Outsourcing torture here

If you'd opened our paper Wednesday to pages 2 and 3 of the local section, you'd have read the following headlines: "10 charged in alleged child porn network," "Man charged with rape of teen," and "Father of two pleads guilty in child porn case." All on the same day. Yeesh.

Anyone who is proven guilty of the things these men are accused of needs to be taken off the streets. Incarceration is needed in such cases for all three of the classic reasons: public safety, punishment and deterrence. (I don't know how effective the last really is, though, since these crimes don't tend to be the result of rational calculation, but such as it is I think the pedagogical effect here still matters.)

But here's the problem: If any of these dozen suspects gets convicted, do you know what will happen to them in prison?

That's a yes or no question. and the answer is yes. You do know — we all know. They will very likely be beaten and raped, repeatedly. They will, in essence, by be sentenced to torture, to cruel and unusual punishment. This violates the Eighth Amendment, and it violates basic decency. It is both illegal and inhuman. Like all torture, it is intolerable and counterproductive.

The fact that this torture will be administered at the hands of their fellow prisoners and not by officials of the state hardly matters, because the state is — we are — placing them into a situation in which we all seem to know that this is what will happen. The state's hands are clean only in the meaningless technical sense that America's hands are "clean" in cases of extraordinary rendition — when we ship terror suspects off to Syria or Saudi Arabia, outsourcing torture.

I have no experience in, and know very little about, the administration of prisons. It baffles me that they should be such violent, gang-controlled, drug-infested places. I have a hard time grasping how it is that such institutions — places where every meal and movement is monitored and controlled — are so lawless. But I'm assured by those who know more than I do that this is the case and that there seems to be little that even the most able administrators can do about it.

What we need, then, are separate prisons. We need different institutions to house different types of criminals. If the sexual predators who prey on children cannot be incarcerated in our current, one-size-fits-all prisons without being subjected to beatings and rape — to torture — then it seems we should at least try creating separate prisons for these men, places where they can be incarcerated apart from the prisoners who will, almost certainly, subject them to such crimes.

(Glibly accepting the current state of affairs — "Do you know what happens to people like that in prison?" — also undermines the law. It suggests that beatings and rape are, in some cases, acceptable or tolerable. The corrosive pedagogical effect of that trumps any useful deterrent effect of incarcerating "people like that.")

Creating such separate prisons is politically unlikely. Any such effort would be attacked as an act of soft-hearted sympathy for those who prey on children. Such attacks may be politically effective, but they are either dishonest or misinformed. This has nothing to do with sympathy for criminals, it has to do with us, with who we are.

As is often the case, Hilzoy states this more clearly than I am able to. The subject of Hilzoy's post is the "Black Sites" — the secret overseas CIA prisons in which terror suspects are subjected to various, blatantly illegal, forms of torture. Simply substitute "pedophile" or "child pornographer" for "terrorist" in Hilzoy's post and every word of this applies to my argument above:

Whenever I write a post like this, someone pops up in comments to ask why I am so concerned about the fate of terrorists. In many cases, I don't have to engage with this question: many of the people we have held and tortured are innocent. In the case of the program described in this report, however, I would assume that many, though not all, were terrorists. So it's worth saying explicitly that this is not, for me, just about feeling badly for the people we have detained and abused. Sometimes I feel very badly for them, especially in the case of those who are, as best I can tell, completely innocent; but feeling badly for them is not essential. Because there's another motivation at work, namely: concern for my country, and the desire that it be the best country it can be.

There are some things we, as individuals, should not do to other people. Often, we will also sympathize with those people, and that sympathy might prevent us from, say, torturing or raping them. Sometimes we feel no sympathy, however — the other person might be a person only a saint could sympathize with, like Jeffrey Dahmer. If our only reason for not torturing or raping people was sympathy, then when faced with such a person, we might have no reason not to do whatever we liked to him or her. But sympathy is not our only reason for not torturing and raping people. There's also self-respect: the thought that whatever someone else might choose to be like, and even if that person has chosen to be Jeffrey Dahmer, there are certain things that I will not choose to do, because I do not want to be the sort of person who does them.

