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View Poll Results: What do you think of exercising 'eye for an eye' retribution?

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  • 'Eye for an eye' is as ancient as it is just.

    19 42.22%
  • I'm with Gandhi on this; 'an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind!"

    20 44.44%
  • Well... <insert commentary via post>

    6 13.33%
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  1. #101
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah
    I do think that it is a fate no one should suffer--and I think that is a good way to put it, Mempy. I'd never really heard anyone explain it as well as you did.


    Quote Originally Posted by Anja
    Yes, I thought Mempy was fairly awesome today! That was some heavy-duty deep thinkin'.
    Haha. Thanks, Anja.

    And I don't really care whether the victim wants revenge or she wants deterrence. She was blinded, for Pete's sake. I'm cutting her some slack. I do think that regardless of what's in her individual heart, deterrence does need to be a factor here.
    Agreed.
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  2. #102
    unscannable Tigerlily's Avatar
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    Time is a delicate mistress.

  3. #103
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    With any luck all the nasty people in the world will run around putting out each others' eyes and we won't have to worry about them anymore.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  4. #104
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    Society would decay if it promoted conditions which made it more advantageous for its members to break it's laws. This principle is common sense.

    In the case of the OP, the victim demanded justice. Her perception of justice is completely reasonable. Take from the attacker what the attacker took from her. No more, no less.

    The action is good for society. It does not leave the attacker better off than the victim. Members have an incentive to abide by its laws.

    It's good for the victim. She will finally receive some satisfaction. Whether others feel it is good for her or not is irrelevant. She has the right to decide for herself.

    It's effect on the attacker is of secondary concern. He chose the action. Now he must face the consequences. If it was believed that it will turn him into more of a monster, then the logical course of action is execution, not leniency.



    She was "compassionate" in that she did not demand throwing acid

  5. #105
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    Yeah, this is why I question whether he'll be made more or less empathetic by being blinded. I agree with your assessment here, that it forces someone to look at someone else with more compassion--because it produces empathy, a feeling of shared pain, and literally shoves the bad guy into the victim's shoes. I'm talking about most normal people, not sociopaths or anything like that.

    But... I also question how much anger and hatred this is going to produce. Ultimately, I guess it's all just speculation. People respond very differently to the exact same stimulus, and one reaction isn't necessarily any more valid or likely than another. But that's what my mind immediately thinks about--what reaction he's going to have to being blinded. Will he feel the punishment is unfair and seek even more revenge? He may not be able to hurt her himself, being blind, but he's probably got friends--he could theoretically have someone else do his dirty work for him, and it might not just be the blind woman who's terrorized, but her family and friends as well. I don't know if my ponderings produce anything, but I just speculate about the various responses he might have.

    Humans have a way of rationalizing anything, and they always rationalize things so that they are benefitted by it in some way--they're biased in favor of themselves. Just because he's put through the same thing doesn't necessarily mean he'll be made more empathetic.

    I like what someone said about it maybe being a worse fate not to be punished for his wrongs. Don't give him a reason to feel he made up for anything, don't give him a reason to say, "I paid for my crime," or a reason to feel sorry for himself. Just see if the guilt does him worse over time than anything else anyone might have done to him. Maybe it'll be a ticking time bomb, something that gnaws away at his guts and decimates his self-respect. Possible.

    Edit: I guess I approach this mostly from the perspective of wanting him to learn something from this experience, to be rehabilitated. I feel bad for her, and I'd want what ultimately benefitted her the most, but I need to balance what's going to benefit her with what's going to benefit everyone else, too--including our villain. Because I think what truly benefits him is going to benefit everyone else.
    Great post.

    The possible benefit to the woman is a sense of feeling empowered in response to being victimized. The possible harm is to allow herself to share a judgment with her violator. It is difficult to state a final opinion because I haven't experienced her pain and so withhold a certain amount of conclusion about it. I have analyzed the principles behind rejecting cruelty more than how to apply these in a case like this. I'm not sure I can know actually.

    I'll preface the following with the fact that the woman has a reasoned case to want to execute this judgment as a balanced response to his cruelty. What is frightening about people is that justice is different in every person's mind. The man felt justified in doing what he did. It probably appeared to be an "eye-for-an-eye" in his mind. It is terrifying to see that, but justice is easily warped in the human mind. What series of events and reasoning led him to think it was just for him to commit that act? Almost every act of cruelty can be traced back to an individual's assumption that they are entitled to punish another human being violently. Most violators feel victimized in some way even if that victimization is irrational and bloated by extreme ego-centric reasoning. There is a destructive undercurrent to the concept of punishment itself that I find sobering. It can be empowering to choose to be as unlike one's violators as possible, but there is a line of respect for another person's experience that makes it impossible to know what would empower them.

