Where to put the blame.

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Holy, Nov 10, 2001.

  1. Holy Registered Senior Member

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    I guess this subject will stir some discussions, but try to keep it professional without insults and nasty replies.

    When an intoxicated driver kills a innocent bystander by driving over him/her, where is the blame?

    - Can the "accident" be accidental?
    - Is someone that drives intoxicated with intention also an intentional killer?
    - Is there someone else to blame? like the victim, the society, the law.

    Also when other "accidents" happen which involve drugs, can one blame the drug? For instance a fight which occurs at a bar between two intoxicated and confused persons, or two gangs gets into a fire fight about some drugs to sell, both gangs get hurt and also some innocent bystanders.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  3. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    Holy ...

    Bothered by the way in which you have posed the question.

    To me, the drug is no more to blame than the weapon (possibly less in that the weapon is designed to cause death or injury) ... it reverts back to personal responsiblity. In either case, the person injesting the drug or firing the weapon has acted irresponsibly and should be held accountable for their act.
     
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  5. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Holy,

    I don't see where you can go with this. I echo Chagur's post completely.

    Cris
     
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  7. Riomacleod Registered Senior Member

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    I don't think I've seen a question that's made me so nervous in a long time.
     
  8. machaon Registered Senior Member

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    DWI BLAME

    The government will be very quick to point out that driving is a privilage, not a right. If one does not want to risk being killed by a drunken driver, then don't drive. Driving is NOT a right. Therefore one does not have a RIGHT to be protected from drunken drivers. Besides, who wants to live forever?
     
  9. rde Eukaryotic specimen Registered Senior Member

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    What's so bothersome? To me, it's simple: when you drive while drunk, you're more likely to kill people. The fact that it's accidental doesn't detract from the fact that you willingly drive a car while unable to control it completely. It's the driver's fault.

    Society could only be blamed if it considered anyone other than the driver to be responsible.
     
  10. Daydreamer Registered Member

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    12
    OK, this post wont be popular but here goes...

    Since everybody are aware of the risks involved in drinking and such wouldn't it be like blaming the messenger to totally blame the drunken driver? Before you all begin to scream objections, think about it. As long as there is alcohol, or any drug, there will be people who cant control it and end up hurting other people. So, against many objections surely, as long as we condone the production of alcohol aren't society to blame for some part in it? Just a thought...
     
  11. rde Eukaryotic specimen Registered Senior Member

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    No. It's one thing to drink, it's another to wilfully drive while drunk. These days it's impossible not to know the consequences; and if someone is aware of the possible consequences of an action, then they're fully responsible for those consequences should they choose that course of action.
     
  12. Bobby Lee member Registered Senior Member

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    143
    Old Issues/ Same Answers/Where is the Point?

    What brought this re hashing of this issue again?

    Did someone here fall of the porch???

    Recent news about a Hollywood personality hitting a young child and killing him is the only new news worthy of mentioning?

    She got 3yrs probation, 750hrs of community service.(see Headline News for 11/27/2001


    bobby lee
     
  13. FA_Q2 Member Registered Senior Member

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    No. Your problem with drinking is not societies problem. If you cant handle your alcohol and do not address the problem then you had best be ready to face the consequences after you hurt others.
     
  14. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    FA_Q2 ...

    Horrors!

    How un-PC ...

    You actually feel that individuals should be held
    responsible for their actions?

    How Neanderthal!

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  15. FA_Q2 Member Registered Senior Member

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  16. Riomacleod Registered Senior Member

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    Not to piss on your parade, but the government does have a responsibility to protect the lives of its citizens, which is why there are DUI laws, which is why there are murder laws, which is why there are all sorts of laws, because we as human beings have the right to live. Owning a hibachi is a privelige too, but if I roast you up for lunch, I imagine that I would get arrested. Or at least a ticket.

    Unless someone unwillfully ingested something that impaired their senses (that is, they were sliped something in their drink, like ryphenol) they're responsible for anything that their impared senses cause them to do.
     
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    35,523
    Small point

    It's a small point and one that is generally overlooked, and there are, indeed, reasons for that:
    Indeed, indeed, indeed. But substance laws are the sort of thing where the Bill of Rights goes straight into the trashcan.

    We could start with evidentiary inequalities: Alcohol affects people differently; it is cause to charge someone below the legal limit with DUI, but not cause to defend oneself by. But this is debatable: are the legal limits set below intoxication as a preventative measure, or broadly enough that if you meet it, you're drunk? We're always given a practical comparison, but never an actual one. (E.g.--The DUI car, which police departments like to show off every now and then: you enter your body weight and a number of drinks into a computer, and then it electronically slows down the reaction time of the car to emulate driving under the influence. If alcohol affects everyone differently, the simulation is inaccurate if the result is uniform.)

