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The Fragile Nature of Civilization

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Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


0 posted 03-19-2000 01:20 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Camille Paglia. I'm not a big fan of hers and in many ways she seems to have embraced the anti-intellectualism of America with a rather bizzare kind of passion. Still, she did say something the other day in Salon that struck me. She said that civilization is an extremely fragile construct, one that can easily far apart. This assumption in turn led her to believe in the freedom of Americans to own guns. So, she's against gun control.

I'm curious then. Are those of us who are for gun control dangerously naive in thinking that a society without guns would be a safer, stabler place?  Should we legislate for some future catastrophe that will come eventually -- we just don't know exactly when? Is this a legitimate concern? Is this a practical concern?

For the record -- I'm for gun control but can't think of any practical way to get it done in any real sense.


Brad
Tony Di Bart
Member
since 01-26-2000
Posts 163
Toronto, Canada


1 posted 03-19-2000 11:20 AM       View Profile for Tony Di Bart   Email Tony Di Bart   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tony Di Bart

Brad How could I possibly resist(LOL)

I live in Canada and as an outsider I cannot understand the big deal with gun control.  In Toronto where I live several years back the police said you can own a gun just register. THere was no fuss, no militant rah rah .

To answer your questions would society be safer with out guns.  I do not think that it is a matter of safer.  I think that people would still get in arguments and fights etc.  The only difrence is that a gun is easy to use and so a fatal.  A club, or knife., or bottle etc... can be just as fatal but I think that all these other methods of violence are not as easy to use as a bullet.

YOu would have to actually get close enough to some one to stab them.  

So would society be safer and more stable.  NO JUST LESS FATAL.  

See ya

jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


2 posted 03-19-2000 04:14 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

"Are those of us who are for gun control dangerously naive in thinking that a society without guns would be a safer, stabler place?"  

Sometimes I ask myself the same questions.  Whenever there is a violent act committed with a handgun that makes national news, you can, without error, predict that some legislature is going to use the tragedy as a soap-box for his/her adjenda.  I recently read an article about a woman who was arrested for sending her children to school with a hammer and a screw driver to use to "protect themselves from bullies".  

The biggest problem I see with both sides of the argument is a common failure to recognize WHY modern day gun ownership is a problem.  The pro-gunners say "It's my right, it's my right!" and the anti-gunners yell "Guns kill children, guns kill children!"  But I don't believe the problem is with the guns so getting rid of the guns is not, I think, going to solve the problem.  The problem seems to be a gradual cheapening of human life and a deterioration of a sense of right and wrong.  Without getting into a big "this is right for you but not me" debate, I think that we can all agree that the intentional injury or killing of another person without justification or excuse is just plain wrong.  Somewhere along the line it seems that many of us have lost this little common-sensical idea.

The mother who sent her kids to school with potential dangerous tools from a tool-box was wrong in doing this but it is very likely that she felt what she did was acceptible at the time she did it.  She still may feel as though she did nothing wrong.  In my opinion, there is something very wrong with this picture and I don't believe in the efficacy of making hammers and screw-drivers illegal in order to cure this problem.

"Should we legislate for some future catastrophe that will come eventually -- we just don't know exactly when? Is this a legitimate concern? Is this a practical concern?"

I hate thinking that legislation is the only avenue.  Legistlation seems to be a hindrance as often as it is helpful.  It seems crimes committed with handguns are already illegal.  What I am wondering is if there is no real fear of punishment amongst those who are committing the crimes.  Couple no sense of right and wrong and no fear of punishment and I think you are asking for violent crime to worsen in frequency and scale.

I think the concern is legitimate but I don't think the best way to address the concern is to create more restrictive laws.  Personally, I think some right-winger's contentions that putting prayer back is schools is just as ineffectual band-aid as gun control legislation.  

I'm going to point my finger at parents (I am entitled to do that because I am a parent, btw).  No two people are more responsible for a child's moral development than his/her father and mother.  If mommy sends junior 1 and junior 2 to elementary school with tools as weapons then the kids are being instilled with a distorted idea of what is right and wrong and will be more likely to do the wrong thing.  What bothers me most is that my oldest son is now in preschool and there is always the possibility that one of those dumba** parents is sending their child to my son's school with weapons.  

Kinda got off on a tangent.  Sorry about that.  I'm off my soap-box for now.

Jim

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


3 posted 03-19-2000 08:17 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Tony,
Yes, society would be less fatal but probably not less violent.  Should we be preparing for a catastrophe that we cannot yet forsee though? How does the rest of the world deal with a catastrophe (pick one, there're plenty to choose from) with gun control?

Jim,
Your concern with legislation is legitimate but legislation happens. I have another post in mind that goes after the nature of the politician's world. When was the last time someone was celebrated by the media for doing nothing? Or for repealing legislation?  Whenever an emergency occurs, everybody cries "Do something, do something" -- never, "leave us alone, we can help ourselves".  Are you saying we should just have a moratorium on legislation altogether?

By the way, I see nothing wrong with school prayer. Just think it's another way of saying the Pledge of Allegiance -- and we made fun of that in school anyway.  Teachers are going to run their classes as they see fit and they will let their personal views be known to the students.  The same thing holds for evolution.  Personally, I find this part of the debate rather ineffectual -- people seem to forget what actually happens in a classroom or that high school students actually make up their own minds.

Brad
Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
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Michigan, US


4 posted 03-19-2000 09:10 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Why did the authors of the US Constitution consider the "right to bear arms" so important? What "future catastrophe" concerned them?

jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


5 posted 03-19-2000 09:22 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Ron:

They were probably concerned about the ability of citizens to protect themselves against tyranny.  In this day and age I don't see how my right to own my hunting rifle is going to do me much good against a well equipped tyrant but I suppose it protects me better than bare fists.

Brad:

I would never suggest that there be a moratorium on legislation (because there is good legislation) but I would suggest that a moratorium be placed on knee-jerk legislation.  Poorly written legislation is either completely ineffectual and unenforceable or so worded as to allow its enforcers to make almost arbitrary decisions on what is a violation of that law and what is not.  It is my experience with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and OSHEA (Occupational Safety and something-or-other Act) that causes me to be a little worried about COPPA (Child Online Privacy Protection Act), by the way.

[This message has been edited by jbouder (edited 03-19-2000).]
Tony Di Bart
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since 01-26-2000
Posts 163
Toronto, Canada


6 posted 03-19-2000 11:12 PM       View Profile for Tony Di Bart   Email Tony Di Bart   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tony Di Bart

Ron and Jim.

Please forgive me I am canadian, but did not "the right to bear arms" have to do with the british.  Was it not included because the people never wanted to be in a postition where they would be defensless, against the british.  I think this argument is a little archaic.  As far as legislation I do not agree with the government telling people what to do.  I agree with Jim that the parents are responsible for a childs moral upbringing.  However, I think the main problem is that we keep pushing the boundries.  Each generation tries to out do the previous.  Each and everyone tries to push the envelope a little further. Granted they each push just a little bit but over the last century it has been push rather far.  

I also think, besides pushing the envelope as far as what we show on TV, alot of crimes is caused by the have's and have not "syndrome". Alot of kids and adults are stealing killing dealing drugs to get what they do not have.  

So I think there is a problem in society.  Is there an impending catstrophe? Yes, absolutley, 100% without a doubt.  It's  happening every day already, we are just so desensitized that we do not see these things as " Catastophies" and only small insanities. Is a catastrophy a bad thing.  Yes, people will die, but no because behind the catastrophy will be a new enlightenment.  Can we stop it.  I think not. Why do so many people start to live more fullfuled lives only after a near death experience? I think the same thing will happen.

I think that this is a global phenom not just in the US.

see ya
Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


7 posted 03-21-2000 07:15 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello everyone,

"I'm curious then. Are those of us who are for gun control dangerously naive in thinking that a society without guns would be a safer, stabler place?"