If someone saw me not torturing Jeffrey Dahmer and said: Gosh, there's hilzoy, all undone by the thought that such a horrible person might suffer even a teensy bit of pain, I would think: sorry, but you do not understand why I am doing this at all. And if someone thinks that the reason I do not want my country to abduct children, to disappear people without charges and without trial, to waterboard them, or to keep them in isolation for months on end, is nothing but concern for them, they are making a similar mistake. I feel terrible about what we have done to a lot of people — the Uighurs, for instance. I do not have a lot of sympathy for Osama bin Laden. But that fact has precisely nothing to do with my thinking that there are certain things I simply do not want my country to do, even to him.

  • Steve

    One challenge that I don’t think has been mentioned here yet is that the prison system has become its own industry. In Pennsylvania, the state prisons are spread out throughout the state, many of them in small rural towns that were once factory towns or coal mining towns. These were depressed areas, but now the big prison is providing primary (guard, administrators, etc.) and secondary (food service, linen service, etc.) sources of employment and therefore revenue. So these towns are dependent on full prisons. And if *needing* people to be in prison doesn’t mix the motives of how we revise the law, I don’t know what does.

  • Bruce Baugh

    Tonio, prisons are crowded. Most are designed with some space for solitary confinement; essentially all are stuffed with far more people than they were designed to accommodate at all. We have too many criminals in prison, pure and simple, thanks to a whole lot of bogus laws. Furthermore, efforts to build prisons in which inmates have less access to each other are inevitably criticized for unnecessary harshness in design (which is often a valid criticism, IMHO) and for mollycoddling those lousy SOBs who should be stuffed in together anyway (which usually isn’t, again IMHO).

  • Jesurgislac

    Rebecca: I wish that our justice system would start focusing on the needs of the victims of crime and base its decisions on how to treat the convicted offenders on *that*.
    Yes. Patrick’s attack on you notwithstanding, it was clear to me (and I would think to any reasonable person) that a justice system which focuses on the needs of the victims of crime does not mean one in which the justice system is ruled by what crime victims want. That is the confusion of a justice system which is primarily seen as an instrument of vengeance.
    Steve: However, if someone steals my car, why are they fined by the state and/or sent to prison by the state? Shouldn’t one of the goals to be to make restitution to me?
    I can see problems with that, not least in determining what “restitution” means (should a criminal who steals a big flashy brand-new Jaguar, some family’s second car, suffer financially worse than a criminal who steals a battered old Morris Minor on its last legs that some family’s only car, just because the first cost streets more than the second)?
    I see the goal of the criminal justice system as preventing, as far as possible, recividism. I would like the court, once guilt has been established, to decide what to do with the criminal based on how best to ensure the criminal will never offend again. (For example, in Scooter Libby’s case, the penalty should include being banned for life from any position in which he would have access to classified information. If someone’s committed a crime against me, what I want (and I speak from personal experience) more than to see them suffer*: I want to know they understood how much they hurt me and I want them never to do it again.
    *I do want to see them suffer. I don’t think my “want” ought to override justice, but I admit to my share of human vindictiveness. I just don’t think vengeance is a fit base for justice.

  • Rosina

    a justice system which focuses on the needs of the victims of crime does not mean one in which the justice system is ruled by what crime victims want. That is the confusion of a justice system which is primarily seen as an instrument of vengeance.
    I still find myself cringing slightly as this initiative:
    victim’s families may make statements in court. To allow the family of a murdered man or child to make a statement “telling the court what a victim was like and what their loss has meant” seems to have no value in assessing the punishment. Is the murder of a man who has lost touch with his family less ‘significant’ than that of a family gifted with eloquence and good looks? Can’t the judge be left to make up his own mind without touchy feely over-emotionalism being thrust down his throat? Isn’t this just another way of meeting an apparent demand without actually coming close to making the consideration of past and future victims a priority?

