Tag Archives: cruelty

Ethics Musings On An Open Letter From A Rejected Son

Patrick Bradley is a New York-based food columnist and founder of TheGayFoodie.com. I’ve never heard of him, which doesn’t matter; somebody does need to explain to me why a writer’s sexual orientation has anything to do with food, and why this isn’t just blatant group identification tribal exploitation of the kind that is dividing this country and culture. But I digress…this stuff annoys me, but I digress.

Bradley sent to the gay website Out an open letter he wrote (and sent? Let’s hope so) to his parents, who refused to attend his wedding to his same sex partner more than two years ago, and who have been estranged from him ever since. I would call the letter an ethics bomb, an action that hurls ethical dilemmas and problems in all directions, for good or ill. I’m publishing it in its entirety, and will have comments afterward.


Dear Mom and Dad,

It’s been 890 days since the day that you both decided not to partake in my wedding. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to say anything about it. Perhaps I’ve been afraid of what the family will think, what the family might say. Or perhaps I’ve been afraid of losing even more of my wonderful, beautiful family, whom I think about day and night.

But the time is now because I’ve finally grown too tired of the 890 days and nights of being haunted by your presence—by your lack of presence, to be more precise. I’m tired of night after night of dreaming of you. And tonight, I had the most unpleasant of dreams—one that jolted me from my sleep and disallowed me to return to it. So at 6:22 a.m., after little more than three hours of sleep, I’m writing this letter to you—knowing that it is taking from my opportunity of getting a full night’s rest before work; but I’d rather work on little sleep than on little dignity.

As not to keep anyone in the family excluded (any longer), I’m sending this letter to everyone involved. I want everyone to know what had happened on my last visit to you, before my beautiful, wonderful wedding. I’m not writing this letter in an act of vengeance (even though it feels like it is), but rather, I’m doing it because I’m tired of walking on eggshells around my siblings, godchildren, nephews and nieces. I’m tired of having to be “civil” with both of you, “for the sake of the family.” I’m also tired of the unwanted holiday and birthday gifts, and I’m tired of you having the audacity to speak to my husband (and myself) as if nothing has happened. Have you no shame?

Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Family, Gender and Sex, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

If You Were Wondering How Our College Students Got This Way, Here’s A Clue…Meet The Cretinous Joe Crachiolo

The Horror.

The Horror.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, a first-grader at Our Lady of Lourdes school,  just six-years old, was  pretending to be a Power Ranger during recess, and “shot” another student with an imaginary bow and arrow. Principal Joe Crachiolo suspended the 6-year-old student for three days.

Denying the parents’ pleas to reconsider, Crachiolo sent a letter home to parents stating in part:

“I have no tolerance for any real, pretend, or imitated violence. The punishment is an out of school suspension.” Continue reading


Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Religion and Philosophy

On Immigration, Speech Suppression, War, Terrorism, Police and More, It’s Cultural Death By Compassion Poisoning

Think of the children!Compassion is a wonderful thing. A nation cannot govern or even survive, however, using compassion as its guiding ethical principle. The United States currently seems hell bent on disproving this fact, and is well on the way to confirming it. It is too bad that this is true, and we should all agree that it’s  a damn shame that you can’t run a successful democracy without periodically inflicting pain, creating suffering and harming some human beings in order that many more can live in peace and pursue their lawful ambitions and desires. Nonetheless, that is an immutable fact of existence. Government policy that attempts to deny it is not merely incompetent and naive, but ultimately suicidal. A culture that elevates compassion above all other values like responsibility, accountability, prudence, process and proportion is betting everything on the inherent goodness and rationality of humanity. History tells us it’s a losing bet.

When I woke up to the horrible news of the Paris attacks, and after I had finished simultaneous laughing and crying about the fact that President Obama picked yesterday to proclaim that the threat of ISIS had been “contained,” it suddenly occurred to me that the majority of the crises this nation struggles with today are  linked by the same cultural and leadership malady. The United States increasingly is unwilling to accept the reality that governance is utilitarian, and that punishment, deterrence, sacrifice, pain, retaliation and accountability are indispensable tools that must be used and used unapologetically. The alternative is chaos, and chaos is what we are facing.

An impressive number of these crises have been in the news this week: Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Race, Rights, War and the Military

My Reply To Eric Turkewitz’s Criticism Regarding “The Worst Aunt Ever”

This guy would have given The Bad Aunt the right advice...

This guy would have given The Bad Aunt the right advice…

Eric Turkewitz is a New York trial attorney, by all accounts a terrific lawyer, by the evidence of his writing an ethical and astute one, in our brief encounters a very nice guy, and the proprietor of “The New York Personal Injury Law Blog.” In a recent post, he defends the decision of Jennifer Connell to sue her young nephew for a four-year old injury she received when he hugged her too enthusiastically at her birthday party. He notes, correctly, that the decision to sue was based on the client accepting a “bad call” by her lawyer. He also includes a lot of information not mentioned in the early posts on the matter, including mine. Still, he defends Connell. He also specifically criticizes my post. Eric writes,

And this is from Jack Marshall, who says he actually teaches ethics and has a blog called Ethics Alarms (coded “no follow“):

“What’s going on is that Aunt Jennifer is pure hellspawn, a mysteriously animated pile of human excrement that embodies the worst of humanity.”

This is what happens when people elect to post stuff on the web based on an initial news report that was, shall we say, very selective on what it chose to report. This site is getting quite a bit of traffic, most likely from many who never knew it existed. So let me answer a question some of you may have: Yes, I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of lawsuits, and they weren’t nearly as benign as this run-of-the-mill kind: On Suing and Being Sued.

