Tag Archives: ethics alarms

Ethics Alarm Check: What Do You Do If You Get A Text Like This One From A Close Friend?

Hypothetical:

A friend asks via text:

“What you do if you knew a friend was trying to commit suicide?”

You text back,

“Talk them out of it”

Then he texts you…

“The thing is i wanna help kill them. it be awesome. seriously im going to help her. Its like getting away with murder! Im so fucked up. I’m seriously not joking. Its going down in about a week or two.”

This was the actual scenario preceding the suicide of a 16 year old girl (above. left) in Utah.

Hunters found the girl’s body hanging from a tree.  A can of industrial strength air duster and a cellphone were nearby, and the latter  contained a video of the girl’s death.

It showed the girl with a noose around her neck, standing on  on a rock. She inhaled the contents of the air duster can, lost consciousness, and fell off the rock, causing the noose to tighten and slowly strangle her. The video captures the ten minutes  it took the girl to die.

Tyerell Przybycien, 18, arrived at the scene to claim credit for the video, telling officers that he knew the girl and was with her when she died. He told detectives that he had a fascination with death and wanted to see what it was like to watch somebody perish.

Yes, it was Przybycien who wrote the text message to a friend.

There are other disturbing aspects to the story, but my professional interest is in the conduct of Przybycien’s friend. Let us eschew, for now, the question of why anyone would have a friend like this sicko in the first place.

We know the friend has at least rudimentary ethics alarms, since his first response, “Talk her out of it,” was the right one. After that, however, his ethics alarms died. Przybycien told him that he was planning on helping a girl kill herself because it would be a turn-on, and the friend did nothing to stop him…or at least did nothing that did stop him.

We can speculate endlessly about what would work and what would not, but this tragic scenario lands squarely in the realm of the Ethics Alarms principle, “If you are in a position to stop unethical conduct, stop it.” Here a life was involved, activating the coda, “Whatever it takes.”

What might some measures be that could fulfill this ethical imperative?

Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Citizenship, Daily Life, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Law & Law Enforcement

Comment Of The Day (The Post Doesn’t Matter…)

This, from a never to be heard from again commenter named “Angel Sues::

this dumb stuff is lies… what next is the going to be a bird in my ice cream

Welcome to my world.

Unlike the many obscene, insulting, barely coherent comments I get, read and discard every day, this one haunts me. What the hell could it possibly mean?

Translations would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You.

 

34 Comments

Filed under Comment of the Day, Daily Life

Jesse Waters Reminds Us That The Misogynist Culture At Fox News Is A Lot Deeper Than Just Roger Ailes And Bill O’Reilly [UPDATED]

On the Fox News show “The Five,” in the course of a discussion of Ivanka Trump’s appearance at a conference in Berlin where  she was jeered  for defending her father’s record of supporting women, Fox News commentator Jesse Watters made the following comment in reference to the photo above:

I really liked the way she was speaking into that microphone.

Nice.

The degree to which Fox News is definitively exposed as a sexist, oppressive environment catering to over-aged sniggering frat boys where professional women both betray their gender and their self-respect by accepting paychecks to be abused, ogled and hit upon is inversely proportional to the time it takes for the network to fire this toxic asshole.

He made a fellatio reference regarding the President’s daughter, on the air, smiling broadly.  [Absurdly, news organizations are writing that “some commenters” are “interpreting Watters’ comment as a sexual innuendo.” Right: the commentators with eyes, ears, brains and integrity who aren’t paid by Fox News.] Then, after the predictable negative response (although Fox hosts apparently assume that all of their viewers are both mentally challenged and have been frozen in glaciers since 1956). Watters lied brazenly, telling BuzzFeed: “During the break we were commenting on Ivanka’s voice and how it was low and steady and resonates like a smooth jazz radio DJ. This was in no way a joke about anything else.”

