Saturday, December 29, 2012

Crime and Punishment Canadian style

Sometimes you find out stuff from the strangest places.

I was reading an OHS Canada magazine article where they were discussing the increase of inmate and inmate on corrections officer violence. In it they mentioned that double bunking is an indication of overcrowding and increases inmate on inmate violence. That's when I realized my view of prison is very coloured by movies in spite of actually seeing holding cells in my youth. I had to pick my brother up from the cop shop when he was picked up, almost passed out in his vomit, by the police. I saw 2 small cells with one bunk in each. There may have been more cells but I'm sure nothing like the empty cage you see in the movies.

I'm not for omnibus bills but I am for the changes these bills will bring. We need more prison space in Canada. Not because there are so many more criminals - crime is trending downward - but because we've closed a lot of prisons and many remaining ones are aging. People, perhaps criminals more so, need their own space where they don't have to interact directly with others. We also need to stop sending people to prison unnecessarily (which should be an effect of the bill passing). If we can deter people from getting in too deep before they become entrenched, it's worth a try to me; especially youths/young adults.

People are happy to think (if they think at all) criminals become law abiding citizens if they are just thrown in jail as often as necessary, or just leave them there to rot. But that is not the role of the justice system in Canada. After punishment, people have to be re-integrated into society. I don't want jail to be a form of social assistance for the violent or asocial.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cass Morrison added you to her circles and invited you to join Google+

Cass Morrison added you to her circles and invited you to join Google+.
Join Google+
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An easy way to share some things with uni friends, others with your parents and almost nothing with your boss. Just like in real life.
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Lightning-fast group chat. Photos that upload themselves. A bird's-eye view of what's happening nearby. We built Google+ with mobile in mind.
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Root cause analysis and human behaviour

I read an interesting article on research into pedophilia and it brought to mind how much scientific root cause analysis can inform social justice. And, from reading the comments, how people really don't think that way in general.

This is not an apologia for pedophiles. Pedophilia is a sexual orientation just like heterosexuality but it is not acceptable because our society prosecutes sex without consent. Children cannot give consent and western society is very diligent in following through on that particular aspect of social justice. Sexual orientation does not imply the "right" to have sexual interaction (from speech to act) with the object of your desires. I can feel sympathy for pedophiles who never act on their desires because, face it, the more you can't have something the more you focus on it. Most of us end up denying ourselves harmless things that don't affect others if we fail. Pedophiles have no choice but to be rapists if they fail in their self control.

Society has to get this resolved somehow because killing people before they act is not a long term solution. People are born that way so there would be an unending supply. This is where root cause analysis comes in. What causes this, what can we do to correct it and/or prevent it from happening.

Research to the rescue. Brain research to be specific. It seems that development in the area that keeps you attracted to people in your age range as you mature to adulthood gets stalled. With further research we may find that something simple like a change in maternal vitamin supplements would resolve this to great extent, much like folic acid supplements help prevent birth defects. Head injuries could also be identified to ensure additional socialization to help the person.

What about existing pedophiles? We as a culture need to value maturity where you don't just say anything or do anything because there is no one next to you to stop you. That creates peer pressure not to act on impulses. Identify men and women who are in their early 20s and attempt to date kids coming into maturity. Get them into addiction counselling before there is an opportunity to act. I would never encourage pedophiles to integrate into anything other than an adult community. It would be horrifying to be surrounded by the subject of your passions and no one needs that test of self control every moment. Hopefully, as our society changes there may be more pools of adult living of all ages similar to the way there are age restricted communities.

We are not guilty because of sexual desire, but we are responsible for our sexual behavior.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Could the artificial uterus finally be on its way? - Canadian Parliament set to define the beginning of human life

There is a private member bill in parliament aiming at defining the beginning of human life. Once a bill has been introduced it must be discussed. I can certainly understand the impulse. Our current definition of life was is 400 years old. But do we have enough knowledge for a new one?

