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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.170.177.92
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 12:48 pm:   

Pictures rarely make me jump, but this one...
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/psycho_with_killer_smile_GfrbSwStw26i3uaaD COr8J
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 01:01 pm:   

I've been so busy and tired and burnt-out lately that this is the first report I've seen about this - haven't seen the news since before Christmas, never buy papers, and haven't even been looking at online news sites.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.170.177.92
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 01:04 pm:   

This video was made by him;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6C3NdZrzUY&feature=related

Looks like he was a lucid dreamer who couldn't tell when he was awake or asleep, it says in the news (any thoughts, Des..?). A sick man with access to weapons, simple as that.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 03:47 pm:   

A smile with nothing but a howling void behind the eyes... either that or he's doped to the eyeballs!
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.170.177.92
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 03:52 pm:   

He was. He was a massive grass smoker.
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Des (Des)
Username: Des

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 86.143.98.68
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 07:01 pm:   

What's this reference today by Sarah Palin to "blood libel" in this context?
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.182.24.98
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 07:16 pm:   

Apparently Palin (and others) are being accused by the media of whipping folk into a frenzy, and thus being partly to blame for the shootings. One thing Palin did on TV, I believe, was to mark opponents' areas, on an animated map of the US, with crosshairs.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.142.151
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 07:19 pm:   

I saw that map, Mick...thought it awful.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.142.151
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 07:21 pm:   

Ah. Found it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/woe1/5336693715/
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.142.151
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 08:04 pm:   

And I got 30 seconds into the Fred Phelps youtube thing before I felt sick. They were going to picket the little girl's funeral but have been stopped thank...
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.142.151
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 08:10 pm:   

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/01/11/arizona.funeral.westboro/?hpt=C2
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Barbara Roden (Nebuly)
Username: Nebuly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 142.179.12.225
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 08:18 pm:   

Des: here's a link to a piece in the WASHINGTON POST which gives the relevant quote from Palin (where she uses the 'blood libel' phrase) and an explanation of what the phrase originally referred to and why it's stirring more controversy.

http://tinyurl.com/45v6ue6

Allyson: read a very interesting piece today about Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, putting his and their actions into perspective. Basically, the writer opines that religion has nothing to do with it (well, I think we knew that anyway); it's more a case of Phelps and his handful of followers trying to goad people into libel, slander, threatening behaviour, or even just an implication of threatening behaviour against them, so that Phelps can then turn around and sue. It was all likened to a phishing scam, and while it doesn't make Phelps's behaviour any less loathsome, it does reveal him for what he is: a con artist.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.142.151
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 08:22 pm:   

Thank you Barbara! I understand more about it all now.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 06:39 am:   

Please. I consider myself... er, mildly educated, and I had no idea that "blood libel" was supposedly a direct reference to a specific libel against Jews during the Middle Ages, until someone explained it today. I mean, I'd heard of those libelous charges before, but I never knew they fell under the rubric of the term "blood libel." But even then - so what?!? What was bad about using the term?

it's one more way for the Sarah Palin haters to hate Sarah Palin, but this time, they're lapping a cesspool. Dragging her in, in the context of this crisis is, there is simply no other way to say it: it's vile. There is absolutely NO evidence linking these two, the shootings in Arizona and Sarah Palin - so, pulling her in as all but a co-conspirator, is libelous - "blood libelous" if you will.

Even if the guy DID worship Sarah Palin? He loved her, wanted her, screamed out "I'm killing for you, Sarah?" The actions of an evil and deranged individual, cannot be laid at the feet of anyone but that one lone deranged individual. Unless someone can unearth a letter from Sarah commanding this guy to "Go out and kill," it's all vicious, malicious lies. It's absolutely sick, depraved, and ghoulish.

Hate Sarah all you want, attack her politics, decry her actions, call her an idiot, laugh at her, do everything you can during elections to keep her out of power. But don't do this. Don't exploit the dead and wounded - good God, they made these charges while the bodies were still cooling in their own blood on the ground, before anyone even knew their names - no, It's immoral. It's scummy. It's politics at its fucking ugliest.
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Des (Des)
Username: Des

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 86.143.98.68
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 09:15 am:   

Thanks, Barbara. As a sporadic reader of the History of Religion etc, I'm actually amazed I'd not heard the term before seeing Palin on the News here.
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.143.178.131
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 10:58 am:   

Yeah, Phelps is basically the head of a tiny organisation of in-breeds who make a lot of noise in order to garner publicity for themselves. They are in no way representative of the vast majority of American baptists.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.59.115.60
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 01:26 pm:   

I can't help but think that Palin's "Don't Retreat; Reload" slogan hasn't really helped matters.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 01:31 pm:   

Craig, the term 'blood libel' can be used legitimately to refer to false allegations of murder. In this case not only was there no such allegation, but it is an undisputed fact that Palin displayed images of cross-hairs pointing at the seats of Democrat senators includinmg Giffords. There is no false allegation, and the claim that there is no possible connection between publicly using the image of shooting someone and someone else shooting that person is rather weak. Where is Palin's apology for her use of inflammatory and dangerous images?
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.143.178.131
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 02:03 pm:   

What Joel said.

