Saturday, June 22, 2013

Who Deserves to be Hanged

Who deserves to be hanged by our judicial system? This is an emotive question. And honestly, it's one that I have had trouble answering sometimes. At various times, I have thought that terrorists, people who kill others in hate crimes, and people who kill their parents should be eligible for hanging. After all, limiting hangings to these crimes would make it sufficiently rare, and a fitting punishment for extraordinarily evil acts.

However, there's a catch. Hanging is irreversible, and the judicial system is not perfect. I have done my research, and have found several cases of people found guilty of the above crimes but had their convictions overturned on appeal. If those people were hanged, that would have been a grave injustice.

Hence my conclusion: I can never support the state sponsored execution of criminals, whatever the crime. I firmly believe that there is a special place in hell for terrorists, people who kill others in hate crimes, and people who kill their parents, but it's not the place of our justice system to condemn others to death if it is imperfect.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Marriage Boycott: Not for Me, but Still Noble

Marriage boycott is the idea that you will not get married - or have a wedding ceremony but not legally sign papers for the government (as David Pocock did for example) - until everyone can. In previous years, in the face of widespread apathy over the issue, I supported the cause for a few years, and then deemed that it was unnecessary to support it anymore because the required public awareness has been raised. Many people are still continuing their boycott however. So having backed away from it for quite some time now, what do I think of it?

Marriage has a cultural and heritage significance for many people, me included. Maybe it's because I am partially conservative at least. That's why I wouldn't be part of a marriage boycott unless I believed it was the only way we could raise awareness for equality - that was what I believed 5 years ago, for example. Now that we have more effective strategies, I will use those strategies to contribute towards the goal of equality instead. However, some couples still want to use the marriage boycott as part of what they contribute to the equality movement. Good on them, I say. Everyone should be contributing what they feel comfortable about, even if we may end up making different contributions.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Literally Stupid?

Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine recently said "I hate this country" during a live episode of The Voice, after two of his contestants were eliminated. Nothing special here, I guess. The reaction was surprising though. There have since been calls for NBC to fire him.

Obviously we know that Adam doesn't really hate America. But apparently, some people must take everything literally. How crazy!

No wonder some people in America are now saying that everything should be taken literally. Or wait - did that come first? The dumbing down of culture has really hit hard!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Lohans Reconcile for the Sake of Their Children

Well known couple Michael and Dina Lohan, divorced a few years ago, have reportedly decided to reconcile for the sake of their children. They recently met for dinner in Hollywood.

Isn't it great news?

I am a staunch fan of the traditional commitment for life model, and I am no fan of any divorce, as readers of my column would well know. But what happens when things don't work out? Some traditionalists would refuse to even discuss the matter - but that doesn't help. I rather prefer the philosophy of harm reduction.

Harm reduction is a philosophy we use in our healthcare system, and I think it's a philosophy we can apply in family life too, in a way. It's basically saying that, even when there is undesirable behaviour or outcomes, we can and should still do our best to reduce the harm to all parties. In the case of relationships that break down, I think the best harm reduction strategy is an agreement to try to reconcile for the many years ahead, for example agreeing to meet each other regularly in the years ahead, and to continue to have family outings. I think we should support and encourage ex-couples to do that more.