Why do we reward underachievers?

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Can someone please tell me why criminals are rewarded for failure? If some crook shoots a guy the criminal gets more prison time if the guy dies. But if the guy does not die it is only attemped murder, and thus deserving of less prison time even if the crook meant to kill him.

Why do we reward incompetence?

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeed@yahoo.com), September 27, 2000


Bush is running for president and you have the nerve to ask, "Why do we reward incompetence?"

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), September 27, 2000.

Your right Bush should not have to run. We should just declare him the winner. After all there no other candidates running really!!

-- I want Bush (Bushman@texas.com), September 27, 2000.

Probably for the same reason that we tolerate congressmen and senators being the coniving bunch they are,we reward those that attempt or succeed in screwing us the most/best.

The answer,I know not.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), September 27, 2000.

Prison time is a reward?

Hey Unk, dig this, chicks can pee standing up if they practice! Trip ain't it? Course one is still "rewarded" by having to wash your hands afterward. You alls are washing them hands now aren't you? good.

-- Doc Paulie (fannybubbles@usa.net), September 27, 2000.

C'mon, c'mon....I want answers dammit!

Why don't we send attempted murderers away for life? Shouldn't they pay just like their better shot brothers?

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeed@yahoo.com), September 27, 2000.

Unk, as you must know we live in a results oriented society. Look there for your answers.

-- I (h@ve.spoken), September 27, 2000.

Ok, then shouldn't we stop arresting drunk drivers? Afterall, they haven't done any "results based" destruction just by being a drunk driver. Why not wait until they have hit someone? Heck, I would think that most of them do not even intend to hurt anybody, they just wanna go home.

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeed@yahoo.com), September 27, 2000.

Because, theoretically, when the lowest are rewarded it makes those who feel superior feel better about themselves?

Ya got me, Unk. You was pleadin' so I gave it a stab.

Liquid lunch again today?

-- Bingo1 (howe9@shentel.net), September 27, 2000.

"Liquid lunch again today?"

Bingo, that was a low blow.

Unk doesn't need liquid lunches, he's got strong teeth still.

-- (smarty@wannabe.one), September 27, 2000.


I agree with smarty on this one. That was a low blow!

-- (agree@with.smarty), September 27, 2000.

Actually lunch today was Ensure and cream of wheat.

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeed@yahoo.com), September 27, 2000.

Okay, Unk...here's my more serious thought on the subject.

Based on our legal system, intent cannot be proven until demonstrated [or something like that.] Victims of stalkers ask this same question whenever they call the police and say someone is calling them, following them, etc. The police say, "Has the person DONE anything to you?" Um...no...NOT YET. "Then no crime has been committed."

So, while the victim of a stalker feels that the stalker is intent on harming him, it cannot be proven, in the same way that the victim of a poor aim may feel that the shooter was intent on killing him.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), September 27, 2000.

A little off subject,but what can it be like to be on death row and knowing (somewhat) your death day. What goes thru your mind,especially if you know you're innocent and we're all innocent of course

-- im innocent (as we @ll. are), September 27, 2000.

What would you favor Unc---a death sentence for wounding someone?

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), September 27, 2000.

Seems to me there is a lot more gray area in "attempted" murder. If the guy is dead then there's no doubt about it, it wasn't just attempted, it was done. If the criminal "seems" to want to kill someone but doesn't, how can you be sure he is as dangerous as someone who actually kills? Maybe he was just having a bad hair day.

-- (not@so.simple), September 27, 2000.

The short answer is that you cannot knowingly convict someone for a crime that they did not commit. If nobody died, nobody was murdered.

What you are REALLY asking is why Attempted Murder does not carry with it the same penalty as Murder One. There is no reason that it could not ... though, if anything, then it would probably encourage criminals to be even MORE likely to go through with the crime, since there is no lessened penalty if they screw up.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), September 27, 2000.

I have that problem with my cat Unk. A backyard teeming with gophers and what do I do? I feed her.

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), September 28, 2000.

Clever, Unc, clever!

We "reward" a lame attempt at murder or mayhem with less prison time, because it cannot be proved that what you are calling "incompetance" was not the product of reluctance. The hardest thing to prove or disprove is frame of mind.

Failure to carry out one's apparent attempt to its logical end might be evidence of a moral qualm interfering with one's efficiency. Who can say? So, we give the benefit of the doubt to the incompetant criminal, in case they were heeding their better nature to some small degree.

Also, in practical terms, it is wise to reward beneficial behavior, even when it is accidental. BF Skinner could teach pigeons to walk in figure eights by rewarding their random motions whenever they tended to the desired result. If the intended victim of a murder lives, it is wise to reward that outcome, just on the hopes it will promote that outcome more often in the future.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), September 28, 2000.

A crook shoots a shop owner five times in the body, and follows up with one to the head. The shop owner fights for his life for three months, clinging by a thread. Finally, slowly he recovers by the grace of God and the pure will to live.

So, shouldn't the asshole who shot him get the same penalty as he would have if the shop owner had died? That is a pretty clear case of wishing to kill.

