Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Another Triumph for Feminism

The prosecutor, the DA, and the judge - all pee sitting down. The accused has spent his entire life viciously raping women. The decision? Exactly what you'd expect. Aw, the poor widdle baby. Here, let me kiss it and make it all better. Hush now, your father is a bad, bad man, it's not your fault.

Question 1: Any man worth the name will do whatever it takes, and usually far more, to protect his wife and daughters. Women were never expected to join the posses going after the rapists and deadbeats. So, am I crazy, or would a male judge have been much, much harsher with this monster? Or, is this not a women thing, but a spineless liberal thing?

Question 2: Going by the pic in the article, exactly how comfortable do you suppose the defense attorney's shoes are?


Hector Owen said...

About the shoes: Did you mean the defense lawyer (top picture)? The Crown attorney looks kinda hot.

Or does DA mean "defense advocate" in Canadian? In USian it means the state prosecutor, which I think would be equivalent to Crown attorney. "Two countries separated by a common language."

About the story: Oh, what to do with such people! Who cannot be allowed to roam free, because they are dangerous; yet it's through no fault of their own. Would it be impossible, under Canadian law, to commit such a person to a secure facility that was not a prison for the rest of his life? If indeed he has "the IQ of an eight-year-old," the compassionate thing, as well as the prudent thing, would be to find a place for him to grow old and die in reasonable comfort (not luxury, but real clothes and decent food), while sparing him of the opportunity to interact with, or prey upon, the rest of the population. And sparing the population likewise.

Hector Owen said...

I guess by "secure facility that was not a prison" I mean a mental hospital. Concision is a goal which I hope one day to attain, but I'm not there yet.

Adrian said...

no, my bad, you're right about DA, i'll change it!

Adrian said...

as for the other thing, well, i've known plenty of eight year olds in my time, and not one of them tried to rape anyone. i guess i don't really buy the "through no fault of their own" statement. that skirts the dangerous territory of turning criminality into an innate condition rather than a choice.

i mean, it's one thing if a person is completely crazy and non-functional, but color me skeptical when you have a guy who can get around just fine, has no problem sitting down to dinner and ordering from the menu, but then claims he had no idea that raping the waitress was impolite.

the only people here "no fault of their own" applies to, as i see it, are his victims. i say either kill him or (non-chemically) castrate him and lock him up for good.

Hector Owen said...

We are not far apart on the "lock him up for good." But "turning criminality into an innate condition rather than a choice?" If indeed he is mentally defective for an organic reason, the fetal alcohol syndrome, that's an innate condition which matches Szasz's tough criterion for "brain disease." The criminality is not so much a choice as the manifestation, or symptom, of the disease. Like other ailments, some people have a worse case than others, and this creep has a bad case. He should be quarantined until he gets better, which from the limited information in the article, looks like it will only happen after his death.

About the eight year olds you have known: they lack the physical size and strength to commit rape, and also lack the hormones that would make them want to do it. The strength and hormonal urges of an adult's body, combined with an eight year old's lack of self-control, is, as we see from the present case, a dreadful combination. I know plenty of eight year olds who can order from a menu, but there are a lot of other tasks I wouldn't trust them with.

Do retarded people who commit criminal acts belong in regular prison, or in a facility for the retarded? There's a question that could spawn a few arguments. The problem with the sentence is that once out on probation, he's likely to rape again, if indeed there is the organic brain defect that the defense attorney mentions. Knowing that he'll go back to prison afterwards will be no comfort to the victim.

Adrian said...

"Do retarded people who commit criminal acts belong in regular prison, or in a facility for the retarded?"

Yep, that's a key issue, and I always voted for prison. Don't care why they commit crime (pure evil, lack of understanding, or whatever), just that they're locked away.

i had a prof for a criminal psych class who used to say that there are millions of mentally challenged people out there who never hurt a fly; when someone does commit evil, let's not be so quick to blame it on their condition. among other things, it's really unfair to all those mentally damaged people living in peace!

do you think there's a significant difference between a retarded serial rapist and a non-retarded serial rapist? it's not like the non-retard is a normal guy who just happens to rape women on the side, there must be something deeply and innately wrong with him, too, even if it's not fetal alcohol syndrome. but that doesn't mean he should get treatment instead of punishment. i think it's a waste of time and resources to even bother differentiating between the two groups, just lock 'em up and, as they say, let god sort 'em out.

and i guess i have no choice but to plead ignorance as to the fetal alchohol syndrome. i never heard that your mother drinking to excess during pregnancy (as quite a few mothers did until quite recently, i believe) meaned that you were bound to turn out a violent criminal, but i've never studied it, so i'm probably wrong as usual.

in any case, thanks so much for taking the time to leave all these great comments, i really appreciate it! and, on a completely different note, i'm guessing you're a whedon fan based on your blog header, so didja hear about the new whedon series starring faith coming out after the writers' strike?

p.s. here's an interesting article on szasz, fwiw

Hector Owen said...