On an earlier thread I had said guns are not the problem but rather an extension of people. That in my opinion is true, just as a fishing rod is an extension of our will, or as a car is, etc. but not only is a gun an extension of our aggression but maybe even our cowardice as well. I think guns create a more disassociation with victims, the further away one is from a problem usually the less guilt is felt by the perpetrator. For example, would more people find it easier to drop a bomb with the push of a button from a plane at 30 000 feet and kill 1000 people or would it be more mentally difficult to individually strangle those 1000 people? A gun creates a distance between killer and victim both visually- physically and mentally. A person with a gun does not have to fear the target fighting back...you punch someone first they still are often able to fight on but shoot someone first and they'll probably be down for the count. Colt 45. first slogan was, "The Colt 45. makes even a woman a man." or something like that. Ask the majority of people "if you had to kill someone which way would it be?", I think very few would say by hand or stabbing, most would probably choose something that disassociates themselves with the victim such as a gun, bomb or poison. I think this gives a person a cleaner conscience, a sub-conscious blame shift, such as, I didnt kill-it was the gun. Any creature with a sloth's dexterity can pull a trigger, very simple yet extremely effective and perhaps there lies the selling point. Troubles gone with one squeeze of the finger....you don't even have to be there, you can be on the other side of a field or on a building. I wonder how many people would actually still go to war if all the fighting was done by hand but still to the death? How many people do you ever hear about fist fighting to the death? How many people do you hear of fist fighting then running off and getting a gun? I don't know the stats but nonetheless I think its an interesting thing to consider. Maybe society is just so lazy that no one wants to expend the energy it would take to kill by hand?

"Should we legislate for some future catastrophe that will come eventually -- we just don't know exactly when?"

Should we build levees? (sp?)

"Is this a legitimate concern? Is this a practical concern?"

The problem with gun control is that it is most easy for the people who abuse guns to obtain them. I say forget legislating gun control for John Q Public but rather clamp down on the criminal use of firearms. Guns will be around for a long time after we are all dead or at least until the world forms a better consciousness so why and make it harder to obtain a gun legally then illegally? Now since you can't stop criminals from obtaining guns, why not make the punishment more strict but like Jim pointed out, would that really stop the problem? Then you must also look at why someone would want to have a gun and use it and begin to "fix" that problem. I think a lot of it boils down to the standard of living and environment. Why don't you see wealthy Park Avenue'rs shooting each other over a disagreement? Why do stats show that those with a post secondary education are less likely to commit a violent crime? Why is substance abuse so much more a prevelant problem with low income areas? Over 80 percent of all violent crimes commited in North America are done so while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Once again I'm going to state that the gun is but an extension of the human will/desire/want/need or whatever you want to call it and the problem and solution to guns does not solely fall on those who use them. If society creates the individual then aren't we all partially to blame especially if we can find a solution? Perhaps giving everyone more choices in life would enable them to look past fruitless and destructive options. How many of us would bear and use firearms if we thought it was the only way to feed our children? How well can anyone think out their life's actions with a grade eleven education that really only equates to about a grade six level? How many choices would such an education grant you as far as realistic income potential goes? How would one interpret life if their major influence was poverty, violence and substance abuse. That child who recently shot the six yr. old girl in the neck at school, does anyone think that if he had a better environment to live in that he would have still shot someone? Probably not, so my question is not why does this happen but why do we continue to let this happen. Instead of locking up criminals for 50 000 dollars a year why not invest it in them before they become criminals? Before they buy a gun and shoot someone....if we show them compassion now I'm sure most will return it later.

Now this is starting to get a little off topic but I'm going to post it anyways. Many people I know say we show the criminals too much compassion by giving them t.v., computers, weight rooms, trailer visits, etc. and I agree. The problem is the prison system is backwards. On the outside they live in a neighborhood where they die, where their brothers are dealers, sisters are prostitutes, mothers are junkies and fathers are drunks. My feeling is that we should provide for them on the outside and even after they are provided, they commit crimes then punish them inside a prison system that has the bare necessities. Why not feed and shelter and clothe a whole family for 40 000 dollars then to send one person to jail for relatively the same amount of money? Why not pay for someone's college education with the money we would spend on the prison term? I don't know if it would work, or if it would make a better society but has it been tried yet? Regardless of what we do there will always be those who can not pay their own way so why do we turn them into criminals by ignoring them until after the fact rather than being a little more attentive and help shape them into better people?

TONY:

"Yes, people will die, but no because behind the catastrophy will be a new enlightenment.  Can we stop it.  I think not."

No we probably can't stop it but I think we can control the degrees. Change is probably the only constant of the universe that I can think of and that might not even be a constant but rather just the illusion mortality creates....ummmm, where was I....oh yeah, change, Now we probably can't stop it but we can control it, for example, if a society dictated that it wanted to go from communism to democracy and it was enevitable then things can be done to prevent a violent revolution. Some gov'ts are wise enough to release the reigns before the horse bucks but some aren't. For example the Communist revolution of Russia was a violent one that resulted in the deaths of many but it's change into democracy was fairly smooth in comparison...though longer. Usually a slower transition results in less upheavel but that takes forsight and sacrafice....something not easily found in politicians and politics. So change may be inevitable but how and when we change may not be. Foresight, foresight, foresight....based upon what we know of the past and what we hope from the future.


This is Johnny Fever signing out.
StarrGazer
Senior Member
since 03-05-2000
Posts 696
Texas


8 posted 03-21-2000 09:31 AM       View Profile for StarrGazer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for StarrGazer

     Guns don't kill, people do. Reguardless of any legislation that is  passed criminals would still get  guns. Guns  would  still fall into the wrong hands.
     In my opinion, gun control legislation only covers up the problem. So how do you solve it? I'm not sure that you can. Look at the alcohol consumption laws,they're there but do they stop minors from getting alcohol, store owners from selling it ? No. If you want something  bad enough there is always a way to get it.
     The only way to help curb the occurence of gun related violence is education. And education holds no real guarantees. You can teach  right from wrong  but in the end  the responsible decision lays upon each of our shoulders.        

 "A poet is one who spends a lifetime standing out in thunderstorms, waiting to be hit by lightning"
~Randal Jarrell~


nona
Member
since 03-03-2000
Posts 140
Fla


9 posted 03-21-2000 10:21 AM       View Profile for nona   Email nona   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nona

Well now Brad you have opened up quite a question. One I have done a lot ot thinking on, but need to take some time to get my thoughts down on paper since they have only been swimming around in my head. Will get back to all of you love this discussion.Coming soon as I see it.
nona
Well now IN MY MINDS EYE here it is

I think that it is time for the "silent majority" to start speaking up for what is going on, not only in America but in the world over. It seems our "silence" has allowed those who are or should I say "were" in the MINORITY to have control.
We choose to ignore or to turn away when our morals and eithics are challanged and say nothing or mutter only to others of like feelings as ours, but seldom step up and challange the ones we are offended by.
How can we parents teach our children right from wrong when they see examples everyday of people disobeying both, God's Laws and mans laws and paying NO consequiences for them ie: our President , the multiple "sports" figures now in the news, news coverage of Priests and scout leaders involved in illegal things.
We seem to be outnumbered here because we fail to speak up. The solution to societies problems are not in making more laws to protect us but to look within to find the rot that is eating at the core of our society. Only then will we find a solution to the ills we feel.
We are on a "self distruct" path if we do not start speaking up and challanging those who wish to have the upper hand for their own bidding.
So I think the question can not be ,should we or should we not have guns, but what can we do to find the cause for their being used so frequently against each other...nona


[This message has been edited by nona (edited 03-21-2000).]
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


10 posted 03-22-2000 10:11 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Tony:

At the time the Bill of Rights was drafted I have no doubt that the Founding Fathers included British rule as tyranny but I think it is unwise to limit the scope of the right to keep and bear arms to defense against the British.  I think they intended a broad interpretation of this right rather than a narrow one.  But this is currently a hotly debated issue.  This is the exact wording of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, btw:

"A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

There are differing interpretations of the language in this amendment ... maybe you could start another thread?

