The thing with a road trip is the very long, late night conversations. Sometimes my control slips or my guard comes down or whatever happens and I see things in a different way, with more emotion than I usually do. More empathy. That's neither good nor bad, just different.
Anyway, M was talking about victims who want vengeance. Who didn't seem to realize that the vengeance they wanted was wrong, that a bullet to the head was quicker that...
And I got it, in a weird way.
Justice is a hard thing to define. It's like fairness. There is one group that says that a fair basketball game is one with objective refs where all the rules are applied to all the players equally. I'm cool with that. That's the ideal, and subject to human error, but I like that.
There is another group, and one that seems to be growing, that seems to believe that a fair basketball game is one that ends in a tie. An uneven score is prima facie evidence that the game is unfair and it is the responsibility of the refs to apply the rules in any way necessary to keep the scores even.
I'm not cool with that. Not with the power dynamic, nor with where it has to end.
But both are valid definitions for fair. (I'm assuming you all understand the difference between truth and validity.)
Justice seems tied up with fair. Actions bringing commensurate responses. An ideal, but try to adjust it much past the 1:1 math of "an eye for an eye" or "blood for blood" of the old vendettas and it gets very ambiguous very quickly.
So we wind up with a justice system and an ideal of punishment that has more to do with the feelings of society than with altering behavior (punishment in the behavioral sense) or any recognizable definition of justice.
And I'm cool with that. Some can stomach the idea of state executions, some can't. When the majority can't, those are the rules we follow. Because the mores, the way things are done, are more important to a society than any particular piece of justice. Far less cool with it when I'm too close to the problem... but when I can be objective I get it and even when it was hard to be objective that was the job, and I did the job.
My personal belief is to scrap the entire idea of justice and treat crime as a public health issue. One chance to modify behavior. If that fails, remove the individual. Years ago, I read a story (My memory is fuzzy but I think it was H Beam Piper and it was SF) where the judge said something like, "I'm not ordering your execution because of what you did. I'm ordering your execution because you have shown you are willing to do what you did." That resonated. Some bacteria are good for you, some kill. As a public health issue, why treat a person who kills any differently than a bacteria?
But the vengeance thing.
Normally I'm with M. Rapist? Shoot him in the head. Quick. Efficient. Cheap. And never, ever will he victimize anyone else. And that's enough. For me.
But, combination of sleep deprivation and the company, I got a whiff of the logic of vengeance and punishment. Not real logic. The math actually doesn't work unless there is an afterlife or reincarnation. But I have heard evil men bragging, and reminiscing about how their victims begged.
The drive (remember this is sleep deprivation talking) is to bring things full circle, to closure. And that will never feel complete until the perpetrator felt what the victim felt. Until the victimizers learn the lessons of the victims.
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