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Thoughtful responses to my improved Alt-Right logo from unimproved Alt-Rightists

Nein! Nein!
Nein! Nein!

I’ve gotten a number of extremely thoughtful responses from assorted alt-right twitterists to my post yesterday in which I offered an improved version of the new alt-right logo, with a Ku Klux Klanner head replacing the stylized “a.”

And by “thoughtful,” I mean “don’t read the following tweets if you’re not in the mood for jokes about murder, suicide, and the Holocaust and/or a defense of the KKK’s lynching of black people.”

https://twitter.com/soObviousTurtle/status/775460982239989760

https://twitter.com/AmericanReset88/status/775488975544856576

https://twitter.com/NationalistHero/status/775468355109007360

https://twitter.com/RedskinRey624/status/775469805046337536

https://twitter.com/RedskinRey624/status/775477705978421248

Oh look, a death wish:

https://twitter.com/ConciergeMthly/status/775469278183251969

Followed by a death threat:

https://twitter.com/ConciergeMthly/status/775469380905861121

This one, posted by someone using a picture of racist mass murderer Anders Breivik as an avatar and featuring a photo of actual dead people, is a little too NSFW to post here.

Given the, er, high racist content of these responses, I’m not quite sure why exactly any of these people are mad about being compared to the KKK.

To be fair, though, they weren’t all mad. There was one Pepe-avatared alt-right Twitterer who liked my fixed logo:

https://twitter.com/freed_humanity/status/775459668562849792

Oh, and FYI, Twitter Nazis, I’m not actually Jewish. Like a lot of the people sporting “echoes” around their names on Twitter, I added the marks as a tiny little “I’m Spartacus”-style act of solidarity. That said, I did go to a Jewish day camp for several summers as a kid. One time we got to meet Sandy Koufax! That makes me practically a Jew.

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Neremanth, 329 year old Contributor to Society
Neremanth, 329 year old Contributor to Society
5 years ago

@ Virgin Mary:

I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but I think the swastika should be reclaimed as a good luck symbol. It existed for thousands of years before it was coopted by the Nazi regime, and was used by the Hindus, Buddhists and even in Jewish and Muslim cultures. I don’t think we should be paranoid about it being used as a hate symbol, because it isn’t. Like the inverted cross and pentagram, it’s been subverted to mean something opposite to what it originally meant.

As far as I’m aware, it still is used that way in the Far East at least (quite possibly elsewhere too, for all I know). The symbol on Japanese maps to denote a Buddhist temple is a swastika (or it was when I was there 10 years ago and I imagine that hasn’t changed). Or I guess it may have been a sauvastika, the mirror image of the swastika – I know both symbols have a similar meaning in Asian cultures and can never remember which is which.

Just for fun, here’s how to make a Chinese macrame knot known as a sauvastika knot: http://chineseknotting.org/overhand/sauvastika/ It doesn’t actually look hugely like a sauvastika – no more than many of the gravatars here, certainly not enough to make someone think you’re a mirror world Nazi for sporting one – so I guess it could be a subtle way of sort of reclaiming the positive meaning a bit. (But I agree that it’s sadly never going to happen for a more recognisable version!)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ diptych

Oh I didn’t think you were blasé. You raise a really good point. And it’s an attitude that as I mention I’m very familiar with. My own views could certainly be challenged on grounds of consistency if not downright hypocrisy.

As for rule of law I spent last weekend on some legal stuff trying to work out where a certain plan fell on the spectrum

Publicity > legitimate pressure > schotastic terrorism

It’s a complex subject indeed.

Diptych
Diptych
5 years ago

@Neremanth

As far as I’m aware, it still is used that way in the Far East at least (quite possibly elsewhere too, for all I know).

In Australia, at least, it’s quite commonplace to see shrines with swastikas alongside Buddhas and other religious paraphernalia. They’re still safely in the hands of their proper owners and being used responsibly, you could say.