First let's see if we can agree on anything. People have consciousness that allows them think about an action and imagine the consequences of their actions; we are aware of time passing. I would call that consciousness but religious people would probably call that the soul, I'll call it that to for ease of use. If we can't agree on that - stop here.

Can we try for another? No one is currently compelled to provide life saving support to another. Currently, except in Quebec, you can drive by an accident without stopping to offer help. No one can come to your door and demand your blood or an organ; in fact your organs can't be used by other people after you don't need them any more unless you explicitly say so.

One more? I don't get input into your medical decisions or care. I don't get a vote on whether to deny you a lung transplant because you smoked, or are old or anything. That is between you and your doctor.

So on to the defining of human life. This is pretty important because as a society Canadians do not advocate killing others. We don't have the death penalty and do not give up criminals to systems that would invoke the death penalty. We don't have euthanasia because that would violate the other person's right to life. But what about the edges? When does a fetus become human enough for our resources to be committed to it? When is a comatose person not human enough for our resources to be committed? How do we define the beginning and the end?

There are 2 ways (currently) we can explore the beginning. Through scientific discovery or religion. Let's talk science since that's much more of a explicit thing.

Anesthetic is fascinating. When we are under anesthetic we are truly not here. When you wake up it could be moments later or weeks later - hey controlled not-life that doesn't kill people! When better to study when we are alive (mentally) and find out where in our brain we live. Happily there has been research started that has some preliminary results.

If we want to define human life sure the best place to start would be finding where our soul lives and when it can take possession (existing tech). Next up can we make an easy to use, mobile instrument; emergent tech =  research dollars! Then when is that brain structure present - more research direction for emergent tech! If the structure is prenatal, how can we preserve that life while not infringing on the integrity of the host? Artificial uterus!

Okay I know it probably won't go that way. There's be a bunch of hand waving on the part of religionists making up some reason that it would be bad to know this stuff. Much better to overturn the CSC ruling on the autonomy of women and create an abortion law taking away the woman's right to control her medical decision. That happens and I hope I have male kin that needs an organ - like a kidney or lung or even some liver so I can take one of those compassionate folk to court to remove their autonomy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The changing anti-choice voice

I was reading the fascinating blog by Libby-Anne when she posted this Abortion, murder and smokescreens 2 which was as informative for me about how much the conversation has been changed with respect to abortion. It also makes me wonder if pro choice voices understand the effects of not responding to that change. If people are truly growing up with the idea that a blob of cells is a human (humanity begin at conception so abortion is murder) then any talk of choice is irrelevant. And the crazy trans-vaginal ultrasounds are supposed to show those selfish women that there really is a teen-weeny baby in there that they just can't see.

Libby-Anne had an amazingly consistent viewpoint when she was anti-choice
But even with challenging these inconsistencies, you’re still going to run into true believers. When someone asked me years ago whether I would save a case of embryos or a toddler from a burning building, the question bothered me but I still answered consistently: the embryos. Similarly, I was not okay with any exception for rape or incest. A baby was a baby, no matter how conceived. Pointing out inconsistencies only ever made me resolve to be consistent in my opposition to the murder of babies.
I have also always had a consistent pro-choice view point. It's a personal choice as long as the pregnancy is at a point where the fetus is totally dependent on the woman. The thing to do is prevent pregnancy by education and freely available contraception so women don't have to make that choice. I used to think I would never choose to have an abortion but I did. Twice. Once for a viable ectopic pregnancy (oh did I want that child) and once for a stalled pregnancy.

Will education and contraception rid the world of abortion? No it won't. All contraception has a failure rate although if all parties are using contraception then the probability of both failing at the same time is infinitesimalIn a perfect world we would be able to remove an embryo and transplant it to a surrogate mother or artificial uterus. Even so, not every fetus is able to make it to term and to carry a dead or as good as dead child would be torture if the woman didn't choose that task.

So what would be an effective response to life beginning at conception, I have to admit that is such an alien concept that I have a hard time believing people actually think a blob of cells is equivalent to a human. Agree that every unwanted pregnancy is a tragedy so pregnancies need to be prevented. Use the term anti-choice rather than pro life.