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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > When is violence justified?

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments What is violence justified, both on a small (person to person) and large (country on country) scale?


message 2: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments It's not.


message 3: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) Seriously, RA, what's with asking these profound questions so damned early???

I think, from a person to person perspective, violence can only be justified if your life is clearly and obviously being threatened. For example, I have no problems with a woman shooting her physically-abusive husband; there comes a point when the violence committed upon her by her husband has to be put to an end, even if that means retailiating with violence.

Country on country isn't so easily justified. I can't justify the invasion of Iraq by US-led forces, nor can I justify the violence that followed afterward by Shiite and Sunni miliitas. It's an endless cycle of violence that's neither justified nor defensible.


message 4: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Heh. Notice I didn't answer the question, Gus...I need more coffee before I try to address my own inquiries:)


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I have to agree with Gus, self defense would appear to me to be the only time violence could be accepted.




message 6: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) So, Heidi, if someone were trying to murder you or a loved one, it would not be justified for you to act violently in self-defense?

Somehow, I think you would feel differently, especially with that steel pipe in your hand.


message 7: by Heidi (last edited Jan 21, 2009 08:18AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments Self-defense doesn't necessarily have to be violent. I spent 12 years training to learn how to deflect violence (and teaching it)... knife, gun, mano y mano... It's possible.


message 8: by Heidi (last edited Jan 21, 2009 08:59AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments Then again, I may have to amend my thoughts on that, because I was SUPER relieved the other night when the policeman shot the psycho killer in the movie Prom Night. I'll work on that...


message 9: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments Self-defence or protecting another person, especially a child or person who is weaker for some reason. I hope I wouldn't hesitate in a case like that.

As far as war--I'm like a dog chasing my tale on that one. On one hand, we can't be the police of the world and protect all the people in the world from evil dictators, on the other hand, what would have stopped Hitler? I love the song War by Edwin Starr--and it has this line--"War can't give life, it can only take it away." My daughter and I were talking about cases where that's true--most of them, and cases where that's not true--like when the Allied Forces reached the concentration camps and freed the few survivors. That's a case where war did give life. There are evil people and they get power and they abuse it and kill people and torture people and they don't stop when people ask them to, even if we say pretty please with sugar on top. They don't stop until someone with more power makes them and that involves war. And yet, I'm against war. And yet, I'm against letting people get killed and tortured. And yet.... Like I said, dog chasing tail, getting no where.


message 10: by Lori (new)

Lori Let's extend the circle then, Leslie, you chase my tail and I'll chase yours.

Yeah, there's always the Hitler factor that gives me pause when I start to claim that war is never justified.


message 11: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments Yeah--we can all make a chain!!! I don't believe it's realistic to say war is never justified, even that war is only justified if we are being attacked. Who is we? The people in my house? My country? What about my planet? My human race? What if my people in that context are being attacked, exterminated? There's too much evil power in this world to say that power can never be used against it.


message 12: by Cyril (new)

Cyril Here is another twist to the concentration camp story: as far as I know, we did not really know the extent of Hitler's treatment of Jews and other groups, and so it was not a reason for the US to enter the war. Can a violent act or war be justified by a just cause that is only discovered later? Is a violent act or war still justified when a "noble" goal later turns out to be spurious (i.e. WMD in Iraq)?


message 13: by Gåry! (last edited Jan 22, 2009 11:29PM) (new)

Gåry! (garyneill) When somebody needs their his/her ass kicked.



message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Yeah, Gary! To the curb!


message 16: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) I told you, Heidi!




message 17: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments But even that guy, I don't think he needs to be killed. I think he needs to be incarcerated for sure, but he also needs to be studied.


message 18: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) But even that guy, I don't think he needs to be killed. I think he needs to be incarcerated for sure, but he also needs to be studied.

At that moment, when you're face-to-face with someone who's inflicting harm on others (fatally or not), you're not thinking about incarcerating him; you're thinking about making him stop what he's doing. And if that means using violent force, so be it.

I agree with incarcerating him - people like that need to be off our streets pronto - but studying him? The fuck for? It may not prevent further instances of this type of tragedy occuring again. Or maybe it will, if we can identify certain triggers that would cause someone to flip out like that.


message 19: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments Well, yeah, if you're in the middle of the daycare slashing, you just stop him however you can, but it does benefit us to study serial killers (all killers, actually) to find out why they kill so we can maybe figure out how to stop that shit from happening. And it's just interesting.


message 20: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) I love studying serial killers. The problem with studying serial killers is you can find out why they kill, but you can't stop them or even prevent them from killing.

My question is, isn't there some kind of security at that daycare, something that would have prevented that man from simply walking in and going on a rampage?

One of the things my wife and I looked at when looking for a suitable daycare was the security in place. The daycare our daughter attends is only accessible through an access code we have to enter to gain access. There is also someone at the front desk at all time - the front desk has a security console that has a direct link to the police. You have to go through the front desk in order to truly get inside.

Of course, you can have an access code, and still go on a rampage. There's always that thought of a parent in the middle of a nasty custody battle who'll think nothing of it to harm their child at the daycare, or much worse. Shudder...


message 21: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments I imagine that there's a lot less paranoia in Belgium than we have here about child safety, so they probably are a lot more lax on security...

Yeah, that one quote even said, "(It's) something you hear about from America, not here."


message 22: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments Well, you can maybe not stop the one you're studying from killing, which is why they definitely don't need to be let out, but we can maybe learn how to have less of them in the future... Maybe.

Mostly I just want us to study them so I can have more fascinating stuff to read.


message 23: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments True DAT!


message 24: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments Yeah, but Mindy, you and I both know that there's no real treatment option for sociopaths. Therapists are generally not keen to take them on as pts for that reason. You'd think that in all the time we've been able to give this a name, we could make some sort of advance in this area of research. Science has identified the problem, but as for viable solutions, we got nada...

Yes, it would be fascinating to pick their brains, find out what makes them tick, record their anecdotes, ask them lots of questions, but in following through on ethical scientific research, keeping them to study is not consistent with the code of ethics. I don't know what exactly needs to happen in this sort of specific case.



message 25: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments Well, if the options are "keep them to study" or "kill them," I'd say option one is more ethical. And I totally don't think they are "treatable" in any sense of actually being able to rehabilitated, but we can learn from them. Mostly we learn about ourselves as a society. Some cultures produce more sociopaths than others. Why? And there is a lot of good research about their brains and how they are different from non-sociopathic brains. Really cool stuff!


message 26: by Gåry! (new)

Gåry! (garyneill) I say we keep them to study what happens when we beat them violently.



message 27: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments Yeah, that should make them even MORE sociopathic! Woot!


message 28: by Gåry! (new)

Gåry! (garyneill) WHOO!!!!SOCIOPATHS!!!!WHOO!!!1


message 29: by Lori (new)

Lori I'm against the death penalty, but when I hear something like this...


message 30: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers by Michael Newton The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers

(I own this book. They really do fascinate me.)


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