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Strange Hypothetical Question...

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Amenhotep7, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. Amenhotep7

    Amenhotep7 Spartiate

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    Ever seen the movie 'Minority Report'? Saw it years ago, watched it again a few days ago, and it got me thinking...

    For those who haven't seen it, it is set in the not-too-distant future. Homicide rates in the US were skyrocketing. The US govt didn't know what to do, until three (I guess you could call them psychics) came along. They are hooked up to this machine all day and they forsee when somebody is going to be killed by someone. (The rest of the plot involves a man, one of the 'Future Police', finds out via that machine that he will kill somebody, refuses to believe it, yadda yadda yadda. It doesn't matter for the purposes of this thread). So basically, the police had to arrest somebody before they commited the crime, with no previous evidence that the person was actually conspiring to kill someone.

    So anyways, it got me thinking. The government can not pass laws that apply to an action before the law was passed. But in the movie, the police were arresting people who technically commited no crime. (and in the movie, the machine turns out to not always be right)

    Is it moral to arrest somebody who has done no crime? I suppose so, because that can always be considered conspiracy. But then again, if the act is never carried out, how do we know FOR A FACT that the machine/psychic/whatever that predicted the crime will actually happen? Are you willing to take that chance?

    Maybe this question is dumb, but hey, I figured that I'd give it a shot. :crazyeye:
     
  2. Yuri2356

    Yuri2356 Test Screening

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    Well, I watched about as much of the movie as I could tolerate and I've got to say, it's a rather bizzare Idea. In the case of the 'murder' at the begining, where they arrest the guy as he's about to stab his victims, it seems like it would be valid grounds for an attempted murder charge. However, instead of treating it as such, they act af if he'd already killed and sentace him to life in "Tank-of-quasi-futuristic-translucent-blue-mystery-fluid-stasis-capsule-thingamajig Penetentiary." I've always found the Idea of stasis-prisons to be moronic. They must realise that spending a few years in a coma isn't going to rehabilitate anyone, so the sentace would have to be for life. That would be ok if they were forced to perform manual labour that would somehow benefit society, but instead they just float there wasting your tax dollars.

    Well, getting back to the point:
    If some kind of future-predicting device were to be used in crime fighting, the crimes which are prevented should only be treated as 'attempted' or 'conspiracy' charges, rather than the actual crime.
     
  3. IglooDude

    IglooDude Enforcing Rule 34 Retired Moderator Supporter

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    It is not moral to arrest someone who has done no crime. If they have planned/conspired to commit the crime then they still have not committed a crime until the criminal act takes place.

    Perhaps an example will help:
    You plan on hiring an assassin to kill your neighbor. That planning is not criminal. You give the hit-man $1000. That is a criminal act, because as far as you're concerned the trigger was just pulled. Whether the hit-man actually carries it out is immaterial.
     
  4. Syterion

    Syterion Voodoo Economist

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    Why don't we just lock everyone up? Then there will be no murders.
     
  5. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    Well, in the movie, there were such things as Minority Reports. But if we exclude all those factors and just consider:

    i) Person A will murder person B at time X, unless
    ii) Person A was prevented from murdering person B by intercepting person A before time X.
    (i) will happen with 100% certainty if (ii) doesn't happen.

    I think that person A should be charged with murder in either of the two cases. I find the intent to be far more important than the actual act. If someone tries to kill someone but fails, that doesn't make him less of a killer, it just makes him a crap killer. He's just as nasty as a regular murderer, and needs just as much rehab (perhaps more, cos he doesn't have to live with the consequences) as a successful murderer. He should be punished exactly the same as a murderer, because his intention was to murder someone. The act itself is less important. It's like if I kill someone premeditated and if I kill someone by accident.

    (that doesn't mean however that if I say, "oooh I could just kill him" that I should be locked up.)
     
  6. JohnRM

    JohnRM Don't make me destroy you

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    The purpose of the movie was to answer that question.
     
  7. ybbor

    ybbor Will not change his avata

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    it depends, i'd rather accidentatly lock up a guy than just have a squad of cops waiting outside the future murder scene, not being able to do anything, but the second the trigger's pulled they handcuff him. if the machine or whatever works, i'd just lock him up and obtain a search warrent, try to find evidence, convict him with crimal intent, or let him free with parole if nothing's found
     
  8. BasketCase

    BasketCase Username sez it all

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    Since we often can't prove who committed a crime AFTER it's been committed, I don't see any reason to treat future-crime differently. Future-prediction machine doesn't work correctly all the time? Neither does the FBI. Future-prediction machine makes a mistake now and then? So do criminal investigators.

