Category Archives: Ethics Heroes

Ethics Hero: Popehat’s Ken White

sunshine-through-the-clouds

I can’t really say Ken White is a friend. We have never met, though we have spoken on the phone. I sent him a copy of my book. He has cited my posts and I have (often) cited his; we have disagreed and argued. I think he’s still ticked off at me for asserting here that well off, smart, educated professionals (like him) who argue for drug legalization share responsibility for the fates of the poor, uneducated or not so smart people who ruin their lives using the junk because the elite have proclaimed that the laws are foolish. (I still believe that, by the way, more today than ever.)

Ken also advised me wisely when I was being threatened with a lawsuit. I am eternally grateful for his kindness. We share a profession and the avocation of blogging, as well as a professional interest in ethics. We are both fervent believers in the First Amendment, but Ken is a true warrior on the front lines, while I just occasionally submit a dispatch from the battlefield. We both adopted children from overseas, and have some similarly warped strains to our humor. One thing I do not share with Ken is clinical depression, thank goodness. He suffers from it, I don’t. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Health and Medicine, The Internet

Ethics Hero: Todd Smith

Be vigilant, Governor! Next, Obama will be coming after your precious bodily fluids...

Be vigilant, Governor! Next, Obama will be coming after your precious bodily fluids…

I was preparing to comment on Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s absurd, embarrassing and recklessly divisive action of calling on the State Guard to monitor a U.S. military training exercise in the state juuuuust in case that sneaky, fake American Commie dictator Barack Obama is getting ready to put the Lone Star State under bayonet and martial law, as some local wackadoodles are claiming from under their ten gallon tin-foil hats. I decided that it was too obviously stupid to criticize before I read the approving comments by unhinged Texans on the governor’s  Facebook post announcing the order.

It received more than 25,000 likes and thousands of comments. Among them (My reactions in bold):

  • “Thank you, Mr. Abbott, but I doubt they listen to you or anyone, Obama will soon demand Marshall law, We need to keep them totally out of Texas. The devil is breathing down our necks right now. Everyone better pray.”  Now Marshall law, I have no problem with…
  • “Here comes Martial law Folks… get ready! ALL Texans need to be armed. It’s our right! I pray our Military will do what’s right! Not want the Commander and chief ( and I use that term loosely) wants them to do! STAND UP AMERICA… IF we don’t GOD HELP US ALL! If you look at the map that was posted.. Texas is listed as a hostile state, along with other repub. states!” THEY’RE HERE! THEY’RE HERE!!!! Oh, wait, I was thinking of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”…
  • Thank you sir I have no trust in our current goverment. Your actions on a day to day basis are giving me hope for our state goverment. If that’s how you’re spelling “government,” I have no hope at all…
  • “Governor Abbott’s got a pair, and he will not let them mess with Texas!” Well, thank God for that! If he let’s his pair mess with Texas, it would be the worst sex crime in history. Also: Ewww.

Luckily, a Republican, a Texan, and former state House member did it for me. Here is Todd Smith’s letter to the Governor. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, War and the Military

Ethics Hero: The “Lone Juror,” Adam Sirois

Juror 8

Two lone jurors…

In a remarkable example of life imitating art, a single juror, a 41-year-old health care worker, refused to vote guilty with the rest of the jurors deliberating on the case against the accused murderer of Etan Patz, a little boy whose disappearance in 1979 focused national attention on the child predator problem.  The defendant, Pedro Hernandez, had delivered an elaborate confession to police, then revoked it. For 18 days, Adam Sirois battled the eleven other jurors, who told him that they were convinced by the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Sirois, however, said he had doubts, too many to send a man to prison for life. In the end, the vote was 11-1. Yesterday, the judge in the case pronounced the jury deadlocked—hung— and declared a mistrial.