Palin is beyond vile.
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.143.178.131
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 02:04 pm:   

The only good thing that came come of this is the fragmentation and death of the Tea Party movement. If Palin ever became President I'd be heading for the nearest nuclear bunker.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.139.44
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 02:05 pm:   

"If Palin ever became President I'd be heading for the nearest nuclear bunker."
Same here.
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Mbfg (Mbfg)
Username: Mbfg

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 212.219.63.204
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 03:40 pm:   

joel

Especially in a Country that allows all kinds of nutters to own leathel weapons. It would be the same in this or any other oountry if anyen coudl walk into Tesco's a buy a gun
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 04:16 pm:   

Et tu, Joel?

Come on, you're better than that. Or maybe you've just not been exposed to what we've been exposed to these last few days. It is one thing to point out that, interestingly, Sarah Palin had in one of her print/internet ads (which, btw, I've never seen UNTIL this incident, and I'm pretty politically aware, so how widespread was this ad?) the image of "crosshairs" over certain congressional seats on a map of America....

It is quite another thing to focus on this solely, as if it were virtually the only piece of "evidence" we have for why this mad killer did this - to hold discussions and roundtables on how Palin has basically contributed to the atmosphere that made this killer pick up a gun and shoot this woman, and many innocent others.

It is just plain false to do so. Even for you to at all ask the non-sequitur question, "Where is Palin's apology for her use of inflammatory and dangerous images?", means you too have fallen into the illogical trap, are claiming there's a link between the two. And by extended implication, that there's no other link between the two, to so solely focus. It is (literally) debate-unworthy. It's beneath people to let their prejudices so cloud their sound, rational, reasonable, methodical thinking processes.

(So they were right then, for all those years... linking up literal violence with "heavy-metal" music and Dungeons & Dragons and the horror movies we love so much and etc....)

When one lets the ability to rationally analyze and link events in a causal chain of evidence go wanting; but instead, foists up any and all make-believe "facts" because they fit a given template to forward a desired belief... again, et tu, Joel?...
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 12.165.240.116
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 05:28 pm:   

>> It's beneath people to let their prejudices so cloud their sound, rational, reasonable, methodical thinking processes.

Sure. It's also beneath people to let their overwhelming need to be contrarian cloud their sound, rational thinking.

Palin's "gunsight" chart was major news when it appeared. Around the same time, Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle suggested that Americans use "second amendment remedies" for an "out of control Congress." Perhaps you missed it, Craig, but many did not. Critics at the time said that conservatives were encouraging violence. Of course they did not mean that Palin and Angle, et al, were encouraging bloodshed among normal, upright citizens: they meant that such gestures could encourage an unhinged citizen (or two) to resort to violence.

Now that an unhinged citizen has attacked a liberal member of Congress -- one that Palin had specified with her "gunsight" map -- it is perhaps reasonable to think that a culture of extreme rhetoric may have had something to do with it.

Is there any evidence of this? Not really. It's pretty hard, however, to find evidence of the sorts of things that provoke a schizophrenic into violence. Hard to even imagine what such evidence might entail. The end result, then, is ambiguity: yes, the shooter was nuts, and yes, he was politically active. That's about all we can say for sure. However, it's also unlikely that such a person would be unaffected by the political rhetoric in a state with such hotly contested issues as Arizona.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 05:28 pm:   

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110113/ap_on_re_us/us_congresswoman_shot

... but then, let's ignore all that and keep blood-libeling Sarah Palin as a major factor in this guy's shooting rampage, that's much more fun and less repulsive....
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.171.129.78
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 06:01 pm:   

Palin didn't pull the trigger. I think it's wrong to blame her for the actions of a nutter. I do think she and the Tea Party movement are awful. I suspect the greater Republican party at large will hope this incident does her serious damage. I also suspect she'll successfully make it into a 'the media is to blame' game. But Palin didn't pull the trigger, just as the more liberla-minded folk proclaiming Dubbya to be Satan wouldn't have pulled the trigger of any gunman who had a go at Dubbya. But the climate of political 'debate' in the USA is somewhat fraught and has been the last ten, fifteen years.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011 - 10:07 am:   