  • ako

    A lot of crime victims have a profound desire to simply see the other person admit, “I hurt you. That was wrong.” To have formal acknowledgment that they were wronged and it was a crime. To have some sign that society rejects the culprit’s rights to do this to them and is standing up to defend them. To hear why they had this done to them. The criminal justice system could adjust their structures and penalties to better meet these needs and desires without giving the victims unlimited rights of vengeance or stepping back to the year 1100. Making programs widely available where convicted criminals who express guilt and choose to actively work towards restitution for the victim and society (which is complicated, but has potential, especially with non-monetary atonement like community service and helping with the victim’s therapy) and self-improvement of the kind likely to prevent recidivism (some examples; therapy and mental health care, drug rehabilitation, education, job programs) get reduced or no purely punitive penalties could benefit society enormously. And I don’t think such programs as are established are leading us back to the days of trial by combat.

  • Avedon

    Here is the sad thing:
    We know that good rehabilitation programs work, and that even some of the most “hopeless” criminals, the most violent and antisocial write-offs, can be steered toward both remorse for their bad acts and a will to be better people.
    But politicians and others with their own agendas have deliberately stymied such programs in the past, to the point where almost everyone came to agree that “rehabilitation is ajoke”. Many rehabilitation programs were a joke, because they were deliberately designed to do no good, or because they were lazy and pointless sops, or there was bad faith on every step. Good, proven programs have been replaced by bad ones. And so on.
    So there’s little support for rehabilitation and we are seeing fewer and fewer programs designed to effect it. We now operate on the conservative theory that being caught for bad acts means you’re a bad person and beyond redemption, so the point is to use the strongest possible penalties in order to keep someone in the system (or execute them).
    And yet, having further abused these people, we still return most of them to the streets eventually, where many tend to be even more resentful of society and better schooled at committing crimes – and with fewer other options for their survival.

  • Barney

    It sounds like US prisons need some form of the English ‘Rule 45′:
    Cucumbers (or ‘Numbers’ or ‘Protection’): ‘Nonces’ or ‘Bacons’ (sex offenders) and other ‘Protection-heads’ (debtors, grasses, cell thieves etc.) are usually segregated for their own safety under Prison Rule 45 (formerly 43). They should not be confused with prisoners held in the block (the segregation unit) under Prison Rule 45 GOAD (Good Order and Discipline).
    http://www.eco-action.org/dod/no10/prison.htm
    It’s not a perfect solution, by any means – the segregation may not be total, and once a prisoner has been segregated like this, any other prisoners assume they must be guilty of something horrendous, and so will regard them as a justified target for absolutely anything; and the separate blocks themselves may develop hierarchies. But it is a basic attempt to stop the most common abuse by other prisoners in a jail.

  • the opoponax

    “A lot of people look at the pictures for a variety of other reasons, sometimes sheer curiosity, sometimes as a substitute for acting on impulses, sometimes for research”
    is this true?
    because certain things i have, let’s say, insider knowledge about would indicate that it’s not the case. especially in the case of research. i can’t speak for kiddie porn or criminal law, but i know that my workplace sexual harrassment policy makes an exception for looking at porn or other sexual stuff at work in the case of research, because due to the nature of what our company does, we do in fact sometimes have to look at usually-nsfw stuff for such purposes. it would surprise me if a court of law would actually convict someone on child porn charges who could really prove they were looking at the images or accessing the sites for research purposes. and that’s something that’s usually pretty easy to prove. a criminal court would be more likely to at least offer such a person a “deal” and downgrade the charges to something unlikely to land them in prison, if not drop the matter entirely.
    of course, “curiosity” is much harder to prove in a court of law. though of course someone who looked at kiddie porn out of curiosity would be unlikely to have a bookmarks folder or hard drive full of it. and if you only looked at something that one time, you’re unlikely to be caught at it. and if for some reason you are, i’d think that a half-decent defense attorney could argue pretty successfully using the evidence of, y’know, complete lack of evidence, that you probably weren’t a hardened pedophile.
    and of course, i wonder if “a lot of people” really look at child porn for non-prurient reasons. child porn horrifies and sickens most people in a way that leads me to believe most people don’t want to look at it at all. in terms of research, there really can’t be all that many people doing legitimate “research” on child porn. a few filmmakers maybe, a grad student or think tank wonk here and there. i would venture to say that the vast majority of people who provide hits to child porn websites are doing so out of sexual desire, not just for curiosity’s sake.