Sure, Jesse. So now we know you think we’re all stupid, and you’re a disgrace to your profession. Continue reading

53 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, language, Social Media, U.S. Society, Workplace

Florida State Senator Frank Artiles Resigns After Calling Colleagues “Niggers”…

Obviously, we can’t have that conduct from an elected official. He had to resign; there is no question about that. Artiles was at a members-only club in Tallahassee earlier this week when he was speaking with fellow state Senators Audrey Gibson (D) and Perry Thurston (D), who are both black.  Artiles told them, in the course of an obscenity-rich rant, that “six niggers” had helped get Senate President Joe Negron  elected.

I’ll give Artiles credit for one thing: he didn’t resort the Pazuzu Excuse (“This isn’t who I am, and what I said does not reflect what I think or feel”), which is what almost all public figures in his self-authored predicament do. His resignation letter’s main section reads,

It is clear to me my recent actions and words that I spoke fell far short of what I expect for myself, and for this I am very sorry. I apologize to my family and friends and I apologize to all of my fellow Senators and lawmakers. To the people of my district and all of Miami-Dade, I am sorry I have let you down and ask for your forgiveness. My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State. I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate. It’s clear there are consequences to every action, and in this area, I will need time for personal reflection and growth.

Not bad.

What the episode made me ponder is this: what does using “nigger” when speaking about a black man or woman tell us about the speaker? Continue reading

71 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, language, Race

Comment Of The Day: “The Equal Voices Apology To LGBT Individuals”

I must admit, when my head topic scout Fred flagged the Equal Voices apology for the antipathy toward LGTB (or is it LBTG? Does it matter, if the letters still stand for the same things?) engendered by organized religion, I didn’t expect it to be controversial. As the comments revealed in due course, it was. Looking back deep into Ethics Alarms posts and even into the foggy past of the Ethics Scoreboard, I have tried to clarify the distinction between the moral rejection of homosexuality by those who are faithfully following a religion that still holds to ancient taboos, and those whose attitudes toward gays are rooted in irrational fear, gate and bigotry. Ethically, however, the distinction became hard to jutify. The harm is palpable, and the facts are clear. The religious tended to embrace false facts (no, homosexuals do not indoctrinate heterosexual children; no, same sex marriage does not threaten Western civilization; yes, gays are a likely to be decent, law-abiding, ethical people as anyone else) to avoid doubting their faith; the bigoted and hateful frequently used religion to justify their bigotry.  The Equal Voices apology, I believe, is just one more positive step towards full cultural acceptance of the sad truth that the treatment of gays was a mistake, based in ignorance, and no longer defensible on religious or any other grounds. Ethics evolves when morality does not; that’s what’s good, and unsettling, about ethics. Things we thought were right turn out to be wrong, and vice-versa. There’s no shame in that, unless one denies what is right in front of one’s face.

Now comes veteran Ethics Alarms commenter Pennagain with a general commentary sparked by the post, focusing not on LGBT bias but bias against the religious and irreligious.

Here is his Comment of the Day, on the post, The Equal Voices Apology To LGBT Individuals: Continue reading

153 Comments

Filed under Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Religion and Philosophy, Rights, U.S. Society

Brief And Rueful Thoughts Sparked By The Previous Post

This was yet another post on which the reactions of the dear departed Zoe Brain would be fascinating. I have to admit, I take it badly when a long-time commenter throws a snit and announces permanent departure. (The latest was Margie, a commenter here since 2010, who decided that I had become too “snarky.”) You try to nurture a relationship in the comments over time, and yet usually all it takes is a single comment, moderation choice, or issue disagreement to trash it all.  I remember vividly the angry exits of Ablativemeatshield, Liberal Dan, Ampersand, and Luke G. And those are  just the ones who announce their leave.