@Alan

Here’s to a civil exchange of viewpoints, then! Cheers! (And, I don’t envy you that puzzle – honestly, working out degrees of responsibility for actions like that seems to be one of the great challenges of our age.)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Carl Sagan believed the swastika was a depiction of a comet seen from head on; hence it’s universality (a global memory of a real event)

Neremanth, 329 year old Contributor to Society
Neremanth, 329 year old Contributor to Society
5 years ago

@Diptych

Interesting! That makes sense, but I didn’t know that. It’s possible they’re used in the same way in Buddhist temples here (the UK) too – I wouldn’t know as I’ve never visited one here.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@ Diptych, Alan

I completely identify with that rage one feels towards someone who has hurt an animal; it’s a visceral reaction against something that seems utterly unjust (whether to act on that feeling is another matter). What I don’t get is proposing a random group of people (who may or may not have harmed animals) to be used as test subjects instead. The first time I encountered it, I found it bizarre that one could care so much about one type of cruelty, and then happily suggest another.

Plus, the whole ‘use prisoners instead’ thing is a little too close to home for me. When your big brother has done a life sentence, it’s hard not to take these things personally.

@Diptych, are you from Aust. as well? Hello 😀

Diptych
Diptych
5 years ago

@Mish – I am; Melbourne born, Melbourne bred! Hello! 😀

@Neremanth – I dare say they might be! I have poked my head into one or two Buddhist temples to say hello. Shrines are also quite common here in businesses. You’ll often go into a restaurant, say, and find a nice little shrine set up at the front counter, or in a peaceful corner.

Neremanth, 329 year old Contributor to Society
Neremanth, 329 year old Contributor to Society
5 years ago

@Diptych – That’s nice! I don’t think that’s common here (at least in view of the customers), but of course it’s always possible I simply haven’t noticed them. I do recall seeing one tucked up on a shelf in a Thai restaurant one time, but that’s it.

Penny Psmith
Penny Psmith
5 years ago

@Alan –

The least convincing argument I’ve heard is from a mate who insists crispy bacon is halal

That reminds me of this bit in an old Israeli skit, where one guy is enjoying a falafel and, since this is during Passover, the other guy asks if the Pita isn’t hametz (leavened bread, i.e. unkosher for Passover; this was befote the advent of alternative flours that can “cheat” the traditional Passover demands, but that’s another story for another time). First guy answers:
“A dry pita is hametz. A fresh pita is tasty.”
😀

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ penny

Living in Israel you’ve probably heard this one (about four times already today probably).

A rabbi and a priest are at a conference and get chatting at the buffet. Eventually the priest says “I’m sorry to be so nosy but may I ask, have you ever had bacon?” The rabbi looks around and then replies “Actually I did try it once”. The rabbi then says “If you don’t mind me asking, have you ever had sex?”. The priest gives a grin and says “Actually yes I did once”. The rabbi smiles and says “Better than bacon isn’t it”.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ mish

I can completely understand where you’re coming from. Even without the family connection it would be a disquieting topic.

You and diptych have really got me thinking though. I was pondering the various issues all night. There’s just so much of it. There’s also an interesting thing about the intersection of animal rights, especially veganism, and feminism. I bet you have some interesting ideas about that. Just on the campaigning thing though one could write lengthy tomes and only scratch the surface. For example, I have a real world thing where I’m getting into a bit of a row about the tone being used in an anti milk thing. It’s horribly gloating about dairy farmers going bust.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@ Diptych – ah, Melbourne in all its melbourniness 🙂
I take my son back there every year (although last year I stuffed up and we were in the city for Grand Final weekend… not so great for a pair of non-sporting types)

@ Alan
Thanks for that. I know you’ll dismiss this with a witticism – but your comment was lovely in its empathy.

Agreed about the veganism/feminism/activism thing. Looking forward to pursuing this further with you soon!

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
5 years ago

I can completely understand where you’re coming from. Even without the family connection it would be a disquieting topic.

It is 🙁
I have a problem with the idea of prisons in the first place and how it’s applied. I mean that’s bad enough, but then people on the outside have to make it worse by not even regarding you as human…?

Timing : my playlist switched to a song about the West Memphis Three. It’s from before they were released. It ends with a chilling recording of Byers’ “Every year on May 5th” monologue.

@Mish

wonderful self

*stares at recent messages that say otherwise*

Why thank you ! I needed that 🙂

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ mish

Aw thank you, that’s so sweet of you to say.