  • dave heasman

    “Honestly, I’m not sure how prison problems can be fixed. ”
    Well, why not start with looking at how other countries do it? There’s very very little prison rape in England, even though our prisons are horribly overcrowded and the prisoners are largely vile people.
    In fact I’ve not heard of any systematic prison rape ouside the US. Not even in Turkey or Russia. Maybe I’m missing something.
    And surely it’s so common in the US that someone could start a court case against a prison governor for “facilitation” or something? (Assuming it’s illegal)

  • R. Mildred

    There’s very very little prison rape in England
    Cite? Are you speaking from personal experience, are you basing that statement on anything basically? Or is just not talked about quite as much within your personal circle, because people in the UK do make the customary jokes about anal rape in prison, just as much as
    However, if someone steals my car, why are they fined by the state and/or sent to prison by the state? Shouldn’t one of the goals to be to make restitution to me?
    “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” should be what’s gearing that, but waht in effect is producing that odd feature of the justice system is an odd little hyper-nationalist idea that once someone trangresses a social law – like theft of property – then that person is rejecting hte community itself – hence forced ostracisation (prison), reparations to the state, and often aq loss of citizen’s priveleages – in america that means you lose the abiliyt to vote and other such things.
    It’s all quite fucked up really.

  • Drak Pope

    And surely it’s so common in the US that someone could start a court case against a prison governor for “facilitation” or something? (Assuming it’s illegal)
    It’s illegal. Congress passed the PREA (Prison Rape Eliminating Act) in 2003 because of it. http://detnews.com/specialreports/2005/prisonabuse/PREA.pdf < — You can read about in this PDF file

  • Mary Ann

    I think you’d enjoy reading Jessica Mitford’s Kind and Usual Punishment– it’s old but sadly still valid– except for the mushroomlike expansion of the prison business.

  • J. Dunn

    Reading this HRW report on prison rape(which wow, I wish everyone associated with our government, legal, and prison systems was forced to read this, repeatedly, until the moral nausea becomes intolerable enough for something to change) in light of Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and everything else sort of made a light go off in my head. Kind of like: “Oooohhhh, wait a minute, maybe all of this torture mania and barbarity isn’t just coming totally out of left field or solely due to 9/11 panic.” Maybe this brutality has been lurking there, just waiting for an opportunity to really come out in the open.
    I mean, I knew we had plenty of history of institutionalized and vigilante violence against any and every sort of “other” but I guess I always boxed it off as not systemic, not central to our idea of who we are… as the product of temporary historical hiccups, or extremists and bigots and haters and localized corruption, whose long and all-too-slow defeat is my preferred narrative frame of American history. But, once you learn the even a little of the almost unbearably hideous truth about them, it’s hard to fit our prisons and what routinely happens in them into that sort of narrative in any sort of intellectually or morally honest way, because this is done universally in our name and we all are in one way or another responsible for sustaining or allowing it, and worse yet, almost nobody anywhere on the political spectrum is willing to face any of it or even talk about it.
    There’s a reason for that avoidance, and it’s because this issue touches on the deepest and darkest recesses of the national id, and we don’t really have the stomach for what we might find there. It makes more sense to view both the torture and our prison industry as manifestations of a deeper, broad-based sociocultural sickness and indifference. I’m not sure if it can really be named or cornered, but it likely has roots in some specific unaddressed and festering American problems in terms of exceptionalism, race, violence, social punishment of sexual transgression, resentment, etc, as well as the more universal human failings have and do allow similar things to happen in many different places, times, and societies.