Yes, I “actually teach ethics,” and I could, in fact, teach Eric some things that he would find useful and enlightening. I’m not going to get in a pissing match with him, in part because, as I learned from another tiff four years ago (in which I was wrong, and duly apologized), he has some very, very nasty pals, and I don’t want to throw blood in the water. This is, however, an excellent example of how lawyers often end up seeing the world, and in fact I may use his post, unattributed, in seminars to show where legal ethics and ethics diverge. It is wise for lawyers to be atuned to both.

Here was the response I made to Eric on his blog: Continue reading


Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Family, Law & Law Enforcement, Love, Professions

The Worst Aunt Ever

(L) Auntie Jenn in her "Loving Aunt" disguise, and (R), my best guess at what she looks like without it...

(L) Auntie Jenn in her “Loving Aunt” disguise, and (R), my best guess at what she looks like without it…

[ WARNING: This story may make your head explode. I’m not sure why mine didn’t; it may because there’s nothing left to blow.]

Jennifer Connell, a 54-year-old human resources manager in Manhattan, is suing her 12-year old nephew, Sean Tarala, in Connecticut for $127,000 in damages for an accident that occurred at his 8th birthday party.

On March 18, 2011, Connell arrived at the Tarala home  to attend Sean’s birthday party. She was greeted with the sight of the excited kid riding his major gift, a red bicycle, around the the yard.  When he spotted Aunt Jennifer, he jumped off his new bike and ran toward her, shouting, “Auntie Jen! Auntie Jen!”

Connell testified that “all of a sudden he was there in the air, I had to catch him and we tumbled onto the ground. I remember him shouting, ‘Auntie Jen I love you,’ and there he was flying at me.” Connell said she her wrist was hurt, but she didn’t mention it because “It was his birthday party and I didn’t want to upset him.” Now, however, though he has always been “very loving, sensitive,” toward her, Connell believes he should be held accountable for her injury. Continue reading


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

An Eight-Year-Old New Jersey Girl Is Waiting For Her Invitation To The White House…

Left: Potentially harmful to the academic environment. Right: A positive influence on students' behavior.

Left: Potentially harmful to the academic environment. Right: A positive influence on students’ behavior.

Proposition: Any educational system that can produce a headline like this…

Girl suspended from school for wearing wrong shade of green

…needs help desperately.

Or to be torn down and reconceived completely. I am tending toward the latter.

The headline is in fact correct. Winslow Township Elementary School No. 4 sent an eight-year old girl home  for wearing a Kelly green polo shirt, which was deemed to be in violation of the Camden County (New Jersey) school’s dress code, decreeing that shirts and blouses may only be white, navy blue, or dark green.  This is important, for as the  Winslow Township School’s code on dress and grooming points out “school attire can influence a pupil’s behavior and potentially impact the academic environment.”

This kind of mindless autocratic abuse of children causes them to become cynical, angry, submissive, fearful, distrustful of adults, or contemptuous of authority, none of which are good. The President of the United States, since he appears to be in the business of addressing local school wrongs, could perform a service by humiliating these cruel, dim-bulb administrators and their many equivalents by inviting this victimized young lady to the White House. But then she’s not a Muslim, or dark skinned, or a kid who pretended to invent something when he didn’t, so forget it.

I’m sorry I mentioned it.


Pointer: Fark


Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, U.S. Society

Fan Ethics Guidance From A Red Sox Fan To Washington Nationals Fans (And Others): Booing Your Manager Is Unethical

Matt WilliamsOn September 9, following his press conference in the aftermath of a horrible and devastating loss to the New York Mets, the Washington Nationals manager (the reigning Manager of the Year from 2014!), was vigorously booed by a group of fans (the rich ones) in the next-door Presidents Club dining room, who banged on the press conference room’s glass walls. The team was pronounced a shoo-in to the World Series, you see, before the season started, and that loss made it clear, if it wasn’t already, that the Nats probably weren’t even going to make the play-offs.

No doubt about it: Matt Williams, the team’s calm, amiable, incompetent manager, is part of the problem, but he was just as bad last year, just much luckier. (See: moral luck; consequentialism) He was hired with no managerial experience at all, just the experience of being a (pretty good) major league player for quite a while, and the truth is that managing a baseball team requires judgment, tactical expertise, courage, flexibility, facility with statistics and leadership, as well as experience. Williams isn’t bereft in all of these areas, but enough of them to make consistent success as a manager unlikely. Because the boo-attack occurred in front of the press corps and came from the season ticket types rather than the bleachers and beer crowd (“You’re a BUM!!!”), it immediately became a big story in Washington. Today, one of those angry fans wrote an explanation and alleged justification of his actions in the Washington Post.

He wrote in part:

“So, after staying till the bitter end of the latest heartbreaking loss, and after watching Williams wrap up another tedious Q&A filled with a series of cliched answers, a group of mid-30s fans who have been cheering this team from Day 1 had seen enough. A defiant Williams exited the podium, and we booed … we booed hard. It felt good. It felt like Williams needed to hear it — and it felt like the Nats brass needed to, as well…We’ll always support this team, but on a night like that night, sometimes enough is enough. When it takes 54 excruciating pitches to get three outs in a season-killing seventh-inning meltdown, and when the manager has pushed all the wrong buttons since last October, there’s not much else a fan can do…but boo.”

This fatuous non-wisdom comes from Rudy Gersten, an executive director at a public policy organization, and presumably he speaks for his similarly jeering friends, “an ethics and compliance lawyer, an IT project manager, [and ]a construction senior project manager.” Continue reading


Filed under Sports