Yeah, I don’t want to rake up any horrible thoughts for you, but your comments about your brother did strike a chord with me. Without dismissing the effects of violent crime, one thing I noticed over my years of practice was that people rarely set out to be bad. Nearly all the homicide cases I’ve been involved in have just been the result of a momentary flash of anger or a stupid decision. A few seconds of thoughtlessness and so many lives ruined. Oftentimes, had it not been for the consequences, the parties would have been back being friends the next day. One case in particular brought home the pathos. My client had been sat with a friend when the friend admitted that some tools he claimed had been stolen he’d actually sold to buy drink. Those tools had been my client’s livelihood. There was a knife in the table.

The case ended up on appeal and the judgment was almost poetic in the way it captured the tragedy of the event.

“The Appelant and the Deceased had spent an evening in drinking and recrimination….”

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@ John

Who said you weren’t wonderful? Let me at ’em!

Re prisons – we do tend to forget that incarceration is a fairly new way of dealing with people who break laws (the most convincing theory I’ve read suggests that deprivation of liberty would have meant less in times when many people didn’t move around much anyway and the concept of the individual hadn’t yet taken root).
I’m ambivalent about it but certainly in its current form it does a great deal of damage. My brother’s case is not a sympathetic one as he did indeed kill someone. The whole family was punished, however.
A few days ago a student claimed that murderers should get the death penalty (it was abolished here decades ago). I thought, my brother might actually be better off dead. He’s agoraphobic, claustrophobic, HIV+, diabetic, has no teeth left, is an alcoholic, has pancreatitis, and the list is endless.
I’m going to hit ‘submit’ before I change my mind.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@ Alan

What a heartbreaking story. Oh my god. Such a waste, on both sides.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
5 years ago

@Mish
Fuck. Thanks for submitting <3 <3 <3

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ mish

Coincidentally that case* has a bit of a feminist connection. It ended up in the House of Lords and became the key case on the law of provocation (a subject that cropped up a lot in DV cases). An organisation called Women Against Rape provided me with a lot of information and material.

The one fact that always sticks in my mind from their research was that in 60% of murder cases it’s the murderer who calls the police.

[* R -v- Morgan-Smith for any law students out there]

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
5 years ago

I was told by a former Jewish friend that kosher slaughter was humane because it was quick and they use a very sharp knife, but I doubt this applies when it’s done on the commercial scale.

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
5 years ago

@Mish

All of the hugs ever for you and your brother. And screw anyone who yells “death penalty” – that’s just awful. Our far-right parties have managed to bring it back into debate here… The very last person to be executed in France was innocent, and accused on very shaky ground and dubious evidence. Of course they’d already cut off his head when they found the real culprit.

He was the last, but also the first in a very long time. Normally at that time the presidents would veto executions as a way to abolish the death penalty without doing it for real – but this time the public outcry was too much, and there was no veto. Turns out it was never about justice, people just wanted blood.

Now apparently we want to go back to that. “Only for the guilty” of course… but fuck that. I don’t even care whether they’re guilty or innocent.

Same goes for prison, really. I get that society needs to protect itself, that people can be dangerous, etc. But you look at the whole thing around the world, and there aren’t a lot of prisons that actually do anything to that effect. Yeah, at least they’re still alive, alright. Not sure they all think it’s worth it. There’s probably a better way. And there’s definitely a bunch of ways to make prisons humane at the very least, dammit.

The one fact that always sticks in my mind from their research was that in 60% of murder cases it’s the murderer who calls the police.

This.

kupo
kupo
5 years ago

@Penny Psmith
Sorry, just saw your question. I’m from the suburbs of Seattle, so across the sound from Bremerton and Sequim. It’s very pretty out there, so I like to visit, especially when the lavender is in bloom. 🙂

Croquembouche of patriarchy
Croquembouche of patriarchy
5 years ago

@ Mish,

. I thought, my brother might actually be better off dead.

I keep trying to say something that isn’t facile, and I keep backspacing it.
If you want them, all the hugs.

The death penalty and eternal life are equal in their deservedness. Nobody ever earns either.

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
5 years ago

@Croquembouche

Would a death sentence at the end of eternal life balance it out and make it earnable ?

Sorry, dumb attempt at lightening the moods.

@Mish

I just checked on the fever swamps for a bit (and now I need to bleach the hell out of my brain) and I saw that they’re still using the Catlady Ascendancy thing !

That was one inspired claim 😀

Oh and huh apparently now they worship some ancient egyptian god because he’s called Kek… Right. Sure. Whatever.

