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Guard Dog

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Posts posted by Guard Dog

  1. I spent the entire day drinking beer and watching John Wayne movies. I didn't want to watch John Wayne movies, I just couldn't find the remote. And it seemed like such a hassle to change the channel at the TV. All in all, it was a good day.

  2. I happened to be in Saudi Arabia in 1991 while in the military. One of the Saudi air traffic controllers (British educated as it happens) once told me that if a Sunni and Shi'a were to meet on a road and Allah told each that the other was the last of his kind, they would fight to the death. How does one begin to make peace between them?

    Shia and Sunni co-exist peacefully in most Gulf States at least. There are increased tensions between them now because each feels their co-religionists are under attack from the other in Iraq. The solution is not to stir up a bloody civil war in Iraq, but of course no-one saw that coming when the US invaded, except oops actually yes they did.

     

    Is this decision a reprieve? I can see how for tactical reasons you might not want to announce in advance your exit date, so perhaps the Democrats' proposal wasn't ideal, but the coalition needs to get out of Iraq and quickly. Of course no-one can be sure of what will happen afterwards - but then, no-one's sure what will happen next anyway. I wonder if the US' greatest fear in leaving Iraq isn't the loss of the sense of control, however illusory that sense is. What exactly is it that coalition troops are currently doing in Iraq that its cessation upon their withdrawal will lead to disaster?

     

    Once the coalition goes, however, my own view is that there won't be a massive bloodbath, because there are too many actors within and outside Iraq who have an interest in preventing it. What's more likely is endless rounds of negotiations and peace talks, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and whoever else feels like it - the insurgents will feel flattered to be invited, they'll continue with low-grade violence just to keep themselves important but won't escalate. That's my prediction, for what it's worth.

     

    As a matter of interest, I read in the paper today that the US government is toying with the idea of changing tack in Iraq to treat it like a civil war - with the US trying to broker deals between the factions rather than simply siding with the Iraqi government. I'm glad they're coming to accept that it's a civil war, especially after they were so rude and dismissive about those of us who've been calling it a civil war for a while now. However, the coalition needs to understand that they are not, and cannot for a long time be, regarded as honest brokers in the Middle East. Their clout may still be such that their approval for deals needs to be sought, but honest brokers? Not this half-century.

    Correct me if I'm wrong Steve. My expertise in the ME is a little outdated and limited only to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (and then only to small remote parts) but in most gulf states the overwhelming majority of any population is one sect or the other. Iraq was unusual because the minority sect held all the power for so many years. Plus ,as I understand it, Sunnis and Shi'as self segregate as a rule and in their day to day lives seldom interact with each other. Of the Saudi officers I worked with in 91 few were very friendly but the ones I did talk to really were not that into religion (imo) so it never really came up.

  3. And you're still trusting the government to get a lot right. Wouldn't it be more protective of individual liberties if the punishment were something less final? It's been a while since I've looked at any studies, but I seem to recall that the difference in deterrent effect between the death penalty and life without the possibility of parole being statistically insignificant.

    Heh, I'm not an anarchist Enoch ;). Politically I believe local, federal, and state governments should operate only within the limits of their constitutions and charters. Which I believed should be read through a filter of strict constructionism. That is my idea of protecting individual liberties. If the government does only what it is allowed to, the rest takes care of itself.

     

    Is DP a bigger deterrent than Life without parole? Dunno. How would such a metric even be tracked? But life without parole is a rare sentence in the justice system.

     

    BTW what kind of law do you practice? If you ever told me I don't remember.

  4. Fiscal corruption can easily be argued, from Guard Dog's point of view, to be a plague upon society, and it's easy to come up with an anecdote for why corrupt politicians should be executed (ie if the money stolen could've saved lives). Yet, would we accept such a rationale in the West? Would you condemn people to death because they stole money from the government?

     

    Would something like executing the top echelon of Enron for the suffering that they caused ever fly in the US? I don't know, but I suspect that the answer is no - there are limits to what Christian morality allows for fiscal corruption.

     

    Finally, if no criminal can ever be redeemed, the answer would seem simple: off with their heads, or at least imprison them for life. But redemption, alas, is a deal breaker, and forces us to think about the question in broader terms than what would be best for society. That's when issues such as deterrence and payback take center stage.

     

    First of all, I disagree completely that anything I stated could be used as an arguemnt to execute people for fiscal corruption, or any other non violent crime. I put a pretty strong qualifier on my argument so what you wrote here is non sequitur. Also I did not say that no criminal could be redeemed. What I said was in the cases of super-violent offenders (child rapists, cold blooded murderers) rehabilitation was a fools errand. Based on recidivism rates for both I believe I am right. And believing one of these offenders to be rehabilitated and releasing them puts everyone near them at risk. In my opinion, you rape a child (I'm not talking about statutory rape here, you know better than that) then you have forfeited your right to live among the rest of society. If you had a young daughter and you learned a convicted and paroled child rapist has moved in next door would you be concerned? With a recidivism rate of almost 60% (according to CSOM ) you should be.