Just slightly, Mark. I actually watched Obama's speech at the memorial last night and was very impressed- a real attempt to appeal to everyone's better natures that even Glenn Beck ended up praising. Whether or not that has any long-term effect remains to be seen, but we can but hope.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011 - 11:25 am:   

I don't agree with this, but I thought I should add it to the thread:http://uk.news.yahoo.com/blogs/talking_politics/why-sarah-palin-was-right-p16049 2.html
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.225.183
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011 - 12:22 pm:   

Craig, I think this is a cultural difference. Americans seem to have huge difficulty accepting that there might be a link between public gun rhetoric and gun use. Palin explicitly promoted the image of shooting Senator Giffords. Her imagery would have been judged irresponsible and dangerous, and unacceptable for a person in public office, in the UK even if nothing further had happened. But then, in the UK we're not allied to the irrational conviction that gun crime has no link to the promotion of gun use.

I'm afraid saying that criticising Palin's use of the image of putting a bullet in Giffords is like blaming heavy metal for gun massacres in the USA is wilfully missing the point. Heavy metal bands are not politicians and they rarely adopt military imagery in relation to politicians. Palin did not cause the shooting of Giffords, but I'm afraid the conclusion about the unacceptability of her obscene stunt is really obvious to any European.
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.171.129.69
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011 - 08:38 pm:   

Quite.

I have this theory that the US Constitution actually promotes fears in the country's citizens. The idea that an armed malitia should be available at a moment's notice to overthrow a dodgy government intent on doing ill to a particular state or the whole country. All that stuff. It breeds fear of the government. Hardly helpful.

In the UK there's a dodgy old law - still intact today - about all good Englishmen must practise their archery skills every other Sunday or something in case the Frenchies have another go at us.

Does seem to be as archaic as the US constitutional right to bear submachine guns.
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.171.129.69
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011 - 08:40 pm:   

As for Mrs Palin, she appears to be displaying all the tact and sensitivity she's known for, and is to appear at some gun rally thingy or other.

Obama's speech was a throwback to his campaigning best, I thought. Nice to see that from him again, though a pity it's under such circumstances.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 04:31 am:   

I'll say this Joel: if Palin puts this out there, it's fair-game to raise it against her, when such an incident occurs, that does weirdly dovetail with the issue (Giffords complained during the campaign, apparently, about just such a violent image).

However, the reeking vultures in the press and the equally stench-worthy that were many Democrat politicians, are just that, vile reeking vultures, for bringing it up while the bodies were still cooling - I mean, within mere hours of the shooting, this was all over the news. That's not just ghoulish: that's exploitative, that's unseemly, that's just plain rotten.

Do we at all believe in respect for the dead? Dear God, I hope so. All's fair in love and politics, but it just shows the filth of the press on the left, their gleeful wallowing in political finger-pointing - a game, nothing but a dirty rotten game that can be played anytime, it didn't have to be played just then - played, publicly, while families learn for the first time that loved ones will never again, for all eternity, be reachable. Oh you men of stone, indeed....
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 12:27 pm:   

Here is exactly what Palin posted online:

http://www.facebook.com/notes/sarah-palin/dont-get-demoralized-get-organized-tak e-back-the-20/373854973434

I think the journalists who drew attention to it did their job. Craig, I find it hard to grasp why you object to their behaviour more than hers.
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Mbfg (Mbfg)
Username: Mbfg

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 82.6.90.22
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 01:18 pm:   

Unbelievable. The woman is beyond satire, a human spitting image character.
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.109.136.214
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 01:21 pm:   

Why are a lot of American conservatives so anti health-care reform? Surely, it's a no-brainer? I know of someone who is dying because he can't afford the healthcare to help in his illness. Over here this would be utterly unthinkable. In the US he's basically being shunted aside and left to die becuse he doesn't have the readies. Don't doctors take the hypocratic oath over there?

Anyway, RE Palin, I'm pretty sure her rhetoric didn't help the situation. I'm afraid she can't be let off the hook entirely here. You start a hate campaign that involves gun terminology and rifle sites as graphics, you reap what you sow.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 04:30 pm:   

Ramsey, again, it is one thing for a journalist to point out, say, "In an odd coincidence to the shootings, a few months earlier, Sarah Palin had posted an image..." etc.

It's quite another to link the two incidents. It's utterly irrelevant to "object to" her behaviour, regardless of what one thinks about it, because her behaviour had nothing to do with the shooting incident.

