On a day when Ethics Alarms finally passed its high-water mark for followers, I thought it appropriate to plug Fark, one of the legion of sources I check every day to find ethics topics. It’s a facetious news aggregation site that links to both serious and obscure stories with gag intros, like this week’s header on a story about a recent study on Alzheimers: “The number of Americans with Alzheimers is expected to double in the next 40 years. That’s horrible, but did you hear that the number of Americans with Alzheimers is expected to double in the next 40 years?”
My dad loved that joke, and the older he got, the more often he told it, and the more ticked off my mother would be. An all-Fark Warm-Up is a good way to avoid (mostly) politics for a while.
1. I have no sympathy for this guy. Is that unethical? This is Mark Cropp:
He has “Devast8” tattooed on his face. He says that his brother did it when they both were very drunk, as if he was a non-participant. “Once it was started, I thought, I can’t go back on it now,” he has said. “I wish I had stopped while the outline was there to be quite honest.” Good, Mark. This is progress.
Cropp has been complaining for a year that his face tattoo has kept him from being hired. Would you hire him? I wouldn’t. Such high-profile self-mutilation is signature significance for a person with terrible judgment and life skills, or, to be brief, an idiot. Would you hire someone with “I am an idiot” tattooed on his forehead? Same thing.
Apparently he has been arrested and is facing charges in New Zealand, where he lives. Psst! Mark! Don’t have “I am guilty!” tattooed on your face while you are awaiting trial.
2. No sympathy, Part 2. I also have almost no sympathy for Beverley Dodds, who once looked like this…
…until decades of slathering herself in Coca Cola and baby oil while sunbathing and broiling herself on tanning beds caused her to have to battlethe effects of skin cancer for two decades, and has the skin of a reptile. (You don’t want me to post a photo of her skin. Trust me.) Like Mark above, this is self-inflicted mutilation. How sorry should we feel for someone who hits themselves in the head with a hammer every day who complains of headaches? Few public health issues have been so thoroughly publicized as warnings about long-term skin damage from excessive exposure to the sun and tanning beds.
3. No sympathy, Part 3. 24-year-old Michael Vigeant of Hudson, New Hampshire, a Red Sox fan on his way home via subway from Yankee Stadium after the Sox had lost to the Yankees (they won the next night though, thus clinching the division, and eliminating New York. Go Red Sox!) died when he tried to climb on top of a moving Metro-North train and was electrocuted by overhead wires. The resulting chaos trapped hundreds of riders more than two hours. His brother did it too, but was luckier, and train personnel got him down. Michael touched a catenary wire and was electrocuted, said MTA officials.
Now watch his family try to sue the city. I put “Don’t try to subway surf on moving trains,” “Don’t get huge tattoos on your face” and “Don’t repeatedly broil your skin” in the same category: lessons an adult should learn and has an obligation to observe. Not doing so suggests a general responsibility and commons sense deficit that is a menace to everyone, not just them.
4. Now THIS is res ipsa loquitur! “The thing speaks for itself” is a legal maxim originally and properly applied to the burden of proof in showing negligence in a law suit. Here is a recent classic:
Dr. Scott Baker, a South Dakota surgeon, and his employer, The Surgical Institute of South Dakota, admit that the doctor mistakenly removed an Iowa woman’s healthy kidney when he was supposed to have removed a diseased adrenal gland. They deny, however, that he breached the standard of care in Baker’s response to a lawsuit filed by the patient. She developed stage-three kidney disease after her October 2016 surgery. The missing kidney is now a big problem.
I assume this is a temporary stance to encourage an out of court settlement. When a surgeon takes out the wrong organ, that is per se negligence. Res ipsa loquitur. No further evidence is necessary. Do doctors really want to argue that removing healthy kidneys meets the standard of care in anything but the Three Stooges short?
I doubt it.
5. A judge who isn’t fit to serve on the Supreme Court would be Anchorage Judge Michael Corey, who decided that a plea deal in which Justin Schneider, 34, escaped any jail time after he choked a woman unconscious on the side of a road while threatening to kill her, and then masturbated on her, was fair and just. Schneider was indicted on four felony charges including kidnapping, assault, and one misdemeanor count of offensive contact with fluids.
Judge Corey’s reasoning for accepting the plea deal crafted by Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik, which suspends any jail time, includes Grannik’s argument that Schneider losing his job working for the federal government as a result of the case is a “life sentence.” In other words, “he’s suffered enough,” a fatuous and unethical distortion of justice and compassion. Then there is the judge’s apparent agreement with the theory that the risk of Schneider doing something like this is low. You know, like when a maniac cuts off someone head and puts it on top of a Christmas tree. What are the odds that he’d try that again?
Some offenses are bad enough that once mandates significant prison time. Call me a stickler, but I’d argue that choking a woman until she passes out and masturbating on her—After Schneider’s victim woke up, he reportedly told her “that he wasn’t really going to kill her, that he needed her to believe she was going to die so that he could be sexually fulfilled”—is obviously such an offense.
OK, this addendum is a little bit political: here’s what Hazel Cills, the author of Jezebel’s item about the case, writes,
But what do I know? I’m just a woman who doesn’t want to be strangled and assaulted, and who lives in constant fear all the time of the sometimes covert and widely unbelieved violent behavior men love to inflict on women.
No, Hazel, you’re just a vile anti-male bigot.