"do you think there's a significant difference between a retarded serial rapist and a non-retarded serial rapist? it's not like the non-retard is a normal guy who just happens to rape women on the side, there must be something deeply and innately wrong with him, too, even if it's not fetal alcohol syndrome. but that doesn't mean he should get treatment instead of punishment."

The McNaughton rule. "[A]t the time of committing the act, the accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing or, if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong." The non-retarded serial rapist knows that what he is doing is wrong, and could stop if he wanted to, but he likes it, so he keeps on doing it. Musical reference: the Incredible String Band's Minotaur Song: "I'll do what's wrong as long as I can." Otherwise known as sociopathic. The eight year old in the adult man's body can't help himself. So he needs help, in the form of confinement.

Maybe Canadian prisons are more pleasant places than US ones. Confinement is not all one gets in a US prison.

The article about Szasz is interesting, thanks. Now that we know that "Freud had fabricated and falsified the data about his patients in order to support his theories," a reconsideration of psychotherapy is in order. In the article you linked, Szasz sounds like he is pioneering what is now called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. What Szasz and others who were more extreme about this, such as R.D. Laing, were aiming at [in my layman's opinion] was [to put it mildly] to distinguish harmless eccentricity from dangerous lunacy. Laing went too far; Szasz walked on the edge. But his book Our Right to Drugs is unassailable, IMHO. And that's the only one of his books that I have read, so I'll stop right here.

Except to say: I'm a mad Buffy/Angel fan, as you noticed, thanks for the tip. Dollhouse, yes? Not that big a fan of Eliza Dushku. Faith, yes; something that's not in the Buffyverse, but has Eliza Dushku playing someone not Faith -- oh well, it's Joss, it'll be great. There's a rumor about a Serenity sequel. I won't get my hopes up on a little rumor, but it's a nice little rumor.

Adrian said...

i'm not a big fan of the "knows it's wrong" standard here. it's one thing when you're shooting a prime minister from afar or even quickly pushing a guy in front of a train because the voices told you to, it's quite another when you commit a sustained, up-close rape. faced with sustained fear, panic, and probably begging and violent resistance, too, i find it very hard to believe that anyone with the minimum wherewithal to commit rape in the first place would not get the message that something here is unwanted or bad.

also, as for the "can't help it," couldn't you say that applies even more to the 'sane' rapist? he knows it's wrong, but he still keeps on doing it, which seems more compulsive than someone doing something when they don't know it's right or wrong.

and another thing: does the 'sane' rapist even really believe what he's doing is wrong? he's certainly aware that society and his victim think it's wrong, but maybe he thinks it's right for him. the way anybody justifies some of the sins they commit.

my very long and confused point being, i think it's just too messy to try and be mind-readers in these cases, to ask ourselves whether the rapist suffers from compulsion or knows right from wrong or what precisely he was thinking at the time.

as for szasz, i used to be much more libertarian and once agreed with drug legalization (i haven't read that book, though). that was my view living an idyllic childhood and adolescence all but completely devoid of drugs in my surroundings. then i went to college, saw what they did to people, and stopped being a libertarian! here is an essay i really like that puts forth several arguments i agree with.

on to whedon: i agree that the series in particular doesn't seem all that great (didn't they do this already and call it The Pretender?), but Joss has done no wrong yet (well, except for Riley - so. annoying.), so I'm hopeful. I would love for there to be another Serenity movie or a Ripper miniseries, but most of all I would love another go at Angel. Buffy ran its course, and Firefly, well, at least there was the movie, but Angel was cancelled right in the middle of a great season and instead we're given Moonlight -- aah, i get mad just talking about it, i better stop.

p.s. also: this

Hector Owen said...

You've moved the goalposts away from "non-retarded" to "sane." Different things. The sociopath is not retarded, but not sane either. An extreme example of the type would be Hannibal Lecter. (Silence of the Lambs was on the TV tonight.) The sociopath knows it's bad and can damn well help it, but does not want to, because it feels good. The brain-damaged person may or may not know it's bad, depending on the type and extent of the damage, but can't help it--lacks the impulse control to stop, once he's started.