When Nidal Hasan jumped on a table screaming "Allah Akbar" and started gunning down everyone in that Army base, and with all the evidence that came to light concerning that incident - the press, the left and the President, were all determined no one link it to Islamic influences in any way: it was all the work of a single deranged unhinged madman.

They are utter hypocrites, then, that's beyond doubt. But it just brings me to despair, that all of you here - regardless of what you feel about Palin and the right - are so eager to lay blame for these shootings at her feet. I mean in any way, even an iota. Every day, more and more evidence comes to light, that this shooter was, indeed, a deranged individual who flipped. And every day, is another day not a shred of evidence comes to light, explicitly or otherwise linking this killer to Palin/the right.

But even if he HAD been overtly influenced, so he thought, by political images and rhetoric - I mean, all of you, again, who are so eager to defend art from its criminal liability, why would you then stand idly by here? All I can say is, it is despairing. I feel like I'm the only one who believes, a standard of truth should stand above all personal prejudices and leanings.

The press was trying to lay the blame for this shooting at Palin's feet, and the feet of the Repulicans and the right in America, mere hours after the shooting, when virtually no evidence had to come to light about anything concerning the shooter. There can be no defending that. If one defends that, I believe, one has lost all, in the argument about the "evil" influences of images, art, writing, expression... one starts on the road down to censorship, and government control of free speech and expression... and I am just too protective of that, to let any personal prejudice win me temporary satisfactions, when abuse of it benefits my own political beliefs, however fleetingly temporary... because suppression of free speech and expression is the only road all this (literal) ill-logic leads to, in time, once that rule is bent, simply to gratify one's own leanings....
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 04:49 pm:   

Craig - the right have always used public fears, irrational or rational, and steered them to, and at, minority groups, or people not deemed patriotic enough to American interests. While this is not entirely the same thing, that Palin does not represent a minority as such, though obviously physically she does, and is in your opinion being made a scapegoat, it's simply
tough titty time.

Why are you so surprised that the left have adopted the same policy targeting somebody and letting everybody else howl for blood?

Of course it's a dirty game. That's how politics works and feeds...on people. Palin is but one of the many engineers of this debacle called civilized politics. She would have done the same if the boot were on the other foot. Getting angry because she's been singled out seems a moot point, and quite honestly, I hope it ruins her career. This woman could not care a jot about decent people, or living a decent life.

And, for all the Palin's who are in office right now, making decisions which lead to ordinary decent people being bombed out of their homes, the so called collateral damage of running a 'civilized world', one less potential homicidal maniac running things, or having the chance to do so, is fine by me.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 05:19 pm:   

My question Frank, is: Should we be sitting around, though, and pretending we're being objective, rational, reasonable assessors of facts? If you want to take the stance "it's a dirty game," and turnabout is fair play, and etc., then that's at least reasonable - but, when the right does it back to you, don't go screaming about fairness either.

Here, let's imagine....

A man flips out, and takes a chainsaw to his girlfriend, and the postman who came calling that day, before the police are alerted and called in; arresting the guy as he's just severing the last limb from the last socket of the poor mail guy.

A copy of Brett Easton Ellis's AMERICAN PSYCHO is discovered on the man's night stand.

How culpable is Bret Easton Ellis in this murder? How culpable is AMERICAN PSYCHO?

Let's say the man put this book up on his Facebook, as a "Favorite." Now how culpable is author/murder in the crime?

Let's say the press - within hours - was asking the question, "How much does this kind of fiction contribute to these kinds of crimes?" Panelists come on, and decry the book, and the author, saying both are contributing to a culture of such violence, a culture that produces such violence.

Are they correct? Do they have, at all, a valid point in (at that point) linking book/author and horrific crime?

Let's say the murderer said, indeed, he was inspired by AMERICAN PSYCHO. Now can we safely say Brett Easton Ellis and his book are contributing factors to this horrendous murder?

Let's say I'm telling my mom about this, and decrying how unfair it is of the press to link an author and his book, to this voluntary act of pure evil. My mom responds, "I'm sorry, but I read the synopsis to that awful awful novel - I find it hard to grasp why you object to their behaviour more than Mr. Ellis's in writing and publishing such filth." Is her point relevant, and valid?
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 05:22 pm:   

Craig - I understand what you're angry about, how you perceive it, but she is dangerous, bad for your country, and elicits no compassion from most people because of what she represents. The link which Ramsey posted adequately sums her up. That the left have jumped on it, doesn't surprise me at all.
I agree there's a time and a place for raising, or confronting such issues, but the modern arena of politics is even dirtier than those of the past, and life in that particular cesspool means that the left will embrace the tactics of the right.

I don't condone it, I just recognize it for what it is, and where it originated, from people like Palin.

