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  1. #721
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewsieg View Post
    As for evil, I think most could use the obscene rule, you know it when you see it. As for where it comes from, I can assure you it's much more complex then someone hearing Glen Beck.
    I think you're assigning evil to an act after the fact. Something bad happens, it's evil. I understand that and that make sense as far as it goes, but I'm asking about evil as a cause. If Duane is maintaining that evil is the cause, then I'm wondering what is the nature of evil, and where does it come from?

    It's not just an academic question. It has actual policy ramifications.
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  2. #722
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    As far as we know, Loughner might have looked at a jelly doughnut and decided to kill. The true criminal act was negligence - not having him flagged in the gun purchase database.

    In addition, we spend too much time and energy in this country worrying about how much a convict "suffers". If the death penalty meant electrocution, and prison time was more of a punishment than a vacation resort, then perhaps some people would think twice about pulling that trigger?

    As for marijuana, there are definite situational hazards like Hueytaxi mentioned, but I know from experience (family owned a bar for 30 years) that alcohol triggers fights/violence and pot almost never does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    As far as we know, Loughner might have looked at a jelly doughnut and decided to kill. The true criminal act was negligence - not having him flagged in the gun purchase database.

    In addition, we spend too much time and energy in this country worrying about how much a convict "suffers". If the death penalty meant electrocution, and prison time was more of a punishment than a vacation resort, then perhaps some people would think twice about pulling that trigger?

    As for marijuana, there are definite situational hazards like Hueytaxi mentioned, but I know from experience (family owned a bar for 30 years) that alcohol triggers fights/violence and pot almost never does.
    Do you really think prison time is more like a vacation resort than a punishment?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    In addition, we spend too much time and energy in this country worrying about how much a convict "suffers". If the death penalty meant electrocution, and prison time was more of a punishment than a vacation resort, then perhaps some people would think twice about pulling that trigger?
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

  5. #725
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasfh View Post
    I think you're right on some levels. On another level, I think we're also a society who blames people for things they have little or no control over. I think we have strong elements of both.



    What are the tools, and who are supposed to provide them?
    The most important tool is respect and it is seriously lacking today. It is taught by parenting at the onset and that does not mean placing your kid in front of the tv with a sippy cup of apple juice. Read through this very thread and see how often one in disagreement is insulted. And we are only exchanging opinions of little or no value. Do we do the same in public? Unfortunately many do.
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  6. #726
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    I don't know if you can blame parenting. They could have given their kid every educational advantage and showered him with attention and encouragement, but he's still crazy.....

    And then people asked why wasn't his mental illness dealt with.


    Well, that's tricky too. I can't totally blame the parents on this one. They love their son, they (as most parents do) probably believed that the best would happen. As far as we know, other than some minor problems that this guy had yet to commit a felony and, correct me if I am wrong, but had yet to harm anyone. He was dark, he said some weird things, but we can't go locking up people for that (like Rudy Guiliani says) - half of us would be locked up.

    It all boils down to how we view mental illness. I say this over and over again, we need to stop looking at it as shameful or some kind of weakness because it's almost always a physical, physiological, brain chemistry malfunction. The biggest problem to me is that if a person is mentally ill, they have to come to terms with it and get help. It's like an addict - until the person himself actually acknnowledges and accepts there is a problem, all the treatment or rehab in the world is not going to have much success. And if you are dealing with someone that has serious enough mental issues, they aren't going to see it themselves...because they are crazy.

    I don't really feel much sympathy for him - I do for his family. He's a jerk. Maybe if he had assaulted someone in his past they could have forced treatment on him, but it seems that his first serious violent outburst was what happened on January 8th.

    And the people that are actually trying to blame pot for this - are total morons.
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  7. #727
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    Quote Originally Posted by qsilvr2531 View Post
    Do you really think prison time is more like a vacation resort than a punishment?
    Well to be fair some prisons are more comfy than others, but I'm not seeing much in the way of "hard time" in our correctional systems. My idea of an appropriate incarceration would be the tent cities and pink uniforms that Sheriff Joe employs. Obviously being in the prison culture itself would be very traumatic/hazardous to some people, but in most cases you are being housed with the same batch of your fellow losers that would have shot/beaten/raped you outside of prison walls, anway.

    Hey Chas nice photos of your family, but thanks to the ACLU our correctional system has become a complete ****ing joke, there's not a shred of doubt in my mind on that point.
    Last edited by DaYooperASBDT; 01-25-2011 at 02:32 PM.
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  8. #728
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    The true criminal act was negligence - not having him flagged in the gun purchase database.
    Its hard for me to imagine the world where Loughner is flagged and denied a gun. On what grounds, what'd he do in his past before this to deserve it? Just from looking at his wikipedia it seems like you'd have a pretty big State apparatus with a lot of money to flag a person like Loughner reliably/consistently (what we knew of him before the shooting). He didn't do much to make me think the State should have known and acted against him beforehand.