Tony, you to raise a good and valid point regarding desensitization.  It is not uncommon anymore to see human bodies on the 6 O'clock news (as long as they are not American bodies ... I really hate the double standard).  Individual life just doesn't seem so important anymore.  Why do you think that is?

Johnny Fever:

"On an earlier thread I had said guns are not the problem but rather an extension of people ... but not only is a gun an extension of our aggression but maybe even our cowardice as well. I think guns create a more disassociation with victims, the further away one is from a problem usually the less guilt is felt by the perpetrator."

A 10th century Pope said the same thing about the crossbow and condemned the use of the weapon because of its ability to kill from such a great range.  It made war too dangerous, I think. As I mentioned to Tony, human life seems to have diminished in value considerably in our day.   I don't understand why this is.  I remember my feelings of horror when I watched the Branch Davidian Compound burn on live TV and thought of the many children that were in the stucture and I remember how much the Oklahoma City bombing disturbed me.  But I also remember noticing that other people were not affected in the same way.  Why is that?

"Now since you can't stop criminals from obtaining guns, why not make the punishment more strict but like Jim pointed out, would that really stop the problem?"

I recently heard a news report about a serial killer in Palestine (I think) who was caught and convicted.  He was sentenced to death by being cut in little pieces while still alive and some other really gruesome things that I can't remember.  I think this is extreme punishment (the Palestinians argue that the punishment fits the crime) but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why serial killing is not common in Palestine.

If a person maliciously wounds another with a gun, what is so cruel and unusual about shooting the criminal in the knee or something?  If a person kills another with a gun, what is so cruel about a firing squad?  

If conscience is not enough to motivate someone to have a healthy respect for fellow human life then why can't fear be conscience's companion in the "Do the Right Thing" motivation department?

"I think a lot of it boils down to the standard of living and environment."

I think you are basicly right here but I would narrow the reason even further.  I think the problem boils down to a misunderstanding of what constitutes a reasonable standard of living.  I had friends whose parents drove expensive cars, had the best stereo and home theater equipment, and wore expensive clothes but chose to live in cheap apartments in dangerous neighborhoods.  Basic values such as quality family time and learning have taken back seats to the newest Play Station Game and DVD players.  

"Why don't you see wealthy Park Avenue'rs shooting each other over a disagreement?"

Because they can afford lawyers who can stick their rich enemies with large judgments.  

"If society creates the individual then aren't we all partially to blame especially if we can find a solution?"

This might surprise you but I lay most of the blame on the failure of religious bodies to be the moral consciences in their communities.  I have often said that moral decline and a lack of moral restraint are reasons why the government seems compelled to fill in the void and become more intrusive.  I not talking about Bible thumping, but I am talking about standing firm for at least the second table of the Ten Commandments: You shall honor your father and your mother, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not bear false witness (lie, purger yourself, defraud), and you shall not covet.  If the virtue inherent in these Commandments is not firmly ingrained in children (and adults, for that matter) then it is farm more likely that they will not be seen as important or virtuous.  

"Perhaps giving everyone more choices in life would enable them to look past fruitless and destructive options."

"Giving" more choices to some, especially when the government mandates it, is the same as taking choices away from others.  Is this fair?  Oh ... forgot ... of course you think it is fair.  I can live with that (for now) but I think that "more choices" is far less likely to be as effective as pointing people in the direction of the right choices (by "right choices" I am willing to confine myself to those Commandments I mentioned ... to avoid a "what's right for you isn't necessarily right for me debate if possible).

"How many of us would bear and use firearms if we thought it was the only way to feed our children?"

How many times, statistically, are guns used in this way?  How often is the gunman thinking of anyone besides himself or herself?  I don't buy into all of that "I had to hold up the convenience store to feed junior ... and I really needed that new Kid Rock CD too."  Come'on, Trev ... you don't really believe this happens often enough to be considered common, do you?

"How well can anyone think out their life's actions with a grade eleven education that really only equates to about a grade six level?"

My dad was born during the Great Depression and quit school while in the 9th grade to enlist in the U.S. Navy during WWII.  I think he ran a red light once and was ticketed for not moving his car during street cleaner day in the city but he worked hard every day until the day he was driven to the hospital where he would die.  I am willing to adamantly argue that it is not about education or about having/not having.  I think it is about doing the right thing because it is the right thing.  While they were far from being perfect people, my dad's generation didn't seem to have the problem our generation has in doing the right thing because the right thing is the only thing that we should do.

"Instead of locking up criminals for 50 000 dollars a year why not invest it in them before they become criminals? Before they buy a gun and shoot someone....if we show them compassion now I'm sure most will return it later."

I think teaching them the difference between right and wrong is an investment that far exceeds $50,000.00 dollars per year.  If the kid knew children should not play with guns, if he knew that hurting other people was wrong THEN this tragedy probably never would have happened.  Money is not going to change this as much as an appreciation for virtuous living would.

StarrGazer:

"The only way to help curb the occurence of gun related violence is education. And education holds no real guarantees. You can teach  right from wrong  but in the end  the responsible decision lays upon each of our shoulders."

I agree with you. But I think education is less effective when the kid receives mixed messages.  Laws are easier to change than social mores, after all.

Nona:

I agree with most of what you said ... that this "silent majority" is largely to blame because of their laziness and fear of being ridiculed and for allowing the government to be its mouthpiece for far too long.  The question is, how is this "silent majority" going about remedying its wrongs?  Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson bully pulpits don't seem to be doing much good (they seem to be dividing people more than anything).  Maybe this "silent majority" would be more effective if they focused their attention on teaching those around them that disrespecting one's parents, killing, stealing, lying, and coveting are immoral behaviors.  What do you think?

Later folks.

Jim





Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


11 posted 03-22-2000 05:15 PM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello everyone,

JIM:

"I remember my feelings of horror when I watched the Branch Davidian Compound burn on live TV and thought of the many children that were in the stucture and I remember how much the Oklahoma City bombing disturbed me.  But I also remember noticing that other people were not affected in the same way.  Why is that?"

And some cheered and some boo'd, some were happy and some were sad when they use to throw people to the lions or burn witches. Different reactions for different people. I'm sure some people just didn't give a damn about a cult burning or a bomb going off. Disassociation perhaps...if it isn't in my backyard or doesn't effect me then why should I care type of mentality....only problem is it does effect them and they don't even know it.

"I recently heard a news report about a serial killer in Palestine (I think) who was caught and convicted."

Actually Jim I think it was in Pakistan. He killed a 100 or so children by strangling them, cutting them up into pieces then dropping them in acid.

"He was sentenced to death by being cut in little pieces while still alive and some other really gruesome things that I can't remember."

He was sentenced to be strangled to death, then chopped into 100 pieces (each family of a victim gets to cut off a piece) then he parts are to be thrown into acid.

"I think this is extreme punishment (the Palestinians argue that the punishment fits the crime) but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why serial killing is not common in Palestine."

Punishment does fit the crime but because of the number of victims it recieved world exposure. Are either of us certain how many serial killers there are in Pakistan?...(I'm pretty sure it was Pakistan). How many murders a year in Pakistan and what is that number in relation to population? Also some may argue that there is less crime in general in these countries....but they do have different laws. If I beat my wife in the middle east will I go to jail or would my wife even call the police? Some things that are considered crimes in NA are not crimes in another. Perhaps stat wise there are more crimes in Western society because we do have more laws and a different value system, it is a crime to burn off genetalia in NA but not in some middle eastern countries, it is a crime in NA to publicly carry a firearm (in most states) but okay to carry a machine gun in some countries....now I don't have any way to prove or disprove that statement but perhaps there might be some truth to that. My question is, even though we are more informed than we've ever been about world events, are we still recieving the big picture from other countries? Do we really know whats going on in Pakistan if we are not living there? How many murders are there worldwide that we don't ever here about?

"If a person maliciously wounds another with a gun, what is so cruel and unusual about shooting the criminal in the knee or something?  If a person kills another with a gun, what is so cruel about a firing squad?"

