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    • CommentAuthorjmmurrow
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2011
     (9717.1)
    Last year Terry Jones, a pastor of a very small church in the U.S. made headlines by threating to burn the Koran. It sparked protests world wide even though he eventually decided against it. This year he actually did burn the Koran, and now over 15 people are dead (mostly UN aid workers from what I hear). So here's my question: although Terry Jones is a massive tool who committed a horrible act and should be condemned for it from every media outlet in the world, is he the one who is actually responsible for the deaths?
    Or are the people who actually commited the murders to blame? Even though he (Terry Jones) commited a horrible act by burning the Koran, is it the adult thing to do to use it as an excuss to go around murdering people who had nothing to do with it (I'm thinking of how people keep saying we need to treat the Muslim population w/ kid gloves).
    Basically, can a population of adults use an act that, while very very disrespectfull and completly out of line, to justify murder without acting like a bunch of little kids going off on a temper tantrum.


    P.S. My wording of my question might not be the best, but please, I posted this on this forum because I respect the debates that have occured here. Please no flames or over the top retoric. Thank you...
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2011 edited
     (9717.2)
    > Or are the people who actually commited the murders to blame?

    That is in fact Terry Jones' own argument: he points out that, "I'm not the one doing the killing."

    Personally I think that people should take responsibilty for their own actions ... and for foreseeable consequences of their own actions.

    Saying, "It wasn't my shooting him that killed him: it was the bullet." seems to me argumentative, legalistic.

    America has unusually permissive free speech laws: he's legally allowed to do that. But it's not like he wasn't told, by EVERYone, that it would cause trouble abroad. But what does he care: he's armed, protected by the police, maybe he even imagines he's been acting responsibly.
  1.  (9717.3)
    Pastor Terry Jones is a twat, and what he did was irresponsible and needlessly provocative. However, it was only irresponsible and needlessly provocative because there are nutters in the world who think a purely symbolic insult to their religion justifies homicidal violence. It's only the existence of those nutters that makes what Jones did a "horrible act".
  2.  (9717.4)
    Disclaimer: Contains comparison with Nazi Germany.
    Disclaimer 2: These are not necessarily my opinions, I am, to some extend, playing devil's advocate. I do not have an opinion on this matter.

    The comparison here is an easy one; when you look at the Holocaust who is to blame? Hitler, who gave the orders for Jews to be killed, or the people who actually did the killings? The players in this are obvious, Hitler is Terry Jones and the soldiers are the people who have committed the murders. So, who is to blame here?

    Additional:
    Thinking about this you can easily come up with the answer that both are to blame.
    Hitler/Terry Jones: knows full well what he is doing and so is committing genocide/murder, via proxy.
    Soldiers/Murderers: also know full well what they are doing and so are equally to blame for the deaths.

    May not be as eloquent as I would have hoped, but that's just my bad english.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2011
     (9717.5)
    It's only the existence of those nutters that makes what Jones did a "horrible act".

    That and the fact that the aforementioned nutters are already somewhat miffed by the occupation of their country by foreign powers and the accompanying frequent and heavy falls of high explosive ordinance which have caused some considerable dismay amongst both combatants and civilians.

    I believe it wasn't actually the Reverend Jones that set light to the Koran but one of his fellow religious nutters, i suspect the Mullahs who broke the news to their congregations didn't actually kill anyone with their own hands, the work was done by the crowds they incited.

    I do wonder though, if the Reverend Jones believed Muslims to be the rabid bunch of murderous savages that he appears to, what exactly did he think the consequence of his actions would be?
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2011 edited
     (9717.6)
    > nutters in the world who think a purely symbolic insult to their religion justifies homicidal violence

    It might be pointless to speculate about what "nutters" actually think. But anyway, I was wondering...

    Maybe they (whoever 'they' are) are political or mercenary, rather than religious (as if that makes a difference), and think that the insult provides an adequate *excuse* (or flag, or even false flag), for violence which they already wanted in any case.

    And also, I was thinking, only today, on my bike ride, how I'm inclined to follow the law of the land (of my country): in cases where I don't feel too strong a moral argument one way or the other (e.g. when making a decision about a zero-sum rather than a win-win situation). So: I'm inclined to feel sympathetic, towards law-abiding people.