  5. I find it a little odd that Guard Dog, who generally trusts government to do absolutely nothing right, believes that the government should be in the business of deciding which of its citizens should be "disposed of." You keep using that turn of phrase and it gives me the willies-- talking about "disposing of" criminals makes me think of a Stalinist approach to enforcing a social order.

     

    C'mon Enoch were are talking about child rapists (of the John Lee Couey type), and cold blooded murderes. In every state that has the DP it is only applied if the crime is heinious enough to warrant it. In my example, ordering a pizza then lying in wait to murder the deliver girl qualifies. A Stalinist approach would make no distinctions between animals like that and petty felons such as car thieves or con artists. Or even political dissidents if you take a literal historical example of Stalinist justice. I did qualify my argument by stating I'm talking about child rapists and cold blooded killers.

     

    That said I am also very much in favor of truth in sentencing laws. If a prisioner is sentenced to five years they will do five years.

  6. Your experience,tragic as it may be, is completley irrelevant. We`re talking about a system. Like I said before, you project your case onto it some1 else will project the opposite one. But when deciding on it one must strive to be as objective as possible.

    To see DP as a systematic solution that you may face one day (as opposed to this one SOB) that a)opposes the foundation of the system its conclusion it is b)has virtually no prevention effect and is irreversible c)is in conflict with one of the core modern western values (sanctity of life).

     

    I on the other hand do not understand how any of you would fundamentally differentiate form a murderer/rapist and yourself, putting some1 into a cell, telling him when he is going to die and then execute him in cold blood. Not all things "wrong" are written in penall codes, imo.

    To be fair, the tragedy of my story was not mine so much as her family and close friends. Objectively speaking in my opinion a child rapist or a murderer (as in a cold blooded or sociopathic killer, not a heat-of-the-moment type) senteced to death is not being punished. They are being disposed of. These people represent a fundamental threat to other innocent people and I do believe rehabilitation is a fools errand at best. At worst it is reckless and irresponsible to ever release these types. Excecution is no more than irradiating a cancer cell. Or stepping on a venomous spider. As to your first point the entire purpose of the justice system is to protect the citizens from criminals. Excecuting the worst and most dangerous types accomplishes it's purpose, not opposes it. As to your second point it is irreversable but it is also a prevention. If it does nothing else it prevents that one individual from harming anyone else. I'll agree with your third point it is against one of the core western values but it supports it in another light by protecting the lives of other people who may one day cross the path of one of these individuals. That includes prison guards and fellow inmates.

  7. To be honest I have a very difficult time mustering any empathy for a rapist or murderer. And I'll admit I have a VERY hard time understanding those who can (including many people here). I just cannot get past the recidivism rate for rapists (particularly child rapists) and violent offenders.

     

    When I was in high school a former girlfriend of mine was murdered while delivering a pizza. She was shot in the back of the head without warning and her car and cash bag stolen. She was 17 years old. The animal who murdered her for $74.00 was released from state prison just two weeks earlier. He served 22 months of an 8 year sentence for armed robbery. He is now on death row. Can any one of you convince me that despicable S.O.B. does not deserve to die? No. If he had been kept in for the 8 years he was sentenced to she would have gone on to college and who knows where from there.

     

    I simply do not understand how any of you would feel any empathy for him. Or could possibly think he should spend the rest of his life in air conditioned comfort watching cable TV and eating meals I pay for with my tax dollars.

  8. Okay, so what do you eventually wanna do when you finish Uni?

     

    I'd love to work for a game development company. I'm not entirely sure what position to aim for, though. I suppose initially what I would have to bring to the table are some decent programming skills, handiness with Databases, good 2d arts skills, writing skills, and some voice acting (a more recent venture).

     

    Ideally I'll be able to come to a mutually beneficial understanding with a company that has a need I can happily fulfill!

     

    Slightly less ideal but more realistic, I'll start at the bottom of the chain somewhere and work my way up (and I assume, come closer to figuring out exactly which position I would excel at along the way).

    Game development? The line for that job starts over there. Waaaaayyyy over there. I think everyone on this board, myself excluded wants to have that job.

     

    Seriously though. If that is your goal I'd recommend involving yourself with one of the many high quality modding groups out there. The work is hard and the pay stinks but you will get your name and abilities known to developing studios. I can think of a dozen or so modders who landed jobs at Bethesda, Bioware and Obsidian. Some of whom post right here on this board.

  9. So what would your stance on DP be if it was your son that was wrongfully executed as a result of a judicial error GuardDog? See, it works both ways heh...

    Excellent point. But it is extremely rare I think. It is far more common to have a repeat offense committed by a criminal who was shown leniency by the court. Generally speaking, excecuted men commit no more vrimes.

  10. @Tale:My comment was a jab at the ethics of revenge, which I think is the main reason for the existence of the death penalty. However, I don't think revenge is the goal of emprisonment.

    The goal of prison is detterence and reform. The death penalty is meant as deterrence. I'm making no comment on its effectiveness.

     

    I'll have to disagree there. The death penalty exists in the US because it's popular with a large part of the electorate. And it's popular with those people because they want revenge.

