recklessly and then apply for or continue to use services than they must be prepared to live with the consequences if they are cut-off.

 

The earth can only support so many human beings. Again, this is part of forming a society. Eventually, this might become determined as a group for the greater good. The only ones who will pay for it are the kids who did not choose to be born. Your solution is to have the kids suffer? Of course not. Society will pay for it just like they do now. We do not live in an ideal world where only the reckless parents would suffer.

 

 

6. If a person is of sound mental health, of a sufficient age, and their spouse agrees then I believe it should be permissible. Though I believe it should be heavily deterred for the sake of changing their mind.

 

Spouse agrees? What!?

 

 

8. The only situation when abortion should be legal is in the event of rape or the health of the mother is at risk. Otherwise take responsibility for creating life.

 

They are taking responsibility... by having an abortion if it isn't what would be best for them. Not all "life" is equal. For someone who claims to want all decisions decided on an individual basis(education, health), it is funny that you think that the individual shouldn't be able to take responsibility for their actions because YOU personally don't agree with how they do it. You literally want to interfere with what happens inside their body. Don't worry though... paying a few bucks to educate everyone and give healthcare to everyone is just TOO far! Telling someone what they can do with their actual body.. just right!

 

 

Excluding rape and father-abandonment, then at bare minimum both the mother and father must both agree to an abortion. I won't hear about the sexist policy of excluding the father from deciding whether or not his own child is killed or not. The child came from my eggs and his sperm. My body is only its protective house until it can survive outside of it. Both the mother and father should be equal in the decision.

 

Both don't bear the same consequences, such as the damage done to the body during pregnancy, so they do not have equal say. If both had equal amounts of hardship, then it would make sense to have equal say. Reality is that it affects the woman 10x more than a man.

 

 

9. A tricky question, but in my opinion Human life begins when the first brainwave forms inside the womb. I could be convinced that it begins at conception, but It would need to be a compelling argument.

 

Not all life is equal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back to criticizing the views of others? How does that address the poll itself? Are we to self-censor so as to avoid public shaming for our answers? Stick to answering the questions and maybe asking for expansion of the answers you see made by others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm. That does sound like something that would happen. I think there might still be benefits. Ultimately I agree with Edgwyn about the "split second judgement in an extremely high stress environment" factor, and I suspect that one the biggest factors in our current parade of overuse of force by police officers is related to it: a lack of training for how to handle those judgments in a way that protects everyone's safety and rights. I have to imagine that, even if the camera system wasn't foolproof, having it exist at all would be a real wake-up call for officer training.

 

I understand why you and, to one extent or the other probably almost everyone here does not want a Ferguson thread. Emotions seem to run high on this issue and I will try not to say anything that might cause stress here but...

 

The thing that bothers me about this, Travon Martin etc. is that whenever a police officer (or some 'stand your ground' moron civilian) ends up shooting a young black man, they are convicted from the first reporting of being a racist murderer, contrary to what evidence we have. Here in WA. state we are seeing innumerable protests with silly catch-phrases and placards and not a single one of them has ever stopped and asked "What evidence do we have that the grand jury got this wrong?". It used to be that if someone attempted to violently assault a cop and grab for his gun police were supposed to unload in the guy rather than risk any number of people being hurt or killed by the violent criminal.

Of course there are and will be those comparatively rare cases when an officer does do wrong and should be disciplined for it (or prosecuted if he has caused injury or death in his wrong doing) but it becomes harder and harder to do this if we are just going after and punishing any officer who shoots any minority for any reason (including defending himself from a potentially murderous assault), regardless of what the evidence says happened (or does not say happened).

 

The Liberal in me wants to be on board with these protests I guess but it is trumped by the skeptic in me who is asking for evidence before convicting people and going on nationwide protests claiming grave injustice has been done. It could be that the officer in Ferguson was some sort of racist or was otherwise not justified in shooting Mike Brown but I have seen no evidence to support such a case, It appears he did what he was supposed to do. Brown did not have his "hands up" nor did he ask to not be shot. Quite the opposite as far as we can tell right now.

 

*Dons flame retardant suit just in case*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing that bothers me about this, Travon Martin etc. is that whenever a police officer (or some 'stand your ground' moron civilian) ends up shooting a young black man, they are convicted from the first reporting of being a racist murderer, contrary to what evidence we have. Here in WA. state we are seeing innumerable protests with silly catch-phrases and placards and not a single one of them has ever stopped and asked "What evidence do we have that the grand jury got this wrong?".

 

here's a start. lots of sources there. in addition to all the factual evidence regarding the shooting itself, it's not exactly a good look when the attorney who was supposed to be prosecuting darren wilson has helped raise over half a million dollars for wilson's defence, is it?

 

if you want more than that then the grand jury proceedings are publicly available, read 'em yourself and it becomes pretty obvious that the prosecutor took a dive. in cross-examination he failed to seriously question any of the statements wilson made that are flatly contradicted by the evidence

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grand juries are very different from the juries we have in trials. All grand juries do is decide whether to issue an indictment -- in other words, they decide whether or not there's going to be a trial. They don't judge guilt, and they don't judge the evidence. All they do is declare "yup, looks like there's enough going on here that it's worth having a trial so the crime (that may or may not have been committed) can have its day in court" or "no, you shouldn't waste the state's resources on this case because there's basically no evidence." Thus, all they normally see is the prosecution's evidence. Exculpatory evidence isn't presented -- that's for the trial. If the accused have a good defense, that doesn't prevent an indictment, that defends them in the trial. And that's why the grand jury result was so bizarre.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Also, and I only mention this because it's the second time it's come up here this week -- if you want to look like you are taking the loss of innocent life seriously, it probably helps if you can spell the victims' names correctly. Sorry for being snide here, but seriously guys.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It all hinges on the prosecutor.I read an article which showed that the indictment rate of grand juries it's 96% and a good prosecutor "can indict a ham sandwich".

So it's fairly obvious that the prosecutor wasn't interested in an indictment

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if prosecutors were impartial, they still must rely on evidence gathered by the police. If the police want to protect their own, they can do so by withholding evidence and generally mucking with the investigation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's an excellent point. Still, in these cases, there was evidence that was publicly available due to the magnitude of the news, and the prosecutors killed things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×