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  1. #11
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I have sympathy for all people regardless of what they have done. I can't really help it; I simply am able to find the "story" or "pathos" in any person and see where their lives took wrong turns, see what they MIGHT have been, see what they COULD be if they made different decisions. And I am extremely forgiving of people who hate what they become and want badly to change, even if they're struggling and/or don't know how to make those changes. I'd rather help them and carry them, than damn them.

    At the same time, I don't believe in protecting people in general from the natural consequences of their actions. Even the repentant, if they are repentant, understand the need to take responsibility for the choices they have made. I don't really like to spare people that, because it would not be just... and it actually takes meaning away from their choice to repent. (What good is repentance if you don't have to suffer for it? How do you know how much you really DO want to repent, if there is no hard decision to be made? Painless repentance is cheap.)

    I am also pretty compassionate for people who are suffering things out of their control, who end up doing horrendous things. (Andrea Yates, for example -- who was clearly mentally ill, yet no one took necessary precautions or removed her from / protected her in her stressful situation. What she did was horrific... and yet she was clearly ill, not because of what she did per se, but because of her behavior and noticeable decline over a number of years before she murdered her kids.) This is not a lack of defending her children, who were also victims (and I'm a parent, so I identify with the kids); it's simply being realistic about what her intentions were, what was realistic for her to handle, and that if she hadn't been schizophrenic, she would have never considered harming her children.

    And I also become furious when I see all the "Roast 'em / Fry 'em!" signs (or whatever) being waved outside a penitentiary when someone is about to be executed. The crimes committed were bad enough; to revel in another human being's death is also very hard-hearted, because I think it's tragic when any human being's life is completely wasted, by their mistakes or another's. It says something about our own hearts to rejoice in the death of another; I just can't do it; we are all part of humanity and connected.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  2. #12
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I have sympathy for all people regardless of what they have done. I can't really help it; I simply am able to find the "story" or "pathos" in any person and see where their lives took wrong turns, see what they MIGHT have been, see what they COULD be if they made different decisions. And I am extremely forgiving of people who hate what they become and want badly to change, even if they're struggling and/or don't know how to make those changes. I'd rather help them and carry them, than damn them.
    Amen to that, sis
    That's why I made that rant on INTPc ages ago about how pissed off I get when I rant or seek advice on a friendship or relationship that's causing me a lot of trouble, and people's responses are invariably "cut 'em dead!" I'm just not in the business of doing that. It's just passing the buck.

    And I also become furious when I see all the "Roast 'em / Fry 'em!" signs (or whatever) being waved outside a penitentiary when someone is about to be executed. The crimes committed were bad enough; to revel in another human being's death is also very hard-hearted, because I think it's tragic when any human being's life is completely wasted, by their mistakes or another's. It says something about our own hearts to rejoice in the death of another; I just can't do it; we are all part of humanity and connected.
    Like, totally. I think that's what I was trying to gather in my head and articulate in my last post in this thread... I think that people sorta 'requiring' the person to be suffering in some internal way in order to sympathise, well, they often paint themselves as being more merciful and compassionate than those who push for them to be physically punished, though in fact to my mind it's no different than the primitive, barbaric revenge-rage thing that has the 'roast em' people out there with their placards and pitchforks.

  3. #13
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I have sympathy for all people regardless of what they have done. I can't really help it; I simply am able to find the "story" or "pathos" in any person and see where their lives took wrong turns, see what they MIGHT have been, see what they COULD be if they made different decisions. And I am extremely forgiving of people who hate what they become and want badly to change, even if they're struggling and/or don't know how to make those changes. I'd rather help them and carry them, than damn them.
    What about the people who embrace their cruelty? I have found it is more typical for the excessively cruel to revel in it. There is no remorse, no desire for change. They do not desire forgiveness in any form. What do you do with those people? I believe strongly in always withholding a certain level of judgment simply because there is not a way to ever understand absolutely, but to never excuse for the same reason. How do you explain Sybill and others who suffered the most extreme violations known and yet never became cruel? Suffering is not a free passage to cruelty. There is a relationship of sorts but never an excuse.

    What I caution against in these discussions is the sympathy offered the cruel person at the expense of the victim. It's worth taking a moment to view the scenario from every angle. Imagine your sister or mother was tortured, raped, murdered by a serial killer. Now imagine the advocates of compassion fighting the just cause of their killer's humanity. They go into detail about how his mother would lock him in a closet and his father was a drug addict. The poor man never stood a chance. We should all forgive him and be compassionate, good people. We should encourage the victim to forgive him as well.

    It is never our place to forgive the violations a person has committed against someone else. The suffering is not ours, the forgiveness not for us to offer. Forgiveness is about freeing ourselves from the clutches of our violators. It is about not allowing them power to shape us into their hatred. It is the process of detaching from suffering, never about embracing the violator. If you were not in their clutches, you cannot forgive but only appear to forgive. It is a mirage and nothing more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    And I also become furious when I see all the "Roast 'em / Fry 'em!" signs (or whatever) being waved outside a penitentiary when someone is about to be executed. The crimes committed were bad enough; to revel in another human being's death is also very hard-hearted, because I think it's tragic when any human being's life is completely wasted, by their mistakes or another's. It says something about our own hearts to rejoice in the death of another; I just can't do it; we are all part of humanity and connected.
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Such people are carrying on the legacy of the cruel.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    What about the people who embrace their cruelty? I have found it is more typical for the excessively cruel to revel in it. There is no remorse, no desire for change. They do not desire forgiveness in any form. What do you do with those people?
    I wonder how it can be possible to make such a judgement about a person. I mean, without melding with their mind in Vulcan fashion, you can never know what goes on in the deepest recesses of someone's mind, all you can know is what they're willing, consciously and subconsciously, to show you, and what you can perceive and understand. You're also assuming that everyone is aware themselves, of what goes in in their own deepest anima, and forgetting the denial factor.

