Originally posted by whitewave I hadn't considered people having a need to be taught human rights. They seem self-evident to me-kind
of like your mothers' idea of parenting skills. (My mother was the same way).
Hand a child a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn, and have him/her make you a sweater -- without *anyone* explaining how to hold the needles
or what a knit or purl stitch is...
It's self-evident to me how to make a sweater, because I know how. I was taught.
Also, (considering this from a world-view), understand that there are *many* cultures that a) have never heard of 'human rights', or don't have the
language (word/definition) to understand what is meant by it (which is a trippy thought), or b) have not gotten to the point in their moral
development that the term 'human rights' is even applicable. Granted, with the advent of the internet, the chances of finding such a culture are
decreasing... but that doesn't mean that every human being has access to the internet, or lives in a country that has the means to provide such, et
cetera. India is a fine example of a country that is just now having internal debate over their cultural behaviors/actions...
Returning to America... If it's okay to exploit people (here and elsewhere) in the name of profit, if it's okay to engender competition in the name
of consumerism and materialism, then it's okay that people haven't been taught proper morals.
Seriously, if this is the example set, how can we expect anyone to magically act any differently? How can we expect people to be compassionate towards
each other when we're constantly competing for paychecks?
My dad used to be a landlord, and he told me about a family that had padlocks on every single bedroom door because otherwise the family members would
steal from each other. My dad talked with the oldest son (who explained the situation) and asked him why there was a nice stereo, yet they were behind
on rent. The boy said (paraphrased): "That's because that's my
stereo. I paid for it, it's mine. I ain't givin' my money to no one else
-- not my mama, not my sister, no one. I earned it, it's mine."
The example is extreme, but it's not the first time I've heard it. If a son won't help out his own mother, how can we expect him to help out (or
care) about anyone else?
"We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal...." By commiting a heinous crime such as murder, the criminal
denies his/her own humanity as well as that of their victim.
Created equal, but not treated equally...
It seems self-evident that people have become only worth as much as their financial viability. (If you're broke, don't even bother going to the
hospital...) It's self-evident that justice can be bought, sold, and traded.
....what does it mean to be human? Do we remember that class discussion?
When a person steals something from you, they owe you that thing or its equivalent value.
More is owed than the material object's worth. They owe me time to re-establish the trust they shattered with their wrong action. Likewise, I owe
them the chance to redeem and change themselves.
Extending that to the death penalty, someone has stolen from you that which is priceless-your loved one. They HAVE nothing of equal value with
which to repay you. The life of a monster for the life of your track-star high-school daughter is still not equal but it's the most they have with
which to repay your loss. (Not that anything could ever repay your loss but it will guarantee that no one else suffers such a loss).
I'm trying to put myself in the position where some crazed person has taken, say, my parents from me. First, I have no choice in what happens to the
criminal. It's not up to me whether he/she gets prison for life, or put to death. It's not my choice, but the state's choice. Second, no matter
which was chosen for me (life or death), neither would be any form of recompense. There's absolutely nothing that they, or anyone, could do or pay to
make me feel better. There is no 'equal value' to be had.
I don't know which I'd prefer. The best form of exile that we have is imprisonment, so I guess I'd rather the killer was permanently exiled.
(Interesting tangent: In shame cultures, the killer would be subject to whatever punishment the victim's family thought fitting. If the criminal
wasn't killed, they would give all their worldly possessions to the family, be striped of all honor (which actually meant something), and (usually)
be a slave to the family until the family decided their debt was paid.)
Besides that, killing the killer only guarantees that no one else suffers such a loss from that killer
... There's few guarantees in life,
besides death. (I've decided that taxes are, indeed, optional.) The state killing a killer does not guarantee that I, or anyone else, won't be
murdered... unless I murder someone.
Life in prison for the rest of their natural life is still LIFE. It only adds insult to injury to be forced, through taxation, to pay for your
daughter's killer to have 3 squares a day as well as free health, vision, dental care, pay for their "work", canteen, library, gym access, clothes,
The part that adds true insult to injury is the 5-star treatment the prisoners get that the citizens may never realize. *That* is insulting to
Prisoners are (supposed) to be striped of their rights the moment they are convicted. They are (supposed) to be non-citizens, and barely human
(entirely due to their own choice of actions).
Life in a cage (no frills, perks, or benefits) is NOT life. Eating, sleeping, #ting -- that's merely surviving.
The way it's set up now, they're walking into a life that's better than the one they left. In fact, prison life was so much
there was a rash of people committing crimes just to get in
! (#, I'm a 'free' citizen, and I can't afford to eat 3 meals a day. I hafta
save my pennies to get my cavities drilled & filled. Health insurance?
If that, by itself, doesn't give the true state of affairs in this country... nothing will.
The gene pool does need a little chlorine from time to time and the death penalty ensures that at least one germ won't be polluting the water
for the rest of the swimmers.
This is assuming that the prisoners haven't had kids before being imprisoned... Besides that, their kids might turn out better than their parents --
so long as they've a better role model to follow. (Okay, there's no guarantee that any
child, no matter the parents, will turn out decent. I
still maintain that their environment/nurture plays a huge part in their development.)
Trying to add some humor to this topic: germs are good for ya. Gives the immune system practice so that it's strong! It's those sweaty boys playing
various sports that stink up the water...
(Never mind that chlorine doesn't kill all the germs.)
[edit on 7-8-2007 by Diseria]