    However, a more necessary issue to point out: The prior note on evidentiary inequality is a side consideration. I find it of academic interest, but have no real basis upon which to mount a practical examination as of yet. More importantly is the nature of substance-related enforcement, which assumes a person to be guilty.

    DUI laws, like drug prohibition laws, are unconstitutionally founded on the presumption of harm. It is the only case in which a defendant is guilty of having done something without actually committing the crime. We have DUI laws to prevent people from killing one another on the road and so forth. Fine: let's have that. But this whole thing about revocation of driving privileges, about prison terms, and so forth are ridiculous. The basis of the DUI law is the potential to do harm. Riomacleod mentioned murder. What is the criteria by which we measure the potential for murder? If someone owns a weapon?

    I find it interesting that I can get a stiffer penalty for the potential of hurting someone while driving my car drunk than I can for actually killing someone while handling my gun drunk. How do we prosecute the potential for harm? In the case of a DUI, you're sending a guy to jail for breaking a law to prevent something he might not have done. Statistical odds may be one thing, but substance enforcement itself--that is, the environment in which these laws are designed--does not recognize trends within statistical odds as valid, so why should the lawmakers apply them here?

    It is both unconstitutional and unprincipled in my opinion.

    I almost got nailed the other day crossing a street in Ballard. No headlights, dark skies, turning left against the light, and the driver was busy whining on his cel-phone. Sure, states are moving to pass laws against cel-phones, but again we have to look at the potential of harm. As much as this guy annoyed me, I can't rightly take a piece out of him for making me think I'm about to get wiped out. Accidents are accidents. What I'd rather see than a crackdown on the potential for harm is the crackdown on the harm itself. Kill someone driving drunk? Spend your life in prison. Kill someone while on your cel-phone? Again .... But to prosecute people based on the potential of doing harm is stretching the limits of the Constitution. If I collected all the statistics reflecting the number of child abusers who also happen to claim to subscribe to faith in God, could we pass laws against religion based on the potential for harm to others? While I think the numbers would warrant such an act in a more barbaric culture, I also think that to legally prosecute the potential for harm in a religion is tantamount to persecution.

    Riomacleod, while I accept the basis of your point, I merely wish to point out that this principle is not consistent in the culture. I think it would do us well to make that principle consistent or to throw it out. It does us poorly to continually set precedents whereby one is prosecuted not for what they have done, but what we are afraid they might do.

    thanx much,
    Tiassa

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  18. Daydreamer Registered Member

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    OK, just let me get this straight: If you have access to a drug of some kind, it is up to YOU to realize that you cant handle the drug? Even if it is your first time using it? If this is the case, why is ANY drug illegal? If you are aware of the consequences then it is allright to use it?

    Ok i accept that. All my life i've been walking around thinking that the laws were there to protect me from the possibility of being killed by a person that is not in his/her right mind. But now i realize that the laws are just there to, well for no reason at all really. It is really each and every individuals concern to see to it that they do not use any kind of drug that could cause you to hurt other people. If any one person can't do this, well then just wait for him/her to kill/injure some innocent bystander. Then you can blame him/her for not being able to control the drug. That seems to be just a dandy way of thinking. The laws in Amsterdam saying that drugs are legal just made sense to me....

    I'm not saying that ALL the blame is on the society. The person that commits a crime under influence should take the consequences for this. The point i'm tring to make: If there were no drugs, no drugrelated crimes would be committed. Thus, no innocent people would get hurt in any such crimes(since there would be none). If there were no LEGAL drugs, drugrelated crimes would be fewer and thus less innocent people would get hurt.

    Again: As long as we have legal drugs, the person that uses them should take the consequences for doing so. I use alcohol every time i go out to party. I know i can control it. I would be deeply sorry if they would ever make it illegal. I just think the world would be a better place without it, whether i like it or not.
     
  19. Riomacleod Registered Senior Member

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    Tiassa:

    I'll admit, it was a sloppy post. I'm all for DUI laws. I'm NOT for DUI checkpoints. Actually, I'd rather see tougher reckless driving laws than speed limits and dui check points... and REALLY, I'd rather see alot fewer laws and have people take the responsibility of steering a 2-ton metal missle of doom more seriously.

