• TheMadFool
    I'm a free speech absolutist.Terrapin Station
    You maybe right. I don't know. But I thought you, as a philosopher, would make the distinction between free speech and hate speech.
  • Terrapin Station

    The whole gist of free speech as a normative, including as a legislative normative, is that it involves the protection of the ability to say things that people are extremely uncomfortable with, upset by, etc.--things that people don't want you to be able to say for various reasons.
  • Agustino
    In my own opinion yes. Nothing can excuse such behaviour.

    "Instead you sit crying and complaining - some of you blind to your benefactor, and unable to acknowledge his existence; others assailing God with complaints and accusations from sheer meanness of spirit"
  • Agustino
    but can one be sane and still think it reasonable to kill a group of people in church so that a race war will commence?Bitter Crank
    Yes possibly one can see this as a way to take vengeance on the world for what their situation is. Have you never felt such a desire arising in you? Quite possibly you have, but the difference between you and him is that you realise that doing such would not actually change your situation, and the world isn't actually responsible. Your sense of compassion would probably also deter you.
  • Bitter Crank
    Certain offenders, like Dylann Roof, should be presumed insane until proven otherwise.
    — Bitter Crank

    Are you sure that's not simply because you don't want to contemplate the idea that someone could be so willingly evil?Wayfarer

    You have identified a problem in my thinking. Yes, I guess I am reluctant to consider "evil" as an explanation for really really bad actions. Maybe part of my problem is that in distancing myself from Christian thinking, I lose some moral clarity. On the one hand, I tend to assume that people are good, but on the other hand, it is obvious enough that some people are not good at all. So, why? Are they clearly evil or are they sick, malformed, or damaged?

    I need to work this out. Clearly.
  • Bitter Crank
    Have you never felt such a desire arising in you?Agustino

    Sure. I've enjoyed some fantasies about the demise of some people. As (maybe the famous American lawyer Clarence Darrow) said, "I Have Never Killed Any One, But I Have Read Some Obituary Notices with Great Satisfaction."

    One difference between people who enjoy reading some obituary notices and people who commit mass murder is the ability to discriminate between fantasy and reality. Another difference is a stable personality that puts a lid on one's hostilities. Normal people suppress the kind of murderous urges to which our species is heir. For most people, good urges overwhelm bad urges.
  • Wosret
    There's lots of evidence for brain damage, or malformation. Look at that ted talk about what we learned from scanning 80 thousand brains. It also mentions a psychopathic kid, constantly drawing murder, and finally attacking a young girl. They found a cyst in his brain, and removing it cured him. There's that guy that took a steel rod through the head, and lost impulse control, and went from mild and considerate, to abusive and uninhibited. This is actually quite common with strokes, and damage to the pre-frontal cortex, which is responsible for impulse control and future planning. Which is also why psychos are said to be impulsive, presumably.

    To believe that it comes down to a personal choice is to misunderstand everything.

    Even given that though, I still don't think that it even matters, as I'm opposed to punishment, or retribution. What matters is prevention. People should be detained if they're a danger to society, regardless of why, or how much it's their fault, and they ought to be treated humanely regardless of how responsible one thinks they are.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    In this, it's the law that matters, and nothing but the law. Behold, the law of South Carolina:

    SECTION 17-24-10. Affirmative defense.

    (A) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution for a crime that, at the time of the commission of the act constituting the offense, the defendant, as a result of mental disease or defect, lacked the capacity to distinguish moral or legal right from moral or legal wrong or to recognize the particular act charged as morally or legally wrong.

    (B) The defendant has the burden of proving the defense of insanity by a preponderance of the evidence.

    (C) Evidence of a mental disease or defect that is manifested only by repeated criminal or other antisocial conduct is not sufficient to establish the defense of insanity.

    HISTORY: 1984 Act No. 396, Section 1; 1988 Act No. 323, Section 1; 1989 Act No. 93, Section 1.

    SECTION 17-24-20. Guilty but mentally ill; general requirements for verdict.

    (A) A defendant is guilty but mentally ill if, at the time of the commission of the act constituting the offense, he had the capacity to distinguish right from wrong or to recognize his act as being wrong as defined in Section 17-24-10(A), but because of mental disease or defect he lacked sufficient capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.

    (B) To return a verdict of "guilty but mentally ill" the burden of proof is upon the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to the trier of fact that the defendant committed the crime, and the burden of proof is upon the defendant to prove by a preponderance of evidence that when he committed the crime he was mentally ill as defined in subsection (A).

    (C) The verdict of guilty but mentally ill may be rendered only during the phase of a trial which determines guilt or innocence and is not a form of verdict which may be rendered in the penalty phase.

    (D) A court may not accept a plea of guilty but mentally ill unless, after a hearing, the court makes a finding upon the record that the defendant proved by a preponderance of the evidence that when he committed the crime he was mentally ill as provided in Section 17-24-20(A).

    As you may guess from this, what constitutes insanity or mental illness of such magnitude as to impact on guilt is defined rather narrowly in the law. One can be stupid, uneducated, have a frightful childhood, and even have delusions, and still it will be no defense nor will it constitute mental illness.

    Note that what is required is that the defendant lack the capacity to distinguish between what is morally or legally right from what is morally or legally wrong.

    I haven't followed the case, but only note that the test in the law is not what you might expect.
  • TheMadFool
    Well I wonder why there's an old adage ''Silence is golden''
  • jkop
    Death penalty is murder. .
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