Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

July was a very busy month. I revised the pervasiveness article for Reason, wrote one on ISP liability for Gauntlet, and gave my deposition in the Loudoun County censorware case. Most of my time and energy this month went into Someone to Lean On, a hyper-novel I will probably publish here in September.

This has been a fertile year for writing fiction. Though I don't have an audience for it yet as I do for the rest of the Spectacle, I have the sense of mining a lode untapped by my other work. Doing it is rewarding whether or not anyone reads the result. The more I write, the more confident I become that I have something, and that people will come later. The Spectacle started the same way.

I took some vacation; had the opportunity to see Jefferson Starship in concert at a small local club (really most of the Airplane line-up, doing their old songs), and then to attend an anti-nukes demonstration. It felt like 1970 all over again! Very emotional experience. The demo was in support of closing a reactor named Millstone on the Connecticut coast.

The World Wide Web mirrors in software two other webs: that of ideas, and the braided lives of the people who exchange them. Through the medium of The Ethical Spectacle, I have the pleasure and honor of participating in all three. Keep those letters coming; email me at jw@bway.net.

A Debate on Gun Control
Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am not a great thinker, I would like to be, but I am not. :-) However, I would like to poke a few holes in Mr. Wallace's argument. Up to the point about possessing a tool, inclines the owner to look for ways to use it, he is quite right. The problem comes from applying the wrong logical thought process to the problem. Cars, scuba tanks, hammers, etc. do not carry a high _moral_ cost. BTW, I define "moral" cost, as possible repercussions to their *mis-*use. These repercussions can be lawsuits, criminal charges, psychological trauma, etc.

The "moral" cost, restrains _most_ people from mis-use of the tool, just as it does for all but the few repeat drunken drivers/flyers/boaters/etc. Banning guns, under Mr. Wallace's logic, would be like banning alcoholic drinks. The function of an alcoholic drink is to impart a mild to heavy intoxication. Therefore, having them on the premises, will lead to intoxication of anyone present. If the beverage owner also owns a car, they will proabaly drive drunk, using this logic. Where it breaks down is people like me. Alcohol is a *lethal* poison to me, *in any quantity.* If I have any alcoholic "beverages" present, they are to cook with, or to offer friends *in moderation.*

Obviously, we are mixing apples and oranges, in logic here. Unless it is used to assault someone, a hammer will not cause anyone to mistake people for nails. I carry tools in my car, that doesn't mean I go around looking for reasons to use them. Most people are entirely capable, of using tools *appropriately.* That is, to determine if a tool is needed, and what tool is *most likely to accomplish the required job.* The occasions in which it is *appropriate* to take a life are pretty clear. The defender, or a third party, is at risk of serious injury or death from an attacker. Surprisingly, this is more likely to happen, than requiring me to use medical emergency skills I learned twenty years ago.

For the sake of clarity, I _have_ had to use those skills twice in that time period. Both times were life threatening emergencies. I got those skills, because I watched people _die_ for lack of trained assistance. I hope that Mr. Wallace is never in a position where he wishes that "Someone have a gun.", because a killing is taking place. Having someone die, because there is no one who can try to prevent it, is a sickening feeling.

Walter Danield fbngraph@indy.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I tend to agree with Mr. Drennen on why our founding fathers wanted the malitia (all able-bodied citizens) to be armed. I also beleive that an honest citizen should be able to be armed with military firearms, just as our people were 200 years ago. Yes, firearms are very dangerous, but their non-presence is even more dangerous. When the public is armed, criminals are at risk of losing life or limb when attempting to commit a crime. This is not a theory, this is a fact. Hot burglaries (those committed while a resident is at home) are much higher in countries such as Great Britain, where firearms are restricted. Also, states that have issued concealed carry permits have experienced substantial drops in burglaries, rapes, and other crime. The current propaganda machine thrives on "saving our children." Statements like, "We've got to get these dangerous assault weapons off of the streets and out of our childrens hands" have false intents. A very minute fraction of crimes committed with firearms involve use of "assault weapons" - less than 1/2% to be more specific. Most of these crimes involve handguns. It seems that we are drowning in "feel-good laws" that do much more harm than good. By the way, there still is no clear definition of "assault weapon." The way I understand it, it is any semi-automatic so ugly no one would possibly want to own one (except to use in crime). Solution: Encourage justices to hold criminals accountable.