Sound familiar? If Sirois was made the hero of a cable TV  adaptation, it would be considered a shameless knock-off of “12 Angry Men,” the iconic 1957 jury film that originated as a live TV drama by the late Reginald Rose: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights

Today Is The 70th Anniversary Of VE Day

VE Day

I’m watching “The Longest Day.”

Thanks, guys.

Thanks, Dad.

 

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Filed under Character, Ethics Heroes, History, Leadership, War and the Military

Ethics Hero: Toya Graham, The Baltimore Riot’s “Mom of the Year”

It is odd that the now-anointed “mom of the year” is a woman videotaped beating her son, and rather violently at that. That’s the Ethics Incompleteness Principle for you: even conduct that is “always” unethical may be made ethical by unusual circumstances. Seeing your grown son participating in looting and rioting that are destroying your neighborhood changes the rules, or perhaps makes them inapplicable.

Here is what the unidentified woman (UPDATE: Her name is Toya Graham) was doing that is an ethical duty: she was fixing the problem to the extent she could. Utilitarian? Yup. Would Kant approve? Well, if every mother of those rioters intervened, they would have had more success than the Baltimore police did.

As for the Golden Rule, her conduct passes that test as well. If I were getting pulled into violent, mindless mob violence like that kid, I would want my caring parents to stop me by any means short of shooting me. If it were my son wearing that hood, I’d be tackling him.

I don’t know if she’s really “Mom of the Year”—I’d like to think that a really exemplary mother won’t raise a rioter.  She’s an Ethics Hero, though, beyond question.

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Family, Law & Law Enforcement

Ethics Heroes: Adam and Tanya Phillips

tattoos

I’ve been searching for Ethics Heroes of late. They seem to be candidates for the endangered species list. Now a qualified couple, Adam and Tanya Phillips, has surfaced in the town of Grimsby, in Great Britain. Their 18-month old daughter, Honey-Rae, has a port wine birthmark running from her right foot to her lower back. After they noticed shoppers staring at their child at a local supermarket, the parents both got  tattoos the color and shape of the mark on their own right legs. Each took two-and a half hours, and was painful.

 When Honey-Rae  saw them for the first time, she said “match.”

Loving, selfless, kind…and clever.

And one of the best uses for tattoos I’ve heard of yet

.___________________

Pointer: Althouse

Facts and Graphic: BBC

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Filed under Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Family, Love

Maybe The Best Reason To Remember April 15…Number 42

jackie-robinson

A lot has happened on April 15.

Leonardo De Vinci was born…Abraham Lincoln died…Apollo 13 had the accident that almost destroyed it, but that triggered one of the great triumphs of the space program…Lee surrendered, ending the Civil WarThe Beatles disbanded…I didn’t get my taxes in on time….

I would argue however, and will, that as culturally important as any of these events was that sixty-eight years ago, in 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first black man to play major league baseball in the modern era. This represented a cultural change that allowed the United States to take a giant step forward toward healing the self-inflicted and almost fatal wound of slavery, and it took a man of surpassing courage and character to do it. (Two men, really: the other was Dodgers GM Branch Rickey.)

Today all MLB players will wear Robinson’s number 42 to honor him. If you haven’t seen the movie “42, or if your children haven’t seen it, this is a good day to get a sense of what Jackie went through as he broke the color line.  You can check out Robinson’s baseball stats here,  and learn about the civil rights work he did after his playing career, in the too-short life that was left to him here. He’s in the Ethics Alarms Heroes Hall of Honor, of course, and his entry there has more about his life as well as some good links.

The main thing is, remember him.

Many years ago, I had a conversation with a close friend—smart, accomplished, engaged, educated, about 26 years old at the time. She had no idea who Jackie Robinson was. Nobody, then, now or ever, should reach adulthood in the United States without knowing and understanding what Robinson did, and our nation’s debt to him. There is an ethical  duty to remember, and to respect.

Thank you, Mr. Robinson.

Thank you.

 

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Heroes, History, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, U.S. Society