Maybe I didn't elaborate enough with my response. I am for punishing criminals and I am for capital and corpral(sp?) punishment but on top of that I am for finding a solution (or at least better prevention) to the cause of criminal behaviour rather than just and after the fact treatment. I like Singapore's idea of public caning but I also like the idea that perhaps we can get through to children before we have to beat them.

"If conscience is not enough to motivate someone to have a healthy respect for fellow human life then why can't fear be conscience's companion in the "Do the Right Thing" motivation department?"

I agree but shouldn't we also look at reaching a person and discovering why they have no conscience about certain things.

"I think the problem boils down to a misunderstanding of what constitutes a reasonable standard of living.  I had friends whose parents drove expensive cars, had the best stereo and home theater equipment, and wore expensive clothes but chose to live in cheap apartments in dangerous neighborhoods."

Yes but why are there dangerous neighborhoods? What were the standard of living of the people who can't afford a better neighborhood? Who couldn't afford expensive clothes or a stereo? There are people in that situation in NA. There are people who struggle to feed there kids on a daily basis. I think we should look at why people are poor....is the system set up to create both winners and losers regardless of efforts or is it set up so everyone can be a winner with the right amount of effort? You can trace it all back to the society we created, the system, and our genes....but then again genes, if going by Darwinism, is subject to change through the influence of environment....so maybe everything to do with who we are stems from environment. So if there are frequent criminal activity in our society then there must be something wrong with the environment people live in. So why not focus more on changing the way we live instead of just the way we punish people? I'm not saying don't punish people, you have to, you can't let a murderer just roam the street but is there a way to prevent murders from being created?

"Because they can afford lawyers who can stick their rich enemies with large judgments. "

Wouldn't that be even more of a reason to kill? They don't because they have choices. They don't like their job, fine, they can quit and get another. They don't like their neighborhood, fine, they can move. They don't like the way they've been treated, fine, they can afford to hire a lawyer. They are afraid of being robbed, fine, they can install a security system. They can retire, they can provide easily for their family's, they can pay their bills. Now this doesn't take care of all stresses in life but it sure does help. The majority of marriages fail because of #1 Money #2 sex life....so I think it is safe to say that a lack of money does create stress in the average person. Now take a person with no money, put them in a bad neighborhood with very little education, and few job prospects (none of which pay a decent wage), then give them a family to support and see what cracks first, him or society?

"This might surprise you but I lay most of the blame on the failure of religious bodies to be the moral consciences in their communities."

But religions are only a faction of a society and don't truly represent a society always. With that type of thinking it sounds like you want only religious-like minded people to congregate into a society. Why should a relgioun be the conscience of a society when there are aethiests within every society? Not everyone needs religion to be a good person. I believe there is a place for religion in society but not to the extent where it is the voice of society though it should be heard along with every other side. We must blend everything if everything is to be a part of society.

"I have often said that moral decline and a lack of moral restraint are reasons why the government seems compelled to fill in the void and become more intrusive."

But why is morality on the decline? Is it because a lack of religion or a lack of "real" education? or both?

"I not talking about Bible thumping, but I am talking about standing firm for at least the second table of the Ten Commandments: You shall honor your father and your mother, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not bear false witness (lie, purger yourself, defraud), and you shall not covet.  If the virtue inherent in these Commandments is not firmly ingrained in children (and adults, for that matter) then it is farm more likely that they will not be seen as important or virtuous."  

But why do lessons like that have to be about religion? If there was no God wouldn't those teachings still be a logical path to follow?

"Giving" more choices to some, especially when the government mandates it, is the same as taking choices away from others.  Is this fair?  Oh ... forgot ... of course you think it is fair."

Well is a system that creates failures a fair system? If I used "create" instead of "give" would it have sat better with you? Could not giving choices to others also still be taking away from others? Lets say for aurguments sake, that I'm correct in my assumptions that society does create its own evils, and lets say that by giving to others before they become "evil" would prevent them from killing someone. Now by not giving to them you have just taken away someone's life.
I'm saying for some people you will have to spend money on them regardless if you imprison them after they kill or if you help mold them and prevent them from killing. Why not choose a preventative method instead of an after the fact solution?
Lets take a look at choices. Whether you believe it or not or whether you've had ample exposure to the underbelly of society is irrelevant to the truth. The truth being sometimes people don't/didn't have the options we have/had. Not everyone could afford schooling or find a way to do so, therefore their job options are limited and there income will be limited (catch 22, need a good job to get good schooling and need good schooling to get a good job). Not everyone had good teachers (in home or at school) so therefore they may not be equiped with "life tools" like some are, there goes more choices. Some people were born in and are financially trapped in impoverished areas, there goes more choices for jobs and schooling. Now if someone had the choice of continuing to live in an impoverished neighborhood with little prospects of improvement regardless of the effort they put in then why wouldn't they turn to crime? Now you can say well many people work and get out of that situation, and that's true but is there really enough opportunity out there for ALL people in these types of situations to do so? How many jobs are really out there for everyone?

"I can live with that (for now) but I think that "more choices" is far less likely to be as effective as pointing people in the direction of the right choices (by "right choices" I am willing to confine myself to those Commandments I mentioned ... to avoid a "what's right for you isn't necessarily right for me debate if possible)."

It would definitly help out the cause but if they are not getting it at home then where can they get it on a daily basis? You say the church? Well even if a person was to spend two-three days a week at a church would it prove to be enough influence if they had to go back home to an abusive family or a violent neighborhood? Are three hours of God/week enough time to convert a killer? If a person can't get a good environment to live in or grow up in then a lot of teachings are fruitless. If the Pope was born in a housing project do you think he would still be the Pope? What is my point....to be honest I forgot  .

"How many times, statistically, are guns used in this way?  How often is the gunman thinking of anyone besides himself or herself?  I don't buy into all of that "I had to hold up the convenience store to feed junior ... and I really needed that new Kid Rock CD too."  Come'on, Trev ... you don't really believe this happens often enough to be considered common, do you?"

Don't look at it in such a direct way. You'd be surprised to know how many criminals are family men in their own misguided way. Do you think that someone who holds up a convenience store doesn't have a family? Yes they do and often some of that money reverts to family use. How many hardened criminals do you know Jim? How many were you exposed to while growing up? You'd be surprised at what some people do to pay the rent and provide for their families. DO you think the people selling drugs and killing to protect their business aren't trying to provide for their families in a very screwed up kind of way? How many drug dealers do you know Jim? Do you know anyone who has killed someone outside of war? I'm not trying to egg you on Jim, I'm just curious as to where you get your practical knowledge of this side of life? Now I will say that very often it is just someone being selfish as well and robbing and killing to buy drugs or booze or whatever seems to float their boat but don't be mislead into thinking that criminals don't have families and don't try and provide for them. Try to think in terms of their world instead of yours. Pretend you didn't have a good upbringing, pretend that you live in a awful neighborhood, pretend that you had no money and very little job prospects, pretend you had two kids to feed....now pretend someone offered you a chance to make "easy" money....what would you do? Between flipping burgers till whenever and making 600 a month or selling drugs until whenever and making 600 a week, what would you choose?
I think crime to provide happens often enough for it to be considered into why things are the way they are.

"I am willing to adamantly argue that it is not about education or about having/not having."

So he didn't recieve an education in the Navy? Education also means more than just school, one can be educated by their environment. Me I'm a highschool dropout with very little money and job prospects yet I have had a strong enough upbringing and enough life lessons to teach me that some things should not be done. Now if someone is not recieving this at home or in their environment then the next best place to probably get such lessons is in school where someone can be subjected to different ways of thinking and hopefully given more knowledge that might help improve their life.

"I think it is about doing the right thing because it is the right thing."

Maybe it is but once again this must be a learned thing....education.

"While they were far from being perfect people, my dad's generation didn't seem to have the problem our generation has in doing the right thing because the right thing is the only thing that we should do."