  9. #729
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinister porpoise View Post
    Its hard for me to imagine the world where Loughner is flagged and denied a gun. On what grounds, what'd he do in his past before this to deserve it? Just from looking at his wikipedia it seems like you'd have a pretty big State apparatus with a lot of money to flag a person like Loughner reliably/consistently (what we knew of him before the shooting). He didn't do much to make me think the State should have known and acted against him beforehand.
    From what I've being hearing there were certainly strong suspicions about his mental health, and according to this article, Loughner had several contacts with the campus police while at Pima: Loughner's Mental Illness: Six Disturbing Warning Signs - TIME

    Knowing that mental illnesses often develop during "school age", I think schools could be more aggressive in referring their students to mental health professionals. Certainly there are issues of privacy and other rights to work through but clearly more screening could be done. Also it sounds like this Sheriff knew the young man had issues as well - perhaps some clearer procedures would result in more of these "time bombs" being identified, just a thought.
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  10. #730
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    From what I've being hearing there were certainly strong suspicions about his mental health, and according to this article, Loughner had several contacts with the campus police while at Pima: Loughner's Mental Illness: Six Disturbing Warning Signs - TIME

    Knowing that mental illnesses often develop during "school age", I think schools could be more aggressive in referring their students to mental health professionals. Certainly there are issues of privacy and other rights to work through but clearly more screening could be done. Also it sounds like this Sheriff knew the young man had issues as well - perhaps some clearer procedures would result in more of these "time bombs" being identified, just a thought.
    Are people with mental health problems actually more likely to commit crimes than others? I have my doubts that we are actually able to identify mental unstable people prior to committing crimes with any kind of precision or accuracy.
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  11. #731
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    Quote Originally Posted by qsilvr2531 View Post
    Are people with mental health problems actually more likely to commit crimes than others? I have my doubts that we are actually able to identify mental unstable people prior to committing crimes with any kind of precision or accuracy.
    Unfortunately we seem to be better at identifying those issues after a crime has been committed. Tough question you have - I'm only confident in saying that states usually don't commit nearly enough resources to mental health. We're better at warehousing them in prisons or putting them out on the streets, in most cases.

    You can't screen everybody, and you don't want to be dragged into a psych eval just on one person's word, but I would hope that at least law enforcement staff would be trained in spotting troubling behaviors that would warrant further investigation.

    Another idea would be to license all gun possession (require an approved ID with gun endorsement), and screen everyone ahead of time, but that would be a tough sell.
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  12. #732
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motor City Sonics View Post
    I don't know if you can blame parenting. They could have given their kid every educational advantage and showered him with attention and encouragement, but he's still crazy.....

    And then people asked why wasn't his mental illness dealt with.
    The fallacy of your logic is taking two separate scenarios and combining them. All the young punks selling crack with a Jennings 9MM in their waist band are not mentally ill. They have decided the criminal life is easier to maintain than working for a living. Shooting protects their turf and lifestyle.

    Edit: rereading your last response I believe you were addressing the Giffords shooting which I was not offering an opinion on.
    Last edited by hueytaxi; 01-25-2011 at 06:29 PM.
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  13. #733
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    Well to be fair some prisons are more comfy than others, but I'm not seeing much in the way of "hard time" in our correctional systems.

    ***

    but thanks to the ACLU our correctional system has become a complete ****ing joke, there's not a shred of doubt in my mind on that point.
    I don't know where people get the idea that prison life is comfy. Spending 24/7 in an environment where you get raped and beaten by some of the most violent people in the country isn't my idea of comfy. Prisons are filled with antisocial and borderline personalities, gangs members, corrupt guards, and people with all sorts of anger at the world. Prison life is about as dehumanizing as you can get, and it's no surprise that many people consider our prisons places where people learn to be even harder criminals.

    Our prison system is messed up alright. We treat people who murder another human being the same as we treat someone who hasn't harmed anyone and instead has distributed bags of a dried plant that 50% of the population has smoked at least once at some point of their life.

    Prison doesn't teach you that what you did is wrong. It just further alienates you from mainstream society. This is why I'd like to see a lot more community service sentences for non-violent offenders, and not mixing in the violent guys with the non-violent ones.
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  14. #734
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCouga View Post
    Prison doesn't teach you that what you did is wrong. It just further alienates you from mainstream society. This is why I'd like to see a lot more community service sentences for non-violent offenders, and not mixing in the violent guys with the non-violent ones.
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  15. #735
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    Quote Originally Posted by hueytaxi View Post
    The fallacy of your logic is taking two separate scenarios and combining them. All the young punks selling crack with a Jennings 9MM in their waist band are not mentally ill. They have decided the criminal life is easier to maintain than working for a living. Shooting protects their turf and lifestyle.

