View Poll Results: What role should mercy play in society?

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  • Society should always be merciful.

    4 21.05%
  • Society should sometimes be merciful.

    12 63.16%
  • Society should never be merciful.

    0 0%
  • Other

    3 15.79%
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Thread: What role should mercy play in society?

  1. #71
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    . I believe that will not even help the victims.
    And I think it can and does, though, you're right, not every time. Everybody's different and every person who's been victimized should have their feelings respected.
    Last edited by X Factor; 03-27-12 at 12:09 PM.

  2. #72
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by tessaesque View Post
    Not necessarily pleasure in their death, but perhaps pleasure in the fact that you now know that person can no longer poison society through death or influence upon others who might later kill. One of the most consistent character traits found in serial killers is their ability to charm and manipulate people. Giving them access and ability to continue doing so, even after imprisonment, allows that person to pose a continued risk through influence. I have yet to hear of any serial killer that was successfully rehabilitated or who benefited in anyway for access to psychological aid.
    Well, that's an understandable position. It's easy to see why one would prefer that extremely violent and cunning criminals be prevented from having any potential to influence any other person. However, it's a different position from saying that "serial killers deserve to die" as Medusa said. The former is a more practical one while the latter seems more emotional.

    Nonetheless, I still disagree with both positions though I consider both easy to understand in different ways. Mercy and the belief that I do not have the right to take another's life outside of self-defense are more important to me.

    What is "mercy" in respect to such a person?
    In this example, it's easier for me to define mercy in terms of what it is not. It is not deciding the person is an animal or a monster or any other thing dehumanizing. It is not wanting the person to be punished cruelly or beyond what will suffice to protect society.

    Better yet, when does mercy towards that person affect our ability to be merciful towards those affected by that person?
    Well, I don't think mercy applies to those affected by the murderer or other "bad" person. Mercy, as I see it particularly with the definition in the OP, is about showing compassion to people who have done "wrong" or who are in my power. Victims of crimes have done no wrong nor are they in my power.
    Last edited by ThePlayDrive; 03-27-12 at 12:12 PM. Reason: grammar

  3. #73
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    Some victims are able to forgive, some aren't and some don't have the chance to decide either way because, well, they've been murdered. You're saying that only one victim response is ok, I'm saying that's easy for you to say. How about a little mercy for how the victims and their families feel?
    Justice is meant to be impartial and objective. The feelings of a victim actually have no place at all in determining justice. We always talk about the killer that goes free, and the family wants justice. How about when the guy they put on trial was actually innocent and the family just doesn't think so? Hot blooded anger has no place in civilized justice, nor does anything as subjective as the feelings of a wronged person. Making a person whole after suffering a harm is what civil court is for. You can sue someone for pretty much anything they can be put in jail for. You want restitution? Sue them. Of course, you can't get much from a poor street criminal, and you probably can't win against a rich one. But a person has absolutely no right to inflict harm on another person. The same breaking of that rule that the criminal did, you cannot then do in return. If you do, then you are morally the same as he is.
    Liberté. Égalité. Fraternité.

  4. #74
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    Yes, without hedging, I'll say that I took pleasure in hearing of Bin Laden's death, and Dahmer's death, and McVeigh's death and Bundy's death, etc. To my way of thinking, they got what they deserve.
    I took pleasure in bin Laden's death although I remember having mixed feelings about it and still do. There is certainly an emotional benefit, whether short term or long term, in seeing the pain or death of someone whose violent actions you were affected by. However, when I feel that joy, I consider it a moral problem - I consider it something that ought to be overcome.
    Last edited by ThePlayDrive; 03-27-12 at 12:13 PM. Reason: why can't i spell

  5. #75
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    I don't know that I would say you "like to kill people", but there must be some pleasure derived from knowing that the serial killer is dead.
    in fact it is just a thing which means justice

  6. #76
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    Yes, without hedging, I'll say that I took pleasure in hearing of Bin Laden's death, and Dahmer's death, and McVeigh's death and Bundy's death, etc. To my way of thinking, they got what they deserve.
    Bin Laden is a good example for a death I consider in order: He's a mass murderer who resisted arrest and was killed in the process. It sometimes happens that a criminal resists arrest, returns fire and becomes a threat for the people attempting to arrest him. In that case, I agree, they have no choice but killing him. Mercy does not mean you have to risk the lives of even more people.

    But I'd rather have seen bin Laden on court. It would have been the perfect demonstration of the superiority of the Western legal system over his terrorist logic: Even heinous criminals get a fair trial.

    Now of course the ultimate victory, probably even most satisfying for the victims too, would have been if bin Laden had been broken, expressing remorse over his deeds. But I guess such an outcome was most unlikely either way.
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

  7. #77
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    Bin Laden is a good example for a death I consider in order: He's a mass murderer who resisted arrest and was killed in the process. It sometimes happens that a criminal resists arrest, returns fire and becomes a threat for the people attempting to arrest him. In that case, I agree, they have no choice but killing him. Mercy does not mean you have to risk the lives of even more people.