Pleeeezzze Jim, you're talking about the generation that dropped the A-bomb...is that the right thing? You're talking about the generation that still practised nation wide segregation in schools and communities.....was that the right thing? OR are you talking about the generation that could more easily provide for their families, a generation that needed only one income earner, a generation where to be financially successful you didn't need to have 80 000 dollars in order to buy a degree and get a decent job? How many people now work there way up through the mail room without a degree??? Education wasn't as much an issue back then as it is today. It just wasn't needed as much or it was recieved elsewhere or differently. What worked in their world does not necessarily work with ours. We can not go back to the Rockwellian times, its too late for that but as things change so must our ways for dealing with them. Education (and not just schooling) is probably more crucial now then it has ever been in society.

"I think teaching them the difference between right and wrong is an investment that far exceeds $50,000.00 dollars per year."

Then what's all the hub-bub about spending the dollars....do you think in a capitalist society lessons are free?

"Money is not going to change this as much as an appreciation for virtuous living would."

Great sentiments Jim, I'll send a letter to all the bad parents and tell them they have to start teaching their kids proper morals. If the children aren't getting the life tools and lessons necessary to be a "good" person then where are they going to get it from for free. And if they are only being exposed to a certain environment will they even think of looking for alternative ways of living and thinking? IF someone is raised in a violent manner will they always consciously try and think of an alternative or will they kind of be pigeon hold into a way of thinking. Are not our thoughts influenced by our environment?

"If the kid knew children should not play with guns, if he knew that hurting other people was wrong THEN this tragedy probably never would have happened."

Education....???

Jim you've talked about teaching children yet when I mentioned spending more on educating you seem to have gotten a little ticked. If we want "better" people we will have to pay for it and probably not them. I don't like the current education system, I think it teaches only cold facts and (or what they consider facts) and forgets the to teach lessons in life. Why isn't philosophy offered at an early age? Why aren't children exposed to pschology or sociology(sp?) and self counselling techniques? Why is something like math a forced subject almost all the way through school but something like child developement isn't? Are numbers more important than child rearing?
Why isn't there better safety nets in place for children to get them out of bad environments and into healthy learning and caring environments? If you were in an abusive family or violent neighborhood what and how well would you learn about life? or what kind of school student would you be?

If the more you know, the better off you are, is a trueism then why isn't education (beyond schooling) not a priority?

Now I think religion does fall into the education thingy and I think the problem probably digs further into society then any of us here have uncovered....so lets keep digging my friend. Personally I think the awful truth points the finger at all of us and if this is so shouldn't we all be held responsible. If we as individuals are part of society and we have created society and society creates us and there is something wrong with society, aren't we all to blame? Is it possible to just single out a few and say they are to blame? Lets stop just looking for culprits and find a legitimate solution. Perhaps our problem is that we always look for one solution, for one problem for millions of different individuals. What might work for one will fail for another.

ANyways, I'm done my rant.....sorry its a long one. I'd just like to go on record saying that I don't fully believe that anything I have said here is right but only something to be considered. There are so many things to add into cause and effect that I don't think I could do justice to the equation in my short response, nor would I claim to know all the factors in such an equation. I only hope to inspire thought and possibilities. With that said I'll get the heck out of here,

Thanks Jim and to everyone else for the inspiration. Take care,
Trevor  



warmhrt
Senior Member
since 12-18-1999
Posts 1566


12 posted 03-23-2000 01:46 AM       View Profile for warmhrt   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for warmhrt

Hi,

This discussion could probably go on and on and on. I don't think there are any solid answers, nor even solid theories. We all, however, have our own opinions.

I HATE guns...never allowed them in the house while the children were growing up, and, now, even though I'm alone, I wouldn't consider having one. The reason is, as others have said, that a gun is too easy to use, too easy to kill with...people have shot their own family members, mistaking them for an intruder.

I grew up around guns. My father hunted. I don't think I even looked twice at his guns, though they were kept in the open. Those were different times, however, as Jim talked about. Children respected their elders, which is a big problem today. There were more intact families and a lot of mothers didn't work, meaning someone was there to keep an eye on them always...they had that security. They don't now. Children played outdoors most of the time...now they sit in front of televisions, or play video games...and doing this from a young age can mold their young minds; seeing so many images of shooting, of killing, that human life is devalued.

Shooting a gun in a video game is a high to many kids now, mostly male. There is a game out that allows you to put a picture of anyone in, and that becomes the figure you shoot at. The boys from Columbine were playing it shortly before the shootings, with one of the soon to be dead student's picture in it.

We, as a society, in the U.S., at least, are to blame...we allow things like that game to go on the market, parents let their kids buy things they should not have because it's easier that way. People are not made accountable for their actions...from the time they are children, and into adulthood.
Parents make excuses, teachers pass them to get rid of them, and if they reach our justice system via an arrest for a felony, they can go to prison, get a free college education, have the use of a gym every day,
have conjugal visits, sue their lawyers, and make a lot of money writing a book.

The Baby Boomers, the 60's and 70's generation, who are the parent's of our young adults, are at the core of much of this. They wanted everyone to have "rights", which is good to an extent. They had causes, and more causes, and influenced the face of politics, wanting less and less government. They were a nation of "Love, Peace, Get High, and Take the Easiest Route", but they were also rebels who wanted change. Look where it's gotten us. I am of that generation; I was a hippie, a rebel...and then I grew up. I wanted many of those same changes to be made, but then I saw that not all of them were good for the people of this country.

I think we should have strict gun control, although I know it will never happen. Someone said to me that then the only people who would have guns would be the criminal element. I still say that strict gun control would reduce the number of available guns, and there would be less people killed by them. Along with strict laws regulating background checks, the way police handle confiscated guns, how those who have them must keep them locked up properly, and away from children, and periodic checks on permits, incidents like Columbine, and many others would no longer be such a threat.

JMHO...Kris
jbouder
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since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


13 posted 03-23-2000 10:57 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Trevor:

I'm going to have to be selective in my response for lack of time.  Geeze, Trev, do you type 1,000 WPM or something?

"But why do lessons like that have to be about religion? If there was no God wouldn't those teachings still be a logical path to follow?"

You misunderstood.  The second table of the Ten Commandments are not directions on how man ought to relate to God, they are directions on how man ought to relate to man.  The lessons don't necessarily have to be about religion but religion does offer a more objective moral base than logic.  

"Well is a system that creates failures a fair system? If I used "create" instead of "give" would it have sat better with you?"

The only thing that doesn't sit well with me with that statement is a failure to consider personal responsibility.  Is a society that "gives" a citizen everything encouraging dependence on the state and discouraging self-reliance?  I think it is fine for the state to be involved insomuchas it provides and environment where someone can rise from relatively humble beginnings and better themselves.  Hell, I consider myself one of those people.  

"It would definitly help out the cause but if they are not getting it at home then where can they get it on a daily basis? You say the church?"

I think you have demonstrated what I see as part of the problem.  The church has kept its message behind closed doors for so long that, in many communities, it is the only place you hear positive moral instruction.  Moral instruction is not a quick-fix.  Look how long it has taken for things to get as bad as they have.  I think that if things are to get better, rather than worse, it is going to take time.  In the U.S., for example, the Civil Rights Act of 1868 gave black Americans the same rights as white Americans but look how long it took for this very good legislation to make its way into the hearts and minds of the public at large.  Passing a law is quick and relatively easy compared to changing social mores.  Legislation may be a valid step toward correcting a social ill but I think legislation alone is doomed to be ineffective.

"How many hardened criminals do you know Jim?"

Several, actually.

"How many were you exposed to while growing up?"

I grew up in an upper-lower-class community in a medium sized American city while gang activity was on the rise and drug use was becoming more popular.  I knew many people who sold and used drugs and if I wanted to get them myself I would have had no trouble doing so.  

"You'd be surprised at what some people do to pay the rent and provide for their families."

No, actually I wouldn't.  But I am even less surprised by what people do to provide for their own selfish wants at the expense of others.  I think selfishness as a motivation for criminal activity has become much more prevalent than criminal activity to provide for material need.  But I'm only speaking from my own experiences.  I could be wrong.