Dalillama
5 years ago

@Mish

(the most convincing theory I’ve read suggests that deprivation of liberty would have meant less in times when many people didn’t move around much anyway and the concept of the individual hadn’t yet taken root).

I suspect it has a lot more to do with resources and surpluses; keeping someone in a little box for years on end is actually very expensive, and many historical societies didn’t want (or couldn’t afford) the expense on a large scale. IIRC, prisons were instituted as a more humane alternative to hangings, floggings, etc.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ mish & dalillama

Foucault’s ‘Discipline & Punish’ is the standard text on how prisons came about. It’s pretty good.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@ Dalillama

I suspect it has a lot more to do with resources and surpluses; keeping someone in a little box for years on end is actually very expensive, and many historical societies didn’t want (or couldn’t afford) the expense on a large scale. IIRC, prisons were instituted as a more humane alternative to hangings, floggings, etc.

It’s certainly expensive, yes. But in order to assess cost, you first need to conceive of the practice itself as a possibility. If individual liberty is not a concept that resonates or even exists, then deprivation of individual liberty can’t be understood as a serious punishment. Foucault’s work – which is the research I find most convincing – claims that incarceration was more about redefining the ways that power could be exercised, rather than concerns about the inhumanity of torture and execution. Hence the emergence of prisons in roughly the same time period as the other great institutions of discipline – schools, hospitals, the military, etc. not to mention the birth of psychiatry. But I’ll stop there because I could happily babble about this topic for days 🙂

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@ Axe, Croquembouche, John, Alan
You guys are incredible and I will take ALL THE HUGS and give lots back in return. I was up half the night worrying that I should never have posted that comment but now I’m all humbled and happy <3 <3

@ John

Would a death sentence at the end of eternal life balance it out and make it earnable ?

I’m envisioning that scenario now and it’s making me laugh. It’s a perfect Monty Python sketch.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@ Alan

Did someone say Foucault? Now you’ve gone and done it. I’ve had a massive crush on him for years (yes, I know he was gay, and that he’s also somewhat dead, but I can dream, right? I’m so pathetic that I wore a black armband when Deleuze died…).
Foucault’s work has informed almost everything that I’ve written/taught about. Discipline & Punish is an excellent book, as is the History of Sexuality series. Even The Order of Things despite the fact that I can only understand a quarter of it.

Now that I’ve hogged the thread for ages, I’ll shut up, and get on with the day’s work 🙂

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
5 years ago

@Mish the Ascendant Lady of Cats

I was up half the night worrying that I should never have posted that comment

You’re one of us now ! *cartoon villain laughter*
We shall take over the world in one fell nocturnal swoop ! (Well really, more like 4 or 5, unless the Flat-Earth folks are right.)

What is it you were worrying about though ? Don’t lose sleep over it 🙁
I mean it had to be pretty bad to keep you up if you can otherwise sleep soundly in the country that has those terrifying brown spiders and other murdercritters.

Also, what if there is indeed an eternal afterlife but it is only achievable through death penalty ? Why does this still somehow make more sense than my other proposition ?

Re : prisons

This makes for a very interesting read (I thiiiink I might even have some of Foucault’s books somewhere, need to look for them). I’m curious about this part in particular :

redefining the ways that power could be exercised

As a side-note : there’s this recurring claim about a “debt to society” being paid in prison, or having been paid already by people who came out. Now, for what it’s worth, my personal belief is that forgiveness (societal or personal) is one of the most important things ever. It doesn’t mean that it can be systematically obtained just by “making amends”, apologizing, etc, of course. But I have a problem with sincere efforts toward it just being dismissed and ignored – the people making those efforts then being dismissed and ignored as well, as if they stopped to exist the moment they did The Bad Thing ™. Now there’s that claim that it’s basically what prison is for, redemption. I wanna call bullshit on that claim. But at the same time I really think that it should be made into a reality. That’d be a good start in improving the whole “punishment” system.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@ John, regicidal submarine of beasts

What is it you were worrying about though ? Don’t lose sleep over it 🙁
I mean it had to be pretty bad to keep you up if you can otherwise sleep soundly in the country that has those terrifying brown spiders and other murdercritters.