    I'm under the impression that the initial DUI law philosophy was that if a policeman sees you driving around recklessly, weaving through lanes and whatnot, you're going to get a ticket for reckless driving, and then the DUI would compound that ticket. Nowadays, we have DUI checkpoints, where people are harassed by the police to ferret out the one guy who had been drinking. I agree that that's essentially an illegal search and unconstitutional. It would be the same if people stopped everyone on the highway to check for... y'know... anything illegal you might be doing.

    On the other hand, when it's obvious that you have NO ability to control your vehicle, drunk or not, it's time that you lost your license. I think that is the fundamental behind the *initial* DUI legislation... at least I would hope so.

    Secondly, my point of murder being illegal. I wasn't equating DUI with murder. I was responding to the topic of the post. It was just another example of laws that exist for the protection of the people in the society. Something like the hibachi comment...

    Daydreamer:
    Yes, if I get hopped up on codene cough syrup, and run someone down with my car, that's illegal. Irrespective of DUI and substance abuse law, if your senses are impaired, you have to be responsible for yourself. I've never done an illegal drug in my life, but I have enough sense to know that if I drop acid, driving is probably a bad idea. Therefore, if I decide that I'm going to try it, I'm going to make sure-BEFORE I START- that I'm not in a position to do such things.
     
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    I wouldn't have said sloppy

    Riomacleod

    Actually, it's an issue I was waiting to raise; I was looking for a platform to take my wild leap from. I wouldn't have called your post sloppy, per se. That is, sloppy hadn't entered my mind. Part of what did it for me was the inclusion of murder, which was an excellent example of my point:
    Some forms of DUI do result in murder, and this we all know. But what makes murder a great issue to consider here is the idea iof: What if we prosecuted people for the potential of murder?

    I can't even sarcastically assert what that would look like: it's so absurd to me that I can't quite grasp it. Having a bad day? Go directly to Jail, do not pass Go. You're dangerous as long as you're upset. It's too simplistic, obviously, but that's all I was after.

    I suppose it would be an interesting venture to trace the history of DUI enforcement: from the standpoint of what we're actually prosecuting, it's quite the interesting standard.

    thanx much,
    Tiassa

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  21. rde Eukaryotic specimen Registered Senior Member

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    Re: I wouldn't have said sloppy

    Warning: I don't drink, and therefore may have a tendency towards sanctimony. If that's the case, I apologise.

    Anyway, there are degrees on potentiality. If you wander through the streets waving a grenade with the pin pulled out should you be allowed free as long as you don't drop it? It's not a perfect analogy, but my point is that there are many cases where death and/or injury are likely to result from actions that we'll generously call 'ill-advised'.

    If you drive a car while drunk, eventually you'll kill someone. If, as you're suggesting, people should only be arrested after an accident, then you're giving a lot of assholes license to kill; how many drivers out there, do you think, are willing to swear that a few pints doesn't affect their driving ability? Here in Ireland we lose up to ten people a week, in a population of about 3.5m; I imagine this figure scales to the US. If you're telling the population that it's okay to drive when drunk as long as they don't kill anybody, do you imagine this figure will do anything but skyrocket?
     
  22. FA_Q2 Member Registered Senior Member

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    Yes. It would be illegal if the cops happen to find pipe bombs, rockets, or a few grenades in your home. Why not the consumption of alcohol if you are controlling a 4,000 pound block of steel traveling 60 miles an hour. The potential to do harm is all over the law. Many laws are designed to stop the act from happening before it happens.

    Then I can own a tank, as long as I haven't used it yet it's all right.

    Good question. I have no idea. They should be legal.

    I do agree there. While DUI laws make sense, stopping people for no other reason than to make sure is unconstitutional. If you are not driving like a drunk then you don't need to be pulled over for it.

    Damn. Beat me to the punch. Well, already wrote it so...
     
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    35,523
    FA_Q2

    Such as? In what areas of the law is the Constitution so ignored as it is in the case of substance? DUI laws are a little like laws against being stoned: the harm is assumed beforehand; when you charge people with felonies when they haven't actually hurt anyone or anything, it's a little like throwing Randy Johnson out of a game for not hitting a batter. Sure, there's a potential for harm in throwing inside. But ...? And in the case of the law, as opposed to baseball rules, there is a greater stake: precedent. It's why the courts often don't allow things when they seem necessary.
    Take it up with the gun-control nuts, because you can't. But there is a difference between the potential for harm in driving a car and the intentional implementation of a device designed specifically to kill someone. But, like I noted, I can accidentally kill you because I'm playing with my gun while drunk, and walk away from it without charge. It was an accident. So, yeah, take it up with Congress: Americans deserve the right to own and operate military tanks. And hand grenades, as the other example went.

    Anyway, gotta run.

    thanx,
    Tiassa

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