Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


The Appropriate Limits of Legal Speech P.1

   
So if person a believed that burning a photo of person B with a lock of their hair would cause them to die, did so, and a few days later person B was hit by a car we should prosecute person a because they believed thier actions would be successfull and person B happens to be dead?
Wanting someone to die is not a crime. Taking actions which perhaps make you feel better that you might convince yourself is in some way leading to their death but do not directly do so is not a crime.
My first wife's mother was shouting at her mom "Mom, I wish you would just die!" when her mother sufered a heart attack and did in fact die. Should we prosecute that woman for wishing her mother would die and causing her emotional stress? The question is absurd aside- we do not prosecute people for bad thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
The question is absurd aside- we do not prosecute people for bad thoughts.
It's also a blatant strawman. Try again.

How is it a strawman? to me it is the very heart of teh question that has been asked- does the intent that somebody should die make an otherwise legal action with minimal direct consequences a crime? in the real world where such outcomes are not reasonably predicatbel, regardless of the beliefs of the orriginating person, we do not. The orriginal question, if considered with anything but the most naive of emotional responses, is patently absurd.

You replace the taking of action precipitating a trackable chain of events with simple wish and belief with no chain of events connecting it to the outcome. The second is not the first in a way that unduly undermines the argument. In fact, the undermining resulting from that replacement is the primary source of the 'strength' (if it can be called that) of your (fallacious) argument.

An *unpredictable* chain of events that ammounts to little more than hoping.
First C has to believe A.
Then C has to decide to kill B based on what A told them.
Then C has to succeed.

Steps 1 and 2 are not remotely reliable, even if A has some delusion that they are, absent some other extenuating circmustance beyond what was presented (a is C's spiritual advisor or some other authority figure whom he would believe in and gives C subtle encouragement towards violence) which, as I read it is expressly not part of the scenario. It is akin to firing a gun into the air hoping the bullet hits someone you don't like.

Back to the original:
1) Person A wants person B to die.
2) Person A believes that person C will kill person B if they find out.
3) Person A brings proof to person C.
4) Person C kills persons B and D.

It seems clear to me that person A is deliberately using person C to kill person B, or at least intends to and does all they can to bring it about.
However: Unless a direct and provable causal connection can be made between (3) and (4), then person A bears no _direct_ responsibility for the murder, only indirect, as we cannot know the thought processes inside the head of person C.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbender View Post
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%?
Aside from what others have said, the gun has no will of its own. The gun can't decide to do something else besides shoot and pulling the trigger would be more analogous to suggesting a murder than simply informing. Informing would be.... maybe loading the gun and then "accidentally" leaving it unsecured? Except that having a loaded gun laying around unsecured is itself illegal, I think, whereas telling someone a simple fact is not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VampireBunBun View Post
Aside from what others have said, the gun has no will of its own. The gun can't decide to do something else besides shoot and pulling the trigger would be more analogous to suggesting a murder than simply informing. Informing would be.... maybe loading the gun and then "accidentally" leaving it unsecured? Except that having a loaded gun laying around unsecured is itself illegal, I think, whereas telling someone a simple fact is not.
So paying an assassin to kill someone is ok, because the assassin has a will of its own?
Sure, it is a more extreme scenario, but that seems to be what you are suggesting. Both scenario's involve an action with the explicit intent to have someone killed and another free willed person to commit the deed. In one scenario the person is manipulated into killing with words, in the other with money. Neither are certain, because the assassin could also fail or run away.

Silveroak: it's all about intent. Wishing someone dead is completely different from taking action with the intention to increase someone's chances of dying.

Hiring an assassin is a much more direct course of action than telling someone about an affair. it is specifying an outcome and taking direct action to cause it. Telling someone about an affair is setting something in motion and hoping for the outcome you wanted. Intent does not trump common sense.
Even if you took a much more direct approach- for example telling someone with severe depression that nobody likes them, they are worthless, they may as well let the world be rid of them, and they commit suicide, there is no such thing as killing someone with words. Words are not a deadly weapon.
I also notice that in your cries of straw man you also ignored the real life example I gave above of my first wife's mother- would you care to answer that question before you start insisting that you are right because you are right and we just need to understand that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
The question is absurd aside- we do not prosecute people for bad thoughts.
No. We prosecute people for actions that lead to the death or suffering of others. If it's intentional, we consider it worse, because after all we acknowledge that sometimes things turn out in ways you had not anticipated. Sometimes, horribly so.

The means is irrelevant. The only thing of real relevance is this: "Did A commit an action that he believed would have a causal connection the death of person D"? Whenever the answer is yes, that's attempted murder.
After we've established that, we can go into the details like mitigating circumstances. As an aside, I agree attempted murder is just as bad as actual murder: you're not a better person for being incompetent.

Of course, you are free to disagree, but then I'd like to ask you one thing: under what circumstances is it acceptable to knowingly initiate a chain of events you know will lead to a person's death?





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