Sorry, mate. I respect you, but I have to say I can't agree, and that I find your astonishment at the response of the left a tad surprising.

After all, your the cynic of all cynics (;
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 05:34 pm:   

I guess I just wish, Frank, that the left and the right would come out and just blatantly say, what you're saying: that indeed, IT'S ALL A GAME TO US. We don't value truth, we don't value fairness, we don't value anything but - our side winning. It's a game, people, it's a rough-and-tumble dirty game, and we're all (let me repeat: ALL) liars and schemers and dirty-pool players. If you trip and fall, we'll kick your skull in. If we trip and fall and they kick our skulls in, we'll cry foul. We hope you dupes out there watching us, will come running when WE call foul, but not when the other guys do.

Because we - the dirty filthy lying scummy truth-benders on your side - we want to lead you all, and tell you how to act, think, conduct your lives. Trust us - did I mention yet we're on your side? Hey, don't my teeth look so shiny and white when I smile?
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Nathaniel Tapley (Natt)
Username: Natt

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 92.15.150.206
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 06:11 pm:   

Hm. It's not often I'd feel compelled to offer a moderate defence of someone who appears to sympathise with Sarah Palin, but...

In one way Craig is exactly right. The evidence linking Jared Lee Loughner with the Tea Party or Republicans is weak. He's a very weird person, one who has had problems with Congresswoman Gifford for a long time, and his politics seem to be all over the map.

Does that mean he wasn't influenced by violent rhetoric? No. But Jared Lee Loughner is not a stereotypical right-wing nut driven into a frenzy by the Palins, Limbaughs and Becks of this world. However, let's not forget:

Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr George Tiller in Junhe 2009: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8488335.stm
The three men who plotted to assassinate Barack Obama on live TV http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/08/obama-assassina.html
James Von Brunn who shot people at the US Holocaust Museum (June 2009)
Richard Poplawski, gunning down policemen because he feared a non-existent gun ban
Jim David Adkisson, who went into a church and started killing people
The Hutaree Christian Militia (containing actual Tea Party candidates for office)

You can't make the same argument about these people. These people comitted, or planned to commit, acts of political murder. All targeted people with whom they disagreed politically. All come from one end of the political spectrum.

Craig, you're confusing two things. Your right to free speech isn't based on the fact that speech, especially political speech, can never have an effect on another human being. The Founding Fathers certainly didn't believe that The Rights Of Man or Common Sense never affected anyone; they knew they did, and they were defending Paine's right to speak ANYWAY. Your right to free speech isn't guaranteed because is can never affect anyone, but despite that fact. That is why it is so important to us. That is why many regimes don't have free speech. Not because it's ineffective.

It is perfectly reasonable to believe that incitements to do things can be effective, and still not believe they should be banned. Your constitutional right to free speech is your right to rile people up, to try to get them to overthrow the government, just as the framers of the Constitution did (or was until the Alien & Sedition Acts. Damn you, John Adams!). It's not a worthless right.

Speech has effects. That is why you should be prepared to justify your use of it. Free speech is not consequence-less speech. That is why it is important that it remains free, because it is our right to tell others how we see the world. And it is their right to tell us they think what we are saying is pernicious.

(I'd be interested to hear what you think Sharron Angle meant when she described 'the Second-Amendment remedies' that would be necessary if she didn't beat Harry Reid.)
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Nathaniel Tapley (Natt)
Username: Natt

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 92.15.150.206
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 06:13 pm:   

*CORRECTION - I was conflating two stories, as far as I know there was no Tea Party candidate in the Hutaree Militia. My apologies.*

Gary, feel free to correct that above if you want...
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 06:44 pm:   

One thing I would like to make clear is that there are people on the left whom I would never denigrate their efforts or sacrifices.

There are those, usually people with strong socialist trade union roots who have fought decades to improve upon what society has handed us, and these people I would never chuck in with those who fashionably flirt with one end of the political spectrum to jump ship, current attitudes prevailing, pun intended.

But I know longer see much of a difference between mainstream American leftism and rightism. Oh, but for a young Noam Chomsky.
I am left, and always will be, regardless of lapses into ignorance, sometimes.
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 98.220.97.79
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 03:10 am:   

>> Why are a lot of American conservatives so anti health-care reform? Surely, it's a no-brainer? I know of someone who is dying because he can't afford the healthcare to help in his illness. Over here this would be utterly unthinkable. In the US he's basically being shunted aside and left to die becuse he doesn't have the readies. Don't doctors take the hypocratic oath over there?