Marvin Leroy WAYNELEROY@prodigy.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I can speak only for myself and, marginally, for those who I KNOW carry firearms for personal defense. I can say, without qualm, that none of the aforementioned carry firearms with the secret wish to shoot anyone. In fact, anyone who is paying attention cannot help but be aware of the lengths to which law enforcement personnel are willing to go to place people who use firearms in jail. Anyone who uses a gun WILL find himself in excrement up to his/ her eyebrows! He may eventually walk away, but he'll be considerably poorer!

I happen to be over 50 years of age, weigh about 150 pounds, have severe arthritis in my right shoulder, and have only 3 fingers on my left hand. My days of becoming a martial arts expert are long gone. I've had only limited experience in knife work, and I can't run very fast anymore. I don't hang out in bars, and spend nearly every Saturday night safely ensconced before this infernal machine. Occasionally, however, I'm forced to go, late at night, to some place that has few "socially redeeming" virtues, or sometimes I just go to remote areas for fishing/ camping excursions. Is it your contention that I should render myself defenseless under all circumstances? If two or three 18 year old thugs decide they want a piece of my hide, should I just bend over and kiss myself goodbye? (According to the FBI UCR, this is the likely outcome for someone who is unarmed...)

Even in a society that bans all firearms ownership by the civilian population, i.e. Japan, there seem to be sufficient firearms for the "bad guys" to accomplish their desires. The only people truly disarmed are those who obey the laws...and these people are NOT the problem to begin with!

Maybe I'm just selfish, maybe I should just surrender to tooth-and-claw Darwinism, and shuffle off this mortal coil to make room for the younger and more ruthless...but you'll have a hard time convincing me of that!

FWIW, it seems to me a more accurate rendition of the saw might be "When you have - only - a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

Doug dugga@pacifier.com

Dear Jonathan:

You wrote:

All of these are examples of the ways in which we are affected by the tools we create. Something already in us predisposes us to certain tools; people are drawn for complicated reasons to computers, carpentry, or medical technology.

In your database example, Jon, did you think there was another tool that would better accomplish the task, but for "complicated reasons" chose to use a database instead?

I, myself, choose a tool to best accomplish a task, based on what's available. For example, when I want to assemble cabinets, I don't fire up my computer. Nor do I look to a hammer when I want to check my temperature.

A tool is an instrumentality for the accomplishment of a particular goal. A corollary of this: tools are associated with action. A tool which is kept "just in case" is an unrealized potentiality; through-out human history, we have almost always created tools in order to use them, not to have them ready.

Jon, I assume you buckle up when you drive. How often, when you drive, do you hope that your seat-belt will be put to use? If you fished in an area where there were rattlesnakes, I assume you would carry a snake-bite kit(I know, all these assumptions;-). Would you hope that its use would be necessary?

Other guns are designed for one major purpose only: the destruction of human beings. At least some of the people who keep these weapons around have thoughts about using them to kill humans. These thoughts may take a number of forms; the most common one certainly would be the use of the weapon in self defense.

If a gun is carried for self-defense by an individual, that person had better think about the possibility that someone might die if its use becomes necessary. Personally, when I carry a gun, it's for the same reason that I wear a seat-belt in a car or a helmet when I ride a motorcycle and carry a snake-bite kit in snake country. There are people who use violence or the threat thereof to prey on other people; in the vast majority of cases, merely showing the predator(s) that one has the means to effectively resist their threat is sufficient to turn them away.

Most criminals fear the armed citizen more than the police. Incidentally, are you aware that the police have a higher incidence of shooting the wrong person than do private citizens? Think about it and you can see why.

But "self defense" is a notoriously elastic term, and it is a human nature always to stretch anything elastic. Some number of gun owners certainly secretly hope that life will put them in a situation where they can use their weapon for its intended purpose; and a much smaller number has actually sought these circumstances, as did the man in Los Angeles who picked a fight with some graffiti artists, then shot one.

Some number of people who hold your views certainly secretly hope that more school-children will die in shootings. They view this as good for their agenda. Do you think that's an ethical approach? What percentage of your group do you think they comprise?

From what I read, the graffiti artists threatened him with weapons when he confronted them. However, I agree that there was probably a better way for him to deal with the situation. How many similar situations have you seen reported? That's the only one of which I've read.

To put it as bluntly as I can, I think that the ownership of handguns is connected in some people with a worldview which divides our fellows into categories of people who can and cannot be shot with them.