    Edit: rereading your last response I believe you were addressing the Giffords shooting which I was not offering an opinion on.
    But sometimes the parents do everything the right way and the kid still goes bad. It's not always the parent. Each case is an individual one.
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  16. #736
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCouga View Post
    I don't know where people get the idea that prison life is comfy. Spending 24/7 in an environment where you get raped and beaten by some of the most violent people in the country isn't my idea of comfy. Prisons are filled with antisocial and borderline personalities, gangs members, corrupt guards, and people with all sorts of anger at the world. Prison life is about as dehumanizing as you can get, and it's no surprise that many people consider our prisons places where people learn to be even harder criminals.

    Our prison system is messed up alright. We treat people who murder another human being the same as we treat someone who hasn't harmed anyone and instead has distributed bags of a dried plant that 50% of the population has smoked at least once at some point of their life.

    Prison doesn't teach you that what you did is wrong. It just further alienates you from mainstream society. This is why I'd like to see a lot more community service sentences for non-violent offenders, and not mixing in the violent guys with the non-violent ones.
    I agree with your last 2 paragraphs 100%, for what it's worth.
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  17. #737
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasfh View Post
    I think you're assigning evil to an act after the fact. Something bad happens, it's evil. I understand that and that make sense as far as it goes, but I'm asking about evil as a cause. If Duane is maintaining that evil is the cause, then I'm wondering what is the nature of evil, and where does it come from?

    It's not just an academic question. It has actual policy ramifications.

    It's a valid question, although a bit existential. And I'm certainly not qualified to answer it, any more than I can answer where love comes from. My best description: it's "a spark." Not exactly scientific.

    All I know is, some people are plain evil. Everyone knows their share of folks who are greedy, totally self-centered, with no regard for others whatsoever; and, crucially, have no regrets about what they do. This manifests itself in various ways, but it's all on the side of evil, I think.

    One can be evil and work within the confines of society's rules -- in fact, in business and government, evil behavior is often rewarded.

    But in this discussion, we're talking about people who open fire on innocent bystanders. I don't think a decent person with a mental illness would do such a thing. An evil person with a mental illness, however, would, even if prior to such behavior he "only" did things like steal change from the March of Dimes jar at the 7-Eleven.

    Drugs, mental illness, childhood trauma might be the catalyst to push an evil person over the edge, but I know too many people who suffer from mental illness, had bad childhoods, and are hooked on drugs, and many are good-hearted people who struggle through life at least trying to do the right thing, even if they fall short.

    Of course, we all do things from time to time that might be considered evil. But decent people at least will have a twinge of regret. Evil people don't care...whether they're shooting up a McDonald's or making fun of a handicapped kid.

  18. #738
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    Quote Originally Posted by hueytaxi View Post
    The most important tool is respect and it is seriously lacking today. It is taught by parenting at the onset and that does not mean placing your kid in front of the tv with a sippy cup of apple juice. Read through this very thread and see how often one in disagreement is insulted. And we are only exchanging opinions of little or no value. Do we do the same in public? Unfortunately many do.
    I agree with you that strong parenting is a key way to instill respect in children that can lead to productive and civil adult behavior.

    But what if the parent does not provide this to the child? What if the parent is physically or emotionally absent in the way you imply -- or worse, physically or emotionally abusive? What of the child then? What do we do? Anything?
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

  19. #739
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duane B. Sims View Post
    It's a valid question, although a bit existential. And I'm certainly not qualified to answer it, any more than I can answer where love comes from. My best description: it's "a spark." Not exactly scientific.

    All I know is, some people are plain evil. Everyone knows their share of folks who are greedy, totally self-centered, with no regard for others whatsoever; and, crucially, have no regrets about what they do. This manifests itself in various ways, but it's all on the side of evil, I think.

    One can be evil and work within the confines of society's rules -- in fact, in business and government, evil behavior is often rewarded.

    But in this discussion, we're talking about people who open fire on innocent bystanders. I don't think a decent person with a mental illness would do such a thing. An evil person with a mental illness, however, would, even if prior to such behavior he "only" did things like steal change from the March of Dimes jar at the 7-Eleven.

    Drugs, mental illness, childhood trauma might be the catalyst to push an evil person over the edge, but I know too many people who suffer from mental illness, had bad childhoods, and are hooked on drugs, and many are good-hearted people who struggle through life at least trying to do the right thing, even if they fall short.

    Of course, we all do things from time to time that might be considered evil. But decent people at least will have a twinge of regret. Evil people don't care...whether they're shooting up a McDonald's or making fun of a handicapped kid.
    Great answer, Duane. Really well put, and I agree with you on a number of points.

    I agree with you there are people we could consider evil, in all walks of life, and you characterize them exactly correctly in my view: acting without consideration or regret. That's undeniable, and it's perfectly reasonable to refer to their behavior, their acts, as being evil.

    My question is: where does this evil come from? Why are these people evil, and what makes them like that? What is the nature of evil?