"How many drug dealers do you know Jim?"

Not as many as I used to but I still know a few.  My brother knows many more than I do and actually spent time in jail for possession with intent to sell.  Does this enough for you or do I need to know more drug dealers to know what motivates most of them to sell drugs?  I guarantee you that my brother and ALL of his friends who sell/sold drugs did it for the money.

"Do you know anyone who has killed someone outside of war?"

Actually I do.  My old scoutmaster was convicted of first degree murder when I was sixteen.  If you don't believe me look up "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Donald Ruby".  Also, an acquaintance of mine was stabbed to death when I was in high school.  He wasn't a close friend but he was murdered and I did know him.  Also, my closest friend in PA is a Lancaster City Police officer and I ride along with him on occasion.  So I get an occasional glance at the criminal element.  Are you satisfied yet?  I personally think personal experience/eye-witness of criminal elements is irrelevant to the debate but I suppose I've seen enough "bad stuff" personally to be able to form some first or second hand opinions.

"I'm not trying to egg you on Jim, I'm just curious as to where you get your practical knowledge of this side of life?"

Now you know.

" ... Don't be mislead into thinking that criminals don't have families and don't try and provide for them."

It is fair to caution me in this way.  I suppose Lancaster is a special case.  Our unemployment rate is in the neighborhood of 2% and businesses are actively competing for good help.  There is lots of opportunity for people with even a minimal education.  My brother, an honest worker now, is a high school drop out making almost as much as I make and I have a college education, some grad school, and professional experience.  His ceiling is a little lower than mine but he makes enough to be comfortable.  But, Trev, it wasn't always this way.  When my oldest son was born I was the only one working, my wage was $7.00 an hour and I had to rent a trailor home to have enough money for food, diapers, transportation, etc.  Three months prior to this the only work I could find WITH all of my education was a part-time job working behind the front-desk at a health club for $4.50/hr.  Even while I was under the poverty line I was still able to honestly provide for my family.  I don't understand why someone cannot swallow his/her pride and work where he/she comes home smelling like dog food.  I just don't get it, I guess.  

"Try to think in terms of their world instead of yours. Pretend you didn't have a good upbringing, pretend that you live in a awful neighborhood, pretend that you had no money and very little job prospects, pretend you had two kids to feed....now pretend someone offered you a chance to make 'easy' money....what would you do?"

I would have to pretend now but there were times when I certainly didn't have to.  I always chose to do the right thing because it was the right thing to do.  I didn't grow up in a good neighborhood and I didn't have a wonderful upbringing but I would never consider using that as an excuse to justify hurting another person, physically or financially simply because it is plain wrong.  I don't buy into the circumstancial ethic, btw.  

"Between flipping burgers till whenever and making 600 a month or selling drugs until whenever and making 600 a week, what would you choose?"

I would flip burgers or get covered in meat by-products in a dog food factory, or load forty-five foot trailors with 75 lb. bags of raw-hide dog treats for minimum wage before I would sell drugs.  I would clean toilets, mop and vacume floors and dust before I would sell drugs.  I may not make all the money I could if I chose illegal activity but atleast I have the pride and satisfaction that the money I made was earned honestly and by the sweat of my own brow.  I done all of the kinds of work I mentioned above, making a fraction of what I make now.  But I fought tooth and nail to get where I am and it pisses me off that the government wants to take more of what I earned to give it to people, stagnating the drive and ambition that creates success and pushes a person to make progress toward his or her potential.

"So he didn't recieve an education in the Navy?"

He was a gunners mate on a destroyer during WWII.  Very marketable during wartime but there is little demand for that kind of training in the private sector.    At least then.

"Pleeeezzze Jim, you're talking about the generation that dropped the A-bomb...is that the right thing? You're talking about the generation that still practised nation wide segregation in schools and communities.....was that the right thing? OR are you talking about the generation that could more easily provide for their families, a generation that needed only one income earner, a generation where to be financially successful you didn't need to have 80 000 dollars in order to buy a degree and get a decent job?"

Trev, that was war.  You KNOW that I know many horrible events took place during WWII.  My father fought to defend his country from tyranny.  If there is an honorable reason to fight, that is it.  You failed to mention that this is the generation that weathered the Great Depression, defended Western Society from tyranny, introduced equal rights for women in Japan, and stood its ground against totalitarianism throughout the Cold War.  I am not suggesting that this generation was perfect but I am suggesting that in many ways it was much more virtuous than today's in some very basic ways.  Respect for parents and family and one's neighbor was much more prevalent during my fathers generation and I think this is a key reason why crime was not running rampant.  There were fewer laws then, btw.

"Jim you've talked about teaching children yet when I mentioned spending more on educating you seem to have gotten a little ticked."

I don't think the building blocks are being emphasised in school, Trevor, and I see so much waste of tax-payer money in the school system that it makes me want to puke.  My son, for example, needs more services to help him overcome his autism than the State is able to "afford" so I know money is necessary to get some things done.  But what I see lacking in public education is the teaching of critical thinking skills.  I learned more of these skills in one year of law school than I learned in 16 years of previous education and it pissed me off that I wasn't taught these basic building blocks of learning before then.  Many teachers can't even think critically but the teacher unions prevent these bad teachers from being weeded out.  In the meantime, an entire school year of educational opportunity is lost ... wasted ... for a classroom full of children.  More money is not going to fix this, Trevor.  Only a change in the way we think is going to drive people to push to right the many wrongs we both mentioned with education.

"Why isn't philosophy offered at an early age? Why aren't children exposed to pschology or sociology(sp?) and self counselling techniques? Why is something like math a forced subject almost all the way through school but something like child developement isn't? Are numbers more important than child rearing?"

These subjects shouldn't be taught unless the student is able to isolate the important facts, knows the "rules" and how to apply them to the facts to reach his or her conclusion.  These are the basic building blocks of learning that teach a person to teach themselves.  Basic child-rearing is a fine subject to teach but almost without qualification new parents will tend to follow the examples set by their parents nomatter how much "education" those new parents have received.  Again, this is why I think a change in thinking is necessary to effect any realistic, positive changes and it is precisely why I know that I may be old and gray before I see the benefits of this change of thinking on a large scale.  

"If we as individuals are part of society and we have created society and society creates us and there is something wrong with society, aren't we all to blame?"

Yeah, but I think, historically, moral decline trickles down from the religious and state leadership to commerce and then to the general public that either reacts apathetically or destructively.  Sounds like another thread, though.

"Is it possible to just single out a few and say they are to blame?"

I think it is possible to determine the general source of the problem (again, because I believe in the moral trickledown theory).  

Outa time here.

Kris:

Nice to see you in here.  I agree with almost everything you mentioned, btw.  Well thought.

Jim
nona
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since 03-03-2000
Posts 140
Fla


14 posted 03-23-2000 02:49 PM       View Profile for nona   Email nona   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nona

Well now you've done it. I just have to add this fodder to the fire. This has been an idea rolling around in my head, just a conjecture, but something to mull over.
What IF there was a man, or group, who invisioned himself a revolutionary. One with the TRUE answers and this man had a carismatic way about him and able to get many to do his bidding. He invisioned himself as the Supreme Being ruler of all the domain.And so he set our to do it.
First he enlisted the media for they had the power to sway public opinions, then he got another group in the political arena to follow suit also furthing his ideas and getting elected for their(his ideas) Now sprinkle in a few catatrophic events and people get to thinking we should have the government make more laws and bann guns.
Now the society is ripe for the picking,the media is controled, the military does the governments bidding who are now controled by this man and now the masses of people are buying into his doctrine. Thus he takes over and everyone sits back and says how did this happen???? Just a point to ponder????
Jim your point is well taken I personally have been active in youth groups for years and continue to speak up when I am offended by something in public and will continue to do so               nona


 
Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


15 posted 03-23-2000 04:08 PM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello everyone,

JIM:

"I'm going to have to be selective in my response for lack of time.  Geeze, Trev, do you type 1,000 WPM or something?"

