Sunday, February 19, 2006



The sickness spreads

While the world is focussed on bird flu, there's another disease spreading: the disease of Abu Ghraib. And it has now spread to America itself:

More than 100 inmates at a Los Angeles County jail were ordered to strip naked, had their mattresses taken away and were left with only blankets to cover themselves for a day as Los Angeles Sheriff's Department officials tried to quell racially charged violence that has plagued the jail system for nearly two weeks.

Stripping prisoners for the purposes of punishment and control may be effective, but it is also humiliating, dehumanising and degrading. But what seperates civilisation from barbarism is a refusal to do what is merely "effective" in favour of doing what is right or decent or humane. That's why civilised societies don't imprison without trial, impose draconian punishments, or torture or kill people. Unfortunately, by those standards, the US is already no longer civilised.

(Hat tip: TalkLeft)

8 comments:

Fortunately, for people like you, there are people like me. I'm retired military - underwater warrior/spook. We ensure that you guys retain the freedom to be as stupid as you wish.

Your compassion (with which I have no quarrel, in principle) is blinding you to life's realities. I live in Los Angeles. I can tell you unequivocally that any one of the rioting prisoners would as soon kill you for your jacket, shirt, wallet, car (you choose), as look at you. These guys are where they are precisely because of their abandonment of civilized processes.

I suggest the following way to handle these animals: Upon conviction, lock them into isolated cells, and keep them there until their prison term expires. No contact with anyone; no visits - not even attorneys; no books; no TV; no phone calls; no mail; no music; no body-building exercise, in fact no exercise of any kind, except for isometric in-cell exercises. Bottom line is, you sit in your cell for your entire sentence - no exceptions.

Under this plan no prisoner gets raped, hurt, killed. There are no prison gangs, no race riots.

And guys like you can continue with your nonsense ranting against the very thing that keeps you free.

Posted by Robert : 2/20/2006 08:08:00 AM

Hmmm. I must say Idiot that you perform a classic left-wing creep trick here, generalising about 296 million people being "no longer civlised" because of the actions at one county jail. Would you make such generalisations about... (let's see) Nigerian Muslims as a whole or Brazil as a country because the two, respectively, kill Christians and treat prisoners inhumanely? You can't post rubbish like this ("the US is already no longer civilised") and expect not to be challenged. I'm waiting for you to declare that British Muslims are no longer civilised, based on the events of 7/7...

Posted by adrien : 2/20/2006 08:37:00 AM

Robert: what you are describing is prolonged mental torture. Not to mention simply insane as far as corrections policy goes.

Unless you wish to follow the lex Draco, anyone you put in jail will one day be released from it. Under your plan, they will be lucky merely to emrge in the same state as they were when they came in. More likely, they'll simply have to be moved to the nearest mental hospital. They certainly won't come out any better.

People like you are one of the reasons (along with those below) who the US cannot be regarded as "civilised".

Adrien: Actually, I was thinking more of Guantanamo, "three strikes and you're out", Abu Ghraib and the death penalty - the latter alone of which rules the US out of contention as "civilised". But thankyou for trying.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/20/2006 10:21:00 AM

It's a shame that in Idiotland they have such a narrow definition of what constitutes "civilisation". I would imagine that only a handful of Western democracies sneak into this precious little box... NZ? Of course! Australia? No, we better rule them out, they have internment camps in the desert... Mexico? You must be kidding! Thailand? Not a chance! Russia? Ha! South Korea? Yeah right! Canada? Perhaps... Nigeria? When hell freezes! Indonesia? Never!

Idiotland must be a lonely and lofty moment from which to peer with scorn and sorrow upon those sorry multitudes of less 'civilised' nations...

Posted by adrien : 2/20/2006 12:22:00 PM

So prision officals stepped into stop prisioners fighting and killing each other.

They did what they thought was neccessary to do this - and you say this amounts to toture.

I would hate to think they did nothing and the rioting, beatings and killings continued.

There is no greater loss of liberty than the loss of your life.

What do you suggest - let's sit down over a cup of tea and discuss how volience is wrong.

I think if you were in that prision they would be passing you around as a party favour.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/20/2006 12:37:00 PM

Adrien: you don't know much about NZ do you. We've never regarded Australians as civilized...

Posted by Rich : 2/20/2006 07:33:00 PM

Idiot is right, emotive in his rhetoric, but still right.

All persons have a basic right to human dignity, even if these persons have committed evil acts. If we don't afford even our worst with rights, then we _have_ given away our civilisation. Although I disagree with Idiot about where these rights originate, without them we are savages.

To leave them naked is dehumanising and degrading and the ends do not justify the means. Robert's suggestion is just straight out torture.

Posted by muerk : 2/20/2006 10:16:00 PM

robert: Don't you think it's odd that somebody would kill for a second hand shirt? In a civilised country, everyone would be able to afford to keep themselves decently clothed without resorting to theft.

adrien: Saying that the US is no longer civilised is not the same as saying everyone in the US in uncivilised. Most of the residents of the US are victims of the problem, not the cause. I don't recall any claim that NZ is objectively civilised, either, though it's not as bad as the US.

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 2/21/2006 02:49:00 PM