Your (Increasingly Inaccurately Named) Weekly Wrap Up…And, RCS Sets Up Site’s First Ever Ethical Story Problems — Can You Solve For X?

Week’s Best:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very nice.  Thanks for posting it, Beck!

Week’s Worst:

 

 

 

 

Really?  Ouch.  For more awkward political kiss grossness, check out the HuffPost: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/24/awkward-political-kisses-photos_n_1551485.html.  They cared enough to give you a whole slide show.

On a side note:  Recently, this site has exploded due to an article I wrote last week about Greece, NY school bus monitor, Karen Klein. You can read the original article here: http://rubberchickensociety.org/2012/06/22/you-got-400k-for-what-rcs-forced-to-call-bullshit-on-bus-monitor-debacle/.

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who commented.  You created a really interesting discussion which appears to still be going on.  Good job!

In the comments section, and on other newsfeeds and blogs that have picked up this article, I’ve been accused of a lot of things — from general total jerkishness to blaming the victim — many of which are probably true.  These indictments have really made me think about how I reconcile crimes on what might be called my personal penalty balance sheet.

I guess that one of my biggest faults is that I am altogether too literal.  For example, when people say things like, “There’s no excuse for this behavior,” or “Something like this shouldn’t happen to anyone ever,” I take them at their word.  My logic says that if “something shouldn’t happen to anyone ever” that means that no matter what the situation, no matter if the person who is abused somehow encouraged it, the crime itself is prima facie wrong.  Put differently, that in these cases the CRIME ITSELF bears enough wrongness, is heinous, or unfair enough, that anything that might have spurred it to happen to begin with has to be disregarded.  Even in writing this, however, I see how our society doesn’t even begin to judge offenses in that way.  That’s why I think that people were so up in arms about defending Karen Klein’s ability to do her job — because if she was just a bad employee, it makes her less of a victim, and (in our world) if Karen Klein WASN’T powerless to defend herself, then the CRIME is mitigated.  How can that be correct?  If the wrongdoing is heinous no matter who it’s directed at in any circumstance,  then why does it matter whether Karen Klein was defenseless or the Grand Vizier of Hero Town?  The simple answer: because it does.  U.S. legal precedent is riddled with cases wherein the penalty for a crime is mitigated by the behavior of the victim.  What about in literature?  If stealing is wrong, and Jean Valjean steals a loaf of bread to feed his family, isn’t Jean Valjean wrong?  It seems like the answer is, “Yes, but not THAT wrong.  He HAD to.”  How about Robin Hood?  He sure kills a lot of people, and isn’t killing people WRONG?  Can the answer truly be that, in reality,  the wrongness of an act depends on who’s doing what to whom — that we really think, no matter what we say, that the ends justify the means?  And, if that’s the case — WOW!  Isn’t life just totally fucking unfair?

As promised, here are a couple of ethical story problems for y’all to work on.  Enjoy.

Problem 1:

Person A is driving without a license and gets T-boned at an intersection by Person B who runs a stop sign while driving drunk (but who is licensed).  Whose fault is it?  What if Person A was driving because they really needed a heroin fix and they were out on a mission to buy some drugs?  What if Person A was driving their sick child to the emergency room?

Problem 2:

Person A knowingly walks thought Murderville on Free Stabbing and Robbery Tuesday.  Person A gets stabbed and robbed.  Is Person A partially to blame for the incident?  What if Person A is taking a risk for the thrill of it?  What if Person A DIDN’T KNOW that the neighborhood was bad?  What if Person A is a cop?

Have fun!

About rubberchickensociety

The Rubber Chicken Society is a loosely knit collective of free thinkers who support and enjoy chicken related humor.
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5 Responses to Your (Increasingly Inaccurately Named) Weekly Wrap Up…And, RCS Sets Up Site’s First Ever Ethical Story Problems — Can You Solve For X?

  1. OLIC says:

    Dude, I’ve got a Groupon for a free night’s stay at the Murderville Holiday Inn. It’s during the annual Stabby and Robby Festival (like Diwali but with more murder). Two queen beds with free hot triage before 10m. Wanna come with?

    Life is composed of many many shades of gray. Whodathunkit?

  2. Anonymous says:

    A situation very similar to the one you describe in Problem 1 recently occurred in my hometown. A police officer, on duty, hopped up on diet pills and Xanax, was going lickety-split, 80 mph down a busy city street and plowed in to a car with two teenage girls in it, one of them 9 months pregnant, and killed both girls and the unborn baby. Many people blamed the teen-age girl because she didn’t have a driver’s license….It seems as though the families have already settled for money damages (if you ask me, they could have gotten much more) but I am curious to see how criminal charges against the cop shake out.

    http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2012/mar/23/former-cop-involved-deadly-crash-charged/

  3. dkatt says:

    Hi RCS! I have wandered over from the Klein debate where ‘Bane’ of out existence has crawled back out from under his/her rock and is now making noises about ‘SLANDER’ against Klein on the part of myself and others. What to do? Should we be concerned? Try to find out who he is? (Maybe he’s related to the Klein camp) What to do?

    • First off, even if this were an issue, it would be one of libel not of slander (as this is written rather than spoken word). The qualifications for libel (in the United State) are: 1)the statement must be proven false, 2)the statement must cause appreciable harm to the claimant, and 3)the statement must have been made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement. If you’re stating your opinion and it IS your opinion, then the qualifications of category 1 aren’t met, and what you said is protected “speech.” You can read more about libel laws here: http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=1153. I think you’re probably cool.

      As to trying to find out who Bane is: who cares? He clearly has a vested interest in his argument. Does it really matter if he’s Karen Klein’s son or just a guy who took issue with what we said? In my opinion, it doesn’t matter. Why he feels the way he does doesn’t really matter to the heart of the debate. It only matters when we intellectually (or emotionally) try to justify what he’s writing. I will say this: because of people like Bane, I’ve been forced to examine this issue more than I would’ve liked to, and (for me) this is no longer about a bus monitor who (for whatever reason) didn’t do her job. This is about how we treat victims in our society, and the psychological need we seem to feel that causes us to make martyrs rather than face an uncomfortable reality. It’s also about crime itself as a violation of an accepted social contract, and what we (as people within a society) feel when a crime happens. It’s also about truth telling as a way to formulate a future that has viable options. I plan to write about all of that, and I began to lay the groundwork for the piece in the article that you’re commenting on.
      As to what to do about Bane, I’m sorry if you don’t agree with him. He was told that personal attacks (except for against myself) wouldn’t be tolerated, and (for the most part) he’s accepted that and been responding to people in a comparatively civil fashion. I’m not going to censor someone for not agreeing with me, or for not agreeing with the majority opinion. Things would get really lame really fast if I did that. Just be cool, dkatt. This is, after all, only the internet. You haven’t done anything wrong. You’re as much entitled to your opinion, and to report on your experience, as anyone else.

    • OLIC says:

      Bane is acting like what? Oh yeah, a bully. He’s such a hypocrite. If having a disagreeing opinion about something were actually slander or libel, the whole of the internet would be indicted. He really isn’t even worth responding to.

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