    Not so much revenge as we do not want dangerous criminals in our midst, nor do we wish to feed, clothe and house them their entire natural lives. Better to dispose of them. And yes, in reality it is a broken system and death row inmates spend years fighting appeals, and the expense of the fight in enormous. But if it were overhauled and streamlined it can be a very effective deterrent. Florida's 10-20-Life law has demonstrated that merciless sentences for violent crimes ARE an effective deterrent.

  11. My 'fair' punishment ( nothing really fair because no punishment can make up for the pain the guy caused on the girl or her family) would be life in prison with very little possibility of parole (I beleive everyone should nhave a chance to be released even if it's less than .1%).

    How about this then. Life in prision with no parole possible. But don't tell the prisoner that. Instead, tell him every day he will be released "tomorrow".

  12. NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Louisiana's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a man may be executed for raping an 8-year-old girl, and lawyers say his case may become the test for whether the nation's highest court upholds the death penalty for someone who rapes a child.

     

    Both sides say the sentence for Patrick Kennedy, 42, could expand a 1977 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that held the death penalty for rape violated the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. The high court said then that its ruling applied only to adult victims.

     

    Attorney Jelpi Picou, director of the New Orleans-based Capital Appeals Project, said he will ask the Louisiana Supreme Court for a rehearing and, if rejected, will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

     

    "As horrid as (rape) is and as harshly as we believe it should be condemned, death is inappropriate in this case," Picou said.

     

    Louisiana law allows the death penalty for the aggravated rape of someone less than 12 years old.

     

    "He's the only person in the United States on death row for non-homicide rape," Picou said.

     

    Kennedy was convicted in 2003 of raping a relative as she sorted Girl Scout cookies in the garage of her home in suburban New Orleans. He bragged to one man that the girl "became a lady today," deputies said.

     

    His defense attorney at the time argued that blood testing was inconclusive and that the victim -- who didn't report that Kennedy was her rapist until 21 months later -- was pressured to change her story.

     

    In Tuesday's opinion, Justice Jeffrey Victory wrote, "Our state Legislature and this court have determined this category of aggravated rapist to be among those deserving of the death penalty, and, short of a first-degree murderer, we can think of no other non-homicide crime more deserving."

     

    Victory wrote that the Louisiana law meets the U.S. Supreme Court test requiring an aggravating circumstance -- in this case the age of the victim -- to justify the death penalty.

     

    The governors of South Carolina and Oklahoma signed laws last year allowing the death penalty for people who repeatedly rape children. Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., said he doesn't know of any successful prosecution under either of those laws.

     

    A bill that would allow the death penalty for a second offense of child rape is awaiting the governor's decision in Texas.

     

    Georgia law allows death as a penalty for rape. Dieter said Florida and Montana also have such laws, but authorities have said the penalty would be invoked only for rape of a child.

     

    I think this is completely appropriate given the brutality of the offense and the recidivism rate for child predators. Opinions? For those so vocally opposed to the death penalty for any offense ask yourself this question. If that was your daughter would you feel the same way?

  13. Hmm, maybe if everyone worked towards a peaceful resolution of the Sunni/Shi'ite schism, we might see some progress. The US needs to create an image as a nation willing to help Islam grow and be stable, rather than that of interfering Christians. But hey, that's just my two cents on the whole war thing.

    I happened to be in Saudi Arabia in 1991 while in the military. One of the Saudi air traffic controllers (British educated as it happens) once told me that if a Sunni and Shi'a were to meet on a road and Allah told each that the other was the last of his kind, they would fight to the death. How does one begin to make peace between them?

     

    I'm pretty sure you could have told that same story a few hundred years ago with a protestant and a catholic. The first step is identifying with the problem and realizing that Christianity is really not all that different. If we look back at the past, we might be able to find some keys to unlocking a more peaceful future.

    The difference is, no third party convinced the Protestants and Catholics to forget their enmity.

  14. Hmm, maybe if everyone worked towards a peaceful resolution of the Sunni/Shi'ite schism, we might see some progress. The US needs to create an image as a nation willing to help Islam grow and be stable, rather than that of interfering Christians. But hey, that's just my two cents on the whole war thing.

    I happened to be in Saudi Arabia in 1991 while in the military. One of the Saudi air traffic controllers (British educated as it happens) once told me that if a Sunni and Shi'a were to meet on a road and Allah told each that the other was the last of his kind, they would fight to the death. How does one begin to make peace between them?

  15. Just finished Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Overall I'd give it 4 stars. Good story but it drags a little. Children of Hurin is next.

     

    I have Water for Elephants on my list of books to get, after reading a friend's review of it. Sounds interesting, and the cover intrigues me.

     

    I have the yummy slipcased edition of Children of Hurin waiting on my reading pile. I did have a flick through when it arrived, so I could check out Alan Lee's illustrations...awesomeness.

    Gruen did an excellent job researching her subject (depression era traveling circuses) and she really captures the "feel" of it. But the story gets away from her a little bit. The plot develops quickly then slips into limbo in the middle. It finishes nicely though. The only one of her characters she could have done a better job with was August (the main antagonist). She should have read The Sea Wolf or Heart of Darkness before writing his parts. Wolf Larsen is one of the best "villains" an any book IMHOP.

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