One other thing, If the intended victim of a murder lives, it is wise to reward that outcome, just on the hopes it will promote that outcome more often in the future.

So why not reward the victim who lived? Isn't HE the one deserving of a reward, rather than the scumbag who tried to kill him?

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeed@yahoo.com), September 28, 2000.

No doubt, in cases like that, the scum needs to pay with his life.

Be nice if that were the way things worked.....


-- Deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), September 28, 2000.

We reward incompetence because we need to forgive our fellow man, help him in time of struggle, and the death penalty should be done away with. All people need a second chance. Human rights can't be tromped on. Criminals have rights too.

But Unc, I don't believe any of these. I thought your title was going in a different direction. We, as a society, do reward incompetence because we are taught (Bingo hit it pretty close) compassion; helping others makes us feel good about ourselves.

But this leaves out the "take responsibility for your actions" proposition. At an early age, kids learn that incompetence does have its rewards. Schools do it all the time. What happens to kids who can't make the grade? They get promoted! What about all those other kids who worked hard all year? Well, they get promoted too. During my daughter's graduation, the AP spoke about "it's ok to be mediocre." I couldn't believe it. Not "strive to be the best you can be", but "let's not be disappointed if we fall short in life". This is a product of our school system. They don't want to hurt a loser's feelings, so they promote incompetence.

Just my opinion.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), September 28, 2000.

unc: Love the thought. I havent ever that of this before. but you are sooooo right.

I wish I had the answer, my brother is in law enforcement, got shot @ juvenile court, by the perp. The boy only got 5 years? Why? Because he didnt murder my brother, he just wounded him.

As a footnote, my brother still carries the bullet in his wrist today.

-- consumer (shh@aol.com), September 28, 2000.

Unk -- the shop owner should be allowed to shoot the perp five times in the body with a follow up shot to the head. Let God decide if the penalty will be death.

-- helen (b@q.c), September 28, 2000.

Whao, Helen, good ONE....I like that idea.

Bet my brother would too.

-- consumer (shh@aol.com), September 28, 2000.


You nailed it!! Nothin' but net on that one!! Ya have to wonder how much crime (and how less violent it would be) would exist if that were the way society handled its criminals.


-- Deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), September 28, 2000.

>> the shop owner should be allowed to shoot the perp five times in the body with a follow up shot to the head. <<

How did that go...oh, yeah..."an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." When the Old Testament was written this was considered perfect justice. Then Jesus came along and raised the stakes.

I guess it all comes down to whether you believe justice should be tempered with mercy or drunk straight, no chaser.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), September 28, 2000.

If I've read it, heard it, stated it a hundred times...

An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

I know revenge. Been there, done that. Never was caught. Felt elated before, during and immediately afterwards. Then I got to thinking and realized the pain and suffering I caused to others NOT responsible for wronging myself and/or my loved ones.

Then I learned the ground rules of life which made sense to me. Revenge ain't on the list of "do's". So I don't anymore - but I always face the urge to take revenge. It is a strong temptation still.

Those who are quick to call for revenge better be ready to live with the consequences of their actions.

Yesterday I spoke with a co-worker who is selling his small house in the woods. I told him I'd like to see it. My dogs love to run free and his place sounded as if it would be perfect. He stated to me his neighbors would shoot my dogs on sight. Those of you who know me know I regard the dogs as members of my family. If anyone hurt my dogs I'd want to make sure the perpetrator(s) suffered long and often. Would I do it?

I thanked my co-worker for letting me know about his neighbors and walked away. I won't be visiting his place. Why? Because I am not interested in getting into a situation where I might take a life. I don't even want to be faced with the decision. It's never pretty.

Time for lunch...

-- Bingo1 (howe9@shentel.net), September 28, 2000.

Bingo, you're absolutely right. Revenge is a bad thing and one should never act on revenge. Forgive and well maybe not forget (but that's on a different thread - I usually say forgive and learn) But this thread is trying to address reward for underachievers. To answer that question, I think we can blame society.

Stupid people learn at a very early age that it pays to be stupid. I think all people start out as intelligent beings but learn that they can get away with being stupid. An example:

I installed a range the other day and was surprised to see this additional piece of metal. After reading the instructions, I installed the thing. It included a picture of a child climbing up onto the oven door, tipping the door and causing a pot on the stove to fall over. Now, I wondered how many dollars did this cost. Obviously a stupid person allowed their child to play with the oven, there were probably many lawsuits, with the stupid person winning. The company then needed to include this little metal thing to help prevent the oven from tipping. It pays to be stupid. And who ends up paying? The rest of society. Soap box mode off.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), September 28, 2000.

consumer, sorry to hear about your brother. Even with all the bad press on police infringing on human rights, I sympathize with the big job they have. I couldn't do it; the stress would do me in.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), September 28, 2000.

In answer to this thread's title question and variation:

Because in some contexts we prefer underachievement or incompetence to achievement or competence.

-- No Spam Please (nos_pam_please@hotmail.com), October 03, 2000.

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