Indeed. I'm one of those people. In the former category I put all those who both unlawfully threaten and have the means to injure or kill me or someone else. Who would you put in that category?

An unused handgun, kept for contingencies, is an unrealized potentiality similar to scuba gear kept in the closet or an undriven jeep. Yes, I can plink at cans or take the gun to the range; I can also breathe on the scuba tank in my living room or in the swimming pool, or drive the jeep in the driveway.

All of this is a non sequiter. As a tool that operates at a distance, a gun requires practice for effective use. Since here we're talking self-defense, there is a martial arts discipline involved, also. To be considered are such concerns as ability to place a bullet where one wants it, not harming innocent bystanders and using no more force than is necessary to stop the threat. From my reading and talking with people who have been in such situations, showing both the piece and the obvious willingness to use it if necessary will defuse most such threats.

When I carry, it's because I'd rather have it and not need it than the reverse. I have fired thousands of rounds for fun and practice and not one in anger and I hope that never changes.

Humans want to use the tools they love, and the complete fulfillment of the handgun involves the killing of another human being.

This is metaphysical bullshit and certainly a "sweeping statement." I suggest, Jon, that you take the NRA "Eddy Eagle" class for children and/or a concealed- carry class before you rattle on about the ethical use of firearms.

In general, the gun advocates I have debated seem unwilling to admit that there are any ethical implications of the ownership or use of handguns.

Oddly enough, it might be because most gun advocates consider ethical behavior as a given and condemn unethical behavior, no matter what the circumstances or accoutrements. Only hoplophobes or gun controllers raise the question of ethics merely because of the ownership of firearms. I find this interesting when it's politically correct to have multi-culturally diverse situational ethics. Except for gun owners and Christians, of course.

[He included a newspaper column describing incidents in which armed school officials disarmed a would-be student shooters .]

Do you think the assistant principal should be prosecuted for having a gun on school property?

Do you think it was ethical for him and the hall-owner to use a firearm to threaten a student?

Why do you think neither went for that "complete fulfillment" you posit?

Would you judge the PA incident separately since it wasn't a hand-gun?

Curiously, Jim jeb@virtualhosts.net

From: Jaydeeo@aol.com Dear Jonathan:

As a regular reader of The Ethical Spectacle who occasionally agrees with your opinions, I must take issue with your "Speech and Guns" essay in the June issue. I suggest that your argument in this piece is not much more than an attempted demolition of your own very shaky straw man, that gun advocates want their firearms in order to safeguard their liberty.

Aside from recreational purposes, the primary use of firearms by American citizens is in the lawful defense of their lives and property from individual common criminals (as opposed to those holding elective office and their minions). I feel that you are genuinely confused about the position of gun advocates and of the Founding Fathers concerning firearms. Self-defense was a core belief and a positive duty, and a self-evident one at that, to the Natural philosophers and to the Founders. Thus, the keeping/bearing of arms itself was/is a natural right, subject neither to the whims of tyrants nor even to popular majority opinion. That confrontation with an armed populace might serve as a deterrent to a would-be tyrant was and is nothing more than an attractive bonus. I suggest that most gun advocates (including myself) feel that natural law has not changed in the past two centuries, and I assure you that among the reasons for owning guns, safeguarding ourselves from a tyrannical government is far from the primary motivation.

When you write that few are willing to admit that they regard the "anti- speech" assassinations of Gandhi and King as "acceptable losses," you are correct, but you have not proven any point. Rather, you've merely posed a compound question of the "have you stopped beating your wife" variety. Consider the recent notorious CDA, as passed and signed by assorted Congressional and White House authoritarians of both parties, who increasingly tend to answer compound questions with unconstitutional laws! One could argue (and some did) that free speech advocates regard as "acceptable losses" sexually abused children and stalking/murder/rape victims. I would suggest that anti-gun civil libertarians heed well these words from Alan Dershowitz when he spoke of:

"Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the Constitution by claiming it's not an individual right or that it's too much of a safety hazard . . . They're courting disaster by encouraging others to use the same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don't like."

I am a bit puzzled by your contention that guns have been used more often to deter speech than to defend it. So what? I will pose the following rhetorical questions to you. Would James Earl Ray's act have been less odious had he stabbed Dr. King to death? Would Timothy McVeigh and associates have been worse people had they entered the Murrah Federal Building and dispatched their victims with bullets? Ditto for Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.