First off, we’re not immersed in terrifying critters, silly boy. I live in a very urbanised area and we have these things called security screens on the windows – the worst creatures indoors are likely to be mosquitoes or the occasional cockroach. Are they allowed in France? 😛

Re the worrying – I won’t go into details on what’s basically a public forum, but it’s not nice. Plus I don’t like sharing personal stuff, usually. Not even with family. Repression has become a good friend of mine!

But on to more interesting things – ermergerd, your thoughts on prisons and forgiveness and everything. My mum and I did a lot of work with prisoners’ rights groups and this is something that comes up a lot (Foucault also worked with prison reform groups; did I mention that I luff him so much?).

How does one make amends, especially if one has taken a life? I’m not sure you can. What can we reasonably demand, in that case? What could be grounds for forgiveness (or refusal to forgive)? Do people want to forgive criminals, or do they simply want them punished? And punished to what degree? And how?

What are your thoughts on those programs where an ‘offender’ has to meet with the people affected, and hear their stories, and apologise to them?

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
5 years ago

@Mish (and John)
If I may

What are your thoughts on those programs where an ‘offender’ has to meet with the people affected, and hear their stories, and apologise to them?

I should hope that ‘if the people affected ask for that’ is emblazoned in neon there. Cos I can’t think of a worse thing otherwise…

In the case when it’s requested, absolutely. The ‘offender’ frankly gave up the right to refuse that particular summons when they committed the crime. Personally, I’m not a huge forgiveness guy. Sorry. I wanna believe that I could forgive if someone hurt me, but that forgiveness isn’t the right of the ‘offender’. If I forgive, it’d be cos I want to. And it’s OK if I never do

One’s ‘debt to society’ upon killing someone or anything else is in doing what can be done, for the rest of one’s life, to make up for it. Even and especially knowing that debt may never be fully paid. Apologizing to the people you’ve hurt is the very least you can do

I don’t mean to come off as too judgmental or harsh. The rights of prisoners is important. As is it important to see them as people, instead of just numbers and rap sheets. It’s just… If forgiveness is expected of us, does it still mean anything? Part of a good apology is recognizing that forgiveness is your job and not the injured party

Edit: typos. I need to lie down

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ mish et al

What are your thoughts on those programs where an ‘offender’ has to meet with the people affected, and hear their stories, and apologise to them?

We’ve been having a flirtation with ‘restorative justice’ programmes as an alternative to custody, especially for young offenders (the more cynical may think that’s a cost saving thing).

They usually take the form of either meeting the victims or at least writing to them. It’s completely up to the victim whether they want to take part of course. Then the offender may be required to do something to either ‘pay back’ the victim or the community generally. So they may end up mowing lawns and washing cars, either for the victim or as part of a community litter picking thing. You can get the idea.

It’s a hard to monitor how successfully they are. There are some nice heartwarming stories of people becoming friends with the kids who vandalised their property (great press but how often is that the case?) And sometimes putting a human face to the crime does make kids realise that their idiocy has real world consequences. But as for recidivism rates, who knows?

It’s long been axiomatic in the CJS that the best way to avoid young trouble makers going into a life of crime is not to catch them. If they’re left to their own devices they grow out of it, but if they get embroiled in the criminal justice system they’re usually there for life (for all sorts of factors).

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

This is especially for Dalillama

It costs more to send a kid to Feltham Young Offenders Institution than it does to Eton.

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
5 years ago

Mosquitoes and cockroaches are indeed allowed in France, but “anywhere near me” is its own jurisdiction.

What are your thoughts on those programs where an ‘offender’ has to meet with the people affected, and hear their stories, and apologise to them?

As Axe said, as long as the people affected asked for that, then I’m all for it.

I guess I’m pretty heavily biased on the forgiveness thing (at least on a personal and not legal level) but I think it can at least bring peace of mind if nothing else. Granted it would depend on a lot of different things, but I think that it can sometimes help.

Took me three hours to write this, and the amount of backspacing it took is real.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
5 years ago

@John

Mosquitoes and cockroaches are indeed allowed in France, but “anywhere near me” is its own jurisdiction

I have 2 rules for bugs in my house:
1)Better not let me see you
2)If I see you, better not be slow

Took me three hours to write this, and the amount of backspacing it took is real

http://67.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3wm2hS8mC1ruib37o1_500.jpg
*nod of understanding*

Dalillama
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

It costs more to send a kid to Feltham Young Offenders Institution than it does to Eton.