  • Jesurgislac

    R. Mildred: Are you speaking from personal experience, are you basing that statement on anything basically? Or is just not talked about quite as much within your personal circle, because people in the UK do make the customary jokes about anal rape in prison
    Do they?
    I’m not speaking from personal experience, either as prison employee or inmate, but I was also under the impression that male-on-male rape was not a major problem in UK prisons, in the way that it is in US prisons. Do you have evidence otherwise?

  • Jeff

    I was also under the impression that male-on-male rape was not a major problem in UK prisons
    Since “rape” in the UK requires penile insertion by definition, “rape” in the UK will necessarily be be less common than in the US.

  • Pat Greene

    R. Mildred, whether you lose the ability to vote, and for how long, depends entirely upon your state of residence.
    In Maine and Vermont, incarcerated felons can vote. In fifteen states allow parolees to vote, and an additional four allow probationers to vote. Only two states — Kentucky and Virginia — refuse to allow any ex-felons to ever vote. (The table says three, but in the intervening period of time Governor Crist of Florida has signed regulations ordering the reinfranchisement of all nonviolent ex-felons without a hearing, and providing for selective reinfranchisement for violent offenders with a hearing.) Nine states have restrictions n voting rights for some ex-felons — usually violent offenders, or offenders convicted of certain crimes.
    There has been an increasing outcry to allow ex-felons to vote, especially following abuses like the Florida voter roll purge of 2000, in which the state purged the rolls of many “felons,” a good number of whom had never been in trouble with the law.

  • Pat Greene

    Great post, Fred. I agree completely with what you said.
    I can’t help but remember that one of the servicemen convicted in the Abu Ghraib scandal had been a prison guard in Virginia.

  • Rosina

    R. Mildred: Are you speaking from personal experience, are you basing that statement on anything basically? Or is just not talked about quite as much within your personal circle, because people in the UK do make the customary jokes about anal rape in prison
    Jesurgislac Do they?
    I’m not speaking from personal experience, either as prison employee or inmate, but I was also under the impression that male-on-male rape was not a major problem in UK prisons, in the way that it is in US prisons. Do you have evidence otherwise?
    No figures, but I worked in the Prison Department HQ, and did visit many prisons. For several years I was in the Parole Unit, dealing with prisoners’ applications for release, medical reports etc, specialising in offences of sex and violence. Prison rape was not something we had to deal with at all, either from the point of view of the victim or anyone convicted of the offence (by court or Governor’s report), although sexual relationships (which may have involved coercion/protection) were not unknown.
    Jokes about anal rape and inclusion of it in ‘gritty’ prison dramas are rather more common than in reality, my experience would suggest. But that’s normal – books and films dwell on the exciting bits of life, not the boredom of years in prison. However, this is not to say that it doesn’t happen – just that it seems to be much more routine in US prisons.
    Part of the explanation may lie in the different way we staff prisons here. (Disclaimer: US information is based solely on films like the Shawshank Redemption, not real life.) Prisoners (other than trusties) are rarely allowed for long periods into any unsupervised areas. Manning schedules provided staff in wings, workshops, education blocks, exercise areas, and if staff were not available for classrooms etc, prisoners were kept on the wings. If the wings couldn’t be manned adequately, then the prison might go to lock-down, with inmates confined in their cells for 23 hours a day (allowed out only for one hour’s supervised exercise). Prisons and exercise yards are not as large, allowing closer supervision and a better idea of ‘troublemakers’ of any kind. Cells might hold two or three people, and we all know that assaults and presumably rapes can occur in the cells, but disguising the assault becomes more difficult if the victim is able to complain when the cell is unlocked in the morning. Even where the prison is organized on the spur system, prisoners are only allowed out of their cells one at a time.
    Thinking about it, I realize that my Parole experience is nearly 20 years out of date (doesn’t time fly!), but I was in the Prison Department until 2001, dealing with security and building, and don’t remember rape being an issue, even then.
    Since “rape” in the UK requires penile insertion by definition, “rape” in the UK will necessarily be be less common than in the US. There may be a slight difference in definition of rape, but my experience would relate to any type of sexual assault, which at least in the past was far less common than what I think is the case in the US (as evidenced by this discussion).