    A lot of people believe that "good" and "evil" come from supernatural beings that control our behavior. God makes us do good; Satan makes us do evil. Or maybe some people don't label it as "God" and "Satan", but at the same time, they still believe there's something inherent in a person's spirit that leads them to behave in a good or evil fashion. But doesn't this behavior has to come from somewhere? Something must be leading them to this behavior, mustn't it? Because we can all see that it's undeniably there. There must be something behind it -- something is failing. My question is, what is the nature of the failure? Is it a spiritual failing, or a physical failing?

    Here's why I think it's a policy consideration:

    If we believe in "evil" -- if we believe that there is some supernatural being who is the source of all evil, a being that influences evil and leads people to act in an evil manner -- well, then, there's nothing we can do to stop it. Our power pales against the power of this supernatural being, so all we can do to react to it is wait for the evil to happen, lock up the bad guys, and trust that these bad guys will eventually receive their just punishment after they die. That is, in fact, the exact policy that civilizations have been following for centuries, and that many -- too many, I think -- still employ today.

    OTOH, if we believe that people act in a way for a reason -- whether it is a systemic failure that creates an incentive to behave badly, or a physical problem such as brain damage/mental illness that leads people to do really bad things for no apparent reason -- then we can embrace the idea that we can do something to stop this behavior, to change the systems, and to undertake efforts to do so.

    The key difference is that with the former, the only way to combat it is to petition really hard to the Supernatural Being of Good to defeat the Supernatural Being of Bad and touch the hearts of men to become good. With the latter, the way to combat is to apply scientific rigor and analysis to understand the systemic problems that lead to warped incentives, or to understand the physical problems that lead to inexplicable bad behavior, and then test and improve the methods to combat the things leading to the behavior.

    In the former case, we push off the responsibility of change to beings we trust but cannot interact with, and simply wait and hope for results. In the latter case, we take on the responsibility for change unto ourselves and undertake the hard work to make results happen.

    That's the policy consideration at hand. And this is why it's meant to be an existential question, although that doesn't preclude it from being a practical consideration as well.

    So what is the problem? Is it that people are simply evil? Or is it that people are badly incentivized or mentally ill?
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    Apparently Michigan is trying to make it legal to carry guns at places like stadiums because we all know we have to be armed at a Tigers game. At least Ron Artest may think twice about running into the stands.

  21. #741
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    Chas - great question which I think also touches on related issues like nature vs. nurture, and idealism vs. realism. Supposing I were a diety representing Good (an attractive prospect to me!), then I would expect people to do both things - pray for Good to take hold with minds free of defect, but in the event of an "unanswered prayer", then people should try to cure/correct the source of evil or evil behaviors.

    An example of the latter could be Charles Whitman (the tower shooter), who I believe was clearly affected by both his childhood and a poorly placed tumor. Perhaps prayers would have prevented a massacre, but you can't bank on that no matter how strong your faith in "Good" may be. Therefore you must be prepared to deal with the evil or afflicted, and help/punish when necessary.

    If you believe we are born with or have been granted free will over our actions, then surely Good and Evil do exist, because most people are able to make that conscious choice. The case of those who have only been exposed to evil, or who have been rendered mentally incapable of anything but evil - that must be a very rare event. At least one would hope so?

    If you believe humans have instincts, such as the maternal instinct, and act solely on those - then you have boiled it down to an organism behaving in a way that perpetuates the species - caring for children, procreation, eliminating competitors, etc. Modern society has added a lot of structure to that, with extended families, religions, value systems, and laws - all meant for the betterment of the whole. When a person acts against that structure, he/she will certainly be perceived as being/acting evil, even if "evil" itself does not exist.

    So label things as good/evil if you must, but IMHO you must identify the harmful behaviors and act to either reform or isolate that person, regardless of motive. Our values of compassion toward fellow man dictate the course from there. In Saudi Arabia, you might cut off some limbs or digits, but I'm hopeful for a more enlightened approach here someday! Some people will only understand negative consequences, if they lack a set of values compatible with our society. And some people are indeed so mentally ill that they can't control themselves - those people must be treated at all costs.
    Last edited by DaYooperASBDT; 01-26-2011 at 03:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasfh View Post
    Great answer, Duane. Really well put, and I agree with you on a number of points.

    Thanks.




    My question is: where does this evil come from? Why are these people evil, and what makes them like that? What is the nature of evil?

    A lot of people believe that "good" and "evil" come from supernatural beings that control our behavior. God makes us do good; Satan makes us do evil. Or maybe some people don't label it as "God" and "Satan", but at the same time, they still believe there's something inherent in a person's spirit that leads them to behave in a good or evil fashion. But doesn't this behavior has to come from somewhere? Something must be leading them to this behavior, mustn't it? Because we can all see that it's undeniably there. There must be something behind it -- something is failing. My question is, what is the nature of the failure? Is it a spiritual failing, or a physical failing?