    And then there's the OP saying that the murderers are behaving "like a bunch of little kids". Well, *I* behaved like a little kid too: when I was a little kid; and two of the things, that cause me to behave differently now, are, a) the education people gave me (and that, starting in pre-school and before), from my mother as much as my father; and b) the norms of the adult society in which I find myself (as told to me in person and, because I'm literate, via writing/propaganda).

    And you ought to understand that other people are brought up differently (I say this because you need to remember that some other people's understanding of that might be vague, couldn't identify their own location on globe, nor even their own century on the geological timeline). For at least a few people in Afghanistan, for example, I imagine that their education and their current society includes: maybe no school, at all, no women, no literature at all except the Koran, no laws of the land (no central government), law into your own hand, political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, do what you're told, conformity (not liberal live-and-let-live) as a virtue, etc.

    I could sound all patronizing, as if I meant to say, "Well, those people: illiterate savages, don't have our advantages, can't help themselves." It's not that that I want, but I do think if you're going to judge someone, if you want to try to understand someone, it helps to understand their environment, their society, their upbringing.

    And you don't have to be a "nutter" to, for example, to Worship Caesar; or to Pledge Allegiance to the Flag; or to Love Thy Neighbour; or even to Pursue the Almighty Dollar. It's just, it's whatever is the Done Thing in your society, whatever Works, is pretty well the very definition of sane.

    And something to notice, about Islam, about the Koran, is that one of the (few) times when it says that violence is justified is when unbelievers attack the faithful. I'm guessing that it doesn't take much of a demagogue (combined with a suitable audience) to portray Koran-burning as an attack on Islam itself and therefore, in law, a unique justification/reason/excuse for a counter-attack. It's a hot-button issue. And it's blasphemous, and that in countries where blasphemy actually means something. The law of the States is that you're allowed to say things and do things (to burn the Flag, for example) and then say "Jeez! I'm allowed to express myself! That's no excuse for *your* getting violent!" But that's American law, American upbringing. The fact that it is American law makes it, maybe, safer for people to live in America. I'm glad that I won't get the government or the courts coming after me, charging me for heresy or blasphemy. But an American's taking advantage of those laws in ways that cause offense (and death) in other countries does not I think show that they're better or cleverer, or more mature, or more Christian than the people who you seem to be trying to pin the blame on.

    Possibly I ought to assert too that, talking about Jones and/or about the killers in Afghanistan, they're a thankfully-small minority of their respective societies. In a large population, you can count on there being some extremists (sometimes aka "criminals").
    • CommentAuthordkostis
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2011
     (9717.7)
    @PintSizedCat

    The comparison here is an easy one; when you look at the Holocaust who is to blame? Hitler, who gave the orders for Jews to be killed, or the people who actually did the killings? The players in this are obvious, Hitler is Terry Jones and the soldiers are the people who have committed the murders.


    Your comparison is fundamentally flawed. One held authority over those who acted, one did not.

    Maybe you should try an analogy with less cultural and emotional weight.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2011 edited
     (9717.8)
    > I'm thinking of how people keep saying we need to treat the Muslim population w/ kid gloves

    So: "the Muslim population", eh?

    Here are some lines from Le Guin (in 1986):

    ... Even in novels by women we are only just beginning to find out what it is that happens in the other room - what women do.

    Freud famously said, "What we shall never know is what a woman wants." Having paused thoughtfully over the syntax of that sentence, in which WE are the plural but "a woman" apparently has no plural, no individuality - as we might read that a cow must be milked twice a day or a gerbil is a nice pet - WE might go on then to consider whether WE know anything about, whether WE have ever noticed, whether WE have ever asked a woman what she does - what women do.

    Many anthropologists, some historians, and others have indeed been asking one another this question for some years now, with pale and affrighted faces - and they are beginning also to answer it. ...

    There's more than one Muslim; more than one Muslim population even: politically, educationally, economically, nationally, geographically, locally, socially - many populations.

    The only sense in which the Muslim population is 'one' is, religiously (and that they're all human); and even religiously I believe there are differences among them, as there are in "the Christian population."

    And, why look into the actions of murderers for guidance or (worse) justification as to how "we need to treat the population"?

    And kid gloves: why not. We're all just kids, aren't we.
  3.  (9717.9)
    @jm - people tend not to flame on Whitechapel. Flaming falls under the category of Being An Arsehole, which invites swift retribution from above.
    •  
      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2011
     (9717.10)
    Responsibility and fault are not the same thing.

    Yes Jones is responsible for inciting people, knowing what could come of his actions. No, he is not at fault for murder.

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