The answer is "yes" to your trick question ("Is there ever a set of circumstances under which the Second Amendment advocates believe that guns are an appropriate response to speech?'). As an example, if a person is confronted with a situation presenting a clear and present danger of the use of deadly force against himself, e. g., another person states, "I'm going to kill you," and he points a gun at him, then the potential victim is justified in shooting first. Of course, it would be "no" had you added on the end of your question the word "alone."

Paradoxically, I believe that you answered yourself on the subject of firearms, however unintentionally, in one of your previous essays on capital punishment. In it you addressed the three basic arguments against capital punishment, constitutional, practical value, and moral, and dismissed the first two. A parallel argument can be made re guns.

I believe that it's safe to say that today only a few legal scholars hold a constitutional argument against individual ownership of guns. The overwhelming historical, legal, and even linguistic analysis supports a reading of the Second Amendment as an individual right, and even "anti- gunners" such as Dershowitz, Van Alstyne, and Levinson have come to advocate repeal as the only constitutionally legitimate means of disarming the citizenry.

On the practical side, admittedly there is evidence against guns in the form of murders and accidents and of the existence of some reasonably free nations with an unarmed populace, primarily in Western Europe. However, I would suggest that the practical values of guns (apart from recreational purposes) outweigh it substantially. In the United States alone, armed citizens lawfully defend themselves from criminals 2-2.5 million times each year. Further, there seems to be an extraordinarily strong correlation between increased concealed carry permits granted (keeping AND bearing) and decreased crime, particularly mass-murders. While it can't be proven that an armed people has preserved freedom here or elsewhere, there is the historical "coincidence" that Switzerland's people have been both armed and free from external aggression for a very long time, more than six hundred years. Would Israel be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary today, or would it have had a first, had not the settlers in Palestine armed themselves in violation of the British laws there? Also, it must be noted that virtually all of the most heinous depredations against freedom and humanity in this century (Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Imperialist Japan, etc.) were committed against disarmed or unarmed populations.

I can respect a genuine moral decision by any individual who chooses for his own reasons not to keep or use a firearm. However, just as I will never tolerate a Senator Exon defining my First Amendment rights, neither will I accept an illogical assignment of ethical value (or lack thereof) to an inanimate object that is, to quote the famous line from Shane, later borrowed for the interesting if artistically inferior Death Wish, "nothing but a tool."


Joseph D. Oliver Jaydeeo@aol.com


I would like to thank you for the discussion you are each contributing to the "freematt" mailing list. I have enjoyed reading your exchanges and they have both caused me to think more critically about the beliefs I hold. I must admit that the arguments of one of you will frustrate me more than the other, but you both raise excellent points.

I am writing simply to chime in with my own experiences. Mr. Wallace, you made the argument that when a person's tool is a hammer "everything looks like a nail", and you did say "ask yourself if it is true of anyone you know. If it isn't, tell me I am wide of the mark." I am therefore writing.

I am a firearm owner. Several are pistols, which it seems you would classify has having only one purpose: "the killing of another human being". I have several friends and relatives who also have handguns and military-style rifles. However, none of us ever wants to use it against another human being. We have them because it may become necessary, but our greatest dread w.r.t. firearms is to be in a situation where the use of an arm is necessary. Indeed, some of us may find that we cannot use them against another person.

So, of all the people I know who own firearms, NONE of them ever wish to use them on another human being. In fact, the only people I encounter who presume that one would wish to use guns in that fashon are those who are so anti-gun as to wish for completel confiscation.

I have a theory that those who assume that anyone with a gun becomes a killer are precisely those whose temperament *would* lead *them* to behave in such a fashon. However, it is presumptuous to presume that the rest of society at large also exhibit such lack of self-control.

Gentlemen, thank you.

Michael George george@im4u.net

Dear Jonathan:

You have done a fine service with your gun control debate. I think so much of it I intend to create a "mirror" on my site so it will endure.

Thanks...Gösta H. Lovgren gosta@exit109.com

Dear Jonathan:

You wrote:

To put it as bluntly as I can, I think that the ownership of handguns is connected in some people with a world view which divides our fellows into categories of people who can and cannot be shot with them.

Could be Jonathan. Just like the ownership of a rope might be connected in SOME people with a world view ....that some people could be drug behind a pickup truck and killed (as in the Texas racial killing of recent news.) Your paranoid and somewhat fantastic notions of other peoples motives for gun ownership puts you on the fringe of reality, and thus marginalizes the bulk of your rationality.