    Maybe it's a chemical imbalance, or the way neurons fire in the brain. Or maybe the reincarnation folks have it right: Your soul gets less evil each time around.

    My point was, once someone crosses that line and does something truly evil like shooting into a crowd, I really don't care what the underlying causes are. All I want is to get that person out of society as quickly as possible.

    Here's why I think it's a policy consideration:

    If we believe in "evil" -- if we believe that there is some supernatural being who is the source of all evil, a being that influences evil and leads people to act in an evil manner -- well, then, there's nothing we can do to stop it. Our power pales against the power of this supernatural being, so all we can do to react to it is wait for the evil to happen, lock up the bad guys, and trust that these bad guys will eventually receive their just punishment after they die. That is, in fact, the exact policy that civilizations have been following for centuries, and that many -- too many, I think -- still employ today.

    OTOH, if we believe that people act in a way for a reason -- whether it is a systemic failure that creates an incentive to behave badly, or a physical problem such as brain damage/mental illness that leads people to do really bad things for no apparent reason -- then we can embrace the idea that we can do something to stop this behavior, to change the systems, and to undertake efforts to do so.

    The key difference is that with the former, the only way to combat it is to petition really hard to the Supernatural Being of Good to defeat the Supernatural Being of Bad and touch the hearts of men to become good. With the latter, the way to combat is to apply scientific rigor and analysis to understand the systemic problems that lead to warped incentives, or to understand the physical problems that lead to inexplicable bad behavior, and then test and improve the methods to combat the things leading to the behavior.

    In the former case, we push off the responsibility of change to beings we trust but cannot interact with, and simply wait and hope for results. In the latter case, we take on the responsibility for change unto ourselves and undertake the hard work to make results happen.

    That's the policy consideration at hand. And this is why it's meant to be an existential question, although that doesn't preclude it from being a practical consideration as well.

    So what is the problem? Is it that people are simply evil? Or is it that people are badly incentivized or mentally ill?

    I can certainly see the practical applications of learning what causes people to be evil, along with the legal/policy ramifications. I wish I knew the answer, but I don't.

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    A current neighbor ran into serious trouble about 20 years ago. Nothing violent or criminal, yet attitude cost him a store managers job and a marriage. He had been to counseling with no help. When I learned of the downfall and the suddenness I suggested a full check up with bloodwork. His issue was a chemical imbalance and with diet control and daily supplements, he got back to about 85% "normal". He is still extremely excentriic, will not allow food to be cooked in his home, doesn't trust any fuel injected automobile, but functions and has remarried. Was he mentally ill? I don't know. He did get the help he needed.
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    Nicely put answer, Yoop.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    Chas - great question which I think also touches on related issues like nature vs. nurture, and idealism vs. realism. Supposing I were a diety representing Good (an attractive prospect to me!), then I would expect people to do both things - pray for Good to take hold with minds free of defect, but in the event of an "unanswered prayer", then people should try to cure/correct the source of evil or evil behaviors.
    This seems to suggest that prayer should be the first resort, and prevention based on science should be the second. I think this gives cover to the idea of people being inherently evil so let's pray to God to change them, but if He doesn't, well we couldn't have stopped it so all we can do now is just wait for stuff to happen, then lock up the evil guys. I believe this has been the way civilizations like ours approached it for too long, and look where it's gotten us.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    An example of the latter could be Charles Whitman (the tower shooter), who I believe was clearly affected by both his childhood and a poorly placed tumor. Perhaps prayers would have prevented a massacre, but you can't bank on that no matter how strong your faith in "Good" may be. Therefore you must be prepared to deal with the evil or afflicted, and help/punish when necessary.
    I don't know how prayers can prevent a specific massacre no one can see coming, but I do know that in Catholic church anyway, there are prayers for peace in the world at every Mass. I presume it's like that at basically every other religious service. Hasn't worked yet.

    I suppose you could say, well if we didn't pray, look how much worse it would be. I would counter by saying that if we didn't pray, look how much the same it would be.

    This is a bit of a sidetrack -- this not a screed against prayer. I think it's lovely that people pray for good things. I pray for things, too, mostly for guidance in tough situation. I just don't see the result of prayer against war and violent crime and such, and I can't take on faith that things are better than they would have been without prayer. But mostly, I don't see the value of prayer as the solution of primary resort, because all the available evidence says it is not working.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    If you believe we are born with or have been granted free will over our actions, then surely Good and Evil do exist, because most people are able to make that conscious choice. The case of those who have only been exposed to evil, or who have been rendered mentally incapable of anything but evil - that must be a very rare event. At least one would hope so?