    A few weeks ago as I was driving to work there were two men fighting on the median on the most busy street. One man was on the ground, bleeding, while the other was kicking him so hard his body convulsed. As I drove by I saw both expressions clearly. I saw the fear in the wounded man's face and the rage on the attacker. The enraged face was about three feet from my window. I'll never know what preceded this, but anger and hatred justify cruelty every time whether the punishment has reasoning behind it or not. Whether the man deserved the punishment or not could not be determined by the expression of the attacker. I found that to be deeply disturbing.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    I'm sure most people who commit violent crimes don't need to be told or have it demonstrated that the stuff they do to people hurts. A lot of them have experienced it first hand already, it's a common reason for being a violent person in the first place.

    The punishers clearly don't feel empathy either. Otherwise they would feel the pain of blinding this man.
    They know there is pain I agree. That is why it makes them feel powerful. There is the process of dehumanizing the other person that is a required first step in cruelty that I was referring to. Women have their history of being dehumanized.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
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  6. #106
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    That is a lovely and thoughtful post, toonia. And those are thoughts I have shared. That concept of empowerment of the victim is a valid one and I believe it grew out of the Women's Movement in the seventies. Although I'm sure that it had occurred in many forms before that.

    And I have seen that idea twisted at times in victims', and helpers', minds to mean, "I will become as big and mean as 'they' are and then I won't have to be afraid of 'them' anymore." I think that was a misapplication which has happened all too often.

    It is again, that old flip side of the coin, neither side being one of balance/health. Reaction, rather than action.

    The idea of empowerment coming from within is a difficult concept to grasp for many.

    Edit: Your experience in your car sounds disturbing, indeed. What to think. . .
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  7. #107
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    Everyone who commits an act of atrocity probably felt that their action was justified on some level. Otherwise, they would not have done it. That's why the interpretation of justice needs to be done from the perspective of the "reasonable" person. Otherwise, there would be no workable system.

    It might be generous if the victim extended compassion and forgiveness to the unrepentant attacker, but society should not force her to do so.

  8. #108
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    It's the, 'if someone hits you should you hit them back?' debate. Just amplified a bit.
    But you know, maybe it's not true in Iran, but in a civil society like ours, then it's the duty and right of the legal system to punish offenders.

    Why is it okay for a person to work himself up into an obsessive frenzy and blind an innocent person, but not okay for him to receive the same punishment? I mean, yes, it's more calculated, but he is far more deserving of the fate of blindness than she was.
    A legal system should provide a standardized - more or less - reaction to a given infraction. I am not debating how morally right it is for the man to be blinded - I personally think it would be totally okay for her to shot him dead - but how a system that works in this fashion does not apply to a civil society. Moreoever, punishment is usually a means to remove dangerous elements from society, not a means to directly harm the offender.
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  9. #109
    Senior Member Valhallahereicome's Avatar
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    I didn't read through this whole thread, but I have to agree with those who said that blinding this man means dehumanizing him. There is already FAR too much dehumanization practiced in the world. Like it or not, all human beings do work in similar fundamental ways, and we all have our barbaric side as well as our enlightened side. If you talk to this man, I can almost guarantee that you will begin to understand why he blinded the woman, as much as you (or I) would like to think that his action was incomprehensible. In no way can one ever excuse him, of course. But if you want to stop tragedies like this, the first step is to see a little bit of him in yourself, because it does exist. Treating him with cruelty rather than empathy will only ensure that he continues to treat others the same way.

    Also, I think it's really important for everyone to fully see how they themselves could carry out actions that seem incomprehensible, from afar. Only by understanding such impulses in ourselves can we prevent ourselves from doing the same things. Seeing this man as a different species breeds complacency about our own high moral codes, when in fact an effective moral code depends mainly on self-awareness.

    I must admit that my first reaction on reading this article was to viscerally long for the man to be blinded, in the most painful way possible. However, my own cruel streak is probably very similar to the part of that man that led him to throw acid at the woman in the first place; like his, it needs to be suppressed and sublimated and replaced with empathy and reason.

    Hopefully, this sort of made sense - needs more editing, but I'm too lazy!

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valhallahereicome View Post
    However, my own cruel streak is probably very similar to the part of that man that led him to throw acid at the woman in the first place; like his, it needs to be suppressed and sublimated and replaced with empathy and reason.
    Why so much empathy for the attacker? What about the girl who had all her life aspirations snuffed out for eternity because one man felt he was entitled to do so? What should her feelings be pushed aside once again? Society owes her justice. It's the right thing to do, even if it's unpleasant.

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