Well I used to be an astronaut until a plane crash nearly killed me. They had the technology to rebuild me....stronger....faster.....but it cost 6 million dollars... ...actaully I'm long winded and I don't always sleep that much.

"You misunderstood.  The second table of the Ten Commandments are not directions on how man ought to relate to God, they are directions on how man ought to relate to man.  The lessons don't necessarily have to be about religion but religion does offer a more objective moral base than logic."

I see what you mean but how does logic offer a weaker moral base? Religion uses hell as a punishment for a bad self and logic uses others as a punishment for a bad self. Religion says be good to others and God will reward you in the end and logic says be good to others and it will come back to you. I think as far as the commandments in comparison to a lot of other teachings, they are relatively the same except one has a heaven and hell in it.

"The only thing that doesn't sit well with me with that statement is a failure to consider personal responsibility.  Is a society that "gives" a citizen everything encouraging dependence on the state and discouraging self-reliance?  I think it is fine for the state to be involved insomuchas it provides and environment where someone can rise from relatively humble beginnings and better themselves.  Hell, I consider myself one of those people."

Giving someone a chance to have a better education and making the educated are different things. If you were to offer free post secondary education would that be giving them an education or giving them the opportunity to educate themselves. I don't think just spilling out money is an answer but using money to set up programs where a person can work to better themselves and make it easily accessible might help. Quick example, once when I was laid off I tried to get into a re-education program to upgrade my skills sponsered through Employment Insurance (which we pay into out of every paycheque). They made me got to a seminar, then they told me it would be in my best interest to attend a career planning class because it would "up" my chances of getting funding for school. So off I went on an eight week career planning course. Next I had to research the field I wanted to go into and present it to my case worker. He said it's good and there should be no problem getting funding....but I'd just have to complile a little more data on the field I choose. SO being the prompt system that it is I had to wait three weeks to get back in to see him. When I returned he said everything looks great but unfortunately they have no money for funding.....he knew all along, he said they've had a budget problem for awhile because of squabbling with the Federal gov't. I said thanks for not telling me sooner so I could've been looking for work instead of fiddling around because my benefits had a week and a half left. Fortunately I did find a job but not enough to afford me to go back to school. A few months later I read in the paper that the federal gov't grabbed 20 billion in funds from Employment Insurance and were using it for something else....few months after that I was laid off again....tried to get school funding again....they said I had to repeat the whole process again....ugggg. If the system was set up better and made it easier to get real help instead of just an Unemployment cheque then I would probably have gotten into a more stable and contributing job (health industry) and probably wouldn't have been laid off again....and at the worst I would have walked away a little more knowledgable and like I didn't just keep banging my head on a brick wall. People have breaking points and if this was to occur every couple years I probably would snap.

"I think you have demonstrated what I see as part of the problem.  The church has kept its message behind closed doors for so long that, in many communities, it is the only place you hear positive moral instruction.  Moral instruction is not a quick-fix.  Look how long it has taken for things to get as bad as they have."

You know you're starting to persaude me with a church being the only place to get moral intruction. So if it is the only place to get such, shouldn't we open places with moral instruction that are outside churches. Not everyone wants to be a part of a religion or hold a set belief system so shouldn't there be places for them to go to get life lessons? I think we've all met some of the people churches create and they're definitly not what the church had in mind, so if that is true is just church for moral teachings the answer?

"I think that if things are to get better, rather than worse, it is going to take time.  In the U.S., for example, the Civil Rights Act of 1868 gave black Americans the same rights as white Americans but look how long it took for this very good legislation to make its way into the hearts and minds of the public at large.  Passing a law is quick and relatively easy compared to changing social mores.  Legislation may be a valid step toward correcting a social ill but I think legislation alone is doomed to be ineffective."

Well said. I don't think anything alone is the answer. You can teach at school but if the opposite is taught at home then what's the point. You can teach at church but if the opposite is being taught at home then what's the point. You can make laws but if imprisonment is better than the place you live then what's the point. Also I believe what works for one fails for another. Church may and does help people get on the "right" track just as does a higher education....heck, sometimes all it takes is just a simple thought, experience, revelation to change one's life. I think for some the fear of punishment works and for others it only makes them tougher. A think both a firm and gentle hand is needed.....ohhhhh, these thoughts could go on forever, it just seems the more you think the more you realize how much more there is to think about.

""How many hardened criminals do you know Jim?"

Several, actually.".....etc.

""I'm not trying to egg you on Jim, I'm just curious as to where you get your practical knowledge of this side of life?"

Now you know."

Well I guess I do Not to sound like a jerk and offend ya, it's just at times you sound like you haven't been exposed to certain elements of society. I guess its not you who is the naive one but me instead. My apoligize Jim if that whole third degree questioning offend you, kinda worried if it would have after I posted but thought I'd keep it in there. Glad I did. I guess we are just two different people in regards to thoughts. I think that there are people out there that not matter the effort they give the results will be poor because of either the system or their environment and I think we should give to help these people, whereas, my interpretation of what you've been saying is that everyone can make it if they work hard and be good.

"But, Trev, it wasn't always this way.  When my oldest son was born I was the only one working, my wage was $7.00 an hour and I had to rent a trailor home to have enough money for food, diapers, transportation, etc.  Three months prior to this the only work I could find WITH all of my education was a part-time job working behind the front-desk at a health club for $4.50/hr."

That is rough....4.50/hr with all that education....imagine what kind of jobs were available for those without an education there. You had gotten a job, but in your doing so how many and who were the unlucky ones who also needed that 4.50/hr job? I'm sure you weren't the only one looking for work that day. This is a good example though of how the solution isn't just education though I'd have to say that probably you're upbringing and education played a large role in you having the fortitude not to delve into crime but take whatever work you could find....but I'm sure some quick money scam entered your mind during those times...if only for a brief moment. Now say someone else without the same life and education couldn't find work, frustration set in, perhaps a collapse in better judgement, mix in some booze, a bad suggestion and whamo.....a criminal might be created. I'm the same as you in a lot of ways. I won't turn to crime in order to better my situation, I'd rather sacrafice myself then destroy another and also I'm fortunate enough to have parents who still help me out if I'm in dire need. I'd rather sweep sidewalks and eat 10 cent noodles in a cardboard box then rob someone, why, because I wouldn't want to hurt anyone because I know what it is like to be hurt. But in the same turn, I can understand why people get frustrated and tired of not having and tired of struggling for everything the want or need. I can understand that people do have their breaking points and all the pushing and pulling the masses are subject to does take a toll. To the criminal the crime seems like the best solution to their worries/needs/wants.

"Even while I was under the poverty line I was still able to honestly provide for my family.  I don't understand why someone cannot swallow his/her pride and work where he/she comes home smelling like dog food.  I just don't get it, I guess."

Like I said, you found work at a low wage but was there enough work for everyone even at minimum wage? I do agree though not enough people swallow their pride, myself included (though with the exceptions of lay offs I've always worked even at low income jobs....well only at low income jobs ). I guess sometimes I and others find some of the wages ridiculous. Perhaps its hard to feel good about oneself if you are a good person, hard worker, law bidding citizen and if you work your butt off everyday all it amounts to is 4.50/hr. Hard to feel good about yourself when someone says all your effort is only worth 4.50/hr. Hard to keep feeling good about yourself when you seem stuck in poverty and all your hard work doesn't seem to be changing the situation even though you feel and know you are worth more than poverty. That I think equates into why things are the way they are and why people do "break" down. If you can't respect yourself then it is hard to respect others and if it seems your worth less then others it is hard to respect yourself.

"I didn't grow up in a good neighborhood and I didn't have a wonderful upbringing but I would never consider using that as an excuse to justify hurting another person, physically or financially simply because it is plain wrong.  I don't buy into the circumstancial ethic, btw."

