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Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


The Appropriate Limits of Legal Speech P.1

   
And that's totally enough of an excuse for committing murder. We should just let all the prisoners that feel really bad about it out of jail. I'm sure that will be an entirely unremarkable conclusion, yes?

Telling someone a rumor hoping they will murder someone is not the same as killing them yourself. because despite all the talk about using another person as a weapon that is exactly what we are talking about here- provoking someone and hoping for a certain response.
My point is that the argument that they must be punished because anyone who would do this is an unfeeling sociopath who will not feel any guilt about it is fallacious. It is also fallacious to believe that one person can use another as a simple tool with 100% predicatble results. There are certainly circumstances where the outcome is more predicatble than in the OP's scenario, and there are laws to cover those times. But the idea of punishing someone because they hoped their spreading rumors would lead to a specific person's death- aside from the difficulty of proving that- is ridiculous. next you'll be talking about outlawing wishing someone was dead.

What's fallacious is the connection you imply between the capacity or inclination of an individual to feel guilt for their actions, and society's justified response to those actions with respect to criminality.

I did not imply the connection, I merely responded to varrious assertions made by others as to what guilt that person might or might not feel and their statements as regards the applicability of their presumed feelings (or non feelings) of guilt with regards to any possible punishment.
Of course considering teh entire hypothetical is based upon the question of intent with regards to teh manipulation of others, if we were in a society which could unerrringly determine that (fantasy justice with mind reading?) then presumedly we would also be able to read what kind of guilt they felt and be able to take that into consideration as well.
So to that end teh two do connect in that we cannot, in truth, know either the intention nor the feelings of guilt of the person who spread the rumor.

It certainly seemed as though you were implying that by my reading. I suppose that wasn't your intent, though.

To clarify further: your objections stem primarily from your stance on the unknowability (or infeasible knowability) of the intent behind the actions, and not from a stance on the culpability of the actions should that intent become knowable and known?

My objection is many sided, and in the end comes down to questions of knowability.
A person who tells someone about an affair hoping C will kill B is ussually taking a shot in the dark- most people when they find out about affairs do not kill anyone involved. there is always the possibility that B& C have an open relationship, or c may simply divorce B and try and get revenge in court. on the other claw, if we can know A's intent towards B via C, then the whole social dynamic is changed- can A know how C will react if intentions and the secret machenizations of the human mind are that knowable? But for teh world we currrently live in they simply are not.
So if A tells C about the affair hoping to get B killed with a less than 1% chance of success, but C does in fact decide to kill B by using a gun with over 99% chance of success, then I do not consider A any more culpable than D, who entered into the affair knowing there was a chance that B could wind up dead. (not to mention b's culpability, since it was B and C who had a relationship that was defined by them, B knew the rules, could have taked it over with C, knew C's temper far better than A did, and still snuck arround on C.) Most of all I think the lesson we can take away from this is that letters should not date.
But for the world we live in A has no more responibility for C's actions than a person who throws a snowball over a balcony atop a mountain hoping it will form a giant snowball and crush the neighbor's cat. They may have acted with a certain intent, but the acomplishment of that intent via those actions is almost certainly coincidental. Unless they live in a universe where road runners say "meep meep" and coyotes wear bibs...

You could probably try them for being an accessory before the fact but I don't know how you'd go about proving what their motives would be really. Some emails saying "I'm going to tell X about the affair, hopefully he'll kill Y" or something would be helpful to the case.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessory_%28legal_term%29To be convicted of an accessory charge, the accused must generally be proved to have had actual knowledge that a crime was going to be, or had been, committed. Furthermore, there must be proof that the accessory knew that his or her action, or inaction, was helping the criminals commit the crime, or evade detection, or escape. A person who unknowingly houses a person who has just committed a crime, for instance, may not be charged with an accessory offense because they did not have knowledge of the crime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
Telling someone a rumor hoping they will murder someone is not the same as killing them yourself. because despite all the talk about using another person as a weapon that is exactly what we are talking about here- provoking someone and hoping for a certain response.
My point is that the argument that they must be punished because anyone who would do this is an unfeeling sociopath who will not feel any guilt about it is fallacious. It is also fallacious to believe that one person can use another as a simple tool with 100% predicatble results. There are certainly circumstances where the outcome is more predicatble than in the OP's scenario, and there are laws to cover those times. But the idea of punishing someone because they hoped their spreading rumors would lead to a specific person's death- aside from the difficulty of proving that- is ridiculous. next you'll be talking about outlawing wishing someone was dead.
I disagree. I think any attempt to kill someone is just as bad as actually killing someone. Success of an attempt should not matter. Point is: if there is an attempt, the target might or might not get killed or injured; if there is no attempt, no-one gets hurt.
Example: if someone picks up a gun of which it knows there is 1% chance that it is loaded, and he fires it at someone he wants dead. Is this guy guilty or not? If he is, what is the difference with saying something with the intent of killing someone, even if that happening is unlikely, say about 1%?

If the attempt is so feeble that they have an equal or higher chance of dying just from going about their normal lives then I would hardly count it as an attempt. If someone buys their domineering mother the cigarettes she asks for hoping these will be the ones that kill her is that really the same as putting a gun to her head and pulling the trigger?

The OP suggests that A considers the probability of success considerably greater than for a random accident.

Also: a single pack of cigarettes offers no chance at all to kill the mother, unless she chokes in it, which I assume is not what you meant.

EDIT: and yes, if you get someone addicted to cigarettes and consistently buy them an endless supply for years with the intent to cause diminished health and early death, I would consider that murder, if not torture.




 

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