Jonathan, it's sort of hard to say what the right-wing opposition is to healthcare, since the points they use to support that opinion are conflicting and often nonsensical. The US right is inclined to think that any government involvement with healthcare, or any industry at all, really, is a yet another step on the slippery slope of socialism. A government that runs healthcare, they say, also has the power to take that healthcare away. The fact that millions of Americans are living without health insurance is a problem the American right can't seem to address. None of their pat solutions apply to this problem, so when they're asked about it, they tend to change the subject or say a lot of nonsense about socialism. The actual answer to your question, I'd say, is that American insurance companies represent a powerful lobby who are willing to line the pockets of many politicians (primarily on the right, but they'll get lefties, too, when they can) to protect their interests. Major change is difficult in a government as corrupt as ours.

US doctors indeed do take the hippocratic oath, and patients can get health needs addressed by walking into local hospitals. However, without insurance, these patients will end up with an enormous bill and, in the event they'll need prescription medication, may be forced to pay through the nose for months afterwards.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 08:58 am:   

Loughner shows us a scary and difficult-to-accept thing - that there are issues deeper than politics; he was angry at the way this congresswoman spoke. What he did and what is happening since are almost two unrelated things. People think their political, logical world is the be-all end-all and it's not. Surely we've all seen Taxi Driver, the core of the mystery that takes us to. That politicians and the public act just as irrationally and selfishly is just part of the same thing.
(Um, have I missed the point here?)
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.171.129.71
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 09:35 am:   

I don't think you've missed the point, Tony.

Palin didn't pull the trigger. She was unwise - to say the least - in her retoric on her websites, showing bad judgement all the way, in my opinion. But no, she didn't pull the trigger, wasn't some crafty Iago in this case. The way things are going, though, I suspect she will gain supporters after this, because the shooter will probably prove to have no links to and interest in her, and all the 'It's Palin's fault' accusers will have done the work for her, feeding the 'media lies' she'll point to.

Sucks, don't it.
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.171.129.71
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 09:39 am:   

(Not quite American Psycho, but... A few killers in north America - and one in the UK - have cited the tv show Dexter as an excuse and/or inspiration for their acts. Jeff Lindsay, author of the books the TV series is based on, wryly pointed out these men (cos they are all men) never seemed to read his books or blame the books.)
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Barbara Roden (Nebuly)
Username: Nebuly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 142.179.12.225
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 10:23 am:   

From what I've seen, as a Canadian who's been exposed to American news and politics since birth, it's more or less what Chris says: many Americans oppose what Brits and Canucks recognise as universal healthcare because it means - or they think it means - that the government will have more power over their lives (one reason Sarah Palin got so much mileage out of her 'death panel' quote; yes, there are Americans who feel that some sort of government run universal healthcare will dictate who gets what treatment, which seems to me to be completely oblivious to the fact that some 40 million Americans have no healthcare treatment whatever, and millions more are at the whim of their insurers and HMOs, who decide what treatment they will or won't get based on what's most beneficial to the insurer or HMO).

Blaming the Tucson events on political rhetoric? No, not going to wash. Loughner was a deeply disturbed individual, whichever way you cut it; he didn't need any prompting from left or right. Pointing out that political rhetoric in America is at toxic levels? Hey, that's a good thing in my book. A lot of the sh** that gets peddled day to day in American politics would be classed as a hate crime here in Canada.

As for Sarah Palin: taking the events of the last week completely out of the equation, she's still a joke. Ignorant, and proud of it. I almost hope she does make a run for the presidency; the second she steps out of her cocoon and has to face real questions that haven't been pre-screened, from serious journalists, she'll be exposed, for once and all, as the vacant Barbie doll she is.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.31.7.247
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 10:50 am:   

Well, Action Man Dubbya seemed to get away with it . . .
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 11:00 am:   

'The way things are going, though, I suspect she will gain supporters after this, because the shooter will probably prove to have no links to and interest in her, and all the 'It's Palin's fault' accusers will have done the work for her, feeding the 'media lies' she'll point to. '

Before the 2000 elections I would have said such a thing wasn't possible, perhaps except in movies. But now, I think it's highly likely, and deeply disturbing.

With regards to those Americans who are mistrustful of any government having control over their lives by having control of the health-care system, it's a shame they don't have the same distrust of government, or the same vocal outrage at sending them into countries to seize control of the oil fields.

Yes, I know there are millions of Americans who DO oppose such, I'm not standing on the imaginary higher ground here.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 89.19.88.144
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 01:12 am:   

"(Not quite American Psycho, but... A few killers in north America - and one in the UK - have cited the tv show Dexter as an excuse and/or inspiration for their acts. Jeff Lindsay, author of the books the TV series is based on, wryly pointed out these men (cos they are all men) never seemed to read his books or blame the books.)"