    If you believe humans have instincts, such as the maternal instinct, and act solely on those - then you have boiled it down to an organism behaving in a way that perpetuates the species - caring for children, procreation, eliminating competitors, etc. Modern society has added a lot of structure to that, with extended families, religions, value systems, and laws - all meant for the betterment of the whole. When a person acts against that structure, he/she will certainly be perceived as being/acting evil, even if "evil" itself does not exist.
    This seems to imply that if you don't believe in prayer, then you must think people act on instinct like amoeba. Patently untrue. Practically everyone knows humans are complex sentient creatures who make choices based on reasons, and you don't need God or prayer to make those reasoned choices. It's built into our DNA and that's why we took over the Earth -- well, that and opposable thumbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    So label things as good/evil if you must, but IMHO you must identify the harmful behaviors and act to either reform or isolate that person, regardless of motive. Our values of compassion toward fellow man dictate the course from there. In Saudi Arabia, you might cut off some limbs or digits, but I'm hopeful for a more enlightened approach here someday! Some people will only understand negative consequences, if they lack a set of values compatible with our society. And some people are indeed so mentally ill that they can't control themselves - those people must be treated at all costs.
    I'm not a guy who wants to label anything "good" or "evil", as something infused into you by an outside force. I've come to not really believe in those concepts. I believe there are good and bad acts and behaviors that people engage in, and I believe they do so either because there's an incentive to act in a certain way (which is how capable people decide), or because there's a physical problem with the brain rendering them incapable of making proper choices.

    I believe your environment in your youth, particularly parenting, is a key moderating influence to your id, and a good environment can provide the foundation to make choices for advantageous to society in situations where you need to consider foregoing personal gain at the expense of externalizing pain to others. But even so, there's an incentive in choosing to forgo the opportunity to make a million dollars for yourself at the cost of families losing their homes, and that's really what people are responding to. I think a healthy environment provides the proper framework of incentives for you to make those decisions. An unhealthy or toxic environment results in a bad framework, or no framework, and that's what I think leads to mentally stable people engaging in behavior we call "evil".
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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    This seems to imply that if you don't believe in prayer, then you must think people act on instinct like amoeba. Patently untrue. Practically everyone knows humans are complex sentient creatures who make choices based on reasons, and you don't need God or prayer to make those reasoned choices. It's built into our DNA and that's why we took over the Earth -- well, that and opposable thumbs.
    No, I was referring to a very narrow belief set there, more of a theroretical tack, I guess. Certainly there are many out there who don't believe in God, but do believe that humans can overcome their basic instincts, even in a spiritual vacuum. But I did go to school with a fellow that believed the basic human instinct of procreation dictated most of your actions. Interesting fellow, to say the least.

    I believe your environment in your youth, particularly parenting, is a key moderating influence to your id, and a good environment can provide the foundation to make choices for advantageous to society in situations where you need to consider foregoing personal gain at the expense of externalizing pain to others. But even so, there's an incentive in choosing to forgo the opportunity to make a million dollars for yourself at the cost of families losing their homes, and that's really what people are responding to. I think a healthy environment provides the proper framework of incentives for you to make those decisions. An unhealthy or toxic environment results in a bad framework, or no framework, and that's what I think leads to mentally stable people engaging in behavior we call "evil".
    Certainly upbringing is key to instilling a set of values, but having good parents doesn't guarrantee a "good" person either. Some like a Dahmer or a Loughner can show deviance at a very early age. Perhaps the social stigma of having a "crazy" kid, or personal belief that religious training or parenting effort can overcome all, prevents some parents for getting help for the children. Of course those that seek help may find the mental health resources out there to be woefully insufficent, as well.
    Last edited by DaYooperASBDT; 01-27-2011 at 02:47 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    No, I was referring to a very narrow belief set there, more of a theroretical tack, I guess. Certainly there are many out there who don't believe in God, but do believe that humans can overcome their basic instincts, even in a spiritual vacuum. But I did go to school with a fellow that believed the basic human instinct of procreation dictated most of your actions. Interesting fellow, to say the least.
    I don't think humans have to work to overcome basic instincts. We are built with the innate ability to do just that. Just because you like to **** doesn't mean you're ruled by instincts.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    Certainly upbringing is key to instilling a set of values, but having good parents doesn't guarrantee a "good" person either. Some like a Dahmer or a Loughner can show deviance at a very early age. Perhaps the social stigma of having a "crazy" kid, or personal belief that religious training or parenting effort can overcome all, prevents some parents for getting help for the children. Of course those that seek help may find the mental health resources out there to be woefully insufficent, as well.
    I agree with you, there is no guarantee. But I also don't believe any amount of good parenting can help a person who's prone to violence because of brain damage and mental illness, which I would bet Dahmer and Loughner both were/are.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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    More good news regarding the Congresswoman:
    Reports: Giffords can converse, mouth simple songs - Yahoo! News--
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    More good news regarding the Congresswoman:
    Reports: Giffords can converse, mouth simple songs - Yahoo! News--
    "The 40-year-old Giffords has beaten one of her nurses at tic-tac-toe"

    Okay, that nurse should be fired.
    Not because she lost to Giffords but because she lost a game of Tic Tac Toe.
    Every game is a tie after 2nd grade.