That I might mistrust a fellow human being enough to justify ownership (in my mind) of a hand gun for protection...is somewhat similar to your mistrust of me, and my (in your mind) motivation or proclivity to go out and shoot someone because (you propose) doing that is the only real justifiable use for a handgun.

Who is (more) delusional? That is the real question. You seem to say "let's take your gun away first, then we will continue the debate." My answer? The real debate concerns your "power" to take my gun away in the first place. You claim justification to do that because a gun is the embodiment of evil. In your mind, it has no positive value. I maintain that it is a (metaphorical) screwdriver. If (in your opinion) the only purpose for a screwdriver is that it can be used to break into cars, then eliminating screwdrivers would go a long way in solving the problem of car break-ins. The fact that you have never personally used a screwdriver, and as such, see no good reason for their existence, other than to cause problems for car owners, is the ultimate determiner of your viewpoint.

Since my life has been (literally) saved by someone who brandished a handgun (though he did not fire it, but even if he had..who cares?) I see handguns in a somewhat different light. At age 19, I might have been relegated to a grave. My two children would not exist. Their children would not exist. Thank goodness a liberal like you, Jonathan, did not take my protector's handgun away the day before he saved my life with it. Yes, you can point to any number of incidents where an innocent's life was taken with a gun too...but somehow my example seems just as real...and relevant as yours... So the real question is do you, and liberals like you have the power to take guns away from citizens (like me) who would use them for protection, and thereby determine that people (like me when I was 19, and being attacked) will be sacrificed in the process. I hope not. I suggest you find out what a screwdriver can be used for instead.

Bob Wilson

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I think we should have baseball bat control. When you consider the number of people killed and injured with baseball bats (none of which were registered) I think we should at least be able to gather statistics on which manufacture, bat material and age of user of bats to do bodily injury is most popular.


An Auschwitz Alphabet

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I recently chanced upon your Auschwitz Alphabet page. I found the presentation to be extremely thought provoking - causing a great deal of personal introspection. I would be foolish to claim I came away with a deeper under- standing of humanity - I am too young and have not had the experiences or enlightenment to lay such a claim - but I do feel the essay provided an opportunity to closely examine the fundamental ideals and beliefs which I hold dear.

Perhaps this was the spirit in which your commentary was meant. Perhaps not. I can only say I found the piece far too compelling to leave without comment. Your presentation is appreciated.

Kind Regards,
-Bryan R. Guinn bryking@sprynet.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thank you.

I attended Los Angeles public schools in the '50s and '60s, and California State University at Northridge. Only now am I learning about the Holocaust -- through books, films and particularly the Internet.

Kim Favors kimfavors@earthlink.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Somehow I got hooked to your website by a thread from research I began.

As my late mother Elvira was an Auschwitz survivor and since I am one of Jehovah's christian witnesses, I wanted to share a biblical definition of the word spectacle with you. My favorite place is 1 Cor 4:9:

9. "For it seems to me that God has put us the apostles last on exhibition as men appointed to death, because we have become a theatrical spectacle to the world, and to angels and to men."

One form of being in the limelight your reference site declares Jehovah's witnesses of every country standing firm against Hitler. The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of NY has a video documenting this stance that you might like to own for reference. Please let me know and I can see that you receive it.

There is much truth in your tales of Auschwitz A-Z. My father was in a labor camp on the Russian front. When greviously injured, it was a German doctor that saved his leg and his life and he always justly related that fact to others. He gave credit where due.

I feel honored to have been raised by parents who did not condemn an entire nation and culture for what happened. I feel I was not scarred by hate. My high school acquaintances in Pittsburgh PA had survivor parents who would permit never anything of German manufacture in their homes or to speak the language.

Sincerely, Judith Weiss Ritchie JUDY@IntendedAcceleration.com

Dear Jonathan;

I read and am horrified, as I am every time I read about the Holocaust.

Such horror is incomprehensible to the human understanding. I wish that you could find a way to rekindle your faith. Bare testimony to their faith!

I do not let my seven year old daughter walk home from the school bus. Someone might grab her. Everyday I pray and the only way I can cope is to give the worry and despair up to him, in trust. Yes terrible things happen, but our current system is not working. Every facet of our current system is poised for disaster. Global warming, population explosion, crop failure, geological disasters, the list goes on and on.

