[Buddha-l] Ethical Dilemmas

JKirkpatrick jkirk at spro.net
Sun Jun 13 10:46:38 MDT 2010

"The US legal system's motto is: Innocent until proven guilty."
Great motto, we have the same one here. Sarkozy has also adopted
the American system of the possibility to plead guilty, offering
more clemency in exchange for less hassle. Does a guilty plea
*prove* anything? Considering a guilty plea the equivalent of
proof, opens the possibility that someone may plead guilty not
totally out of their own free will. And that immediately evokes
in my poor oversensitive imagination images of the Spanish
inquisition. The Spanish inquisition? you may reply, yes the
Spanish Inquisition 


We finally have some lawyers (various Innocence Projects around
the country) who've been investigating cases of imprisonment with
faked or faulty evidence--their main method (not available until
sort of recently --sorry I don't have dates) is DNA evidence.
Several African-American guys falsely imprisoned for years have
finally got their release from prisons because of this project.
Our prison system is unethical from the vantage point of anyone
who is not a knee-jerk "lock em up & throw away the key" type.
Far too many mostly male folks are serving long sentences simply
because they were caught more than 2 times with drugs. Result:
prison overcrowding around the country, that has led to
privatising the building and management of prisons, where much
worse often happens because Uncle Sam isn't around (it also
happens when he IS around, but perhaps less?).  For a review of
this situation, see the pdf titled "Judging Innocence" on this
page from the Columbia Law Review: http://tinyurl.com/2ak7n7v

Another phenom. that seems to be on the rise is cops shooting on
flimsy basis people they are trying to detain.
The usual excuse is, he raised his hand and I thought I saw a
(gun--sword--knife--stick--rock) in it. No point in going on with
the long list of civil rights offenses that police get away
with--suffice it to remind us of the Rodney King case in LA. The
psychotic murderers and child kidnappers in our midst, however,
seem to be increasing-- it's not all a matter of condemning the
penal system.

Many big cities around the country now have Buddhist meditation
programs that are allowed into the prisons. Unknown to me if they
more than superficially help the prisoners (as they claim). 


More information about the buddha-l mailing list