I am all too aware of that.

re: restorative justice/alternatives to prison
I have been reading a well researched set of mystery novels recently set in Ireland at the turn of the 16th century, when most of the island was still governed by traditional Brehon law. Under this system, virtually all crimes (Killing a member of your immediate (blood) family excepted) is public confession and a fine; the fine for murder, for instance is 21 good milch cows, plus an additional number based on the victim’s social status which is enough to see that the victim’s family can get by at least (the fine is doubled if the perpetrator doesn’t own up themselves within 2 days. Since most killings are spur of the moment things, they usually would own up; see Alan above about 60% of murderers calling the police themselves). If the perpetrator can’t pay the fine, their clan members pay it for them, and will then watch them closely forever, so as to avoid having to pay out again. If someone hasn’t got a clan, well, they’re not from around here and will be sent back where they came from if they can’t pay. If someone won’t pay, then the law says the next step is blood feud between their clan and and the victim’s.
It’s far from perfect, obviously, and it also relies at least partially on the existence of clan groupings, but it’s definitely worth a look.

(For those interested, the series in question is The Burren Mysteries by Cora Harrison.)

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@Axe, John,

Restorative justice – thanks, Alan! Couldn’t remember the specific term for it. It’s an interesting concept and I only mentioned it as it’s tangentially related to the whole messy problem of
1) what to do with people who break the law, particularly when it involves injury or worse to other people
2) if there is any possibility of making amends or paying a debt

Which is the problem I thought John was referring to, at least in part. I didn’t suggest anywhere that forgiveness could be demanded or expected simply because someone has apologised.
I asked: if it’s impossible to fully make amends for killing someone (you can’t bring them back), then what might society reasonably demand of the murderer? It was a sincere question, not a sarcastic one. Sure I have a personal stake in this, but it’s also a broader ethical question that I think is very important.
I don’t even know if my brother would want forgiveness; I’ve never asked him. I know that he regrets what he did, every day, with every bit of his mind and body. And I know that this would be no comfort whatsoever to the family of his victim.

For my part, being forgiven for my crimes/misdeeds/ wrongdoings is not something I think I deserve and I’d never dream of asking for it. I know my mum has forgiven me, but that’s my mum for you 🙂

In summary (!!) my apologies if I wasn’t clear enough in my first comment/s. Thanks for your replies; they’re much appreciated and very thought-provoking.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

An interesting thought experiment to examine the ‘social balance sheet’ theory of punishment is to consider the case of someone who has been falsely imprisoned for a crime it later becomes clear they didn’t commit.

What happens if after release they actually do commit a crime? Should they be imprisoned; or have they got a ‘freebie’ in the bank as it were?

(the balance sheet model is why things like a history of voluntary work in the community or other public service etc is taken into account as mitigation)

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@ Alan

What happens if after release they actually do commit a crime? Should they be imprisoned; or have they got a ‘freebie’ in the bank as it were?

This is tasteless, but I’m imagining someone like Gerry Conlon, on being released from prison:
“All right you fuckers – brace yourselves. My balance sheet needs adjusting!”

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
5 years ago

@Mish

I don’t think people should stay guilty forever. Of course that excludes some extreme cases, but if someone already spends their life regretting what happened, then I really don’t see the point in society at large making it any worse for them. Of course the people most affected or their families can’t be expected to just forgive (although I think there’s something to be said of those who do) but I still think there’s something deeply wrong with how people are treated even after they come out of prison. That was pretty much my whole point. I don’t really have an answer as to how to make amends, although I think anyone who sincerely seeks forgiveness eventually deserves it. Regarding what to do with people who break the law, I just don’t know. On one hand, I don’t believe anything good comes out of punishment, but on the other there’s the whole idea that it’s also a deterrent, although I don’t know.

Again, I’m biased, so I might just be grasping at straws.

@Alan

Don’t some christian denominations have a concept of penance before even sinning ?