God will come and soon.

Love, Pamela aa2463@wayne.edu

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thank you for this page. My mother has taught my siblings and I about the Holocaust since we were old enough to know the difference between life and death. I have tried to find out more about it in my school library but there are very few books on the subject. This page has opened my eyes more.

.Again, thank you.

Heather Bergeron

Dear Mr. Wallace,

I am a library science student - for one of my classes I plan on creating a web page & include information on computer filtering issues - I will be using a link to your page & would like to be able to use The Ethical Spectacle logo for that purpose - with your permission - thank you very much for your time.

Carol Trager sredcats@capital.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I find your basic tenets to be something I would aspire to: not necessarily your opinions (though I do find much in common), but the underlying conceptual framework you have developed and are still developing is something that resonates within.

Some time ago, I stopped by your site - back before you had frames and back when I was first starting to work with HTML. I remember reading and printing out just about every article of yours that I could get my hands on. That was a lot, even back then. I'm not sure I could repeat that feat today!

Well, I've come by again after a long hiatus, and still find what I _do_ read to be of interest: thought-provoking food for the mind and spirit.

Paul Chen

Dear Mr. Wallace:

In writing this letter I may have overstepped my intellectual bounds as a 19-year old college sophomore; that notwithstanding, I must respond to the considerable agitation you caused my sense of right, however skewed that sense of right actually is. What struck my attention was the two-part refutation you wrote in response to Auren Hoffman's article (titled "Underage Drinking" I believe).

In your first argument of the two-part refutation you wrote you admitted that it was the weaker of your two arguments. I recognize this, but you proceeded to invalidate it based on Auren's logic. Fine, and very admirable of you to admit the flaws of your own arguments, but I did not see the relevancy of it, especially in light of the fact that you all but dismissed your own argument.

My real concern is with your second argument. True, the reality of the situation is that teenagers and young adults often drink and end up killing people with automobiles--as evidence you cited that automobile fatalities have dropped in several states which raised the drinking age. Analogically, however, if you raised the driving age to 21 (or even 25), automobile fatalities would surely drop also. Perhaps it is unrealistically optimistic to try to keep people from driving, but likewise it is unrealistic to try and keep people from drinking. It is already illegal to drink and drive, but the emphasis should be on motor impairment and not the simple fact that alcohol was imbibed (angry drivers and car-phones are far more dangerous than a driver with a BAC of, for instance, .02 or less). DUI laws should be sufficient.

You also made statement that teenagers were more likely to, in a drunken stupor, launch themselves at you in a "two-ton projectile going 90 mph." I might have believed that when I was in drug education classes in grade school, but the fact of the matter is that your average DUI offender (and especially repeat offender) is over thirty years of age). That is even true where I live (or so the chief of police claims), which is a college town. Finally, I, in concurrence with Auren's assumption, did more drinking in my first year of college than I had all of high school. My habits show no immediate signs of abating.

Your analysis was thought- provoking, but I still disagree. I don't exactly think I will change your attitude even the most minute degree, but any response (even an acknowledgement) would be greatly appreciated. Although I stumbled onto your page on accident in my search for information on underage drinking, I have since bookmarked it and look forward (when time permits) to reading other of your articles.

Garth Campbell gsc1@Ra.MsState.Edu

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I do not understand why you refer to the execution of Karla Fay Tucker as "killing?" She was found guilty by her peers and the only way a person can pay for the taking of another life is by having their own taken.

In the Lucas case, the evidence was questionable so I see no comparison.

Will Lowe incognito@intellisys.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Hello!!! I have visited your paper on war crimes. I am greatly interested in your concepts, especially the conclusion. I am the founder of the World Government Awareness Campaign. It is located at http://hail.icestorm.com/government/

My site provides many forms of communication for the topic of world government. One of these tools is a comprehensive resource list of sources. I have listed Conclusion: A Law of War Requires World Government in this list at http://hail.icestorm.com/government/list.html

I also believe that your page would be a great addition to the World Government Webring. This webring brings together websites with similar content. The webring is a great way to bring exposure to your site, and it will direct your visitors to sites similar to yours. Please go to http://hail.icestorm.com/government/webring.html

You might also be interested in The Kalotics Project at http://hail.icestorm.com/government/kaloticsproject.html The aims of this project is to create an encyclopedia of ideas and comments. This project is also another great way to bring exposure to your site.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

c/o World Government Awareness Campaign

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Re Bill Clinton Should Resign:

You sound exactly like FDR's detractors --- accepting and expounding on all the allegations and innuendos promoted by thosewho hate Please double check on what the majority of the people thought of Roosevelt --- and where he stands ( or sits ) now. Re: "a man who will cheat on his wife will lie to anyone about anything" === you are correct in your statement that you and Perot are narrow-minded (very).