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    Holy ****!

    Firefighter Refused 911 Call to Ariz. Shooting Spree, Citing Politics - FoxNews.com

    TUCSON, Ariz. -- A Tucson firefighter refused to respond to a 911 call to the Jan. 8 shooting spree that left six people dead and 14 injured, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Daily Star reported Thursday.

    Mark Ekstrum, who was part of a team trained to deal with major emergencies, quit the force two days later as management was investigating possible disciplinary action against him.

    According to a memo obtained by the Daily Star, Tucson Fire Department Capt. Ben Williams said Ekstrum told him he would not go on the call.

    "He mentioned something about 'political bantering' and he did not want to be part of it," the memo stated.

    Williams wrote that Ekstrum "started to say something about how he had a much different political viewpoint than the rest of the crew and he was concerned."

    Ekstrum then informed Williams he was going home sick and the crew attended the scene without him.

    The shooting took place at a political event hosted by Giffords (D-Ariz.).

    The congresswoman was shot in the head at point-blank range and is currently undergoing rehabilitation at a facility in Houston. The accused gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, is before the courts.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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    Bust his chops with receiving compensation under false pretenses. If he made a political statement that he would not respond and then claimed he was sick (and subject to sick pay) as an excuse, then it is a misuse of public funding.
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    Not surprising at all. It was clear from the beginning that the guy is mentally ill or brain-damaged:

    Judge rules Loughner is incompetent for trial - US news - Crime & courts - msnbc.com

    Ariz. shooting spree suspect incompetent for trial
    Jared Lee Loughner has outburst; defense says he's a 'gravely mentally ill man'

    updated 2 hours 21 minutes ago

    PHOENIX— The man accused of gunning
    down U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing
    six is mentally incompetent to stand trial, a
    judge ruled Wednesday after U.S. Marshals
    dragged the man out of the courtroom
    because of an angry outburst.

    As survivors of the deadly January attack
    looked on, Jared Lee Loughner lowered his
    head, raised it and said what sounded like
    "Thank you for the freak show. She died in
    front of me." His words were loud but
    mumbled, and it wasn't clear who he was
    talking about. He wore a khaki prison suit and
    sported bushy, reddish sideburns.

    U.S. District Judge Larry Burns' decision
    means the 22-year-old will be sent to a federal
    facility for up to four months in a bid to
    restore his competency.

    The ruling came after Loughner spent five
    weeks in March and April at a federal facility in
    Missouri, where he was examined by two
    court-appointed mental health professionals.
    The two were asked to determine whether
    Loughner understands the consequences of
    the case against him.

    The competency reports by psychologist
    Christina Pietz and psychiatrist Matthew
    Carroll haven't been publicly released.

    Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 federal
    charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting at
    a meet-and-greet event that wounded Giffords
    and 12 others and killed six people, including
    a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.

    After the outburst, two marshals standing
    behind Loughner's chair grabbed him by each
    arm and led him from the courtroom.
    Loughner's father, sitting a few rows behind
    his son, lowered his eyes and huddled with
    two women seated next to him.

    After a short recess, the marshals told the
    judge that Loughner had calmed down. They
    then brought Loughner back into the
    courtroom, and the judge told him he had a
    right to watch the hearing.

    Burns asked Loughner if he wanted to stay in
    the courtroom and behave, or view the
    proceeding on a TV screen in another room.

    "I want to watch the TV screen," Loughner
    responded.

    At least three survivors of the Tucson attack
    attended the hearing: Giffords aide Pam Simon,
    who was shot in the chest and right wrist; Eric
    Fuller, who was shot in the knee and the back;
    and retired Army Col. Bill Badger, who is
    credited with helping subdue Loughner after a
    bullet grazed the back of Badger's head.

    Fuller said he is comfortable with the judge's
    incompetency decision and wouldn't be
    bothered if Loughner spends the rest of his
    life in a mental health facility.

    "You don't have to be a psychiatrist to know
    that the boy is disturbed," Fuller said.

    Prosecutors had asked for the mental exam,
    citing a YouTube video in which they believe a
    hooded Loughner wore garbage bags and
    burned an American flag.

    The judge gave the two mental health
    professionals access to Loughner's health
    records from his pediatrician, a behavioral
    health hospital that treated him for extreme
    intoxication in May 2006 and an urgent care
    center where he was treated in 2004 for
    unknown reasons.

    Prosecutor Wallace Kleindienst said that in the
    next few days, Loughner will be sent back to
    the Missouri facility where he underwent five
    weeks of mental competency testing. He will
    stay there for up to four months to see if his
    competency can be restored to where he
    understands the case against him.

    If Loughner is later determined to be
    competent, the case against him will resume. If
    he isn't deemed competent at the end of his
    treatment, his stay at the facility can be
    extended. There are no limits on the number
    of times such extensions can be granted.