Does abuse in the home create abuse in the home? If you grew up being beaten and abused and watching everyone else doing the same would that not give you the wrong lessons? Why is it statistically proven that abusive natures are passed down from generation to generation? If being abused doesn't create abuse then what does? Does someone just suddenly wake up and say, "Today I'm going to beat my wife.". Personally I think it is because of their upbringing, they haven't been taught differently. If environment doesn't create the individual then what does? Genetics, if it's genetics then how can we punish people who have no control over how they were made? All your life has factored into who you are, including genetics and it has created a good, kind, loving, hard working person. Now perhaps if everyone had a life somewhat resembling yours they would have turned out the similar in the way the percieve the world and in the way they conduct themselves. I don't know if this is true but it would be interesting if there was a way to test it. Perhaps a good example of how environment stimulates us is the simple colour tests. If just simple colour stimuli has been shown to effect moods then just imagine how a complete environment effects us.

"I would flip burgers or get covered in meat by-products in a dog food factory, or load forty-five foot trailors with 75 lb. bags of raw-hide dog treats for minimum wage before I would sell drugs."

The key word is "I", this is what you would do because of who you are and I think you are who you are because of the environments you have been exposed to. Somewhere in the equation of who Jim is lies enough positive to offset the negative. Others however haven't had the same life lessons or exposure to what they need to be a good person. I think we probably both agree that the potential is within everyone to be a good person, though good is subject to interpretation and possibly there are ways to unlock this goodness before they do become criminals. Like I've said though, we do need prisons, we can't let murderers run around but perhaps we can cut down the number of them. It is statistically proven that when things such as industry leaves a town, thereby creating a work shortage, that crime levels dramatically increase....Flint, Mich. being a good example. So we know that lack of opportunity for work, lack of jobs and a lack of money help form criminals. However, PEI and Newfoundland have the worst employment rates in Canada yet I think their crime rates are the lowest. They do also recieve the most money in financial assitance from other provinces though. Are they lazy or is there just a lack of work. From what I hear from the people from that province who work in Ontario is that there is no work. But then you get the aboriginal people of Canada who have suffered quite a bit of abuse throughout Canadian history and have had dollars just thrown at them and it really hasn't seemed to help them land on their feet (this is just generalizations). My point of all that? It just seems when we focus on one central point to fix all of it there are examples of that methods failure. I'm beginning to think that it is a cumulative thing. There has to be a certain level of at least all the things (whatever those factors are) in order to produce a good person....god it sounds like I'm talking about a production line.  

"But I fought tooth and nail to get where I am and it pisses me off that the government wants to take more of what I earned to give it to people, stagnating the drive and ambition that creates success and pushes a person to make progress toward his or her potential."

But what if no one wanted to let go of anything. The world is only worth so much so what happens to the little guys when its all gobbled up? Why must it be a fight for crumbs when we can all have a pie. If we all adopt a take attitude, such as I don't want to give anymore than there is less to be distributed. ONce again, and I will save you the agony of another long winded rant , I believe we can all live like kings though I think the current system practised in NA does not allow it regardless of the effort put in.

"He was a gunners mate on a destroyer during WWII.  Very marketable during wartime but there is little demand for that kind of training in the private sector.    At least then."

He didn't learn anything in the Navy? Like I've said, I think education goes far beyond a degree in something. I'm sure he learned about work ethics and disicpline and patience and I'm sure his military service helped him when he applied for a job after the service.

"Trev, that was war.  You KNOW that I know many horrible events took place during WWII."

So calling mass killing war makes killing all right? So if I declare war on someone it's okay for me to kill them? I think fighting against Germany and Japan was a good thing, sitting down and discussing morality with those two countries at the time would have been fruitless but beyond the trumpets and battle cries of what is necessary in war, all sides involved are guilty of atrocious behaviour sanctioned by their gov'ts, the representative or the people (or supposedly reps.).

"You failed to mention that this is the generation that weathered the Great Depression, defended Western Society from tyranny, introduced equal rights for women in Japan"

I failed to mention a lot of things about that generation. They also introduced unions and raised the standard of living, they formed a United Nations, created social safety nets, marched with Martin Luther King for equality, banned child labor (but not the buying of products from such) and so on. But they also experimented with the African American polulation by intentionally infecting them with STDs, they locked up the majority of Japenese and Japenese-American polulation during WWII living within America subsequently ruining a lot of lives, their track record with the aboriginal people of NA is at best poor, they sanctioned Cuba into poverty, began the trend of horrendous amounts of polluting, legally sanctioned the use of millitary and violence in order to keep segregation and that list goes on as well. My point is that every generation has its pros and cons and no generation should be sainted nor villafied. Their generation and world wasn't better, just different. Times have changed, we have new problems that need new solutions. It seems you want to put a diesel engine in an electric car. We can't go back because if we did we would know the future for it is the past that has led us to this point.

"Respect for parents and family and one's neighbor was much more prevalent during my fathers generation and I think this is a key reason why crime was not running rampant."

I agree with the respect thing, even such a hollow thing as tolerance is needed but why aren't people respecting each other or at least tolerating each other? Why does it seem that people don't even respect themselves anymore? Once again I think it lies deeper than religion and economics and education but I do believe that all of this might factor in some how. Lets say that religion is dying or probably more accurate, it's changing. Now instead of trying to jam people back into the old ways, which BTW I don't think you are suggesting, why not create a new way for a new time. I've always respected and admired you're critical approach to religion but are religions being run that way? I think no is the answer. Perhaps if religions were to change with the people instead of remaining steadfast in their archiac approach. Why on earth would some child who is exposed to the flash and glamour of hollywood and sony playstation be inclined to listen to an eighty year old man talk about floods, burning bushes, sex, drugs and the evils of youth? Perhaps the problem with religious institutes is that they still talk down to people instead of with people. Few respect something talking down to them especially when that something is a religion with a poor track record.

"There were fewer laws then, btw."

Fewer written laws.

"I don't think the building blocks are being emphasised in school, Trevor, and I see so much waste of tax-payer money in the school system that it makes me want to puke."

Same here.

"My son, for example, needs more services to help him overcome his autism than the State is able to "afford" so I know money is necessary to get some things done."

The money is there. If one politician was to pay for their own lunches and dinners then use that money for your child, and probably a couple others then it would greatly improve his life....and yours.

"More money is not going to fix this, Trevor.  Only a change in the way we think is going to drive people to push to right the many wrongs we both mentioned with education."

You said that you learned excellent thinking tools in post secondary education system and I'm saying we should use money to make post secondary education available to all? If the needed tools cost money, as in university, then how won't money help? But I too think better grade school and high school ciriculums and teachers are needed.

"These subjects shouldn't be taught unless the student is able to isolate the important facts, knows the "rules" and how to apply them to the facts to reach his or her conclusion.  These are the basic building blocks of learning that teach a person to teach themselves."

Yes and something like that is found within either a teaching method or the subject. If something like philosophy continually leaves a question to be answered then often it inspires further thought.

"Basic child-rearing is a fine subject to teach but almost without qualification new parents will tend to follow the examples set by their parents nomatter how much "education" those new parents have received."

I disagree here. Many bad parents seek conselling and go on to be better parents then their parents were. Outside influence is usually the only way to break a cycle. How can you change if you haven't been exposed to an alternative?

"Yeah, but I think, historically, moral decline trickles down from the religious and state leadership to commerce and then to the general public that either reacts apathetically or destructively."

Perhaps we should pick our leaders more wisely then? But take the case of a bad gov't where the people revolt. The morality is formed by the masses....and there has been a ot of revolts hasn't there? It is the very masses that our leaders come from. How often does everyone fully agree with church or state? And since the masses are more accessable than the church or state maybe it is us who give them their morality? Just a thought....can't say if I believe it holds water or not.

"Sounds like another thread, though."

I think almost every sentence written by everyone who has commented on this could be another thread , such a complex and facsinating subject.

"I think it is possible to determine the general source of the problem (again, because I believe in the moral trickledown theory)."

So do I but I don't think problem should be singular. In theory there should be a balncing point where everyone is content and satisfied and productive, etc.

"Outa time here."

Yeah, I think I wore out my quarter as well

Thanks and take care,
Trevor


  


 
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