Love your website -- don't always disagree with you.

Chuck Burk ECPY62C@prodigy.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

No doubt you get many emails from all sorts of persons in all sorts of places who wish to flatter or to argue or to sneer. I hope this will not be one of them and may even be interesting.

I agree with your analysis of the behaviour of animals other than primates to a certain point. Basing conjectures on observed (and sometimes themselves conjectured) animal behaviours can be shaky ground, as more and more is learned about animals as they actually are in the wild. For example the behaviour of wild dogs in Africa has turned up some chilling examples of the murder of pups by the dominant bitch in the pack. If a lower grade bitch succeeds in mating then the dominant bitch will destroy the result of such mating. If this isn't murder I don't know what is.

Of course this is nothing compared to the behaviour of primates in the wild. As I recall a recent (1980s) study of chimpanzees showed murder of the offspring of lower caste animals and even the complete destruction of a colony by the main group of animals. The second most dominant male organised a small group which left the main troop and founded a colony on the southern boundary of their territory. The dominant male seemed to agree to this and even displayed friendly behaviour toward the leader of the colonizing group as they parted. This situation was tolerated for several months until the main group suddenly descended on the colonists and wiped them out completely, males, females and young.

I remember watching the preparations where the dominant male whipped the rest of the troop into a frenzy of hate and violence. It reminded me very much of other group events, ranging from church services to NAZI mass meetings.

I personally believe that man is basically a very violent creature, descended from a line of violent creatures. I agree that many other animals display much more common sense than we do in their intraspecies rivalry and that the common conception of 'nature red in tooth and claw' is a myth compounded by the 19th century creed of Darwinism, which layed foundations of NAZIsm and the holocaust. (Short digression, I was moved by the recent procession of Jews to Auschwitz to commemorate the holocaust, but I was also disappointed. Where were the representatives of the Gypsies, the disabled and the socialist and trade union movements who suffered genocide and persecutation as well?). However I can't see any indication that human (I am tempted to say primate) violence is learned.

No primitive culture has ever been discovered, at least that I have heard about, that is non-violent; aside from the Tassaday in the Philipines which is now considered to be a hoax perpetrated by one of the Marcos (sp?) family to gain some favourable international publicity for the dictatorship.

I wish you well in your endeavours and hope that I may have contributed something useful or at least thought provoking. One parting shot, morality is a very slippery slope indeed. Certainly religious morality is an extremely elastic animal which is bent into all sorts of shapes and sizes, witness the Middle East, Ireland, central Europe and on and on. As an illustration the Chief Constable of Great Britain was thrown out of the Scottish Protestant church where he served as a deacon because he attended the funeral of murdered policeman which was held in a Roman Catholic church. This means that his behaviour was actually immoral from the point of view of his religion.

Perhaps ethical might hold a smaller emotional/philosophical charge.

Take care

Charles Wilson charles.wilson@mcmail.com

Hi Jonathan,

Here is my latest "proverb." "Be kind to the elderly, they are the future of yesterday."

Always now, Fred Fariss count@norfolk.infi.net
Fariss'Knowing and Being Web Page:
Selfness Home Page:http://www.pilot.infi.net/~count
To All The Children Of The World:

Hello, Jonathan -

I'd like to compliment you on your publication. I've only briefly read a bit of the material; I hope to devote more time in the future. But I find it refreshing to find a forum wherein such things are discussed with thought and decorum that is absent in much of public debate these days.

It's also interesting to me that we seem to share the same viewpoint on a wide variety of issues. Prior to becoming a computer professional, I spent many year in politics, primarily political consulting work and advertising. Mostly local Texas politics, but I did do some nation presidential work as well. In any case, I have always been very politically aware, and a 'pragmatically idealistic', proud populist.

In any case, compliments to the chef....I applaud your pursuit of the kind of cogent, rational public debate on the larger issues that are so much a foundation of this country, and so absent from public discourse in the mainstream these days.

Best regards,
Randy Kirchhof rkk@kirchhof.com