    Basically, "judge not, lest ye be judged" is a good maxim for me... because I know how hideously complicated people can be.

    Some people don't dare to desire some things or know that they can. They'd need a lifetime of down-time and meditation to just persuade themselves that they can have the audacity to desire things like forgiveness etc.

    And some people are more tormented by their lack of desire for something, and the desire to desire it, than they are or would be if they had that thing, say, remorse, empathy, etc.

    I know that I'm no stranger to feeling bad for not feeling bad for something I've done. Wishing I felt remorse, but being unable to, and yet knowing I ought to. Paradox? Maybe... but true.

  5. #15
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    What about the people who embrace their cruelty? I have found it is more typical for the excessively cruel to revel in it. There is no remorse, no desire for change. They do not desire forgiveness in any form. What do you do with those people?
    Oh, you just had to find the loophole, didn't you? (!)

    I tend to take a more pragmatic solution for them: They can't be allowed to prey on the innocent, and if they have no apparent desire for change, then justice has to ensure that they are not free to harm another. Each case is a little different. Some psychopaths seem to be missing a link in their brain; others make conscious decisions to harm and hurt others, while still possessing discretion; so I'm not sure of the exact "punishment." I still feel badly simply because I'm human and cannot know exactly what is the "right" response... but the innocent must be protected.

    I believe strongly in always withholding a certain level of judgment simply because there is not a way to ever understand absolutely, but to never excuse for the same reason. How do you explain Sybill and others who suffered the most extreme violations known and yet never became cruel? Suffering is not a free passage to cruelty. There is a relationship of sorts but never an excuse.
    I agree with you. I'm cautious, but at the same time no excuses can be made.

    It is never our place to forgive the violations a person has committed against someone else. The suffering is not ours, the forgiveness not for us to offer. Forgiveness is about freeing ourselves from the clutches of our violators...
    Yes , very well stated.

    I think the violation has been committed against the victim and the victim's family. The government "stands in" for the victim since it has power to implement justice, but the victim and those hurt by the crime are the ones who really are (morally) in a position to forgive or to maintain the judgment.

    It's like with the Manson murders -- the three women are still in jail and come up for parole occasionally, and having watched interviews with them, I believe that at least one or two of them are completely repentant and sincere in their desire to serve the common good now... but the family members demand (due to the nature of the crime) that the women be kept locked up, in the name of justice. I have mixed feelings, but in the end these were the victims, and I think they rightfully have power in this situation to either forgive, or to release... or to forgive but insist on the punishment being carried out to the letter.

    I don't know. It's very muddy and very internalized.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #16
    Senior Member Lookin4theBestNU's Avatar
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    Good post Eileen and I know you are not alone . I do feel some sympathy for certain criminals. Cafe pointed out Jeffery Dahmer and that is one of the very few I did. I watched a 20/20 with him and it was very interesting listening to how he arrived to the point that he did. However I am a supporter of the death penalty and just like the rest of them the facts override/veto my feelings if that makes any sense. (I'm not trying to debate here either just answering the OP!)

    I feel great sympathy for his mother and the family of most killers.They end up paying a great deal to society. They have little hope of ever living normally again. I feel more sympathy for those too who are deemed criminally insane and end up spending their lives in a psych ward under lock and key. They spend their lives behind bars with few visitors I imagine. My imagination also leads me to believe they are societies guinea pigs in a sense (psychologically or perhaps even physically) much more than the public is made aware of. I feel as though these are the people you don't hear about too much, humanities cast-offs. I think however when it's proven that the criminal was well aware of right and wrong then they made a choice to commit the despicable act anyway my sympathy shut-off valve comes into effect. Temporary insanity pleas bother me too, just because I have a hard time believing it.
    And I also become furious when I see all the "Roast 'em / Fry 'em!" signs (or whatever) being waved outside a penitentiary when someone is about to be executed.
    I am not a part of this group though and it sickens me to see it. I would prefer to see that justice was quietly carried out but the media makes that difficult. Humanity has always had a morbid fascination with public executions and death which is unchangeable.
    "At points of clarity, I realize that my life on earth is meaningless, and that I am merely a pawn in a bigger game. A game I cannot possibly understand or have control of. Thankfully, before depression sets in, I drift back into my cloudy, bewildered daily routine." **Joel Patrick Warneke**

  7. #17
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    it's because I assume that they must suffer a great deal to do the horrible things they do
    Bad assumption. In some people, malice is simply intrinsic. That can be observed by a layman, though better explained by experts.

    It's quite possible to love the sinner as you fit him with a noose.

  8. #18
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by htb View Post
    Bad assumption. In some people, malice is simply intrinsic. That can be observed by a layman, though better explained by experts.

    It's quite possible to love the sinner as you fit him with a noose.
    why is the noose necessary? why not simply quarantine him from society for the rest of his natural life?

  9. #19
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    What's wrong with execution?

  10. #20
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    One's ultimate concept of the justice system (generally, either "punishment" or "rehabilitation") usually contributes a great deal to whether one believes in incarceration or execution.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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