    Kleindienst said the Missouri facility will seek
    to medicate Loughner, but he didn't know if
    Loughner would agree to taking medication.

    If doctors conclude they can't restore
    Loughner's mental competency, the judge
    would have to make a decision. If the judge
    finds there's no likelihood of Loughner being
    restored to competency, the judge can dismiss
    the charges against him. In that case, state and
    federal authorities can petition to have
    Loughner civilly committed and could seek to
    extend that commitment repeatedly, said
    Heather Williams, a federal public defender in
    Tucson who isn't involved in the Loughner
    case.

    The doctors who examined Loughner were
    ordered not to focus on his sanity at the time
    of the shooting.

    Loughner's lawyers haven't said whether they
    intend to present an insanity defense. But they
    noted in court filings that his mental condition
    will likely be a central issue at trial and
    described him as a "gravely mentally ill man."

    Giffords spokesman C.J. Karamargin declined
    to comment on Wednesday's ruling and wasn't
    sure whether Giffords would be notified.
    "We've never commented on Loughner's legal
    case," Karamargin said. "There's no reason to
    start now."

    Giffords' astronaut husband Mark Kelly is
    currently on NASA's next-to-last space shuttle
    flight. Asked about whether Kelly would be
    told of the judge's decision, Karamargin said:
    "I don't know. My guess is he's of course in
    constant communication with Earth, so I
    imagine he will be told. I don't know the
    specifics."
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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    Actually it wasn't clear from the beginning. In the beginning he was a radical tea partier who did it because Sarah Palin appeared before him in the middle of the night. Only after that narrative fizzled in biblical proportions did people recognize he was crazy, lest he be blamed as a leftist.
    .

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    Here's a way we can prevent shooting deaths. Get rid of incompetent law enforcement officials like Sheriff Dupnik.

    Pajamas Media Seventy-One Shots: The Death of Jose Guereña

    These guys should all be brought up on murder charges. Including this moron sheriff.
    .

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    The only sensible solution to this tragedy is to place Loughner into a secure psychiatric hospital for the rest of his life. Shoot, just one look at the guy convinced me that he's a few fries short on his Happy Meal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    The only sensible solution to this tragedy is to place Loughner into a secure psychiatric hospital for the rest of his life. Shoot, just one look at the guy convinced me that he's a few fries short on his Happy Meal.
    I would be interested in what the legal representatives we have here say about this. I see no justice with this ruling.
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    Sometimes you can't get justice. But you can remove him from society and make sure he never hurts another person. I don't think putting an insane man to death will make very many people feel better, but that's just my personal take on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    Sometimes you can't get justice. But you can remove him from society and make sure he never hurts another person. I don't think putting an insane man to death will make very many people feel better, but that's just my personal take on it.
    Agreed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oblong View Post
    Actually it wasn't clear from the beginning. In the beginning he was a radical tea partier who did it because Sarah Palin appeared before him in the middle of the night. Only after that narrative fizzled in biblical proportions did people recognize he was crazy, lest he be blamed as a leftist.
    I'll second that notion!
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    Speaking of preventing shooting incidents, look whose number one in violent crime in the US. Detroit still has a long way to go to be number one in the world. Juarez and Caracas still holding strong. Maybe we should just arm all Detroiters?

    Flint, Detroit top the list of big U.S. cities for violent crime, FBI statistics show
    Mike Wilkinson/ The Detroit News

    Detroit saw a sizeable drop in violent crime last year yet remains the most violent city in the country, according to preliminary 2010 crime statistics released by the FBI on Monday.

    Despite a decline in murder, robbery and aggravated assault, Detroit ranks No. 1 per capita, with Flint at No. 2. The next-closest city, St Louis, had a violent crime rate 17 percent lower than Flint's and 18.5 percent below Detroit's.

    The FBI estimates Detroit's population at 899,447, while the 2010 census put the city's population at 713,777. If the latter figure is used, Detroit's per capita rate exceeds Flint's, with 2,378 violent crimes per 100,000 residents....
    From The Detroit News: Metro and State | Flint, Detroit top the list of big U.S. cities for violent crime, FBI statistics show | The Detroit News

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oblong View Post
    Here's a way we can prevent shooting deaths. Get rid of incompetent law enforcement officials like Sheriff Dupnik.

    Pajamas Media Seventy-One Shots: The Death of Jose Guereña

    These guys should all be brought up on murder charges. Including this moron sheriff.
    Certainly seems unjustified based on that report (and everything else I've read), though I expect that pointing anyone pointing a rifle at police officers is virtual guaranteed of getting shot, especially with the way SWAT teams operate currently. If this qualifies as incompetent I think we'd have to get rid of the vast majority of law enforcement officials, at least the ones involved in raids like this. It's certainly not the way it should be but it is pretty much the way it is.

    If this guy were an actual drug dealer that pointed an assault rifle at police officers (but never took a shot) and got gunned down I expect the reaction would be different for many people.
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