  • Jesurgislac

    Rosina: There may be a slight difference in definition of rape, but my experience would relate to any type of sexual assault, which at least in the past was far less common than what I think is the case in the US (as evidenced by this discussion).
    Until 2003, if a man raped another man this was defined under the code of law as “sexual assault”: the Sexual Offenses Act removed this discrimination, and all rape is now defined as “rape”.
    I worked as a records clerk in a regional virus lab for a while after I graduated, and used to get some positive HIV tests from the local prison (we got a lot of HIV tests through, but in general most of them were negative: most if not all of the newly positive were inmates). I was told then that most HIV transmission in UK prisons was via shared needles: because IV drugs were illegal-but-obtainable, confidential needle exchanges weren’t permitted. But my information on this is well over ten years out of date.
    I have read several prisoners’ accounts of life in prison, and while it’s clear inmate violence is a problem, they do not suggest that rape is a common problem. Which is anecdotal, rather than data.

  • Jeff

    Until 2003, if a man raped another man this was defined under the code of law as “sexual assault”: the Sexual Offenses Act removed this discrimination, and all rape is now defined as “rape”. (Emphasis mine)
    So now you’re saying that women can be perpetrators of rape? Because you can’t have it both ways.

  • Rosina

    Women can and have been be convicted of rape, but only as accomplices during the fact. “Rape” in UK law involves non-consensual penile penetration of vagina, anus or mouth. We were discussing elsewhere whether it was rape if the penis was no longer attached to the man, but that was just foolishness. So rape must involve a man, his penis and another human being. Anything else is sexual assault. Essentially of course rape under UK law is the offence defined as rape in UK law, and it is tautological to say that all rape is now defined as “rape”. It is also probably inaccurate, since there are no doubt some activities which Jesurgislac would define as rape (or which any of us might think ought to be called ‘rape’) which are not classed as rape in the SOA.

  • dave heasman

    R. Mildred: Are you speaking from personal experience, are you basing that statement on anything basically?
    Yes to both. A little out-of-date, but still valid.
    The really big problem, and one which Christianity addresses but “Christians” largely don’t, is the assumption that “criminals” are different to “us” and there’s no overlap.
    Anyone who’s trained or bred dogs has met some that are incorrigible. Some people in jail are indeed like that, but most are sad/sick/useless, and simply weak.
    And English prison administration is not miltarised, although a lot of the wardens (and a lot of the prisoners) are ex-military. Oh, and no guns.
    Prisons are so crowded that they run by the consent of the prisoners, who riot, and aren’t shot, if things get intolerable.
    Scams involving the smuggling of tobacco and heroin, and skimming off the top of prison supplies, are given a blind eye for the sake of harmony.
    I’ve seen young prisoners pressured into sex with older convicts, but the older convicts are invariably homosexuals rather than nominal heterosexuals on a power trip. No overt violence.
    Of course it’s anecdotal.

  • Jesurgislac

    Jeff: So now you’re saying that women can be perpetrators of rape? Because you can’t have it both ways.
    Are you being deliberately obtuse, or just passive-aggressive?
    There is a specific definition of rape in UK legislation pertaining to “sexual offenses”, if we’re discussing how rape is defined in the code of law.
    Rosina’s correct: It is also probably inaccurate, since there are no doubt some activities which Jesurgislac would define as rape (or which any of us might think ought to be called ‘rape’) which are not classed as rape in the SOA.
    Make up your mind, Jeff: if you want to know how rape is defined in the code of law, I can cite you legislation. If you want to know how I define rape, you need to actually read what I write with care and attention.

  • PepperjackCandy

    We were discussing elsewhere whether it was rape if the penis was no longer attached to the man, but that was just foolishness.
    I think you’re underestimating the creativity of the human.
    I wouldn’t put anything past us.