    :coffee:
     
  9. civ2

    civ2 Emperor

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    Didn't see the movie but got the idea.
    I think it is absolutelly impossible to predict ANYTHING for 100%.
    Especially BAD things.
    And about ANY prison - it is some 1.000.000.000... times worse than either killing the KILLER (after long and convincing trial with lots of valid evidense) OR just giving the NON-KILLER some hard job to do for free.
    Because the LIFE is the most precious thing and because prison without any job makes the criminal worse AND waists lots of OTHERS' people money.
    Also the third solution for PSYCHOS - good TREATMENT.
    And since (as it seems to me) there are only three groups of criminals:
    killers/thieves/psychos - this would work much better than now.
    BTW I watched the Law and Order series and made a desicion about the USA's anti-crime sistem: it sucks!
    I think it is obvious that when somebody says he did it and he is conscious - he is THE criminal they were loocking for.
    And all those craps about getting the order or speaking without the lawyer etc - total crap.
    One thing is when the suspect denies it but when he doesn't - case MUST be closed.
    And if he was covering somebody - it is his problem.
    The main problem nowadays is that the prison is absolutelly insuitable solution for crime.
    People spend unnessesary money and the baddies get even more rotten...
     
  10. BasketCase

    BasketCase Username sez it all

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    The objection some people have to this line of legal processing is that the confession may have been extracted under........

    .....what's a polite way to say it when a policeman twice your size is yelling in your face and brandishing his baton in a threatening manner.....

    ....."extracted under duress", you might put it that way..... :eek:
     
  11. civ2

    civ2 Emperor

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    Yeah BUT:
    What about CAMERAS???
    And BTW the juri should not SIT in the court but better watch the "almost online" from it.
    With ex some 5 min for the "object-reject-don't LISTEN" effect to be done.
    How can you make somebody NOT listen and NOT think about something they just heard???
    It's NONSENSE!
    Those rejected phrases should never reach juri's ears!!!
     
  12. Xen

    Xen Magister

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    I've never seen the movie, but based off your comment, it seems they are trying to display a form of sensory deprivation, which is actually quite a harmful little torture method. most people woudl go insane very soon after being put into suchg a tank- death penealty woudl be mercyful.
     
  13. Pirate

    Pirate Emperor

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    You can make a case for preventative action to prevent the murder, but there are no grounds for pre-emptive punishment. Why is imprisoning the supposed perpetrator the only answer? Could they not send a team of psychiatrists out to attempt to dissuade him from the future murder? Or bribe him, threaten him, or give him an otherwise better alternative to murder? You can do many things to try to prevent an action, but you cannot punish someone for something they did not do.
     
  14. Elrohir

    Elrohir RELATIONAL VALORIZATION

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    I saw that movie.

    I don't think it's ethical to arrest someone for murder because some psychics say they will kill someone, that's not proof, and reasonable doubt says that if it's even remotely possible they were mistaken in their predictions or are faking it - the man has to go free.

    A more reasonable use would be to get these as far in advance as possible, then put under cover cops nearby, to watch and listen. If they recieve adequate proof or the person starts to make the move (Pulls a gun) they treat him like any other criminal.

    So it would be useful to get a heads up on where a crime would likely be commited. But I wouldn't consider it enough evidence to get someone convicted.
     
  15. BasketCase

    BasketCase Username sez it all

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    What if the predictor was statistically certain to be right? (Remember, our current justice system isn't right all the time either, but we use it anyway)

    I don't remember if Agatha's accuracy rate was described during the movie (only one spot where the phrase "sometimes they do disagree" was used). However, after Agatha is removed from her swimming pool and yanked into the real world, her predictive ability (over the course of a chase scene which is simply THE most brilliant chase scene ever shown in a movie!) is dead-on accurate.

    The concept of predetermination was discussed during the movie ("why did you catch the ball just now?" "because it was going to fall off the table." "but it didn't." "but it would have."), but naturally it wasn't really answered. Movies have this tendency to do an artful dodge and avoid getting tied down on the really deep science.
     

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