You can see why - film and television are more popular and so their images are a babbling pool that represents society's group mind. Anyone can write a book - it takes teams of people in agreement with each other to make a slick TV show. Horror fans strike me as too eager to dismiss suggestions that their genre can normalise bad behaviour. There seems to be a reluctance to accept nuance. I like Dexter (well, at least for the first two seasons) but it may tip some people over the edge, making them act on things which would ordinarily remain latent.

But we've been here before... To save time, can anyone remember the outcome of the last debate on this was? We should write it down this time.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 89.19.88.144
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 01:14 am:   

"As for Sarah Palin: taking the events of the last week completely out of the equation, she's still a joke. Ignorant, and proud of it. I almost hope she does make a run for the presidency; the second she steps out of her cocoon and has to face real questions that haven't been pre-screened, from serious journalists, she'll be exposed, for once and all, as the vacant Barbie doll she is."

That didn't stop George Bush being elected twice.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.190.60
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 08:50 am:   

Once. The first time he lost the election. There was an illegal coup based on vote-rigging and non-counting in Florida.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.182.24.98
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 09:06 am:   

Once. The first time he lost the election. There was an illegal coup based on vote-rigging and non-counting in Florida.

Indeed - even now I'm astonished they were able to get away with that.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 10:50 am:   

Proto - our minds keep changing, and we never feel we've sorted ANYTHING out, so the same stuff keeps coming up. Suffice to say, some people - and I'm slightly one of them - do take their art to heart, have it such a big part of their psychic lives it IS their lives. It's why people go shooting people on whims - to them these whims and feelings are the sizes of mountains. Not everybody gets it.
Um, this isn't me saying I'm going off to shoot people btw, though it might explain why I still shout at the screen when somebody kicks a dog in a film.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 11:26 am:   

Well said, Joel, and a fact that should never be allowed to be forgotten. The second, post-9/11 victory, was a cakewalk for obvious reasons.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.21.50
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 11:37 am:   

"Once. The first time he lost the election. There was an illegal coup based on vote-rigging and non-counting in Florida."

Oh, thanks for the reminder. I always corrected people when they referred to him as President Bush during those first four years.

"our minds keep changing, and we never feel we've sorted ANYTHING out, so the same stuff keeps coming up."

I think it's important to remember that we ARE making progress, individually and as a species. But phototropism is slow, so there's a temptation to say that people will never change. The odd thing is that experiments show that mammals can change genetically in just one or two generations. We are truly protean creatures and our actions matter. Exciting!
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 01:00 pm:   

I don't THINK this is copyrighted, but apologies if it is. I found it while looking for stuff about Kesey's ufo encounters. He makes some pertinent points that apply here very well indeed.
http://intrepidtrips.com/treatise/thurston/homefront.html
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 01:16 pm:   

God, this is heartbreaking -
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/kinkel/kip/cron.html

'Kip was suspended for two days for kicking another student in the head after the student shoved him. Kip was angry that the other boy did not get punished.' I remember this at school. It used to happen to me a lot. I've just got really upset listening to the confession tape in this story. God, that poor, poor kid. I just can't find any hatred for these crazy shooters (I mean some of them). I know I should, but I just can't.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 01:37 pm:   

Kip gives a talk on "how to make a bomb" in speech class. He shows detailed drawings of explosives attached to a clock. According to kids in the class, a girl in the class gave a speech on how to join Church of Satan, so Kip's topic did not seem extraordinary.

What the fuck????
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 01:42 pm:   

I know. This case has really affected me. Yesterday I had a bad time and got depressed and kept texting friends; so many of my words are the words this kid uses. And hearing him cry, the things he says? He sounds like me. This just shows how eclipsing of logic and sense depression really is.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/kinkel/kip/writings.html
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 01:47 pm:   

It's rash of me to say I pity those shooters because each case is so different; today I pity this one.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 02:38 pm:   

I've just realised; there have been no black school shooters. I wonder what that says about us.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 04:47 pm:   

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/us/16loughner.html?_r=3&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=3& adxnnlx=1295272816-mzPTbiXmgfYK5d56DmiDjg

Wide drug use, alcohol abuse, violent video games, an interest in guns, rabid Bush-hating conspiracy theories, obsession with lucid dreaming, persecution complex, thrown out of college until he underwent a mental evaluation....

To me, no one's to blame for this murderous madman but his own murderous mind. Other than that, everything influenced him equally, if you want to go that route.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 05:56 pm:   

Craig - actual mental imbalance, chemically, can also be to blame. Sometimes it really is out our hands, no one to blame at all.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 07:37 pm:   

Who to blame?