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@ John,

Yes, I’m pretty much in agreement with you there. Is it ok to ask about what you call your ‘bias’? The issue of forgiveness clearly resonates with you on a deeply personal level. If not appropriate, then no problems, of course.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
5 years ago

@Mish

my apologies if I wasn’t clear enough in my first comment/s

No need. I should apologize for making you feel as if I didn’t take your questions and feelings seriously. I do *contrite smile*

That said, your questions are kinda beyond the scope of my thinking. I see forgiveness as a personal thing, so societal forgiveness doesn’t really make any sense to me (thus the apostrophes around ‘debt to society). People look back. At its best, society, and the government that represents it, look forward
Speaking of which:

what to do with people who break the law, particularly when it involves injury or worse to other people

Beyond putting them in prison, I’m not entirely sure. The death penalty is unacceptable, and I personally see a statutory life sentence as basically the same thing. Ideally, the goal is rehabilitation. Easier for some than others. If there is a moral imperative here, it’s not to stop trying. 2nd chances and all. At least that’s the world I wanna live in 🙂

Smarter folks than me can get into the rehabilitation process. After that… back to the world under intense supervision? Again, beyond my scope. And sorry again…

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ mish

“All right you fuckers – brace yourselves. My balance sheet needs adjusting!”

We’ve got a film pitch there; and that’s the line for the trailer.

“He paid his debt to society. Now he’s calling in that debt, and society is going to pay”

(Don’t worry about taste, you’ve read some of my stuff)

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@ Axe
All good 😀

your questions are kinda beyond the scope of my thinking

But then this

If there is a moral imperative here, it’s not to stop trying.

Clearly, they’re not beyond the scope of your thinking at all xxx

@Alan

Yes! In the Name of the Father – Redux. If that won’t bring Daniel Day-Lewis in, nothing will! Or has he retired from acting yet again?

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
5 years ago

@Mish

All good 😀

*shyly looks away*

Clearly, they’re not beyond the scope of your thinking at all xxx

Trust me, if what I said was in any way worthwhile, nobody’s more surprised than I am… ooo

@Alan

He paid his debt to society. Now he’s calling in that debt, and society is going to pay

So, sorta Luke Cage:
http://static.srcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/LUKE-CAGE-CLASSIC-570×285.jpg
Got superpowers in prison via an experiment he agreed to in order to reduce his sentence. Broke out, and became a hero. Except he decided he was gonna make the world pay for his help. Any job, no questions asked, cash up front. He lightened up later…

(((VioletBeauregarde))): Social Justice Necromancer
(((VioletBeauregarde))): Social Justice Necromancer
5 years ago

Iamcancer624

What an apt name! Yes, yes you are!

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
5 years ago

@Mish

Ehh long story short, I’m pretty much ostracized from where I thought I belonged. Fell in love with the wrong person five years ago, there was an abortion and a shitload of the stigma that comes with that, family now hates me and she does too. Fun part : two months later I went on a 2-week trip hitching rides across the country to clear my mind. That’s how I got kicked out of high school. Less fun : most of my friends met them and became close to them the following year, and apparently decided they had to “pick sides”. Even less fun : it’s been five years and it only seems to be getting worse each year. They also believe the strangest shit about me – and since they won’t believe a word I say, it’s no use telling them, just makes it even worse. Every week or so I get dreams that it’s suddenly fixed, that we finally managed to talk about it, figured out what the hell went wrong and why. That’s why I prefer nightmares : it’s all about the moment when you wake up.

On the plus side, that’s also the whole reason I’ve spent so much time thinking about how we view others based on only one aspect of them, for example The Bad Thing ™. Gets easy to dehumanize them starting from there. Probably also the reason why trolls will cherry-pick the weirdest shit when they don’t know how to react to the core of a message.

Meh. More backspacing. Many overly emotional sentences died to bring this message, and I’m still not satisfied with it, but it’s probably the best I can do right now.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
5 years ago

@John
<3

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

Oh John, I’m so sorry. What horrors you’ve been through, especially for someone only 24.
It’s difficult to hold on to a sense of self, and self-worth, if people are actively challenging that. Granted, I don’t know you very well, but from what I do know, you’re super smart, hilarious, and a sweetheart.
And those dreams, my god – they would make it so much harder to just move on. The feeling you get when you realise that you were only dreaming and it didn’t happen … is there a word for that? When you’re trying desperately to reverse back into the dream but you can’t and then you just lie there – despair in English, I guess, is close.

Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry if it hurt you, though.

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
5 years ago

This is the first time I’m not told to just get over it and move on and worse stuff happens every day etc

Thank you