KABOOM! Does Everyone Upset About The “Affluenza” Sentence Feel Better Now?

Top: Morris. Bottom: Me.

Top: Morris. Bottom: Me.

Today we travel cross the pond for a head explosion-prompting episode. A charming young woman and mother named Loren Morris, now 21, began having sexual intercourse  with an 8-year-old boy five years ago, and continued for two years until he was ten years old, involving about 50 forced sexual acts.

The boy, now 14, was overheard bragging about his premature sex life at school, and that led to his molester’s arrest and trial. This week a judge today gave Morris a two-year prison sentence at Worcester Crown Court. She will be eligible for release on parole after only a year.

This case is relevant to a couple of recent Ethics Alarms controversies. Presumably Morris is being sentenced leniently on the basis of her horrific crime being committed while she was a juvenile, even though she is an adult now. As I asserted in the stateside case of the juvenile assault ripening into a murder, I think a juvenile whose crime is only discovered and proven after he or she enters adulthood should be tried and punished as an adult. Continue reading

The Fifth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2013 (Part Three)


Unethical Artist Of The Year

Photographer Jill Greenberg, whose art requires parents to make their children cry. Runner-up: Peeping Tom photographer/artist Arne Svenson

Kaitlyn Hunt

False Allegation Of Anti-Gay Bigotry Of The Year

Kaitlyn Hunt’s parents, who spun a false tale of anti-gay prejudice to portray their sexual predator daughter as a victim after she was accused of statutory rape by the parents of her under-age target. Hunt’s parents even managed to suck the ACLU into their web and the liberal-leaning press portrayed her as a martyr to anti-gay bias. But Hunt’s lies ultimately caused her cover-story to unravel.

 Unethical Hoax Of The Year

Oberlin students Dylan Bleier and Matt Alden, aided and abetted by  Oberlin College and its president, Marvin Krislov. The two students, self-proclaimed progressives, posted a series of racist and anti-Semitic posters, graffiti and anonymous emails as “an experiment.” Krislov and Oberlin, after cancelling classes and engaging in campus-wide navel-gazing, continued to allow the media and the public believe that this was the work of racists on campus well after it had learned who the real miscreants wereRunner-up: The horrible Meg Lanker-Simons, former University of Wyoming student (now admitted to law school—I don’t want to talk about it) who threatened herself with rape and used the bogus threat to show that her campus was violent and sexist.

Most Unethical Use of Social Media Continue reading

Regarding Ariel Castro’s Suicide: Good!


I won’t go so far as to call him an Ethics Hero, but killing himself was probably the ethics highlight of Ariel Castro’s miserable, evil life.

The state of Ohio can’t navigate the moral-ethical logic necessary to execute a monster like Castro ( I see nothing ethical or moral about preventing society from making a crime like his just cause for capital punishment), so Castro took matters into his own hands and did the right thing.


Oh, I agree that the state has an obligation to do everything it can to prevent a prisoner from doing harm to himself, just as it would have an obligation to let Castro have gender reassignment treatment (though I am amused by wondering whether the advocates for Bradley Manning would be as vociferous if the subject was a sick rapist-kidnapper rather than a popular traitor). But I don’t want to pay my tax dollars to keep the likes of Ariel Castro in food, lodging and medical care, and I doubt many Ohio taxpayers do either. Taking himself out was an ethical act all around for Castro: we benefit, the system benefits, justice is served, and Castro is dead, all the better to make sure some future regime of touchy-feely uber-humanists don’t declare all sentences over 20 years as “cruel” or Ohio jails don’t become California Crowded, resulting in an elderly Castro being released to do the talk show circuit and star in a documentary.

Was his act cowardly? I heard an angry pundit declare so today, but I don’t feel we have any way of knowing that. Personally, I’d rather keep living, even in prison, than kill myself. I don’t really care if it was cowardly or not. They guy was a serial rapist-kidnapper-torturer, and his memory is supposed to be further stained by “And he was a coward, too”?

Is it’s a sin? I don’t think killing Ariel Castro can possibly be a sin…even if the killer is Ariel Castro.

A wiser society should have ended Castro’s life.

He did us all a favor by doing it on his own.

Thank you, Ariel!

Now go to Hell.


Facts: Columbus Dispatch

Unethical Quote Of The Year: Ariel Castro

Well, now, Ariel, with all due respect, I have to disagree with you here. You are, in fact, a monster.

Well, now, Ariel, with all due respect, I have to disagree with you here. You are, in fact, a monster.