1. Whoever sold a gun and bullets to a madman.

2. Whoever insists that selling guns and bullets to random individuals is reasonable.

3. Whoever promotes gun use as a civilian way of life.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.148
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 07:47 pm:   

There was an interview the man who sold a machine gun to someone who used it in a killing spree (can't remember which one, I'm afraid). He said he had no idea the customer was crazy. Surely the fact that he wanted to own a weapon designed for a battlefield should tell you that?
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 09:55 pm:   

Joel/Proto - yes, I should think before I type/open my mouth. I agree completely. BUT, try telling that to the gun-lobby. I was very disheartened when people said Michael Moore had gone too far in his interview with Charlton Heston on this issue. Though I did hear that Moore also owned a rifle! Perhaps not true, but if it were, it would no doubt mushroom into an argument about CONTROL, and not removing them from society completely.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 10:43 am:   

A mentally ill person in the UK has issues and he goes out and thumps a passer by and nobody notices, in the US they go out with their gun and it's 'evil'. The gun hasn't made them any more evil than the man who thumps. A gun is an ingredient to a mix.
I still am not sure evil exists in these people. I certainly don't think anyone is born evil. People are like hollows that fill up with what is around them and I certainly don't think choice always comes into what determines an act. When a sense of reality diminishes I don't think a person is in control. For me, worse people are those who make a career out of the exploitation of others, making lives consistently miserable and not feeling a speck of guilt. Listening to Kip Kinkel's confesion tape I think he felt guilt and regret, and certainly not self pity at being caught. He felt hate and anger, and these are very different things from evil. I think the same goes for Laughtner. Evil folk creep about, they hide and want to get away with it and do it again.
These are my views, mind, and I'm not insisting people take them up.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 11:55 am:   

Sheesh...
http://serialkillersink.net/skistore/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=414
And they have a sale!
http://serialkillersink.net/skistore/index.php?_a=viewCat&catId=62
I wish they had a branch of this place at the metrocentre.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 11:56 am:   

I hope you know I'm joking.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 12:03 pm:   

You see, I've shifted the tone. I was serious with the post about evil but now I just look like an idiot.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.3.110
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 12:39 pm:   

"The gun hasn't made them any more evil than the man who thumps"

This is a very good point. The gun is just a magnifier.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 01:08 pm:   

"A mentally ill person in the UK has issues and he goes out and thumps a passer by and nobody notices..."

I don't understand, sorry. Why wouldn't anyone notice?
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 01:13 pm:   

I got thumped by an angry tramp once and just ignored it. He looked raving mad.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 01:14 pm:   

I just presumed he was ill or unhappy. I mean the story makes no impact on the news.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 01:15 pm:   

I know I'm alone in my views, btw, and realise they're probably a bit off, so I don't mind people disagreeing.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 02:11 pm:   

I agree that the concept of evil is more trouble than it's worth. It implies competence and control, an ability to choose, but those facilities can exist within someone at one level and not at another. Imagine a car with four people in it, three of them sober, the only drunken person being behind the wheel. A violent act could be rather like that.

It's more appropriate to speak of evil acts than evil people. The worst thing about the concept of evil is that it becomes a substitute for explanation: saying 'He did it because he is evil' is like saying 'He died because he is a corpse'.

Where a crime is motivated by self-interest and accompanied by an intention to get away with it, we can speak of blame and responsibility and take a moral stance, but our use of the word 'evil' should remain relative and secular. Why is someone who kills for no logical reason more 'evil' than someone who kills for financial gain or to silence witnesses to another crime? Where there is rationality and concealment, we should see more 'evil' rather than less.

Michel Foucault speaks of the nineteenth-century obsession with explaining all behaviour as being the consequence of personality type so every verb is turned into a noun. You drink because you're a drinker, kill because you're a killer, steal because you're a thief. That meaningless verbal trick is still our prevalent strategy I think because, by and large, we don't want to know why people do things, we just want to know what box (and cell) to put them in so they can't be confused with us.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 02:26 pm:   

My stepfather once told me he encountered a 'killer' in a mental hospital. The title actually fitted him because he was locked in a room and killing every insect or fly that entered it. He said cheerfully that he couldn't stop, that he had to keep doing it. He was in there for killing someone or something, I can't remember, but now my stepfather is so suffering with dementia the knowledge of the facts will be gone.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.148
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 05:32 pm:   

Well said, Joel.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 09:58 am:   

A letter from school shooter Kip Kinkel's sister Kirsten to the judge dealing with his case;
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/kinkel/trial/letter.html
I think this is one of the most moving things I've read, for what that's worth.

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