    But I'd rather have seen bin Laden on court. It would have been the perfect demonstration of the superiority of the Western legal system over his terrorist logic: Even heinous criminals get a fair trial.

    Now of course the ultimate victory, probably even most satisfying for the victims too, would have been if bin Laden had been broken, expressing remorse over his deeds. But I guess such an outcome was most unlikely either way.
    I can tell you honestly, that any expression of remorse from Bin Laden would not have made one bit of difference to me.

  8. #78
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    If I offended you, I apologize.

    I simply don't see how any human can have a good conscience when he claims the power to end the life of another human being. I mean, how can you live with it? Do you simply don't care and say "well, people say it's legal and justified, so it doesn't matter"? Or do you think being offended and hurt gives you that right?

    How can any human being claim the right to end the life of another, a gift God has given both of you?

    And I don't say this to attack or offend you, I am seriously asking these questions.
    Firstly, I don't share the view on God, so I can't necessarily answer you in that regard. I'm not trying to avoid that question, I just don't have an answer from a religious stand point.

    As to the rest. I don't celebrate the fact that Texas has the highest rate of death penalty convictions in the country, or that we utilize it more often than any other state. I don't think that really shows any sort of capability in punishing crime, necessarily.

    My view is this: If PersonX maliciously, intentionally, and knowingly takes action to end the life of another in the process of criminal endeavors, that person has voluntarily forfeited their own right to life. If PersonX does so repeatedly, as with a serial killer or career criminal who kills in the commission of other crimes, I feel even more strongly. In the case of the career killer, I advocate strongly for the death penalty. Why? Because most research indicates that you cannot rehabilitate somebody who kills repeatedly. If they can serve no positive purpose to society, and if their existence begets pain, suffering, and extraneous cost from those who are working to better society, then we are more merciful towards the innocent by ending the life of the killer.

    On the other hand, we recently had a case here were several guys robbed a man and then shoved him into the path of an oncoming train, resulting in the man's death. I would not support the death penalty for these guys, regardless of age, because they had no prior criminal record of any kind, and it is quite possible that these guys could be rehabilitated, counselled, and converted into more compassionate members of society.

    It is a delicate balance, to be sure. But sometimes we have to emphasize logic over our own "guilt". What action will ultimately best serve all parties involved? Are we better served by letting the career killer live? How so?

    Would I want somebody who killed my father to face the death penalty? It really depends. Had that person killed before? Was there a confrontation that led to an angry response, or was my dad killed in the process of performing other tasks (like mowing the lawn, pumping gas, etc)? Did my dad know the person or was he a random target? Is the guy even remotely remorseful or is he proud of his death tally? It isn't really "you killed, now you die". It's "you killed, now let's examine your history and the logical possibilities for your future".
    "Hmmm...Can't decide if I want to watch "Four Houses" or give myself an Icy Hot pee hole enema..." - Blake Shelton


  9. #79
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by tessaesque View Post
    I don't think our entire system of justice can be classified as "no mercy", nor do I agree with the premise that mercy is most needed in the case of serial offenders who cannot be or refuse to be rehabilitated.

    Is the system flawed? Most assuredly. Does that mean the solution to the problems we face sits in absolute mercy for the most heinous offenders? Absolutely not. Rehabilitation, which is and of itself merciful, should be our first course of action when it is logical and safe. When it is not, or when it fails, mercy may not mean the same thing to you as it does to me.True, most true.
    We seem to be heded to a Texas "sytle" no-mercy justice system. I hope this is not true...
    I'd scrap rehabilitation and concentrate on prevention...
    Rehab may work with the young, the very young....this is tricky...How to overcome what it took years to do...

  10. #80
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    I think mercy is liberating. When you make it to forgive someone who hurt you, that sets you free. That's of course very idealistic, and requires a lot of strength and moral integrity from any human being. But my whole point is, I was asked what place mercy should have in society, and that was my answer: Ideally, within all of us.
    I think it is also. I believe that being merciful as a human is good for the one who is merciful, however, I don't believe it is rational to believe that showing mercy to heinous murderers really accomplishes anything for them, besides keeping them locked up like animals.

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    And it's no big achievement when you can be merciful towards someone who loves you, or someone who never bothered you or even did you no harm -- the real achievement is when you can be merciful towards the person who inflicted pain on you.

    That is true, and the benefit is for you, not the one who inflicted pain on you. Showing someone mercy may help them improve as humans as a result of them having extended time, but it's not because you showed them mercy, but much more likely because they eventually achieved some semblance of conscience from within.
    "God is the name by which I designate all things which cross my path violently and recklessly, all things which alter my plans and intentions, and change the course of my life, for better or for worse."
    -C G Jung

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