Perhaps some gratitude is due to convicted Cleveland kidnapper, torturer, rapist Ariel Castro for yesterday’s long, rambling, thoroughly disturbing statement to the court before sentencing. Within the nearly 1900 words he inflicted on everyone present are a true treasure trove of rationalizations, ethical dodges and classic excuses for wrong-doing, many of which, in different contexts, we use ourselves or accept from others. Perhaps, in the future, when we hear or read of these very same rationalizations and deceit from politicians, celebrities, Wall Street manipulators, media flacks and the people who enable them, or when we detect the seeds of one of them germinating in our own heads, we will recognize them as the property of Ariel Castro, and reject them promptly.

Here is what Castro said yesterday, in its entirety. Read the whole thing…just picking out the highlights doesn’t do the statement justice. It is a masterpiece of evil. I’ll break in from time to time, in bold:

Continue reading

Psychic Ethics: Sylvia Browne’s Dilemma

Sylvia Browne, under fire for not being a real psychic by people who should know better.

Sylvia Browne, under fire for not being a real psychic by people who should know better.

Growing up, I knew Sylvia Browne as one of the more colorful friends of my father, who knew her brother in the army. She visited from Kansas City every year or so, and her claims of psychic powers never came up, perhaps because my father didn’t believe in such things. My first inkling of “Aunt” Sylvia’s other life was when she pulled me aside in the fall of 1966, after hearing me bemoan the low state to which my beloved Boston Red Sox had fallen. They were going to finish the season in last place, the team’s vaunted youth movement was a flop, and I was disconsolate. “Don’t tell anyone I said this, ” she told me, “but the Red Sox will be in the pennant race next year to the very end. It will come down to the last two games.”

This seemed incredible to me, but what the heck: when the 1967 season tickets went on sale that winter, I sent in an order for two seats on the third base side for the next-to-last game of the season, against the Minnesota Twins. Baseball fans will recall that the ’67 season featured the closest race in American League history, with four teams, including the underdog Red Sox, staying essentially tied for months, with the pennant decided in the last two days at Fenway Park. Sure enough, Boston swept the Twins twice to make up a one game deficit and go the World Series. Sylvia called it.

During college and law school, Sylvia Browne fell out of my family’s life, but our paths intersected again when she showed up for a surprise visit at our home while I was studying for the Massachusetts bar exam in 1975. My job with the Mass Defenders had fallen through, and I had received an unexpected job offer from my law school to work for the new Dean. It would mean moving to D.C., which I didn’t want to do, and I was torn. This was the big topic of discussion while Sylvia was having dinner with us; my mother was emphatic that I should turn the offer down. For the second time, Sylvia pulled me aside for an unsolicited consultation. “Go to D.C.,” she said. “Your future wife is waiting for you.” I naturally assumed that she meant my current girl friend from law school, who was still in the District. “Not her,” Sylvia said. “Another. This job will bring you together, for good.”

I did take the job, although Sylvia’s advice played no part in it. Indeed, I forgot about the conversation completely until it came back to me right before I proposed to my wife, now my wife of 33 years, who was a work colleague of mine at the law school. Sylvia was two for two, at least where I was concerned.

Why I only had dealings with Sylvia Browne when the Red Sox were destined to go to the World Series I can’t imagine (Boston played Cincinnati in the 1975 classic), but the next time I heard from her was in 2004, the year they finally won it. She called me in my ProEthics office on November 17 of that year, and she was distraught. She was calling me, it turned out, not to give advice, but to receive it.  Continue reading

Of Hero Ethics, Credit, Fame, And Angel Cordero

Angel Cordero, unsung hero. And in good company.

Angel Cordero, unsung hero. And in good company.

Apparently a Cleveland man named Angel Cordero is every bit as deserving of accolades in the rescue of the three kidnapping victims of Ariel Castro [of alleged kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro, that is. Reflect on this case the next time someone puffs themselves up to reprimand you for a missing “alleged” and lectures you about how the accused are “innocent until proven guilty.” Yes, we know—and that means we can’t lock them up and throw away the key until they have had a fair trial and been officially proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the judgment of a jury. It does not mean,  in a situation where there is literally no possible interpretation of the facts that would not end with the conclusion that the man who owns the house where three women have been kept prisoner for ten years and who have told interviewers that he beat them, starved them and raped them, that to state the obvious is some kind of human rights violation. By the way, O.J. is guilty too.] as the more colorful, more publicized–and more ridiculed—Charles Ramsey.

I want Cordero to receive the credit and admiration he deserves. I don’t want him to feel bitter and unappreciated. If the media, public and popular culture is inclined to bestow its goodies on the heroes of this horrible story, I hope he gets his fair share. Still, I also hope that he would be sufficiently large of soul and solid of values to adopt the attitude that what is important is that the women were rescued, and not who gets credit for it, now or in the future. Continue reading