  • none

    “I think you’re underestimating the creativity of the human.”
    Have you ever seen the Salvador Dali painting “Young Virgin Autosodomized by Her Own Chastity”?

  • Jeff

    Jesu: If you want to know how I define rape
    I know how you define rape. You define it as “A man does it.” Period.
    “Passive-aggessive” all you want. Your feminist credentials were shot a long time back with me.

  • dave heasman

    “Jesu: If you want to know how I define rape
    I know how you define rape. You define it as “A man does it.” Period.”
    Cuts two ways. If a penis does it, then you have to have a different crime for when a broken bottle does it. Doesn’t make it a less serious crime. English law, that’s what it is.

  • spinetingler

    >I am not the state.
    Then please leave the state, and stop using up our resources.

  • Jimmy26
  • Jesurgislac

    Jeff: I know how you define rape. You define it as “A man does it.”
    No, you evidently don’t know how I define rape (though I explained my definition several times). Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that you’re not able to pick up what I actually said, but prefer to go by what people attacking me said I said.
    Your feminist credentials were shot a long time back with me.
    It’s a good thing that you don’t get to define who is and isn’t a feminist, isn’t it? Though I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that you think you do.

  • Bugmaster

    It’s a good thing that you don’t get to define who is and isn’t a feminist, isn’t it?Ok, who died and made you the feminist Popette ? Just checking.

  • Jeff

    The latest singing sensation: Benedict 16 and the Popettes!

  • Jesurgislac

    Ok, who died and made you the feminist Popette ? Just checking.
    In accordance with good feminist practice, we all take turns. If Jeff wants to be on the rota, he needs to attend the next meeting of the Feminist Cabal. (Men can get in by reciting from the S.C.U.M. Manifesto.) Because I was Feminist Popette yesterday, today it’s my turn to buy the milk and cookies, so if you’ll excuse me, I need to go.

  • Jeff

    In accordance with good feminist practice, we all take turns. If Jeff wants to be on the rota, he needs to attend the next meeting of the Feminist Cabal. (Men can get in by reciting from the S.C.U.M. Manifesto.) Because I was Feminist Popette yesterday, today it’s my turn to buy the milk and cookies, so if you’ll excuse me, I need to go.
    Now that? Was funny! (Oops, I think I’m being “passive-aggressive” again!)

  • Jeff

    If Jeff wants to be on the rota, he needs to attend the next meeting of the Feminist Cabal. (Men can get in by reciting from the S.C.U.M. Manifesto.)
    I fogot to say: Hisssssssssss? Hissssssssssssss!!!!

  • Drak Pope

    SCUM… isn’t that by the same hiss-ing lady who tried to knock over Andy hiss-ing Warhol? Because that’s hiss-ing weird, yo.

  • Jeff

    Attempt to close the tag…

  • DaveM

    did you know:
    -prisons are not required to inform relatives when they
    move a prisoners from one facility to another;
    -there are more hard drugs in prison and on the street;
    -prisons are run by the guards, as such are a reflection
    of the guards views of incarceration;

  • Rebecca Borgstrom

    Mr. Nielsen-Hayden,
    I haven’t read this blog in a few days, and it looks like a few people spoke up to clarify my point (inasmuch as anyone who is not me can.) Would you still like me to address your comment?
    If so, could you give me a better sense of why you think the Danegeld and blood feud are at the end of the path I’m pointing towards? And I guess more generally why a shift in motivation towards succor and away from scourging would be incompatible with the procedural liberalism of law?
    Rebecca

  • Rebecca Borgstrom

    (Oops! I don’t know where I got blood feud. s/blood feud/trial by combat)

  • asumath1

    Give me a break. Clearly you were not a child of molestation or rape. You ask those children how they feel about the person who violated them. See how you feel when it’s your child, mother, sister, brother, father, etc. I might not do it to somebody, but surely don’t feel sorry when they get punished.


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