I really worry about the silently vanished. It’s stupid, but I do. Where’s Michael R,, the eloquent teacher, not seen in these parts since December, 2015? Whither Steven Mark Pilling, whose epic battles with tgt (also gone with the wind, with occasional sightings like the Ivory Billed Woodpecker) were worthy of a separate blog or a mini-series? Aaron Paschal? The nit-picking but mordantly amusing Brit, P.M. Lawrence? How about Karla Marie Robinett, who was gone for half a year, came back to say she was happy to be back, and vanished again? I liked it when The Ethics Sage dropped in for a scholarly chat.  Where did he go, and why? Rick Jones, “Curmie” of  “The Curmies,” is just a fond memory. FinleyOshea has been gone for more than a year: his last post just said, “test.” Ominous.  And its been almost four months since Ethics Alarms heard from Julian Hung, another reader from the blog’s beginning. Julian is an intermittent participant, but a sharp one. I’m officially concerned.

These and so many others are noticed when they go AWOL, and missed. New voices take their places, I know, and change is good, or can be. Still, even though I have never met most of these people, I feel their losses, and regret their departures. And that—I just erased a long list for fear of who I was forgetting—is why those loyal and passionate commenters who stay and ride out the storms and disagreements are so cherished and appreciated, even when I may sometimes not sound that way.

Carry on.

56 Comments

Filed under Romance and Relationships, The Internet

Comment Of The Day: “Would You Pay $15 An Hour To This Employee?”

Sylvia finger

The latest example of “How Not To Be Approved As An Ethics Alarms Commenter” comes from the pseudonymous “Joe Mama,” who wrote in response to the July 29, 2015 post about Sylva Stoet, an indignant ex-Penny’s employee (above) who took umbrage on Twitter at being asked to go home and change when she showed up dressed as shown to work in the “Career Department.”

“Note to the writer. Is it possible for you to write a blog without your opinion. That is how people would prefer it. You old sack of shit. You would think knee shorts are inappropriate. I agree with the ex employee. If that was in the career section, it should be changed.”

Notes:

1.  I wondered if it was necessary to specify in the commenting guidelines that calling the proprietor “You old sack of shit” in the commenting audition was not a recommended strategy.  That question has been answered.

2. No, it’s not possible for an essay on a blog about ethics not to contain my opinion. That’s the purpose of the blog. The better question is whether it is possible for alleged news reports by reporters on supposedly objective news sources to be free of the writer’s opinion. My opinion is, based on the current evidence, is that it’s possible, but increasingly unlikely.

3. Those “people” Joe alludes to who would prefer that a blog not contain opinion are also known as “people who don’t know what a blog is.” His suggestion is like recommending that I hold a dog show for people who think they are cats.

4. Of course knee shorts would be inappropriate; shorts are inappropriate for  most workplaces, especially in retail, unless the items on sale are shorts.

5. But it doesn’t matter what I think is inappropriate, but rather what then-17-year-old Sylva Stoel ‘s employer thought was appropriate, since Penny’s had as much authority to decide that short-shorts weren’t appropriate attire as I have deciding “You old sack of shit” is inappropriate comment discourse, especially from someone defending inappropriate workplace attire. Sylva’s response to that completely responsible exercise of the supervisor-subordinate relationship was a middle finger.

6. If Joe agrees with the ex-employee, I fervently wish him Sylva’s likely career path until she figures out that he’s an idiot.

7. Anyone who can decipher Joe’s last sentence, let me know. “If that was in the career section, it should be changed.” What’s “that”? What’s “it”? Is he saying that she should change her garb, since it was in the career section? That can’t be it: that’s the opinion he didn’t want to read.  Is he saying that since she showed up dressed like that, the name of the section should be changed, like to “The Inappropriate Workplace Dress Section”? Or is he saying that when an employee shows up dressed inappropriately for one section of the store,  she should be moved to another section to accommodate her fashion choices?

Joe’s not getting another comment published on Ethics Alarms on a prayer, and my opinion is that he should look elsewhere for an opinion-free blog…. the Moon, perhaps.

7 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Social Media