You don't have to be telepathic to figure out if someone is brain-damaged. Szasz would say that you could see it on a CAT scan or EEG. In this particular case, if the creep is as brain-damaged as the DA claims, he needs to be put away for a long time. The question would be, in what kind of facility?

On the drug legalization thing; I'll come back to that later. That article needs a thorough fisking, as it's jammed with fallacies from top to bottom. There is a thread at Althouse that started as one thing and went somewhere else: I posted this, there. A couple of my favorite Jefferson quotes.

I like Moonlight; didn't think I would, but after a few of them, it's kind of growing on me. (Eew! get it off!) Lacks the Joss-ian whimsy, but if you think of it as a standard network-style cop show with vampires it works, much as Numb3rs works as a standard network cop show with [something like] math. Light entertainment, nothing to get upset about, and if you miss one, you haven't missed much, unlike Angel with its long story arcs. But--those interstitial cuts, the aerial shots of the city at night--very Angel-esque. (Looking for a word other than "angelic," which clearly would not be right.)

Hector Owen said...

Footnote: "In this particular case, if the creep is as brain-damaged as the DA claims, he needs to be put away for a long time." And if he isn't brain-damaged he even more so needs to be put away for a long time, or executed. How many rapes, total? Just one used to be good for a death sentence in most jurisdictions.

Adrian said...

sorry, i didn't mean to move the goalposts! i still meant non-retarded sociopaths, 'sane' was the wrong word to choose. but yeah, that's what i meant, and it still applies, I think. A sociopath might choose in a more deliberate way than a retarded person whether to commit the crime, but fundamentally he doesn't choose to be a sociopath. he is a sociopath, innately. i don't like the taste of human liver with chianti myself, but that's not so much a choice as my luck in not being born (or made into, whichever you choose) a madman. the sociopath just has one degree-of-separation more of innate 'issues' than the brain-damaged guy, and that's not a distinction i really care about.

like the fundamental problem of the insanity defense, which is that most people would think you'd have to be insane, by definition, to commit some of these heinous crimes, so to claim afterwards a defense of insanity is the height of absurdity. i know i'm being simplistic, but i just don't think this stuff matters. i don't care whether they can't control their impulses because of CAT-scannable brain damage, or love to rape because of psycho-analyzable mother issues, or whatever. that is, i don't care about the state of their souls - like i said, that's something for a higher power than us to judge.

i noticed a couple fallacies in the dalrymple piece myself, but i still liked the gist of it!

for the record, i have made fun on this blog both of anti-smoking campaign idiots and, perhaps more controversially, of MADD, whom i loathe. but drinking and smoking for the most part have a proven track record as overall healthy (in the non-medical sense) and even integral parts of society. the same cannot be said for lots of other drugs, specifically the more modern ones. if you and Trooper smoked crack cocaine instead of cigars, you wouldn't be commenting at Althouse so much as murdering people, most likely. to refer to the jefferson quote, we're not talking potatoes anymore. same thing for his liberty remark - as i would argue in a defense of racial profiling today, times change, and the meaning of liberty changes with them. like the ben franklin line, so often misquoted, which goes "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." The key words being "temporary safety," which people always leave out, but which leaves the door open to giving up liberties for a more permanent safety, as in the case here.

Oh, what the heck. I'm willing to concede the point to you because I think our culture is doomed anyway, but, still, it would be nice to postpone the inevitable!

i don't think my stance is necessarily Puritan, by the way, though I will admit to Puritan tendencies in myself. I think it's more traditionally conservative - let's just leave things more or less as they are and beware of any change in the social fabric. even the smallest change can have huge unforeseen consequences (see the AI post linked here), and a huge change, like legalizing drugs, well, who knows? i wouldn't want to risk it!

also: as much as I LOVE Dubliners, I do not like Ulysses. It should have been banned, not for obscenity, but for obnoxiousness! Nabokov, Bellow, Faulkner - these were all literary geniuses, too, but they didn't go around writing interminable and impenetrable tomes just because they could. Herzog? The Sound and the Fury? Difficult at times, but great, and beyond moving. Finnegan's Wake? Life is too short. I blame Ulysses for all the crappy egotistical and overlong literature today. Would it have killed them to copy Dubliners' near-perfect short-stories instead?

Hector Owen said...

Here's another one involving a female judge who erred on the side of, I suppose, some idea of mercy: Mitt's "Willie Horton?" Timeline and pic of judge here.