Tag Archives: intentional infliction of emotional distress

Now THIS Is An Unethical Joke…

Ohio couple Micah Risner and his fiancée Nataleigh Schlette, mad wags that they are, decided to play an elaborate  practical joke on their families. The two pranksters staged gory photos of Schlette’s supposedly mutilated body (that’s one of them above) and sent the fake murder scene to family members. Risner texted his sister saying, “Please help me! I really didn’t mean to. I don’t remember. We was arguing and I woke up to this.” (His sister advised him how to cover up the murder. She wasn’t joking. I wonder if she also advised him to learn basic grammar? )

Other family members called the police, and when officers arrived to the abode where Risner and Schlette resided,  Schlette was alive and well!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Morons.

 The police were not amused for some reason, and arrested them—HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! –charging them under an oddball Ohio statute making it a crime to “induce panic”:

2917.31 Inducing panic.

(A) No person shall cause the evacuation of any public place, or otherwise cause serious public inconvenience or alarm, by doing any of the following:

(1) Initiating or circulating a report or warning of an alleged or impending fire, explosion, crime, or other catastrophe, knowing that such report or warning is false;

(2) Threatening to commit any offense of violence;

(3) Committing any offense, with reckless disregard of the likelihood that its commission will cause serious public inconvenience or alarm.

Prof. Turley, who found this gem, opines that the charge probably won’t stick, and I agree, especially since the family members aren’t pressing charges. This was a prank, and not aimed at “the public.” He suggests that police would have a better case if the hoax was on social media. I agree with that, too. Is it possible that the police knew this, but arrested them anyway to teach these idiots a lesson? If so, that was an abuse of power and process, and unethical. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Dunces, Finance, Humor and Satire, Law & Law Enforcement

Horrifying Mothers To Sell Videogames

What mom wouldn't like THIS?

This month’s Games Magazine’s column “Inside the Box” has some exemplary ethics commentary from video game reviewer Thomas McDonald, who took “Dead Space 2” makers Electronic Arts to task for its advertising campaign for the horror game, to which he had given a rave review.

The campaign’s theme is “Your mom hates this game,” and the company set out to prove it. “A mom’s disapproval has always been an accurate barometer of what is cool,” the company explains on its website, as it offered a viewing of the gruesome game to 200 members of an all-mother focus group recruited from “the heart of conservative America,” seeking horrified reactions, and almost unanimously getting them. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Family, Popular Culture

Ethics Train Wreck On Facebook: Jessica Studebaker and the Sneaky Voelkerts

The imaginary Jessica Studebaker

David and Angela Voelkert are so obviously perfect for each other. It’s just a tragedy that they can’t get along.

By the time the couple’s multiple deceptions were sorted out, Angela had been scared out of her wits, David had spent four days in jail, and federal prosecutors looked like they had never heard of Facebook. The perfect recipe for an ethics train wreck—lies, more lies, and incompetence—and that’s exactly what they got.

Last Friday, the FBI arrested David Voelkert, 38, a South Bend, Indiana man who had recently exchanged messages with a 17-year-old Facebook friend named Jessica Studebaker. As described in an FBI affidavit, Voelkert’s Facebook exchanges with Studebaker included telling her that he had placed a GPS device in his ex-wife’s car to surreptitiously monitor her movements, and that he was looking for “someone to take care of” Angela Voelkert, so the teen “ should find someone at your school…that would put a cap in her ass for $10,000.” Continue reading

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Filed under U.S. Society

Comment of the Day: “Fake Pregnancy, Real Deception, Real Harm

Commenter Karl Penny expands on the original post with reflections on trust:

“…Ms. Rodriguez’s actions were just plain wrong. Society, a civilized one anyway, depends on trust if it is to function. I buy foods that I trust were processed in such a manner that they are still wholesome, for example. Not so long ago, my wife and I went to see a movie and, while still some distance from the ticket booths, noticed that a number of people had turned and started walking away from the line they’d been in. We asked a couple who’d headed off in our direction what the matter was. They said a particular movie (forgot which one, now), the one we had planned to see, was sold out. We thanked them and left. We believed them. We didn’t wonder if it was a stunt or practical joke of some kind. We didn’t think a competing theater chain was trying to undermine a competitor’s business in that way. We certainly didn’t wonder if some local students were conducting a study on the behavior of disappointed theater patrons. I don’t want to have to live in a society where it would have been necessary to check whether the theater was really out of tickets for that show. We have enough people already who have worked at undermining public trust, to the detriment of us all. Any more of them, we don’t need.”

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Daily Life, U.S. Society

Fake Pregnancy, Real Deception, Real Harm

"How exciting! It's fake, isn't it?"

Gaby Rodriguez, a Yakima (Washington) High School senior, faked a pregnancy for six months as a school-approved senior project. She told no one about the charade, which the school has called a “social experiment,” except her mother, boyfriend and principal. Others, like her siblings, her boyfriend’s family, fellow students, friends and teachers, were led to believe the pregnancy was real.

Thanks to hidden camera shows like ABC’s “What Would You Do?” and various reality shows, too many people have the impression that everyone they meet is a potential guinea pig. On the contrary: using decent, disguise, deception and lies to “see how people react” is no better than lying for any other reason, and often more harmful. Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Family, Gender and Sex, Research and Scholarship, Romance and Relationships, U.S. Society

Backtracking on Virtual World Ethics

 

Anything unethical about these guys?

I was wrong.

New technology challenges our ethics because we have no immediate frames of reference to rely on. The situations created by the use of new technology require us to reach back to things we are more familiar with for guidance, and we risk choosing comparisons that prove to be superficial and inaccurate over time. This is the trap I fell into when I first approached the question of whether a player’s misconduct —or rather his avatar’s misconduct—in virtual worlds like World of Warcraft and Second Life could be unethical. My frame of reference was video games, role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons,  and games generally. If engaging in Second Life is analogous to playing a game, then vandalizing someone’s home in cyberspace is no different from invading another player’s country in Risk. If “Warcraft” is essentially similar to playing a video game, then “killing”  an avatar is no more unethical than mowing down enemy soldiers in Medal of Honor.

And if virtual games were fantasies, I reasoned, then declaring anything that took place in their boundaries unethical was tantamount to policing thought. Thoughts are not unethical;  actions are. Case closed, right? Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Popular Culture, The Internet

One Joke We Can Do Without

Recently “Jimmy Kimmel Live” showed a video of a “Candid Camera” style prank pulled on an unsuspecting woman at her workplace. As a loud siren blared, everyone around her started hurling themselves on the floor, losing their balance, reeling and staggering as if the building was shaking. It wasn’t, but the woman was understandably alarmed (even conspiracy theorists don’t instantly assume that they are really surrounded by actors that Jimmy Kimmel has paid to behave like the sky is falling), though the commotion ended as suddenly as it started. Then it started again..then a third time. The woman ended up on the floor, hiding her head under a metal folding chair.

Hilarity ensued. Continue reading

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